View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently August 29th, 2014, 10:58 am



Reply to topic  [ 240 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next
 does anyone really care about global warming? 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
I'm starting this because, as part of my work, I have to read the Financial Times (FT), including the unbelievably obnoxious "How to Spend It" supplements that try to help the super-rich to not get bored with their wealth (Animist, control yourself - you know you'd love to be super-rich! Yes, but only so that the benevolent animist dictatorship could abolish richness - and probably aviation). What's finally provoked me to "action" is the attached article on the concept of the aerotropolis: this idea reverses the relatively traditional idea that arports are there to serve cities, and instead proposes hubs of settlements around huge airports, on the basis that most of us are urban and becoming globalised and so on (I haven't really read it yet!)

The FT does actually discuss global warming in some of its articles, and I sort of got the idea from some of these that aviation was not a good idea from this viewpoint. So, even allowing for the fact that journalism is meant to encompass a variety of views, not all of them connected, I do find it surreal that, while schoolkids are being indoctrinated to turn off lights in order to save the planet, we get clever people writing a book about aerotropoli (without, so far as I can see, any mention of climate change - please correct me if I am wrong) and "our era of instant gratification".

Lots more to say on the general disconnect between posing and reality over this, but please all dive in (not aeronautically, of course)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/35d655ea-3fb5 ... z1HylY4HAs


March 29th, 2011, 10:31 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
the answer at present seems to be no - don't all rush at once! Seriously, it is one topic which I would have expected to have been covered more by TH-type people; I suppose I only became aware of it really as a result of long conversations with several climate change deniers. Anyway, I must get back to the world of the rich!


March 29th, 2011, 11:25 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
Posts: 2369
Location: Between the New Forest and Cranborne Chase
<duplicate of post below>

_________________
Steve

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. (Richard Feynman)


March 29th, 2011, 1:04 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
Posts: 2369
Location: Between the New Forest and Cranborne Chase
Firstly, please don't use the term "denier" when describing those who subscribe to the 10% view -- its derivation is just another cheap example of Godwin's Law.

The science tells us that there is a 90% likelihood that humans are responsible for some climate change; whilst we need to act with this in mind, it's not worth just ignoring the other 10% likelihood. My main problem with the "warmist" viewpoint is that it has systematically over-stated the case for over a decade and has snidely ignored the utter tripe spewed by the likes of Gore because it was more "convenient" to let people believe such BS as "you can see in the ice core when the clean air act came into force" or the pretence that the altitude of malaria in central Africa is now higher than ever before. Then you get the likes of Pachauri who dismissed challenges to his inane claim about Himalayan glaciers with the Goldacreism "voodoo science" -- until his own side told him he was wrong. The whole thing has become horrendously politicised and it is hellish difficult to winnow the actual science from the point-scoring crapola from both sides of the argument. It doesn't help when the "warmists" fly in the face of scientific practice and refuse to publicise their raw data or the details of their statistical methodology. I could go on for a *very* long time, but you probably have the picture by now. :smile:

The point is one I have been unsuccessfully making for 40 years: as long as those of us who care about the environment are sloppy in our science or less than 100% scrupulous in our dealings, we hand ammunition on a plate to the opposition. One only needs to recall the predictions made in alarmist publications like The Population Bomb, The Limits to Growth, or A Blueprint for Survival to understand why any alarmist position must and should be very carefully scrutinised.

If HMG really cared about CO2 emissions, it could drastically cut them at a stroke:
* Insist that all new liquid-fossil-fuel cars are diesel, not petrol. Diesel emissions are approx 20% lower for an equivalent engine.
* Ban catalytic converters. Not only do they work by increasing CO2 emissions, but they don't even reduce the NOx and SOx emissions they are designed for until they are up to temperature, which doesn't happen on the majority of private vehicle journeys in the UK.
* Repeal the Climate Change Levy. The effect of this has been to move energy for production from relatively efficient UK power stations to horrendously inefficient ones, mostly in the Far East; in other words its effect has been to increase global CO2 production (and to shift employment from here to "elsewhere"). HMG knew it would do this because it was told before it introduced the Levy.

Don't even get me started on Carbon Credits or Peak Oil! :D

_________________
Steve

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. (Richard Feynman)


March 29th, 2011, 1:05 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: February 27th, 2008, 1:17 pm
Posts: 2976
Location: Greater London
I'll participate in this thread properly later, but for the moment, animist, have you seen this interview with Greg Lindsay in BLDGBLOG? It touches on the global warming issue. Briefly.

Emma


March 29th, 2011, 1:26 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Tetenterre wrote:
Firstly, please don't use the term "denier" when describing those who subscribe to the 10% view -- its derivation is just another cheap example of Godwin's Law. The science tells us that there is a 90% likelihood that humans are responsible for some climate change; whilst we need to act with this in mind, it's not worth just ignoring the other 10% likelihood. My main problem with the "warmist" viewpoint is that it has systematically over-stated the case for over a decade and has snidely ignored the utter tripe spewed by the likes of Gore because it was more "convenient" to let people believe such BS as "you can see in the ice core when the clean air act came into force" or the pretence that the altitude of malaria in central Africa is now higher than ever before. Then you get the likes of Pachauri who dismissed challenges to his inane claim about Himalayan glaciers with the Goldacreism "voodoo science" -- until his own side told him he was wrong. The whole thing has become horrendously politicised and it is hellish difficult to winnow the actual science from the point-scoring crapola from both sides of the argument. It doesn't help when the "warmists" fly in the face of scientific practice and refuse to publicise their raw data or the details of their statistical methodology. I could go on for a *very* long time, but you probably have the picture by now. :smile: The point is one I have been unsuccessfully making for 40 years: as long as those of us who care about the environment are sloppy in our science or less than 100% scrupulous in our dealings, we hand ammunition on a plate to the opposition. One only needs to recall the predictions made in alarmist publications like The Population Bomb, The Limits to Growth, or A Blueprint for Survival to understand why any alarmist position must and should be very carefully
scrutinised.


thanks for all this. On the phrase "climate change denier", I assume you mean that Godwin's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law) is being invoked by using a word that relates to the Holocaust. I won't use it, fine, though I think it does fairly describe the attitudes of some, but not all, climate change sceptics. When you say "it's not worth just ignoring the other 10% likelihood", you presumably mean that there is still doubt on the subject of AGW (anthropogenic global warming), and I have seen it said that 97% of scientists subscribe to this theory - which still leaves a lot in absolute terms who don't; but if it is indeed 90% certain that AGW surely the impetus to respond to it is almost as great as if it were 100%. I did not know some of the alwarmist (my hybrid!) quotes you mention, but I know about the so-called Pachaurigate, glaciergate and climategate scandals; how could I not, with idiots like James Delingpole being paid by supposedly respectable newspapers (like the Telegraph) to pick endlessly at any fault in the warmist position, yet themselves often appearing loftily contemptuous of actual scientists! I think, given that it is now a huge industry, that the frailties of human nature make events like these vastly exaggerated affairs virtually inevitable; but I don't think that it means that the science is sloppy or wrong (I am no scientist, I just detect the whiff of vested interests behind the voices of those for whom the description "deniers" really is no insult). The other thing is that warmists are in a bit of cleft stick: if they refrain from any possible exaggeration (and I agree they should refrain) then the great British (and other) publics and governments will go back to sleep; if they do exaggerate they risk what you have described (remembering that a couple of the documents you mention do go back 40 years, when the science hardly existed).


March 29th, 2011, 5:07 pm
Profile

Joined: November 10th, 2010, 8:25 pm
Posts: 184
Here's my take on this issue. It's pretty clear that humankind is causing a certain degree of global warming, due to carbon dioxide accumulation and other greenhouse gases. I don't think anybody's sure how much warming that really is. It may be all or most of what we're seeing, or it might be a relatively inconsequential amount, with most of the temperature increase mostly being due to the natural processes that have caused ice ages and hot periods in the past. Sounds like it is too complicated for anybody to understand fully at present. There may be feedback mechanisms to counteract temperature changes that we aren't even aware of.

But let's assume that a great deal of the global warming we've experienced is due to the technology of our species, which I suspect is the case. What should we do about it? What we shouldn't do is legislate rules designed to make us feel better about ourselves as stewards of the Earth, unless they have a good chance of truly helping. As Tetenterre pointed out, some well intentioned regulations may have the opposite effect of what was intended. And while recycling and driving less and conserving energy wherever we can may make us feel that we're doing our best to help, the reality is that even in toto it's a drop in the ocean - inconsequential to what's going to happen to us. The only decisions that matter are large scale - laws and regulations and energy decisions by government - and those have to be made intelligently. Nuclear power, which isn't too popular this week, probably offers the best chance to significantly cut greenhouse gases, but it's hard to imagine governments going that route in a big enough way.

In fact, sometimes I wonder if there is anything we can do to even slow the process significantly. No matter what we do in the West, China and India will continue to burn coal big time and not worry too much about fossil fuels in general. Economic advancement is more important to them than the vague threat of global warming, and you can't even blame them too much. I'm afraid that things will have to get a lot worse before the world will make the changes necessary. But humans are a resiliant species, and at some point we'll figure out how to keep the world from becoming a desert, and do it. But things will have to be really desperate for that to happen, and it may not be for another 100 years.


March 29th, 2011, 7:42 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am
Posts: 9236
Location: Darkest Kent
I'm not sure this advances the case much, but I think it is relevant. Humans have a way of improving things in the long term. Diseases kill fewer people, violent deaths have decreased dramatically, living standards have increased throughout the world. I am uncertain about climate change, though I think I would go with the consensus. And I think there are good reasons for eg reducing pollution, addressing population issues etc., besides their impact on global warming. However, for a variety of reasons, I don't think governments will have much impact on climate change. OTOH, I am optimistic that new solutions will come along which will change the world in ways we can only guess at. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, (and we don't have the cost-effective technology yet) but suppose we could use the desert sun to generate power, or green the deserts using de-salination, or replace fossil fuels with nuclear fussion technology. That would change things rather dramatically.


March 30th, 2011, 12:58 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Wilson wrote:
In fact, sometimes I wonder if there is anything we can do to even slow the process significantly. No matter what we do in the West, China and India will continue to burn coal big time and not worry too much about fossil fuels in general. Economic advancement is more important to them than the vague threat of global warming, and you can't even blame them too much. I'm afraid that things will have to get a lot worse before the world will make the changes necessary. But humans are a resiliant species, and at some point we'll figure out how to keep the world from becoming a desert, and do it. But things will have to be really desperate for that to happen, and it may not be for another 100 years.

Nick wrote:
And I think there are good reasons for eg reducing pollution, addressing population issues etc., besides their impact on global warming. However, for a variety of reasons, I don't think governments will have much impact on climate change. OTOH, I am optimistic that new solutions will come along which will change the world in ways we can only guess at. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, (and we don't have the cost-effective technology yet) but suppose we could use the desert sun to generate power, or green the deserts using de-salination, or replace fossil fuels with nuclear fussion technology. That would change things rather dramatically.

Nick's first point is important and tends to get overlooked these days - back in the 1970s AGW was just one of a number of doomsday threats linked with overpopulation and pollution. Science and technology are of course absolutely central to alleviation as well as avoidance of the threat, and "Solar" by Ian MacEwan has some good stuff on this, even though it's a novel. Wilson points out that things will have to get worse before they get better, but the trouble is that the longer we go on, the worse it will be - certainly 100 years is too long to wait. Wilson mentions the problem of the emergent economies, but AGW is already adversely affecting China. Tetenterre obviously understands the confusing present arrangements better than I do, and I would be interested in hearing more from him on these


March 30th, 2011, 4:14 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
I have always thought that one way to reduce AGW (and relieve congestion) is to use the internet to construct an information system for commuters and indeed all other private transport travellers. You would login with your planned journey details of locations and times; the system would match this with other people's journey details, and then work out the nearest point to you which would be feasible to collect you (and the best point to drop you). The system would use a fleet of dedicated driven minibuses which would pick up and drop down passengers; you might have to drive a bit at the beginning and walk a bit at the end. If a journey was not economical for the system, you could be told so, plus the details of any other passenger with similar needs in case you wanted to consider a bilateral arrangement. Charges would probably depend on how far the costs could be divided, ie they would be in inverse proportion to the number of passengers. A sort of organised and communal taxi service, I suppose.

A cheaper variant would be to scrap the idea of minibuses and just have an information exchange service based on the motorists giving each other lifts.

But maybe we should just improve scheduled public transport, as governments have been promising to do for as long as I can remember, and tax private transport to finance it. Too obvious, I suppose.


March 30th, 2011, 8:32 pm
Profile

Joined: November 10th, 2010, 8:25 pm
Posts: 184
Nick wrote:
And I think there are good reasons for eg reducing pollution, addressing population issues etc., besides their impact on global warming.


By the way, reducing pollution in terms of CO2 would help, but reducing particulate matter might have the opposite effect. Blocking of the sun's rays by visible pollution may have a cooling effect. I've read that if we didn't have the worldwide smog that we do, global warming would be much worse than it is now. In fact, one of the proposed solutions for global warming is to spray tiny particles into the stratosphere. There are other techniques, such as sowing iron into certain parts of the ocean to increase algae growth. Lot of unknowns, of course, with each of those, and others. Jeff Goodell wrote a very good book called "How to Cool the Planet", which talks about the possibilities for geoengineering.


March 30th, 2011, 11:05 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Wilson wrote:
Nick wrote:
And I think there are good reasons for eg reducing pollution, addressing population issues etc., besides their impact on global warming.


By the way, reducing pollution in terms of CO2 would help, but reducing particulate matter might have the opposite effect. Blocking of the sun's rays by visible pollution may have a cooling effect. I've read that if we didn't have the worldwide smog that we do, global warming would be much worse than it is now. In fact, one of the proposed solutions for global warming is to spray tiny particles into the stratosphere. There are other techniques, such as sowing iron into certain parts of the ocean to increase algae growth. Lot of unknowns, of course, with each of those, and others. Jeff Goodell wrote a very good book called "How to Cool the Planet", which talks about the possibilities for geoengineering.

I think that, without knowing anything much about the technologies involved or wishing to preclude anything, a lot of people who are concerned about AGW would view this as jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. AGW results from our unthinking interference with the atmosphere, and there might be unintended effects of these very novel technologies. Developing non-fossil-based-fuels by whatever means we can seems safer somehow. And doesn't smog kill people? The other risk is that all this may have the effect of making the powers that be think they can go on as they have been, in effect intensifying the root problem; and then what happens if these geoengineering solutions stop working?


March 30th, 2011, 11:34 pm
Profile

Joined: November 10th, 2010, 8:25 pm
Posts: 184
Inert particles in the stratosphere - if they stayed there - shouldn't pose any health issues, right? Cut down slightly on the brightness of the sun, which would prevent skin cancers. Nobody's proposing increasing smog. Goodell thought that it would take an emergency - like extensive flooding of all the world's coastal properties due to ocean level rise - to even consider some of these schemes. None of them are likely to happen unless we don't have any choice. And no question about unseen consequences, although that's true no matter what path we take.


March 31st, 2011, 12:00 am
Profile

Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm
Posts: 3014
If we put a lot of effort into reducing greehouse gasses, and it turns out to have been unnecessary, so what?
If we don't bother reducing greenhouse gasses and[i] that[i] turns out to have been a mistake, we're in big trouble!


March 31st, 2011, 5:25 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
Posts: 2369
Location: Between the New Forest and Cranborne Chase
thundril wrote:
If we put a lot of effort into reducing greehouse gasses, and it turns out to have been unnecessary, so what?
If we don't bother reducing greenhouse gasses and[i] that[i] turns out to have been a mistake, we're in big trouble!


Hmm. I'm struggling to see how the logic of this differs from Pascal's Wager.

_________________
Steve

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. (Richard Feynman)


March 31st, 2011, 10:32 am
Profile WWW

Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm
Posts: 3014
Tetenterre wrote:
thundril wrote:
If we put a lot of effort into reducing greehouse gasses, and it turns out to have been unnecessary, so what?
If we don't bother reducing greenhouse gasses and[i] that[i] turns out to have been a mistake, we're in big trouble!


Hmm. I'm struggling to see how the logic of this differs from Pascal's Wager.

Yes, I was aware of the parallel when I posted. The difference is one or the other will show itself to have been true while we, or our children, are still alive.


March 31st, 2011, 11:56 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4409
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
thundril wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:
thundril wrote:
If we put a lot of effort into reducing greehouse gasses, and it turns out to have been unnecessary, so what?
If we don't bother reducing greenhouse gasses and[i] that[i] turns out to have been a mistake, we're in big trouble!


Hmm. I'm struggling to see how the logic of this differs from Pascal's Wager.

Yes, I was aware of the parallel when I posted. The difference is one or the other will show itself to have been true while we, or our children, are still alive.
I don't think it is much like Pascal's Wager, mainly because the latter is a psychological impossibility: you cannot MAKE yourself believe something, and I don't think pretending would get past an ommiscient God. I think what thundril says is one of the best ways to look at the AGW issue and I wish that deniers sceptics would see things this way


March 31st, 2011, 12:16 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: January 20th, 2011, 2:45 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Wilds of Herefordshire
I really don't know whether cutting C02 emissions will have any useful effect. But doing so must reduce our reliance on imported oil and gas, which we - Europe and the US - desperately need to do. If we can't persuade people to be less dependent on them, maybe we can scare them into it.

I'm not saying there's a conspiracy theory, only that there's a good side to all this panic.

_________________
A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.


March 31st, 2011, 12:25 pm
Profile

Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm
Posts: 3014
An interesting new piece of research can be found here

The first Law of Thermodynamics says 'You can't Win.'
The Second Law of Thermodynamics says 'You can't break even.'
Looks like the answer is indeed that we have to find ways to consume less power, which means consuming less stuff generally.


March 31st, 2011, 1:10 pm
Profile

Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm
Posts: 3014
Actually the complete article might not be easy to get at, or to follow, so a clear summary and explanation can be found here


March 31st, 2011, 1:33 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 240 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software for PTF.