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Getting advice from the polar bear


mothythewso
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Polar bears have been taxonomically distinct for about 200,000 years. I'm sure they've witnessed lots of global climate CHANGE (I will not say 'warming') over that time span. The most recent being from about 1000AD, when the Norse settled Greenland, til about 1400 AD, when they couldn't hack the cold. Polar bears just hang tough. And they didn't even have polar bear Climatology PHD's to help them out. Maybe they ate them. Couldn't hurt to get some pointers on the subject of adapting to the climate you have, as opposed to the climate you hope for. Might not be doable.

Seriously, if you accept global climate change, which I do, which includes both warming AND cooling, why are some people so desperately afraid of a warming trend. If climate change is anthropocentric, surely it's anthropo-reversible. We are smarter than polar bears. Good lord, look at the progress humanity has made in just the last 50 years, the scientific breakthroughs our parents couldn't conceive of. If Earth should dip into another Ice Age from purely natural causes, which is in the realm of possibility, we'll just have to deal with it. If it's naturally caused global warming, the same applies. If mankind can't figure out how to cope, then it's just another example natural selection. I'm sure SOMETHING will survive either eventuality.

Question for possible future posts: Which is more survivable, warming or cooling, and why?

 

 

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If mankind can't figure out how to cope, then it's just another example natural selection.

 

Why are you discounting efforts to clean up our atmosphere as part of figuring out how to cope? If you don't approve of the effort to stop things from getting worse, can't you at least get behind better air to breathe?

 

And using our high intelligence instead of ignoring the problem probably has a better chance of favoring us when it comes to natural selection.

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I also said "If climate change is anthropocentric, surely it's anthropo-reversible." Didn't say throw up your hands in despair, bury your head in the sand. I think I was pretty positive about humankinds' potential to solve the problem.

There have been lots of extreme changes in climate over the eons, by the way. Not to mention the odd mass extinction event. None of which were anthropocentric; we weren't around 80 million years ago. Stuff happens.

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You are right that life on this planet will make adjustments. The issue I think is that we are doing it to ourselves, we know better (well, some of us), and if we acted collectively we could take care of the issue before it became a bigger problem than it already is.

 

If you accidentally started a small fire in your kitchen you wouldn't say "No problem, there have been fires for millions of years. We'll adjust."

Instead you would make an effort to put the fire out and minimize the damage. Why not deal with a smaller problem now than a bigger problem later?

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...Why not deal with a smaller problem now than a bigger problem later?

I think a lot of the problem is that the influential deniers couldn't care less, and if it does materialise to the extent predicted they won't be around anyway. All that matters to them is that commercial enterprise and growth is not affected now.

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I also said "If climate change is anthropocentric, surely it's anthropo-reversible."

Nope. It's a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to dump CO2 into the air than it is to get it back out. And any methane blowouts, etc, are probably not reversible at all, regardless of effort and money.

 

 

 

Question for possible future posts: Which is more survivable, warming or cooling, and why?

A natural cooling is probably worse for us than a natural warming - we can easily survive either, but end up more restricted by the cooling.

 

An extraordinarily rapid artificial cooling, on the other hand - say by a nuclear winter or smog - would be pretty bad but likely short-lived; the correspondingly rapid artificial warming like the one we are risking now would be far worse, because it would feed back harder and hang around longer, and impose greater and less avoidable harms.

Edited by overtone
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Could you be more specific as to "the extent predicted ". I'm not aware of any consensus opinion, other than "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!". And I think a lot of the problem is the influential yea-sayers who are more concerned with their political agenda than actual solutions to what I've already agreed is a problem. I just think we as a species have the intelligence and time to solve it. Humanity isn't ready yet for one world order, which I think is the political agenda here. Not saying it's not essential sometime in the (probably relatively near) future for our ultimate survival as a species. We do seem to have an inexhaustible talent for self-destruction, but it's going to take awhile. I guess you can tell I'm somewhat conflicted here. But consider, one of the greatest science-fiction novels of all time (in the opinion of people more erudite than I) is "Earth Abides", written in the late 40's. Very optimistic, highly recommended.

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Could you be more specific as to "the extent predicted ".

I haven't used the term "the extent predicted".

 

 

 

 

I'm not aware of any consensus opinion, other than "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!". And I think a lot of the problem is the influential yea-sayers who are more concerned with their political agenda than actual solutions to what I've already agreed is a problem. I just think we as a species have the intelligence and time to solve it.

 

If you are truly not aware of the ordinary, standard, middle-of the-road description of the current situation and trends regarding the CO2 boost and its likely effects, then you have no idea how much time we as a civilization most likely have - if we are lucky - to forestall various degrees of disaster; you also have no idea of what would need to be done.

 

And you don't know whether or not you agree with anyone about the nature of the "problem", because you are not aware of the standard opinions about it.

 

Google is your friend.

Edited by overtone
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Overtone, I wasn't quoting you, I was quoting StringJunky. Unfortunately, my quote function isn't working.

I would point out, however, that "standard opinions" once, and not that long ago, included as fact that blacks were sub-human (I believe the proponents of that particularly noxious view even supported their theories with "scientific" evidence), Creationism explained thenvision in the e origin of the Universe, homosexuality was an abomination against nature, etc. Not that I'd imply that those opinions reflect your beliefs. But maybe your prejudices?

Perhaps "standard " opinions appeal most strongly to "standard" intellects?

I prefer my own opinions, thank you. And you have no better idea than I do as to "...how long we as a civilization most likely have." And what do you mean by "if we are lucky". "Luck" only occupies the thoughts, such as they are, of fools and gamblers.

Please give me one shred of evidence to support your opinions; even I can do that much. "... to forestall various degrees of disaster."; beyond vacuous drivel. I "... have no idea of what would need to be done..."?. Really! I have lots of ideas. France makes much greater use of clean, non-polluting nuclear power than the US, and last time I was there, the French weren't glowing in the dark. Greater use of oil shales, fracking, solar, geothermal, what have you. Some aren't popular with environmentalists, but they appeal to me much more than living without indoor plumbing, air conditioning, radiant heat, etc.

What do you envision in the next, say, 25 years? Do you really believe science won't make any new discoveries, that the world's best minds, far better than yours or mine, won't come up with any new ideas, that humanity will just roll over and play dead?

You, my dear Overtone, and those of your ilk (it's a descriptive, not necessarily pejorative word, unless you choose to make it so) are so boringly, so conventionally, so predictably negative, you even discourage me. And that's not easy.

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The first time I posted on Science Forums, on Jan 11, I started a topic on the Quantum Theory board, "Is gravity one of the fundamental forces?". I freely admitted at that time that I had no expertise in Quantum Physics, or Physics in general, that in fact I got D's in college physics. Nevertheless, I've taken an interest in Quantum Theory over the years, and I learned enough to pose my question with enough intelligence that you, Strange, posted the first response. You also responded, quite helpfully, to my queries concerning dark matter and dark energy.

Now when I question (NOT deny) one of the current sacred cows of science, you quote me as saying "I prefer my own opinions, thank you.", and from that quote you infer that I've admitted that I don't know anything about the science, and ask why anyone, including myself, should take me seriously. I could point out that I have a degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry, plus coursework in geology, oceanography, and the Spirit of the Renaissance, but that would be bragging. By the way, I attended a fairly reputable university, with a lacrosse team that consistently played for the national championship. Just saying.

And why should anyone put particular value in your opinions. I'm not aware of any special expertise, any credentials you've put forward, at least on this board.

And don't treat this as a personal attack, don't ding my reputation with your -2. Treat it for what it is, me defending myself from intellectual bullying, although the attempts have so far been pretty puerile.

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Now when I question (NOT deny) one of the current sacred cows of science, you quote me as saying "I prefer my own opinions, thank you.", and from that quote you infer that I've admitted that I don't know anything about the science

 

That was based on this comment:

 

I'm not aware of any consensus opinion, other than "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!".

 

As there is a great deal of scientific evidence quantifying the possible range of effects, I have to assume that you are genuinely unaware of the data or were just pretending not to for dramatic effect. Sorry if I took your stement too literally.

 

And why should anyone put particular value in your opinions.

 

I try not to have any. :)

 

I'm not aware of any special expertise, any credentials you've put forward, at least on this board.

 

I have almost no expertise and no qualifications of any relevance (I have a "Diploma in Humanities" that I am quite proud of).

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Now when I question (NOT deny) one of the current sacred cows of science, you quote me as saying "I prefer my own opinions, thank you.", and from that quote you infer that I've admitted that I don't know anything about the science...

As has already been pointed out, you self-declared that all you see in terms of consensus is "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!" That gives readers a tremendous amount of insight into both your level of understanding of the issue and your feelings about what it means for our society.

 

You should also note that this is less about anything being a "sacred cow" and more about people like me and other members here having grown tired of the consistent willful ignorance expressed and deceitful misinformation campaigns so robustly promulgated on this topic. You may be new to science forums, but I promise you that those of us who have engaged in these discussions for years see this type of climate ignorance on a fairly frequent and recurring basis. It gets old in a hurry, especially when you've spent so much time answering the same exact questions over and over again and when there is such an abundance of resources readily available to educate oneself, and especially since inaction put us all at risk in various ways.

 

Now... What specific questions do you have that you'd like help addressing? I'm happy to help point you to resources to fill your gaps in understanding, as are most others here, I'm sure. It's important that we educate those who are self-admittedly ignorant of all of the decades of work that's been done across research domains over the past several decades on the topic of climate change, why we're so incredibly confident in our (admittedly disconcerting) conclusions and forecasts, and I'm happy to continue that process of education and eradication of ignorance with you... So ask away.

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Generally every time we want a bit of energy our main means of obtaining it is via combustion. Decreasing the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide. As more of the world industrializes we can reasonably expect this trend to accelerate.

 

CO2 traps heat better and none of us wants the Earth to end up looking like Venus. There's reasonable evidence it can also snowball. The trapped methane in the oceans is only stable within a narrow pressure/temperature range. It gets too warm and the methane starts bubbling exacerbating the problem.

 

Problem with changes caused by lifeforms is that the lifeforms don't stop having an impact. If you want to look up the "Oxygen Catastrophe", it illustrates this fact well.

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I prefer my own opinions, thank you. And you have no better idea than I do as to "...how long we as a civilization most likely have." And what do you mean by "if we are lucky". "Luck" only occupies the thoughts, such as they are, of fools and gamblers.

I did not accuse you of occupying much thought - I merely pointed out that your opinion regarding how much time we as a civilization have to react to this CO2 buildup and its effects is based on presuming a considerable amount of good luck. The current trends, theories, and physical evidence, point to a significant probability of a rapid changes we have no currently visible means of dealing with.

 

You might be correct in that assessment. But only by luck, apparently - you have presented no reasoning or evidence to support that opinion.

 

 

I could point out that I have a degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry, plus coursework in geology, oceanography, and the Spirit of the Renaissance,
In which case your failure to present a coherent argument or reason from evidence, and your repeated use of the vocabulary common to the ignorant and politically/religiously motivated ("sacred cows" of science, "the sky is falling", etc), takes on a more sinister aspect: you claim to be in a position in which it is hardly possible that you are innocently unaware of the ordinary facts of the matter.

 

 

 

 

but that would be bragging. By the way, I attended a fairly reputable university, with a lacrosse team that consistently played for the national championship. Just saying.
The reputation of a university is built on the capabilities of its alumni - not the other way around.

 

Don't bother. Many people here have attended fine universities, and accumulated degrees and such. Present your knowledge and reasoning, and your opinion will acquire much greater support than any number of claimed credentials could possibly lend it.

 

 

 

 

What do you envision in the next, say, 25 years? Do you really believe science won't make any new discoveries, that the world's best minds, far better than yours or mine, won't come up with any new ideas, that humanity will just roll over and play dead?
Strawman. We wouldn't need any new discoveries from science (helpful, but not centrally necessary) , and humanity is not going to have much choice in the menu of consequences.

 

The fact that we have the science we need is a good thing, because we probably don't have enough time to find, research, and turn brand new stuff into widespread working technology

 

And I'm reading about my undue negativity in the posts of someone who thinks that polar bears having survived interglacials of the past is reassuring, that we have plenty of time, that we can help mitigate the effects of the CO2 buildup by exploiting oil shales and fracking for fossil fuel. Who posted this:

 

 

Seriously, if you accept global climate change, which I do, which includes both warming AND cooling, why are some people so desperately afraid of a warming trend
The level of negativity justified by that puts me in the Pollyanna camp. Edited by overtone
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Ah, Overtone. And my morning seemed to be starting out so well.

You've set me quite a task. I won't be able to complete it off the top of my apparently Neanderthalish forehead; give me a day or two to get back to you. And I promise to work on my vocabulary. How about "...nattering nabobs of negativity..." Now there was a man with a flair for words.

And I will expect you to have your shi..., sorry, facts together for my assault on Mt Sacred Cow. Hey, I just made that up. Pretty clever, huh.

Until then, I have a lacrosse to watch. Got to keep my priorities straight.

 

>:D >:D

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I am far more afraid of cooling than warming although us rich people will be OK either way.

 

The scale of sea level rises predicted by the most catastrophic predictions are very minor. I am not a climate scientist but I am a builder type of man and know how expensive it is not to build a 1m high sea defense. Beach front property almost anywhere anybody lives is very worth protecting with a little concrete.

 

Cold times have been when there has been mass starvation. When the Roman Empire collapsed. When vast droughts wiped out civilizations.

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I am far more afraid of cooling than warming although us rich people will be OK either way.
If we were cooling by a known mechanism at the rate we are warming by anthro CO2 boost, the IPCC would be issuing dire predictions, the science folks would be recommending we take mitigating measures for the likely and incoming effects, and the task of slowing that mechanism down would be an urgent one;

 

and you would probably be telling us that the satellites measuring it are in space where it's cold so the data is biased, and the planet has been colder before so it's no big deal, and all these alarmists are just running around saying the sky is falling.

 

There might even be threads here about how we can take lessons from the grizzly bear - it survived the last few coolings, and so we can handle this one because awesome new science and stuff.

 

 

The scale of sea level rises predicted by the most catastrophic predictions are very minor.
No, they aren't. You just think they are because you think 3mm of sea rise in a year is a small thing, just like you think one degree Celsius of warming in fifty years is a small thing, just like you think a fiftieth of a percent of the atmosphere being new CO2 is a small thing. They look small to you, so they must be minor.
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I am far more afraid of cooling than warming although us rich people will be OK either way.

 

You seem (from this an earlier comments) to be under the impression that a 1º rise just means that it would be a bit warmer (on a day when it would have been 20º it will be 21º instead). But it isn't as simple as that. In the last few years, the UK has had the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest months on record. All of these records will continue to be broken in coming years if "global warming" continues.

 

You have claimed that cold weather is a greater danger than hot. In fact, both extremes are dangerous, but even if you were right, climate change will lead to more extremes of cold weather (in some places) and hence more deaths.

 

 

Cold times have been when there has been mass starvation. When the Roman Empire collapsed. When vast droughts wiped out civilizations.

 

That might be true for northern Europe (it would nice to see some evidence to support it) but isn't necessarily true for the tropics.

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Well, it's snowing outside, lacrosse practice was cancelled, and as I have nothing better to do, I guess I might as well face the music again.

IPCC 2013 conclusions, based on CO2 concentrations doubling by in 50 yrs. Worst case, +4C, (range, 2.4 - 6.4C), best case, +1.8C (range 1.1 -2.9C), change assuming constant CO2, +0.6C. Sea level change, worst case approx. +1m, +/- 0.2m. Temps lowered about 0.9C from 2007 report.

EPA estimates, increase of 2.0 - 11.5F, same time frame.

Prof. S. Sherwood, U of New South Wales, +4C, again same time frame.

Compare to overall temp increase, roughly 1850 til 2010, 0.74C.

The consensus is that temp's are increasing, but there's significant disagreement about by how much. Already agreed to that, except that I prefer the term "climate change". Hardly makes me a Luddite!

Now as to solutions. Do you have a problem with nuclear power? (By the way, I'd be embarrassed for you if you didn't bring the spent fuel rod storage problem, I've although that one we don't have to solve immediately.) And the point about increasing the use of fracking, increased use of natural gas, is they're much cleaner than coal, which I think is still our major source of energy. Have you ever been to a coal-fired power plant, an oil-fired plant, a nuclear facility? I've been to all three; nuclear's much preferable.

How about personal responsibility: change your light bulbs to pigtails, turn off your lights when you leave the room, don't heat your house to sauna levels, don't cool it down to 65.

How about increasing automobile mpg (NOT with ethanol), carbon scrubbers, other emissions controls? Oh, the "gummint ' already mandates those. Maybe I, as a conservative, should be out there protesting my neighborhood gas station. Isn't that how us evil dullards act?

How about new technologies. Carbon sequestration? Giant reflective satellites to divert the sun's total energy from the Earth's surface? Seeding clouds over the oceans with remote-controlled ships to promote cloud growth, again causing the sun's energy to be dissipated?

And who's to say what science might come up with by 2050? Technologies totally unknown to us now, like nanotech was in the 1960's. Or cell-phones, for that matter.

And if you can find anything I've mentioned in the above that contradicts anything I really said in my previous posts, instead rather than what you, in your narrow-minded, reflexive attitude against those who disagree with you, who can think for themselves, thought I said, please tell me, and I'll publicly apologize to you in this thread.

I will grant you that the biggest problem Earth faces in solving this problem is government intransigence. Not particularly the U S, or Northern Europe, but Russia, China, the developing world, etc. Have you ever been to Beijing? I was there once for three days, and I only saw the sun for 5 minutes because of the smog. And that's not going to change anytime soon.

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