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Author Topic: Global Warming & Statistics  (Read 4720 times)

Tinman57

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Global Warming & Statistics
« on: February 01, 2013, 06:10:42 PM »
  I've been on the fence about the global warming issue.  I've seen pro's and con's on both sides of the table and have been trying to figure out who is right.
  I was reading an article in the local paper last week by George Wik (SP?).  The point of the article was how politicians use underhanded ways and statistics for their agendas.  Though he didn't give any references, in his article he says:

Quote
The global warming advocates said it was 2.13 degrees hotter in 2012.  But it was 2 degrees cooler than 2006.  In 2000, 02, 03, 04, 08, 09, 10 and 11 were all cooler than 1998 by a larger margin than 2012 was hotter than 1998.  They declared the 2012 temperatures in the contiguous states (1.58% of the Earths surface) proof of Catastrophic Global Warming.  But yet in 2012 the U.S. fossil fuel emissions were the lowest since 1992!
  Does anyone besides me see the statistical faults here?  On another note I've been reading recently where the scientist are saying that this is a normal warming/cooling cycle the earth goes through every 100,000 years or so.  They claim by looking at the rings in fossilized trees, layers of the earth and other means that the planet warms up significantly and then goes into an "ice age" of sorts.

  Leaving politics out of the equation (this is NOT a democrat Vs republican thing), what do you think?

Renegade

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 06:54:49 PM »
Check this thread:

http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=28470.0

CAGW is a religious topic now and not really a scientific one (well, if you buy into the religion that is). Stats don't matter. i.e. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
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app103

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 10:47:42 AM »
While everyone else debates whether climate change is real or not, whether to call it climate change or global warming, whether it's caused by man or just a natural cycle, and everybody argues over statistics, people in the South Pacific (and other regions) are facing losing their ancestral lands, the only home they have ever known, their culture, their livelihoods, their language, their history, their communities...everything. They are being forced to find somewhere else to live.

And exactly how do you move a country? Can they buy a chunk of land in the middle of Texas and just move onto it and call it their new home, and just resume being a country, there? Would Texas agree to that? Would they agree to a chunk of Texas not being Texas any more? And even if they did, would the US agree to that?

Would any country? You want to see what happens when people decide to move their country, or create a new one on someone else's land? Look at Isreal/Palistine. And how long has that conflict been going on? Do you want to see more of the same in other parts of the world, when the people in these island countries set up shop somewhere else and try to call it home?

And how do they come up with the money to do something like that, any way? Most of these small island countries are quite poor, their people live simple lives and don't own very much, except the sinking land beneath their feet.  Do you want to buy a sinking island so they can afford to move off it?

And once some land is bought and paid for, then there is the expense of moving everyone to it. And then the real fun begins...assimilating to life in their new location. Learning new ways to support themselves, dealing with the existing local crime and violence that they didn't have where they originally came from. The people from the Carteret Islands are giving up what was once Paradise, trading it for the perils of the unknown, in a place already torn by civil war.

And as far as outside help, where is that going to come from, when the UN doesn't recognize climate change as a qualification for official refugee status? This means no official international aid to help these small disappearing countries find a new home, people that are in danger as a direct result of the actions of those living in industrialized nations.

So their islands sink, and technically, nobody has to take these people in and all countries have the right to turn them away and tell them to go back home, to a place that doesn't even exist any more.

Over 500,000 people from Bhola Island in Bangladesh permanently lost their homes when half of the island sank in 2005.

Tuvalu will be gone by 2050. Where will its 10,000 residents go?

The Carteret Islands will be fully submerged within the next few years. There are still people living there that need to move.

It's not just science or statistics, or the lifestyle of people in industrialized nations that we are talking about...it's other people, their way of life, and their human rights that we are talking about.

Maybe this will make the issue more real, easier to understand:







The human race needs to stop arguing about stuff that really doesn't matter and figure this crap out, fast, because there is a lot at stake here and we are running out of time. This problem needs to be solved, and it doesn't matter if it is solved with science or pure human compassion, as long as it gets solved.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 07:49:34 PM »
It seems to me that although there's significant questions about the extent of climate change, and the future trajectory (and even more so, its causes), there's enough serious science behind it that we ought to be paying attention.

What I find most frustrating in the "debate", though, is the lack of ... debate. Nearly everyone seems to be concentrating on whether the Earth is warming. Surely that's an important question, but it's very, very far from all that needs to be decide in order to conclude on policy.

Even if this is happening, we need to understand

  • What the possible climate outcomes are, and the relative likelihoods of each.
  • In human terms, what are the costs associated with those outcomes.
  • What can be done to avoid those possible outcomes?
    • How likely is it to work?
    • What is the cost of pursuing this alternative?

I mean, just because the earth is getting warmer, sea levels may rise a bit, optimal farming areas may move, etc., that's not in itself reason to just radically change our way of life to significantly curtail carbon emissions.

To begin with, some of the changes may actually be net-positive (looking at the big picture across all humanity; clearly there are always significant costs to change at the individual level): plants like warm (other things being equal), and having the opportunity to farm up into Canada, northern Asia, etc., could help global food production. It's not likely everything is bad, so once you add all the pros and cons, what's the total damage?

We frequently hear the most apocalyptic scenarios, probably because those are the ones that sell the most newspapers. But unsurprisingly, we're discovering that at least the worst scenarios will almost certainly not come to pass. For the more likely scenarios, what are the pros and cons?

Radical changes to our lifestyle might curtail the climatic changes. But what will it cost us to do so? I mean, if we can't run our industry at full capacity, it's going to mean that some people won't be able to get health care, so people won't have food. Certainly, a lot of people aren't going to be able to go visit grandma at Thanksgiving, and commuting (for those of us that will still have jobs) will get a whole lot more expensive. When we compare the costs of averting danger, are you so sure that they're actually smaller than the cost of the problems that are predicted?

And, of course, there may be other "third roads", various approaches of "climatic engineering" that may avert the problems while costing far less in terms of our way of life. Of course, these have their own attendant risks, but it's another thing that ought to be weighed before deciding any policies.

It's just silly to jump from scientific evidence of a warming earth directly to "oh my god, we've got to shut down half our industry". But who's actually discussing this aspect of it, at least in the theater of broad public discourse?

tomos

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 09:26:41 AM »
What I find most frustrating in the "debate", though, is the lack of ... debate.

unfortunately it's another of those {"I'm for" \ "I'm against" \ "You're a plonker"} kind of 'debates' which, even just at the level of whether it's happening, is no debate at all.

I think the thing we have to most careful of is abuse and corruption - on any side e.g. it seems clear the idea of global warming is being abused for profit. Likewise, admitting major warming isn't happening could be used as a carte-blanch for pollution.


To begin with, some of the changes may actually be net-positive (looking at the big picture across all humanity; clearly there are always significant costs to change at the individual level): plants like warm (other things being equal), and having the opportunity to farm up into Canada, northern Asia, etc., could help global food production

Apparently plants grow bigger as well with more CO2 in the atmosphere (there was a link in the other dc thread Ren linked to - I dont have time to root for the post). Of course we may yet find other negative side-effects. It's really yet another one of those big experiments where we just hope everything turns out okay...

OTOH I understood that the world food production is currently enough to feed everyone in the world - a problem being that half of it gets chucked - or maybe that's just a symptom of deeper problems. (FWIW any corporation trying to convince us that we need more production and bigger 'products' -usually GMO, etc. are usually not motivated by wanting to feed the world.)

I suspect any climate change is going to come with 'winners' and 'losers' on a practical level. (Comparable maybe to the way ice is melting in the north pole - and expanding in the south pole.) The islanders App show's are clearly in trouble. So are the hunters in Greenland who can no longer go out on traditional hunting grounds because of ice being too thin. I'm sure there are and will be other examples.


Re your list - I suspect there will be so many different answers that it would be almost impossible to go from there.
I dont see industry being curtailed here - is that the case in the US? (or are there plans there to cut back - sorry, I'm just not very informed about this aspect).
Tom

Renegade

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 09:42:31 AM »
What I find most frustrating in the "debate", though, is the lack of ... debate.

Debate isn't profitable. "Shut up and pay your carbon taxes" on the other hand is quite lucrative. :D

unfortunately it's another of those {"I'm for" \ "I'm against" \ "You're a plonker"} kind of 'debates' which, even just at the level of whether it's happening, is no debate at all.

Yep. And if you have any questions, you're a heretic. Because you're questioning a religious dogma.

I think the thing we have to most careful of is abuse and corruption - on any side e.g. it seems clear the idea of global warming is being abused for profit.

Follow the money. On both sides.

Dunno about other people, but when someone starts jumping up and down screaming about how I need to do this and I must do that, and somehow that ends up filling buddy's pockets? I start to get a bit skeptical. (Goes for all sides of the "issue/debate/non-debate/dogma/whatever".)
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40hz

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 09:47:54 AM »
To me, it seems to boil down (opinion-wise) that:

Those in charge of places that benefit economically from technologies that have high thermal profiles have a vested interest in diffusing the debate and generating contrarian arguments against the increasingly obvious fact we cannot continue to go down the present road we're on without suffering dire consequences.

headinsand.jpg
At least it's nice to see they pulled their heads out of the usual place they keep it.

Those who live in societies that stand to be negatively impacted by changing the way they currently live (and do things) are generally opposed to dealing with the issue. And, when pushed, will lock onto any arguments "proving" there is "really nothing to worry about."

On the other hand, those who are polar bears mostly think it sucks to be drowning now that their ice flows are slowly starting to change into the consistency of giant Slurpees.

But polar bears don't pay taxes, vote, or blog - so they may be safely disregarded. Because what the heck? Any creature that's not interested in NASCAR - and is too stupid to know how to bribe politicians - deserves to go extinct, right?
 :P
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 10:14:06 AM by 40hz »

tomos

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2013, 01:03:17 PM »
unfortunately it's another of those {"I'm for" \ "I'm against" \ "You're a plonker"} kind of 'debates' which, even just at the level of whether it's happening, is no debate at all.

Yep. And if you have any questions, you're a heretic. Because you're questioning a religious dogma.

well I think the tone on both sides leaves a lot to be desired !
I believe that if the science is good enough, it should be presented *neutrally* and pretty much let speak for itself. That way, people will actually listen. Well at least some of them will, and they'll tell others.
The tone of most skeptics' delivery is guaranteed to alienate the majority (who naturally enough presume that what they're generally being told re global warming is correct).
Tom

CWuestefeld

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 01:20:40 PM »
the increasingly obvious fact we cannot continue to go down the present road we're on without suffering dire consequences.
...
those who are polar bears mostly think it sucks

With all due respect, 40hz, your comment is exactly the kind of lack of debate I'm talking about. You seem to have jumped directly from a scientific observation about climate, to a determination that high-carbon-footprint industries must be reined in, without engaging in any kind of cost-benefit analysis whatsoever. Granted, you might be turn out to be right, but you don't get any points toward winning the debate if you don't show your work: explain *why*, including the cost-benefit.

The tone of most skeptics' delivery is guaranteed to alienate the majority

That's true. But on the other hand, Al Gore has admitted that he's willing to exaggerate the arguments if that's what it takes to make his point. When (at least) one side of the debate (maybe both) is willing to engage in intellectual dishonesty in order to achieve their own ends, the chances of reaching the best outcome is rather poor.

mouser

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 01:31:21 PM »
To the basement we go!

tomos

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 01:38:46 PM »
I'm disappointed to see this moved to the basement jesse :tellme:


I thought it was all quite civil (if very direct)
Tom

tomos

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2013, 01:55:11 PM »
The tone of most skeptics' delivery is guaranteed to alienate the majority

That's true. But on the other hand, Al Gore has admitted that he's willing to exaggerate the arguments if that's what it takes to make his point. When (at least) one side of the debate (maybe both) is willing to engage in intellectual dishonesty in order to achieve their own ends, the chances of reaching the best outcome is rather poor.
Absolutely!

What I said applies to both sides, but was directed at one side as it was responding to Ren who only chose to look at the flaws of the other side. I'm starting to sound like a tongue-twister here :-)
BTW, if Gore is exaggerating, at the end of the day he is giving the 'other' side ammunition. There's lots of ammunition that way on both sides - hence my campaign for neutral presentation of findings.

I still get stumped by the science (put it this way, I used be clearcut in what I believed - but now I *really* dont know what to believe). The dc thread Ren links to certainly persuaded me that what I believed (Global warming) is not to be taken for granted and that it's theories/projections are not proceeding according to plan. But I have to admit to being deeply suspicious of the vested interests on the other side. We all know how corporations work... But (again) I'm not well informed of what really could happen if Gore et al get their way(s).

Going back to your questions (the list), I guess the problem in relation with them is this:
with people coming down on one side or the other at a 'belief' level, they will have almost polar opposite responses. Which drags us back to the 'debate' of what-exactly-is-happening-here.

Here's an article I read this evening, it is *not* science but written by a scientist (I wasn't sure of his 'orientation' :P until reading it myself, so I'll not comment there). Anyways, it made me think a bit.
Defining Climate "Deniers" and "Skeptics"

(Edit/ I'm not saying I agree with all he says and I do find him a bit arrogant but still - he *did* make me think)
Tom
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:22:37 PM by tomos »

Tinman57

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2013, 06:32:16 PM »
While everyone else debates whether climate change is real or not, whether to call it climate change or global warming, whether it's caused by man or just a natural cycle, and everybody argues over statistics, people in the South Pacific (and other regions) are facing losing their ancestral lands, the only home they have ever known, their culture, their livelihoods, their language, their history, their communities...everything. They are being forced to find somewhere else to live.

  Whether it's humans global warming or nature's climate change, I don't see any country giving part of itself to the natives for a new home.  Would you sign over your back yard so a family can move there to live?  But that don't mean they're doomed to drown, there will be countries that will be more than willing to give them citizenship if or when that happens.
  Somalia's people are, and have been starving for years during droughts, so what about them?  Should we give them a state-sized chunk of land for free and say "Here you are, live long and prosper"?  I don't think so, but the U.S. and other nations allow them to immigrate.
  Cultures have been created and died a thousand times over on this rock we live on, usually from either disease, tectonic plate shifting and volcanic activities, but that don't necessarily mean it's the end of their culture, especially in these modern times.
  It's not something that we can control, it's part of the never-ending changes of the Earth.  We either adapt or perish.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2013, 07:53:44 PM »
Would you sign over your back yard so a family can move there to live?

Real estate really isn't the problem, there's more than ample room for everyone. Check my math, but by my calculation, if you divided the world's population of 7 billion into families of four, and gave them each 1/4 acre to live on; then add on another 20% for infrastructure (roads, schools, stores, etc.), then the entire population of the earth would fit into an area the size of Greenland -- which, we're told, will be pretty comfortable next century ;) .

Damage to culture is still worth discussing, but that question cuts both ways: what's being asked is a significant change in the way of life for the industrialized "rich" nations. I'm sure those who already have an opinion on the outcome will all be able to find moral arguments supporting either side of that argument.

Here's an article I read this evening, it is *not* science but written by a scientist

I respect Brin, particularly as a SF writer. But he is squarely missing the mark in this essay -- again, in the same manner I've been complaining about. Although in his introduction he very briefly mentions costs and alternatives, his discussion never actually visits those topics. The entire essay is entirely devoted to whether someone should be considered an open-minded skeptic, or is a closet denier. But knowing what label to hang on a person doesn't get us any closer to deciding if any action needs to be taken, and if so, which one.

40hz

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2013, 10:13:00 PM »
Quote
without suffering dire consequences.
...
those who are polar bears mostly think it sucks

With all due respect, 40hz, your comment is exactly the kind of lack of debate I'm talking about. You seem to have jumped directly from a scientific observation about climate, to a determination that high-carbon-footprint industries must be reined in, without engaging in any kind of cost-benefit analysis

With all due respect, that is exactly what I was talking about when I said that those who most benefit from the current status quo have the least incentive to change it and inevitably insist on further "studies" and "impact analysis" before they will deem it "appropriate" or "responsible" to seriously consider change.

Here's a little thought experiment - try reversing the argument: If it is questionable that high-carbon-footprint industries are not a problem, then doesn't it logically follow that having even more of them would be both desirable and beneficial?

But even the most diehard anti-eco advocates aren't saying that. Because even they know it's a real problem. What they really want is to keep what's already theirs while at the same time restricting such industries from spreading further. That's what I call maintaining status quo.

The other problem with economic impact studies on this issue seldom reflect the full cost of pollution. And that's because the industries that cause it don't pay the full price for it. Much of the cost of pollution is subsidized by governments which largely deal with (and pay for) the health and environmental consequences.

It's often been argued that if industries were held accountable, and billed in full for the environmental damage they caused, it would be economically unfeasible for them to continue operating - and therefor need no further regulation.

Want to stop industrial pollution? Stop subsidizing it with tax dollars. 8)

Quote
you don't get any points toward winning the debate

Oh, that's ok. I'm not very competitive to begin with. And I certainly don't see any of this as being a contest.   ;D

---------------------

And I see i just broke my own rule about not participating in the Basement because I didn't notice this discussion had been reassigned. Ok. I'll let stand what I've already posted - but I'm out. Steady on! :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 07:00:19 AM by 40hz »

tomos

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2013, 09:37:28 AM »
And I see i just broke my own rule about not participating in the Basement because I didn't notice this discussion had been reassigned. Ok. I'll let stand what I've already posted - but I'm out. Steady on! :Thmbsup

nope - it's in the living room (well it still is, at any rate)


Here's an article I read this evening, it is *not* science but written by a scientist

I respect Brin, particularly as a SF writer. But he is squarely missing the mark in this essay -- again, in the same manner I've been complaining about. Although in his introduction he very briefly mentions costs and alternatives, his discussion never actually visits those topics. The entire essay is entirely devoted to whether someone should be considered an open-minded skeptic, or is a closet denier. But knowing what label to hang on a person doesn't get us any closer to deciding if any action needs to be taken, and if so, which one.

yes, point taken. It also bothered me that he was so blasé about writing off the science that disagreed. But it did get me thinking again about the vested interests though.

I see now that what you are requesting could be done (i.e. looking at possible consequences and costs of what is being done - and of course what is not allowed to be done - all in the context of different possible predictions). The big problem would be the predictions - they would be very much dependent on which side of the fence the people are and would presumably vary so wildly that it would be difficult to proceed from there. None of which is a reason for not making an effort.
Tom

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2013, 12:00:38 PM »
if you divided the world's population of 7 billion into families of four, and gave them each 1/4 acre to live on

Um... how big is an acre where you're from? Because a 1/4 acre for a family of 4 would leave them in a tent best I can tell.

A square plot of ground, 208.7 feet on a side, will cover an acre

So a 1/4 acre is a ~52' square ... Zoiks!

AndyM

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 01:04:43 PM »
So a 1/4 acre is a ~52' square .
~104', it's a square

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2013, 05:34:24 PM »
So a 1/4 acre is a ~52' square .
~104', it's a square

Ah! yes, true ...(that is a bit closer to the suberbes)... but it still ain't alot of room.

I've spent to much time with base 2, 8, & 16 ... I can't seem to do base 10 anymore.

Tinman57

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Re: Global Warming & Statistics
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2013, 07:36:29 PM »
Um... how big is an acre where you're from? Because a 1/4 acre for a family of 4 would leave them in a tent best I can tell.
So a 1/4 acre is a ~52' square ... Zoiks!

  I know, right!  My house takes up 1/4 acre.  Good thing I have 20 acres of land, eh?    ;)