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Global Warming & Statistics

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  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:

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!
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  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?

Check this thread:

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.

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'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.

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?

What I find most frustrating in the "debate", though, is the lack of ... debate.
-CWuestefeld (February 02, 2013, 07:49 PM)
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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
-CWuestefeld (February 02, 2013, 07:49 PM)
--- End quote ---

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).


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