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Climate Change editorial - Comments

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 1 by hungarianelephant

Is it just me, or is everyone else putting off the cynical comments until there are some positive ones?

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:38:00 UTC | #420960

Tintern's Avatar Comment 2 by Tintern

I don't hold out much hope for Copenhagen. Politicians and businessmen never solve anything, just work out how to keep raking it in. Remember the electric car that GM built in the '90s. It worked so well that it scared the crap out of them and they took them back and destroyed them. Those are the kind of people still in charge. The people who rule the world make their money and get their power from making sure things don't change far more than the other way around. We need different people at the top.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:48:00 UTC | #420966

keddaw's Avatar Comment 4 by keddaw

Who wrote this nonsense?

Just read the part on this site and have seen two glaring errors:

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time...

No, it won't. In 2,000 years (if even) there will be little to no trace of AGW.

...climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security.
Climate change will affect all parts of our planet, but certainly not always in a negative way. The growing seasons are already longer (meaning more produce), desert creep can be arrested by human inventiveness which would also possibly allow some vegetation to creep back into the desert. The proposed agreements would massively limit international trade and thus retard the growth prospects of those that need trade the most - the third world. What would impact our security more, a country that looks on in envy but isn't allowed to trade or a country that is struggling to keep a constant water supply to its people? And which one would a prosperous world be more able to help? Any author who suggests trade is anything but good for global prosperity should not be taken seriously. And no, carbon-credit trading does not count.

Not to mention there is a huge advantage, and virtually no chance of a penalty, of one country ignoring the agreement.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.
Says who? Where is the relative damage of no financial bailout compared to no action on climate change? And where are the comparative figures, how much did each cost? Honestly, this is a shocking opinion piece and without any counter opinion is nothing more than propaganda.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:51:00 UTC | #420968

jgravelle's Avatar Comment 3 by jgravelle

This time of year, all the major religions unite and sing praises to their faith from their respective mythological texts.

It was not unexpected that the adherents of the newest testament would one day do likewise.

Praise be the Goracle. Praise be.

Now somebody start tossing CEOs in the volcano to appease the climate gods. For it is written...


-jjg

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:51:00 UTC | #420967

cherryteresa's Avatar Comment 5 by cherryteresa

I think the problem in the US is that people are more and more skeptical if climate change is actually real. There are people who weren't really sure what to think and I helped convince them that it was actually real by showing them certain articles and websites, such as http://www.skepdic.com. However, with the whole "deleted climate change emails scandal", more and more people are starting to think this whole thing is made up. Is there a reputable publication that is in response to that scandal? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to explain to others that climate change is a real issue?

Also, I just noticed that http://www.skepdic.com/climateskeptics.html isn't even working anymore. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thanks.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:53:00 UTC | #420969

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 6 by Quetzalcoatl

I wondered how long it would take for the first comment comparing concerns about climate change to religion to appear. Only three, it seems.

jgravelle-

At the risk of stating the obvious: climate change is backed by science. Religion is not.

As for the article- not very well-written, in my opinion.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:58:00 UTC | #420970

arcticstoat's Avatar Comment 8 by arcticstoat

cherryteresa, there's a good video about the climate change email scandal here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg, and it's also worth having a read of http://www.skepticalscience.com/

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:01:00 UTC | #420973

Nastika's Avatar Comment 9 by Nastika

Comment #439454 by cherryteresa

Is there a reputable publication that is in response to that scandal?


Check out Greenman3610's latest video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY

or The Economist:

http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14960149


There is nothing in the e-mails so far to suggest that the authors do not believe in man-made global warming and are making the whole thing up, as some have been claiming.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:04:00 UTC | #420974

bnightm's Avatar Comment 10 by bnightm

Personally, I'm convinced (persuaded?) by the findings of scientists that not only is global warming an empirical fact, there is a significant anthropogenic component to it. On top of that, I'm also aware that the leaked emails are being presented out of context by journalists and "skeptics" that are either ignorant of the subject or have an agenda of their own.

It's just that I'm too damn confident human ingenuity, both in the shape of the free market economy and the entire enterprise of science itself, will find a way to adapt to this new, on average warmer, world.

That and I'm way more skeptical about thousands of politicians agreeing on anything, unless it empowers them, some way or the other.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:08:00 UTC | #420975

cherryteresa's Avatar Comment 11 by cherryteresa

bendigeidfran, arcticstoat, Nastika - Thank you. And Nastika, funny icon. haha.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:10:00 UTC | #420976

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 12 by Steve Zara

Comment #439453 by keddaw

No, it won't. In 2,000 years (if even) there will be little to no trace of AGW.


That's nonsense. It takes thousands of years for an excess of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. It will be at least 1000 years before any current AGW can start to reverse. There will be effects that will last much, much longer.

Climate change will affect all parts of our planet, but certainly not always in a negative way.


It doesn't matter. The basis of the vast population growth in the past few centuries has been the stability of climate and environment. Even slight shifts in temperature will mean that hundreds of millions will have to be relocated, and global patterns of agriculture changed. These things will create global disruption on a scale never seen before, and will cost trillions to even begin to deal with.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:15:00 UTC | #420978

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 13 by hungarianelephant

12. Comment #439463 by Steve Zara

These things will create global disruption on a scale never seen before, and will cost trillions to even begin to deal with.

Do you have a figure for this that wasn't pulled out of George Monbiot's arse?

And sorry, I think I just accidentally marked you as spam. Stupid wireless mouse.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:26:00 UTC | #420980

keddaw's Avatar Comment 14 by keddaw

@Steve Zara
from wiki:

Oceans are natural CO2 sinks, and represent the largest active carbon sink on Earth, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air.

Which means if we stopped producing CO2 the oceans would suck up all human-created CO2 in about 4-800 years.

As for the relocation etc. issue: so what? We will eventually hit some form of population limit, either a Malthusian food shortage one or an energy-based one. At some point rich, powerful countries will place their own comfort over the lives of people in less developed countries. We already do, but this will be on a much larger scale.

Also, if we stop all international air travel, all international trade and force countries to be self-sufficient do you think the population growth in the third world is remotely sustainable? Would there not be more wars and suffering without international trade?

I am not saying we should do nothing, simply that this piece was propaganda and made assertions with no evidence to back it up and claimed figures without even presenting them, never mind giving evidence for them.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:30:00 UTC | #420981

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 15 by hungarianelephant

14. Comment #439466 by keddaw

Also, if we stop all international air travel, all international trade and force countries to be self-sufficient do you think the population growth in the third world is remotely sustainable?

As Monbiot has pointed out, the extra population contributes very little carbon, and it's all the fault of bankers living in Surrey.

So that's ok. As long as the little bastards stay poor, obviously.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:37:00 UTC | #420982

Shiva's Avatar Comment 16 by Shiva

Why aren't we discussing the real problem here?

There's just too many of us.


Deforestation and pollution in the form of trash and large scrap heaps, and toxic waste etc., and seven billion humans using resources that just aren't there, ever-expanding economies and so on...

These are the real problems we're facing. CO2 and a warm planet is not as bad as a planet cooling down. We should be glad it's going towards a warmer climate and not the other way around.

I'm not doubting man-made global warming, only that there are so many other things we should discuss before we start worrying about CO2. (And if we lower the number of humans, we also lower the demands for resources, energy and pollution...)

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:40:00 UTC | #420983

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 17 by Quetzalcoatl

CO2 is very important, but personally I think there should be more publicity about the potential warming effects of methane. Nobody mentions methane clathrates very much, but if they rupture then the subsequent warming will make CO2 look like a match next to a bonfire.

EDITED- crap spelling.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:43:00 UTC | #420986

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 19 by Sally Luxmoore

Quetz.

Please would you explain what Methane cladrates are. I have gathered from a not very helpful google search that it is to do with undersea methane, but I don't know any more.
I have learnt a bit about the permafrost methane, and I agree that it's very worrying.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1liqk9UQNAQ
Edit: Ah. Am watching the video, which is explaining the cladrates as well as the permafrost...

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:48:00 UTC | #420989

hoopoe2's Avatar Comment 18 by hoopoe2

Whatever the facts or the truth about Global Warming surely, anything that can be done to cut the drain on the earths resources is a good thing right?

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:48:00 UTC | #420988

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 20 by godsbelow

Comment #439463 by Steve Zara

'These things will create global disruption on a scale never seen before'

Seen by what? Spiders? Dragonflies? Crocodiles? Humans? Or just humans in the last few thousand years? You're certainly correct on the last point, but let's keep some perspective here. This isn't going to be the Permian-Triassic Extinction event take two.

I take comfort from the fact that our ancestors have survived 100 to 200 thousand years of climatic variation. They managed to spread from Africa, through dozens of different environments - including the freezing tundras of the northern hemisphere during the last severe phase of the 'ice age' - to populate almost the entire planet. And they did so at a time when their greatest scientific achievement was a stick that was used to hurl another, pointier stick a little further. Given the level of our current technical achievements, I'm really not that worried.

People are always afraid of change.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:57:00 UTC | #420991

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 21 by Mark Jones

A splendid effort by the Guardian and others to combat anti-science campaigners, even if one could quibble with bits of it.

Comment #439465 by hungarianelephant


Do you have a figure for this that wasn't pulled out of George Monbiot's arse?


From the IPCC:


This Assessment makes it clear that the impacts of future climate change will be mixed across regions. For increases in global mean temperature of less than 1-3°C above 1990 levels, some impacts are projected to produce benefits in some places and some sectors, and produce costs in other places and other sectors. It is, however, projected that some low-latitude and polar regions will experience net costs even for small increases in temperature. It is very likely that all regions will experience either declines in net benefits or increases in net costs for increases in temperature greater than about 2-3°C [9.ES, 9.5, 10.6, T10.9, 15.3, 15.ES]. These observations confirm evidence reported in the Third Assessment that, while developing countries are expected to experience larger percentage losses, global mean losses could be 1-5% GDP for 4°C of warming [F20.3].

(1% was 650 billion US dollars in 2006)

It's possible that the source (F20.3) is George Monbiot's arse, though :-).

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:57:00 UTC | #420992

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 22 by Quetzalcoatl

Sally-

Firstly, I apparently should spell-check my posts more carefully. I meant clathrate, not cladrate.

A clathrate is essentially a lattice structure of molecules that contains a second type of molecule. Methane clathrates are lattices of water ice with large amounts of methane gas trapped inside them.

Basically the gas can bubble out of the earth, and crystallises when it makes contact with cold water. You find them at the bottom of deep lakes and the ocean, and in permafrost.

The concern with clathrates such as these is that, as the water ice caging the methane melts, then the gas can be released. A typical clathrate contains a disproportionately large amount of methane gas, so obviously substantial releases would have significant implications.

Interestingly though, such clathrates could be a source of natural gas for fuel, but the difficulty is finding them concentrated enough for it to be commercially viable.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:58:00 UTC | #420993

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 23 by Sally Luxmoore

Thanks for that, Quetz.

I remember seeing something about that in Dr Iain Stewart's series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7cu6Ip4MDs.
Definitely worrying.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:04:00 UTC | #420995

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Comment #439466 by keddaw

Firstly, human CO2 production is currently increasing exponentially. Secondly, we really, really don't want any more CO2 absorbed by the sea than necessary. The sea isn't some convenient dumping ground for excess CO2: acidification of the ocean will be a real problem.

There is considerable inertia in climate. Things won't get better for a long time after we have cut CO2 production (assuming we do). They won't even get back to normal when CO2 levels drop. We have already set in motion processes that will continue for millenia at least.
Comment #439477 by godsbelow

You can bet people are afraid of change. It's simply not acceptable to hand-wave away the potential deaths of hundreds of millions when this problem can be dealt with.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:05:00 UTC | #420996

root2squared's Avatar Comment 25 by root2squared

Frankly, this is a waste of time. People who deny GW don't really care whether it is true or not. They just want to keep eating cows and driving SUVs (Yeah, Al Gore is a big hypocrite). As long as GW does not start having serious effects, most people are not going to give a damn about this.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:10:00 UTC | #420998

blitz442's Avatar Comment 26 by blitz442

16. Comment #439469 by Shiva

What is your solution to this problem? Enforced limits on reproduction? Would you vote for a politician that favored a one child policy?

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:11:00 UTC | #420999

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 27 by Sally Luxmoore

New Scientist article on Methane clathrates
"As Arctic Ocean warms, megatonnes of methane bubble up"
http://current.com/12a9m4c

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:13:00 UTC | #421000

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 28 by Sally Luxmoore

Comment #439485 by blitz442
Re overpopulation-

What is your solution to this problem? Enforced limits on reproduction?

An end to religious policies that prevent contraception would help....

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:15:00 UTC | #421001

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 29 by Mark Jones

Comment #439466 by keddaw


Also, if we stop all international air travel, all international trade and force countries to be self-sufficient do you think the population growth in the third world is remotely sustainable? Would there not be more wars and suffering without international trade?

Do you have anything to back up this claim (stop all international trade)? It's not clear to me that this is bound to happen with the proposals.

For example, cutting carbon output does not automatically equate to being self-sufficient. For example, New Yorkers sourcing their tomatoes *shipped* from the third world can incur less carbon-cost than having them delivered by *air* from California. Greenhouse raised produce in colder climes *might* be produced more carbon-efficiently when shipping from areas where the sun provides the heat.

I'd be interested if there are any studies on these sorts of issues.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:20:00 UTC | #421002

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 30 by godsbelow

Comment #439482 by Steve Zara

'the potential deaths of hundreds of millions'

This kind of hyperbole is what fuels mass hysteria, whether its about climate change, swine flu, bird flu, whatever.

Comment #439487 by Sally Luxmoore

'An end to religious policies that prevent contraception would help.... '

Ditto. Plus the end of religious misogyny/oppression of women, to give women, patricularly third world women, full control of their lives.

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:23:00 UTC | #421003