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Global Warming: Do You Believe?

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the -new-era-for-technology-and-politics?- dept.

United States 764

Perhaps because science and technology have always been dominated by educated, sometimes arrogant elites, and are far beyond the attention spans or formats of conventional media, few scientific issues manage to attract the attention of large numbers of people. Gene mapping and genomics could change the nature of life itself, but few national political figures in the U.S. talk much genetics, or the impact of fertility drugs on kids and families. Spielberg raises some profound moral issues involving A.I. in his new movie, drawing a number of critical raves but proving a disappointment at the box office. And Hollywood hasn't yet even heard of nano-technologies. The emerging exception appears to be global warming, which Americans are suddenly very worried about. Maybe this is the beginning of a new era for science and politics.

This concern about global warming is significant, especially in light of the fact that the government's existing environmental policies (along with growing perceptions of technological and cultural imperialism) are making the U.S. once again the most resented country in the world. Already high on the agenda of Western Europe and a cause on U.S. college campuses, this could be the first in a series of techno-political issues that will rise up in the 21st Century. Issues like genomics will morph from gee-whiz cover stories in Time to very real concerns for individuals.

Most Americans are now aware of global warming, says a comprehensive report cited in American Demographics magazine, even though significantly fewer express concern or understanding about its impact.

In August 2000, the Harris poll asked Americans about their beliefs concerning global warming and, more specifically, about the relationship between temperature changes and forest fires. Many more than in previous surveys said they believed that global warming exists and is a serious environmental issue, although only 35 percent believe it was directly responsible for increasing forest fires in the United States.

In l997, 67 percent of Americans surveyed believed that increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere would, if unchecked, lead to global warming and increasing average temperatures. By last year, the figure had risen to 72 per cent. Even though they weren't aware of any specific or urgent impac on their own lives, and thus weren't particularly alarmed, nearly half thought that global warming should be treated as a "very serious" problem. In fact, only 13 percent of Americans said global warming wasn't a serious problem, a record low.

But science and the environment are becoming among the planet's hottest political issues. President Bush touched off a firestorm when he refused to sign the Kyoto accord. Although the reaction in the U.S. was less pronounced, a March 2001 Time/CNN poll found that two-thirds of Americans think the President should develop a plan to reduce the gas emissions that may contribute to global warming.

The U.S. has largely remained reluctant to address science through politics no matter how serious the issues. Big media political coverage tends to focus attention on scandal and confrontation, away from explanations of issues like global warming, or the equitable distribution of technology. Although they differ on certain scientific and environmental issues, neither of our two increasingly similiar dominant American political parties pay much attention to technological issues, or have anything resembling a scientific ideology or agenda.

When a serious matter like medical research involving stem cells from frozen embryos arises, politicians worry at least as much about religious support as they do about what scientists advise.

One might think members of Congress would be up in arms at the growing control of genetic research by a handful of bio-tech corporations; instead, there's hardly any debate about it at all.

My prediction: global warming will become the first issue of science and politics that captures the imagination of large numbers of American voters and becomes a national political issue (one on which the President definitely seems to have taken the unpopular side.) Why? Because it's a tactile phenomenon; people can feel that the weather is changing. They can see pictures of penguins dying in Antarctica. They read that skin cancer rates are rising.

Unlike more abstract scientific issues like genetics (which may become a highly visible political issue, but which isn't yet), or technologically-related social issues like intellectual property and copyright, even the myopic American political and media system, which focused for nearly two codependent years on Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, will have to start paying attention to global warming.

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Katz, are you sure about this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#94167)

"are making the U.S. once again the most resented country in the world"

"Once again?" What did I miss? Did everyone go and hate Canada for a while or something?

Re:no, I don't. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#94168)

Sure...

losing most of the worlds population or at least their living quarters is no big deal...

We (humains) almost all live close to water near sea level, if it goes up, good luck keeping it back. Of course it won't happen overnight but it does reduce the habitable space and people living in those area will eventually have to move or adapt one day.

Fact is humans have never dealt with problem of this complexity, we can't even get the weather right...

If you guys read the IPCC report, the seas appear to be rising to a total of 10 meters in 100 years, that means a meter per 10 years. Imagine what that does to a seashore area.

Just saying that we will adapt is a bad way to tackle the problem. Face it, humans are not really evolving anymore. Leaders don't reproduce more than misadapted individuals.

The earth will survive it, we won't kill it, we won't kill life either. Chances are we'll kill our civilisation.

Refusal to do nothing about it is childish, even more is to say it doesn't matter, it does matter!

Fact is there is no excuse to not do anything about it. It is not so difficult to at least be carefull about global warming. At least it's easier than to deal will reoganisation of seashores, elimination of living quarters of thousands of people. I am afraid some people don't realize they are risking all that because it is not convenient to care.

We don't really need to use so much energy do we? There are many many ways to save energy and reduce global warming but we are not using then because it is unconvenient.

Yes we will adapt, but the sonner we do, the better it is!

Um... (1)

Tom Rothamel (16) | more than 13 years ago | (#94176)

They read that skin cancer rates are rising.

I'm just a CS geek, but I don't seem to remember skin cancer rates being linked to global warming. Ozone depletion due to CFCs, yes, but there are now treaties banning that.

Yeah, Right (4)

Aaron M. Renn (539) | more than 13 years ago | (#94177)

Back in the 1970's the same global warming scaremongers were telling us that a new global ice age was coming. Now it is global warming. The prescription is the same though: immediate radical new government regulations, a reduction in industry, expensive new pollution control requirements, and forcing people to live lifestyles they haven't voluntarily chosen. And of course the sky is falling and if we don't do something NOW, we'll be in serious trouble.

Well, the global temperature did rise about 1 degree - in the first half of the century. The temperature of the earth and the surface climate have radically changed many times in the past, and without any any artificial greenhouse emmissions from humans. The effect of the sun's radition, volcanos, etc have long had an effect on the earth. There may also be long term cycles we know nothing about.

There is some evidence for the earth's warming, but the evidence is far from clean and many observations (such as (corrected) satellite data and weather balloons) show no warming. Most of the climate change predictions are based on computer models. Given our inability to forecast weather accurately at any interval, I doubt very much the computers can handle the much greater complexities of climate change. Certainly more research is warranted and we may yet find some links to human activity that need to be addressed.

But "Global warming" as such as is a political program not science. WHen the New York Times famously said "Blame global warming for the blizzard" (notwithstanding the huge number of major weather events throughtout human history) it has to make you wonder. I honestly believe that if the temperature and precipitation came in right at normal every day, we'd be told that this was a catastrophe caused by global warming and "robbing the earth of its critical climate diversity needed to support its fragile ecology".

There may be good reasons to cut emmissions of lots of chemicals, quite apart from global warming. But the use of hysteria and scaremongering to sell a political agenda is wrong IMO. Let's be honest about what we really want and debate these issues through the normal political process, not as another moral crusade. We've already got too many of those.

Katz: Belief trivializes the matter. (5)

maynard (3337) | more than 13 years ago | (#94191)

This is real and serious. Not only has the UN and the vast majority of climate scientists agreed that Global warming and climate change is upon us, but even the Bush Administration has been forced to face these facts. Please read the US National Assessment [usgcrp.gov] of the potential consequences of human generated climate change. This is the report the Bush administration commissioned to assess the validity of the UN report on climate change which concluded ten years ago that it is happening and that it represents a serious threat to not only the survival of our civilization, but earth's very biodiversity is under threat by mass extinction.

The business community would like us to put our heads in the sand and forget about all these pesky problems steamrolling our way. But the consequences of inaction could be devastating for life across the planet, and our species survival. To continue to trivialize the debate by turning the issue into one of belief instead of verifiable facts simply accepts the common US big media propaganda and spin. This is not a debate of the number of angels on the head of a pin, it's a scientific debate whereby the vast majority of academic scientists the world over have accepted a common view that global climate change is real and could be devastating to life on earth. Please also see: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development [oecd.org] documents on the issue as well.

--Maynard

no, I don't. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#94215)

just b/c we are altering the state of the earth does not mean that we will 'destroy it' 'kill it' 'kill ourselves off' etc. The earth will return. We will survive. Get over it.

this has happened many times before in history and it will happen again. Just b/c we are accelerating it does not mean it is a bad thing.

If we didn't do it now, it would have happened 10,000 years from now. People will still be around, and the same damn problems will present themselves.

Re:no, I don't. (1)

Cardinal Biggles (6685) | more than 13 years ago | (#94217)

just b/c we are altering the state of the earth does not mean that we will 'destroy it' 'kill it' 'kill ourselves off' etc. The earth will return. We will survive. Get over it.

Millions of people's houses around the world are going to be flooded because Americans demand cheap gas. And your response to those people's concerns is "get over it"?

You seem to have a serious attitude problem.

An Apt Commentary (2)

FFFish (7567) | more than 13 years ago | (#94219)

Dr. Fun [ibiblio.org] has a most appropriate cartoon for today. Except that it doesn't mention Katz by name...


--

Re:Belief? (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 13 years ago | (#94220)

Then, even if we believe, it doesn't matter. Most people could care less what happens tomorrow, let alone years from now. We are an instant gratification society with no consequences.

Jon, take some English classes -- Ecology is A Goo (1)

Llama Keeper (7984) | more than 13 years ago | (#94221)

John, you have some interesting thoughts about this subject, but they are so splayed about and expressed very murkily (is that a word?). Shit John, please learn to express yourself clearly, otherwise people are going to think your even more of an oaf than they already do.

Yes global warming is an issue people think about, yes US Environmental policy w/ regards to the Kioto Treaty (spelling?) is inconsistent and very embarrassing. Just in case you didn't know, the US is the #1 user of petroleum products. If for example the people of mainland Chine were to use Petroleum like we as Americans do, it would deplete known world petroleum reserves in 6 years (I'll find a link later and post it). We as Americans drive our SUV's and don't give a shit about the Environment. Not to sound like a quack, but I think a modicum of environmentalism on the part of just half our population would be a great thing. Little things all add up, buy that Geo Metro instead of the Escalade, ride yer bike if you can, recycle your beer cans. Pick up litter in the park. Have respect for mother nature. Live in the city instead of the Suburban sprawl that encroaches on the remaining wildlife. Boycott the Sierra Club, and take an ecology class. Respect Mother Nature, and she respects you! That's All Folks!


Re:no, I don't. (2)

general_re (8883) | more than 13 years ago | (#94227)

It is recognized by most of the scientific community that humans are accelerating the trend of global warming.

I'm sorry, but that's simply not true. While many scientists believe that the earth is gradually warming - and many have questions about even that - there is far from any consensus that this warming is a result of human activity.

While I agree that it is important to continue studying this issue, I also think it is important to let the evedence accumulate before we all go off half-cocked, and start imposing "solutions" that have very real costs without first knowing what the benefits will be, or even if there will be benefits.

I don't believe... (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 13 years ago | (#94262)

... I know.

--

Global Warming (2)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 13 years ago | (#94265)

Ironically, Americans aren't worried about the technological issues that are seriously changing their lives, and will increase in impact in the future, but are all in a tizzy about global warming, which is bullshit.

But what do you expect, when most of us are products of the government schools?

-

bah... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#94271)

Global warming, global cooling, whatever is the invogue global disaster of this week.

Until I get real scientists displaying real data everything is just scare tactics of the invironmental publicity Corperations (earth first, and the other scare for profit groups) to get more money.

Show me an active environmentalist and I'll show you a cult follower. Leave science to the scientists... we'll probably tell you before everyone is dead. (as we get into our rocket and leave)

No real evidence (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 13 years ago | (#94279)

Though IANAS (I Am Not a Scientist), as I understand it there is very little actual solid evidence about global warming one way or the other. It's just a theory, and as such has yet to be conclusively proven.

A competing theory, put forward fictionally in the book Fallen Angels [baen.com] by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn (available free in its entirety through the Baen Free Library [baen.com] ), is that the earth is actually entering a cooler period (a Maunder Minimum), and if it weren't for the "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere, we'd be experiencing another ice age.

The book is fiction, but the scientific theory it cites is real. (And it has RMS in it.)

--

Re:bah... (2)

rleyton (14248) | more than 13 years ago | (#94281)

Invogue? From an American perspective maybe, but the rest of the world has been aware of this, and looking to act for at least the last 10 years. Even if it's a small act like walking to the shops or using Public Transport instead of using their car.

How about taking a look for yourself on the web for some of the information that is out there. I just hacked in 'Global Warming' into Google [google.com] and had a nice selection of sites from a variety of perspectives, including this, from the "Union of Concerned Scientists" [ucsusa.org] .

It's a fact. Wake up America.

We SHOULD be worried about Global Warming (1)

trcooper (18794) | more than 13 years ago | (#94298)

Jeeze Jon... You should have watched the Discovery channel last night. According to 'Supervolcanos' we're due for a major eruption of Yellowstone National Park which will lower the earths temperature by 5 degrees C. We definately should be worried about global warming... If we don't speed it up and counter the effects of this imminent supervolcano, we're screwed.

Re:"Hollywood hasn't heard of nano-technology"? (1)

angelo (21182) | more than 13 years ago | (#94303)

They shot up Skinner with them in order to get him to do stuff for the shadow gov't types.

Rubbish (1)

johnburton (21870) | more than 13 years ago | (#94306)

This so called global warming is rubbish. The only people that believe in it are organisations funded to study it, and governments that can use it as an excuse for huge energy tax increases.

Re:"Hollywood hasn't heard of nano-technology"? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#94309)

That's what I was thinking about too. The nano-bots where injected into Skinner. Krycek controlled them with his Palm Pilot of Death.

-B

Re:no, I don't. (1)

Dashslot (23909) | more than 13 years ago | (#94311)

Frankly, I couldn't care less the state of the world in 10,000 years time.

What I care about is what happens in the next 50 years or so.

Granted, the world will sort itself out in the long run, but I don't have that much time.

Re:Um... (1)

Dashslot (23909) | more than 13 years ago | (#94312)

And what do you think happens when ozone starts depleting?

Re:Hard to believe (1)

kelleher (29528) | more than 13 years ago | (#94327)

Ok, assuming your negative feedback loop idea is correct, the earth as a whole won't be bothered by the puny acts of man. I can believe that.

Now, what about all us puny little humans? Do you think we won't be affected? Go look at your geological data again and this time think about how these corrections you believe in will affect people - not to mention all the furry little animals.

Re:Believed it was true? (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#94332)

damn, forgot to spellcheck my rant.

Believed it was true? (4)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#94333)

Sure, I BELIEVED, then I researched paleoclimatology untill I got the facts, now I KNOW most of what they tell me is wrong, half assed, and for political reasons. Don't listen to me, go out there and look up the OPPOSIE of what youve been told, and see if there is more information and if their side makes more sense. Ever heard of the little ice age 200 years ago? Most people havent. Puts a new slant on the warming trend of the last 100 years when you realise we are coming out of a minor FSCKING ICE AGE. Mideveal england was 1-3 degrees warmer than it is now, which is why there were colonies on greenland which died off when the climate GOT COLDER!! Don't believe me, do your own research. Look at the ice core data, listen to that crackpot opposed to the Microsoft, I mean popular view.

I'll believe it when our polar ice cap splits (1)

DataSquid (33187) | more than 13 years ago | (#94341)

I saw it on the news just last week. Rick Mercer was asking a bunch of Americans if they'd help out when our polar ice cap splits in two due to the global warming. If it's on CBC, it's got to be true. And if Americans will loan us tug boats to push it back together, who cares if it's true or not.

Re:We SHOULD be worried about Global Warming (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 13 years ago | (#94367)

1: Of course Jon didn't watch the discovery channel last night... He would have missed his appearance "So you wanna be an opinonated loudmouth" on PBS.

2: 5 degrees C isnt too bad.. personally, i'm one of those people who would rather be too cold than too warm. Anyway, say the average temp is 38 degrees C (100 F). 33 degrees C = 91 F.

Slashdot something useful. [thehungersite.com]
Management is not a tunable parameter.

The US and Global warming.. (2)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 13 years ago | (#94372)


The worlds largest polluter, either by nation, or per captia is waking up to polluting the planet.

But will they mind paying twice as much for gas to save the planet, or is it just another crock of shit.

Sorry to get passionate about this but the US is acting like the spoilt child of the planet, complaining that the 3rd World doesn't have to do as much, and thus the US is at a disadvantage, of course it is, the worlds strongest economy must be shitting itself that Namibia pollutes less per capita than the US, and isn't required to reduce that lower pollution rate by as much.

Its time to sue the US for damaging the health of the planet, others have a case to answer but at least the rest of the industrialised world is reducing emmisions, unlike the US which is still increasing them.

Effect, yes. Cause, no. (2)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 13 years ago | (#94379)

Put me down as believing that the climate is warming, most probably because we are still emerging from the "little ice age" of the 1700's, and that we have not reached the temperatures common in the 1200's (it was warm enough then that the vikings could settle in Greenland!).

Given those long-term trends, I find the evidence that human greenhouse gas generation is driving the warming effect to be unconvincing.

Man It's Hot Out (1)

blazerw11 (68928) | more than 13 years ago | (#94383)

Was the cited survey conducted in the summer? Would the responses be different if you asked a hundred random people on the streets of Chicago in January?

The earth is large and our immediate impact is hardly perceptible, however we ARE affecting the planet. Argue all you want about climatic cycles, but I'm not going out in the sun without an SPF of at least 30.

<hypocrite>Of course, I'm also not turning off my AC.</hypocrite>

Re:No real evidence (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 13 years ago | (#94393)

It's just a theory.. So are electromagnetics. Did your computer stop working?

Science is on the record (2)

geomon (78680) | more than 13 years ago | (#94399)

Temperature elevations are closely related to a rise in CO2 emmisions. The relationship has been discussed for more than a decade, although the public debate has really just begun in the US. The missing data include the relationship that exists between anthropomorphic sources of CO2 and the current rise of global temperature. The extremists on both sides of this issue have targeted this discussion for their own variations of propaganda and misinformation.

The Earth has gone through several interglacial warming cycles throughout the last few millions of years. Indeed, there is ample evidence that at various times during the span of this planet's existence that global temperatures have been above that measured during the short timeframe that humans have occupied. What caused these global temperature variations is the subject of numerous research efforts. The conclusions of these research projects vary from changes in the amount of CO2 that can be stored in the world's oceans to the density of terristrial plant life.

My greatest concern isn't necessarily that the Earth may be warming; that may have occurred regardless of the activity of humans. What concerns me is the adaptation that we may lack when sudden and possibly catastrophic changes in ocean thermohaline currents occur. Can we, as a species, adapt quickly enough to make significant changes to our livestyles to adjust to a shorter growing season in the north; can we migrate millions of people from what will become uninhabitable areas during extended winters in the northern hemisphere; will we survive our retreat back to the equator without hostile action with our southern neighbors?

Topic does'nt match subject (1)

oll (78871) | more than 13 years ago | (#94400)

Funny the way you set the subject to "global warming" and the topic to "United states"... There is a great deal of world outside of the US to, you know.

Do I believe? (1)

NTSwerver (92128) | more than 13 years ago | (#94435)

It makes no difference - George W doesn't (or rather, those that pull his strings don't).

----------------------------

Re:no, I don't. (1)

NTSwerver (92128) | more than 13 years ago | (#94436)

just b/c we are altering the state of the earth does not mean that we will 'destroy it' 'kill it' 'kill ourselves off' etc

How do you know for sure? What about increased flooding with the melting of the ice caps? Are people not at risk as a result of this?

this has happened many times before in history and it will happen again. Just b/c we are accelerating it does not mean it is a bad thing.

Why does this not mean it's a bad thing? Don't you think that reducing emissions, etc., would be a better thing - or do you just think "fsck it, I'm still gonna drive my 10litre, 1 mile to the gallon 4x4 and to hell with the consequences"?

I agree that the earth will survive pretty much anything that we can throw at it, but IMHO we should be a bit more concsious of the enviornment, just for the sake of our descendants - it doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing too much.

----------------------------

Re:But how much are we doing ourselves? (2)

briancarnell (94247) | more than 13 years ago | (#94437)

Last month's U.S. government report on Global warming did show that there is definite warming going on. I'll keep my laughter about G.W. ordering the report to myself.

Except that report confirmed exactly what Bush has been saying: there is a consensus on the warming, but there is no consensus at all on what role, if any, human beings are playing in it.

Hard to believe (1)

zer0vector (94679) | more than 13 years ago | (#94438)

I find it difficult to accept that an ecosystem as complex and massive as earth's atmosphere could be irreversibly damaged by the puny acts of man. Global increases and decreases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been going on since the formation of the atmosphere, just look at the geological data. The earth has to have natural cycles of CO2 abundance because it is able regulate the levels through a negative feedback loop. For example, higher CO2 abundance means a slight warming of the earth, which leads to melting of the ice caps, which leads to increased ocean surface area, and the warmer temperatures leads to increased amounts of green vegetation. These lead to a decrease in CO2, because it is scrubbed from the atmosphere by the plants, and absorped by the oceans. IMHO, the earth can take care of itself, and what little we do really isn't going to make a difference.

Re:Simple physics question... (1)

zer0vector (94679) | more than 13 years ago | (#94439)

I always thought the water level would stay exactly the same. The ice displaces an amount of water exactly equal to its mass, so when it becomes water, it should "fill in" precisely the volume displaced by the ice.

Re:Worrying Americans (1)

macbrak (101794) | more than 13 years ago | (#94454)

No we're... sorry i forgot what i was saying... Ameribashing the sport of anon. cowards...

so americans care ? (1)

wilf (106917) | more than 13 years ago | (#94464)

only their president doesnt seem to. think Kyoto treaty. think "would hurt my back pocket". say "no thanks".

People believe things they can see (1)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 13 years ago | (#94465)

For the average person, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence do not have a lot of real meaning. They can't see any examples in their everyday life.

Global climate change is something people can understand. Everyone has been through a warm winter, a dry summer, a flood, a severe storm. They have seen it affect their comfort, their recreation, perhaps even their income (for people in agriculture).

I'm not saying that carbon dioxide emissions are the cause of every extraordinary weather event lately. When people hear that global warming can cause these events, people take notice. It is something they can understand.

Re:no, I don't. (1)

Master Bait (115103) | more than 13 years ago | (#94480)

...there is far from any consensus that this warming is a result of human activity.

About the only people in the scientific community that don't believe in what you say are the very few who get research grants from big oil companies to make up research poopooing global warming.


blessings,

nanotech? (1)

tonyt (115436) | more than 13 years ago | (#94481)

And Hollywood hasn't yet even heard of nano-technologies.

ahem. virtuousity?

Re:no, I don't. (2)

Rei (128717) | more than 13 years ago | (#94517)

I concur :) By having global warming, the earth will actually increase the amount of arable land. Northern Canada and Siberia will eventually become fertile farmlands, for example :) There are a lot of other silly "what if?"s that global warming fanatics raise, like weather phenomina, etc, but it is just pure speculation, and pointless speculation at that. Life has survived through past cycles, it'll certainly survive through this one. :)

-= rei =-

Are we just fruit flys? (1)

iconnor (131903) | more than 13 years ago | (#94526)

We have all done or seen the experiment with fruit flys in biology class. Eventually the fruit flys over populate the container and die in their own pollution.

Hollywood finally recognizes it. (3)

bellings (137948) | more than 13 years ago | (#94541)

I'm glad Hollywood has finally gotten around to recognizing global warming. It's about time.

Hopefully they can make a movie about a time in the near future, when we've destroyed almost all plant and animal life on the planet, even exausting the supply of plankton in the ocean, and the only thing humans have left to eat are other humans. But most people wouldn't know that their food is people -- it would be kept a secret from the population. And then, in the last scene, the truth should be revealed! That would be a cool movie. Why hasn't hollywood made something like that yet? What a bunch of lame asses.

Re:no, I don't. (1)

TomV (138637) | more than 13 years ago | (#94542)

The earth will return. We will survive

Whoops, non-sequitur.

The Earth, the biosphere, Gaia, call it what you will... I have no doubt whatsoever it will survive whatever we as a species do to the environment.

But I see no reason whatsoever to believe that we, as a species, would be amongst the survivors. Cockroaches, weevils, deep-sea fish, plants, and all those billions of microbes, yes. A big, specialised primate whose genetic heritage is so inbred that there's more genetic diversity between chimpanzee siblings than between any two humans, would be one of the less likely survivors.

Now you might take the view, as I do to some extent, that in the long term the eradication of the 'virus with shoes' wouldn't actually be a bad thing. In which case, no problem, and the beautiful, magic blue jewel continues to thrive.

But if you're homo-sapien-centric, it would seem like a huge and very brave gamble.

TomV

bleh (1)

fintler (140604) | more than 13 years ago | (#94546)

We can only burn oil for 100 or so more years, after that I'll all be gone. 100 years of pollution is relatively nothing.

Nu-speak (2)

gowen (141411) | more than 13 years ago | (#94547)

What is interesting is that western political leaders almost never use the phrase global warming anymore. The spin doctors have decided that the less worrying term climate change should be used at all times.

It doesn't help when imbeciles like Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.) dismiss scientific evidence as "Liberal Claptrap" [unsw.edu.au]

Re:Yeah, Right (5)

gowen (141411) | more than 13 years ago | (#94555)

Most of the climate change predictions are based on computer models. Given our inability to forecast weather accurately at any interval, I doubt very much the computers can handle the much greater complexities of climate change
Then you misunderstand some of the complexities of weather forecasting. One of the reasons that many disparate models of long term climate change agree is that over sufficiently long time scales (10 years plus) the small scale effects (macroscale topography, daily wind variability as opposed to seasonal averages, the exact rate at which polynas open to create saline deep Antarctic water) that contribute to weather forecasting being hard can be neglected. Effectively, you don't need to know "There'll be a tornado in Kansas on Tuesday", when the long timescale model works perfectly well if it knows "They'll be some tornados in the Mid West in 2001".

Think of it like this, if you drop a sheet of paper of a building, you can't tell every flutter it'll make, but you know damn well its going to hit the ground.

Oh, please. (1)

TheMohel (143568) | more than 13 years ago | (#94558)

"Most Americans" can barely read, get most of their information from the television, and have a vague idea that "global warming is bad." They have no clue how the effect is measured. They don't know that there are any climate models, much less how they work. They don't understand what "greenhouse gases" are, and if they discovered that the Kyoto accord would have directly decreased their standard of living, they'd never have supported it. Actually, they didn't support it. They just said that it would be a good idea if those penguins didn't die. They had no idea that their profligate use of energy might have to be reduced.

I noticed two articles in my morning paper (and by the way, note that even the newspapers, as insipid and simplistic as they are, are dying for lack of interest) on global warming. One was on Peruvian glaciers; the other was on penguins. Neither article gave any details on how global warming was supposed to work, or the kind of regulations and controls that would be required to implement what some people think are the appropriate solutions. And neither article will register at all on "most Americans."

It's not a reasoned scientific debate. It's not a question with a deterministic answer. If regulatory action is taken, it will be in the absence of any useful scientific discussion. If regulatory action is not taken, it will be similarly ill-supported. It's a freaking sideshow, and it'll have the half-life they all have. Remember Farm Aid? Remember famine in Ethiopia? Remember land mines? You can be damn sure that "most Americans" don't.

Personal opinion? The first greenhouse gas we ought to get rid of is the hot air generated on the whole stupid subject.

Disappointment? (2)

BitchAss (146906) | more than 13 years ago | (#94564)

Spielberg raises some profound moral issues involving A.I. in his new movie, drawing a number of critical raves but proving a disappointment at the box office

AI was a box office disappointment? It's made almost $60 million in less than 2 weeks. [salon.com] What do you call a success?

Kyoto (What really happened) (1)

gamorck (151734) | more than 13 years ago | (#94570)

Jon says:
But science and the environment are becoming among the planet's hottest political issues. President Bush touched off a firestorm when he refused to sign the Kyoto accord. Although the reaction in the U.S. was less pronounced, a March 2001 Time/CNN poll found that two-thirds of Americans think the President should develop a plan to reduce the gas emissions that may contribute to global warming.
Wrong. Utterly Wrong. Katz spins EVERYTHING and always neglects the truth. This is yet another case of that.

The Kyoto treaty seeks to reduce ALL Carbon Dioxide emissions 5% BELOW 1990 levels by 2010 (More Info Here [cnn.com] ). This is of course impossible. Consider the current power situation in California for instance. Solving that will likely INCREASE the amount of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. How can you expect to reduce these emissions when you have no choice but to increase them? (You liberals have nobody to blame but yourselves on this one)

Bush came up with his own plan. His plan states that by 2015 CO2 emission levels will cease to increase. By 2050 his plan is to abolish ALL CO2 emissions. Hmmmm... I dont think the Kyoto treaty planned to get of them all......

Learn to read people. Dont make yourselves look like morons by buying into Katz's shit. Bush's plan is not only better in the long run - but it takes a realistic outlook on the problems he have TODAY. He realizes that A LOT of this country's power comes from COAL. Which as you know produces A LOT of CO2. You slashbotters are so blindly aligned sometimes its just sick. You people deserve Katz - you truly do.

Gam
"Flame at Will"

I Want to believe (1)

YetAnotherDave (159442) | more than 13 years ago | (#94577)

:)

Climate change-result of co2 ect or part of cycle? (1)

neo-phyter (167886) | more than 13 years ago | (#94586)

Ok, I think that the fact that the average temperature on earth has been increasing over the past 100 years or so. The question is : why? This is a classic correlation vs causation issue. We know that temperatures have been increasing for some time (how long, we don't know, because we've only recently learned how to measure temperature). Also, we know that co2 emmissions have been building up over the same time period for which we have temperature data. These two things are clearly positively correlated. That does not necessarily mean that co2 emmission build up is the sole or even most important reason for increases in temperature. It is just as possible that the earth's temperature follows very long-term cyclic behaviour and just happens to be on the upward phase in it's cycle. Meaning that the correlation between temperatures and pollution is spurious (or, at least positively biased). How can analysts get around this? Either find really sound temperature and co2 data that extends back through at least 2 global climate cycles (how, I dunno), or wait a few thousand years until we've collected such data through a couple of cycles. Allan

Even if America does become aware... (1)

neema (170845) | more than 13 years ago | (#94590)

Even if America's awareness on this situation increases... how much of a difference will this make? Right now, America has the #1 waste and carbon emission position on earth, but most experts predict that in 10 years that'll all change. Developing countries are developing at an alarming rate and China will soon have a more detrimental standpoint then America.

And even though the majority of Americans are ignorant, it'll still be a much easier job to raise awareness here then in a country like China. There are a whole lot more people there and there are some parts of the country that totally lack education.

My worry right now is soil errosion. Our rate of soil errosion far exceeds the rate that nature can provide soil. This is mostly due to lack of education in the agriculture society on this matter which makes me laugh that a 16 year old knows about it, but farmers are ignorant to the problem. Crop rotation and new ways of plowing fields are both suggest solutions that allow nutrients to be evenly distributed in the land and also allows land to rejuvenicate itself.

The problem isn't the environment itself, it's educating people about it. In fact, education people period is a problem.

No real evidence? You provide none either. (1)

Ratteau (183242) | more than 13 years ago | (#94625)

It's just a theory, and as such has yet to be conclusively proven

Yes, just like the theory if evolution?

put forward fictionally in the book

I added the bold, no other comment is necessary here.

As another poster pointed out, we will not destroy the earth, no matter what we do. However, we may not. Environmentalists need to realize that most people dont really give a damn about the earth itself (just look out your window while driving some day, youll see more trash in a couple miles than there is in most town dumps).


--------

Nope (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 13 years ago | (#94631)

I don't entirely believe that global warming caused by environmental causes.
We are currently coming out of an Ice Age, caused by the interposition of dust between us and the sun. The Earth's orbit shifts over time, being rather complex, and part of this is that the plane of the ecliptic wobbles up and down.
The current wobble is taking us away from the clouds of dust, so in a few thousand years, the Earth will be warmer, and we will have far fewer meteor showers.

Using unleaded petrol or demanding cycle lanes all over isn't going to help.

Electric Car?? (2)

ras_b (193300) | more than 13 years ago | (#94643)

What I don't understand is why we don't have electric cars yet. No emissions, no high gas prices. Is it because of the influence of oil companies? lack of electricity (ex. rolling blackouts)? I just don't get it. Environmentally it makes so much sense- unless there is some huge problem with electric cars I am missing.

Yeah, right (1)

Xoro (201854) | more than 13 years ago | (#94657)

The emerging exception appears to be global warming, which Americans are suddenly very worried about.

Possibly, but I bet most of those worries go something like this:

Gosh it's hot. Maybe I should wear shorts today. But then what if it cools down later on? Hmm...

Education (1)

MotorBoy (202918) | more than 13 years ago | (#94660)

What Katz is missing is *why* it's such a hot (excuse the pun) issue. I would submit that one of the main reasons behind the awareness of global warming (momentarily disregarding its true impact), is the fact that it is taught to our children from an early age. Furthermore, it is taught not as some yet-to-be-proven subject, like human cloning, but as if it were established fact. See ABC's report by John Stossel for verification of this brainwashing.

The other view of the argument is held by those who are not only offended by the environmentalists' dire, premature predictions but appalled that our children are encouraged to accept them as gospel. Therefore, you have doomsayers relying almost completely on emotions arguing against otherwise logical people whose emotions are inflamed. Hence, the discourse is passionate, and not because there is some new melding of science and politics.

From my point of view, if you can't tell me what the temperature will be two weeks from Tuesday, don't tell me what it will be in 50 years. And remember, in the 70's we were warned about the global cooling that was soon to destroy the planet.

Belief? (1)

HadronPie (212138) | more than 13 years ago | (#94676)

It's not really a matter of what one "believes", is it? I mean, either we change the climate and the ice caps melt or we don't. "Believing" one way or another is just ignoring the evidence before your eyes.

Re:Suggestion (1)

Rafajafar (217298) | more than 13 years ago | (#94688)

Would you mind elaborating for me, or will this vague response have to suffice?

Re:Now all of a sudden the USA is thinking ???? (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#94698)

Oh yeah, and the heads of all those Euro-countries that are nagging President Bush about not signing the Kyoto agreement? The sum total of those countries who have signed is the square root of fsck all.

This is the same agreement that practically lets India and China off the hook, and they have a metric arseload of the world's population and a goodly chunk of pollution as well.

Okay, compared to some parts of the States, they're pikers, but really, the Kyoto Agreement was flawed to begin with. No, it doesn't make Bush much less of the corporate stooge he appears to be (or the puppet of Cheney, some would say), but Christ, at least get some facts straight.

Kierthos

Re:no, I don't. (2)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#94701)

Exactly. What, it was something like 30 or 35 years ago that a lot of scientists were dead afraid of global cooling, to the point that a new ice age was "probable". Guess what, the same reasons they used to justify that answer are being used to justify global warming.

Kierthos

As the world turns.... (1)

Traicovn (226034) | more than 13 years ago | (#94702)

This was a concern a few years ago (About 8-10) during the end of the Bush administration, and the beginning of the Clinton administration. People made a big deal about Earth Day, there was the bio-dome, and people worried about aeorsol, cfc's, and students had big enviromental programs in schools.

But the world stopped caring as much.
Now people are driving SUV's which use tons of gas, aerosol can's are very prevelent, all though some are now enviro-friendly, and people are less likely to recycle unless their city requires them to.
People are just waking up again to the possibility that there may be some enviromental implications of what they are doing. There will be a period of concern, hopefully changes will be made and things will be improved, but unfortunately, people will probably begin to forget again.

[Something witty and intelligent should have appeared here.]

Suggestion (2)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 13 years ago | (#94705)


Jon, you aren't clear enough in your thinking to be writing stories for a major publication like Slashdot.

This puts a damper on things (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 13 years ago | (#94707)

"Perhaps because science and technology have always been dominated by educated, sometimes arrogant elites, and are far beyond the attention spans or formats of conventional media, few scientific issues manage to attract the attention of large numbers of people."

Awww... does this mean that we won't see an X-Files show detailing how global warming is really a government conspiracy to hide alien crafts within pockets of darkness hidden by light refracted by carbon dioxide, sulphate and ozone clouds? Dang.

global warming? (1)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 13 years ago | (#94710)

I have done a little reading on this subject, and studied it a little in college. I always understood that because the temperature of the oceans controlled the temperature of the world more so than the land. And this was the problem. That global warming would lead to global cooling.

That when the temperatures reached a certain point (global, not local) that the ice caps would begin to melt, and this would cool the oceans, causing the global temperature to drop, causing something akin to an Ice Age.

Not a chance (1)

Juan Epstein (238683) | more than 13 years ago | (#94711)

I don't believe that global warming actually exists. The earth naturally goes through cold periods and warm periods. It's happened that way for the past few million years (we have arctic core samples to prove it), and it'll continue to happen for another few million, assuming we don't nuke ourselves first. We're entering into another warm period, during which, temperatures will rise, deserts will begin to envelop previously fertile lands, and the sea will rise a few feet. It won't be the first time and It's nothing to get your panties in a bunch about. I'm sick of paranoid scientists waxing on and on about how the end is near and how automobile exhaust is going to end up killing every living thing on earth. Nothing but pure FUD with no scientific basis. Those guys deserve about as much credit as the bum standing in the subway station quoting scripture and telling everyone to repent.

Bullshit, all of it!

Global warming is a rediculuous liberal myth propagated by elitest democrats in order to rob red-blooded Americans from obtaining their god-given right to pollute the shit outta the environment. The corrupt Democrats won't stop until we have a totally sterile facist police state where spitting or swearing is punishible by prision time. If I want to dump used oil down a storm drain, god damnit, I should be able to do it! My taxes helped pay for those storm drains, so what's the harm.

European Leaders need Bush to blame. (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 13 years ago | (#94720)

Only on country in the world ratified the Kyoto treaty, and that is Romania.

Where is France, Germnany, or England when it comes to putting their money where the mouths are?

NO WHERE.

Besides blaming Bush is a cheap shot and the liberals love nothing more than a cheap shot. Clinton could have pushed for it, but he never did. Remember, the Senate voted 98-0 TO NOT RATIFY. How can you blame Bush Jon? You can't with facts, but facts aren't what you or your type are interested in.

Most Americans might survey that they are concerned about Global Warming, but I bet 90% don't know any real facts about what it is or what causes it.

Apparently the left expects to use their only real strategy, repeat a lie until it becomes the truth, or is at least believed.

As for the A.I. reviews, it got just as many harsh ones as it got raves. It died because it doesn't connect with people, and that is the only review that matters.

Lack of Proof (2)

Pov (248300) | more than 13 years ago | (#94738)

There just isn't any conclusive proof of humans having an effect on global warming. I used to attend Iowa State University as a physics major. When Freeman Dyson, whom some of you may have heard of, visited as a guest lecturer, us geek physics students got to have a Q&A session of our own with him. One of the big topics was global warming and his view was that there was a lack of accurate data so vast that nothing conclusive would be possible for a couple of centuries.

If you look at studies that have been done, most of them don't report any findings that conclude humans have had any effect, but environmental groups only tote the few that do.

Global warming may be partially caused by us and then again we may contribute 1% to what is just a cycle that we are a small cog in. I think it merits further study, but not immediate action and should definitely NOT be used as a boogeyman to scare our kids into hating large corporations.

Re:no, I don't. (1)

kbeast (255013) | more than 13 years ago | (#94743)

you must not have kids or want any...or to give your kids or your grand kids what you have/had or better...

you'll be dead in the next 50 years or so, or before that...I mean, I'm no "Save the world!" bumper sticker guy, but still...its pretty rotten enough to go through NYC and smell the stentch of piss in the subways, imagine what the rest of this hell is like. Even worse, take a trip over the Varrisano bridge and smell the garbage as you enter Staken Island. I'm surprised people actually live there it smells so fuckin' bad.

.kb

Re:Are we just fruit flys? (1)

kbeast (255013) | more than 13 years ago | (#94744)

not unless you let them out of the jar and into the classrom :)

.kb

"Hollywood hasn't heard of nano-technology"? (2)

drew_kime (303965) | more than 13 years ago | (#94770)

I think it's safe to call X-files mainstream. They had an episode where remote-contolled nano-bots were injected into ... Mulder? Pretty sure it was him. So I think Hollywood has heard of them.

Re:no, I don't. (2)

Miss Tress Race (309097) | more than 13 years ago | (#94778)

It is recognized by most of the scientific community that humans are accelerating the trend of global warming. Granted, the Earth's temperature does fluctuate on it's own, but the point of the matter is that we are actually adding to the trends. Ever spin a bottle? Sometimes if you spin it a little, it will wobble about and maintain it's upright orientation. If you spin it a bit too hard though, the bottle might lose control and fall down. The way I see it is that we are adding to the natural fluctuations of the Earth - and that perhaps we may be instigating a dramatic climate change that would not happen in the natural cycle of things.

Reversing human impact on the environment is something we need to start taking seriously. Never in the history of man (that I know of anyways) have we possesed technology that could alter the nature of our planet to such a degree. To argue that we shouldn't take this seriously because other countries haven't is a very naive way of looking at things. Granted, the Kyoto Treaty is not really a solution, but it is a beginning, and by refusing to sign it we are giving all the rest of the countries incentive to follow in our footsteps - after all, if it isn't good enough for the US, then why should it be good enough for the rest of the world?

Global Warming must be approached scientifically, not by opinion and government policy that is rooted in economic development.

Some links:

CFC's and Ozone layer? (2)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#94783)

My prediction: global warming will become the first issue of science and politics that captures the imagination of large numbers of American voters... They read that skin cancer rates are rising.

Well, the skin cancer rates are due all the CFC's eating the ozone layer, which was a pretty big deal a decade or so ago.

It's a good prelude the global warming battle, but an easier one - the scientific evidence was a lot more definitive, and not nearly as many industries were affected by the required solution ("Ban cfc's, use alternatives.")
--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Is it just me . . . (1)

phantumstranger (310589) | more than 13 years ago | (#94784)

. . . or do people get real up in arms about global warming every summer?

global warming? feh. (2)

xeeno (313431) | more than 13 years ago | (#94789)

Sorry. I classify global warming in the same category as I classify the global epidemic of mad cow disease. It's a joke. James P. Hogan wrote a really good commentary on this called "Ozone Politics." It's a good read. You might be able to find it on his web site here [jamesphogan.com] .
So what if the climate is changing? There was an ice age not so long ago, remember? For some reason, I don't think that humanity's industrialized heat and waste output 100,000+ years ago had anything to do with warming the environment to what it is today. And what about the huge ozone hole detected in the 50's? Why don't we hear about things like this?
The reason is because the only information that makes the news is the information that supports a catastrophe. You can thank the media for that one.
So, while the rest of you whine about global warming and cover up, I'll be eating a nice hamburger made from european beef and afterwards I'll catch some rays on the beach.

Simple physics question... (1)

k-flex$ (315275) | more than 13 years ago | (#94791)

If you place an ice cube in a glass of water, and wait for the ice to melt, does the water level go up or go down?

(it goes down since unusually water 'H2O' expands when frozen)

I believe that this factor must be taken into account when dealing with seas rising ... (although land bound ice going into the sea is a worrying proposition!)

Well... (1)

sofar (317980) | more than 13 years ago | (#94793)

Being a geologist, there is only one thing I can say:

"As scientists, the only thing we can say is that there needs to be done a lot more research on this subject."

Don't take this as flamebait:

Any premature belief or conclusion is bound to become proven unjust:

- The enormous amount of relevant data has only been studied for a relative short time
- We cannot yet estimate the real changes in temperature like tomorrows weather
- A lot of seemingly small events can have large effects on the climate, and we know there are such events daily on earth
- Global climate has changed over time much more rapid and extreme than we can imagine
- The indicators that human life effects global climate are much less significant than autonomous global changes

to mention a few.

In short: believe in global warming is like trusting the newspapers!

Re:no, I don't. (2)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 13 years ago | (#94799)

Uhh, hello?!? Didn't you see Waterworld?!? Everything will be flooded to the mountaintops, and the only survivors will be Kevin Costner and the Exxon Valdez! Panic NOW!!!!

Not a "digital" answer! (1)

ballzhey (321167) | more than 13 years ago | (#94804)

The problem is more analog. You see, you are a frog sitting in a pot that is slowly rising in temp. You'll die before you can realize that the water is about to boil.

So...? (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 13 years ago | (#94812)

There are many more misleading stuff out there in the media than global warming... although i do wonder why people are always misdirected to minor things rather than to things which are important.

Re:No real evidence (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#94814)

To analyze your ideas, let me direct you to the Crackpot Index [ucr.edu] . In particular you will find the following lines helpful:

It's just a theory, and as such has yet to be conclusively proven.
* 10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.

A competing theory, put forward fictionally in the book Fallen Angels
* 20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.

Including the -5 starting credit, I score your post at a crackpot level of 25. Not bad.

Historical problem (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#94815)

I disagree that the problem of global warming will be the first scientific or technological issue to attract massive public attention. Instead, the issue of radiation and fallout from above-ground nuclear tests, and the related issues of nuclear power and weapons proliferation, attracted public attention decades ago.

The results were decidedly mixed. Although public pressure stopped above-ground nuclear testing (which is a good thing), public paranoia about radiation in any form has yet to recede. We see this in many forms - remember the panic about radon gas in basements a few years ago? I'm also convinced that the issue of cell-phone "radiation" is covered by the same fear, in spite of the fact that RF energy from cell phones is low frequency and non-ionizing -- but just try explaining that to Joe Sixpack. Ironically, nuclear power represents a short-term solution to the greenhouse effect, by giving an immediately practical alternative to coal- and gas-fired generators.

Let's examine all of the facts (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#94819)

Most people agree that a global warming is in progress. A slightly smaller number agrees that humans are contributing to it. But before we go making assumptions about political shortcomings around global warming, let's look at a few of the facts.

  1. The earth has historically gone through cycles of warming and cooling. Studies show that we're currently well overdue for one. The breakup of ice at the poles has happened before.
  2. There is conflicting research and data on just how much of an impact carbon dioxide emissions have contributed to the global warming effect.
  3. The Kyoto accord that the US backed out of placed unequal burden on countries for emissions reduction. Developing nations were not subject to the same restrictions, thus granting them favoritism. You might argue that this is as it should be, but there were no clear definitions of when a nation would no longer be considered "developing." Furthermore, there was no plan considered for transitioning a country that was previously not burdened by the treaty into a situation of burden. In that event, all of the countries would probably get together and argue for about 10 years over how it would be done. Meanwhile, emerging country X would get a stranglehold on the rest of the world.
  4. The US is currently having trouble meeting the energy demands of the nation. Adhering to the Kyoto accord would place further strain on already taxed energy supplies -- at least in the short term.

Now, you can argue that current energy problems in the US are their own fault. This is true, but doesn't change the fact that the problem exists. You can also argue that placing tighter emissions restrictions on energy development would ultimately yield a greener and more cost effective energy solution. This would be true for the long run, but not the short run. I'm sure it wasn't easy for the President to decide to back out of Kyoto. Unfortunately, he's stuck with the legacy (translate "mess") left to him by Clinton and his own father.

GreyPoopon
--

Re:bah... (1)

sllort (442574) | more than 13 years ago | (#94824)

Until I get real scientists displaying real data everything is just scare tactics of the invironmental publicity Corperations (earth first, and the other scare for profit groups) to get more money.

What is an environmental corporation?

The National Academy of Sciences [nara.gov] has been in complete agreement about global warming for years. This year even the Bush administration admitted it exists.

If you want to know why people even think that global warming is "controversial", read Trust Us, We're Experts [prwatch.org] . Every person in America has been the target of a multi-billion dollar campaign funded by oil & gas interests, carried out by PR firms, and targeted on boosting skepticism and apathy about global warming.

Looks like they got to you, too.

No, I don't believe (2)

spacefem (443435) | more than 13 years ago | (#94826)

I'm sorry, but the earth is a crazy, spinning planet, our climate goes through cycles and phases just like everything else. It changes. We need more time to decide if we've really screwed it up or not, until then, I'm sick to DEATH of lame movies like AI and Waterworld that tell us about how terrible the world is going to be when we screw it up and can't fix it back. We can't look at 100 years in the life of a billion year old planet and decide how it's going, it just can't happen.

Besides, I like hot weather. Tank tops are comfortable.

No place for religion? (1)

MajorBurrito (443772) | more than 13 years ago | (#94829)

When a serious matter like medical research involving stem cells from frozen embryos arises, politicians worry at least as much about religious support as they do about what scientists advise.

There is one facet of slashdot, and the internet in general that disturbs me. Religion is often treated like a stepchild, and often when a religion-oriented comment is submitted and poster is derided. Why is this? Is there no tolerance for those who display a religious opinion? Katz himself, the impartial journalist, displays a slight disdain for those with religious leanings in the above quote, implying that listening to scientists is more important that listening to those with a religious point of view.

People with a religious inclination often labor under the stigma that they are close-minded. Why is this? They simply have a different viewpoint. True, there are people who will try to impose their religious viewpoint on others, but the same is true for Linux advocates towards Windows users.

I recall an article on /. a while ago (I think it was even a Katz article) about how some news portals risk destroying open thought because they allow you to select only news stories that correspond to your own viewpoint. Don't risk your open mind by acting this way - a closed mind is what got MS in power in the first place, what allows outrageous software patents to be granted, what allows an industry to control how you use your media.

People with a different viewpoint should be judged on what they have to say and their reasons for saying it, now on what they do on Sunday mornings.

Global Warming = FUD (1)

pyro_peter_911 (447333) | more than 13 years ago | (#94837)

A lot of the global warming uproar is designed to damage the US economy, not protect the environment.

Unfortunately, a strong economy is the best thing for the environment and if Kyoto Protocol proponents manage to cripple our economies then we're all doomed.

High powered economies (like the United States) and rich citizens (like the United States) create people that both care about the environment and have the means to do something about it.

Our high powered economy allows us to do expensive things like research Fusion Power. This research can't happen in a country with a crippled economy.

Yes, we're burning the candle at both ends right now, but by doing so we're buying a better future.

How far back to the rabid environmentalists want us to go? 100 years? 200? 1000? The world was never an environmental paradise. Our best bet for creating a new Eden is to keep on like we're going, develop cleaner limitless power sources and then clean up the mess we've made in a few decades. You can't bake a cake without breaking some eggs.

Peter

For further reading, I'd suggest:
Kyoto Policy Analysis [cato.org]

so what happened to global cooling? (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 13 years ago | (#94862)

less that 20 years ago they were saying we were heading for another ice age...

remember at one time scientists thought the world was flat...

_______________________

"Believe" (1)

Purple_Walrus (457070) | more than 13 years ago | (#94887)

Does it matter if polution is causing global warming? No one is gonna do anything about it, and if they try to they will get stopped by the government because all those polutants bring profits. I REALLY want my own country!
---

Did you just argue for leaded gasoline? (1)

mrvis (462390) | more than 13 years ago | (#94894)

Using unleaded petrol or demanding cycle lanes all over isn't going to help

Yeah, you did just say that you don't think leaded gasoline is bad. I'm pretty sure lead and global warming having nothing to do with each other. Lead makes kids retarded. That's why it is banned. That's why the joke "Did you eat paint chips as a kid?" exists. Lead kills people. Lead kills everything. It's bad.

I don't want to breathe. Neither do you. This is me looking out for you. Trust me on this one.

Re:no, I don't. (2)

mrvis (462390) | more than 13 years ago | (#94895)

I'm no scientist, but I thought the argument went rising temperatures -> melting ice caps -> rising oceans -> less land (with less arable land being a subset of that).

And if Siberia is becoming just warm enough to sustain agriculture, wouldn't you imagine some other place just cool enough now will become too hot/dry to sustain agriculture? Raise the temperature of the Great Plains by 6-8 degrees and you have a big dust desert.

Life has survived through past cycles, it'll certainly survive through this one.
The point is that it isn't a cycle. It's called Global Warming - not global warming then cooling. The earth will just get hotter. Yes bacteria are there to eat the CO2 and they will flourish and whatever eats them will flourish as well, but they can only convert so much. Man will always be able to conquer nature, and if we sit on our hands we'll spit out more CO2 and other shit than the earth can handle.

I have every confidence in the human race to do this.


Nooch.

Uh, Global Warming is sort of an old demon... (1)

Thomas M Hughes (463951) | more than 13 years ago | (#94898)

Um...I remember hearing about how evil global warming was back in the 1980's. And the Democrats have been pushing for environmental protections (including Global Warming) for as long as I can remember.

Generally, the technology sector has been more supportive of the Democrats, which most likely had to do with education levels (generally, 90% of those with PhD's tend to have a liberal bias). Up until very recently, the only people who worked with higher technology were the PhD's. Now, big business has embraced Technology, so we might see more of a lean towards the Republicans, but its hard to say.

All around, I think this "feature" sucks. Speaking as a student of Political Science, this isn't even a well phrased theory, let alone having any research, or even an informed opinon. If I handed something like this in for a paper for any of my Poli Sci classes, this would be a garunteed failing grade.

Try doing some background research next time?
---

Re:Electric Car?? (1)

trecho (465844) | more than 13 years ago | (#94909)

um....HEAVY METALS IN BATTERIES!! Gee. What will we do with all the waste BATTERIES?!?!?!?! DUMBASS! THINK before you post!

The Science is Not There (1)

JavaJustSayNo (466382) | more than 13 years ago | (#94911)

The Science is not there to prove that Global Warming even exists. In fact, the science suggests that the Earth has gone through several "warming" periods naturally, as a result of valcanos and other natural activity. Much of the pro-Global Warming stuff has ben funded by pro-environmental and other pseudo-science organizations. Bush is correct in not destroying American business and our thriving economy over unproven facts. Now, this deserves better than a 1? How come all of my postings get an automatic 1?

Re:Lack of Proof (1)

TheRealRingmasteR (466581) | more than 13 years ago | (#94917)

In all actuality, the earth's atmosphere is making a remarkable come back since we have stopped using products with CFCs and is expected to have completely repaired itself within the next 25 - 50 years.

Bush goes back on promise to reduce CO2 (2)

bwooster (466587) | more than 13 years ago | (#94918)

This past March President Bush reneged on his campaign PROMISE to have a MANDATORY reduction of CO2 emission. That shows what: 1) his promises are worth, 2) how much he cares about the environment.
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