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Global warming overblown?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 10:35 am
Quote:
We are gripped by CO2 madness By S. Fred Singer Published: December 31 2004 4:00 | Last Updated: December 31 2004 4:00 .l { visibility: hidden; display: block; }
From Prof S. Fred Singer.


Sir, The essay by Paula Dobriansky, US undersecretary of state for global affairs ("Only new technology can halt climate change", December 1), elicited a great deal of correspondence. Some found her faith in technological efficacy "touching" and pooh-poohed the grand-sounding initiatives promoted by the White House (Profs J. C. Phillips and F. Banks, December 3). Indeed, halting climate change is akin to halting the tides.

Even stopping the ongoing increase of carbon dioxide, a much lesser goal, is out of reach. About the best one can do is to slow the rate of increase - but at a huge cost, through energy rationing and higher energy prices. This is a policy that developing countries such as China and India - soon to become the major emitters - would never countenance.

A more fundamental problem, however, is quite evident from your editorial ("Kiboshing Kyoto", December 3). It painted a horrific picture of future warming - while ignoring the underlying science. Satellite observations still exhibit no significant warming of the atmosphere. The data claiming that the 20th century was the warmest in 1,000 years have been shown as faulty. Climate models projecting strong future warming are unreliable, as are their underlying energy scenarios. Science-based estimates are converging on predicting an average global warming of not much more than half a degree by 2100, with most of the warming occurring during winter nights at high latitudes. To put it bluntly, the great fear of warming translates to Siberia and northern Canada seeing temperatures of -38°̊ instead of -40°̊.

I suppose that some years hence we will look back on the global warming episode as an aberration that gripped much of the western world. We should recognise that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but the essential plant food, and that more CO2 means more growth of crops and forests. The danger is that the huge amounts of money now devoted to all aspects of global warming - better spent on true societal problems - perversely build up constituencies that will keep this madness going. Witness the nearly 200 national delegations that converged on Milan for COP-9 and will continue year after year, not to mention the hundreds of non-governmental organisations plus the United Nations and national bureaucracies.

S. Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences (University of Virginia), Arlington, VA 22202, US
http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1075982412877&p=1012571727162
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 17,039 • Replies: 292
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 12:49 pm
I think it's real. I think it's a problem. I don't think there is a thing we can, or should be doing about, given the limited knowledge we have at the moment.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 01:00 pm
Well, the bright side is that we may well burn ourselves out of fossil fuels, and even if we are agents of global warming, the oceans should absord most of the excess CO2 within a few centuries. And I'm frankly no all that sold on global warming -- in small part because of the complexity of the system under investigation and in much larger part because I haven't read much on it aside from what I get from the popular press, which is horrendous at reporting science.

That said, even sans global warming, I am generally in favor of stricter environmental controls. Human history is marked by a series of environmental disasters: deforestation, extinctions of large animals every time we come to a new continent or island. We have some perspective on our impact, and should do something about it. Not that I have any hope that we will, nor that I think that I won't inflict more damage during my life than I could ever expect to mend...

But to respond to the title of the thread: maybe, but why risk it?
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 01:08 pm
roger wrote:
I think it's real. I think it's a problem. I don't think there is a thing we can, or should be doing about, given the limited knowledge we have at the moment.


I agree without reservation.

Or perhaps with just one: the one thing I see that we can and should do is to continue to pay close attention, even if that plays into the hands of the doomsday prophets.
0 Replies
 
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 01:09 pm
What's the big problem? Do what bush does. Earth getting too warm? Turn up the ac.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 01:48 pm
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
What's the big problem? Do what bush does. Earth getting too warm? Turn up the ac.

He doesn't do that.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 01:55 pm
Turn up the ac, indeed! This planet is estimated to be over 10 million years old. How many ice age have we had during that period? The landscape/continents have shifted dramatically during that period. How many global warming cycles have we had during the past 10 million years? What are the lows and the highs of this planets temperature? When somebody is able to answer these questions, I'll be more than happy to respond with my opinion about the perceived current global warming. Wink
0 Replies
 
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 02:23 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
What's the big problem? Do what bush does. Earth getting too warm? Turn up the ac.

He doesn't do that.


you his butler or something?
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 02:35 pm
4.5 billion or so is quite a bit larger than 10 million, in fact...
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 02:49 pm
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
What's the big problem? Do what bush does. Earth getting too warm? Turn up the ac.

He doesn't do that.


you his butler or something?

I must admit that I am simply assuming that the president doesn't turn up his A/C in an attempt to combat global warming.

Since you asserted that he does, perhaps you would care to offer documentation or provide a link, because it looks to me like about the same things as if I said John Kerry murders homeless people for sport, i.e. nonsense.

Yes, I do know that you meant to imply figuratively that Bush has a poor record on the environment, but it is really much too easy to run around accusing people of nonsensical things they haven't done, with no evidence. It has the effect of making innocent people look guilty, and that's really not fair, is it?
0 Replies
 
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 02:57 pm
If you understand that I was refering figuratively to his poor environmental record then what's all this other crap you're saying? Either you get it or you don't.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 03:09 pm
roger wrote:
I think it's real. I think it's a problem. I don't think there is a thing we can, or should be doing about, given the limited knowledge we have at the moment.


I tend to agree with this assessment.

We have already taken actions (industrial revolution and population growth) which will affect the planet in one way or another for the next several hundred years, if not thousand years no matter what we do next. But we don't know enough about climate models to predict actual results, nor do we really know how to change things with any certainty of making them better.

People like stability, but this planet isn't stable, it never has been. Atmospheric conditions fluctuate widely over thousands of years, and the basic biology of the planet moderates the fluctuations. But things fluctuate just the same. Seas become mountain ranges and deserts become oases and back again. Loss of rainfall in Kansas may impair crop growth in the US, but may result in rainfall somewhere else. The Sahara desert was once fertile.

I do think we should use some common sense in our exploitation of natural resources and strive for a minimally invasive symbiosis with the planet, but I don't think we should go back to living in caves or anything in an attempt to ward off thermal changes in the global atmosphere.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 03:12 pm
Quote:
I do think we should use some common sense in our exploitation of natural resources and strive for a minimally invasive symbiosis with the planet, but I don't think we should go back to living in caves or anything in an attempt to ward off thermal changes in the global atmosphere.


Yeah, what he said.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 03:15 pm
What's a few billion more years after 10 million?
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 03:17 pm
Very important. It took a long time for bacteria to get their act together and starts making oxygen, and another long time for other bacteria to figure out how to make use of it, and still another long time for these bacteria to find homes in the big cellular water bags that would become slime molds and plants and chimpanzees. From those cells to us is more of a blip.




(sorry, derailing thread here.)
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 03:33 pm
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
If you understand that I was refering figuratively to his poor environmental record then what's all this other crap you're saying? Either you get it or you don't.

Really, you're the one who doesn't appear to get it. I could post the statement that John Kerry was only present for 5% of the senate sessions during his career, and paid look-alikes to sit in his seat, in order to make a figurative accusation that he didn't accomplish much in the senate. But it would be a cheap, unfair statement, because (a) fudamentally it's saying that someone did something that he didn't do , and (b) I have failed to provide any evidence to support my actual underlying accusation. It's just too easy and too unfair. Oh, by the way, this is the Science board.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 04:04 pm
How much "science" is actually spoken here?
0 Replies
 
neil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:25 pm
It is likely moderate amounts of global warming have occurred in the past 58 years, but likely near term scenarios are no worse than global climate changes of the last 3000 years.
Over the coming 3000 years new ice age is more probable than global warming, but a few gloom and doom types predict the global warming of this century will trigger the new ice age perhaps as soon as 2012.
All the solutions to carbon dioxide emissions are incredibly costly, except I believe we could capture some carbon dioxide that is escaping from deep in the Earth and pump it into old mines and deep natural caverns to be released into the atmosphere if we get new ice age instead of, or shortly after global warming. Do not sign the Kyoto treaty/accord. Neil
0 Replies
 
neil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:18 pm
Hi cicerone: I agree: What happened more than ten million years ago is of little help in predicting the next decade or two. The change in Earth's temperature near the Equator, in Antarctica and Greenland, the past ten million years is likely very little. The entire North temperate zone likely averaged 18 degrees f = 10 degrees c colder during the depth of the several ice ages. Little if any of Earth has been 5 degrees c = 9 degrees f warmer than 2004 at any time in the past ten million years. Those numbers likely hold for highs and lows by the century, year or day. I'm not sure that proves much regarding what may happen before 2012 nor before 2099.

We are already into diminishing returns regarding conservation, but conservation may offset the population increase of the next few decades. Conservation can not reverse carbon dioxide emissions significantly even at incredible cost IMHO.

We probably should fine suv and Hummer owners about $10,000, if they fail to show that they really need a vehicle as gas guzzling and dangerous to smaller cars.

We could perhaps cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1/10 of one percent by closing all the large shopping malls of the world during the peak demand period for electricity, fining the mall owners if they fail to cut electric consumption by 99% during the peak demand period. The malls could reopen mid evening following the peak demand period if they wished. Business of all types could be asked to cut electric consumption at least 10% during the peak demand period. If they did not succeed they would be considered for mandatory closing along with the big malls depending on the needs of the shoppers etc. This would have the plus of cutting most people's electric bill by about one percent. Neil
0 Replies
 
neil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:35 pm
We could throw an additional million dollars average annually at the 100 most promising alternative energy methods. Half of this money should go to pilot plants not pure research. This might produce a major breakthough in one or more of these alternatives. At present it appears that some of them can fill a tiny niche, with a 100% subsidy. I like the solar power tower, but cleaning the million square feet of steerable mirrors will be a major expense. Neil
0 Replies
 
 

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