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Science in the News > Latest downer on climate change

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message 2: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 88 comments http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17...

What does it take to get people to take action?


message 3: by Adam (new)

Adam | 55 comments I think it will take everyone dying before people are ready to realize that Climate Change could affect our lives.


message 4: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) Probably not quite that bad, but certainly major catastrophe...


message 5: by Adam (new)

Adam | 55 comments Kenny wrote: "Probably not quite that bad, but certainly major catastrophe..."

I'm not so sure. Some of the models I've been reading about lately say that if we don't make drastic changes very soon we could be stuck in a situation of runaway global warming. That won't be good for anyone.


message 6: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) Right, but everyone is not going to die immediately, there will be some very bad times for the skeptics to reconsider their views. :)


message 8: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer It's really hard to get all human beings to cooperate on something farther away than an immediate challenge. Most people in the world now accept AGW, but a significant minority, particularly in the United States, believes the entire thing is a scam. And you can't just force people to change their thinking. It doesn't happen that way.

There is one distinct path to re-thinking that to my knowledge hasn't been exploited by those in the science establishment who most want immediate action. All the insurance companies and re-insurance titans, even here in the U.S., are convinced of the reality of AGW and its effects on weather and catastrophic events. They have studied (and continue to study) how those developments will affect their businesses.

They are in the course of changing their policies and premiums to fit the expected effects of AGW. To my knowledge they're doing it very quietly. I personally believe that if they made their own convictions public it would go far to persuade a lot of doubters about the reality of AGW. After all, these are hard-headed business people, not chicken littles.


message 9: by Adam (new)

Adam | 55 comments That's true Rozzer, they are doing all that. But people won't change their minds because business people have decided to agree with science. When it comes to business people they know the least about science I have ever come across.

People will begin to change their minds about BECAUSE the insurance companies have decided not to ensure people or they've raised their premiums. I think that economic incentive is what's going to get people to change their minds.

And it's a real tragedy that people think it's a scam, because that anti-Climate Change research pretty much came out of the big oil companies paying scientists to do research then controlled what info was released and in what way. I think those scientists who work with such corporations have questionable ethics.


message 10: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 09, 2012 09:48AM) (new)

Rozzer Adam said: "When it comes to business people they know the least about science I have ever come across."

That's generally true, Adam. But people involved in businesses affected by reality really do investigate these problems in a very objective manner. You may not think that business people are very bright. However, when it comes to their pocketbooks and the profitability of their businesses they can be very bright indeed. They hire the best scientific specialists to work for them in order to find out as best they can what is going to happen and how it will affect their businesses.

I'm sure that Big Oil knows quite well indeed where the future is headed, and has secured high quality information about it. The bad thing about their public statements and positions isn't their ignorance or stupidity, it's their utter cynicism.


message 11: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 88 comments Check out the comments in this "discussion" of climate change:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...


message 12: by Graham (last edited Jun 09, 2012 11:49PM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Jimmy wrote: "Check out the comments in this "discussion" of climate change:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4..."


Sounds worth reading. I know from experience that those working on water resource problems in Africa use the issue of climate change to help get research funding, whilts knowing that the growing demand for water in Africa (due to both increased standard of living and population growth) is the bigger issue. A warmer atmosphere may even increase the number of intense rainfall events in the tropics and lead to increased groundwater recharge.

I'm certainly not advocating AGW (!) but I do sometimes think that we may be focusing on climate change because it is more politically correct than telling people in developing countries they are having too many kids, and people in developed countries that actually everyone can't have their current consumer lifestyles.


message 13: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Hi, Graham. You talk about telling people in developing countries not to have more kids. In that connection, you may find this TED lecture interesting:

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling...

It's by a Swedish professor (talking in English) who has developed some fascinating modes of bringing statistics to life. He argues in this lecture that very few countries (including most developing countries) have baby numbers under control and that the increases we're dealing with now are not because people continue to have outsize families. Check him out.

Graham wrote: "Jimmy wrote: "Check out the comments in this "discussion" of climate change:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4..."
Sounds worth reading. I know from experience that those working on water ..."



message 14: by Graham (last edited Jun 10, 2012 10:04AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Hi Rozzer, yep I'm familiar with Hans Rosling. He's good isn't he. I also realised my quick fire comment might be taken out of context. If you are implying it was an oversimplification, then I agree entirely. Actually, living in the overcrowded UK, I think we should ALL stop having so many kids. Given the choice of more people and poorer quality of life for all, or less people and greater quality of life and more natural environment, then I choose the later. Do I know how to achieve it fairly? Nope!

I was actually thinking of a particular African country where I've worked, which has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. It's PC to talk about the influence of climate change on water resources, but not the influence of population growth on water demand. I want a good quality of life for people in the country I have in mind, and I think that it is at least as important, if not more so, to be talking about resource demand as resource supply. It's an equation that needs balancing.


message 15: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer No, Graham, I wasn't thinking your post an oversimplification at all. I was thinking about Rosling's point (which I've never heard anywhere else but which certainly sounds very credible) that the mere replication (2 kids per family) of people alive today will carry us, with forward momentum, from 7 billion to 9 billion, without anyone having large families. That's a new one for me and I have to admit I personally have problems with understanding sophisticated statistical analysis. What do YOU think? Is Rosling right or in some way off? Myself, I and my wife of 35 years haven't had any kids at all, because of an early life cancer of hers and our decision not to adopt. So I can at least console myself that we're not adding to the problem. Take care!

Graham wrote: "Hi Rozzer, yep I'm familiar with Hans Rosling. He's good isn't he. I also realised my quick fire comment might be taken out of context. If you are implying it was an oversimplification, then I a..."


message 16: by Graham (last edited Jun 11, 2012 02:38AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Hi Rozzer, sorry, I hadn't seen that particular talk before. I thought it was a link to one of his previous talks (check out the sword swallowing!). Thanks for the link. I suspect the 7 to 9 billion thing is to do with the age distribution (currently more pre-reproduction age, fewer post-reproduction age). Sorry to hear about your wife's health problems. We've never felt secure enough to make such a big decision.

I think Rosling's talk is very thought provoking. It's interesting to view these issues at different scales. My Ugandan friends couldn't understand my wife and I not having kids. From their perspective, large families improve the quality of their lives and bring happiness, security and status. They think of it as part of their culture. Improving the quality of life through large families is more easily attainable than raising their standard of living through higher income. Of course, most people in any country don't think about global resources when making decisions about having kids.

I guess the message that Rosling is trying to get across is improve the standard of living and smaller families will follow, rather than the other way around. He doesn't really provide evidence about which way around the causation works, but his inference seems to make sense. This certainly gets past the sticky issue of trying to persuade people to alter their current aspirations and culture. It's good that Rosling is even keeping the conversation going about population. Among many "constructivist" social scientists 'population' is a dirty word. They insist on *only* looking at the scale of human experience and ignoring the sort of "positivist" inferences that Rosling is making.

Anyway, back to the original point and thinking about water in particular. The issue of meeting water demand to raise standards of living (and stabilise population growth) seems to me to be a bigger issue than the still significant but smaller issue of climate change (at least in the tropics). In fact increased high intensity rainfall events could even improve groundwater recharge.


message 17: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 10, 2012 03:54PM) (new)

Rozzer Graham said (inter alia): "The issue of meeting water demand to raise standards of living (and stabilise populations growth) seems to me to be a bigger issue than the still significant but smaller scale issue of climate change (at least in the tropics). In fact increased high intensity rainfall events could even improve groundwater recharge."

I have some idea about the extent of global water problems through press articles, but nothing more. I have no idea at all whether new technology will provide adequate fixes. I would rather tend to think that this issue has to be starting to erupt in quite a number of developing countries right now, with almost mandatory local discussion. And I wonder about what shape local, indigenous attempts to deal with the problem will take. It can't all be throwing themselves on the mercies of the first world and any other donors or philanthropies.

People do starve to death. Do they now die of dehydration? (Other than due to diarrheal diseases.) I could well be wrong, but I'd anticipate migrations out of the worst drought-hit areas to areas of more available water, bringing with them an increase of crowding problems. But I'm just making this up as I go along. You're really down into the real facts of this issue. Exactly where and how will the drought poop hit the fan?


message 18: by Graham (last edited Jun 11, 2012 08:00AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer wrote: "I wonder about what shape local, indigenous attempts to deal with the problem will take. ..."

From what I've seen in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the luxury of thinking about the big picture is only available for those in a comfortable position. Most people, whether subsistance farmers or civil servants are focusing more on the next crop or the next source of income. Whilst most NGOs etc. try and get as much local involvment as possible these days, there still appears to be little locally-initiated long-term thinking. The only money available for long-term projects in the countries I'm thinking of is from donor countries.

Remember that food and water security issues are intimately linked. It's probably better not to focus on extreme drought events but rather the everyday problems of maintaining a sustainable supply to improve standards of living and achieve a stable society and population.


message 19: by Graham (last edited Jun 11, 2012 02:37AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer, by coincidence I found this related article on my RSS feeds this morning:

http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Comment...

It's interesting that it adopts the language and ideas of the UN and NGOs whilst pointing out some of the practical difficulties on the ground. Somehow we have to think global (like Rossling) but act local (like this article is addressing).


message 20: by John (new)

John Waterman (writerjohn) | 37 comments During the Pleistocene Epoch of geologic history which ran from 1.8 million to about 11,000 years ago, "global warming" alternated with "global cooling" for 20 to 30 cycles (count them). Note that mankind and his industrial society had absolutely nothing to do with it. As a result, glaciers advanced and receded over Canada, the Northern U.S., and Europe. Visualize a sheet of ice covering Chicago or Detroit to a thickness of 5000 feet or so. All we need to do is wait for another 16,000 years for the ice to take over again. And YOU are worried about global warming???


message 21: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) Well, if we have changed the climate then yes, we should be worried, cause that cooling cycle may not happen. But there is still hope of manual intervention - Nuclear Winter! :p


message 22: by Graham (last edited Jun 11, 2012 12:32PM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments You are not making your point very clearly John. Why does the occurrence of natural climate variability over many different timescales mean we shouldn't be concerned about the effects of anthropogenic climate change on the scale of a few generations?

If you are interested, here is some media reporting of recent research about the influence of carbon emmissions on the start of the next glaciation:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-env...


message 23: by John (new)

John Waterman (writerjohn) | 37 comments Graham:

Thanks for the link to the article about carbon emissions and glaciation. Since I am not yet a true believer in the doctrine of Anthropogenic Global Warming, I did not find that article particularly persuasive. After all, if you want enough people to cut back on CO2 emissions, you will need to convince the Chinese to join you in taxing their economy into a self-destructive death spiral, along with the voters in the United States (plus people in Europe, Africa, South America, etc.).

I think the scientists who propose restrictions on Anthropogenic Climate Change need to decide whether we are working against global warming or global cooling. Perhaps there are too many variables in the equations for predicting atmospheric temperature over a period of 500 years or so. Predicting the weather a week from now does not seem to be too accurate. Predicting the weather 500 years from now is utter nonsense. We are powerless to do anything about a local tornado, much less a hurricane. But science is telling us back off on economic progress based on a scientific WAG about the average atmospheric temperature of Earth some time in the distant future. Can you blame me for being a tiny bit skeptical?

Later, John.


message 24: by John (new)

John Waterman (writerjohn) | 37 comments Re: Population Explosion

Read the science book “The Ultimate Resource 2” by Julian L. Simon, ISBN 0691042691

Later, John.

The Ultimate Resource 2


message 25: by Graham (last edited Jun 13, 2012 12:56AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments John wrote: "Predicting the weather a week from now does not seem to be too accurate. Predicting the weather 500 years from now is utter nonsense.a..."

Wow John! I'm torn by how to react to your post. It is so silly I think you may just be trying to get a reaction. Are you?

I teach Earth science, including Quaternary geology. One of the rudimentary issues is the difference between the inherent unpredictability of chaotic weather systems (sensitive dependence on initial conditions) on the small scale and the long term climate trends on the large scale. I'm very willing to grade highly for a well argued point even if my view is that the overall balance of evidence is against the case which a student is trying to make. Unfortunately, your argument is incoherent and incomplete. The economics are irrelevant. That class is in another building. I’d give you a Grade E for lack of comprehension. Now I’m not going to try and teach a class here, but I would recommend you start with one or two basic text books on climatology (not meteorology) rather than reading politically motivated polemics.

I'd really appreciate it if you would join me in trying to depoliticize and depolarize this issue for everyone's benefit. As a geoscientist I have no professional interest or knowledge of the economics or politics of mitigating anthropogenic climate change. I am involved in understanding the potential consequences of climate variability on groundwater resources in Africa. I'm currently reviewing a paper that suggests the increased energy from warming the atmosphere produces an increased frequency of high intensity rainfall events in East Africa. This could actually lead to increased groundwater recharge, which would be a good thing. My own work has looked at the effects of Quaternary climate variability on the landscape and sediment distribution in Uganda.

Let me recall a personal story. I was once flying from Calcutta to Delhi. It was an amazing flight as we could see recognizable peaks of the Himalayas as we travelled. I knew that the top of those 8000 m peaks were in the ‘death zone’. The mountains poked through that part of the atmosphere in which human habitation is possible. It provided a scale to compare the thickness of the atmosphere against. For me, it was a real eye opener, similar to that moment when the astronauts first looked back and saw the Earth from space. It really brought home to me just how thin the atmosphere is. As a geologist I’m used to thinking in terms of deep time and global change on a scale never witnessed by humans. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that transferring vast carbon stores from the geosphere to the atmosphere may change the climate. I first heard of global warming in the 80s, but at that point it was more of a possibility than a probability. Since then the weight of evidence has increased significantly. Whether we wish to try and mitigate and/or adapt is up to us, but that doesn’t change the science.


message 26: by Graham (last edited Jun 13, 2012 01:00AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments John wrote: "Re: Population Explosion

Read the science book “The Ultimate Resource 2” by Julian L. Simon, ISBN 0691042691"


John, from what I understand, 'The Ultimate Resource" is laissez faire politically inspired economic polemic. Fair enough. Lots of books are worth reading, and there may be some interesting points in it. But be careful not to make an idol out of any one ideology. It might blind you to the science. Apart from the dangerously ideological free-market fundamentalist stuff I like the look of your reading list. We've both given Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Dan Dennett five stars :o)

It's interesting to 'meet' you. We don't have many free-market fundies in the UK (if that is indeed how you see yourself). I heard about people with similar views on this Point of Inquiry podcast recently:

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/naomi_o...

John also wrote: "scientific WAG"

Careful with your TLAs too. That stands for footballer's (soccer player's) Wives And Girlfriends in the UK. This is an international web site.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

I don't think I'd rely on WAGs for scientific advice either ;-)


message 28: by Abby (new)

Abby A good friend once told me her response to people who do not want to change their actions to help curb climate change: What if you're wrong?

If you're right and we're not really causing harm that will bite us sooner than later, you've still done something good. But what if you're wrong and you had the chance to do something and didn't?


message 29: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer One of the problems, for me at least, is that it may well be true that NOTHING we do as individuals can affect AGW. Only group or social action (like carbon storage or taxes on carbon) can help. I've heard that point of view from many scientists, not just a few. Recycle as much as you want. Heat your home with carbon minimizing fuel. Buy a Prius. But many experts tell me that those kinds of things just have no scientific meaning.

Abby wrote: "A good friend once told me her response to people who do not want to change their actions to help curb climate change: What if you're wrong?

If you're right and we're not really causing harm that ..."



message 30: by Graham (last edited Jun 14, 2012 04:59AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer wrote: "One of the problems, for me at least, is that it may well be true that NOTHING we do as individuals can affect AGW. Only group or social action (like carbon storage or taxes on carbon) can help. ..."

That's the reason why those who are ideologically opposed to market regulation are the same ones who deny the scientific evidence for global warming. Rather than making evidence-based policy they are indulging in politically biased science. Note how John brought up economics rather make any sensible scientific arguments against AGW. He immediately undermined his own credibility. As someone who would like to keep AGW in perspective and have more evidence-based politics I think the likes of Bjørn Lomborg have a more significant contribution to make to the discussion.


message 31: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Sorry, Graham, but it's hard for me to follow your argument. Who is Bjorn Lomborg and what's his position?

Graham wrote: "Rozzer wrote: "One of the problems, for me at least, is that it may well be true that NOTHING we do as individuals can affect AGW. Only group or social action (like carbon storage or taxes on carb..."


message 32: by Graham (last edited Jun 14, 2012 05:38AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer wrote: "Sorry, Graham, but it's hard for me to follow your argument. Who is Bjorn Lomborg and what's his position?..."

Sorry, someone provided a link to a discussion on his book earlier in the thread.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38...


message 33: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 14, 2012 05:50AM) (new)

Rozzer As a "pro-AGW" person, I don't believe that the "anti-AGWs" are being candid in their arguments. Most of them simply deny the science and let it go at that. From their point of view, it would appear that no further elaboration of their ideas is necessary, given the fact that, in truth, all they need do to win the debate is to continue to say "no."

If one analyzes not only their statements but their attitudes, and if one has a realistic grasp of the kinds of people attracted to the pro-AGW side, then the anti-AGW views come into clearer focus, as follows.

I hesitate to do what I'm now going to do, which is put words in the mouths of anti-AGW people. And the main reason for my hesitation has to do with the mindsets of pro-AGW folk. When I try (in many different venues) to do this kind of detailed analysis of the anti-AGW position, large numbers of pro-AGW people think I really am, myself, anti-AGW. And that's simply not the case. I'm not even a fence-sitter. I myself am solidly in the pro-AGW camp. So, people, white flag! Don't shoot the messenger!

Many anti-AGW people look at the entire issue and conclude that the entire pro-AGW effort is a scam. A global, multi-trillion dollar, anti-capitalist, anti-free market, socialist scam. They focus not on the science, which is intellectually impenetrable to them, but on the consequences of the science, on what would have to be done if the science were agreed. And their fundamental position is, we're not going to permit anyone to use the AGW situation to justify and empower a global effort to transfer assets to the South, or to the undeveloped countries, or to ditch or limit capitalism, or in any other way to endanger their own privileged, personal situations in the world as it is now.

And that's a real position, to be opposed to their position on the scientific evidence, which is not a real position. Anyone who doubts what I say should read the comments columns of the on-line Guardian and the on-line Telegraph for two months and be convinced. We're really not arguing about science here. That's a ploy on the part of the antis. The real argument is economic and social. And the fact is that we, the pro-AGW camp, just can't steamroller the antis. They're people, they have rights, and just like everyone else they'll use every single means at their disposal to try to ensure the triumph of their own views and values. Which means fighting on the scientific front, which drives most pro-AGW people crazy because it's so silly. The antis really enjoy messing with the minds of the pros and driving them crazy. It's amusing.


message 34: by Graham (last edited Jun 14, 2012 06:34AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer wrote: "As a "pro-AGW" person, I don't believe that the "anti-AGWs" are being candid in their arguments. Most of them simply deny the science and let it go at that. From their point of view, it would app..."

I agree, but perhaps it's best to frame the discussion in a different way rather than focusing on pros and antis? Doesn't this kind of polarisation just play into the hands of non-evidence based free-market and green fundamentalism? I only come across these kind of ideological views on the internet and in media coverage. Most people I meet in the UK don't actually appear to have such strong opinions and since all mainstream political parties accept the concensus view of climate scientists they are generally supportive of the science if not enthusiastic about what to do about it.


message 35: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 14, 2012 07:34AM) (new)

Rozzer Hmmm. Graham, you're lucky enough to live in a country where "all mainstream political parties accept the consensus view." I don't live in such a country. And it's my serious conclusion that if anyone wants the U.S. aboard any global AGW action, then the real agendas of the Antis have to be addressed. I think that their attacks on the science are a fraud. I think their real concerns are economic and social. And I don't think there's any chance at all of U.S. action on AGW unless these people are brought on board and their concerns allayed.

The entire matter could (not necessarily but could) be circumvented by the rest of the world agreeing on AGW action and getting such action going without U.S. participation. Americans would then be presented with a reality instead of some vague and wordy fog of what may come. I think the reality, whatever it is, would go far to eliminate objections.

Economics and the social aspect. Well, you're familiar with the current political situation here. You know that it's almost impossible right now to get action on things everyone agrees are desirable, like fixing potholes in the roads, let alone if-come-maybes like AGW. I wouldn't rate our possibilities of success very high whatever the situation, but unless economic and social concerns are eliminated, nothing at all is going to happen on AGW.

Graham wrote: "Rozzer wrote: "As a "pro-AGW" person, I don't believe that the "anti-AGWs" are being candid in their arguments. Most of them simply deny the science and let it go at that. From their point of vie..."


message 36: by Graham (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments I'll be interested to see for myself when I move to central NY in a month or so. I could be in for a culture shock :o)

I hear what you are saying, and up to a point I agree. However, I think it's generally better in life to form alliances in the middle and push those with extereme views out of the picture, rather than take on those with extreme views directly.


message 37: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Well, yeah. Middle alliances and exclusion of those with extreme views. Agree totally. Except (as you'll find out soon) anti-AGW here in the U.S. IS MAINSTREAM. Here, anti-AGW IS IN THE MIDDLE. It's NOT an extreme view here. And I fear that that particular factual situation is not really comprehended by folks like yourself in advanced European countries.

In observing the U.S. you foreign guys unconsciously use blinders related to your experience in current situations in the U.K. and Europe. You really do need to consciously eliminate those blinders when you come to the States. Though it's possible that central New York won't be particularly representative of the rest of the country. It's a really big country and the land that lies between the East Coast and the West Coast tends to be very different indeed from those coasts.

Also a problem: All Americans tend to be very nice to Europeans and especially people from the U.K. More so than in other countries, I hear. And you're going to have a lot of cognitive dissonance when you deal with these really nice people who treat you very nicely but who, you find out later, believe that Obama wasn't born in the U.S., that the moon landings were faked, and that vaccines are part of a plot to kill babies. Not to mention the Communists behind AGW. Yeah, seriously.

Graham wrote: "I'll be interested to see for myself when I move to central NY in a month or so. I could be in for a culture shock :o)

I hear what you are saying, and up to a point I agree. However, I think i..."



message 38: by Graham (last edited Jun 14, 2012 09:13AM) (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Rozzer wrote: "Well, yeah. Middle alliances and exclusion of those with extreme views. Agree totally. Except (as you'll find out soon) anti-AGW here in the U.S. IS MAINSTREAM. Here, anti-AGW IS IN THE MIDDLE...."

Ha ha, well my wife's from Florida, with family in Alabama and I've lived in a conservative bit of BC, Canada before and so I have a little experience of what you speak. Fortunately I'll be at a public university and so I suspect I'll be shielded from the Tea Party crowd :o)

It's going to be interesting. I'll be teaching environmental geology and so I'm looking forward to teaching kids about issues like hydrofracking, radioactive waste disposal, climate variability etc and getting them to try and separate the science from the politics. If ever I become infuriated I hope my mantra will be 'depolarise the issue'.


message 39: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 14, 2012 09:31AM) (new)

Rozzer So you have experience, Graham. Then when I tell you that I'm in Florida (and far from the urban crowd), you'll understand what I'm saying. I really wonder whether you'll be afflicted by your students in central New York. As a group, I've found that all around the country students can be relied on to be the most serious, sensible and attentive audiences, with the most liberal views. Not always, but lots of the time. I would tend to guess that you'll be happy, if not with your neighbors, then with the young people you're teaching. In a sense, I get the feeling that they're both patient and irritated with their elders' views, kind of drumming their fingers on the table waiting for these idiotic people to die off and leave the world to them.

Take care!

Graham wrote: "Rozzer wrote: "Well, yeah. Middle alliances and exclusion of those with extreme views. Agree totally. Except (as you'll find out soon) anti-AGW here in the U.S. IS MAINSTREAM. Here, anti-AGW IS..."


message 40: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 88 comments By the way, I mentioned the book Cool It by Bjørn Lomborg because it is a fraud. I wouldn't recommend it unless you want to see how deception can be used to trick people into doubting the need to start acting on climate change.


message 41: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Jimmy, I've never read Lomborg and don't know his views. Why would you say it's a fraud?


message 42: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 88 comments I'm afraid I didn't take very good notes. It just didn't seem to be worth the trouble. Instead, let me give you the reviews of others:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38...

Check out some of the one star reviews. Then compare them with the five star reviews.


message 43: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Thanks, Jimmy. I went and read the reviews. The one-stars were very impressive. And this book, recommended in one of the reviews, sounded interesting: "The Lomborg Deception" by Howard Friel.

Jimmy wrote: "I'm afraid I didn't take very good notes. It just didn't seem to be worth the trouble. Instead, let me give you the reviews of others:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38...

Check out..."



message 44: by Graham (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Wiki seems to have a fairly balanced piece on Lomborg:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B8...


message 46: by John (new)

John Waterman (writerjohn) | 37 comments Lomborg wrote an article on the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, 21 June, titled "Feel-Good Environmentalism at the U.N." His main point is that the UN's emphasis on responding to global warming diverts much need resources from more productive pursuits they could be addressing. Worldwide deaths from lack of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities are far greater than those from weather-caused disasters like flooding, droughts, heat-waves and storms. The U.N. prefers political grandstanding over effective progress against real environmental problems.
Later, John.


message 47: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 43 comments Yes, climate change is a mainstream issue in the US because it is a political issue, which means there is a lot of junk pushed around, bits and pieces to prove micro points of view. It is used as something to promote economic growth and well being which is a very popular slogan with a lot of different methods of achieving it. The two main ideas are slash the taxes, or increase the taxes. Increase the taxes means more control, that is pro climate change, while slash the taxes means less control, that is anti climate change.

No support there, it is deadlocked.

Then we have the climate change concept. The climate is a really big amount of energy and a really big amount of mass. This means it has a lot of momentum and this means it is not going to stop on a dime. Any real changes we make now won't be visible for years to come. The train has already left the station. We are all going for a ride.

You can change individual things here and there, and track those individual things (like the contrails after 911) but those are only individual parts of a very massive puzzle and those changes you can see are not the ones we need to be looking for. There are billions of components in this system. They act together as a system. You can prey off tiny bits and pieces all day long and examine them under a microscope but without including the entire picture you have very little to work with.

The insurance companies are studying the issue of climate change very closely. They will not publicize one tiny piece of information they find out. They need to know how to cut their losses. They need to know to how to change their policies without telling the other companies how to do it. Nothing personal, just business. They are cutting back on benefits for storm damage and other weather issues for new policies. They don't publicize it because it means they are offering less coverage and you can bet it will be for more money.

The UN is a strange place. Probably because it became a microcosm of the real world. I think they know a lot about death from starvation by drought, diseases, floods, by natural or man made events. I figure one out of three people in the world is suffering from bad shelter, or food source, or water sources, or decent sanitation, or work that doesn't kill them, or a neighborhood that doesn't kill them. That is too many people for the solutions to be delegated to another party, like the UN.

I like the term climate change, it sort of gets you out of a hard place to defend yourself. If you try to lock yourself down to global warming, or global cooling, or global flooding, global whatever, you find yourself in a position that is too narrow to defend and millions waiting to attack you with everything imaginable, literally. If you phrase it as global change, that is closer to the truth, the world is changing everyday, anyone can see that.

Several years ago, there was global warming as the rallying point. And you had the anti global warming people who would go so far as to admit that if there was more CO2 in the air, that was a good thing because it would make the plants grow bigger. Both sides were heavy into computer modeling. Unfortunately the models can only include in their predictions what they have been programed to predict. Not a good thing if the actual result is not in the program.

There was a lot of name calling,and then a long came a guy who was looking at electricity generated from photo cells located in various places. He was redoing an experiment he had done several years before. On average, his readings were lower than before. People who should have known better told him it was dust on his photo cells. There was also a lady who looked at water pan evaporation rates over several years and found that the water wasn't evaporating as fast as it use to. She was told that the farmers who recorded the data didn't know how to record data. You put a pan of water out and waited for it to evaporate, really low tech, like the photo cell set up. Some one called it global dimming. Immediately the global warming people rejected global dimming and so did the anti global warming people reject global dimming.

Two opposing sides rejecting a new idea which turned out to be true. They rejected it because they had not written the concept of global dimming in their computer modeling programs. The dimming itself turned out to be transient and in fact seems to be slowly disappearing. I like this story because to me it shows that people using computers to view the world are missing a lot of stuff they need to see, but can't, because it is not programed into their digital filters they are wearing.

In the 1970's, there was a lot of complaints about pollution. Over the years it died out as manufacturing shifted to other parts of the world happy to collect the money and able to ignore the pollution now raining on them which no long rained on the people who enjoy all the benefits of cheap products and no pollution fall out in your back yard.

Now a days, you hear a lot about the dozen or so greenhouse gasses and very little about the tens of thousands of chemical pollutants being dumped into the ground, water, and sky. The dozen or so greenhouse gasses are a subset of the total amount of pollution and yet very little is said about all that pollution. It is almost as is the industrial world has decided to throw the greens a bone and admit to the greenhouse gasses and actually put up cleaner smoke stacks, and cleaner engines, cleaner energy generation and make all kinds of t-shirts supporting the cause, all the while leaving the polluting factories to continue to pollute but with a cleaner energy source. That chemical pollution that we don't get anymore, its in the food you eat, so we are still exposed to it, it is just taking longer to get into our bodies.

There are two things happening. One is that the climate is physically changing. You can move inshore, buy a rain coat, help others who can't move. This actually can be handled by most people.

The second thing is that the underlying bacterial world which dwarfs our world has been eating everything we have pulled out of the ground, forever. Although the last 200 years have been the most exciting for the bacterial denizens. They have been exposed to trillions of combinations of substances they would never have come into contact with for billions of years. If we don't release the chemicals in the areas they are found in, we move them by the speed of business, underfoot, under pallet, under anything to some other far off place where they can sample new chemical substances. What self respecting bacteria needs to get to Africa to then wait for a dust cloud that crosses the Atlantic to get to the Pacific rim when the bottom of the soles of someones shoes will get them there on a transcontinental flight free of charge and still alive.

A more down to earth example is the antibiotic resistance which is appearing around the world in all kinds of different bacteria.

The point is, if we can change the climate due to our chemical emissions, why is it that no one believes we can also change the underlying bacterial world as well.

Everything we pull out of the ground goes back into the ground eventually with the exception of a few pieces of art. This bacteria has survived 4 billion years of monster asteroid hits, the earth being covered by glaciers, the earth being covered by volcanoes, you name they have seen it and survived. All this junk food we are giving them is not killing them, it is making them stronger. And those kinds of changes can't be fought by moving, or buying a raincoat or putting up metal fences or bars across your windows. That is the other half of the global change equation you never hear about.


message 48: by John (new)

John Waterman (writerjohn) | 37 comments Robert:

Very nice article about the "big picture." What you describe is, of course, continuing evolution in nature. Mother Nature doesn't care whether any particular bacterium or any individual human succeeds or fails. She just keeps plodding along. Thus it is the obligation, or even the imperative, of every living being to strive to survive in our competitive environment on Planet Earth. We all try to carve out a niche to survive in our ecology.

As humans, we have the unique ability to use our rational self-interest to cooperate with our human neighbors, so as to accomplish greater things than we can alone. On the other hand, we may choose merely to continue our classic, historical, inter-tribal warfare.
Later, John.


message 49: by Graham (new)

Graham (grahambradley) | 24 comments Of relevance to your previous post John... http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/files/news-...


message 50: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 43 comments ...On the other hand, we may choose merely to continue our classic, historical, inter-tribal warfare...

Then again you also have plain old politics, unless you are including politics as a part of inter-tribal warfare.

800 adults in the US polled between June 13 and 21,
Twenty-nine percent cited water and air pollution as the most pressing concern, the Washington Post-Stanford University poll indicated, followed by 18 percent who pointed to climate change -- way down from 33 percent in 2007.

I know very few people who are concerned about pollution and definitely no visible groundswell of new found awareness. Sure, there is a lot of recycling going on, but that is it.

The Washington Posts explanation was that the government was no longer interested in pushing a policy based on climate change, so people in general were now less interested in general in climate change.

This poll was made before the power outages in the Mid Atlantic states from the recent summer storms. There were forest fires burning in the west at this time.

If another poll comes out soon enough it would be interesting to see how far up the 18 percent value goes. Support for actual changes being made for climate change has been steadily declining over the past few years in the US.

The Stanford Woods organization is claiming in 2012 that the decline is mainly due to people of both political parties who now distrust pro warming climate scientists and by observing the local weather outside their front doors every morning.


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