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Your opinion on climate change? (IMPORTANT) watch

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    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    The 'center of the universe' analogy is perfectly relevant - in the ancient Greek world the geocentric model was almost universally accepted and included in reference works by Aristotle and Ptolemy. It was the predominant belief until Copernicus and Keppler came along centuries later.

    I'm not here to promote any particular view, but I can see your 'we're right because there are more of us and you'll regret it if you don't listen to us' argument has ground to a stalemate. Unfortunately this does appear to be one of the usual features of the whole climate change issue.

    Hopefully there are some things we can agree on - the earth's temperature has fluctuated for millennia (Wikipedia) and at various points in its history it has been significantly warmer than it is now. Sea levels have varied by hundreds of metres. Some 7000 years ago Doggerland still existed, and sea levels were about 120m lower than they are today. Obviously none of that was due to manmade climate change.

    Some of the big questions remain - what happens if temperatures rise 2degrees? Why are we only comparing against temperatures from the last hundred years or so? Can we really stop temperatures rising? If we halt them at 1degree will we be ok? What if they go higher? If temperatures are rising why is the amount of Antarctic sea ice increasing? Are politicians best placed to take action?

    These are obviously questions which could have a dramatic impact upon a large proportion of the world's population - or they might not. I just don't want the debate to be stifled by the vocal majority.
    It's not relevant at all. Climate change is not the consensus view because "that's what we've always believed". It's the consensus view because it explains our observations excellently and makes accurate predictions, both of which are the hallmark of a good scientific theory. It's actually rather insulting to make the comparison you're making, implying that scientists have nothing better to do than believe things for the sake of it.

    With all due respect, and I say this in the nicest possible way, you are writing about things that you don't understand. What you're saying about previous temperatures being higher is absolutely correct and if you had read a basic introductory book to climate change or studied it at any depth previously, you would understand that this in no way an argument against anthropogenic climate change. It's one of the most tiring arguments that climate change denialists put forward because it just demonstrates a total lack of understanding about climate. I'd offer to explain why (it's an open offer, I'd be more than happy to) but I don't think you're going to listen to me. If you will listen, I'm very happy to explain.

    To answer your "big questions"...
    • Please read the IPCC's AR5 WG2 report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
    • We are not just comparing our temperatures to the last 100 years or so, we have good temperature records dating back to ~900,000 years and records of varying quality dating back tens of millions of years.
    • Yes, we can stop temperatures from rising above a certain point.
    • We would be fairly okay if temperatures stopped rising at 1 degree but they're not going to stop rising at 1 degree, that is politically, socially and economically impossible.
    • Again, please refer to the WG2 report.
    • Because the climate system is extremely complex and there are all sorts of positive and negative feedback effects in play. Consider this: if you've got more warming, you've got more evaporation and hence more water vapour in the atmosphere that is able to fall as snow over ice sheets. This is not the mechanism that has resulted in the behaviour of the Antarctic sea ice that you've mentioned but the point I'm trying to make is that it's not as simple as average global temperature rise > all ice immediately melts.
    • Who else is going to make these decisions if it's not politicians?
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    the climate system is extremely complex
    Source?






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    (Original post by offhegoes)
    Source?

    This 1552 page-long basic introduction
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    Okay done, next?
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Don't forget geo-engineering.
    Geo-engineering isn't so much a solution as a "replacing a catastrophe with a slightly smaller catastrophe". The only forms of geo-engineering that are a) effective enough to counter temperature rises and b) economically viable have incredibly dangerous side effects. They definitely should be developed as a last-resort but it's important to understand that geo-engineering is just that - a last resort. It is not a solution.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Geo-engineering isn't so much a solution as a "replacing a catastrophe with a slightly smaller catastrophe". The only forms of geo-engineering that are a) effective enough to counter temperature rises and b) economically viable have incredibly dangerous side effects. They definitely should be developed as a last-resort but it's important to understand that geo-engineering is just that - a last resort. It is not a solution.
    Geo-engineering, such as mass reforestation, diverting water, etc., is probably the most viable solution, and I fail to see how it would amount to a catastrophe.
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Geo-engineering, such as mass reforestation, diverting water, etc., is probably the most viable solution, and I fail to see how it would amount to a catastrophe.
    Mass reforestation is great, but it's going to make very little difference in terms of temperature change. The benefits are more ecological than climatological. The only two forms of geoengineering that are capable of changing the planetary temperature in a cost-effective manner are stratospheric aerosols and to a lesser extent, cloud seeding.
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    (Original post by avengedabbie)
    I don't really know if this is the best place to post this but i really want to hear your opinions in preparation for my university interview next week! Do you really think it's happening? What do you think we need to do now? What do you think we need to do in the future?

    Thank you for your participation!
    Of course it's happening: the evidence in favour of the theory of anthropogenic climate change is extremely strong, and accepted by 97.2% of climate scientists.

    We can do things both on an individual level and a societal level in order to combat climate change. Firstly, it's imperative that individuals start to walk, cycle and take public transport instead of driving, and that people reduce and eliminate their consumption of meat and other animal products. As the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has found, the meat industry is responsible for almost 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. For reference, that's as much as the entire transportation sector.

    On a societal level, we do need to shift towards renewable energy at a faster pace. Developed, industrialised nations need to make drastic emissions reductions, and fast, perhaps to the extent that our entire economic model changes.

    In popular discourse, there are two sides: those who acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change, and those who deny the science. Yet, there is another group of respected scientists who say that the effects of climate change are much worse than what is commonly being stated. Even if there's a low probability of runaway global warming occurring, or of what these scientists are saying actually happening, we still need to take it into account, and that's why developed nations need to consider going so far as to pursue a zero-economic-growth strategy, at least for a few years.

    At the very least, we need to limit global warming to 2C above pre-Industrial levels, but we don't have much time left at all. Limiting warming to 2C is likely to be net beneficial in terms of economic growth, so there's no reason for governments to block it whatsoever unless they're bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. The Paris Conference achieved some things, but the fact remains that the pledges from the nations of Earth still only amount to limiting warming to 2.7C, and due to the recent Supreme Court decision, the United States' pledge is in jeopardy.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    ...the only reason why people make such a fuss about the tiny proportion of scientists that go against the scientific consensus on climate change is because of political motivation. .
    "The consensus was reached before the research was done and most of the "scientists" who put their name to it are more beaurocrats that climatologists"

    Listen from 1:41 here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebO...D92CAD&index=2
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    (Original post by NJA)
    "The consensus was reached before the research was done
    I genuinely have no idea what this is supposed to mean. There is no "the consensus", consensus refers to the fact that there is practically unanimous support amongst the scientific community that humans are driving climate change. I'm not sure if you seem to believe that "the consensus" is some kind of petition that a bunch of people signed, because it isn't. Ongoing metareviews of the scientific literature consistently show that the proportion of scientific papers (which are, by definition, written by scientists) that support the view that anthropogenic causes are driving the currently observed climate change is between 97-100% (e.g. Cook et al 2013, Carlton 2015, Andregg 2010, etc.). This is something that anybody with the slightest understanding of climate science would be aware of.

    As a word of advice, linking to a low-budget documentary from InfoWars using such scientifically precise phrases as "global warming gestapo" really isn't a particularly effective way of convincing people that you know what you're talking about.
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    No, its a myth created by the Chinese to try and cripple the western world
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    ... 97-100% (e.g. Cook et al 2013, Carlton 2015, Andregg 2010, etc.). ...
    Personally, I wouldn't judge information by the percieved budget or slickness of the presentation.

    This one has scientists from institutions that many students on this site attend.
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    (Original post by NJA)
    Personally, I wouldn't judge information by the percieved budget or slickness of the presentation.

    This one has scientists from institutions that many students on this site attend.
    With the greatest of respect, I'm not going to have a discussion with someone who thinks that low-budget conspiracy documentaries are an acceptable response to scientific literature. If you want to have a serious discussion about climate science, the only acceptable source is peer-reviewed science. The opinions of a small number of industry-sponsored disgraced scientists does not in any way change the fact that amongst the respected scientific community, confidence in the consensus is unanimous. This has been shown time and time again in extensive meta-analyses of the literature, which I am confident that you have not even looked at.

    However, on the basis of what you've written here and your other posts, I strongly suspect that you have absolutely no interest in a serious discussion about climate science, so I will leave it here.
 
 
 
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