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Cleaner Air Could Speed Global Warming 344

Posted by kdawson
from the caught-between-asthma-and-the-rising-sea dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists estimate that the US Clean Air Act has cut a major air pollutant, sulfate aerosols, by 30% to 50% since the 1980s, helping greatly reduce cases of asthma and other respiratory problems. But NPR reports that this good news may have a surprising downside: cleaner air might actually intensify global warming. One benefit of sulfates is that they've been helpfully blocking sunlight from striking the Earth for many decades, by brightening clouds and expanding their coverage. Researchers believe greenhouse gases such as CO2 have committed the Earth to an eventual warming of roughly 4 degrees Fahrenheit, a quarter of which the planet has already experienced. But thanks to cooling by aerosols starting in the 1940s, the planet has felt only a portion of that warming. And unlike CO2, which persists in the atmosphere for centuries, aerosols last in the air for a week at most, so cutting them would probably rapidly accelerate global warming. The author of 'Hack the Planet' says: 'As we take away that unexpectedly helpful cooling mask, we're going to be facing more global warming than we expected.'"
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Cleaner Air Could Speed Global Warming

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  • Everything! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:32AM (#31995594)

    I'm getting pretty tired of everything causing/amplifying global warming. We're fucked, we get it it!

  • If we are to err (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:37AM (#31995614)

    If we are to err, I'd rather we erred on the side of clean air than polluted air.

  • by bmo (77928) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:41AM (#31995636)

    Climate change scientists have now resorted to trolling us.

    Seriously. Cleaner air is bad for the planet? Shut up. As someone who has asthma, this pisses me off. I like breathing, thanks. Stop wasting time blaming the Clean Air Act and look at practical ways to cut carbon emissions in ways that don't knock us back to the stone age.

    KTHXBAI.

    --
    BMO

    • by RuBLed (995686)
      Come to think of it, it could be bad for us but not for the planet since it had been worse before.
    • by Nursie (632944)

      I actually heard an interview with this guy the other day. His point is not that we need to stop cutting pollution, it does cause a lot of respiratory diseases and various other forms of environmental damage.

      it's just another effect that needs to be taken into account.

      His thing is geo-engineering though, so his take is that this means we must start geo-engineering now.

      • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @06:44AM (#31996942) Journal
        "His thing is geo-engineering though, so his take is that this means we must start geo-engineering now.

        No it doesn't, Kintisch is a reporter for the journal Science and as this Nature review of his book [nature.com] points out...

        "Both Goodell and Kintisch make it clear that geoengineering is at best a complement to drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. “We have to immediately launch a worldwide program to stop polluting our atmosphere with this surprisingly pernicious trace gas,” Kintisch argues. Most scientists feel much the same, viewing geoengineering strictly as a possible emergency backup plan that should be used only if things get really dire....[snip]...Kintisch also digs deeper than Goodell into explaining the details of how geoengineering might work — and why it would be so difficult to do well....[snip]...That's not to say Kintisch argues in favour of geoengineering, but that he writes from firmly within the world of science, and for an audience who's comfortable with science, too....[snip]...Kintisch is sceptical about the idea that we can tame and control ecosystems, let alone the whole planet."
    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:51AM (#31995698)

      Seriously. Cleaner air is bad for the planet? Shut up. As someone who has asthma, this pisses me off. I like breathing, thanks. Stop wasting time blaming the Clean Air Act and look at practical ways to cut carbon emissions in ways that don't knock us back to the stone age.

      This will probably sound wrong, or at least politically incorrect but... Cleaner air can speed global warming while still killing everyone who suffers from asthma.

      Natural facts don't usually care about consequences on human health.

      So, I think you're point should be more oriented towards something like: "The fact that cleaner air, which we need, may have a cooling effect, should only make us fight much stronger against the original sources of the warming itself."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        That would be exactly the scientists point.
      • by tbannist (230135)

        You've got it reversed, the point should be
        "The fact that cleaner air, which we need, may have a warming effect, should only make us fight much stronger against the original sources of the warming itself."

        The pollution increases the amount of heat reflected back into space, reducing the pollution reduced the amount of heat reflected and increased the amount absorbed.

      • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CrazeeCracker (641868)

        "The fact that cleaner air, which we need, may have a cooling effect, should only make us fight much stronger against the original sources of the warming itself."

        So... you're planning to get rid of the Sun? ;)

    • by Korin43 (881732) * on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:54AM (#31995716) Homepage
      I didn't see anyone saying that we should start pumping aerosols into the atmosphere again. They're just saying it will have an effect. Would you prefer scientists that pretend nothing good ever has a downside?
      • by saxoholic (992773)

        I didn't see anyone saying that we should start pumping aerosols into the atmosphere again.

         
        We should start pumping aerosols into the atmosphere again. Hey, if it will keep the planet from warming and cause Al Gore to go fucking psycho, it sounds like the perfect solution. Plus, it will keep all our businesses odor free.... everybody start emptying your cans of Lysol.

      • It is not even a real downside.
        More sunlight means better plant growth (which means that the plants have to consume more CO2.
        More sunlight also means better visibility, thus less need for artifical ligh.

    • by Punto (100573)

      Also don't forget that global warming will cause an ice age.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:08AM (#31995784)

      To paraphrase George Carlin, the planet has been here for what? 4 and a half billion years, and we've been here a hundred thousand years, maybe 200 thousand. And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200.
      Do the math. If the entire age of the Earth was reduced to one calendar year, when did humans appear?

      December 31st, 11:59pm.

      The planet isn't going anywhere.

      *** WE ARE. ***

      • by init100 (915886) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:34AM (#31995952)

        Eminently put. The planet is not in trouble, global warming or not. The planet has been much hotter and much colder, with significantly different atmospheric conditions (higher CO2, higher O2, vastly different contents pre-O2, etc), not to mention the continents that have been in vastly different positions. In fact, the time we are living in is comparably speaking an anomaly. For most of the time since the Earth was formed, there has been no ice on this planet whatsoever.

        So the Earth is absolutely not in trouble. We, on the other hand, might be in trouble. If the worst predictions of the climate scientists become reality, sea level rises may destroy a lot of our fixed infrastructure, such as cities. Humanity will likely survive, but life wouldn't be as easy as now.

        • by fredrik70 (161208)

          I agree that the planet itself in not in trouble. However the current ecosystem is in a bit of peril, some say that we're currently living through the 6 great extinction of earth, but iirc the jury is still out on that one.
          Anyway, nothing like a global spring cleaning once in a while! ;-)

          • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @05:17AM (#31996432) Homepage Journal

            >>However the current ecosystem is in a bit of peril, some say that we're currently living through the 6 great extinction of earth, but iirc the jury is still out on that one.

            Yeah. While species are going extinct, it's not the "10,000 species a day going extinct" bullshit I heard every time I went to the San Diego Zoo back in the 1980s. The study for that number was based on insect surveys. They dug up a 10 meter square patch of earth, counted the species, then counted them again the next year. Stag horn beetles moved 30' away? They're extinct!

            It's one of those memes that everyone knows, but doesn't know just how badly that number was derived.

            The actual number of species going extinct is actually very hard to calculate, but it's nowhere near these humans-are-evil numbers tossed around by tree huggers. Just by way of reference, there's only a million animal species or ten on the planet. If these numbers were true, there'd be negative 90 million species left by today.

      • The planet isn't going nowhere .

        *** WE ARE. ***

        Fixed that for you.

      • Actually I believe that was from Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" dubbed the Cosmic Calendar. Here's a link [youtube.com].
      • by daem0n1x (748565) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @06:43AM (#31996924)

        the planet has been here for what? 4 and a half billion years, and we've been here a hundred thousand years, maybe 200 thousand. And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200.

        Not according to the next US president.

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:14AM (#31995826)
      This has been well known science for many decades. Since long before the media cared about it. So I doubt it is a media scare or Climate change trolls.

      I don't think anyone is arguing we repeal the clean air act or anything like that. We all like breathing. Also it really wouldn't help. It'd be like if your house caught fire and to avoid death you go to another room. Sure it helps you ignore the problem a few minutes at best, but you aren't doing fuck all to put out the fire. (apologies for the shitty analogy, where is BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?)
    • Seriously? You think this is the climate change guys trolling? Why doesn't it suggest a polluter who wants to go back to the cheap & dirty way of doing things?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Climate change scientists have now resorted to trolling us.

      Seriously. Cleaner air is bad for the planet? Shut up.

      It would be nice if it were simple, wouldn't it? If we could just say "pollution bad, stopping pollution all good effects."

      Grow up. Reality is often quite a bit more complicated than we'd like it. Wshat seem like mixed messages mirror that. Cholesterol can be good and bad, different types. People shouldn't use heroin, but for a small subset of users, sudden withdrawal can actually cause death. Antibiotics kill bacteria in an infected patient, but if you dump in enough drugs to kill all the bugs at onc

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @05:41AM (#31996556) Homepage Journal

        >>It would be nice if it were simple, wouldn't it? If we could just say "pollution bad, stopping pollution all good effects."

        Indeed. When lecturing on AGW last Thursday, it was amusing when my students asked if the volcano erupting was good or bad for the environment.

        The simple fact is that there's no simple answer. If you're an endangered bird who only nests on whatever-the-hell that volcano is, you're pretty much fucked. If contrails from airplanes have a cooling effect, then grounding a bunch of planes might warm the atmosphere. The particulate matter will slightly cool the atmosphere. If you're a specialized form of algae that eats volanic ash in saltwater, it might be great for you, but terrible for the fish nearby.

        The really tragic fact about Greens, is that they're stupid. They simply don't understand that every choice is always a mixture of pros and cons, good effects and bad effects and side effects. Their mindset (based on the precautionary principle) is that if ANYTHING is negative about an option, they must file a lawsuit and get it banned.

        This has led to:
        1) A ban on nuclear power here in California. 40% of America's CO2 comes from coal and gas energy plants - if we'd gone nuclear since the 70s we'd have not killed tens of thousands of people (what? people die from coal?), and met every CO2 target out there, beyond Copenhagen or the farcical disaster that is Kyoto.

        2) The Sierra Club successfully shutting down a massive solar plant. (What? Solar is a green energy? But think of all the DESERT that would be covered by those panels! 25 tortoises live there!) Good luck getting more companies to put money into proposing green power generators, assholes. Similar stories exist for wind and tidal projects across the country.

        3) Demolition of hyrdoelectric dams. (What? Hydro is a green source of energy!? But fish are friends, not food!) Spending $300M to blow up two hydro plants seems like a good investment, right? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwha_Ecosystem_Restoration)

        4) The introduction of the SUV. CAFE killed the station wagon, but idiot legislation can't kill demand for a product. So we no longer have the wood-paneled station wagon (1972 Country Squire: 18MPG) and now have the most Green-hated thing ever, the SUV (2009 Nissan Armada: 14 MPG).

        5) The Clean Air Act lowering particulate counts, as the article says. Not that Clean Air is a bad thing - I certainly wouldn't want to live next to one of those belching, polluting smokestacks. (Like the cooling tower on a nuclear plant, like idiot wunderkind Al Gore showed in an Inconvenient Truth, but I digress.) But it does reduce the "protective" cooling effect particulate matter has in the atmosphere.

        As long as idiot Greens continue thinking in all-or-nothing terms, they'll continue making decisions that are horribly bad both for the environment and for the economy.

        • by khayman80 (824400)
          MOD PARENT UP!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The irony is that you ask people to not have such a black and white view on the environment, yet you have a black and white view on politics. When environmental issues come up, it is always very complicated. It is NEVER just greens being naive.

          For example, in the wiki article that YOU site, it claims the removal of the dam was for reasons of safety, the salmon, erosion, and nutrients in the riverbed. Which of those is a "green" issue? While "green" folks supported this in various ways, I'm sure there wh

          • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @09:25AM (#31998374) Homepage Journal

            >>The irony is that you ask people to not have such a black and white view on the environment, yet you have a black and white view on politics.

            Since I apparently have a black and white view of politics, I'm vastly interested in what you think those are.

            >>For example, in the wiki article that YOU site, it claims the removal of the dam was for reasons of safety, the salmon, erosion, and nutrients in the riverbed. Which of those is a "green" issue?

            Indeed. (I'm aware of this, having linked the article for you to read.) As I said with the volcano example, there's always a lot of effects, both good or bad, with every decision. But the trend in general to blow up dams is a very troubling one. We need more power plants, not less.

            And flood control is a not-insignificant issue, also. In Japan, the Shinto nature-loving country on the other side of the Pacific, every single (well, over 95%) of every river and stream in Japan is dammed. Mainly for flood control issues, but they also produce about 10% of their total power needs from hydro in places like (the very lovely) Kiso River Valley. It's quite jarring to the American eye to see square waterfalls, square streams, and massive hydro plants in the middle of what could be their Yosemite Valley. But they do have something to it.

    • You should look a little more into the information instead of your feelings. Don't get so upset just because something isn't what you wanted to hear.

      This information has been discussed for over a decade now. It is called Global Dimming. There is a great video on Nova about it if you want to learn.

    • by mcvos (645701)

      Cleaner air is bad for the planet?

      Good and bad isn't as one-dimensional as that. Things that are good for one thing, may turn out to be bad for something else. Alcohol, for example, is good for your heart and blood pressure, but bad for your liver. Same thing with some kinds of pollution. Some kinds of pollution may block some of the sun's rays from entering our atmosphere, which slows global warming. But then again, they may hurt the ozone layer, causing more skin cancer.

    • The thing is, the air you're breathing is down here - which is where the vast majority of pollution is created. The sun-blocking sulphur compounds need to be up there. A fact which is clearly not mentioned at all in TFS.

    • by leenks (906881)

      Where does it say that? Did you even read the summary or TFA?

    • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @06:24AM (#31996784) Journal
      "Climate change scientists have now resorted to trolling us."

      Climate scientists have known about the negative forcing of areosols since at least the 1950's. It's the half truth behind the widely repeated troll that "most climate scientists predicted an ice age in the 70's". I know of no reputable climate scientist* who would advocate repealing the clean air act and going back to pea-soupers [wikipedia.org] and acid rain as a sane method of tackling AGW.

      * = Eli Kintisch (the author of the original opinion piece in the LA times), does not advocate increasing pollution. He is simply pointing out that man made areosols are currently masking the full impact of CO2 emissions. His book Hack the Planet [nature.com] is an informative work about the pros and cons of geoengineering options that governments may be tempted to consider if things continue on a BAU basis. As the Nature review points out; "Kintisch is skeptical about the idea that we can tame and control ecosystems, let alone the whole planet."

      Like the vast majority of scientists his prefered geoengineering option is to wind down the current uncontrolled geoengineering experiment in a responsible manner, but as we have seen there is some mighty stiff oposition against that option from powerfull vested interests. And how surprising is it to learn that they are the same vested interests who, for almost a century, successfully used anti-science and economic alarmisim to fight tooth and nail against any and all proposals for clean air regulations?
    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      As someone who has asthma, this pisses me off. I like breathing, thanks.

      100% percent with you, brother. Clean air regulations and indoor smoking ban made a huge difference in my well-being. And a lot is still to do...

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Cleaner air is bad for the planet? Shut up. As someone who has asthma, this pisses me off.

      Not a fan of evolution by natural selection, eh?

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      The fact is the clean air act has proably done more to put more carbon in the air than anything. C02 was not considered to be the threat it is today when the law was writen, add CAFEE Standards to this and we get the disaster that is the present day American Autombile fleet. We would all be driving cars that are more powerful than we have today getting 50+MPG right now if it was not for those stupid laws. The irration fear of things like NOx has prevented the development of high compression high efficenc

  • A little known fact (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:44AM (#31995656) Journal
    It is a little know fact that, given the uncertainties of what is happening in our climate system, the warming seen over the last few decades is entirely attributable to the reduction in aerosols in recent years. This is mentioned in WGI chapter 2 of the IPCC report. Of course, that fact didn't make it into the "Summary for Policy Makers." In fairness I should mention that the chances of the temperature change being entirely attributable to the change in aerosols is actually quite low, but it's still something worth considering.
    • I think perhaps we will discover, that as with much in life, it isn't "entirely attributable" to any one thing, but a combination. Seems a lot in the world is that way. So it may be that some of it is CO2, some of it is less particulates, some of it is solar output, some of it is inaccuracies in temperature data, and so on. To me it seems likely that there may be multiple factors affecting a highly complex system, as well as the fact that our measurements are not 100% accurate. I find it a bit odd that I ha

    • by khayman80 (824400) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @04:41AM (#31996298) Homepage Journal

      It is a little know fact that, given the uncertainties of what is happening in our climate system, the warming seen over the last few decades is entirely attributable to the reduction in aerosols in recent years. This is mentioned in WGI chapter 2 of the IPCC report. Of course, that fact didn't make it into the "Summary for Policy Makers." In fairness I should mention that the chances of the temperature change being entirely attributable to the change in aerosols is actually quite low, but it's still something worth considering.

      Yeah, it's odd that an ~18 page summary for nonscientists doesn't include all the nuances in a ~1000 page report filled with scientific jargon.

      The summary's forcing chart [www.ipcc.ch] clearly shows a huge, lopsided error bar on the cloud albedo effect, and lists the Level Of Scientific Understanding as "low". This is a copy of figure 2.20 on page 203 of chapter 2. In both charts, notice that the CO2 forcing is very large and known far more precisely.

      The particular statement you found, that "the warming seen over the last few decades is entirely attributable to the reduction in aerosols in recent years" isn't something I've seen in chapter 2. The bottom panel of figure 2.22 on page 206 seems like the closest match to your statement, but it's a projection based on emissions over 20 years in the future. Could you specify the page number where you found your statement?

      I'll note that your claim isn't necessarily contradicted by figure 2.20 because that's the radiative forcing integrated from 1750-2005, whereas you're referring to something like 1985-2005... right?

    • In other words (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shivetya (243324)

      the people who are firmly in the man made global warming camp will keep throwing things at the wall until something sticks.

      In the last year or so it really comes across as if they are desperate to find an angle. When holes (read doubt) start getting punched in one idea they first defend it by relentless attacking those who question it and then they drop their stance and move to another idea. It really has gotten old. Too many of them have vested interest in companies that are making a killing off the who

    • by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @09:39AM (#31998600) Homepage
      Dammit. . . We need a control planet!
  • I believe this was observed during the moratorium on air flight in the two days after 9/11. I don't think it speeds global warming. Its is just a constant temperature drop if you take away pollution.

  • by jsse (254124) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:09AM (#31995794) Homepage Journal
    IANAS but to the best of my knowledge sulfur aerosols also trigger a complex chemical reaction with notorious pollutant chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that generates chlorine monoxide (ClO) which destroys ozone.

    Destroying ozone is bad? Right? Or scientists would say otherwise? May be that's the major reason why scientists didn't recommend to trigger volcano eruption to negate greenhouse effect back in 90s? Now there're scientists told me aerosols are good? I'm not sure whom to trust anymore.

    Anyone would help me citing are welcome, as I've already transformed the corresponding references into carbon dioxide which joined the greenhouse gas party in the heaven.
    • by jlehtira (655619) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:38AM (#31995992) Journal

      Destroying ozone is bad? Right? Or scientists would say otherwise? May be that's the major reason why scientists didn't recommend to trigger volcano eruption to negate greenhouse effect back in 90s? Now there're scientists told me aerosols are good? I'm not sure whom to trust anymore.

      You are confused because you try to reduce reality to one-dimensional values ranging from good to bad.

      Destroying ozone means there will be more skin cancer, some animals will die more and people need to start avoiding sunlight. However, destroying ozone in some specific way can very well also mean less climate change, and thus less abandoned cities and hunger and healthier ecosystems.

      There's no contradiction. Further, it's not in the realm of science to even debate whether some result is good or bad. I think originally scientists said that destroying ozone will logically lead to all kinds of things, and then politicians decided those things are bad and should be avoided.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by M8e (1008767)

      Why can't people understand that stuff can both be good and bad at the same time?

      And CFC's(r12, r22 etc) have been banned and replaced with alternatives that don't contain chlorine. So the sulfur aerosols don't really have mush CFC to "trigger".

      i.e sulfur aerosols was bad in the 90s because we had mush Chlorofluorocarbon in the atmosphere.

  • Aerosols reflect more shortwave energy then they absorb in the longwave, contributing to a net negative forcing in the climate system. With a reduction in aerosol concentration, we'll have additional warming. This is a no-duh scientific principle that has been supported by direct instantaneous observations, versus the projected "future climates" based on model results that are not nearly as reliable, since they still rely on parameterizations of physical processes that we may or may not have a handle on.
  • by azaris (699901) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:41AM (#31996006) Journal
    Let's play climate alarmist bullshit bingo:

    "If we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industrial smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound," Kintisch writes in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times. Kintisch isn't talking about greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide; he's talking about another kind of pollutant we put in the sky -- "like aerosols from a spray can," he tells NPR's Guy Raz. "It turns out that those particles have a profound effect on maintaining the planet's temperature." Greenhouse gases and aerosol pollutants work in opposing ways on the Earth's climate, Kintisch explains. "The greenhouse gases warm the planet when they're emitted, because they absorb heat reflected up from the ground -- the greenhouse effect. These aerosols, though, do the opposite. They block sunlight, they make clouds more reflective -- and by doing that, they actually cool the planet. "The problem is that we're cutting the cooling pollution as we make our air cleaner," he says. Some scientists, he says, are confident that this is connected to global warming, but they don't know how large the effect is. "That's the frightening thing, because if it's a big cooling effect, it means that we've been actually warming the planet more than we know," Kintisch says. "As we take away that unexpectedly helpful cooling mask, we're going to be facing more global warming than we expected.

    BINGO!

  • ...and it is unintelligible.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Maybe you should get off the drugs yourself. It's a pretty clear headline and meant exactly what I thought when I first read it.

  • There have been several documentaries about Global Dimming [wikipedia.org], and it seems one of them is available on Google Video [google.com]. Check it out.
  • This has been known for at least 5 years.

    See for example:

    BBC__Horizon__2005.01.13__Global_dimming

    In a nutshell: cleaner air will give even higher temperatures which means the warming by increased greenhouse gasses is in fact worse than what you might expect by naive interpretation of the temperature data.

    Trying to pollute the atmosphere (or not clean it up) because of this would give all sorts of other problems.

    And as to this guy:

    Climate change scientists have now resorted to trolling us.
    Se

  • by Dialecticus (1433989) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @05:20AM (#31996450)

    The author of 'Hack the Planet' says: 'As we take away that unexpectedly helpful cooling mask, we're going to be facing more global warming than we expected.'

    ...along with more CO2-scrubbing photosynthesis caused by more sunlight reaching the the ground. Did he not consider this?

  • Respect, Please (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tirefire (724526)
    Hey, could everyone please stop using words like "denialists" and "deniers" to describe those who believe concerns about anthropogenic global climate change are overstated? Labels like "denier" really don't foster open and thoughtful discussion, and it shows a certain contempt for independent thought. Let's attack and defend ideas, not people.

    There are lots of idiot "deniers" (the Fox News viewer) and idiot "believers" (the California soccer mom saving the planet with her Prius). If we're trying to ha
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dachshund (300733)

      The oil industry is on the "denier" side, and Goldman Sachs is on the "believer" side. I don't know which I trust less.

      I'm no fan of Goldman-Sachs, but since you raised the question: do you know how much money G-S has devoted to lobbying and funding pro-AGW research? I wonder if it's reached 1% of what the fossil fuel industry has spent. Or even .001%. To the best of my knowledge, G-S hasn't even been thinking about energy pricing for that long, let alone considering it a core part of their business.

  • So, basically, we gotta pick between getting asthma or getting a tan ?

    Damn, but what a conundrum this is. There really are no easy questions.
  • And run it on high-sulfur fuel. Sure it smells a bit, but it's Green! Really!

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