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Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement
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Yes, the first site is a little Quixotic. A 'Save the Locust' site in Australia,should prove about as popular as a 'Save the Rabbit' site!
Some of his control idea's are a little fanciful. Netting for instance, Locusts can swam over 20 miles by 5 miles deep, with more than 150 insects per square metre travelling in excess of 10mp! Frequently changing direction.
The treat from locusts also encompasses endangered wildlife and other species. But great for birds and fish!
The second article comparing humans with locusts has some disturbing validity. Like the locust, many species would see the rise of human population expansion, disastrous. (well they would if they weren't extinct!).
Humans don't only claim the habitat of other species, but introduce our own species of replacement fauna, and flora to compete with the existing habitat.
However to our credit we are the only species that practises conservation!
But thank you Mik, interesting and thought provoking articles.
I'm afraid I have given up on poor ole Safe. He seems to be intractably repetitive, and getting just a tad weird.
As I have previously stated, I believe all science,philosophy and politics must be open to sceptical debate from any source who can mount a valid question, or theory. This is especially true when public money is involved.
Mike B challenges my assertion that the GW/CC/green is a movement with a vast amount of PR and vested interest from support organisations.
I can understand that his assertion to the contrary would appear to have some validity. To conduct any debate or study to determine which position is correct, we would first have to determine the elements of the proposition in order to complete a fair comparison. Mike B argues that wealthy corporations and individuals have the resources for significant lobby and PR campaigns. In reply I would point to government ministries and numerous movements such as 'One million Women for climate Change. org. com etc..
Since we lack any meaningful collection of data, and no established parameters, both of our positions are speculative and tainted with unintentional bias.
The difference between these opinions and Safes assertions, is that neither Mike B nor I is claiming to be 100% scientifically correct in relation to this issue.
Sadly, in the final analysis Safe's contribution, whether sceptical or not, is valueless! This is not because he has no scientific knowledge, because because he is obstinately obtuse. He fails to understand that any scientific proposition, once challenged, must answer critics with more detailed facts that serve to directly refute such critique, not simply reiterate the original proposition endlessly, or with weird unsupportable conspiracy theories.
Socrates said something like:
"All we know is that we don't know."
...as long as people realize that we are discussing "theories" things are fine. It's when governments start to take what is only speculation and try to turn that into policy that "The People" need to react. And "The People" seem to have gotten the message and polls show they have become increasing skeptical... so things are okay.
The ability of CO2 to be absorbed by water seems to be related to water temperature.
Since we expect the oceans to begin to slow their circulation in the coming decades due to polar ice melt this will translate into large areas of the oceans that will have LOWER temperatures than today. Places like Europe that are presently warmed by ocean currents will become colder. Equatorial regions will become hotter.
We would expect the colder regions to increase their CO2 absorption rates and this might be one of the factors about "why" the Climate Cycle has it's counter balancing forces.
Another idea I've read is that since the small plant life in the oceans live off of CO2 (that's how limestone gets created) any increase in CO2 tends to be matched by increased plant life. So in a sense some oceans will become more fertile.
And we haven't even gotten into methane yet. That gas is released from melting polar ice (permafrost) and has an effect on the "trigger" 25 times that of CO2. Since in all the previous cycles the caps melted too this same thing would have occurred. Methane really dwarfs CO2. It all tends to make one look at the "big picture" of the Climate Cycle over any one particular variable. The correct answer on the climate is one that will involve numerous variables interacting in ways that we haven't yet understood.
Collapse: Based on the Book by Jared Diamond
An interesting show.
In the show they cover the Romans, Mayans and some others and how events conspired to bring them down.
I liked that they focused on the very real issues like Roman (and now modern world) debt and how the massive costs of supporting the systems are what brought them down.
They sprinkled in just enough liberal "feel good" stuff so that you guys will like it too. (though in the story the future people saw solar power and wind power as being feeble and unable to keep up with energy needs)
It's at least worth watching...
Good grief, safe, this is a staggeringly dishonest post. "We" haven't gotten into methane yet, but "I" posted about it way back on page one. Are you admitting that you are simply ignoring my posts entirely? Are you interested in a discussion, or just spreading denial?
But it's even worse than that. If CO2 can't be affecting global temperatures, as you claim, then how on earth can methane affect global temperatures? You're flat out contradicting yourself. Either both gasses have a greenhouse affect, based on simple physical principles of each, or neither does. You can't have it both ways.
The problem, of course, is that if the permafrost melts and releases methane, it started melting because of human influence. We are the trigger, not an innocent bystander.
And why on earth would you post about the relationship between ocean temperature and it's ability to hold CO2 unless CO2 also has a greenhouse effect? Otherwise, if CO2 has no greenhouse effect as you seem to want to believe, you're deliberately trying to throw up distractions. Again, that looks dishonest. Oh, wait, "I" posted about the rising temperatures causing the ocean to release CO2 back into the atmosphere, causing a feedback effect, back on the first page. Oops, you're ignoring the science again and just throwing out whatever you think might stick. (And ocean temperatures are rising rapidly right now, not cooling.)
See, the problem is that you aren't actually looking at the science. You see a chart of historical temperatures, but utterly ignore the theory, the explanatory framework, that is behind that chart. You want us to believe that temperatures change because the chart says they do. But charts are just observations, they don't have any ability to actually apply pressure to global climate. You need to examine the chart and try to figure out what the underlying mechanisms are. Greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, water vapor, others) are an important mechanism in the explanatory framework that goes along with climatology. You can't be working with science in the absence of a theory, in the absence of an explanatory framework. You've become a butterfly collector, not a biologist. But you don't care about theory, you don't care about mechanisms and forces, you just want to fixate on the pattern and deny that humans are now one of the forces involved.
You claim that you are worried about overpopulation. Good, that's a reasonable thing to worry about, and it's also one of my concerns. You worry about warfare erupting over scarce resources, and again, that's a reasonable worry. But are you worried that rising planetary temperatures will hurt agriculture, hurt the ability to keep 7 billion people fed? Are you worried that increasing levels of CO2 absorbed into the ocean actually changes the ocean chemistry, making it more acidic, and potentially harming our ability to collect fish for food?
What's the fastest way to get people to start killing each other? Start cutting off their access to food.
You seem to think that rising temperatures are fine as long as they are 'natural', and 'part of a cycle', but you are pointing to places in history that were before the invention of agriculture, before the rise of man, before the existence of mammals. Sure, way back in the history of the Earth, there was no free oxygen in our atmosphere, does that mean it's 'natural' and ok to go back to that state? Don't you think our ecology might depend on oxygen just a little bit?
And if it does, then don't you think our agriculture, our ability to grow food for 7 billion people, might also be affected by rapid climate changes? Frankly, I don't need to worry about distant points in our past where the CO2 concentrations were over 7000, since they have been in the 200-275 range for the last million years. We're on track to double the CO2 levels from the value that existed since the dawn of agriculture, and you're trying to tell me that it's ok. If there is any relationship at all between greenhouse gasses and world climate, then this attitude simply makes no sense.
But you're also saying that greenhouse gasses both do and do not affect climate, so I really don't know what you're talking about anymore. You've sunk very clearly into incoherence, and all that's left is your denial.
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
MarcoP, have to pull you up, what do you consider to be "Conservation"?
"However to our credit we are the only species that practises conservation! "
Are you pulling your leg. You forgot a winking smilie I'm sure.
To say that, you are highlighting some interesting issues.
Is conservation is about your own survival or your own genes (re Darwin) or your race (which SAFE seems to be focused on) the diversity of humanity and the homo sapiens species in general.
I would consider the modern term "conservation" to be about the wider diversity of natural resources living and non-living, such that we are making a minimal impact to the environment we live in.
Many animals live in obvious symbiosis with other animals and display "harvest" style hunting/gathering activities. They also show examples of controlled growth rates.
Aren't these attributes "conservation"?
I'm sure you would have thought that the opposite is what is at issue here.
Or perhaps your confusing hoarding useless items that identify a persons status as conservation!
Wondering about the posts of SAFE...
SAFE you seem to be having a debate with your own issues/fears.
I hope your are reading these and not hitting the ignore-user feature for every user that posts comments that oppose yours.
So why do you think that oxidation of coal and oil at the exponential growing rates that have been released due to the exponential growth of the human population and reliance on fossil fuels would not cause a step change in the CO2.
Perhaps you could have a look at the post new-jelly-pump-rewrites-carbon-cycle
they seem to be having a reasonable sceptical debate in the comments section.
If you can consider the issue of step change and the oscillations that occur in under-damped systems that stabilise at different level.
The system doesn't have to be out-of-control to exhibit overshoot.
Systems respond differently depending on the rate the changes occurring within the system.
The current situation is a very small change in C02 compared to the levels you referred to of 6000ppm but perhaps it is the rapid change and the limited absorption/dampening that is leading to unknown but hopefully accurately predicable climate changes.
[Edit - Looks like Safe is reading.]
[Edit - @MikeB, looking forward to a C130 CuMo Scooter update ;) ]
Let's begin with "facts" (history) and proceed forward.
*** We know there is a "Climate Cycle" that repeats every 100,000 years or so.
*** We know that CO2 and Methane existed in past "triggering" events that produced polar ice cap melting.
*** We know that CO2 "lagged" behind the dropping temperatures in the last cycles.
...assuming you aren't going to dispute the "facts" (which would be hard to do) then the "debate" comes down to:
"Is this triggering event going to produce similiar counter balancing events like in the past?"
To my knowledge there is not a single skeptic of straight line warming that is suggesting that the climate is supposed to stay constant. We KNOW the climate constantly changes... the "debate" is about what happens when the oceans stop circulation. We won't know that until it happens. It might be a few decades before the oceans stop. The issue is really about the uncertainty that's out there... we can't assume CO2 is the single (simplistic) element that controls the climate. (there are other factors that come into play)
Based on the past cycles it "appears" that the earth has a sort of "toggle switch" behavior where once the polar ice caps melt you get a complete reversal of ocean patterns. These new patterns (non-circulating) remain in place for about 80,000 years until another "toggle switch" flips it back. All mankind has done with it's CO2 production is flipped the switch a few years early, but judging by the pattern we're not far off of natural cycles.
The cycle is normal.
Mankind must adapt to the flipped switch. Whether we contributed or not really doesn't matter at this point as the rapid climate change is going to happen whether we like it or not. We should expect a brief period of warming followed by cooling even though CO2 remains fairly high during the cooling.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 8, 2010) (recent)
The overall trigger for the end of the last ice age came as Earth's orientation toward the sun shifted, about 20,000 years ago, melting the northern hemisphere's large ice sheets. As fresh melt water flooded the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf Stream weakened, driving the north back into the ice age. During this time, temperatures in Greenland dropped by about 15 degrees C. For years, scientists have tried to explain how the so-called Younger Dryas cooling fit with the simultaneous warming of Antarctica that eventually spread across the globe.
The Nature paper discusses the two dominant explanations without taking sides. In one, the weakening of the Gulf Stream reconfigures the planet's wind belts, pushing warm air and seawater south, and pulling carbon dioxide from the deep ocean into the air, causing further warming. In the other, the weakened Gulf Stream triggers a global change in ocean currents, allowing warm water to pool in the south, heating up the climate.
Bob Anderson, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty who argues the winds played the dominant role, says the Nature paper adds another piece to the puzzle. "This is one of the most pressing problems in paleoclimatology because it tells us about the fundamental processes linking climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres," he said. "Understanding how regional changes influence global climate will allow scientists to more accurately predict regional variations in rain and snowfall."
The oceans are capable of either absorbing or releasing large amounts of CO2 depending on the ocean temperature. Since the ocean currents have a big effect on ocean temperature at any given location we see that something like a radical change in currents worldwide could produce significant counter balancing forces.
The model that says CO2 is the "driver" of the climate might be somewhat backwards in the normal (no mankind) case. The question becomes whether the "forcing" of CO2 by mankind is enough to overwhelm the oceans... and that's not clearly proven at this point since the oceans are still circulating. (no data yet)
If nothing else recognize that there is scientific work being done NOW that is coming to the same kind of conclusion about the oceans. I think many people have underrated the effect the oceans have on the Climate Cycle.
Put simply the "cycle" is about H2O and not CO2...
I believe the term 'conservation' in this context is obvious.
So far as I am aware, we are the only animals to create National Parks, research other species, pass laws protecting both flora and fauna, even the landscape itself. I also realise that in most instances the only real threat to those environments is derived from human activities! (intentional or unintentional). However, that's beside the point, even if the efforts of such movements as the National Audubon Society etc, are minuscule in comparison to overall human impact, they still exist and provide hope and moral inspiration.
Of course thousands of other creatures display symbiotic relationships. (pollination for one), in fact the most successful species of flora on the planet,(specialist grass varieties), owe much of their success to humans cultivation.
It's very hopeful to see people of all ages, passionately devoted to the moral aspect of life on our planet. (even if some of these causes are a bit baffling).
On a recent visit to the western USA, an enchanting young female, full of love of life, charm and passion, approached me to support the cause of preserving the wild Mustang. (Brumby in Australia). I admired her passion and selfless dedication to preserve the romance this animal inspires, even though I was a tad startled by her exclamation that "such a beautiful animal must be able to roam free as they had been before the arrival of white mans greed"!
Not wishing to spoil the moment, I didn't enlighten her that the Equine species in not a native of North America, but realised that such scientific information was unimportant. What was important was her passion to act on a noble human sentiment, despite the unpopularity of her cause in a town where the the only support for the mustang would be dievided as to whether the 351 Cleavland was superiour to the 302 Windsor engine.
I was fascinated to spend the rest of the night, listening to her passionately held views on the future of the planet, as seen through the eyes of a 'green' political supporter. In turn I told her of the cruel fate of Bears in the PRC(and my participation in helping to abolish such cruelties). For all the human species faults, we are still the only animal who weeps, at the fate of other species. It was also very nostalgic to hear revamped old protest songs etc..
Sigh, I must be getting old...
But, I digress...
My concern in the GW/CC/Green debate is not so much that the science is inaccurate, but that the debate itself is often confused by vested interests. It's just too easy to say that all vested interests are evil oil/resource interests lobbying for denial.
Much of the debate, and by debate, I mean a debate wider than just causal, has been hi-jacked by the socialist left and other vested interests, who have transformed GW/CC into a sort of faith with it's own moral dogma and persecution of 'heretics'.
I am not exactly sure what you mean by the above? Please clarify?
As for Safe? Well, he is an excellent example of the self taught man. With a bad teacher! A little knowledge can be dangerous, and in safe's case, confusing.
Safe's thinking is muddled, and since his logic lacks any discipline, he is like the man who mounts his horse and rides of in all directions at once.
Let's not forget I have two B.S. Degrees in the Sciences... even though I got them 20-30 years ago before any of this stuff was being talked about.
Expansion of the Universe
I think a recent example of how scientific expectations turned out completely wrong was with the Expansion of the Universe. It was pretty much assumed that the Universe would be slowing down at this point, but when the actual data came in about it they realized it was in fact ACCELLERATING.
I was actually "ahead of the curve" in spotting that the oceans were the most likely factor in climate change and I got there just by looking at the historical charts and making some "gut" decisions. Sometimes you get lucky (like I did) and get it right, while other times you don't.
My expectation is that the data will come in MORE strongly (in my favor) as the ocean currents actually begin to slow. So far there has been polar ice melting, but the currents haven't switched off yet. Once the currents are gone then vast regions of the oceans are going to get REALLY COLD and that will increase CO2 absorption rates radically.
It's very possible that mankinds release of CO2 will have only marginal effects because the oceans overpower whatever we can do. CO2 might actually slightly slow the rate of cooling once it starts. But again... we need REAL DATA to know which way it goes. (have to wait)
I do have that feeling that I'll be saying:
"I told you so!"
...some time down the road. But that pleasure also will have to wait. :)
Chicken or the Egg?
This is the first time I've seen this chart presented in this way. What they did is plot the AVERAGE changes in temperature verses CO2 over the last five Climate Cycles.
What's interesting is that temperature has been the LEADER and not the follower.
It's hard to make the argument that CO2 is the dominant force in the Climate Cycle when history shows that temperature is being effected by some other (or multiple) force(s).
I don't rule out that CO2 will alter the Climate Cycle somewhat, but the extent is unknown until the oceans halt circulation. The day the oceans are not circulating and temperature continues to rise is the day I "give in" to straight line "Hockey Stick" climate change. Until then I expect that the Climate Cycle will continue as usual with the polar ice melting and the ocean currents slowing. This behavior is apparently normal for the earth.
(it's a little like seasons, only longer time spans)
Note: We are at 390 ppm of CO2 now which is higher than average but higher CO2 was unable to halt cooling in the past so one cannot be sure it will control things this time either.
I think the fashion industry describes my comment.
I was concerned that your observation that led to your statement "However to our credit we are the only species that practises conservation! "
made you feel confident that we will over come problems because we "practice conservation"
My comments where unclear, perhaps a tad facetious.
Perhaps I was likening all the energy and efforts many of us make in our lives, to the activities of the Bower bird.
and how we can let/force thinks go a tad over the top, as beautiful as they can appear, to our filtered dreams.
Anyway that's enough fluff.
The term "Conservation" is different to "Preservation" and considering your comments "create National Parks, research other species, pass laws protecting both flora and fauna, even the landscape itself" in your follow up post you where actually thinking of the latter.
The gluttony of oil (and coal) fuelled energy has caused the issue of peak oil, increased greenhouse gasses and climate change.
The question at hand is, does accurate CO2 historical data show the cause or impact, and does the data from the last 100years show an unusual divergence from previous cycles.
Wait a second, are you actually suggesting that ocean currents are affecting global average temperatures? Do you not understand that ocean currents are able to move heat from one area to another, but have no direct ability to change the planetary average?
And will you stop lying about the basic premises of climate change? Your numbers are consistently inaccurate, your characterizations of mainstream understanding are consistently wrong. I've already explained that the hockey stick isn't a 'straight line' function, it's merely that a new force is orders of magnitude stronger than existing forces so the existing trend becomes dwarfed. You also are flat out lying when you claim that doubling of CO2 levels in a single century, and a temperature rise of 0.8C in a single century, is 'normal'. That rate of change is distinctly abnormal, and absolutely has to be coming from something new. If you want to claim that it's happened in the past, then I say post proof or retract.
And even worse, suppose it was 'normal', do you think it's ok to let it happen? At the rate at which temperatures are rising, and with the almost certain damage to agriculture, this means massive warfare and starvation is coming by the end of this century. If such a massive temperature rise were being created by aliens, we would consider it an act of genocide and immediately declare all out war. If such a massive temperature rise were being created by 'normal' forces, humans would have no choice but to resort to extreme geo-engineering to save our society. Are you really suggesting that we just sit by and accept such a civilization destroying change, just because you think the causes are unrelated to human activity?
More importantly, suppose we determine that the global rise in temperature was being caused by two different elements, one being human activity and one being natural forces. Doesn't that mean that we have to double our efforts to reduce the human generated force, because we only get half the final impact? Doesn't that mean that we can't just halt our CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, we have to turn human industry into a massive CO2 absorber, in order to counteract the natural forces?
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
Go back and read that article about the difference between the southern oceans and the northern oceans (Younger Dryas) in the last climate cycle:
In it they explained how due to currents and wind patterns it's possible to have NON-UNIFORM temperatures.
Colder oceans amplify the CO2 "net absorption" and so it's possible for a situation where some oceans are very hot while others are very cold.
It fits the Climate Cycle model perfectly because the lack of circulation alters things so that on the poles you begin to add new snow where previously the ice had melted and the added reflectivity amplifies the cooling effect which then creates a self reinforcing counter balance.
The "bottom line" is "yes" the data shows temperature NON-UNIFORMITY is to be expected. (it appears to be the fundamental mechanism that controls the cycle) When the oceans stop circulating the north and south oceans get COLDER while the middle gets WARMER. When this condition exists the rate of CO2 absorption is increased which explains the "CO2 Lag" in every cycle. (temperature change tends to preceed CO2 change)
Simplified... "It ain't about CO2, it's about H2O."
(had to throw in a "common folk" slang)
The oceans are the dominant force in the climate cycle not CO2. (however, it's things like solar influences that are the true drivers underneath)
So the process goes:
---> Solar cycles determine basic pattern of the Climate Cycle.
---> The oceans respond to these cycles by either storing water in the poles and creating a circulating ocean pattern or releasing the ice at the poles and creating a non-circulating ocean pattern. (it all depends on saltiness)
---> CO2 and Methane "follow" the oceans.
---> The Climate Cycle is imperfect and can be disrupted temporarily, but it will seek to restore it's pattern over time. (things like volcanic eruptions, mankind, or asteroid impacts could distrupt the pattern temporarily, but not permanently)
Once you understand you will never go back to "CO2 only" thinking. CO2 has been historically the WEAKER force in the Climate Cycle compared to the oceans.
Average temperatures will drop when the ocean currents slow even though CO2 had been rising... (again, just look at the data)
He lacks even a basic understanding of science and this surprises you?
What you are up against is someone who will go to sites that supports his pre-determined point of view, and post graphs and tables and nauseum that are only loosely related to the subject at hand. (The data he keeps posting here comes straight from denialist websites. Debunkings at other websites are readily available if you have the energy.) If you attempt to refute any one piece of information or explain how it is irrelevant you will be ignored or he will cheerfully go on to the next bogus point. This conversation with this person is the definition of futility. What makes me sure of this? He avoids specifics and always goes back to generalities. He thinks that inscriptions on some rocks put up by some whackjob in Georgia have some bearing on this conversation.
If you want the final test ask "What would convince you that your current point of view is incorrect?" Most reasonable people can answer this question. Most unreasonable people can not or will not. Actually this is a question I use to check myself frequently. It is a good tool for personal discovery.
"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"
Actually, to extend the pedantic, I was think of both terms. Conservation is often used a the title of 'Conservationist movements'> This indicates a society which both preserves and wisely manages (conservation) natural assets.
Conservation is to spend or use sparingly. Preservation is to keep and maintain what you have.
Conservation: the preservation and careful management of the environment and of natural resources;an occurrence of improvement by virtue of preventing loss or injury or other change.
preservation: the activity of protecting something from loss or danger;a process that saves organic substances from decay; the condition of being (well or ill) preserved.
Now to more relevant issues:
Sad, but very true!
Safe lacks the intellectual integrity to debate the issues. I have no doubt that the spelling of his two academic science degrees is correct. B.S. rather than the conventional BSc. I believe that there are certain USA institutions that delight in selling Rubes degrees in various disciplines, including B.S (Bull-Shit?), although why anyone would want two B.S., when he clearly qualifies for a Master Of B.S, I can't imagine.
Sad, but you are correct when you say it's an exercise in futility!
Enough with the charactor assassination will you !!!
Let's stick to the facts here.
History says that:
Temperature has always slightly preceeded CO2.
...the question is "why"?
We found that oceans can produce NON-UNIFORM temperature once the circulation ends. This is the most recent data. When the curve for CO2 absorption is non-linear this will mean that this non-uniformity will produce non-linear temperature results. The average can go down while in some places temperatures can go up. The Younger Dryas was a recent example where different parts of the earth experienced radically different temperature variations. This is a fact.
CO2 is only one part of the Climate Cycle and it appears to not be the most dominant.
The Tree Swing Analogy
Analogies can get you into trouble because very quickly it can become a debate about the analogy and not the data. But the idea here is to create a framework upon which someone new to the Climate Cycle can understand it better.
The analogy is simple:
The Climate Cycle operates on it's own with a cycle that corresponds to the irregularities of the solar cycles. Recently the cycle repeated every 100,000 years, but it has repeated on a 40,000 year cycle previously (over a million years ago) so it's not written in stone. (there are multiple solar irregularities)
Volcanic activity, mankinds release of CO2, asteroid impacts, these have all effected the "swinging" of the Climate Cycle in the past (or present) and we expect it to effect things moderately again this time around too.
One can see alterations in CO2 or Dust or Methane as acting like "Wind on a Tree Swing" so that the basic Climate Cycle remains intact, but it's altered somewhat by the wind.
If the wind is 20 mph you can feel it on a swing, but it doesn't stop you from swinging because the deviation from no wind conditions is slight.
However, if there is a hurricane and you are experiencing 200 mph winds then the swinging action stops and you are suspended in mid air.
The "question" of debate about "Global Warming" is whether we are talking about a 20 mph wind or a 200 mph wind?
Does that make sense to everyone?
The swinging action is "normal" and it has been affected by outside influences before, but is this current situation so extreme?
In the distant past CO2 was as high as 7000 ppm, but now it's just 390 ppm. Is 390 ppm the equivalent of a 20 mph wind or 200 mph? What would be considered a "no wind" Climate Cycle would mean a peak CO2 level of about 325-350 ppm.
How about a deal, we'll stop calling you dishonest if you stop posting things that are dishonest? For example, this is a textbook case of a strawman:
There isn't a climate scientist on this planet who is guilty of "CO2 only" thinking. You're making that up, it's utter bullcrap. Even worse, you directed that comment at me, and it's blatantly obvious from this thread that I'm not guilty of that either. I've already mentioned Milankovitch cycles, solar fluctuations, volcanoes, methane, water vapor, ice cover, etc. I've consistently mentioned that water vapor is a stronger greenhouse gas that CO2, and I also mentioned that methane is stronger (but shorter lived due to chemical breakdown). And I've carefully used terms like 'human industrial activity' because there are also influences from particulate pollution (soot) and land use changes (deforestation). You've either ignored my posts, or are unable to understand them, or are just being flat out dishonest. If you don't want us to think you're an idiot who's just reposting from sites you don't understand, then stop doing crap like this.
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Hint: the answer to your question is very nicely described by a word beginning with the letter 'F', and has been explained several times in this thread.
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
Fine, let's work with this. But you picked a really bad analogy.
It's a warm spring day, the wind is blowing at 5mph, and daddy takes his 5 year old girl out to the park. She sits in the swing, and sways gently in the light breeze. Daddy knows what swings are about, so he gives her a gentle push. In fact, his push is weaker than the 5mph wind that's currently blowing.
Soon, the girl is swinging nicely, but a curious effect starts to happen. Dad doesn't realize it, but the muscles in his arms are reacting to the momentum of the little girl. It's an important effect known as feedback. So, the higher the girl swings, the harder daddy is pushing. Higher and higher she goes, harder and harder he pushes. Soon, she's swinging even with the top of the chain, holding on for dear life, and screaming just like a 5 year old girl. Daddy doesn't understand feedback, so he doesn't know what to do. The wind is blowing at 5mph, but the swing is moving like it's in a 200mph hurricane.
Suddenly, our friend safe runs up. And he looks at the situation, and tells daddy "Don't Stop Pushing!" Wait, what??
See, safe is an old timer in this town, and he remembers the hurricane that came through 10 years ago, 5 years before the little girl was even born. Safe knows how this swing behaves in 200mph wind, since he was actually sitting in this swing 10 years ago. He knows exactly how safe it is to ride a swing during a hurricane, since he only broke one leg, one wrist, and three ribs when he was thrown into the tree last time. But that's ok, since he survived, even though most of the town was demolished, and 17 people died.
But why was safe sitting in the swing when the last hurricane came through? Well, he also knew that hurricanes are natural, that they come through periodically. He remembers the previous hurricane, the one that hit 30 years ago. It was even stronger than the 10 year hurricane, 200 people died and every building in town was reduced to rubble. This was the hurricane that made safe an orphan, since his parents were crushed in their collapsing house, and his brother was swept out to sea by the storm surge. But the tree and the swing survived, and hurricanes are natural, perhaps even cyclical. :)
So here we have a terrified little girl, swinging like she's in a 200mph wind, even though it's actually only 5mph today. And safe is still insisting that it's ok for daddy to keep pushing. Safe knows that the little girl has never lived through a hurricane, and that young bones aren't very strong, but he's convinced that everything is just fine and dandy, and that it would be a very bad idea for daddy to just stop his pushing.
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
By distant past, you're talking over 500 million years ago. Before the existence of mammals. Before the existence of birds. Before the existence of reptiles. Before the existence of amphibians or even insects. In fact, you're talking about the dawn of multi-cellular life. At that point in time, there was no plant life on land.
Are you honestly suggesting that 7000 ppm is fine for us today, just because our single-celled ancestors managed to survive it?
The current CO2 cycle is dominated by the conversion of oxygen to carbon dioxide by animals, and carbon dioxide to oxygen by plants. These two forces oppose each other, and are more or less balanced in the long term. Geological forces also exist, but they serve to both add and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the same time, so the balance is maintained. But you're looking back in time to a historical point when no animals existed, and no surface plants existed. Algae was the dominant life form on the planet. 7000ppm would actually be lethal to humans, we would be unable to breathe and die within minutes.
The important graph is probably this one:
For the most recent half-million years, CO2 concentrations have mostly ranged between 200 and 275. That includes multiple ice ages. Suddenly, in the blink of a geologic eye, it's skyrocketing to a place that it's never been since the dawn of humans. We're on track to hit 400ppm in the next decade, and current rates of growth would easily put us over 500ppm in the near future. This is unprecedented in human history. More importantly, it's going to someplace it's never been since the invention of agriculture.
Why is that important?
The PNAS is a very respectable science journal, and there's little reason to doubt the accuracy of this particular study. But the implications for mankind are extremely dire. What happens when agricultural production drops by 80% across the entire planet, and this drop isn't a one year event, but a constant drop? If we allow things to get as hot as you consider 'natural', then our agricultural system collapses and billions of people go hungry. A CO2 concentration of 7000ppm would essentially guarantee the collapse of civilization, even if we managed to keep breathing.
But, before you repeat your absurd claim that I'm only thinking about CO2, take a look at this graph, based on the latest IPCC report:
This shows the magnitude of changes in radiative forcings since 1750. (Radiative forcings are changes that apply to the transfer of heat from the sun to the earth and back to space.) These are all the active forces that are pushing on our global climate, making the global average temperature rise or fall. Notice that the biggest force is clearly from human added CO2. It's not some sort of irrational hatred that causes people to worry about CO2, it's a measured change of about 1.6 Watts per square meter that makes all the difference.
Btw, how many W/m^2 does your climate cycle chart apply to the system?
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
Thanks MikeB for maintaining what I think to be a very reasonable etiquette.
I saw the above graph of C02 concentration somewhere on the web and was a bit worried about linking to it, as it didn't show a source for the info.
It represents what looks to me as the quintessential "Hockey Stick" curve caused by "The Industrial Revolution". (Most people seem to show graphs with the stick laying down.)
As it shows 4 cycles and the start of the 5th with a massive leap of about 100% more C02 on top of the high shown on the last 4 cycles.
I would like to find more info on how this image was created.
So I tried to follow back from the images URL : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png
Is it the GLOBAL average?
Or info from Antarctica Ice Cores?
Found the Wiki page description: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png
It has the Note at the bottom.
Please note: the graph shows the historical level of carbon dioxide which is averaged by diffusion of gasses in the ice core and sampled once per approx. 1,000 years, compared to the current level of carbon dioxide which is sampled yearly. If for a proper comparison, the latter would have been treated like the historical data, the graph would look quite different.
So the averaging of results and such is a little unclear.The graph is also discussed here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File_talk:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png
So if the green line can be explained that traces over the end the blue, line maybe the overlay will be more "trust-able".
Need legend explanation:
Looking for similar data graphs, the IPCC report http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf
On page 39 it shows a similar graph but only for the last 10,000 years not the 400,000 years displaying the cycles.
But as that has been mentioned the RE Milankovitch_cycles have already been discussed .
Regarding the http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/crop-yields-could-wilt-heat/
Holding current growing regions fixed, area-weighted average yields are predicted to decrease by 30–46% before the end of the century under the slowest (B1) warming scenario and decrease by 63–82% under the most rapid warming scenario (A1FI) under the Hadley III model.
So even with the "Slowest (B1) Warming" a decrease of 30-46% is a dramatic reduction.
I realise I need to gather together some more elbow grease and keep hunting for easily understandable rugged articles with good data.
If someone has a good "sceptical pointer" I'd appreciate it.
MikeB, quite correctly, cites the sources he relies upon to validate his position. However, I question the assumption that simply because a particular study is published in a prestigious publication, it's automatically accurate. Publication of a report in a reputable journal, by a reputable author(s), may be an indication of quality research, but not necessarily either accuracy or misinterpretation.
I have started to examine the basic data research of Climate Change Science, and I'm startled to discover an alarming number of early assumptions, have become relied upon as established facts without any real scrutiny.
The initial cautious and careful perspective of researchers, seems to have deteriorated with the whirlwind of enthusiasm and politics this field of scientce has attracted. The voices of genuine scientists, have been forgotten in a cacophony of vested interests and fanatics. All genuine scepticism has been met with a barrage of arrogant contempt and hysteria.
This has been very unhelpful in the arena of public opinion.
This is not to say that climate change science is not valid. Nor should the idiotic views of climate change deniers be given currency.
However,it's very easy to be seduced by a mass of impressive statistic's, measurements and calculations of research data without questioning how that data was originally produced.
Simply to say that all the information was subject to peer review, is not really adequate with a new field of Scientific analysis. Especially, not with a scientce that has rapidly accumulated a huge superstructure of vested interests.
It's much easier with resource depletion. Even the simplest can workout that any given finite resource must eventually become depleted, and exactly when, becomes the only issue for debate.
Climate change is very different. The accuracy of the methods by which data was accumulated needs greater scrutiny. Conclusions and interpretations of that data is \even more complex, then the effects of other factors is also controversial and very complicated to assess, especially where there are few or no historical precedents.
An additional complication for the sincere GW/CC scientist, must be to discover his propositions expanded, contorted, misrepresented by exceedingly vocal 'supporters'.
For people like Safe, alienated by GW/CC politics, desperately seek alternate theories and inaccuracies. This would wrest back control from people they neither like nor trust, and a science they don't understand..
This psychological phenomenon is often found in powerless patients when facing very serious or terminal illness. These patients and supporters, ausage fear and ignorance by delighting in anecdotes of 'miracle cures' and how often Western Doctors are confounded b Naturopaths,Diets, Gurus, folk/faith healers, Psychic Surgeons, Quacks etc...
Historically, there is much to be said for this way of thinking. After all, doomsday prophets have been preaching since time immemorial and the human race is still here, still quivering on the edge of destruction.
An example is the erroneous, but widely held belief that the 4 million motor vehicles operating daily in city like London UK, must be more harmful to the health of London's child population than the good old days before the introduction of the cursed internal combustion engine.
In fact, Equine Encephalitis killed more children in a single year, every year, than the motor car has in a century. An argument could be mounted that the advent of motor transport has saved an immense number of lives!
Such unintended consequences are difficult to predict, and even more difficult to factor into any equation.
Much of the consequences of GW/CC science are inherently speculative, since there are few meaningful precedents.
The consequences to agriculture are extremely speculative! (Yeah, yeah, sure... we'll all starve any day now!)!
In fact, agricultural technology is expanding faster than any, but the most extreme, contemplated climate change scenario. Distribution may be a more difficult problem, but production? (cotton is not a food crop).
The world already overproduces food. Due to global trade, there is no region that produces anywhere near its intensive food capacity. (there are areas whose agricultural practises are disastrous, but that's a political/cultural problem not logistical.)
Fish stocks are more worrying. Fish stocks are a priority!
Marco, it's very easy to build a greenhouse and pump up the temperature in a controlled fashion, then grow some crops. If you look at the study, they clearly indicate a small rise in yield after a small temperature rise, which rapidly drops off as a threshold is reached. The claim in the referenced study is NOT that a heat wave will devastate a crop, that's been known to farmers as a hard fact for thousands of years. The claim is actually a graph of the temperature sensitivity of various crops, and that particular claim is unlikely to be suspect.
You and I have discussed food supplies before. But you fail to realize that economic and distribution problems are no more likely to be solved in 50 years than they are now, and quite possibly will be worse. Rich countries will always have wasted food, and poor countries will always have shortages. The issue is that eventually the poor countries will want to solve their shortages with guns, because fertilizer and irrigation are too expensive. And there's simply no possible solution to some problems, like scorching heat, massive floods, wildfires.
In fact, right now, North Korea is asking for food donations from South Korea, as a result of extreme weather causing crop failures. Imagine what will eventually happen when South Korea is unable or unwilling to assist? One fifth of the land area of Pakistan is underwater this year, and rice crops across the region are below normal. If the United States had had a summer like Russia did this year, we'd instantly become a net importer of grain, rather than a world exporter. And when the US imports grain, someone else won't be able to buy it at home because the price has risen too much. Sure, you and I can still enjoy imported grapes from Argentina in our local grocery store, but that doesn't really mean that there is plenty of food everywhere. And this year is exceedingly mild compared to what is expected in the near future. This year has been one for the record books, but it's very likely to define the new 'normal' for the rest of the century.
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
(I fixed a missing html tag in your post that was making most of it bold. I hope you don't mind.)
Uh, point taken, but surely this has more to do with the modern theories of viruses and mosquito control than transport mechanisms, yes? There are still plenty of vectors around for EE, but when an epidemic threatens we can vaccinate.
I'm sure you would change your mind if you where one of the millions who can't afford food this year. If you haven't heard global food prices are spiking due to a general shortage on world markets influenced mostly by Russia's decision to not export grain. This is not as bad as the price spike in 2007 due to oil prices, but still worrying. And predictable. The problem with scientists is they fight fair. Their opponents generally don't. If you ask a climate scientist if Hurricane Katrina was due to GCC he would say "I don't know." Same answer to the North African droughts/floods (double whammy!) and the Russian droughts this year. "I don't know." No one incident can be pegged on GCC. The models just say that disruptive incidents like floods and droughts will be more common.
Yes distribution will never be perfect or equitable, but the problem this year has much more to do with global shortages. GCC predicts this. The problem is if you wait for the climate models to be proven you will have waited too long. Actually, we probably already have. You mention the oceans. From coral reef bleaching to unicellular ocean life it looks like the bottom of the ocean food chain is already in serious trouble. Historical evidence suggests the reefs will migrate back towards the poles, but this will happen in geologic time.
And thanks for bringing us back to the original thrust of David's piece.
"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"
Antarctic ice cores are very valuable because they directly trap air samples in the ice, so it's possible to get very accurate measurements of CO2 concentrations at the time the ice was formed. And because of the way the ice was laid down, you can get a continuous series of samples. This particular graph is, as I understand it, based on a single ice core in Antarctica, but the validity of the data has been cross-checked with other sources where available (such as shorter ice cores taken from Greenland). But if you're looking at long term trends, there is enough mixing of our atmosphere that CO2 concentrations in Antarctica are going to differ from worldwide averages pretty minimally. Before industrialization, and not counting volcanoes, CO2 sources and sinks were very dispersed, so local values (even in Antarctica) are a pretty good representation of the planetary average.
For raw climate science, directly from practicing and publishing climate scientists, your best bet is probably RealClimate.org. They do a good job of taking a hard look at the published data and explaining it at a slightly less technical level.
I'd also recommend Joe Romm at ClimateProgress.com. Joe addresses the raw science frequently, but he's actually best when discussing policy, politics, and solutions.
If you want a good website that opposes the mainstream science view, frankly I don't think they exist. Every single 'skeptical' source has been repeatedly debunked for bad science, misrepresenting mainstream conclusions, and other dishonest behavior. I don't know of any opposing view sites that can be trusted, or that isn't blinded by their own denial. Like our friend safe, they don't seem to have any sort of coherent explanation for why the mainstream view is wrong, but are desperate to shoot holes in it. They can't even agree if the planet is warming or cooling, or if CO2 is a greenhouse gas or not. Such low-level disagreements reveal how anti-scientific their viewpoint to be. The honest scientific opposition to anthropogenic global warming ended at least a decade ago, as the accumulated evidence became overwhelming and the models became increasingly rigorous.
There are certainly open issues remaining to be examined, both within the science side and within the discussion of appropriate responses. But virtually everyone who has examined the evidence in depth has reached the same conclusion on the basics, that humans are causing a dramatic change in worldwide climate, and that the changes in the coming century will be significantly larger than the changes in the previous one.
My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.
This reminds me of an episode of the C-Realm podcast from a couple months ago ...
The basic idea was a blog post (or two) hypothesizing about the inner thinking process of the doomer who's certain that the global society will fall apart etc. The blog post is, and the italicized words below are from: The Doomer's Curse - http://www.energybulletin.net/53236
"I share in the pain and anger brought on by this tragedy. But I can't deny that it also summoned another feeling: self-satisfaction. The Doomer in me is cheered by this confirmation of the oil industry's reckless greed. He is delighted that millions of people will be shaken out of their torpor by the only thing apparently able to wake them up: an abrupt end to their livelihood. The Doomer says catastrophe is necessary to effect the societal changes required to deal with Peak Oil and Climate Change....
The Doomer is motivated by much more than a perverse sense of altruism. He mainly desires to see everyone brought down to his level. His fondest wish is for everyone to be as emotionally crippled as he is, and, if they could also be paralyzed fiscally, that would be great too. The argument for the necessity of disaster is merely an excuse for his vindictive fantasies. This is the Doomer's Curse: to wallow in despair, to sneer at the happiness of others, to revel in schadenfreude and to believe that he has humanity's best interests at heart. The Doomer honestly thinks that a universal depression (in the emotional sense) would lay the foundation for a better world, but this belief is rooted in his own selfishness, not in a rational socioeconomic analysis.
The Doomer wants this world to end, because in this world he is a failure. He has failed to achieve his goals personally and/or professionally, but he lacks the maturity to take responsibility for his failure. He blames the rules of this world for his defeat, to the point of judging this world irredeemably corrupt. This belief makes a virtue of his failure, for only the corrupt could succeed in such a world.....
... As I mentioned before, the Doomer I refer to is not a personality type. He is an aspect of my personality and, it seems, the personalities of many people. (How else do you explain the enduring popularity of apocalyptic cults, auto racing or Goth music?) I'm attempting self-analysis in the hope that it will resonate with others. ..."
I recommend following the links for an interesting set of discussions.
When "Safe" says he wants to kill over 5.5 billion people in a bloody genocidal war, force the global society into the stone ages, ...etc.. sheesh.
- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
Just got back from a vacation to Colorado... (2,135 miles of driving)
The last time I drove through the area they were having a really bad beetle infestation problem. When you looked out into the forests it used to be brown as so many of the trees were dying.
Now those trees are dead and largely invisible with new green growth replacing the space the dead trees took up. The trunks of the dead trees are still there as a fire hazard, so a bad fire could really devastate the area if it happened.
All in all I was surprised at how well things had improved.
The Forests also have a "cycle" which probably loops at about every 200 years or so revolving around the beetle infestations and rain cycles.
The moral of the story is to not confuse the "trend" with the "cycle". Just as people have confused climate change as something that is going to go one way forever the forests also recovered over time... and that's normal. (as are catastrophic fires every once in a while, so "doom and gloom" are also part of the cycle)
As the saying goes:
"The more things change the more they stay the same."
(cycles don't change much)
I live in Colorado and you still don't know what you are talking about. Beetle-killed pine trees are not more susceptible to fire. When a dead tree catches fire it just burns. When a green tree catches fire a cloud of volatile organic chemicals are released and then ignited. These burning gasses, hot enough to ignite almost anything that can burn, form a wave of intense heat that precedes the fire itself. It's these fire storms that are the most dangerous and destructive. Dead forests don't burn nearly as hot.
Again not true. There is nothing natural about the current state of the forests in the American west. While beetle kills and fires are both part of the environment, there is no precedent for the extent of this forest die-off nor for the destructiveness of modern fires. Scientists are currently working on whether climate change or fire suppression is more responsible for our current problems. It is likely a combination of both. Either way we are out of any "natural cycle".
"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"
But we are still stuck in the natural cycle applicable to most (if not all) organisms on earth: Multiply until depletion of all available resources. Then die out or become a fringe dweller. Or, for some, change shape and hitch a ride to a far away biotope to start over.
The difference is that homo sapiens could potentially avoid this "natural cycle", being the first species on Earth (to my knowledge) that has the ability to become aware of this problem and consciously try to avoid it.
This information may be used entirely at your own risk.
There is always a way if there is no other way!