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Northern Neil

Global Warming

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I know that this is off-topic but:

 

"Geographer Jared Diamond's Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005) demonstrates how natural and human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations.

 

 

I was looking for this very book today, after work. It was there the previous day, but someone had brought the last copy! Ah well, I could get it another time. I ended up buying Francis Pryor's Britain BC.

 

Hopefully, I'll get back to Collapse in the near future, and I'll tell you what I think them. Personally I can't see the connection between Global Warming and what's discussed in Diamond's book, other than the Ancient Mayans ruined their fragile ecology and therefore destroyed their civilisation. As a result, I can't see how his book could persuade a Climate change skeptic to change his mind. Perhaps the other titles that Nephele mentioned would be more effective.

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I remain a skeptic of sorts.

 

Trouble is Global Warming has become a cult all of its own, with adherents who utter the standard arguments like religious doctrine. Whether it right or wrong isn't actually the intention any more. Its all about attracting new believers and extracting money by exploiting these beliefs. A popular movement like this brings pressure on others to believe also, whether overtly by argument/indoctrination, or subtely because humans like to be with the herd, to run with the crowd, and don't want to appear mavericks in case they attract criticism or derision.

 

As for myself, I believe the climate changes we're seeing today are much more natural in origin than anything we do. There's a fuel crisis looming because reserves are vanishing, so what better reason to animate manufacturers and customers to change their ways than to tell them these climate changes are their fault, and that if they act 'responsibly' they can offset the changes.

 

Its total nonsense. It really is. Climate changes all the time, mercifully in small amounts year on year. Now the trend is toward warmer temperatures. Has anyone seriously studied how active our sun is today? Its a known phenomenon that the earth wobbles in its orbit, and we also know that this wobble is increasing. True north and magnetic north are nowhere close at the moment. Its even speculated that the earth undergoes magnetic reversal of the poles over long geological periods, and that we are effectively overdue for another if that theory is correct. There are macro changes about our earth that no end of eco-friendly and enviromentally concious behaviour can ever hope to affect.

 

I really do believe that there are many researchers out there hungry for grants and come up with all sorts of tosh to justify their applications. Governments have either swallowed this stuff wholesale or they've decided to exploit these fears for their own ends.

 

Without doubt we're living in an interglacial period, somewhere near the start of it. Britain is set to return to the african style climate it once enjoyed or until the earth wobbles just a bit too much in one direction. Yes, there are going to be changes around the globe. Its happened before, it will happen again. Human beings are such idiots sometimes. We assume that because things were a certain way in our younger days that they will be so again. Remember the flooding of St Louis recently? Absolutely devastating I'm sure and used as a prime example of the effects we can expect of global warming. If you check the records, you'll see their instances of devastating floods in the mississippee delta all through the last century. It simply isn't that unusual. What is different today of course is our vulnerability. There are so many more of us now and our vital infrastructure is under threat.

 

I guess if you look closely at ancient history, you'll find similar things happening. Its nothing new.

Edited by caldrail

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I really do believe that there are many researchers out there hungry for grants and come up with all sorts of tosh to justify their applications.

The effect of state funding for global warming research is interesting.

 

It's true that early funding came from utterly irresponsible, totally alarmist claims. For example, Jim Hanson testified before Congress that the hot summer of 1990 was almost certainly caused by global warming--until the summer grew quite mild after he had finished testifying!

 

Now that increases in funding occur as some kind of religious duty, researchers can go about their business in more or less normalcy. I say, "more or less", because it still is the case that a researcher whose interests are (say) mating habits in Belding's ground squirrel will today seek additional funding by examining the effect of global warming on Belding's ground squirrel.

 

The whole thing is a racket and it disrupts normal science, but you'd be amazed by how generous agencies are (with other people's money) and by how creative scientists can be in motivating agencies to care about real scientific issues for stupid reasons.

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Perhaps because it's been my good fortune to personally know some outstanding scientists of unquestionable integrity (whose names I won't drop here), that I'm somewhat saddened by suggestions that the lure of grants -- somewhat like medieval church indulgences -- might seduce most men and women of science towards academic dishonesty.

 

And, while I can't claim to know Michael Shermer personally (although I wish I could), it is perhaps because I've read his books Why People Believe Weird Things and Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, and because we actually have a mutual friend who, like Dr. Shermer, has been an invited guest to JREF's annual The Amaz!ng Meetings in Las Vegas, that, if the gentleman says he has abandoned his former environmental skepticism and now believes that there may be reason for concern about global warming, well, I'm inclined to listen.

 

I haven't yet made up my own mind regarding the subject, and so I have no interest in persuading anyone here as to whether global warming should or should not be a genuine concern. Nor have I any interest in being persuaded one way or the other by anyone here. :disgust: But I'll weigh in all arguments, nevertheless, and I'll most certainly read one or two of those books cited by Michael Shermer in his article for Scientific American magazine.

 

DecimusCaesar, that's too bad you missed out on getting that last copy of Diamond's Collapse. Sounds like you didn't do at all badly in finding Pryor's Britain BC, though. :)

 

-- Nephele

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I think you have to be careful of self-professed experts. All too often in the past they've made predictions that haven't happened or vice versa. There was a british scientist who publicly stated in the late 50's that spaceflight was impossible. There are learned men who today suggest that natural disasters are pure imagination, even though we're surrounded by evidence to the contrary. I live in britain. The rocks that compose this island have at times been at the center of steamy swamps, dessicated deserts, thick tropical and temperate rainforests, tropical archipelagoes, ice sheets, tundra... You name it, it happened here. What scientists like is observable trends. They tend not to like dramatic events because you can't really predict them with convenient formulae. The fact that temperatures are rising now is a trend. The same thing happened in the medieval period. It can just as easily go cold again.

 

Thing is, if I say the things influential people want to hear, I get patted on the back and supported (possibly even paid? :) ). If I say something questionable or controversial I get hissed at, or possibly subjected to ridicule.

 

Many of the current ideas surrounding global warming are based on one particular theory regarding CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Computer models to predict future trends are based on that idea. But what if that idea is wrong? The available data suggests that CO2 is not directly responsible for mean temperatures and is part of a natural cycle. Or is that politically incorrect?

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"Many of the current ideas surrounding global warming are based on one particular theory regarding CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Computer models to predict future trends are based on that idea. But what if that idea is wrong? The available data suggests that CO2 is not directly responsible for mean temperatures and is part of a natural cycle. Or is that politically incorrect?"

 

1. But what if it's correct? What do we gain by leaving things as they are? What do we lose by trying to change? Money, i.e., our taxes? Well, cut out corporate welfare.

2. "Suggests"? Same argument as your adversaries.

3. "Not"? Politically correct.

 

"Or is that politically incorrect?" Nice try, but no points.

 

I don't like to argue by analogy, but, try this: 1>Because of over fishing, cod at the Grand Banks have practically disappeared. 2> Because of faulty farming methods, the American prairie was turned into a Dust Bowl. 3>Once NYC's harbour was awash with oysters, stripped bass and sturgeon, but, .... Part of a 'natural cycle'?

 

A million kids a year die from cooking smoke. I never put gunk on my unruly hair. All I had to do was walk down the street and let the exhaust fumes do their work.

 

Personally, I've no idea as to which side is correct but, I do know that those who deny are funded by those who profit from this pollution. Well, that is if one admits that it is pollution. CO2 is good for trees.

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Since CO2 is a natural by-product of breathing, I venture to guess that we ALL profit from CO2 "pollution"!

 

Right on bro! Aristotelian logic at its best! Unparalleled Ciceronian rhetoric! Case closed! All should set up CO2 chambers in their homes to enjoy the profits of CO2.

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DecimusCaesar, that's too bad you missed out on getting that last copy of Diamond's Collapse. Sounds like you didn't do at all badly in finding Pryor's Britain BC, though. :)

 

-- Nephele

 

I've ordered Jared Diamond's book. After reading the reviews on Amazon, it seems that he does make many references to modern ecological problems, so it isn't just an examination of the collapse of ancient civilisations as I originally believe.

 

As for Pryor's Britain BC, I've been reading it today and I highly recommend it. It's a brilliant book.

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1. But what if it's correct? What do we gain by leaving things as they are? What do we lose by trying to change? Money, i.e., our taxes? Well, cut out corporate welfare.

2. "Suggests"? Same argument as your adversaries.

3. "Not"? Politically correct.

 

"Or is that politically incorrect?" Nice try, but no points.

 

The arguement for the popular CO2 theory rests on the work of a single scientist, and his work has yet to be proven. In fact, the premise relies entirely on CO2 being a greenhouse gas. Yet the temperatures at the crutial tropopause do not correlate with CO2 levels.

 

I'd say I scored a point. Your serve... :rolleyes:

Edited by caldrail

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"Personally, I've no idea as to which side is correct but, I do know that those who deny are funded by those who profit from this pollution. Well, that is if one admits that it is pollution. CO2 is good for trees."

 

Considering the above, I THINK that what the good guys are saying is that the CO2 prevents the release of energy from the Earth into space. Maybe flatulence is the problem.

 

Copernicus was a 'single scientist'!.? I still maintain the Flat Earth theory though.

 

Bouncy ballie ....

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The arguement for the popular CO2 theory rests on the work of a single scientist, and his work has yet to be proven. In fact, the premise relies entirely on CO2 being a greenhouse gas.

I'd say I scored a point. Your serve... :rolleyes:

What single scientist is this ? You can just look at Venus and see what an atmosphere composed primarily of CO2 does. The fact that CO2 has almost doubled since the industrial revolution is telling. The way anthropogenic gases like CO2 interact with the environment is the problem.Water vapor provides the bulk of global warming and it is directly influenced by CO2 according to models,as the temperatures rise this fuels more water vapor and an increase in temperature and changes in the way biosystems work. Climates change of course but over long periods of time, that this seems to be accelerating to the point that it is noticeable in the lifespan of humans is what is alarming to some. Over 10,000 years biosystems can adapt, if it's 100 years they might not be able too. This show illustrates how the Arctic plays a role and has had changed within human lifespans http://www.sciencefriday.com/video/060807/scifriseg060807 . Of course as MPC apparently believes it could all be a nefarious plot by those kooky,greedy scientists with their fancy book learnin to 'disrupt normal science' , whatever that is. Some things are just too big for people to comprehend easily, if you watch that show you will hear some of these scientists say that they only fully understand their piece of the puzzle. It is how it all fits together that makes it compelling and as touched on briefly there are some that think it is just too late anyway. If it becomes apparent to even the most rabid denier that things are out of control it will be too late. It really doesn't hurt to read some of the actual research on this stuff with an open mind. There is a reason the vast majority of science is in agreement, I seriously doubt it is all greed.

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You can just look at Venus and see what an atmosphere composed primarily of CO2 does.

Really? And the fact that Venus is closer to the sun has no effect on its temperature??? Give me break. Venus illustrates that on a hot planet with no oceans of water, CO2 fails to condense at the same rate as would occur on a colder planet with huge oceans of water.

 

The fact that CO2 has almost doubled since the industrial revolution is telling. The way anthropogenic gases like CO2 interact with the environment is the problem.

First, CO2 is not an anthropogenic gas. Before humans (or any plants or animals) existed, the atmosphere was mostly CO2 and N2.

 

Second, the fact that CO2 has almost doubled since the industrial revolution is NOT telling. It would only be telling if this doubling were accompanied by a contemporaneous increase in temperature. Yet, this is not the case. Indeed, when CO2 doubled from 1940-1980, temperatures were overall flat, and during the years in which CO2 increased most dramatically (1950-1970), there was an actual cooling trend (see Figure 6 in this paper for historical data).

 

Simply put, neither the high CO2/high temperatures of Venus nor the fact that CO2 increased during the industrial revolution support the CO2 theory of climate change.

 

MPC apparently believes it could all be a nefarious plot by those kooky,greedy scientists with their fancy book learnin to 'disrupt normal science' , whatever that is.

 

What a stunning misrepresentation of my views! My example was that of a researcher interested in one topic (mating of Belding ground squirrels) obtaining additional funding to examine the impact of global warming on Belding ground squirrels' mating behavior. In this example, his normal research topic (i.e., causes of various aspects of mating behavior) was disrupted by a line of research (effects of global warming) that would have been otherwise irrelevant to the researcher. Moreover, this example neither supports nor was intended to support the idea that scientists' views on the causes of climate change are part of a nefarious plot. That's stupid hyperbole.

 

Also, being a college professor, I am all for "fancy book learnin".

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Climates change of course but over long periods of time, that this seems to be accelerating to the point that it is noticeable in the lifespan of humans is what is alarming to some.

 

Really? At the end of the last ice age, mean temperatures rose 7 degrees in fifteen years. Doesn't seem such a long time to me, and that was only 8000 years ago. The resulting flood inundated Doggerland (the bottom of what we now call the North Sea), costing europe a landmass equal in area to the british isles. There was the Warm Medieval Period, with temperatures higher than today. What about the Big Freeze in the 6th or 7th century, lasting four years? Or the Mini-Ice-Age of the 18th century? Tempertaure fluctuations occur regularly but some are very pronounced and definitely can change very quickly indeed.

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Really? At the end of the last ice age, mean temperatures rose 7 degrees in fifteen years.

 

Caldrail, this is intriguing

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