I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.
As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
So you keep asking people to dispute the basic physics of this?
We know that humans are producing more greenhouse gases every year, and have been doing so for a long time. We know that given enough greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Earth will begin to take on the more unpleasant characteristics of Venus, whose atmosphere is primarily CO2 and whose surface temperature greatly exceeds the hottest setting on your oven.
In all seriousness, do you base this on books you have read or journals or ?
I am not disputing any physical laws here, I am wondering about the logic. Do we know enough about the earth and the numerous dynamics involved in the atmosphere? Just asking, not disputing. Just trying to appreciate your point.
That is extremely disingenuous, equinox. Yes, CO2 is a well-understood atmospheric insulator, as has been known since 1859. Yes, taken as a whole, it's a simple matter of physics: energy input to the earth as a whole minus energy outflow from the earth as a whole. It's like dieting. The metabolism is complicated but it all boils down to calories in minus calories out. All the atmospheric and oceanic dynamics do is determine local conditions and moderate swings in the inputs; they can't change the overall trends, because they can't violate the laws of thermodynamics.
Not extremely disingenuous. Why does your language consistently seem to polarize whatever the topic is? I'm reading perspectives that would indicate that we don't know enough about all of the dynamics that can moderate temperature with regard to earth and the atmosphere.
It may be true that CO2 is a proven greenhouse gas or insulator. But how the earth and it's atmosphere regulates it is something we do not fully understand. So, I question the logic here, not the physics.
It may help if you remove the polarizing adjectives in your posts. So instead of "extremely disingenuous", just say "disingenuous". Thanks.
I'm not the one that polarized the topic. The AGW-denialist gang did that for political, ideological, and financial reasons. You seem to be giving them far too much credence.
CO2 has gone from 280ppm in 1750 to 390ppm today. Whatever natural mechanisms there are for regulating CO2 in the atmosphere have not prevented this rise. Again, it's simple physics--energy in, energy out. If there is an excess of energy retained each year, the planet must warm. CO2 has been rising. This is an obvious mechanism.
To say it's too complicated to know for sure is extremely disingenuous. To insist that we don't know enough yet because the denialists haven't found a mechanism or data to support their crackpot point of view is anti-scientific.
I think whether the scientists can accurately predict the temp rise/year to a tenth of a degree is missing the point. In the end, increased fossil fuel usage means higher temps. Carbon dioxide is a proven greenhouse gas, there is no arguing its impact or sources. It can be accurately measured in the atmosphere, and its production can be accurately predicted based on fossil fuel usage in tons/barrels etc. This leads to very accurate carbon predictions and a min temp change over time that is not acceptable. Even the lowest predictions show temp increases over the next 100 years that will be a major burden to many people both in agriculture and climate.
There are however, thousands of variables, some of which create multiplication effects from the main warming trend such as methane release, ocean water current changes, ice melting (allowing more sunlight to be absorbed by the water it replaces), etc. And all of these are well understood and predictable variables as well. But little errors in thousands of variables make climate change a very hard thing to pin down. The consensus though is there really isn't a variable that is going to slow it down, or reverse it. Our oceans and forests are our two most valuable carbon eaters, and we're destroying those too at a ridiculous rate. Every year, 20% of the worlds carbon dioxide comes from burning down trees. More then all the worlds cars and trucks combined.
Also, as I understand it, we are in the midst of a cyclical occilation in our orbit around the sun with some cooling effects. These are natural, but also may be offsetting temp rise due to carbon. I'm very worried the natural cycle may swing back in the other direction eventually, meanwhile we've might have used another 10 years worth of fossil fuels and done nothing for the future.
Secondly, coal and oil will not last forever. 2005 may have been the peak of oil production worldwide. If you think gas is expensive today, or last year, I would bet my lifelong savings that gas will continue to increase (with variation) and 10 years from now, if we do nothing, gas will be so expensive the entire economy will collapse worldwide to a much greater degree then today. If we plan for the future, and have the alternatives working, and available, we can transition with a lot less pain. Procrastination on alternative energy will only mean we get caught with our pants down.
Sometimes I wonder how incredibly large the well of fossil fuels is, how it has sustained our energy growth for the last 150 years, and will likely give us another 100 years at the current pace. Then I wonder how we will have managed to go through all the worlds fossil fuels in a blink of an eye compared to the time of life on this earth, or even mankinds time on this earth. If the years were to start counting backwards, we would use up all the worlds oil before we got back to the year the internal combustion engine was invented.
Yup Judd, yup yup yup...and we have done all this in just 187 years...imagine. In one of my other posts I told the board that we have managed to create climate conditions that existed 300,000 years ago. ( and probably 3 million years ago ) Illustrative numbers for the thought.
I do know that the earth began in unbelievable temperatures and it has benn 10's of billions of years cooling to the point where we have clean air, temperate climes, fresh water and modern man. And now, in just 187 years we have reduced visibility through gases, dust and smoke to the point where we can't see mountains in the distance that only became visible to a primitive man some 300,000 or hell, 3 million years ago. Whatever the years, you just might get my drift?
We have had a devastating impact on the climate in just 187 years and it is as obvious as the nose on my face.
Good post, Judd. I am thinking about it. I'll need to research it further for myself. I just wanted to say that your moderate and non-polarizing language is helpful in the discussion. I am more willing to listen and take you seriously. You seem more mature in your thought than others...