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The Climate Change Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Scotty, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Joe Mac Arch Winning (36)

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    Scarfman, you seem quite knowledgeable on this topic. Can I ask whether you have read the climate change section of Super Freakenomics? There are some interesting concepts of how they could cool the earths temperature if required. What do you think?
  2. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Do you honestly think that this is all that is required to save us?

    I have not seen one scientist come out and say 'the carbon tax is all we need to solve this issue we have'. In fact I haven't seen one even suggest that it will make any significant difference?

    Another question - do you think that their might be some politicians that are involved in this that are using climate change as an excuse to try and form some sort of world government (un-elected one at that if they come from the UN).
  3. Scarfman Knitter of the Scarf

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    Hey Joe, sorry, neither Super Freakonomics nor the stratoshield idea had reached my ivory tower. Had a quick look and it seems like an absolute last-option desperate sort of solution to me. When Michael Mobbs can make his Chippendale house sustainable so easily it makes solutions like this seem fairly absurd.

    I also reckon that "reducing our carbon footprint" might also help reverse our obsession with consumer goods, and make us a society with less market-based values. But perhaps that's hoping for too much.
  4. Joe Mac Arch Winning (36)

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    Scarfman, I read that volcanoes erupting, release some crazy amount of C02 int the atmosphere. How does the amount emitted from a big eruption compare to human emittance?
  5. Scarfman Knitter of the Scarf

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    You must know that this is wrong.

    ???

    Let's say - I haven't heard that one - but if the other options are Gillard and the MM, I might take the unelected bureaucrats.
  6. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    This was directed at Scarfy, but I'll jump in. Volcanos are not particularly large emitters of CO2, in comparison to the other gasses they release (they are larger emitters of things like SO2, which actually has a measurable cooling effect in the upper atmosphere - don't get too excited though; it's highly toxic). The USGS estimates that volcanic activity releases an average of around 200 million tonnes of CO2 annually, compared with the 26.8 billion tonnes of CO2 released by the burning of fossil fuels in 2003.

    They do note that the volcanism figure might be anywhere up to twice the quoted figure, due to difficulties in measuring the deep sea output. So, in very broad terms, volcanic CO2 output could be anywhere up to 2% of human fossil fuel CO2 output annually.
  7. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Bold - can you enlighten me with a link then?

    Italics - Rudd will be one of them if he gets his way!
  8. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    In the case of a really massive eruption (7 or 8, or perhaps even an upper 6, on the USGS Volcanic Explosivity Index) the value I quoted in my previous post would likely be rather different. From a 7 VEI eruption, we might see volcanic CO2 output for a single year of rise to 20% (perhaps more) of human annual output. This kind of eruption would have a net cooling effect though, due to the large amount of the SO2 and ash particulates being forced into the upper atmosphere. We have already seen this happen once in recorded history - the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815 (which was an order of magnitude larger than Krakatoa in 1883) is widely accepted to have been the primary cause of the 1816 global phenomenon called the "Year without a summer" (thought the Dalton Minimum, an historic low in solar activity, is also thought to have played a part). During this period hundreds of thousands in Europe died of famine due to crop failures and disease (it is also affected America and Asia, though records in many of these parts of the world not well kept at the time, which makes modern examination difficult).
  9. Elfster Jim Clark (26)

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    I think some of the tactics of the supporters of AGW or Climate change are probably wrong. Too alarmist and extremist (though that may be required for some.)

    What they should be pushing is that reducing one's carbon output and reducing usage of the mechanisms that produce it can be done by increased efficiency and usage. That is don't keep on pushing Old Testament scenarios of death and destruction, don't label those who (by their own view or perspective) as irrational crackpots, denialists, flat earthers and the like, but say if we do this your power bills will do less, there will be less damage to the environment and your life will be better off now.

    Perhaps this has been done and I have missed it, but the debate at the moment has such extreme dichotomous views I don't really think it is doing either side any good.

    And properly pricing all inputs and outputs of a system does make sense. In terms of the environment and other social ideas the current pricing mechanisms are much like those in awarding bonuses in banking. A trade is done and for a few years it is profitable (or is engineered so that the profits are upfront) and the trader gets a good bonus. And then leaves. And then the deal turns toxic. This can be seen with some environmental things where the full cost (and these are often long term and not obviously transparent) are not factored in. Perhaps we have been living in a world where energy has been too cheap and thus has been used inefficiently and harmfully.

    The above is not a full solution and perhaps a bit simplistic, but I am curious why the debate has become rather extreme. I would have thought there are better waysof doing it..like above. Push potential benefits that a change in behaviour can cause the individual now.

    And now to contradict myself re the carbon tax. I think energy (like all things) should be properly priced. Which probably does require a price increase. But with this tax, in which quite a few will be overly compensated according to latest reports, I am a bit up in the air. Instead of a tax that will make people change behaviour (and I think the power generators etc will just pass the tax to the users) I see this as more of a wealth redistribution and slush fund for the governemnt. And I am probably not as cynical as the current goverment.
  10. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    Scotty; You previously posted something by David Evans that was primarily concerned with the tropical hotspot issue, which I was too lazy to bother to answer earlier. I'll have a go now.

    Evans, and a few other climate change skeptics who are following his lead, have been banging on about the issue for a while now, so I'll break this down. Evans has talked about a couple of other broader things in his time (like the independence and structure of the ICCP), but I'll focus on his scientific claims.

    Evans is right about the hotspot; from 1970 to now, weather balloon temperature measurements in certain key parts of the tropical troposphere did not give the "warming bubble" or hotspot measurements a specific climate change model stated that they should find. Evans has gone on to use this to conclude the models are fundamentally flawed, and that human induced global warming is in question. There are several problems with this.

    Firstly, what Evans has done is akin to telling us that a bowl of chopped fruit isn't a fruit salad, because previous fruit salads have contained paw paw, where the current one does not. He totally ignores all of the other predictions and measurements that are being recorded consistent with the models, such as stratospheric cooling rates, surface temperature changes, middle latitude atmospheric warming, increased oceanic acidification rate, changes in average rainfall patterns, reduction of arctic ice cover, freshwater "oceanic lake" pooling phenomenon in the arctic ocean, and changes to the pattern of the southern oscillation index (to name a small number), and focuses on a single area of measurement. In short, he's wrong, even if he's right - the data he's using doesn't show what he's saying it shows.

    Secondly, the area of measurement he's chosen is quite weak. It's been suggested that the weather balloon measurements, and the systems used to get temperature gradients from them, aren't (or weren't) particularly great for the task at hand, as some of them weren't designed to measure area gradients - they were intended to be for specific sites only. In addition, the combined Satellite and WB measurements he's used don't register the same results as some satellite lapse rate measurements taken from similar sites over the period 1998 to 2008. There are no meta studies as yet available on the subject, so it's difficult to tell who'll triumph, but a number of other consistent model predictions are being recorded (such as various surface and stratospheric measurements), which suggests that either the tropospheric measurements are off, or the model was broadly correct, but something like cloud feedback (for instance) is having a more significant effect than predicted. It doesn't suggest the model is fundamentally flawed.

    The long and the short of it is that Evans has used a small and suspect variation from predicted outcomes (it should be noted that the only thing that isn't recorded is the hotspot bubble - all the records show that the tropical troposphere is warming), to attempt to disprove the whole model. It may be that the hotspot is never found, because the models need adjusting, but his conclusion would still be incorrect.
  11. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    I agree but I think the answer is that none of us are qualified to look at the science and evidence (which is, quite possibly, your point). That is something I leave to the experts. The experts have all got together and looked at the science and evidence. They've run models, they've peer reviewed, they've done the lot. At the end of that, they've concluded the earth is warming because of human CO2 emissions and that we need to do something about it.

    I don't know whether their models or their conclusions are correct. But I do know that anyone who is anyone in the world of climate science has looked at it and no one has come up with a credible (peer reviewed) counter theory.

    Perhaps, Scotty, to now link this to policy is the right way to take the thread. So, based on the science and the evidence, the world is warming and it > 90% certain humans are the cause of it (from the IPCC report). In fact, the key findings of the IPCC report were:

    Without evidence to the contrary, I accept all of that. Unless my logic is warped, that must be accepted unless there is evidence to the contrary. For the doubters, what is your evidence to the contrary?

    In order to do something about it, we need to do something (rather than wait for the rest of the world to do something). The carbon tax, while not perfect, is the best option of the two (Abbott's being the other) and, for that reason alone, I support it. If Abbott comes up with a better option, I'll support that. If Pauline Hanson came up with a better option, I'd support that.
  12. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Thanks Matty. Seems to be changing his tune, hey?

    I guess there are three arguments made by 'denialists':

    1. The poor data and techniques used by climate scientist to prove their points.
    2. There is a possibility that warming is occurring naturally, not just man made.
    3. Is the doom and gloom really going to occur, or will the earth find a new equilibrium?
  13. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    A model always needs to be verified to determine if it is correct or not. If it makes predictions that can't be verified, then it is obvious it is flawed. Of course it doesn't mean that all its predictions are incorrect, but it does mean there is a flaw (although not necessarily a fundamental one).
  14. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Well, the IPCC has said:

    1. Its unequivocal;
    2. Greater than 90% chance its due to man's activities and less than 5% chance its natural (see above);
    3. Previous IPCC reports have been too conservative and the observed changes are greater than estimated. In relation to a new equilibrium, the answer is that of course it will find a new equilibrium. However, the modelling shows that:

    So, the new equilibrium might not be one that suits the human race quite as much as this equilibrium.
  15. bryce Darby Loudon (17)

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    Slightly off topic, but nonetheless related to climate change - interesting ABC podcast on the potential of wave power. Late Night Live, Separate Stories, 28/3/11 if anyone's interested.
  16. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    You accept all of that, and yet you are not screaming from the tree tops everyday to people to stop driving their cars and to turn their big screen tvs off?
  17. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    I wrote my previous post rather quickly, and some of it was either unclear, or totally incorrect. Let me clarify;

    David Evans has interpreted a section of global warming modeling to say that a "hotspot" (a tropical tropospheric bubble of rapis warming above the global average) is a key signature of global warming. He is right in saying it hasn't been found, but a) the temperature measurements he is using are of dubious accuracy, and b) the proposed hotspot is not a signature of anthropogenic global warming.

    These models are not linear. The hotspot is one outcome, in one part of the world, from the current modeling, but whether it is or isn't there is immaterial, as it doesn't alter the case for anthropomorphic global warming. It's mere a marker of certain aspects of the progress of warming, and of the changes in weather patters we will see, and it doesn't mean the models are flawed. The key signature for anthropogenic climate change, as opposed to other forms of forcing, is stratospheric cooling, combined with tropospheric warming, which is exactly what we are seeing. Humans are, without any question at all, warming the planet. He has simply used a piece of Global Warming modeling to say something that it clearly does not, and cannot, possibly be used to say.

    I cannot say that the model isn't flawed, and I will never be able to say that, no matter how good the evidence is. What I can say is that the predicted signatures for human induced global warming have been found, it is extremely unlikely the modeling is wrong, and that the conclusions David Evans draws from the models are simply wrong.
  18. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Why do you believe that Evans has changed his mind on this subject (purely speculation is fine by me)?
  19. Ruggo Mark Ella (57)

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    I don't want to be rude SPDG but may I ask what you do for a living or what your background is in? Your posts indicate that you are very knowledgable on the subject. I am covering a lot of the stuff you have mentioned in this thread through studying environmental science.
  20. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    You don't know I'm not.

    What do you think Scotty? Clearly you don't accept the IPCC conclusions because you're fishing around for counter views. What evidence have you found? If you've found none, why don't you accept the IPCC conclusions?

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