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China's Coal Power Plants Mask Climate Change

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the blowing-smoke dept.

Earth 464

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports on new research revealing that the huge increase in coal-fired power stations in China, up from just over 10 gigawatts (GW) in 2002 to over 80GW in 2006, has masked the impact of global warming in the last decade because of the cooling effect of their sulphur emissions. But scientists warn that rapid warming is likely to resume when the short-lived sulphur pollution – which also causes acid rain – is cleaned up and the full heating effect of long-lived carbon dioxide is felt. 'Reductions in carbon emissions will be more important as China installs scrubbers [on its coal-fired power stations], which reduce sulphur emissions,' says Dr. Robert Kaufman. 'This, and solar insolation increasing as part of the normal solar cycle, [will mean] temperature is likely to increase faster.' The effect also explains the lack of global temperature rise seen between 1940 and 1970 as the effect of the sulphur emissions from increased coal burning outpaced that of carbon emissions, until acid rain controls were introduced, after which temperature rose quickly. 'Warming due to the CO2 released by Chinese industrialization has been partially masked by cooling due to reflection of solar radiation by sulphur emissions,' says Prof Joanna Haigh. 'On longer timescales, with cleaner emissions, the warming effect will be more marked.'"

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Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659402)

'Reductions in carbon emissions will be more important as China installs scrubbers [on its coal-fired power stations], which reduce sulphur emissions,'

So basically never?

Scrubbers have been required in America since the 1977 revisions to the Clean Air Act. And they're still not used in China. My understanding of the situation (although, full disclaimer I do not speak Chinese nor have I ever been to China) is that the companies simply don't follow regulation [voanews.com] . The latest news is that they just move to non-urban areas to avoid such regulation:

Carlson Chan is in charge of air quality policy at Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department. He says companies found ways around the stricter limits.

"When we tightened the sulfur content of industrial diesel from 0.5 percent to 0.005 percent in 1998, the resistance then was not very big, mainly because many manufacturers have moved their factories across the border," he said.

Just across Hong Kong's border is Guangdong province, the center of China’s export industry. As the factories there multiplied, the air pollution returned to Hong Kong.

I found it impossibly hard to believe that it's cheaper to move your entire operation than install scrubbers -- failing that, surely a bribe is cheaper. So I dug around and as recent as 2006 [pittsburghlive.com] the cost seems to be very high (anyone know today's rates?):

The average cost for scrubbers today (2006) is roughly $300 per kilowatt. For a 1,000-megawatt power plant, a relatively common size for coal-fired facilities, the cost for scrubbers for all boilers would be approximately $300 million.

I guess that would be a death knell for a Chinese company (and, let's face it, much of Asia is guilty of over polluting). If China introduces "regulation" that would stunt their free market, the free market simply circumvents it one way or another [slashdot.org] . It's the story time and time again in China and I think that a large part of their government is complacent with it because their economy is comparatively gangbusters.

And when a country trades with China, they're just exporting their pollution. I mean, we're all on the same planet ... it's going to cost everyone eventually. But oooh, that free market fueled cheap shit at Wal-Mart is just so tantalizing! How can you not buy it? Everybody wins (except the environment)!

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659434)

This is why many American companies outsource manufacturing to china. lax regulations, and those regulations are ignored. It's far cheaper to make your phone in a location where waste can be dumped into the stream behind the building or just thrown into the trash stream and bury those heavy metals in the landfill.

But as long as we ignore that and enjoy low priced products it will all be ok.

The line from Corporate America (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659586)

This is why many American companies outsource manufacturing to china. lax regulations, and those regulations are ignored. It's far cheaper to make your phone in a location where waste can be dumped into the stream behind the building or just thrown into the trash stream and bury those heavy metals in the landfill.

But as long as we ignore that and enjoy low priced products it will all be ok.

Environmental regulations hurt jobs and business! And because of them, business has to outsource overseas because they won't be able to compete! And then there are the taxes .... American business has to go overseas for the cheap labor and the lower taxes in order to compete with the rest of the World.

Translation:

We want to lower our costs to the bare minimum so the CEO and other executives can get filthy rich off of the backs of the workers and shareholders all the while poisoning the people and land of foreign nations because their leaders want to enrich themselves - (fascist) capitalism working with despots.

In the meantime, the super rich propaganda machine has brain washed us peons into thinking that if we work hard and get educated, we too can one day join their ranks - it's a given! As long as we can keep those pesky environmental regulations and taxes low for the very wealthy ($10 million+ assets) out of the way.

In the meantime, the entire World spirals down economically and ecologically and the super rich hang out on their yachts and private jets.

Want to know who to go after? Get the Gulfstream, Bombardier, Cessna (Citation Jets), and the other "corporate jet" makers client lists and then get the individuals behind those corporations.

Re:The line from Corporate America (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659634)

Environmental regulations hurt jobs and business

Local environmental regulations do. I'd love to see the US and EU impose large import duties on anything that was produced in a factory that had not been inspected for conformance to the environmental laws at the point of sale.

Re:The line from Corporate America (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659860)

Yeah, the inspectors hired by the US and EU need to get in on that bribery action too!

In all seriousness, the 2 main reasons the US and EU don't do this are (A) most of their politicians are probably on the take from the same businesses, and (B) the WTO and other international trade organizations would ensure retaliation by imposing massive duties on exports.

Re:The line from Corporate America (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659712)

Yeah, come back when you, yourself, start buying everything local, regardless of the price, (which by the way, is a wasteful thing to do as well, as if you do spend more money on consumables, you have less left for other investments, so it's a no win situation).

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659924)

Isn't that what the OP said in the last sentence?

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659606)

I found it impossibly hard to believe that it's cheaper to move your entire operation than install scrubbers

The point is, you can ignore a whole heck of a lot more regulations than just the scrubber requirements.

Fly ash can be dumped onto the lawn until it blows away or is washed away. No need to capture and recycle mercury, or anything else, unless you'll make a profit off it. No need for those pesky worker safety regulations. Boiler inspections, what are they? Have a barrel of used lubricating oil, and coincidentally a barrel sized hole in the ground?

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659668)

Parent misses point that end of the world fear mongering "the world is burning" is pure bullshit.
The heat is missing. Cant be found - see climategate emails. Study attempts to blame the very emissions that are supposed to cause warming.
Its circular logic. If you believe this crap, shame on you..

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (1)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659750)

Thread over, anonymous coward wins.

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36660054)

I don't believe.... but I do love the warm winters that let me go take a swim at the beach, something I never thought about when I was younger (but do hate that a week later have a cold front blowing for days and chilling my bones cold when a couple of years ago I wouldn't even know it existed around here).

But heck, no climate change. I also just had a full blown summer in mid spring and loved it. I place a limit when I go outside and can fry an egg without fire. And then I'll blame you freaks.

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659710)

Scrubbers have been required in America since the 1977 revisions to the Clean Air Act. And they're still not

...up to spec. I personally know someone who used to be employed to climb stacks and drop probes in them. We can find plants of all kinds emitting excessive pollutants (as in, over the legal limits) as fast as we can pay people to climb them.

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (3, Informative)

jlehtira (655619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659758)

'Reductions in carbon emissions will be more important as China installs scrubbers [on its coal-fired power stations], which reduce sulphur emissions,'

So basically never?

Well, the matter will become important with time. It goes like this: atmospheric lifetime for CO2 is estimated to be thousands of years, while numbers elsewhere on the web say this time is a few days for sulfur dioxide. That means that if, before humans, a volcano erupted releasing both CO2 and SO2, the SO2 levels would return to normal within days to weeks afterwards, but CO2 levels would remain elevated for thousands of years.

So, if one starts a new coal plant without scrubbers and thus introduces a steady flux of CO2 and SO2, the resulting increase in the SO2 level will stabilize within weeks, but CO2 level in the atmosphere will continue rising for as long as the plant operates. Thus, starting a new plant actually cools the climate at first, but eventually the CO2 emissions catch up and flip the balance. No scrubbers needed, although they can get rid of the cooling effect (and acid rain).

This sounds like a very plausible reason (amongst other things) why the last 10 years didn't see a strong trend of temperature increase.

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (2)

bytesex (112972) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659864)

...atmospheric lifetime for CO2 is estimated to be thousands of years...

Really ? With all those trees ?

Re:Scrubbers: A 1970s Tech Still Absent in China (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660052)

Trees emit CO2 at night during respiration processes.

They are not self-replicating CO2 sponges.

More importantly, land-clearing means there are less and less of them. While most of our oxygen comes from sea plankton, there's no convincing argument that on the whole we're increasing the biospheres CO2 adsorption capacity.

Trust Us. (1, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659412)

It's there, you just don't see it.

The last decade was simultaneously the hottest on record, and we did not see a warming trend. Clearly we need more money for our research.

Re:Trust Us. (1)

Old Sparky (675061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659464)

Dammit! I wanted to be the first one to call "BULLSHIT!"!!!

Re:Trust Us. (1, Redundant)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659556)

If you think there's a contradiction between a) the warmest decade on record and b) no warming trend for that decade, you need a brain transplant.

Re:Trust Us. (0)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659684)

Moderation: -1 Missing the Irony.

Re:Trust Us. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659808)

Oh, there's irony. But seriously, it's hard to comprehend how people think there's a contradiction. Have people actually climbed the slope of a mountain to reach a small, flat, plateau and then announced "Well, I guess this wasn't a mountain after all"?

Re:Trust Us. (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659734)

Also note it's "no warming trend between 1998 and 2008" which sounds like the author tried to incorporate a "skeptic" claim into the article, one that is quite likely not in the original scientific paper.

Re:Trust Us. (4, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659704)

I can't understand statistics or concepts that are beyond my grasp. Therefore, the scientists must be wrong.

Re:Trust Us. (-1, Troll)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659982)

Actually, I am a scientist. I am a chemist who does materials science work. I looked into this global warming business from a physical chemistry perspective, and have yet to receive an adequate answer as to why CO2 is supposed to cause warming, when the heat capacity is actually slightly lower than the average heat capacity of the atmosphere.

But hey, don't let real scientific skepticism keep you from burning heretics alive.

Re:Trust Us. (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660070)

So don't make such a foolish post next time. Your OP indicates you don't understand how a decade can be the warmest yet not see a warming trend in that period. If you're the scientist then act like one instead of making judgments based on your ignorance of a concept you don't understand.

Re:Trust Us. (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660098)

If you're a scientist then you'd know to do some reading before making any claims. If you think CO2's warming capability is the heat capacity of CO2 gas, then you're actually less informed then most climate skeptics. Or you know, sixth graders.

Re:Trust Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659706)

How hard is it to understand that a small plateau can still be the highest altitude that you've climbed so far?

To use a different analogy, a ski slope may have plenty of wiggles up and down, but the general slope down a mountain is still pretty obvious to most people.

By contrast, it seems the scale difference between long-term and short-term climate trends is too complicated for some people to comprehend. Therefore any plateau or momentary cooling constitutes strong evidence the interpretation of the long-term trend is wrong, no matter how brief or local it is, such as the effects of El Nino / La Nina cycles, the effect of aerosols and particulates such as sulphates and volcanic ash, or just a really bad winter storm.

This sounds really condescending, but think carefully: do you *really* see a contradiction between "hottest decade on record" and "did not see a warming trend"? I don't.

Re:Trust Us. (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660038)

"By contrast, it seems the scale difference between long-term and short-term climate trends is too complicated for some people to comprehend. "

The exact opposite is true too. Every time there is a heat wave, the AGW people come crawling out of the woodwork to claim victory.

And yes, I do see a contradiction. That is, idiots talking as if ten years of data mean anything in climate science. I also see idiots talking as if thirty years of data means anything in climate science. This is classic timeframe picking, and both sides are guilty of it. But hey, no questions allowed, right? You're either with us or you're against us! The Bush doctrine of climate science seems to be in full swing here.

Re:Trust Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659838)

No the pollution saved us from getting hotter; don't you see we should all become communist just like the Chinese; communism did just save us last decade.

This crackpot works when you disregard the 4.5 billion years were the earth ranged from ice cube to full on volcano without humans;

I know sulfur population opens op wormholes to the past and we are killing the past with our rock resolving rain which the resulting chemical byproduct is heat; and we all know that hot things are cold as hoth.

final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659418)

Note the buried finding ITFA that the the sun's changes might be, possibly having some influence on global temperatures. Sheesh.

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (1)

Old Sparky (675061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659454)

Indubitably!

If The Global-Warming-Junque-Science-Promulgators want to be taken seriously (instead of just scooping up grant money), they need to take into account variations in the solar cycle, which very few do.

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (3, Funny)

MinistryOfTruthiness (1396923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659596)

Does this mean that I'm supposed to be pro-pollution or pro-global warming? As some people age, they can't figure out the remote control. Me, I have trouble keeping up with the world-ending-panic-du-jour.

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659926)

Be anti- technocracy, like most people here at slashdot (yes, it's ironic I know, but there you go).

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659856)

Right, the problem is that they don't understand the solar cycle.

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36660036)

If The Global-Warming-Junque-Science-Promulgators want to be taken seriously (instead of just scooping up grant money), they need to take into account variations in the solar cycle, which very few do.

Given that solar cycle 24 (the current one) has failed to behave that's normal. You can't include what you don't understand in your calculations. Of course that means that the predictions in AR4 are as wrong as the ones in AR1, 2 and 3 (AR1 and 2 because it's far cooler than predicted in their 95% certain intervals. AR3 we're at the bottom of the 95% certainty interval and dropping fast, and AR4, which does not actually predict temperature, but does include a prediction for solar cycle 24 which has now turned out to be flat out wrong).

But don't worry "the science is settled" (btw : I not a denialist : the science that termperature rised (past tense) due to increased co2 emissions during 2 periods in the past 2 centuries, that I believe. That any organisation can predict temperature variation 100 years out, or even give a faint idea what effects will be dominating temperatures even 10 years out, now that's bullshit). Climate is chaotic, and attempting to predict the climate ... is impossible. And before you say "but computer models ...", yes, but any computer model that can predict a chaotic system would be able to predict every last stock curve, and even lotto numbers. Know of any such models ? Thought so. Why climate predicting models get any more credibility than any other "get rich quick with stocks and bonds" book, now that is beyond me. Why can't scientists simply say the truth ?

Science is incapable of providing reasonable predictions for any chaotic system. This is not a "current level of science" issue, solved with bigger supercomputers, it's a fundamental mathematical issue. It is *far* easier to break 9999999999999999 bit private key encryption than to predict the climate, so presumably we'll learn that one first. Solving chaotic problems, like predicting the climate, is NP-hard. If you find a working climate model, you can literally solve any NP-hard problem, from traveling salesman for absurd numbers of cities, to reverse folding (ie. taking an atomic structure, any atomic structure, and creating a DNA code that produces that structure), to breaking every known form of encryption.

So why is it so hard to believe that every prediction is wrong ? We have
1) historical predictions have turned out to be wrong. Not just those from the IPCC, but almost every climate prediction since the 1950's has turned out wrong
2) there are fundamental theoretical issues that prevent any exact or statistical prediction (and if you think that you can still do statistical modeling, please slap yourself and grab an advanced theoretical statistics book and look up if that's true or not)

Yet we base huge policy decisions on a chaotic system. We are mad, and we will get burned badly.

Re:final proof of AGW/ACC derangement syndrome (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659816)

The Sun's input into global climate is well studied and acknowledged by climate scientists. However, the Sun itself is not the primary driver of climate change because it has been in a solar minimum while some so-called skeptics have been claiming it's driving the temperature increase. The point is that we may start seeing additional temperature increase that is actually attributed to the sun, which will be further inflated by our CO2 emissions.

But (2)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659424)

Doesn't this give us a steer towards a short-term fix? Not my area, but if the doomsayers are right, and evidence suggests they may well be, then we could offset warming with some floating mirrors or something. Or get kids around the world to fly tinfoil kites. Or just pump some more dust up there. I realise this is not the solution but it is a genuine question.

Re:But (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659452)

So you're saying if we had more conspiracy theorists, we could fight global warming?

Tinfoil hats for everyone!

Re:But (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659504)

I think the problem with the sulphur is that although it deflects the rays, the resulting smog causes respiratory difficulties in humans and the acid rain kills forests and accelerates the release of carbon into the atmosphere. I suspect the problem with kites and dust etc would probably be that to make enough of them to make a difference you would make the warming problem worse through the CO2 produced by generating the energy needed to produce the materials and get them up there. We've all got used to the idea that energy is easy, because we have been burning our way through 100 million years worth of captured sunlight in just a few decades, but there really aren't free lunches to be had. We are turning our climate back into one which favours tropical plants, insects and giant lizards, and away from one which favours mammals, and we need to get used to that idea.

Re:But (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659544)

Also, blocking the light means less light available for crop harvesting and carbon capturing by forests.

Using a solution like that (or space shades or cloud seeding that have been proposed elsewhere) means moving from a system of "let the light it, use it in a profitable way and let out the excess heat" to "do not let light in because we have no way to let out the excess heat".

Re:But (2)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659682)

Not really. Sulphur dioxide only has a really important effect on the wavelengths you want to keep out if you want to deal with global warming - it's particulates that shade everything.
Besides, earth doesn't have a problem with low sunlight - usually the limiters to plant growth are what's in the soil, which is why we bother with fertilisers.

Re:But (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659978)

Not really. Sulphur dioxide only has a really important effect on the wavelengths you want to keep out if you want to deal with global warming - it's particulates that shade everything.

Wait, what? Sulfur dioxide works by forming particulates. White particulates.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659608)

the answer is thorium, the most energy-dense substance in existence. France already has cheap, carbon-free electricity, and they're burning uranium for it.

Noep, it's valid (1)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659622)

The only thing you have to do is to inject the sulphur dioxide or similar stuff into the stratosphere which has hardly any weather and as such it will stay there for a long enough time to make the whole operation feasible , and rather cheap.
We had a talk of it at the university - one of the professors in there is working on the delivery system - you have to pump quite a quantity of material quite high... besides the tubes have to hold themselves up (by baloon / air anchor)

Re:Noep, it's valid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659964)

We already have aircraft flying routinely in the stratosphere .... U-2 and Global Hawk. Sounds like a little more "exists now" than a balloon pipe thing. The quantity of SO2 required is rather small, IIRC.

Re:But (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659718)

we could offset warming with some floating mirrors or something. Or get kids around the world to fly tinfoil kites. Or just pump some more dust up there. I realise this is not the solution but it is a genuine question.

We could also study the causes of warming and stop the antropogenic ones.

Re:But (1)

superposed (308216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660046)

Doesn't this give us a steer towards a short-term fix? ... we could offset warming with some floating mirrors [or] tinfoil kites [or] pump some more dust up there.

The problem with these geoengineering approaches is that a ton of CO2 added to the atmosphere will continue to warm the planet for thousands [doi.org] , of [doi.org] years [doi.org] . On the other hand, these solutions are temporary, e.g., aerosols are washed out of the atmosphere within a few months or years.

You didn't suggest this, but if we continue emitting CO2 and try to mask the effect with aerosols, we will need to add more and more aerosols every year, until it becomes economically unfeasible and environmentally devastating. You don't want to live in a world where we pump enough aerosols into the atmosphere to mask 700 ppm CO2, and they all come back as acid precipitation.

Sure... (-1, Flamebait)

Delgul (515042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659446)

Lets go the way of global cooling again ;-)

These 'scientists' really make me laugh...

Re:Sure... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659514)

These 'scientists' with Phds, and you with...? Probably not much.

Except the ability to jerk off at the keyboard while thinking about how much smarter you are with all of your common sense that the 'elite' scientists lack hey?

Re:Sure... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659676)

Unlike these 'elite' scientists, I am not under the payroll of institutions with an agenda. I do not have to beg for funding from politicians.

Global warming is simply an excuse for global government. It is a great stepping stone in justifying globally enforced regulation and globally collected tax. Those two things give the globalists power through the laws they then make up, and the money they then rake in.

A monopoly of government is as flawed and dangerous as a monopoly in capitalism. Think Microsoft. But with no competitors because it would lead to global warming and other such evils. There is no competition with a monopoly and thus no choice. We will all be forced to submit to a small unelected cabal of elitists, and we will have no alternative choices. When the government shows its corruptness, there is no country to emigrate from, no country to immigrate to. We are all truly screwed at that point.

Re:Sure... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659768)

It always seemed like something of a coincidence that, just at the point where the West has outsourced manufacturing, the service/support industry, insurance, credit and banking to the East we suddenly have a global catastrophe on our hands that only Western knowledge and technology can prevent. Does that sound like inventing skills to sell to anyone else, or should I break out the tinfoil hat?

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659558)

What? They bring up a perfectly valid point that was overlooked before, and that makes you laugh? Sheesh!

Re:Sure... (2, Insightful)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659584)

These 'scientists' really make me laugh...

Because they are all the time revising their models and theories in order to make them more acurate? What a stupid thing for a scientist to do!

Anyway, I have some snake oil to sell you for your headaches... you know, your grand-grandfather used it, so it is sure it works!

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659654)

Please. We know the heat capacity of carbon dioxide etc. to very high accuracy. We know the energy radiated into the earth by the sun. Anybody with a basic grasp of physics can calculate that a higher concentration of greenhouse gases leads to higher temperatures.

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659698)

Ah, the ancient myth of the 'but they said there was cooling in the 1970s'. Please die.

So the fix is more coal plants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659462)

So the coal plants are reducing the warming trend? Sounds like the solution is MOAR COALZ BURNIN!!!!!!

wah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659502)

At least the Chinese have the stones to build and make something, burn baby burn.

Complex Model (3, Insightful)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659516)

This is going to be taken by both supporters and detractors of Climate Change: Warming Trend as evidence for their cause. Let me go get the popcorn.

Nothing productive will come of this so I might as well sit back and enjoy the fireworks. Nevermind we are trying to figure out a complex model as it changes under conditions that about as far from scientifically controlled as possible. My only hope is we don't accidentally cause an Ice Age trying to fix this.

Re:Complex Model (2)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659652)

I don't think we'll *cause* an ice age(though one is likely fairly soon, looking at the solar cycles...), but we could cirtainly distroy our economy through crap like the "carbon tax".

Re:Complex Model (5, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659678)

I'm all for them continually trying to figure it out. You're absolutely right it's incredibly complex, and I postulate we may never fully comprehend it or be able to simulate or predict it to any level of accuracy. That said, It would be nice if (while figuring it out) the grand claims weren't made. We have a very small history of good temperature data, a very questionable network of sensors for collecting a certain quantity of temperature readings, and very little data (comparatively) on the suns impact. I love science and scientists, but they need to continue to be skeptics. If the system is too big to actually figure out, they should be able to always admit that.

Re:Complex Model (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659814)

Indeed - the problem in all of this is not that scientists are arguing about the facts, it's that the media and politicians feel they should get involved at all. All they do is muddy the waters, they've turned skepticism from a healthy scientific steer into some kind of insult, meanwhile everyone is on some kind of crusade to save the planet without wondering a) if their actions are having any effect or b) whether that's just another form of interfering with nature's cycles. I'd love to know the answers but I can't hear the discussion for all of the shouting.

Re:Complex Model (1, Informative)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659918)

Your insightful comments make you a "denialist."

Re:Complex Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36660080)

Indeed. I was labeled a "denialist" for bringing up the subject of "Climategate" in a certain group of friends last year. Didn't advocate one way or the other, just mentioned that I had heard there had been a Wikileaks-style public dump of climate data.

Of course, I became a CONFIRMED "denialist" once I had a look at the model code. Never seen such a patchwork of hacks and arbitrary "adjustments" to the data. Disgusting from a software development point of view.

Re:Complex Model (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659692)

My only hope is we don't accidentally cause an Ice Age trying to fix this.

Why? The most important question about "climate change" is the one never asked. The "debate" is exclusively non-scientific in application and is solely used as rationalization for either full on central govt control, or rationalization for full on libertarianism. One thing carefully kept quiet and out of the debate, is that regardless of which method the hairless apes select to justify controlling each other, every 75Kyears, where I'm sitting right now will be covered with two miles of ice alternating with a nice limestone producing inland sea.

The important part of the "world is gonna end unless we ..." is not the "world is gonna end" part, because thru natural geological processes its gonna do that anyway. The important part is the "unless we ..." part, where the answers are political garbage.

Re:Complex Model (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659876)

and me with out mod points to mod you up! GREAT POINT and one missed by many

Re:Complex Model (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659846)

Let me go get the popcorn.

I'm not sure how, but popcorn is probably bad for the environment.

So why not inject sulpher into the stratosphere ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659530)

1: Inject Sulfur (as some sort of aerosol compound) high into atmosphere
2: Increase albedo of earth
3: Decrease warming effects of greenhouse gases
4: PROFIT !

???

Re:So why not inject sulpher into the stratosphere (3, Insightful)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659866)

It may affect warming, but it doesn't fix ocean acidification

Re:So why not inject sulpher into the stratosphere (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659928)

Sorry, it is more like

1: Use scientific data to show we are all going to die from global warming unless we make changes.
2: Suggest government regulation of CO2. Something everyone produces by breathing.
3: Start company selling Carbon Credits.
4: PROFIT!

There is no profit in fixing the problem and the government does not get more power by fixing it. Therefor it will not be fixed.

This is science? (0)

krikke (248069) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659552)

I'm so fed up with this Global Warming garbage, especially the human-caused portion of it. These "scientists" are like ants in an oven, blaming the oven's rising temperature on themselves, rather than the heating element.

Re:This is science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659688)

eh are you saying we should run while we can?

Re:This is science? (2)

spacepigninja (1689230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659724)

When I leave the freezer door open and everything melts I don't blame the cooling system for not working well enough, I close the fucking door!

A future prediction (0, Troll)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659570)

By the year 2050, perhaps earlier, the term Republican will go out of use. When the term it used, it will be an insult.

This will be caused by the impact of Global Warming. When there are large migrations due to climate changes, and much international strife, the fact that we ignored the warning signs will look incredibly stupid.

People will be looking for someone to blame. All the footage of Republicans denying a problem exists will be found, and they will become the symbol of our stupid policies. Even though many share the blame, they will be so identified with bad judgment that the party will have to change it's name due to the bad connotation.

Personally, I think this language change will be greatly deserved.

Re:A future prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659700)

It has already happened. I will never vote for a GOP candidate anymore.

Re:A future prediction (0)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659730)

If this country survives to 2050, it will be because of Republicans... Global Warming will still be just a bullshit political football that has no net effect on anything except the size of the 'Green' marketing budget. What's a thousand times more urgent and dangerous to this world than Global Warming? Democrats and their anti-american socialist platform of debt and corruption.

Re:A future prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659818)

That's BS, everybody knows they'll just change their name to "Confederate Design" or something similar that doesn't sound like "Republican" in order to avoid the bad rep.

Kyoto Accords (2)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659574)

Didn't China sign on to the Kyoto Protocol? Of course China is categorized as a "developing nation" which means that they aren't subject to as stringent a reduction in emissions as an "industrialized" nation such as the US would be.

Re:Kyoto Accords (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659642)

I don't think they signed on to Kyoto instead they have "voluntarily" adopted "intensity targets". Which, in effect, means they need to reduce the rate at which they produce pollution per some amount of economic activity rather than having to reduce the total pollution generated. As long as their economy grows quickly it won't reduce overall emissions, but will reduce the rate at which emissions grow.

Re:Kyoto Accords (3, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659714)

As a 'non annex 1' country, China is not required to reduce anything. Which is why they readily came on board with it.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659598)

So you are still trying to make the facts fit your theory?

WTF!?!

Take a look at the facts, and develop a theory from the facts.

Earth's climate swings hotter-colder-hotter-colder. Humans put out less CO2 than one volcano.

Re:JESUS FUCKING CHRIST (-1, Redundant)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659658)

Mod parent up.

Re:JESUS FUCKING CHRIST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659850)

Humans put out about as much CO2 in one day as all the volcanos on earth combined do in one year.

Re:JESUS FUCKING CHRIST (4, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659996)

Actually, when "The Icelandic Volcano" erupted, it was calculated that the decrease in airline activity was a net gain in terms of CO2, even with the volcano factored in.

From the figures on the spreadsheet [google.com] , just the world airline industry dwarfs world volcanic CO2 emissions with over 3.5 times more CO2

Pay Less.... Live Better (1)

croftj (2359) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659604)

Who would've ever thought that Walmart's slogan could be taken so literally!

So Anthropogenic Global Warming causes cooling? (0)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659610)

Say what

Re:So Anthropogenic Global Warming causes cooling? (1)

jecblackpepper (1160029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659966)

No, burning coal without scrubbers releases both CO2 and SO2. CO2 has a long term warming effect, SO2 has a temporary cooling effect. Overall it's still climate change and with a long term warming effect.

So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659626)

So China is saving the world by polluting? TAKE THAT Captain Pla.... Al Gore

Volcanism (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659632)

Good thing then that sulphur scrubbers had already been installed on Nabro [wikipedia.org] , Grímsvötn [wikipedia.org] , Puyehue [wikipedia.org] , etc. etc. Wouldn't want them to interfere [wikipedia.org] (see last sentence of the paragraph) with global warming.

Re:Volcanism (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659916)

Given that most everyone would seem to agree that large volcanic eruptions have a temporary cooling effect ... I'm not quite sure what you're trying to prove.

What about the West? (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659666)

Perhaps the supposed rise in temperature in recent decades isn't due to CO2 emission; perhaps our nasty coal plants in the west prior to that were holding off an increase by putting aerosols in the air, and cleaning them up unmasked that effect.

If coal plants really have this sort of major effect, and they aren't accounted for in the much-vaunted climate models, the models are pretty much junk. If they are accounted for, why is this news?

Re:What about the West? (4, Informative)

superposed (308216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659896)

If they are accounted for, why is this news?

Well, actually climate models do account for aerosols [sciencedaily.com] and this isn't news [climatescience.gov] .

Re:What about the West? (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659898)

The effect of sulfur aerosols has been known for ages and is pretty well accounted for. The only interesting thing is that given China's massive growth of late, sulfur and particulate emissions have risen so fast that they may temporarily mask some of the effects of the as massive increase in CO2 caused by the same factors. In the long term, it doesn't matter, since atmospheric retention time of CO2 is orders of magnitude above that of SO2, therefor it will dominate the equation in the end.

Complete rubbish (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659736)

I'm not sure how Mann and Co. can keep a straight face whilst publishing rubbish like this. They've basically tweaked an existing computer model - one that did not in any way conform to actual reality - and added further fudge factors to make things balance out and *shock* it does! That is to say, rather than admitting the CO2 hypothesis is wrong and that changes in solar activity and the oceans are more convincing explanations, they prefer to fiddle around with what is an over-parametrised model.

The entire paper is predicated on the assumption that the climate model (and climate models in general) code for sufficient amounts of internal variability. Given that models rarely, if ever, show this, one can safely say that they do not and that they are therefore invalid.

Re:Complete rubbish (0)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659974)

Right so they take a computer model designed to approximate some aspects of reality, adjust it to account for another aspect of reality ... and you say this makes it worse? You're seriously postulating that no part of a given climate model conforms in any way shape or form to actual reality? This may be getting a bit metaphysical, but is it even possible to model any system in a manner that conforms to no part of reality?

Wow, what a convenient excuse (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659778)

The effect also explains the lack of global temperature rise seen between 1940 and 1970

When the evidence doesn't fit the model, just come up with an excuse to dismiss the evidence. That's the grant-whoring scientific method at its finest.

Re:Wow, what a convenient excuse (-1, Redundant)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659992)

When the evidence doesn't fit the model, just come up with an excuse to dismiss the evidence. That's the grant-whoring scientific method at its finest.

And that's internet armchair climate critic at its finest.

Re:Wow, what a convenient excuse (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660066)

Even I can spot bullshit from my armchair. Completely dismissing 30 years of evidence just because it doesn't conform to your pet idea--that's bullshit. And it's not how science is supposed to work.

Re:Wow, what a convenient excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36660068)

And when you have nothing to say, call someone a whore with no evidence. That's post-whoring at it's finest.

So, in summary.. (2)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659796)

..America's industrial pollution, being the product of democracy, leads to a surfeit of hot air, which will cause the climate to change.

Chinese pollution, made by communists, cancels out the democratic American pollution and so overall nothing happens either way.

'zat it?

Falsifiability (2, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659906)

Let's overlook the fact that we have a big fat admission that temperatures haven't been going up for about a decade and how no one wanted to readily admit that to the public...

Global warming theory, as presently constructed, can't be falsified. "The theory's valid! It's the sulfur, the ocean cycles, the -fill in reasons for lack of warming-."

How can we even disprove this current assertion? They have no idea.

At the very least, this gives credence to the Freakanomics folks. Instead of wrecking the world's economy, how about we just shoot sulfur in the upper part of our atmosphere if you are worried about global warming?

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