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Question regarding greenhouse gases

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Can you provide some specifics about what damage you assert "can and will" be done to the economy by the politics of discussing global climate change?

 

Here yah go:

 

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/kyoto/economic.htm

http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/BG1437.cfm

http://www.accf.org/publications/testimonies/test-impactkyoto-march25-1999.html

http://www.ncpa.org/iss/env/2002/pd042502g.html

http://www.siyassa.org.eg/esiyassa/ahram/2001/7/1/ECON2.HTM

 

The first one is very very detailed. Some of the others not as much.

 

For more as usual just use google.

 

The last one reminded me of a very interesting point.

 

To paraphrase: The economic effects of the most industrialized countries will help developing countries become more competitive.

 

No way... you mean there is a secondary agenda behind climate change protocols such as kyoto.

 

Fascinating.

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Economic damage comes not from discussing GW. It comes from some of the policies that are likely to be implemented in response. It is well known that excessive taxes hurt businesses and slow down economic growth. Carbon taxes, often excessive, are the main means suggested by which governments put pressure on people and businesses to cut carbon emissions. This is good for said governments, who end up with lots more money to buy votes - but very bad for the businesses and productive people who just want to earn a living.

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It isn't too difficult to look it up yourself but ok.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

 

There are plenty of historical graphs for both CO2 and temperature there. Note, for the references please see the bottom of the page as the IPCC is listed several times since that is the holy grail for environmentalist I'm sure that is necessary or the data is just make-believe.

 

it is just a conglomeration of thousands of scientific papers into the current state of knowledge. No biggy. But, yes, I remember about the conspiracy theories. The IPCC 2007 report is ~1,000 pages in length. Have you read it? Or even the 20+ page summary? We can discuss its errors if you have.

 

Further the first paragraph of the link explains the 100 year warming trend we have had 1.33 +- .32 degrees.

 

Ok...Quite a big rise in 100 years

 

The main "idea" to take away from the articles is that the CO2 concentration plots DO NOT follow the temperature trends, which is my point.

 

They do, actually. Obviously CO2 is not the only factor, but is the *primary* factor since mid-century. It has also been a big factor over long-term scales (millions of years). Aerosols did contribute a bit in the mid-century during the cooling trend (to answer Mr. Skeptic, the 0 line on the graph refers to 1750 conditions). So the positive and negative forcing are relative to pre-industrial conditions, with little from natural since 1950 (see http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/104/10/3713.pdf for instance)

 

meehl-attribution.gif

 

I find it difficult to say "CO2 doesn't follow the temperature rise" when you look on a graph of CO2 concentration with temperature with time. For one thing, you are looking at two different Y axis- degrees and ppm. Not really supposed to overlap and every bump and curve. Second, more is going on than just CO2. Not sure why you expect all these graphs to follow perfectly, but there is a clear correlation between the two, and simple radiative physics allows for attribution.

 

 

Right.

 

 

Ok, before things get too off tilt:

 

I didn't say water vapor was causing the INCREASE in global temperature. I said it is the MAJORITY contributor to GW. Something I have noticed is that the definition of GW is different for some people. GW is the process by which a planet/celestial body is warmed due to the atmosphere. The "natural" fluctuation of our planets temperature is DUE mostly too how much water vapor is in the atmosphere, however YES the current additional average temperature isn't due to water vapor but other extra greenhouse gases such as CO2. Of course, increases in water vapor in the atmosphere can add to increased average temperature as well (the feedback you are referring too).

 

In summary, i'm not saying water vapor is why we have experienced a 1 degree temperature increase the past century. I'm saying that the greenhouse gas that is most abundant and facilitates GW the most is water vapor. After all GW is a natural process.

You are using an odd definition of GW which would never be used in technical papers or such, but this seems to be a jump from your origninal argument, so I'll let it go

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps you are reading it wrong. I'll attempt to rephrase.

 

Without the existence of humans the planet earth would not have a flat line average global temperature over time correct?

 

No. Maybe ch. 6 on paleoclimatology in the IPCC report WAS an illusion. However, past climate changes do have caused, it just doesn't change because the Earth presses a button. Siberian traps, asteroids, milankovitch cycles, biological impacts, or what have you. It is why we both detect and "attribute" climate change, not just detect.

 

My point was that the natural fluctuation that earth experienced before industrialization had a specific magnitude (imagine a sine wave). The past century warming that has occurred if plotted would closely fit the trends over time.

 

Unlike of course if you observe the natural CO2 fluctuations and current increases. The only point I have been trying to make is that the focus and emphasis is always put on CO2 concentrations, why? Because it makes the global situation seem much more dire. The problem is that they are not 1 to 1 trends.

 

Emphasis is given because of CO2's strong role in changing global temperature. This graph represents CO2 concentration with time over the glacial-interglacial cycles

 

vostok-ice-core_013107_062554.gif

 

The one thing that stands out is the magnitude of CO2 rise compared to previous interglacials. But also note the *rate of* change in both CO2 and temperature. You'll need better industrial-time resoultion for the latter, but there is something else clearly at work, not apparent in the previous cycles. In both magnitude and rate, we are washing out natural variation. If not humans, what? If even "business-as-usual" projections by 2100 are correct, than we will be far outside even the 120k event where sea levels were much higher. Things do not adapt well to such fast change, and the climate change we are experiencing is much different than previous trends. If you read nothing else by me, I think http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/LawReviewCatastrophe.pdf by Dr. Pierrehumbert puts some things in perspective geologically speaking.

 

In closing I just want to make a few points I guess.

 

As with most things, being too idealistic or extreme on either end of a spectrum is not a good thing.

I hope scientists are alarming, but not alarmist. I actually think people don't really get what is going on, especially when people say something like "we have only went up by a degree in 100 years" and are unerestimating projections. I tend more toward the geology side of things, so looking at the greenhouse forcings of previous extinction events, the idea of doubling or tripling atmospheric CO2 is scary. Mark Lynas' book really would be a good pickup, or working group 2 report on impacts from http://www.ipcc.ch

 

Outright denying that humans effect greenhouse gas levels and thus global climate is ridiculous and extreme.

 

However, exaggerating or misleadingly using data to "scare" people is extreme and wrong too. I agree, but I don't feel the need to exaggerate to call for action, and to emphasize the problems

 

The damage to the environment does need to be mitigated, but idealistic ideas or attempts at returning earth to how it was prior to industrialization is absurd.

 

 

...

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Here yah go:

 

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/kyoto/economic.htm

http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/BG1437.cfm

http://www.accf.org/publications/testimonies/test-impactkyoto-march25-1999.html

http://www.ncpa.org/iss/env/2002/pd042502g.html

http://www.siyassa.org.eg/esiyassa/ahram/2001/7/1/ECON2.HTM

 

The first one is very very detailed. Some of the others not as much.

 

For more as usual just use google.

 

The last one reminded me of a very interesting point.

 

To paraphrase: The economic effects of the most industrialized countries will help developing countries become more competitive.

 

No way... you mean there is a secondary agenda behind climate change protocols such as kyoto.

 

Fascinating.

 

Your links all relate specifically to the Kyoto protocol. Since this is not what we were discussing, and you said that discussion of global climate change and encouraging change is bad for the economy, what you've done is known as equivocation.

 

My contention is that changing our behavior in light of data regarding the human impact on global climate is NOT bad for the economy. I cite economic growth theory, whereby economies make investments in capital, education, and technologies, thereby abstaining from consumption today, in order to increase consumption in the future.

 

I also suggest that all economic impact must be considered in light of residual economic damage global climate change will have in the future. This should be viewed as a "natural capital." Essentially, by devoting output to emissions reductions, reducing consumption today, economies prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future.While these are more difficult to model, many outstanding models have been used to show how moderate behavior change now is significantly cheaper than doing nothing now and paying for damages later. I cite specifically the DICE model in this regard.

 

Further, current changes can be used to focus on greater efficiency and less waste, thus saving all industries as pertains to material and resource costs. Last, when considering how much change the economy can sustain (to ensure growth and not collapse), one must consider the speed at which changes are implemented, and weigh the scope of those changes prior to implementing.

 

The above are a few counter points to your assertion that discussing global climate change or encouraging behavioral change are detrimental to the economy. However, this thread is about greenhouse gases themselves, so if you wish to continue this economics of global climate change discussion, I advise a new thread be started to do so.

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Your links all relate specifically to the Kyoto protocol. Since this is not what we were discussing, and you said that discussion of global climate change and encouraging change is bad for the economy, what you've done is known as equivocation.

 

No.

 

If you read the in depth analysis of the protocol you will see what climate policies do to negatively effect economic growth etc.

 

My contention is that changing our behavior in light of data regarding the human impact on global climate is NOT bad for the economy. I cite economic growth theory, whereby economies make investments in capital, education, and technologies, thereby abstaining from consumption today, in order to increase consumption in the future.

Right, so you "cite" a theory without actually citing anything and just assert the exact opposite of what the studies and links just demonstrated.

I also suggest that all economic impact must be considered in light of residual economic damage global climate change will have in the future. This should be viewed as a "natural capital." Essentially, by devoting output to emissions reductions, reducing consumption today, economies prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future.While these are more difficult to model, many outstanding models have been used to show how moderate behavior change now is significantly cheaper than doing nothing now and paying for damages later. I cite specifically the DICE model in this regard.

See above.

Further, current changes can be used to focus on greater efficiency and less waste, thus saving all industries as pertains to material and resource costs. Last, when considering how much change the economy can sustain (to ensure growth and not collapse), one must consider the speed at which changes are implemented, and weigh the scope of those changes prior to implementing.

See above...

 

The above are a few counter points to your assertion that discussing global climate change or encouraging behavioral change are detrimental to the economy.

First, that wasn't ever my assertion.

 

My assertion was that exaggeration or misrepresentation of climate data to push policy can be detrimental to the economy.

 

Strawman BAD!

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For theCPE:

 

Below addresses your questions above, point for point, regarding the economics discussed in my post:

 

 

http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/webfac/trehan/e100b_sp05/chap4.pdf

 

http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/dice_mss_072407_all.pdf

 

http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/Basics.htm

 

http://www.business.uts.edu.au/finance/research/wpapers/wp14.pdf

 

 

Now, please allow this thread to return to it's original topic regarding greenhouse gases. Thank you.

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Arguments aside, thank you all for the data. That is what I was wanting to see. As for water vapor I've never heard anyone support the claim that it causes warming. If anything shouldn't it act as a sort of cooling agent? Maybe I'm all off base there, so I apologize.

 

Not too long ago I had also heard that the Sun has been producing excess "solar activity." Now what that means I'm not entirely sure. However it seems to me that extra solar activity would surely be a cause of global warming (since it's what makes us warm in the first place). Has there been any data to suggest this?

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Arguments aside, thank you all for the data. That is what I was wanting to see. As for water vapor I've never heard anyone support the claim that it causes warming. If anything shouldn't it act as a sort of cooling agent? Maybe I'm all off base there, so I apologize.

 

Not too long ago I had also heard that the Sun has been producing excess "solar activity." Now what that means I'm not entirely sure. However it seems to me that extra solar activity would surely be a cause of global warming (since it's what makes us warm in the first place). Has there been any data to suggest this?

 

I will try to be as simple as I can, but emphasize some points for all readers. For water vapor (H20 as a gas), it is a greenhouse gas, and a bit more abundant than CO2. Without either gas though, we'd be in an uninhabitable cold planet, even neglecting the "cooling" ice-albedo feedback such a planet would have. Atmospheric motions have a drying effect which keeps the atmosphere from reaching saturation and can almost be seen by keeping the relative humidity fixed at some sub saturated value as the climate warms or cools... in other words, water vapor content in the atmosphere increases roughly exponentially as a function of temperature (warmer air holds more WV and so this produces a positive feedback which further amplify temperatures, opposite if you move the climate to a cooler state. So WV is very influential at the tropics, and much less as you move poleward. Note that without CO2, the atmosphere would be too cold to have much WV in it, so you lose much of the WV greenhouse effect as well.

 

A common skeptic claim is that since water vapor may be "more abundant or more powerful or what have you" that the CO2 effect is negligible. Skeptics with a bit more savvy and partially educated in radiative physics will tell you that since the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) is mostly "delayed to space" by water vapor, the absorption bands of CO2 don't matter much. As an analogy, they say that you put on a pair of sunglasses, and then one of those welding face shields over that, you roughly get how much influence CO2 has (CO2 comparable to the glasses). It is a cute claim, and fooled most physicists early in the century- a bit of history on this at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm or http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm . As that touched upon, CO2 is the powerful mechanism for *change in* temperature, and is the suspect today.

 

It comes with its share of problems, one of which I emphasized. Water Vapor is a feedback, not a forcing mechanism, so if you see an increase in global temperatures it cannot be caused by changing WV content, WV content changes with the temperature and that change amplifies initial warming. Another problem with the claim is that the layer at the top of the atmosphere where radiation escapes to space is what determines our heat balance, and up here it is cold and dry; CO2 is well-mixed throughout the atmosphere, while WV has a stronger vertical gradient being concentrated a bit more lower down. Finally, there are windows of "absorption" that are dominated by CO2, but little influence from water vapor (e.g. at the 15 micron area). It is the ability of greenhouse gases to absorb and emit infrared radiation which makes the effect work, and is indeed the concern at all. Much better to say CO2 and water vapor compliment each other, rather than say "one dominates the other."

 

The "attribution" issue with Global Warming (and I define this here as the increase in temperature from pre-industrial state) is what caused it. At first glance, CO2 is a suspect, a brighter sun is a suspect, and some other ones, but water vapor is not. I hope you picked this up- see http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v419/n6903/full/nature01087.html;jsessionid=91DFE859DBCA925B3F060EE2B72A3274 for further discussion (I apologize if you need subscription). Water Vapor is of concern though because it will provide a feedback. With basic physics you get 1.2 C per doubling of CO2 without feedbacks (except the negative T^4 feedback from radiative flux). Projections, however, are ~3 C per doubling of CO2. The difference is made up by indirect impacts of CO2 (the feedbacks to a warmer climate) which include positive water vapor (which dominates the feedback discussion), ice feedback, and others (there is a thread here at http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=29932 where I posted a few posts down)

 

The role of the sun has been more clearly spoken of in the threads in ecology and environment section. I did post #6 at http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=28554 for instance. Some in other threads here on global warming, but you should go to the scientific literature and IPCC on the subject. More references in those posts, but as a summary: the sun played a more significant role in some of the early-century warming. During the middle of the last millennia, a decline in solar activity helped result in what you may Google as the "little ice age." Changes in the solar output and in the distribution of radiation on the globe (astronomical cycles alter this which helps move us in and out of ice ages) play a large part in paleoclimates. Since 1950 or so, there is minimal change in the sun- in fact, the changes in the sun and other natural factors should probably be giving us a very slight cooling trend now. CO2 and other greenhouse gases have dominated. -- Chris

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the changes in the sun and other natural factors should probably be giving us a very slight cooling trend now
The slight cooling trend you're talking about should actually be the start of a new glaciation period (which is due to Milankovich cycles). We seem to have 'seen off' or at least postponed this, perhaps indefinitely -some are saying this 'change' in the expected onset started when humans began developing large-scale agriculture.

Also the solar cycle (the 11-yr sunspot cycle) is beginning its next upturn. So solar output will increase gradually (or at least, this is what is expected), and there is evidence that past solar cycles have added an extra 2 deg. C to upper atmosphere warming. So it should get warmer, not cooler, over the next 8 or so yrs.

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GW is not primarily due to CO2.

 

GW is primarily due to water vapor.

 

*boggle* No, wrong

 

It is incorrect to assert that current global temperature increases are a direct result of human emitted CO2.

 

The dynamic is far too complex than to simple state that only CO2 emitted by humans causes the increased warming.

 

Yet you'll happily state that water vapor causes global warming.

 

Arguments like that are the reason climate scientists generally eschew the phrase "global warming"

 

Increases in anthropogenic gasses, particularly CO2, are primarily responsible for recent (at least the past 30 years) increases in global mean surface temperature.

 

As far as can be determined human emitted CO2 DOES add greenhouse gases and thus increase warming potential. Asserting however that only human emitted CO2 is the cause or that the warming is DIRECTLY a result of human produced CO2 is wrong.

 

Who's doing that? That smells of a strawman.

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Who's doing that?
Well at least in the United States it's anyone and everyone who has something to gain from such rhetoric (politicians in the upcoming elections, automobile manufacturers, the organic food industry, etc...). That's why I came here. I'm not interested in the politics or the rhetoric. I just want the simple (or not so simple) scientific facts. If the fact of the matter happened to be "We don't know" then that at least is still a fact. I'm so sick and tired of the fallacies used by people on both sides of the argument. I personally think comments like "global warming doesn't exist" or "humans have no role in the rise of global temperatures" are useless without a sound scientific basis.

 

This discussion has been most enlightening for me.

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