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great documentary on this (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482388)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319262/ [imdb.com]

A chilling account.

As it were.

Re:great documentary on this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483420)

And I, for one, welcome our new Mexican overlords!

Re:great documentary on this (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12489551)

And I, for one, welcome our new Mexican overlords!


I was laughing my ass off at that part in the movie. It was so ironic that after years of trying to turn back Mexicans (and other southern-country citizens) that Mexico was closing their borders to stop the influx of Americans fleeing to avoid freezing (and thus Americans cutting fences and crossing rivers).

History (4, Insightful)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482389)

It would be interesting to see the history of the gulf stream. Could it be a fluke of recent development?

History of Gulf Stream (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483191)

Water flowing
Water flowing
More water flowing
Even more water flowing
Water still flowing
Water flowing
Water flowing

Still interesting?

MOD ME DOWN! (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12493606)

I was trying to be funny. But even I don't think it was funny enough to get modded to 5.

Yes, climate will change... (4, Insightful)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482399)

At no point in earth's history has climate stood still. At no point in earth's history has all life been wiped clean from it. The earth is fine; if people go the way of the dinosaur, then so be it.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12482518)

That's why environmetalism is a win-win viewpoint. Either A)they are wrong that humans are causing damage to the earth, and everything goes on just fine or B) they are right, and humans will be wiped of the earth.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (3, Insightful)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482577)

> At no point in earth's history has climate stood still.

Well, except for the 8,200y event, the climate has stood relatively still in the last 10 millenia. Coincidentally, the time were began to settle, started farming, mining. This whole idiotic civilisation tech-tree thing.

> if people go the way of the dinosaur, then so be it.

You may say, that I'm egoistical, but I find such a prospect in my life-time relatively disturbing.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482665)

10 millennia isn't even worth mentioning when you're discussing climate change.

I say again, at no point in earth's history has climate stood still.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (3, Interesting)

uncadonna (85026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483070)

Normally, 10 millenia is a short time in geophysics. Watch out for the next few centuries though. They'll be among the most exciting highlights of the entire multi-billion-year record.

Welcome to the anthropocene [innovations-report.de] .

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483864)

"Watch out for the next few centuries though. They'll be among the most exciting highlights of the entire multi-billion-year record."

Maybe I'm just shallow, but I like taking the climate for granted.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 9 years ago | (#12490160)

"Watch out for the next few centuries though. They'll be among the most exciting highlights of the entire multi-billion-year record."

Maybe I'm just lazy, but I like to leave it to my grandchildren. I can buy them a hill to build their house on.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Interesting)

Fyz (581804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486214)

I've been thinking about this as well. But maybe it isn't going far enough to say that humanity is taking the earth into a new geological era. A better, be it more speculative, suggestion is that humanity actually has it in their power to usher in a new eon.

My reasoning for this is that eons are defined by whatever principal force that affects the earth most profoundly changes. A short list:

The Hadean(4550 mya - 3800 mya), where the earth was cooling and life was impossible.

The Archaean(3800 mya - 2500 mya), where life originates.

The Proterozoic(2500 mya - 570 mya), where single-celled life proliferates and evolves into forms that permanently changes the makeup of the atmosphere, and thus instills on the world a regulation feedback loop.

The Phanerozoic(570 mya - present day), where advanced life makes it's entry and further increases the level of control life has on its environment.

So my question is, since the passing of eons basically describe the amount of control and impact life has on its environment, isn't the speed and sophistication of humanity's effect on the environment so profound that we should be entering the Anthropean eon?

Antropean eon (1)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486718)

So my question is, since the passing of eons basically describe the amount of control and impact life has on its environment, isn't the speed and sophistication of humanity's effect on the environment so profound that we should be entering the Anthropean eon?
Sure, sounds very reasonable. Let's just hope that our decendents gain the technology that will be needed to ensure that the anthropean eon isn't marked by a runaway greenhouse effect that boils the oceans and produces Venus's twin sister...

As unlikely as that might sound to most of you, that is exactly what the graphs show happening if everything keeps moving in the direction that it is moving today...

Re:Antropean eon (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12487288)

Not sure, but I'm pretty sure I read that the Greenhouse warming here on Earth was actually supposed to end up causing more of an ice age than Venus' twin.

Re:Anthropean eon (1, Insightful)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12488447)

Not sure, but I'm pretty sure I read that the Greenhouse warming here on Earth was actually supposed to end up causing more of an ice age than Venus' twin.
Sure, if we only nudge it a little bit - because the polar caps will melt and that will lower the temperature of the oceans creating what we perceive as an ice age. But the overall amount of energy in our system is increasing, not decreasing. Liberating water from ice takes a ton of energy and only gives us the illusion of an overall cooling because it is geographically spread-out (e.g. liquid water spreads spreads around a lot, absorbing ambient heat).

But if we pump enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to overcome the counter-pressure built up in the poles... It could become a runaway greenhouse effect, which I believe were the words I used. In that scenario, our weather will head for a new equilibrium much like that of Venus.

By the way, a runaway greenhouse effect does not have to occur quickly. it could happen over thousands of years (or more). The telling sign will be if the earth is absorbing more energy than it is radiating back to space. If we have a sustained condition such as that, the earth is heating up and will continue to until it reaches a new balance (radiation in = radiation out).

FYI: There was recently an article on slashdot about this very condition being analyzed from space. It appears that we are there now, but we could have a few thousand years to fix the problem before our oceans are gone. If you think it is silly to talk about our oceans boiling away, please consider that water->steam is just another phase transition like ice->water, just a little further down the same road we are currently traveling.

Re:Anthropean eon (1)

2marcus (704338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12498650)

Erm. I think you are both wrong.

First, the "ice age" connection is not due to the energy it takes to melt ice. Rather it is due to the very topic of grandparent article. Namely the theory is that in the past the gulf stream shutdown (which is due to the fact that melted ice is less dense than salt water) led to a cooling of the European land mass, leading to extension of glaciers down from the north pole, leading to a higher albedo Earth, leading to cooling of the whole planet.

However, this time around we have higher GHG concentrations than in previous cycles and high projected global mean temperatures, so it seems unlikely that Europe will cool to the point where increased snowcover will lead to an ice age, even in the case of complete gulf stream collapse.

But I don't think that any respectable climatologist talks about runaway greenhouse effects with the Earth anymore. While there may be significant positive feedbacks in the climate system, there is no evidence that they are that large. As a climate scientist myself, I believe that we do need to reduce our GHG emissions as much as is feasible in order to avoid all sorts of unfortunate climate changes, but boiling the earth's oceans just isn't in the cards.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Insightful)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485057)

And at no point since the rise of mammals has it changed in such abrupt and chaotic ways as it has the last 50-150 years.

Just like a computer may randomly crash after running for a long time, but will go down far more often when a human is using it.

Problem isn't just that we may kill ourselves. The problems is we may take a large chunk of everything else with us. However, the former problem should be bad enough.

I'm guessing you don't have and/or don't want children. I don't, but I do want them. I would like to not go to my grave (and possibly theirs or their grandchildrens) knowing that it was my generation that should have seen the mess and still didn't do everything we could to fix it.

We spent full percentages of the U.S.'s GNP to get to the moon. Surely we could spend a percentage of -that- to see about trying to fix the damage we've done and are doing.

Besides, if you don't mind if we all die, why should you mind if we try to fix what we've done and clean up our mess?

Re:Yes, climate will change... (3, Insightful)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485529)

Conversely, at no point has it EVER been measured as accurately as it has the last 50-150 years.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Insightful)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12492798)

Yes - and you know what happens when scientists get to make policy decisions based on an emerging field?

You get a food pyramid that kills millions in an attempt to make them less fat (it actually makes them more fat!). Ask a heart surgeon - the FDA listening to early nutritional scientists directly led to the prevalence of heart attacks today.

If we make policy decisions based on early scientific projections, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot.

Personally, I believe that since our ability to effect planetwide change is currently growing exponentially, it is fairly likely that we can fix any messes we can make - any effect we can cause now will be dwarfed by the effects we could cause later. (For example if we really knew that carbon dioxide would kill us all, 50% of the world economy could be switched to fighting the "CO2 WAR," and we would remove the necessary CO2 very quickly. We have political/Financial processes in place to handle such large scale projects now.)

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12493106)

Yes - and you know what happens when scientists get to make policy decisions based on an emerging field?


You get a food pyramid that kills millions in an attempt to make them less fat (it actually makes them more fat!). Ask a heart surgeon - the FDA listening to early nutritional scientists directly led to the prevalence of heart attacks today.


Do you -honestly- believe that such a government sponsored group can truly be called "scientists"?

Or do you honestly believe that current food, health OR economic policies are allowed to produce true results without the skewing of said government?

Hell, it is the government over the last years that has ignored the science out there and allowed situations to continue.

Situations like ... oh, say, corn subsidies that are used to make corn sweetener FAR cheaper alternative that beat and can sugar. Who cares if those corn sweeteners are a different kind of sugar the metabolizes differently, causing a dependence on the substance and a change in the way we store fats.

The above is offtopic for a reason. I'm sure you'll see it.

As for the CO2 War ... hell, it wouldn't do us any good anyway. Why work on removing CO2 instead of -producing- less of it? "Clean Coal", remember that? What a crock. Better than the worst polluting fuel we have right now? Yes. Anywhere near what we should be working towards? No.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12499616)

On a microscopic scale, yes.

On a macroscropic scale it is fairly simple to track overall patterns on a 10-25 year scale.

Far different processes. Do I think a few droughts or a few more hurricanes than normal matter much in the scheme of things? Nope. But consistent and constant changes in temperature, global wind patterns, etc, yes.

Or, in simpler terms, you're talking about weather, I'm talking about climate.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12489813)

"I find such a prospect [people going the way of the dinosaur] in my life-time relatively disturbing"

Technically, it won't happen during your lifetime, unless you're the last person left alive on Earth, which is highly unlikely.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

OldAndSlow (528779) | more than 9 years ago | (#12491199)

I find such a prospect in my life-time relatively disturbing.

well, sort of by definition, people can't go extinct in your lifetime.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482756)


At no point in earth's history has all life been wiped clean from it. The earth is fine; if people go the way of the dinosaur, then so be it.

You've stumbled upon the central lie of the "environmentalists movement". That is that it's all about "saving the planet". You're absolutely right, the planet is in no danger. Humanity of course, is in some danger.

As far as not caring about humanity, well you're entitled to your values. The vast majority of us don't want humanity to go away, people to suffer do to damage to our environment, etc. You'll excuse us if we get concerned about such things.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483707)

I think part of people's beef with the environmentalist movement is that (in more relatively libertarian societies like the Unites States and Japan (as opposed to more communitarian societies like, oh, almost all of Europe)) people want (or deserve) the right to act in their own self-interest, and think "Hm. Force people to give up some of their own economic freedoms, for the sake of averting an alleged disaster, the evidence in support of which appears (rightly or not) to be exaggerated, and which I may very well not live to see? You're out of your mind."

In general, people don't have much of a problem with being environmentally friendly. The problem arises when they're forced to do it. Or it becomes a significant inconvenience or expense.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483842)

Or when they take to nutty extremes. Like the group that wants air craft banned from flying over Natonal Forests. They feel that looking up and seeing an airliner flying overhead ruines the natural feel of the place.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12505299)

> the evidence in support of which appears (rightly
> or not) to be exaggerated

Well, you say "rightly or not", but the evidence only tends to "appear to be exaggerated" to the very people who don't want to give up their Hummers and airconditioners and all of the other trappings that come with cheap fossil energy.

It may appear that the evidence for anthropogenic global warming is exaggerated to those folks, but to the vast, vast majority (not ALL, I said "vast majority") of people who are:

a) scientifically literate and
b) willing to look at evidence for things they'd rather not deal with,
the evidence:
a) comes from multiple lines of investigation by large numbers of researchers in multiple fields, and
b) is, on the whole, more free from political & economic power game baggage than the 'evidence' offered by those on the opposing side of the argument (many/most of whom are funded by the very people/sorporations which stand to make the most profit out of continuing on the present course).

Now that's not a guarantee of being "right", but it's pretty damn compelling. It always sucks to be forced to do something we don't want to do, but when the repurcussions of our actions affect every living thing on the planet, we no longer have the luxury of being libertarian, enviro-isolationists.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12505934)

It's rather unfair to assume that the only people who think that the environment is not in immediate and grave danger due to pollution anthropogenic erosion are those who have a vested and short-sighted economic interest in keeping the environment unregulated. What about people who think, Even if there is a danger, we're probably going about it the wrong way [grist.org] ? Or the people who think, I don't mind being environmentally friendly and in fact I recommend it to all my friends, but that doesn't give the government the right to force anyone into it? Not everyone who disagrees has a sinister self-serving agenda.

1. Evidence will certainly appear exaggerated when you see projections [ec.gc.ca] which (although I am not a meteorologist) feature predictions that do not at first appear mathematically sound. It's difficult to seem unbiased with cases like journals suppressing dissenting opinion on global warming [telegraph.co.uk] . It's hard to present yourself as even-minded when you attract support for your cause with slogans like "save the planet."

The IPCC [ipcc.ch] does an outstanding job of researching it, but too few listen to reason and most of the rest content themselves with predicting the end of the world based on incomplete data, and demand that actions be taken which are likely to be either ineffective or excessively costly.

2. There are scientifically literate people on both sides of the equation. The Cooler Heads Coalition [globalwarming.org] , while hardly unbiased, demonstrates that in its selection of articles.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Interesting)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484889)

Actually, the grandparent expresses the perfect environmentalist viewpoint. The fundamental philosophy of the most vocal group of "environmentalists" is that I should treat the planet (or something) as being more important than human life. That's the single point that it all comes back to, even if not everyone who makes that argument knows that they are.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485517)

The fundamental philosophy of the most vocal group of "environmentalists" is that I should treat the planet (or something) as being more important than human life.

Kindly name them. I'd LOVE to see an official quote where PETA says that we should kill humans to make room for wolves.

Political Environmentalists hold the historically shocking assertion that preventing damage to the biosphere* is more important than human profit. If you take even the most outrageous environmentalist group large enough to be counted as a "vocal group", you can see what they're opposed to as the profit of some other humans.

Against fossil fuels? Because they damage the biosphere for human profit.

Against medical testing? Because they harm animals for human profit.

(About that word, "biosphere." While you can go ahead and look it up if you don't know what it means, it's probably fair to say that some "environmetnalists" have some odd ideas about what counts as "life" and what counts as "profit.")

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12487939)

Human "profit" is that which helps, benefits, improves, or aids humans, according to my dictionary. Doesn't really sound like the kind of thing you want to be against, does it?

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12495632)

It's not a binary issue.

You can believe that there is something more important than A without being against A.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 9 years ago | (#12488134)

On page two of this article [cbrinfo.org] , one long time outspoken PETA member is claimed to have rated a health rat as more important than a sick child.

David Kupelian of World Net Daily considers [worldnetdaily.com] PETA's official non-committal stance on abortion to be saying that an animal's life is worth saving, a human babies isn't.

I would say that PETA does consider animal life to be at least equal if not supperior to human life.

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12495583)

On page two of this article, one long time outspoken PETA member is claimed to have rated a health rat as more important than a sick child.

Which was, in that same paragraph, an argument that parents should be allowed to euthanize. Just like the owners of a sick rat can kill it.

David Kupelian of World Net Daily considers PETA's official non-committal stance on abortion to be saying that an animal's life is worth saving, a human babies isn't.

The question for abortion is "is a fetus a legal person?" And the legal answer is "no." If you don't like it, I'd like to see a Constitutional amendment to that effect. Until then, saying that someone who's against abortion is agaisnt humanity is as nonsensical as claiming that someone who doesn't like onions hates vegetables.

I would say that PETA does consider animal life to be at least equal if not supperior to human life.

Equal to? Sure. That's a fair assessment of their position.

Superior to? That's just anti-environmentalist fearmongering.

Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12488386)


The fundamental philosophy of the most vocal group of "environmentalists" is that I should treat the planet (or something) as being more important than human life.

And you're expressing the fundamental philosophy of the most vocal corporate public relations departments -- that human life is somehow separate and independent of the global environment. We can't thrive without a healthy environment. We can't exist without a reasonably functional environment.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12489511)

Of course. I'm not saying "let's go destroy us some environment"; merely that I should preserve and improve the environment for my benefit (because I'm a part of it), not to my detriment.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12490101)


Of course. I'm not saying "let's go destroy us some environment"; merely that I should preserve and improve the environment for my benefit (because I'm a part of it), not to my detriment.

Maybe you could expand on the idea that preserving the environment could work to your detriment. You know your lifestyle in unsustainable. Why keep delaying the inevitable and further reducing our options? Either we adjust willingly or we have reality thrust upon us in incredibly painful ways. Your anti-environmentalist campaigning is what is actually working to your detriment. The "environmentalists are dangerous" meme comes straight from the corporate-funded "think tanks" and PR firms. Do you think they have your best interests in mind or their profits?

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12490972)

Um, WTF? Since when am I "campaigning"? I'm sorry that you feel persecuted because you can't understand what I'm saying, but don't take it personally.

Anyway, as to your point: nothing is "sustainable". It's a fact of the universe. Living your life with minimal impact on the world is nice and Zen and all, but that's the strategy of "delaying the inevitable", not anything I've ever talked about. You can keep on being "sustainable" right up to the (inevitable, as far as you or I know at the moment) heat death of the universe, but your standard of living will go to shit in the meantime.
Or, you can go about your life optimizing what you get out of the universe and what you put in, changing it, to your benefit as well as you can. Both you and the universe will be around for a finite amount of time, so you might as well make that time interesting, creative, productive, profitable, or whatever you want. That's the essence of life.
Like I said, I don't deny that ecology exists, or that "the environment" is a good thing, only that "environmentalism" as a philosophy is the polar opposite of "living".

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12491625)


I'm sorry that you feel persecuted because you can't understand what I'm saying, but don't take it personally.

The arrogance of the wealthy elite is sometimes quite enlightening. I think you're revealing more about yourself than you realize.

Anyway, as to your point: nothing is "sustainable".

Then why is that word in the English language?

It's a fact of the universe. Living your life with minimal impact on the world is nice and Zen and all, but that's the strategy of "delaying the inevitable", not anything I've ever talked about. You can keep on being "sustainable" right up to the (inevitable, as far as you or I know at the moment) heat death of the universe, but your standard of living will go to shit in the meantime.

Now that's hypocrisy at it's finest. You accuse me of being "Zen and all," and then ramp your argument up to the cosmic scale to prove that even the universe is unsustainable. Excuse me for not living my life on a cosmic scale. I prefer to live my life on a human scale. On that scale, things can be sustainable. If entropy is your mantra, why not just start smashing things to bits right now?
And if you think environmentalism will reduce our standard of living to "shit," let's visit a landfill or a petroleum refinery and then we'll talk about where consumerism is taking us.

Or, you can go about your life optimizing what you get out of the universe and what you put in, changing it, to your benefit as well as you can.

Ah, the old "greed is good" argument. The reason not to do only what's to my benefit is that it causes others to suffer. You may not mind causing suffering to others but I happen to have a conscience. It even goes against human evolution which has optimized us for group benefit rather than individual gain.

Both you and the universe will be around for a finite amount of time, so you might as well make that time interesting, creative, productive, profitable, or whatever you want.

I choose to make my life productive by exposing the moral bankruptcy of self-serving economic totalitarians who would destroy to world to gain a little gold.

..."environmentalism" as a philosophy is the polar opposite of "living".

Oh, so for billions of years the flora and fauna that evolved to live within the bounds of their environment weren't really "living?" I guess you mean they never caught a show in Vegas or took their power boat out for a spin on lake Powell.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12496156)

The majority of your post is a mass of unfounded hyperbole with no relation to anything I've ever said, but I'd like to respond to one point in particular: "then why is that word in the English language?" The answer, of course, is that the idea exists; English is able to express the impossible (such as "faster than light" or "nigritude ultramarine") just as easily as the possible. Otherwise it wouldn't be much of a language.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12502352)


The majority of your post is a mass of unfounded hyperbole with no relation to anything I've ever said..."

Even though I quoted back your exact words before my comments? Way to have courage and stand behind your words, dude. Let me know when you want your spine back.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12492931)

It is not as simple as that. There are people who feel that the propper balance is to have no technology higher than domesticated animals. There are others that believe that poisoning a lake is a fair trade for jet aircraft. There is a question how much value "nature" presents. Presumably, even you have a value of "profit" at which you would destroy nature - for example to save a nation's children, struck with some disease that can only be cured by the processing (destruction) of some rain forest.

The truely difficult part of this is to determine the value (as in profit) of a healthy environment. Different people have different, honest appraisels. The way we solve things in this country is to go with public opinion, weighted by corporate interests (how much weight this is believed to be given varies between individuals). If you don't like this, complain to your government (or move to Europe, they do thing differently there).

The method we have works - we tend to pacify the majority of the people, while not allowing the extremists on either side to take charge.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12494233)


There are people who feel that the propper balance is to have no technology higher than domesticated animals. There are others that believe that poisoning a lake is a fair trade for jet aircraft.

And those people would be classified as extremists. I love to hear people toss that crap out there -- a little misdirection to conflate environmentalists with Luddites. The people who want to poison the lakes seem to be in charge, though.

There is a question how much value "nature" presents. ...
The truely difficult part of this is to determine the value (as in profit) of a healthy environment.


I like the way you put the word nature in quotes -- as if it were some kind of debatable concept that may or may not exist. Nice spin. Aside from that, your economic education is somewhat incomplete. Before we can debate this issue you'll need to get up to date. [a-p-e-x.org]

The way we solve things in this country is to go with public opinion, weighted by corporate interests (how much weight this is believed to be given varies between individuals).

Yeah, they do work like that but it's a recent development. In the post-war years we traditionally relied on scientific studies to make these decisions. A panel of scientists would be commissioned, make it's recommendations to congress and congress (under the peoples' authority) would debate and decide based on the science, not public opinion nor corporate opinion. Corporations love the new system because they get complete control of the process. They own the politicians and they control public opinion by managing the peoples' perception of the issues through their vast wealth, PR firms, "think tanks," and corporate-controlled media outlets. That's not democracy. Corporations should have ZERO weight in government decisions. The last time I read The Constitution it started out "We, the people..." not "We, the people and corporations..." Corporations have neither morals nor conscience and are incapable of making rational decisions. They are essentially ultra-wealthy sociopaths with nothing but profit on their agenda. If you can show me in The Constitution where we are supposed to weigh how much corporate interest to mix in with the peoples' interest I'll concede this point. Otherwise, you're just a corporate tool working to take the peoples' power and hand it over to sociopathic corporations.

If you don't like this, complain to your government...
Ha. Good one. If you don't like the way the hen house is run then complain to the fox.
...(or move to Europe, they do thing differently there).
Which is just a barely polite way to say, "Get out if you don't like it, Commie!"

The method we have works - we tend to pacify the majority of the people, while not allowing the extremists on either side to take charge.

So you think the system is working if government is keeping people pacified? What an arrogant and condescending attitude you have toward democracy! We need people to be active and participatory for democracy to work. And your assertion that we're "not allowing the extremists on either side to take charge" is completely false. The extremists on one side have taken charge.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12498731)

And your assertion that we're "not allowing the extremists on either side to take charge" is completely false. The extremists on one side have taken charge.

Unfortunately, all this shows is that you are an extremist by the measures we use in society. Probably those around you are also extremists, so you do not have any external perspective. One of the most important lessons to learn in life is to listen to those that you disagree with - you cannot learn by listening to those that you agree with.

In the post-war years we traditionally relied on scientific studies to make these decisions. A panel of scientists would be commissioned...

Yes, and look at what that got us! Nuclear power condemned even though (at least at that point) it was the best option - because scientists didn't know how to communicate to the public. The FDA making "food policy" that makes people fatter and at higher risk for heart attacks! Scientists make very poor policy makers - policy makers and leaders require broad and shallow knowlege, not deep and narrow. (Seeing the interactions between different things is more important than a deep understanding of a single thing for decision making).

BTW, the words I put in quotes are not words I don't think exist. They are words that I am using at least a little bit incorrectly - I was trying to show that I meant nature in a larger sense than it is normally used with. The site you link to pretty much agrees with what I was trying to say - though I didn't read enough of it to see their particular biases (we all have them). The propper way to look at environmentalism is as an economic trade off, balancing building airplanes and poisoning lakes. (That example was supposed to show the extremists on both sides. There are no people known to be in power that would trade a poisoned lake for an airplane - as soon as they are found out they are removed, the same as with someone that wanted to eliminate technology...)

BTW-2, what is wrong with suggesting a location change if someone does not like where they are living because most of the other people there do not agree with them? I would think that would be quite logical - if you are the type of person that wants ecology over technology, move to Germany (they tend to agree with you). It's beautiful there! What's wrong with saying that? I have livedin many different cultures, and I am saddened by those that stay in one place all their lives - they have such a narrow perspective, and miss the richness life has to offer.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12501914)


Unfortunately, all this shows is that you are an extremist by the measures we use in society.

Who is this self-proclaimed "we?" You act as if you and your imaginary "we" have a monopoly on the definition of extremism. That's pure totalitarian thinking -- as if your thinking is pure and therefore uniquely qualified to make this determination. I call that cultural correctness.

Probably those around you are also extremists, so you do not have any external perspective. One of the most important lessons to learn in life is to listen to those that you disagree with - you cannot learn by listening to those that you agree with.

You just used your teacher's voice to speak down to me and incorrectly assumed I've insulated myself from differing opinions. What's funny is that you said that to a daily Rush listener. I can listen to him all day and not shift my position an inch because I understand the linguistic jujitsu he's using. Yours is a different kind, more like Dick Cheney's "voice of reason"-type of condescension.

Yes, and look at what that got us!

What do you mean, "Look at what that got us???" The post-war years were the most productive in our nation's history. We became the world's technology leader, the wealthiest by far, and the world's first global hyper-power. It always amazes me how half the people of this country have been convinced that the system that created our huge success is somehow broken and needs completely plowed under in the name of corporate power. It's the greatest PR coup in history and you seem to be completely under its spell.

Scientists make very poor policy makers...

See what you did right there? You lectured me for not listening to what others are saying and then you completely lost the meaning of my statement about scientific panels reporting their findings to congress so that our representatives can make the policies. That was very dishonest.

There are no people known to be in power that would trade a poisoned lake for an airplane - as soon as they are found out they are removed...
Holy cow. You are extremely naive if you believe that. Our president, the secretary of the interior, and all the way down the policy line always side on the rights of industry over the rights of the people to a clean environment. In fact, that's what's holding up the current energy bill. DeLay wants to include immunity for gasoline refiners who polluted our groundwater with MTBE. Do you think Bush won't sign that if it gets through? Do you think they'll be removed from office for it? (DeLay might be removed but not for that.)
You can see their [ucsusa.org] handiwork [sfgate.com] in the complete obliteration of mountains, valleys, and mountain streams for coal [ohvec.org] (this is clearly illegal in at least three ways but our corporate-owned government keeps bending the rules to allow it to continue.) Chief US District Judge Charles Haden II(Nixon-appointed) chastised state and federal bureaucrats who allowed the practice to continue:
"Agency warnings have no more effect than a wink and a nod, a deadline is just an arbitrary date on the calendar, and once passed, not to be mentioned again."
"Financial benefits accrue to the owners and operators who were not required to incur the statutory burden and costs attendant to surface mining: political benefits accrue to the state executive and legislators who escape accountability while the mining industry gets a free pass."
Now who's unaware of the other side of the argument, again?

the same as with someone that wanted to eliminate technology...
As if those people even existed. They're just straw men, invented by corporate PR firms so they'll have a bogey man to scare people like you with.

BTW-2, what is wrong with suggesting a location change if someone does not like where they are living because most of the other people there do not agree with them?

Oh, don't try to act all coy. You know what you were doing. For one thing, you're making an incorrect assumption. All the polls I've seen indicate that the US public values the environment and wants it protected. It's only the straw-men of "environmental extremists", mostly invented by corporate PR firms, that they disagree with. Another thing wrong with your statement is the belief that people should pack up and move if they find themselves in a minority of some kind. Would you have black people move out of mostly white neighborhoods and vise versa? That's a prescription for turning the whole world into warring little tribal enclaves with no diversity.
You present yourself as some kind of voice of reason, but you make absolutely asinine statements like that and prove otherwise.

I have livedin many different cultures, and I am saddened by those that stay in one place all their lives - they have such a narrow perspective, and miss the richness life has to offer.

And you are a data point in support of my theory that moving around a lot disconnects you from a sense of harmony and connectedness with the land. It must be a sad existence to feel so ungrounded.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12502647)

Your probably are a troll, but just in case...

I am sorry if I offended you - I was trying to state my point of view, not to attack yours. "We" is meant to include the public will, as currently implemented by the government. You seem to believe that excludes you.

On my using a "teacher's voice," I do need to watch that. I honestly care about other people, and want them to succeed - and I often see people doing things I think will hurt themselves in the end. Perhaps that comes off wrong. Anyway, what I was trying to get at is not listening the Rush and making fun of him (which, lets face it, is pretty easy!) but instead trying to empathise with the oppostion - to see there point of view. Perhaps you do that, perhaps not - all I can use is my past experience which leads me to believe that extremists almost never have a 9000 ft viewpoint, instead they see the details of a situation.

I stand by what I said about scientists and policy. Listening to specialists in general gets the public in trouble, because they do not take a wide enough view of society.

As for the stance of the current administration, I can see how from your viewpoint the current administration is horrible. I firmly believe that most of our country disagrees with you - that most of us would rather have electricity at the cost of a few mountains. As I said, this is a balancing act - you believe that the scale is shifted way to the left, but if you got your way I would think the scale was shifted way to the right. In the end, the scale tends to wobble around in the middle.

So, what is your feeling on menenites(SP)?

As for recommending that people move around, I still believe that is the better system. You bring race into it, which is dishonest - I am talking about culture, not skin color. I believe in diversity, so I choose to live around people very different from me. But if you do not like diversity, please live somewhere else instead of trying to get me to conform to you! (Diversity means listening and empathising with others, even if you do not agree with their viewpoint. It does not mean having black friends, pink friends, or as my daughter would say orange friends!)

If you have a sense of harmony and connectedness with the land, perhaps you should lay off the drugs for a while... just kidding! If that's what floats your boat, more power to you. Perhaps the disconnection you refer to is only an illusion, easily broken through visiting other lands and seeing other cultures. I don't feel particularly ungrounded, but I suppose I wouldn't know... I did grow up on a farm, however - I guess it just didn't stick.

Re:Perfect corporatist viewpoint (1)

Red Rocket (473003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12514098)


Your probably are a troll, but just in case...

I'm a troll? I've brought plenty of facts to this debate that you just seem to want to ignore or wish away with your fingers in your ears, and somehow I'm the troll? You truly are delusional.
I'm actually just driving a wedge into you to pry open and expose your hypocrisy. Thanks for cooperating.

"We" is meant to include the public will, as currently implemented by the government. You seem to believe that excludes you.

Let me explain something to you that you must have missed in school: This is a democracy, not a dictatorship! 50.7% of the people who voted in the last presidential election voted for the current president. That's a very slim plurality of the 60.0% of the eligible voters who actually showed up to vote. If my math is correct that means that only about 30% of eligible voters actually voted for the current president and 70% did not. Now, you want those 30% to dictate to the other 70% as to what is culturally correct and what is not?
Yes, I absolutely believe that I am excluded from being compelled to think the way some clique of "culturally correct" zealots deems appropriate -- as is everyone else in a free country. You apparently believe there is only one correct culture in this country (yours, naturally) and everyone else should move away. That's just straight-up totalitarianism and there's no way you can weasel your position to claim otherwise.

Listening to specialists in general gets the public in trouble, because they do not take a wide enough view of society.

Can you not understand the natural consequences of ignoring experts? Who is left to listen to if we ignore experts? Demagogues and ideologues, that's who. What society can we think of that lost touch with reality and followed a charismatic speaker? Of course facts must be biased against you so that's why experts are a problem. Those darn pesky facts just get in the way of a good ideology, don't they? Let's ignore facts and faithfully follow a charismatic leader. What could possibly go wrong?
Bear this in mind, though, my deranged little cultural warrior: reality has a uniquely ungentle way of insinuating itself on even the most firmly-believed ideologies. Hold on fast because when it comes, it comes with a roar.

I firmly believe that most of our country disagrees with you - that most of us would rather have electricity at the cost of a few mountains.

Well, you'd be wrong. And your "beliefs" are irrelevant, anyway. The people have already spoken on this issue. The peoples' wishes were even codified into two relevant laws: The Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
The Clean Water Act says that a stream may not be degraded unless a positive benefit is derived for which there is no way to avoid the degradation. Courts have ruled that the disposal of mining waste into streams is not a positive benefit to the community so burying hundreds of miles of streams under billions of tons of mining waste is illegal, period.
The SMCRA states that a surface mine must restore the disturbed land to its "approximate original contour" following the extraction of coal. It also states that mining operations maintain a buffer zone around streams so that they are not disturbed. Blasting off a mountaintop and shoving it into the valley below violates both of those rules.
No matter what the results of the last election were, even if it had been a unanimous vote, no one is above the law of the land. You seem to believe that it's all good and proper for the people in charge to violate the law, or that they aren't subject to the law. I'm guessing that would only apply as long as they're your people -- the "culturally correct" people. (See, I just brought more facts to the debate. Where are yours?)

So, what is your feeling on menenites(SP)?

I believe they are good people who have chosen to opt out of our society in general. I believe they have every right to do that. I also believe that makes them culturally and politically inert, and therefore irrelevant to this discussion. They don't advocate or participate in society which means their beliefs don't impact anyone but themselves. You, on the other hand, want your particular cultural values to be enforced by the government. That's a very different proposal.

As for recommending that people move around, I still believe that is the better system. You bring race into it, which is dishonest - I am talking about culture, not skin color.

Oh, so you just want the "culturally incorrect" to leave? Well that's better. :)
And, what, you don't think blacks in this country have a distinct culture? What about Jews or Buddhists or Hindus or Moslems? Who should move away? Tell us, oh great oracle of cultural correctness, who should be purged from society to make your culturally pure utopia materialize?
Can you not realize that it is you who is out of step with the freedom our founders envisioned for us?
Thomas Jefferson wrote: "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
Certainly, uniformity of thought is not what the founders had in mind when they wrote our constitution. Do you disagree?

Another thing wrong with your suggestion is the fact that most of us (and this definitely includes me and my family) can't afford to go jet-setting around the world to look for cool places to live. It's arrogant and elitist for you to just sit on your throne and recommend that we just move somewhere where we don't even know the culture or speak the language. How dare you insinuate that I'm not American enough to live here and should consider just taking what little bit I've been able to scratch out of this world and throw it all away to move somewhere where I know I'll find things even more difficult. That's beyond insulting and arrogant. That's just straight fascism! Our beliefs are not what make us US citizens -- all beliefs are welcome in my America, even yours -- as disgusting as they may be.

But if you do not like diversity, please live somewhere else instead of trying to get me to conform to you!

See? This is how I know you're delusional. The hypocrisy of that statement is almost overwhelming. You claim that my beliefs are not welcome in my own country, suggest that I leave if I choose not to conform to your beliefs, and then accuse me of not liking diversity (and even again tell me to leave my own country!) What an unbelievably arrogant, hypocritical ASS you are!

Re:Yes, climate will change... (1)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485114)

At no point in history has a species existed that took intelligent action to forstall its own demise. So what if humans could do that? So be it.

Amiga Midwinter! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12482429)

I ruled at that game, so I'm fine, right?

Re:Amiga Midwinter! (1)

MuNansen (833037) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483281)

what about Ice Climber? Will that save me?

Guess I picked the right time... (3, Funny)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482488)

...to move to California.

Now all I have to worry about is the ground shaking and opening up, me falling in to the resulting hole, then being covered by a mudslide with a bushfire on top.

Oh, and maybe bears and mountain lions feasting on my protruding limbs as I flail for help.

But at least I'll be warm.

Re:Guess I picked the right time... (1)

barakn (641218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12496248)

Oh, I don't think the bears and mountain lions will feast on on you while you have a flaming bush over you, though of course your protuding limbs will be flailing around in fire. Gotta take the good with the bad.

Demise of the Maya (4, Interesting)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12482524)

A TV program a while back highlighted research investigating just why huge indigenous populations of Central America mysteriously disappeared around 800.

Lakebed sediment cores suggested a fairly severe multi-year drought around that time that was linked (through that Atlantic conveyor) to some severe winters in northern Europe. That drought was thought to disrupt agriculture that those cultures relied upon.

Re:Demise of the Maya (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483218)

But that was more than a thousand years before the Industrial Revolution! How could the climate change without gobs of coal smoke being spewed into the air by greedy industrialists?

Re:Demise of the Maya (5, Funny)

FifthRaven (701549) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483257)

But of course we *ALL* know that burning fossil fuels has absolutely *NOTHING* to do with any of this climate change stuff. Global warming DOESN'T exist, Oil will never run out, and Bill Gates earned his money through fair buisness practices.

Re:Demise of the Maya (1)

bruthasj (175228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484241)

So, did the Mayans fart too much? Inquiring minds want to know..

Re:Demise of the Maya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12488629)

No, it couldn't have been the Mayans' anything; they were Indigenous Peoples Living In Harmony With Nature, remember? No, it was the Europeans' station wagons, er I mean SUVs, that did it. (You see, back in 800 the Europeans were still at the cultural level of contemporary Americans. They're much superior to us now, of course.)

Re:Demise of the Maya (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486608)

As an interesting experiment... think of the consequences of either scenario.

Large population centers in Europe experience significant drops in temperature and South America experiences consecutive droughts.

Or most of the globe warms up resulting in fairly dramatic shifts in locations of arable lands and significant increase in disease vectors.

Either scenario represents a disruptive event to today's societies.

Re:Demise of the Maya (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12497400)

They obviously didn't sacrifice quite enough beautiful young maidens to appease the rain god. In these cynical god-less times, could we learn from the wisdom of the ancients?

Who really cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12482709)

How does this affect apple's market share or the insane popularity of the iPod? When it means I can't get my fav's for 99c then some waffle about playing golf in a creek may be "News for Nerds" - until then GIMME more iTunes, Apple updates and iPod goodness!

Free PowerMacs [127.0.0.1]

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483206)

It's global warming .. er, I mean, cooling!

Darn (3, Interesting)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483307)

Here on the Canadian West Coast global warming has been great. Winters are getting milder and milder and we've have had some great summers in the last few years.

The only downsides have been a few pesky forest fires, and annual water restrictions.

Re:Darn (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483739)

How many years has this been keeping up? It may very well be a result of Solar Cycles [www.oulu.fi] rather than purely terrestrial climate effects.

Re:Darn (1)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 9 years ago | (#12489705)

I was half joking about the global warming, but on a serious level I have witnessed a change in climate.

Anecdotally:
I live in Vancouver. Being a coastal city it is warmer than the rest of Canada, and the temperature has never stayed below freezing for very long, but when I was a kid we used to have at least one good cold snap a year that would last long enough (a week or so) that we could go skating on the local ponds.

During the ten years that I was in High School, and college we seemed to have a cold snap about every three years.

And during the last 6 years the local ponds have only frozen once. Every winter I tell the guys at the office that if the ponds freeze over I'm skipping out of work to play hockey. For five years I have been waiting and it finally came this winter.

Some facts:
An interesting web site on climate change in BC is here: Ministry of Water, Land, and Air protection, Gov of BC [gov.bc.ca]

Re:Darn (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12499840)

On the other side of the rockies, however, things suck.

10 years ago, there was snow up to my waist for at least 4 months out of the year. Last year, I had to shovel exactly twice, and realistically I coud have used a broom to sweep aside the white dust that passes for snow.

Unfortunately, while the climate change has spared us from hours of chopping away at icy chunks of snow that barricade us inside our houses, it hasn't stopped the bloody cold weather. So, now all those plants that used to get covered by a few feet of snow to protect them, are now exposed to the -40C weather with an extra -20C on the wind chill.

Oh, and once it warms up (which it hasn't finished doing yet), then there's no snow to melt... so all the farmers have no water, the wells are at all-time lows, the soil is crap because there isn't a heavy water flow to move nutrients around and pull out all the poisons, and the North Saskatchewan (which I live right next to) is a barren brown sludgepile. It should be a raging torrent right now, fresh with water from the foothills streaming down so hard it makes whitecaps... instead, I think half the current is created by the output from the waste water treatment plant.

But yeah, global warming is great. Unless you live in Kansas. In which case, I guess God is punishing us for something.

negative nancy (3, Interesting)

witte (681163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483495)

As usual, this will only become an issue once the majority of people make the connection between climate change, its origins, and the resulting unpleasantness. (Starvation, war for dwindling resources, mad max, etc.)

Let's not forget the advantages... (2, Informative)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483509)

Yes, it will be sad if Europe reverts to the temperature range of Canada or Russia. (French Ice Wine, anyone?) On the other hand, NJ and much of the east coast is also warmer than it should be due to the Gulf Stream.

No more people moving from NY/VT/NH to Florida, etc., for the climate and ruining our tax base!

So what do we do? (0, Flamebait)

robpoe (578975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485473)

Of course the party line is "Stop polluting".

Riiight.

When %Politician% from %party% starts driving electric cars to political rallies .. then it's leadership by example. But .. where do they get the power for said electric cars? Coal burning power plants. So is it really LESS pollution to drive an electric car than an oil powered one?

No.

So what? Build huge wind farms? Sorry, the environmentalist commies say it's too hard on the local birds, who fly into the blades and splatter.

Nuclear? Even with all the safety advances, the environmentalist commies rally and attack and block and sing kumbahyah (sp) in front of the bulldozers...

Oil? Heck no! Save our forests (from the same environmentalist commies).

Wait! I got it. Hydrogen power.

Duuh, where you do think they're getting the hydrogen. Passing large amounts of power through water. They get Oxygen, too, but where does the power come from? Coal! Right.

Oh, you say electrolysis. How do they heat the metals. Coal. Bingo.

The answer here is there IS no answer. Joe Fatass Public isn't going to stop driving his SUV cuz it's gunna get cold next century.

Something's gotta give .. and the environmentalist commies .. wont allow it TO give.

Mod me down, whatever...

Re:So what do we do? (4, Informative)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485689)

You know, if you had a point you lost it with things like "Joe Fatass Public" and "Environmentalist Commies".

You sound like a typical American who is too busy whining and consuming to educate yourself and do something productive or beneficial.

So let me make a few corrections to your uneducated diatribe:

Wind farms don't really generate enough power to make the disruption to the local environs worth it, although there is work being done on high altitude wind generation strategies that are promising.

Nuke: Most people are so much Anti-Nuke as they are Anti-Huge Catastrophe or Anti-Waste that's dangerous for zillions of years. Maybe if someone actually ran a successful nuclear power generation site that both made money and did not generate waste capable of killing large numbers of people, attitudes would change. But the Americans, French and Japanese are still running ancient nukes at a loss, and the Germans gave up on the newest 7th generation because they couldn't make is safe enough (the Chinese are still trying though).

Oil: Man, where did you get the forest thing? There are so many things wrong with oil I don't know where to start, 1: to buy oil you must deal with Bad People (tm), 2: Oil will not last forever and when it does run out society is screwed. 3: Burning Oil causes air pollution 4: Burning Oil contributes to global climate change.

Coal: Burning coal is worse than oil in all cases, still there is work being done on coal gasification which is promising.

Most hydrogen does not come from electrolysis of water, it comes from cracking natural gas. Still that's just as useless as electrolysis, though lots of clever folks are working on other methods. The one I find most interesting is using microbes & biomass.

So your summary becomes "So there is no one answer, that meets the world's energy needs, that is known today. However there are many, many possibilities. However, none of those possibilities yield so much energy as to allow for the rampant consumerism and gluttony that we see today. So something must change; either the reduction of consumption, the invention of a new energy source (like cold fusion) or both"

Re:So what do we do? (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486085)

Actually, you lost it at the point where you started with the "typical American who is too busy whining and consuming to educate yourself and do something productive or beneficial." comments.

You are also wrong about wind farms. There's a huge one not far from my parents' place. The San Gorgonio Pass http://www.awea.org/projects/california.html#SanGo rgonioPass [awea.org] , as you can see in the link, was estimated to generate about 800 M kWh in 1998. I may not work for So. Cal Edison, but I'm judging they feel it's a fairly good ROI, since they're constantly putting new windmills in and experimenting on new types there. It's also fairly close to some major population centers, though.

As for the nuke... Be honest. "zillions" of years for the waste to be safe? Depends, but "thousands" is a much more honest estimate. The "huge catastrophe" comment? I'll take 1 little nuke catastrophe every 50-100 years over the daily harm being done by coal power plants. At least then my life insurance will pay out instead of failing to renew after my 10-year bout with lung cancer. And yes, I did grow up in a town that suffered a nuclear disaster. And yes, I know people from those crazy cancer clusters. It's still safer than coal.

Of course I'm of the opinion that rather than try to maintain and expand our infrastructure to transport energy all over the place, I'd like to see a windmill on every large piece of property, as well as a few on top of every tower or skyscraper. Decentralized, distributed computing has worked really well for a lot of projects, and I think following that model for energy production is a good idea. It'd end up driving down the unit costs for this sort of thing, put more money into R&D for this technology than the governments ever will, and just basically be a Good Thing(TM). Of course to really be practical we need new energy storage systems to replace batteries, since we all know wind and solar power don't perform very well in snowy, icy conditions.

Not to mention cold fusion, and everything else that should be researched further or simply made practical.

For the record I do agree entirely with your summary, I just have problems with a few of your points.

Re:So what do we do? (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486402)

There are a lot of windmills where I live too and without government support most wouldn't be operational. This is because the cost of the energy the generate they is still too high. I have seen high altitude projects where the energy cost is under market prices.

Most coal gasification projects significantly reduce the amount of radioactive coal waste output. I don't think it makes sense to accept radio active waste in the atmosphere from any source. Nor do I think it makes sense to operate a nuclear reactor which does not reprocess the fissile material to the greatest extent possible. All the production nuclear plants that I'm aware of are old designs which a: are inherently unsafe and rely on external controls to mediate the reactions and b: only cycle the fissile material through the reaction once (with the notable exception being France). I really think you are marginalizing the dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear accidents too much, but I'll agree that ultimately both are manageable.

Energy transport is a very important point, I'm glad you brought it up. I read somewhere that the in the US over 1/3 of all energy generated is consumed by transport of energy and presumably it's more less the same all over the developed world. Additionally industry holds on to infrastructure (both energy generating and energy consuming) too long so that the benefits of increased efficiency come too slowly to the market. So given these two factors the majority of the energy generated in the world is never even consumed by the end users, you could make a pretty accurate comparison with this and the municipal water system of Mexico city.

As far as the "Whiny American" comment... I stand by it, I'm sick of these sentiments held by Americans. It's almost as if they believe that if I don't my utmost to consume & destroy that I am (or want them to be) an indigent farmer working in a collective in North Korea. It's perfectly possible to live a fulfilling life consuming a tiny fraction of the energy and producing a tiny fraction of the waste of what the average American does.

By the way I lived in the US for 10 years, and still hold a US passport, so it's not I've never seen how Americans really live and I'm just griping about things I've seen on TV.

Re:So what do we do? (2, Insightful)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486988)

I really think you are marginalizing the dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear accidents too much, but I'll agree that ultimately both are manageable.

Not really. The actual risk of nuclear power plants is quite small. Stack the lives lost by every single nuclear accident or byproduct storage, or even the theoretical lives lost (which is actually zero so feel free to not do that) due to working in the industry over the last 50 years against a decade or even a few years of coal.

Chernobyl was the classic case of the big nasty happening. Yet the lives lost due to it are suprisingly very small. Even factoring in the increased *risk* of developing a cancer from the fallout. Three Mile Island was, shall we say, a bit more contained. Again, perform a body count as with Chernobyl.

Now compare this to the direct and undisputed lives lost do to coal mining and use. I suspect if you took an "third party" (alien if you like) and gave them the data and an options, they'd consider the coal option insane by comparison. Most people I show the data to agree. It's usually a "WTF?!" moment. The rest simply refuse to believe we haven't had more accidents that we just don't know about, or decide to go research it on their own (yay!). They have all come back from their own research in agreeent.

Re:So what do we do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12497505)

How about every nuclear accident anywhere vs one year of coal in China. Over time, we'd probably be able to include the use of atomic weapons with the nuclear figures, and still come out cleaner than coal. That is truly sobering.

The Solution!!! (1)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12490618)

Oil,coal,hydrogen and nuclear are all out.... So here is the solution, PEOPLE!!

Take the third world population and have them run in People Wheels(tm) just like hamster wheels, to generate electricity! After they have run themselves to death we can recycle them as feed for the next generation of people wheels.....

Yes, its sarcasm, get over it.

Re:So what do we do? (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12492997)

BTW, the reason hydrogen makes sense is that conversion efficiency is 70% oil/gas->hydrogen, followed by up to 90% conversion to electricity (it can be done this efficiently, though it needs to be done more cheaply). That gives you an overall efficiency of about 60%, which is better than we can currently do. Even if you use a less expensive 50% efficient hydrogen->electricity converter, it is more efficient than a car (including those cool hybrid cars!).

Re:So what do we do? (1)

LauriL (840534) | more than 9 years ago | (#12507368)

Maybe we can prevent the possible new ice age if we burn a LOT more fossil fuels. So we can melt all the ice and the whole planet will be a very warm place because of increased greenhouse gases...

Re:So what do we do? (1)

imgumbydammit (879859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486051)

What do we do?
Well, we know that there is one very effective way of lowering temperatures: large volcanic eruptions. We have enough nukes to create this effect on our own in a controlled way, and enough processing power to try to get it right. To me, this would seem to be one of the few approaches that could be used to buy us some time to invest in new technologies that would help us out in the long term.

Also, for those who are interested, the New Yorker just ran an interesting-but-depressing three-part series on climate change.
Parts one and two are online here: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050425fa_fa ct3 [newyorker.com]

Re:So what do we do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12496371)

You want to drop nukes into volcanos?

You're not associated with the Church of Scientology in any way, perchance?

Or an evil galactic overlord named Xenu?

Re:So what do we do? (1)

scott_davey (552885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486744)

You forgot about solar energy.

It's safe, clean and environmentally friendly, plus the current thinking is for distributed collection at each building, where excess energy that can't be stored can be shared with others via the electricity grid.

Seems like the most promising energy replacement to me...

Re:So what do we do? (1)

evvk (247017) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486872)

Solar energy is not viable here in the cold and cloudy northern europe with short days in winter time that's bound to get even colder...

Re:So what do we do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12496405)

It also has issues with expensive resources used in construction. Not a problem when they're an expensive minority option, but once you start mass-producing then low supply + high demand = unfeasibly high production prices for solar cells.

Re:So what do we do? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12487343)

So is it really LESS pollution to drive an electric car than an oil powered one?

Yes. Large power plants can generate power more efficiently while at the same time are able to more effectively put pollution controls in place. While they can put scrubbers and filters on their smokestacks, you would never see that on a car's exhaust.

Where does this fallacy come from...? (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12489204)

Duuh, where you do think they're getting the hydrogen. Passing large amounts of power through water. They get Oxygen, too, but where does the power come from? Coal! Right.

They must be teaching only one method of hydrogen production in schools these days, that of "electrolysis". Strangely enough, this method seems to be the only method the public "knows" about to produce hydrogen. In fact, it is so "known", that one time I went to an alternative energy show here in Phoenix, and some representatives of "hydrogen technology" were showing that cute model (which one can buy Fry's Electronics and other places) which take a solar cell which generates electricity, electrolyses water, the H2 and O go into a PEM stack and out come power to turn a small moter/fan.

This is wrong...

The only kind of "commercial" hydrogen you will see generated this way is at a few test "fill up" stations in Europe (IIRC - or maybe Canada), and also "Brown's Gas" generators for industrial Hydro/Oxy welding and similar processes. Why don't you see it more?

Because it is a very inefficient manner of generating hydrogen!

Only in those instances (like industrial welding) where you can't easily store the cryo liquid form of the gases on site, and you need to use such a system on-demand, does it make sense to generate it in this manner. Those filling stations in Europe (or whereever)? A gimmick to placate a public which doesn't know any better. Anyone with half a brain can see that such generation of hydrogen is not a 100% conversion system of the power from the electricity to the hydrogen - powerline losses alone sink that idea, not to mention the fact that electrolysis is horribly inefficient. So where do we get most of our hydrogen?

Mainly from two sources - natural gas deposits and hydrocarbon cracking at refineries. When a natural gas well is "pumped" (well, it mostly isn't, because it is naturally under pressure, at least at the beginning), the first stuff to come out is generally hydrogen, then helium (which is REALLY running out fast), then the other gasses. These wells account for the majority of hydrogen.

Hydrocarbon cracking involves a process in which hydrocarbons are cracked via a superheated steam method at a refinery. It is a much more efficient method of getting hydrogen, but itself relies on hydrocarbon feedstocks, thus "fossil fuels". Though not used in industry anymore, it is also possible to crack water into H2 and O using superheated steam passed over red-hot iron. The conversion essentially creates a very big amount of rust (basically binding the oxygen to the iron), and isn't a practical method today, as it requires a lot of energy input into the system.

These last two methods would likely be better worked if coupled with solar furnaces or a nuclear heating system - indeed, even electrolysis becomes viable if a large enough source of electricity could be found that the losses are negligible to the entire output. Nuclear power is the answer here, but even it has a limited run in the long view.

The truth is, unless we develop some fantastic technology to do some real undersea exploration for fossil fuels (not likely), or we rape our coastlines via off-shore drilling (which leak - it is inevitable) - we are going to peak on all of our fuel sources at some point in the future (even coal, though it has a much longer future than the rest - but I wouldn't want to live in that hell - imagine 1800's Britain at the height of the industrial revolution, and all the ugly air - worldwide).

In a sane world, we would already be working to get off this planet and expand outward, while we still had the resources to acheive this and find other resources out on the other planets, moons, and asteroids. Somehow, though, I don't think this idea is going to bear fruit until it is much too late - we then become Easter Islanders...

pretty predictable responses (2, Interesting)

cahiha (873942) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485626)

Well, the responses are pretty predictable:
Let those godless commie pinko Europeans freeze under dozens of feet of snow in their hovels, as long as we can keep driving our SUVs with oil "imported" from the middle east. It's our goddamn right--I'm a libertarian and nobody is gonna tell me what not to drive. And they hate us anyway, so what do we care?

Nothing good comes from there anyway. Those people just keep buying dollars and real estate and all that, and they are sneakily devaluing the dollar by refusing to buy our products and dumping their wine on us. Travel there hasn't been much fun either: they still speak all those funny languages, and the waiters are surly. And technologically, they live in the stone age--I mean, we invented it all anyway, the telephone and television and everything.

And what are they gonna do about it? Our army is bigger than theirs and there isn't a damned thing they can do other than complain in their funny accents.

Besides, until the gulf stream is dead in its tracks, it might just be a false alarm. And even if it does happen, who is to prove that we caused it? It might be cow farts that stopped the gulf stream, or too much hot air from politicians.

And technology can fix it. We're just gonna dump some industrial waste into the ocean and it's gonna fertilize the algae, and then they are going to eat up all the CO2, and then everything is gonna be alright. Or maybe we'll just build some spaceships and colonize space. Yeah, that's what we'll do--space elevators, interstellar travel, and Orion slave girls, and we can still keep driving our SUVs.

Life is good.

Re:pretty predictable responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12486653)

Responses from where? I don't see any of those responses here. Oh you must be one of those "you people disagree with my pet theory so I'll make up lies about you people" type of people.

Re:pretty predictable responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12488900)

Responses from where? I don't see any of those responses here.

You must not be paying attention to the usual drivel that gets posted in response to global warming news. If you don't see them directly in response to this, it's because this story doesn't so blatantly talk about global warming.

Oh you must be one of those "you people disagree with my pet theory so I'll make up lies about you people" type of people.

It apparently troubles you to be confronted with the reality of what denying global warming amounts to. Good, that's a first step. Now, get the facts.

Who is going to make those comments? (1)

doderich (882969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12489832)

A disaster in Europe, or elsewhere in the world, has economic reprocussions everywhere else.

The flip-side to buffering trading partners from disaster (mutually beneficial) is being desimated by enormous disasters they encounter.

International trade has never been greater.

A deep freeze in Europe would probably throw the whole world into a depression, not to mention send luddites panicking in the streets.

We're all in this together, unfortunately. When a significant part of the globe gets fucked up, the economic wheels that make American SUVs will stop.

Project Argo should confirm this (2, Informative)

sdcmk (238455) | more than 9 years ago | (#12485780)

From the first link:

"The thermohaline circulation is a global ocean circulation. It is driven by differences in the density of the sea water which is controlled by temperature (thermal) and salinity (haline). In the North Atlantic it transports warm and salty water to the North."

Since the Argo [slashdot.org] project measures [ucsd.edu] these attributes along with current direction and possibly speed, it is the perfect way to either confirm or disconfirm this finding. If Dr. Wadhams is correct, in his prediction that the poler ice caps will melt by 2020 the earliest, then we can be in for a very wild ride as the climate changes.

A quick synopsis (1)

IainHere (536270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486247)

Briefish synopsis:

Recent measurements show that one of the three mechanisms believed to drive the Gulf Stream is decreasing more than expected. The result could be that the Gulf Stream turns off, meaning that warm currents from the equator are no longer brought to Northern Europe and North East America. This may happen in a decade, which might decrease our temperature by 5-8 degrees. Or it might happen over the next couple of centuries, which might actually be beneficial because it could counteract global warming. Or it might not happen at all, since no-one can actually predict this stuff.

Seems to me that we'd be better off not worrying about it. And no, I'm not a denier of global warming, I don't drive a SUV. Actually, I model fluid flow for a living, albeit on much smaller scales than oceanographic, and the kind of uncertainty involved in this almost makes it non-science. There are much more important issues than this to get worked up about - for example watch the videos on this site [makepovertyhistory.org] , and then try to tell me you care more about the Gulf Stream. Note that I think it's great this research is ongoing, but until they actually have something to report, the media should look into things that we actually know about, such as [insert your favourite here].

Re:A quick synopsis (2, Interesting)

g011um (560626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486479)

Let me get this:
  • Global warming adds more pure water to the sea in the North Atlantic
  • Gulf stream slows
  • Slower Gulf stream cools the temperatures
Sounds to me like a natural thermostat.

Also a lower temperature sea will increase the likelyhood of dissolving the extra CO2 into the seawater.

Most of this kind of research (models) are focused on extrapolation [thefreedictionary.com] in this case the time-frame (using a couple of years +-100 to predict too much 800 or more and using limited knowledge gained from other sources such as core samples).

And I'm not trying too discredit the sciences of core samples etc. It is just that their findings are still being refined too.

Models are a great tool to research complex behaviour. But those that use their findings blindly as fact are bound to be humiliated.

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12486945)

It is all about the assumptions.
Considering:
"The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased by 31% above pre-industrial levels since 1750. This is considerably higher than at any time during the last 420,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores."

The historical average, called the "stable level" is about 280ppm. The highest *recent* peak we've seen is, IIRC, 380ppm. There is nothing to indicate, even current levels and rates of increase, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels over the next decade or two, let alone the next 100 years is a realistic assumption. Yet that does not stop the modellers. From what we've been able to determine, atmospheric CO2 levels started their rise in 1750. I haven't seen many 1750 cars in the record books. Though I think I spotted an SUV in some of the art from the American Revolution. See, we started right out of the gate. ;)

The average long term rate of annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is 1.5ppm. BTW, that figure is also true for 2004: 1.5ppm. Out of some 350 (1958) to 380 (2005) ppm, that is nowhere near the levels required to double atmospheric concentration in 70 years, or quadruple in 140.

How long those increases would take is an exercise left to the reader. Hint: the windows are in the centuries ranges. Yet nearly every single "model" showing more than a degree or so of increase over the next century uses a minimum assumption of "doubling the CO2" over that timeframe.

Historically, a change in atmospheric CO2 levels such as we've seen in the 20th century is not without precedent.

This is important to the subejct at hand because from the first link:

For the IPCC scenario of doubling CO2 within the next 70 years (red line) the thermohaline circulation was only temporarily reduced (by a factor of 30% in the first 100 years).


Also:

Idealized model studies show indeed, that regular and irregular oscillatory behavior in the thermohaline circulation can exist with time scales of approximately 20 to 50 years. However their existence in the real climate system is still unclear.


Translation: in models we set up this happened. We've yet to find it in real life. We're working on figuring out why.

Furthermore, reading that first link, they used a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2 levels to get thermohaline cycle shutdown. And it took 140 years. To wit:
It shows that the thermohaline circulation not only reduces, but may shut-down completely under "strong" global warming with a fourfold increase of CO2 concentration within the next 140 years.


"fourfold increase". Since a doubling is unrealistic, a fourfold is beyond mere fiction, bordering on fantasy.

Adding to the mix is the fact that there are dramatic temperature swings in Earth's past without the increase in CO2 levels, as well as dramatic swings in CO2 levels w/o significant temperature changes. I've seen many models that appear to show how something happened in the past, but when the data of the period is used, the models are not in agreement. Again it all goes back to what you set the initial conditions as, as well as the assumptions you use for the change from initial conditions.

Models are a great tool to research complex behaviour. But those that use their findings blindly as fact are bound to be humiliated.

Amen.

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12488350)

1750 happens to coincide with the start of the industrial revolution in Europe where people started large scale burning of coal. Which would increase the amount of atmospheric CO2.

Now if you look at your data (380 - 280)/ (2005 - 1750) = 100ppm / 255 years or 0.4 PPM / year which is much lower than 1.5ppm. But last year was 1.5 PPM so what's going on? Well I guess the rate is increasing over time. So I guess someone looking at your data would assume that over the next 70 years we will increase by more than 1.5PPM / year.

Now 380 / 70 years would take a PPM increase of 5.42PPM / year, and (380 * 3) / 140 would take 8.14PPM/year but when the rate is going up over time the second number is more conservative. Why? Well 1.5ppm now means we need some years over 5.4. If it was a steady increase of say .1PPM/(year^2) you start at 1.5PMM/year and get up to 9.2 PMM/year. But to at 8.1 PMM/year over 140 years you only need a rate of increase of 0.094PPM/(year^2). Now I don't think there dealing with linear rates but with an exponential rate 140 years is going to seem even more conservative.

But hey who knows, I mean it's not like people are using more fossil fuels now than they where 20 years ago...

O SHIT!

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12491702)

Also remember that with peak oil coming into play, the rate CO2 will be dumped into the atmosphere will probably level off, although you can also have factors such as the saturation of CO2 sinks, which could cause sudden surges in atmospheric CO2 even if the rate of CO2 generation levels off. Nobody really knows what will happen in the next 140 years, it could quadruple, or it could stop increasing at all. Who knows?

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12493107)

Nobody really knows what will happen in the next 140 years

My point exactly. And if you don't know, don't go off half cocked trying the fix something you don't understand. In other words:


Let's stay cool, people... Let's work the problem, people. Let's not make things worse by guessing.

-Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), Apollo 13

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12497114)

1750 happens to coincide with the start of the industrial revolution in Europe where people started large scale burning of coal. Which would increase the amount of atmospheric CO2.

Yes, it does. But the history records of coal production do not reliably show mass use of coal in until the late 1800's. But for sake of argument, we'll leave the 1750 date alone for now.

According to prevailing carbon cycle change windows, *if* one attributes *all* of the increase in CO2 levels since 1750 to humans, we are currently seeing the effects of coal -if at all. Several of the anthropogenic GW proponents (Mann refers to them as "advocates") claim it takes several hundred to a few thousand years to see any thermal effects. This is important for future projects because coal is not only not in the rise, it has been slowly declining overall. We may "have plenty of coal" but the cost of coal is getting ridiculously cheap which means a lower investment in it.

Now if you look at your data (380 - 280)/ (2005 - 1750) = 100ppm / 255 years or 0.4 PPM / year which is much lower than 1.5ppm. But last year was 1.5 PPM so what's going on? Well I guess the rate is increasing over time. So I guess someone looking at your data would assume that over the next 70 years we will increase by more than 1.5PPM / year.

If someone looks at this post as being the data, then they can assume anything they like. That's why one should actually look into the historical data for themselves. For example, your simple math above demonstrates a failure to understand the data given, let alone additional data. No, that's not intended as an insult.

Yes, the rate may increasing (there are very large swings in the annual rates and the overall trend over teh last several decades is down), but what your simple calulation above fails to account for is the rate of change. I'm sure you'll agree with that.

There are a few key points to remember. The modellers don't start at 1750, no. They start at the year they do the modelling. So when a modelling done in 2004 against "current" data is done, and they refer to a doubling of CO2 levels, they are talking about doubling 2004's CO levels, not 1750's. Many IPCC models start at 1990.

To double say 380 in 70 years is 380ppm of increase. Over 70 years, that is an increase of 5.43ppm year, a rate 3.62 times higher than our current one. Is this likely scenario? No. To match that would require a complete and utter replication of the industrial revolution, assuming humans are the sole cause. But what of your exponential increase idea? Well, mathematically it may be possible (I didn't say it wasn't, just that it isn't likely given what we do know) but remember mathematically bumble bees can't fly. You have to put down the calulator and look at what is going on, both historically and currently.

There is a lot of evidence to indicate we are not the sole cause of CO2 level increases. Indeed, looking solely at the CO2 level history of the last 400K years tells us we simply can not be the sole cause.

CO2 levels cycle on large swing basis approximately every 95K years. I'm sure we can all agree humans were not mass burning coal or driving around in cars in enough quantities to possibly have an affect on global CO2 levels ~95K, ~190K, and ~285K years ago, let alone 400K years ago. So clearly, we are not the sole cause.

Examining that historical record shows pretty consistent swings of about 100-200ppm over 400K years, and 120ppm upward swings since then reaching 300ppm well before humans were doing anything substantial with coal or oil. Indeed, examining the data and cycle immediately prior to 1750 shows us as already in one of those upward swings by 1750. In other words, the rise in CO2 levels began before the industrial revolution. And it was not a "slow gentle rise" It was dramatic, very much so. Just as it has been each cycle.

Knowing that the upward swings have historically reached 280-ish to 300ppm, at best you'd have to start anthropogenic influence at that mark, not 280. Notwithstanding this, temporally there is a problem trying to assign rises in the 1700's and 1800's to humans given the inherent delay in the cycle as currently accepted - this could well change either direction. Currently scientists who advocate anthropogenic global warming frequently claim that the CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere by driving will be affecting the climate for "tens and even hundreds of thousands of years into the future".

Yet we are to ignore changes in the global CO2 concentrations in windows of that scale? Sorry, can't do that. Not with a straight face anyway.

"I drive the mean ocean temperature using changes in atmopsheric CO2 with a time lag of 1000 years. I'm using a deep ocean "climate sensitivity" of 3 degrees C for doubling CO2" --David Archer

So then the current warming (assuming there is one) of oceans is due to changes a thousand years ago, not due to the industrial revolution, according to this particular model. It also means we wont' see our current effects (assumign there are some) for another thousand years,And note inparticular again the "doubling CO2".

Twenty years is an insufficent window of time and data when the variations year to year (even in non-human periods) as well as decadal changes are quite varied.

Now back to the CO2 projections. The projections used by the IPCC (and thus the modellers) are based on flawed ideas. They base them on GDP growth of the various nations when converted to USD via market exhange rates. They further assing an energy expenditure to each dollar, and then weight developing nations at approximately 3.8 times more than developed countries.

However, as any economist worth his salt will tell you this is an invalid method. Purchasing power is teh driving factor in energy expenditure per dollar. When compared on a Purchasing Power Parity basis as it *should* be, developing nations have a far lower energy cost per dollar -- 1.2 times that of a developed country.

The idea of a doubling of CO2 comes from this mistaken calculation, and a projected massive rise in the energy use of developing countries as they grow more populous (such as China).

Castles and Henderson have taken this and compared it to real world data. You know, confirm the predictions. The IPCC uses 1990 as it's baseline. Well, we've had a decade of emissions and economic activity to fit into and compare to the original predictions of both. The predictions failed. Bad.

The mean IPCC projection for the 1990s specifically was an increase in global CO2 emissions of about 15%. Reality: about six percent. That is no insignifant difference. Methane (22X more impacting on "global warming" than CO2) was predicted to have risen slightly among OECD countries. The reality: an 8% drop.

What this means is that even if we assume the models themselves are accurate, the data being put into them is inaccurate and they need to be rerun with data that is reflective of reality.

And lest anyone think I picked the top end predictions, these are the "low end" ranges. The "standard" doubling. Initial conditions are of dramatic importance in models, as I have mentioned before (and is without dispute by anyone of import). If the initial condition is an upward trend you are likely to get an upward trend. Further, given the "exponential" hypothesis as well as an increase in rates, the initial years of a projection are crucial. If the first ten years of your 70 year model are off by a factor of nearly 3 you can not seriously consider the model accurate. Especially when that mistaken assumption is the crux of your model's results.

Let us ponder this just a bit longer. You set up a "base standard" increase in CO2 emmissions of "double" in 50-100 years. After 10 years of real world experience, one should revisit the assumptions. Really, perhaps yearly and every 5 years but we'll go with a full decade (10 to 10% of the projection/model's life).

After ten years you look at the data and find you were not just wrong, but massively wrong. What do you do? IMO, the responsible person (scientists or not) takes this new data into account, and revisits the assumptions. At best, you apply real world data instead of your assumption and repeat the model.

But do those who insist on massive anthropogenic climate change due to CO2 levels do this? The data has been out for several years now and so far the answer is: "not us, we're sticking to the doubling". After all they have a lot riding on that projection. What if you plug the real world data gather over the last decade, or last dozen years even, and apply that to the "models"?

Well, a *weather* change certainly happens. The wind in your political and celebrity sails is gone.

And here we've only been primarily been talking about CO2 levels. The reason is as you can see: let the disasterbators claim it as so massively important. Just accept that the levels are important, even for sake of discussion. But hold their feet to the fire with the real world data. After all, is that not what this is supposed to be about: the "real world"

IPCC model prediction "scorecard":
http://www.warwickhughes.com/hoyt/scorecard.htm [warwickhughes.com]

Re:A quick synopsis (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12498912)

Ok, that was a much better counter argument than I was expecting to such a flippant post. I was trying to get across that these numbers are not unreasonable while trying to sound funny.

Now I have never look at the "real" data all that closely but I just want to point out some things.

While coal was not the only fuel source in the industrial revolution people switched to it after they ran out of wood.

As I said Oil is not the only source if CO2 we need to look at. You need to note how much total CO2 your adding so include the amount of coal you're burning and how many forest's you're taking down ect.

Over the last few years the US and Europe's use fossil fuels has about maxed out so year to year fluctuations in the economy will have large impact on the yearly use of fossil fuels but you have to look world economy to see what going to happen for the next 70+ years.

According to most data I have seen the Chinese economy has been growing at 10% a year now if that goes on for 50 years there going catch up to America on a person per person basis. I don't think there is going to be enough fossil fuels for a 1.1 ^ 50 = 117.3 fold increase in there economy but extrapolating from the last 20 years of data it looks like there going that way. On the world stage a 3% yearly growth pattern gives 1.03 ^ 70 = 7.9 fold increase in fuel use so it's not as 'insane' as you might think. Given the growth in 2nd and 3rd world economies. Yes it's not going to change much till there close to our level of production but steady exponential growth does large things to small numbers.

Granted I don't think there is enough easy access fuel in the world to keep up that kind of use for 70 - 140 years but history shows humans use all available recourses as fast as they can so who knows. So in many ways it's just a question of how much fossil fuel there are as to how much CO2 is going to end up in the air. I mean it's not like 70 years is the cut off point after which we stop using fossil fuels and go about the next 1,000 years with out using them.
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