Ken FabianSenior Members
Posts posted by Ken Fabian
@mistermack I am not impressed by your arguments. I think the modeling on top of the fundamental understandings of how the climate system works is telling us more than enough to know that failure to treat it as real and serious will make it a lot worse - and that the consequences will almost certainly be very damaging. Warming was predicted, warming has been occurring. Between Greenland and Antarctica the world is losing 430 billion tons of ice mass per year and rising, ie 53 tons per person per year - how much change to the world is enough to be taken seriously? Someone said Arctic Ice could be gone in Summer by now - but that was never what the IPCC advice said; that made that person wrong, not the IPCC advice.
The range of estimates for how much warming and how serious the impacts are more directly tied to how strong and successful our emissions reductions efforts are than to the uncertainties of estimates of the strength of enhanced greenhouse. The low range projections are all predicated on strong and successful emissions reductions and shouldn't be used as "see, the IPCC range is so wide anything could happen". The rate of emissions has never been higher, a decade of them now equivalent to many decades last century. The problem is cumulative and the impacts will become stronger. And continuing with high emissions - which is what your arguments support - makes the higher end projections more likely.
The IPCC reports are the expert advice governments called for in order to make informed decisions. The urging to dismiss and ignore that advice isn't about legitimate doubts about the quality of that advice.0
40 minutes ago, Peterkin said:
Any idea how much of the biomass represented there is from trees?
No, but likely it is a large part of it. I don't think woodchip burning will be a big help - help a bit, maybe, under responsible management. Seems to me it is people and interest apart from those genuinely committed to zero emissions - forestry and operators of coal plants that can use it in greenwash style mostly - that have promoted it. Environmentalist mostly oppose it.
Like carbon offsets and CCS it looks more like a way to delay commitment to more substantive investments in lower emissions options. It is the wind and solar contributions that I find impressive and cause for some cautious optimism.0
All the justifications and excuses Intoscience has referenced and many more will be used relentlessly to limit our global efforts to a lot less than the world is capable of, but I do find the blaming the messengers and claiming if they didn't say it was so serious it would be taken more seriously by people who don't want to do anything about it especially mind boggling. If people (NOT echoing the IPCC) had been saying it won't be that bad we'd get more support for strong emissions reductions efforts? Bizzare, and yet it is an argument that lots of people - who have been primed to believe the climate problem isn't really serious and don't want to do anything about it - appear to buy. It isn't about doing anything better, just pure excuse and justification for continuing to be dangerously irresponsible.
People telling it like it is like Greta are blamed for people ignoring the IPCC report telling it like it is (tldr, too doomist?), despite the first IPCC report not just coming before Greta was even born but being the "sure" part of "let's be sure before we do anything".
The IPCC is portrayed as too unduly influenced by woke snowflakes and environmentalists and globalist/socialist/atheist scientists to be trusted, despite it's reports being the combined effort of the world's leading science agencies and probably the most scrutinised science ever. The science on climate change is a jewel in the crown of science and modern civilisation, the decades of warning providing a priceless window for acting ahead of time to prevent dangerous change to our world. Spat on, trampled, driven over. Yet it gets up again.
A lot to be pessimistic about yet enough people in high places still take it seriously that it can't be dismissed, enough people across all walks of life take it seriously. The one area that offers optimism is renewable energy and that is only because it has gotten cheap enough to be taken up at large scale -1
7 hours ago, Genady said:
Racism should be a very special kind of "nature" because I did not see it anywhere but in the US.
I think racism, bigotry and preferential treatment is still widespread and in places it can be institutionalised. I wouldn't like being Islamic in most of India for example. Or Untouchable. There is plenty of racism here in Australia but also a lot of goodwill countering it. And efforts to counter the goodwill in turn - naming it "woke" (a new variant on "do gooder"?) in imitation of the rhetoric out of the USA.0
Angle grinders have them but I think they would be hard to adapt to anything else. Brushcutters won't be 90 degree... and they too may be hard to adapt.0
2 hours ago, DrmDoc said:
We are instinctively tribal and there will always be ethnic strife and social injustice because of the primitive, primal aspect of our being. Indeed, as you've observed, our only recourse may be in our governance, teachings, and the laws we enact to control our primitive nature. But we remain primitives governing, teaching, and enacting laws biased by our primitive nature. It's a vicious whirlpool ever spiraling downward.
I dunno - a lot of nations have done very well at education, law and governance and aren't in a downward spiral. Very civilised, some of them. They couldn't exist as they are if there were not strong, enduring support for rising above our primitive natures.0
This may be a novel use of the word "recent". I didn't see a reference to how recent but the paper puts it in the Mars' Amazonian period - from about 3 billion years ago to the present, a very wide range. There may be water ice under there but I don't think that helps make Mars colonisation any easier. I suppose it could be a place to look for evidence of (past) life on Mars.0
Our institutions of governance and law work to moderate our problematic behaviors, because we know people can't be trusted to be honest or fair minded or without prejudice. The larger and more complex the society the more important to have those institutions, which may well build preferential prejudice into the system and sustain it by force but do offer routes to less prejudicial institutions - which we do see.
I suspect much of the success at making peaceful societies out of disparate groups comes from having independent rule of law that (ideally) doesn't base it's judgements on the race or religion of the accused, but on evidence and testimony. Even sustaining an appearance of independence and fairness from turning to police can help moderate tensions. Where that is not the case I expect more taking matters into their own hands, with retaliatory revenge and more framing of conflicts as about ethnic or other differences - which can see blaming of groups for the actions of individuals, so the revenge may be taken out on the wrong people and make inter-group conflicts worse. At worst the groups have their own police and authorities who approve or participate in those conflicts.1
I think AI that takes over or turns on (in the attack sense) the world is very unlikely, however becoming (economically) dependent on AI and having it fail on us seems a more credible problem. AI that turns on people (in other senses) are quite possible; how soon after there was an internet was there internet porn?
I think the lightspeed limit isn't going to go away; any alien civilisations will be as bound by it as we are and there won't be magic technologies that circumvent it and for all intents and purposes we are alone.
Manipulating timelines isn't going to happen, nor time machines; time being a one way street isn't going to change.
I doubt humans are the only tech-sentient species but that lightspeed limit and the rarity may mean we don't encounter any, so we won't know.
I don't see any inevitability of expanding beyond this world - for all that the idea of it has wide appeal the reality is it is extraordinarily difficult to colonise space; being desperate to do so will probably be the least conducive conditions for achieving it. Only an extraordinarily wealthy and capable Earth could possibly manage it.
Humanity may well be a blip - here and gone again; we seem incapable of dealing with problems that we know are real and very serious like global warming in a systematic manner. A lot of us would rather use our attention and intellect on imaginary things than use them for dealing with real world problems.
I expect the last to be true - science and technology will reach limits and being able to imagine things (humans are very well supplied with active imaginations that aren't bound by any physical laws) like FTL, time travel, interstellar colonies won't make them happen, not even with an abundance of hoping and wishing and praying. Or even trying.
It isn't even especially pessimistic; these things are imaginary and I am not so affected by the imaginary failing to come to fruition as I am by reality.0
On 3/2/2023 at 1:28 PM, sethoflagos said:
Let's be clear on this. From at least the mid-1930's the energy sector has been fully aware of the long term impact of burning fossil fuels due to the advice given by its chemists and chemical engineers who understood the principles first clearly articulated by Svante Arrhenius in the 1890's.
Their position has been uniformly duplicitous ever since. They have not the slightest interest in rational debate. They see it simply as a war of words. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to respond accordingly.
I am not so convinced the confidence in science linking fossil fuel burning to significant and harmful climate change went so far back as the 1930's. Most of the significant factors affecting climate stability were recognised and to some extent quantified but it was a long way short of what was needed for confident prediction; in some respects it was remarkable that a warming "signal" could be found at all, eg by Callendar. And those who did find them and expressed concern about it (Arrhenius, from a cold country, thought some warming would be good) weren't taken very seriously - and not from duplicity, but because not only was the effect very small and global industrialisation at the scales that make it significant were not certain, there was also legitimate scientific dispute; for example it was thought ocean take down of CO2 would be too rapid for a lot of atmospheric buildup - basic understanding of gas exchange with water suggested that. It wasn't until Roger Revelle and Hans Suess demonstrated the pH buffering (Revelle Factor) that slows CO2 exchange with ocean water in the 1950's that it became more credible. And that was a time of rapid growth of fossil fuel burning - and that is a circumstance that initially makes more cooling from aerosols than warming from GHG's. That rapid growth was also a time of growing prosperity and an absence of scalable clean energy options; suggesting growth of fossil fuel use be stopped didn't have any real support.
That initial cooling and later warming is because aerosol cooling effects are about the rate of sulphate pollution at the time (effectively, over the time scales that are relevant), whilst the warming from the enhanced greenhouse is about the total cumulative amount over time; any coal burning plant will make sulphates at full capacity from the start with the full amount of aerosol driven climate cooling within days to weeks. At some point in time the accumulated CO2 emissions will make warming equal the cooling effect - back to climate zero - and after that it will have a greater warming effect. Stop the coal burning and the aerosol cooling not only stops quickly - days to weeks - it takes things back to the pre-pollution state. But the raised CO2 remains for centuries, with oceans the greatest sink - but slowly because of The Revelle Factor.
The 1975 NAS report "Understanding Climatic Change: A Program for Action" was still short of confidence that future climate change could be predicted, but did suggest what needed to be done for that to be possible, the "program for action" part. Reducing sulphate aerosols was more about acid rain and visible pollution than climate change - the aerosol cooling problem - but reducing sulphate emissions (or the rate of their growth) probably did make the warming from enhanced greenhouse become more apparent.
Until the 1980's I don't think the fossil fuel energy industry needed to respond in any way to climate change concerns - warming or cooling; I think the duplicity, the doubt, deny, delay politicking, is much more recent, in line with credible advice to the US government that global cooling fears could be put to rest, but the reason why was a serious global warming problem.0
8 hours ago, exchemist said:
Not sure you are right about environmentalism. It seems to be the dominant ideology among the young these days, as I know from the associates of my 19yr old son, now at university. .
Increasingly climate concerns are mainstream concerns, including by increasing numbers of capitalists who recognise both growing potential for future climate liability and emerging business opportunities. The denial thing with green-left blaming (in the US, "liberal") was always more a case of capitalists in name only seeking to evade accountability, ie using their power and influence in "soft" (but still very damaging) corruption.
Businesses being responsible and accountable for harms done under the law has always been compatible with and even essential to capitalism as an ideology. When environmentalists were the only voices people were hearing on climate it was easier for business lobbies opposed to accountability on behalf of their members to associate the issue with "anti-capitalist" fringe politics; those leaning right have been strongly discouraged from taking up the issue or admitting there is legitimate grounds for regulatory intervention - but that is no longer so clearly the case.
I'm not so sure that Environmentalism's other issues can achieve a similar level of mainstream support - and ultimately the climate issue will have no special association with Environmentalists.0
On 2/26/2023 at 9:35 AM, Sensei said:
The Earth rotates around an axis.. any attempt to make "direct video" means you will get blurry video with stars looking like this:
To prevent this, when the object you want to record is in close range (i.e. in parsecs), the "recording device" must rotate/move accordingly with the Earth's rotation.
The farther away you want to record an object, the longer you have to collect photons from it.
Well, more than one observatory is needed to maintain continuous observation unless the observatory is space. It is a well known consideration. I don't know that photographic films are used any more; likely the observations themselves are continuous and the data can be combined digitally to get the best results, with arbitrary start and end points.
Observing with multiple kinds of observatories and devices across as much of the emr spectrum as possible seems in order too; I'd expect an imminent supernova to be of wide interest. Someone with more specific interest in astronomy might give more informative answers.0
Apparently, yes. From livescience.com -
Scientists began watching the doomed star — a red supergiant named SN 2020tlf and located about 120 million light-years from Earth — more than 100 days before its final, violent collapse, according to a new study published Jan. 6 in the Astrophysical Journal (opens in new tab). During that lead-up, the researchers saw the star erupt with bright flashes of light as great globs of gas exploded out of the star's surface.0
4 hours ago, sethoflagos said:
Maybe it's a generalisation, but the impression that I get from your posts is that every little bit that we can do to reverse the current trend counts. No matter how insignificant our personal efforts may seem at the time.
I do oscillate between pessimism and cautious optimism - that we will at least avoid the worst case outcomes but I don't let the pessimism sap my conviction and commitment. And I tend towards using my votes, small as they are, to influencing institutional, especially government policy and my voice to encouraging the same from concerned others; much as individual lifestyle choices help (a bit) global warming is far too big for that to be the principle solution. And until the low emissions options are widely available - and not a financial burden - I don't expect or require significant sacrifices, certainly not as proof of anyone's conviction. Just as I wouldn't expect my individual resistance to my nation being invaded to be an effective action when that would require our institutions to have planned and coordinated responses. To me the big things seems to be what they are for.
Not just governments - I have a small sum locked in Superannuation (pension fund) and these organisations have influence as major investors and shareholders in Australia's economy. These are coming to rival banks in Australia for the scale of their investment. Lots of people each have a small say in how that money is invested and a majority want that money invested ethically and in climate terms, responsibly. Even the superannuation funds for mining workers are increasingly avoiding fossil fuel investment and favoring support for clean energy. And doing so is not noticeably reducing the financial returns to members. It is an example of cause for some optimism.16 hours ago, Peterkin said:
the effects of each individual are not equal: some acts are a lot more consequential than others; some people leave bigger tracks than others.
This can make it more important to use the (historically exceptional) freedom to speak up and participate in the small ways available to us.0
@sethoflagos - I'm not sure what I said that made such an impression; I am gratified that it appears to have been a good impression. But should I be more careful of what I say? Or more to the point, be more careful to live up to what I say?0
As it happens I have seen things that I have no explanation for - a smallish globe of light that appeared to be low altitude, moving slowly in a straight line, then veering in another direction, well before drones were a thing. I could not even guess what but there was enough twilight that any balloon should have been visible. I didn't know anyone else who saw it but a mention of unexplained lights in the sky in a local paper followed. If it was an object it appeared less than 0.5m diameter. There were clouds beyond it.
Another time - horizontal grouped rows of coloured lights towards or over the ocean, some "dripping" white lights. It was an area off the coast used for naval exercises. Very strange.
In neither case did I think I was seeing alien vehicles.
I didn't for a moment think aliens or hallucination - these were things that were visible - but possibly the latter were some kind of mirage-like reflection off stratified atmosphere, reflections of something on the water shooting flares? The former may have been some kind of extremely rare but natural phenomena.
Hallucination still seems more credible than ailen craft, as does secret human technology but extra terrestrial aliens with physics defying technology buzzing about with no clear purpose seems even less credible than that.On 2/19/2023 at 10:00 AM, Moontanman said:
but at what point do we stand back and realize that the shear number of sightings by relatively competent observers suggest something... if not extraordinary then at least highly unusual?
How many people - otherwise competent - have claimed direct communication with God, including visions? A lot more than have seen unexplained things in the sky I would expect.
But yes, it seems worthwhile undertaking some kinds of investigation to explain what people are seeing - and being alarmed by.0
4 hours ago, Peterkin said:
If you don't know it, you aren't one - you couldn't even be agnostic or ignostic without holding some opinion on the matter of god(s). You can't be a Muslim or utilitarian or vegetarian without knowing it. You have to be aware of your convictions and beliefs in order to name them.
I suspect the most common kind of not belief in God(s) is not thinking about it. I considered that atheist - but is that agnostic?0
I do think that human propensity to dream, often vividly with powerful emotions attached combines with the unbounded waking human imagination to see patterns in a complex world that aren't necessarily there. It leaves a lot of room to believe almost anything. Especially imagining some kind of willful intent in natural phenomena.
Having common beliefs can unite a group and provide some social cohesion. Having shared beliefs may be more important than the substance of those beliefs.4 hours ago, Peterkin said:
Attempts (at indoctrination in atheism) have been made on quite a large scale in the USSR and China.
I'm inclined to see Communist indoctrination as practiced by Soviets and China as more like religion than not, replacing belief in God with belief in Marxism and the Socialist State, up to and including deifying their leaders - eg Mao as like the Sun and the people as sunflowers that (must) always look towards the great leader. Avowedly Atheist and anti-religion but employing the trappings of religion; to my mind these haven't been good examples of atheist societies. Other beliefs are competition.
Some people see Buddhism as different - no Gods. But for many of them there are deities and they all have supernatural beliefs.0
3 hours ago, Genady said:
Several comments in this thread related the duty of care to the future of their children, grandchildren, etc.
What about people who don't have children to care about? Do they just ignore the issues?
I think that in some respects acting to avoid harming other people applies irrespective of age or genetic or community closeness does extend our duty of care into the future, including the future beyond our lifetimes and to people we aren't closely related to.
Around here adults are expected to act to protect children - everyone's children - from harm, at least from obvious and immediate risks. It looks like a hierarchy of priority with our own children at the top, neighbors' and the local community next, children of our nation, children outside our nation. Somewhere down that line the duty of care becomes a bit nebulous as does our capacity to have an effect, except through our society's institutions. We use our institutions to do the things we are incapable of affecting by our individual actions.
And then there are those who hold positions of responsibility within our society's institutions, who can have fiduciary duties of care within those roles, sometimes with legal accountability attached. ie can be held to be negligent under the law for dereliction of those duties.1
On 2/5/2023 at 11:24 PM, dimreepr said:
While we can't predict our future, we can at least mediate potential harm; but we can only do that today, tomorrow is always too late.
Well, we extrapolate and anticipate, apply foresight, have expectations and intentions. We make plans. All in the present of course. We are paralyzed without our sense of future. Predicting the future is done a lot, imperfectly but with some success. It is useful and highly valued. Climate science is expected to do so - "what will happen if?" is a profoundly important question.20 hours ago, sethoflagos said:
Whatever our intellects and emotions tell us about the preferred trajectory and whether or not it can be achieved, it is clear that there are likely to be significant changes coming. My duty of care therefore became an issue of how well I'd equipped my children with the ability to adapt to a changing environment. And theirs in turn is to do the same as they raise our grandchildren.
That is true. I do think our civil society and many of the best aspects of humanity become more essential rather than less; if we fail to cooperate, educate, lend aid to others and instead see it as a zero sum game where being winners means grabbing greedily and denying opportunities to others we will do worse.
Equipping your children to campaign for strong climate action, as consumers and shareholders and future business managers, as future voters, as political activists and future leaders seems appropriate in order to sustain efforts to achieve a preferred trajectory. I don't think we or they can afford to give up on as much emissions reductions as we can manage.
I think in this case prevention being better than cure is, if anything, short of the mark; the cumulative nature of the problem means we effectively can't achieve a cure - there is no going back to how it was - but we/they may still slow and arrest the further progression and regain something like the stability of climate the Holocene had previously enjoyed.
Clean energy is our most effective action - cost effective in the present - and if scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs had not made solar and wind cost competitive with fossil fuels I think we would be in a lot worse position. With a clear cost disadvantage compared to fossil fuels nuclear would not have thrived - in an alt-world where solar and wind never worked climate activism may have split with anti-nuclear activism and thrown greater (Greta?) support behind nuclear but climate science denial and opposition to clean energy ambitions in support of fossil fuels exists for it's own sake and would probably just been more openly anti-nuclear instead of (conveniently) anti-green, anti-renewables.0
39 minutes ago, sethoflagos said:
The CEOs currently feel no pressure to pay attention to environmental matters around most of the globe because their shareholders most certainly don't care, and there is precious little political pressure being put on them.
Like iNow says, this is changing. Shareholders aren't all apathetic and pressure on Boards and executives from them is growing. In Australia's case Superannuation Funds (pension funds) have huge investment share portfolios and increasingly demand climate responsible management as institutional shareholders. Mobilising smaller shareholders to vote together for a common cause is becoming more common too. And from another direction there is more awareness of potential for climate liability from their legal advisors and for increasing regulation from their business associations and other lobbyist. Of course this is less of an influence where corruption flourishes.57 minutes ago, sethoflagos said:
So I guess we're back to petty, ineffectual virtue signalling. It's the only option available to us. Short of starting a revolution.
I oscillate between deep pessimism and cautious optimism but I am a long way from despair. We have a lot of options, without revolutions - which would only make things worse. Revolutions aren't the prerequisite to adequate responses, they'll more likely be a consequence of inadequate responses and the conflicts and blameshifting in the face of back to back climate fueled weather disasters.
That - all along - there have always been enough people in positions of power and influence that the climate issue cannot be made to go away - is a good sign. An IPCC, international agreements, support for clean energy development are all good signs. The independent rule of law, that already has corporate responsibility for harms caused as a long running principle, can be the friend of climate policy - where courts are independent. Even the recent fossil fuel price surges and brazen profiteering has worked against ongoing dependence on them - a carbon price they imposed on themselves. Admittedly one where they get to keep the proceeds and divert some of it to FUD - but claiming their failure to deliver low cost reliable energy is because of green politics and failures of renewable energy hasn't worked.0
9 hours ago, dimreepr said:
My duty of care is my lifetime first, which, at some point becomes their lifetime first, but that point can only be today; where-ever we find ourselves in Maslows pyramid's.
Taking into consideration how our choices and actions will affect people now living during their lifetime requires some understanding longer term consequences of those choices. We need both the understanding and caring about it.5 hours ago, TheVat said:
I can virtuously broadcast how much I care about ecological and climatic changes over the next couple generations, but if I keep serving beef or pork at every meal and driving an Escalade everywhere I go and sitting with my wife in a 2500 square foot propane-heated house with a heavily irrigated quarter acre of bluegrass lawn, then my caring has minimal ethical component. The duty of care is to implement those worthy concerns I have in remedial actions.
The long term influence of our individual choices varies a lot; if I choose to go stone age vegan because I care about the impacts of global warming beyond my own lifetime that would not be effective. People would be much more likely to mock me than see me as highly principled and therefore worthy of respect and listening to - speaking of hypocrisy. It could also be harmful to deny minors in my care the economic and social opportunities my withdrawing from the greater economy and society might cause - we do have social responsibilities and societal expectations. However, if the CEO of a large manufacturing conglomerate chooses to care (or not care) about the emissions his/her business make and makes choices with respect to transition to low emissions it will have much greater impact than any personal lifestyle choices I might make.
People in positions of high trust and responsibility in government with a duty of care to the well-being of their constituencies, make choices with great significance. Their choices can influence the CEO's and cause business choices to change in turn and make low emissions choices much more widely available at the consumer level.
I see the climate problem as one that requires economy and society wide change, with a shift of the primary energy our economy relies on from high emissions fossil fuels to zero emissions alternatives as the single most significant action. I have solar on my roof and batteries too but I am a long way short of zero emissions; the whole energy supply needs to be low emissions for me to achieve that. Until companies began manufacturing these technologies my choices for low emissions were reduced to going without stuff - which is never going to be popular, let alone so popular that everyone will do it, even if they can be induced to care. Going without is something I do to some extent but it is not enough and not a choice everyone can make.
I can vote. I can make my views known to elected leaders. I can contribute to campaigns to raise awareness and influence political representatives and parties, but broadcasting my virtuousness when anything less than going stone age is way short of what is required only invites accusations of hypocrisy. If the solutions rely on everyone being virtuous we are screwed.
When primary energy is clean energy and used by industries as well as households, when EV's are widely manufactured and they are commonplace within the used vehicle market as well as new, until every product, whether essential or indulgent, is made with clean energy then the lifestyle choices we make will be low emissions.0
I think we have a duty of care to people now living that lasts at least as long as their lifetimes - >100 years. That is long enough to include caring about climate change impacts well beyond my own lifetime.0
On 1/31/2023 at 7:56 AM, cladking said:
is not explicable in terms of modern beliefs about stone pounders and brutish force.
Precision doesn't always take advanced technology. The surface plate, that is (still) an important element of precision engineering can be made with engineer's blue and a hand scraper. Hobbyists still grind telescope mirrors to very fine tolerances by hand. Having a reflective surface allows the human eye to detect minute variations of shape.
This is a real possibility, a simple, clever solution. Of course it uses ramps. This is another possibility -
And for moving the blocks to the site, these kinds of circle segments have been found and moving blocks by rolling them has been suggested as their use. The objection was there was no obvious way to secure them. I'd try wrapping with leather straps to see how they roll.1
in Earth Science
Makes me think of an inverted version of this -
Pick any relevant measure or indicator of ongoing climate change and you can find (too) short periods when they go down rather than up (or for ice, up rather than down... whilst the overall trend, as predicted, remains. Still the facile arguments that seek to interpret the downward temperature variability as trends but not count the upward variability at all continue - along with the willingness of people who should know better to believe that this is incompatible with sound global warming science.
My own preferred measure of real change to the heat balance of our world now rarely goes more than a single year without hitting a new high - without showing any of that "warming has stopped" that Arctic sea ice is claimed to be showing -