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Climate Change watch

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  • View Poll Results: When would you have intervened?
    I wouldn't intervene.
    24
    30.38%
    Now.
    19
    24.05%
    Before India and China industrialised.
    15
    18.99%
    Before the Middle-East started pumping oil.
    3
    3.80%
    Before the USA emerged as a superpower.
    7
    8.86%
    Before the Industrial Revolution.
    8
    10.13%
    Before man discovered fire.
    3
    3.80%

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    (Original post by Aetheria)
    Umm, who caused a hole in the ozone layer? Could it be...humans and their pollution? No, never! Pollutants don't react with ozone turning it into oxygen and destroying the Earth's protection from the sun... :rolleyes:
    But the Ozone layer isn't exactly the same thing as climate change is it? destruction of the Ozone layer is a relatively unnatural process, while the climate will changes whatever we do. We've only just come out of a mini ice-age, don't forget (was that change in climate man-made?)
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    There is a very simple answer to the energy problems - home generators have significantly higher efficiency than power stations (90% compared to 47% max for a coal/gas station) as well as the heat generated going to heat the home, hence reducing the required energy in the first place. Its something you'll hear a lot about in the next few months, once the government finally gets its thumb out of its backside
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    (Original post by KizD)
    Do you support slowing CO2 emissions to the point where it is no longer within economic reason or something?
    Yes, GDP isn't the be-all and end-all of human existence.
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    Currently we emit 6.50 x 10^12 kg of CO2. How much should we reduce this by? What should the ceiling production level be? Do you have any evidence that this CO2 ceiling will change anything and by how much. Can you estimate how much lost GDP there will be from the CO2 ceiling as well.
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    (Original post by nhdb13)
    Yes, GDP isn't the be-all and end-all of human existence.
    it may be the end-all
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    (Original post by KizD)
    Currently we emit 6.50 x 10^12 kg of CO2. How much should we reduce this by? What should the ceiling production level be? Do you have any evidence that this CO2 ceiling will change anything and by how much. Can you estimate how much lost GDP there will be from the CO2 ceiling as well.

    In less than 60 years when we run out of fossil fuels its going to be reduced to pretty much zero any way. Rather than complaining about the cost of moving to renuable fuel sources maybe we should make the move now which would be better in the long run.
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    (Original post by Nefarious)
    In less than 60 years when we run out of fossil fuels its going to be reduced to pretty much zero any way. Rather than complaining about the cost of moving to renuable fuel sources maybe we should make the move now which would be better in the long run.
    Get your facts right if you are going to take an authoritative stance.
    The estimated volume of oil currently known has a span of approximately 60 years assuming current usage plus a small increase per year. This figure is continually increasing as a result of exploration, with the current area of global exploration being surprisingly small (less than 10% of viable area, I believe). The estimation for gas is greater than 100 years, and coal 350, hence your point is incorrect on several levels.

    Also, when this source finally ceases to exist, it will need to be replaced, which is where biofuels will come into use, the most proliferous of these being wood, which will not only contribute carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but also act as a negative feedback loop, with the reduction of plantlife, hence exacerbating the issue, and the volume they would be required at would make them far from renewable.
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    (Original post by bikerx23)
    Get your facts right if you are going to take an authoritative stance.
    The estimated volume of oil currently known has a span of approximately 60 years assuming current usage plus a small increase per year. This figure is continually increasing as a result of exploration, with the current area of global exploration being surprisingly small (less than 10% of viable area, I believe). The estimation for gas is greater than 100 years, and coal 350, hence your point is incorrect on several levels.

    Also, when this source finally ceases to exist, it will need to be replaced, which is where biofuels will come into use, the most proliferous of these being wood, which will not only contribute carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but also act as a negative feedback loop, with the reduction of plantlife, hence exacerbating the issue, and the volume they would be required at would make them far from renewable.

    You have conveniently failed to mention that shell (and possibly other oil companies which haven't been caught yet) have overestimated their reserves to keep share prices high.

    By renewable energy I wasn't talking about wood burning which isn't an example of renewable energy.

    Lastly enjoy your steam powered car.
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    Wood is a renewable energy source as long as it is derived from the right source, i.e., where there is not a deficit in the biomass in a cycle.

    Shell may be an example of where this happens, but infact it was just the interpretation that was incorrect, since all the figures quoted were with their anticipated discoveries from several sites, and obviously some of these are less viable than would be expected - a factor that cannot be estimated despite knowledge of well formation.

    If you assume a steam powered car is viable I would also recommend you take a look into technology...now, how is a steam powered vehicle run?
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    (Original post by Nefarious)
    In less than 60 years when we run out of fossil fuels its going to be reduced to pretty much zero any way. Rather than complaining about the cost of moving to renuable fuel sources maybe we should make the move now which would be better in the long run.
    Well you didn't answer any of the questions just inserted a false claim. The questions I asked are still relevant, and must be answered if we are to consider reducing CO2 in an attempt to stop climate change. No evidence to my knowledge that this will work.

    (Original post by Nefarious)
    You have conveniently failed to mention that shell (and possibly other oil companies which haven't been caught yet) have overestimated their reserves to keep share prices high.
    Even if you work on this (dubious) assumption, it hasn't changed the facts, there is more than 60 years worth of fossil fuels left.

    (Original post by Nefarious)
    Lastly enjoy your steam powered car.
    Oh the irony :cool:
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    (Original post by KizD)
    Currently we emit 6.50 x 10^12 kg of CO2. How much should we reduce this by? What should the ceiling production level be? Do you have any evidence that this CO2 ceiling will change anything and by how much. Can you estimate how much lost GDP there will be from the CO2 ceiling as well.
    No-one is going to be able to answer these questions, because economics and climate science are difficult enough on their own, let alone combined. As to a ceiling, I think that there is some consensus that raising the level of CO2 in the atmosphere above 500 parts per million will have significant effects on climate, and that limiting CO2 to 500 ppm is a mangeable target. As to the economic effects, the potential to generate wealth will not stop if measures to reduce CO2 are taken, although sacrifices will have to be made. There is even the possibibility that reducing CO2 now will have huge future benefits, not least reducing the effects of climate change on crop yields etc. But how can you compare a slight change in your personal living standards to global environmental security? The idea of even putting a monetary value on the environment seems somewhat ridiculous to me. A rise in GDP probably won't lead to people being happier, but the consequences of climate change could be much more severe.
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    (Original post by nhdb13)
    No-one is going to be able to answer these questions, because economics and climate science are difficult enough on their own, let alone combined.
    (Original post by nhdb13)
    The idea of even putting a monetary value on the environment seems somewhat ridiculous to me.
    The modules I take in sustainable development and economic development revolve heavily around answering these questions and placing a value on non marketable goods.

    (Original post by nhdb13)
    As to a ceiling, I think that there is some consensus that raising the level of CO2 in the atmosphere above 500 parts per million will have significant effects on climate, and that limiting CO2 to 500 ppm is a mangeable target.
    To achieve this we will have to emit less CO2 per year. Before we undertake this hugely costly operation, can we see some evidence that would suggest achieving CO2 to 500ppm will alter climate change.
    (Original post by nhdb13)
    As to the economic effects, the potential to generate wealth will not stop if measures to reduce CO2 are taken, although sacrifices will have to be made. There is even the possibibility that reducing CO2 now will have huge future benefits, not least reducing the effects of climate change on crop yields etc. But how can you compare a slight change in your personal living standards to global environmental security?
    CO2 emissions is pretty closely correlated with GDP. In the short to medium term any kyoto like agreement will have a detrimental effect on growth. I'm more a fan of the US proposed system of carbon credits. IMO it is more likley to lead us to a less carbon emitting future, with limited affect on output.

    (Original post by nhdb13)
    A rise in GDP probably won't lead to people being happier, but the consequences of climate change could be much more severe.
    True, I do hope humans can do something to alter climate change. But the thought to me just spells arrogance at this point.
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    (Original post by bikerx23)
    Wood is a renewable energy source as long as it is derived from the right source, i.e., where there is not a deficit in the biomass in a cycle.

    Shell may be an example of where this happens, but infact it was just the interpretation that was incorrect, since all the figures quoted were with their anticipated discoveries from several sites, and obviously some of these are less viable than would be expected - a factor that cannot be estimated despite knowledge of well formation.

    If you assume a steam powered car is viable I would also recommend you take a look into technology...now, how is a steam powered vehicle run?

    Steam powered cars have been around for years. They pre-dated the internal combustion engine and remained popular up till the invention of the electric starter motor. I wasn't seriously suggesting them as an alternative as you seem to have interpreted my witticism. (The 5 - 8 % efficiency is just one thing that goes against them.) I was refering to the way you seemed to suggest that nothing is going to change because there will still be coal and gas left.

    My point still stands that when oil runs out it is going to have an enourmous effect on GDP, being prepared for it would not be a bad thing despite the expense.
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    I would have intervened as early as possible but at a rate far less drastic than what is required at the present. After WW2 was an ideal time to unite - especially here in Europe - not just through trade and warfaring allegience but also on curbing our hunger for consumerism and thus placing ever greater demands on our planets resources and ability to harness man made pollution. Due to our thirst for ever more ecologically demanding commodities the effects are plan to see - for all who wish to - that we as the human race have inevitably fell folly to hubris and unfortunately it will be our descendents who will feel the squeeze and not us and our predecessors.
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    Britain went from being a humid sub tropical climate with forest fires to being covered in a sheet of ice, all before humans invented the wheel, so good luck with trying to stop it now.
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    (Original post by JonathanH)
    And because the planet naturally goes through a cycle of warming and cooling and the human effect on it is not much at all.
    It does, but there's no record of it going up at quite the current rate.
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    The way I see it, the numbers are too small to even matter. 1/30 of all CO2 is man made and the rest is from nature. So we try really hard to cut back and get to the point where our output is only 1/40th of the total, is it really going to matter? I bet if all these climate scientists looked at their models, and, instead of making the human contribution 1/30th of the total, just made it zero, the earth would still probably heat up.

    There is also global warming on Mars and Pluto. And the warming trend on Triton, Neptune's largest moon, was huge in the 1990s. If the Earth heated up as much as Triton, we'd be seeing a 22 degree temperature increase. I bet you didn't know your car was affecting Neptune's moon! :rolleyes:
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7037671.stm

    Interesting.
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    (Original post by Made in the USA)
    The way I see it, the numbers are too small to even matter. 1/30 of all CO2 is man made and the rest is from nature. So we try really hard to cut back and get to the point where our output is only 1/40th of the total, is it really going to matter? I bet if all these climate scientists looked at their models, and, instead of making the human contribution 1/30th of the total, just made it zero, the earth would still probably heat up.
    Say the natural CO2 concentration is 1. Now increase that by 0.03 ( i.e 1/30 ) every year.

    Year-Concentration
    1 - 1.03
    10 - 1.3
    20 - 1.6
    30 - 1.9
    40 - 2.2 <-- More than twice normal
    50 - 2.5
    60 - 2.8
    70 - 3.1 <-- Three times normal
    80 - 3.4
    90 - 3.7
    100 - 4.0 <-- Four times normal

    If you instead increase it by 1/40 = 0.025 every year you end up with 3.5 times normal levels after 100 years rather than 4.0 times. I.e, the difference is almost half of normal CO2 concentrations.

    You are correct that the earth will continue to heat for some time even if we stopped all emissions today, the reason is that we have already emitted quite a bit of greenhouse gases, and it will take some time until you get a new thermal equilibrium, but that doesn't mean it won't get even worse even if we continue.

    When it comes to the planets, yea, some of them have changed temperature, some of them have not. So what? Nobody is denying that climate change can occur naturally, but that does not mean it wouldn't be patently stupid to cause it knowingly. Put it this way, natural CO2 on Venus keeps its surface at some 450-480 Centigrades. This is higher than even the temperature on Mercury, despite the latter being MUCH closer to the sun.

    As for betting on climate science models. Well, considering the people that do these sort of things have probably spent more than your total lifetime trying to understand the climate, don't you think at least some of them already thought of the idea to compare the model predictions with and without human emissions? I'll give you a hint, my latest lab report on spectral lines involved wavelength measurements down to distances lower than the size of a Hydrogen atom, and this was just coursework. The stuff that goes into peer reviewed journals have rather advanced error analysis, and it would with absolute certainty involve an estimate of how strongly the model predictions depend on the input parameters.
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    (Original post by Square)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7037671.stm

    Interesting.
    They only published 3 of the 9 errors, so I had to look for the rest of the mistakes.
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