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Earth Science

Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says 1657

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-can't-fool-pudge dept.
BergZ writes "Scientists from around the world are providing even more evidence of global warming. 'A comprehensive review of key climate indicators confirms the world is warming and the past decade was the warmest on record,' the annual State of the Climate report declares. Compiled by more than 300 scientists from 48 countries, including Canada, the report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its analysis of 10 indicators that are 'clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: Global warming is undeniable.'"
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Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:46AM (#33071066) Journal
    There's a really neat prototype dashboard [climate.gov] that presents data surrounding climate change in an intuitive way. And the report is here [noaa.gov] (from the second link in the summary). And I submitted a story [slashdot.org] that got rejected a few weeks ago about NOAA's announcement:

    So far, it's been a scorcher for folks all around the world. So it might come as no surprise that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a report revealing 2010 having the record for warmest June, warmest April to June and warmest year to date [noaa.gov]. The announcement [msn.com] said 'Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through June, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far.' So far we are even surpassing 1998's records which held the warmest year (despite directly contradicting reports [slashdot.org]). It certainly seems the scads of winter precipitation we enjoyed [slashdot.org] were no indication of how we would swelter through our summer this year. Will 2010 turn it around or are we set to break more records?

    Aside from that, I'm not really interested in making comments on this anymore because I'm so sick and tired of the armchair idiocy that follows (and somehow gets moderated up). Prediction: Not even 300 scientists from 48 countries and NOAA are going to convince everyone that global warming is real. At this point, I think it's just going to get worse [slashdot.org].

  • Global Warming eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:48AM (#33071114) Homepage
    I thought they were using the less specific term 'climate change' these days.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:49AM (#33071122) Homepage

    "The planet is fine...the people are fucked."

  • by amstrad (60839) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:50AM (#33071158)
    All sorts of facts are denied by those who refuse to change their positions. See cognitive dissonance [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:50AM (#33071160)
    Yeah, start with a conclusion and then go looking for evidence to support it. Looks like the climate change folks have more in common with the CDesign Proponentsists than we first thought.
  • Re:"Undeniable" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by butlerm (3112) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:51AM (#33071190)

    There isn't an intelligent person the planet who denies that global warming is real. The debate is all about causation.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#33071208) Journal

    Who is this "we"? Oh I get it, you're playing one of those little hyperbolic games where you ascribe malevolence to researchers, sort of like how the IDers do. I'm afraid, Cinderella, the shoe fits on your foot.

  • by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:55AM (#33071276) Journal

    When do we move on from whether or not the planet is warming up to why it's warming up?

  • Re:Excuses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:56AM (#33071294)

    Same asshats that state hot summers or blooming cheery blossoms in the spring are proof of global warming.

  • Undeniable, huh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:56AM (#33071310) Homepage Journal

    It's undeniable. Great. That clears it up. Where is the report that offers "undeniable" proof of God, and the "undeniable" inevitable end of crude oil deposits in the Earth? I am going to file these with my "undeniable" reports on Sky being blue, Sun being warm, and water being wet.

  • by easterberry (1826250) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33071362)
    "well the basement is flooding but it's already STARTED flooding so why should we bother going down and turning off the tap? My pants would get wet and it's already a bit wet down there anyways. What do you mean 'structural damage if it gets worse?' That doesn't make any sense to me."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33071376)

    Prediction: Not even 300 scientists from 48 countries and NOAA are going to convince everyone that global warming is real.

    There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

    1. humans are causing it

    2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

    Thats really were the terminology gets muddled. As soon as you use the catch phrase "global warming" you're assumed to be talking about "man made global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels which has released to many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere." If we could somehow seperate the two, and we can't because (especially in the United States) liberals are ONLY concerned with the man-made "portion" of the effect, the abrasiveness of the discussions would decrease and minds would be more open.

    In short, trying to cram one possible-truth at a time down someone's throat is significantly easier than two.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33071380)

    That's kinda why I gave up posting and really being bothered by the whole thing.

    The people of this planet, for whatever reasons, will just quarrel until the whole place is baked dry. So fuck it, I'm just going to live my life and see what happens.

  • Re:The truth is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arlet (29997) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:01PM (#33071422)

    Why would the presence of glaciers 100,000 years ago cause (accelerated) warming in recent times ?

  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:01PM (#33071444) Journal

    A better example is that we've been wandering around on the beach during low tide [wikimedia.org] and now are getting all upset because the water level is rising.

  • Re:"Undeniable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:02PM (#33071466) Homepage Journal

    There isn't an intelligent person the planet who denies that global warming is real. The debate is all about causation.

    The deniers set up multiple goalposts. There are the ones who deny it's happening at all (a favorite tactic of this group is to start their time series with 1998, which was an unusally warm year, to insist that there's been no warming trend in the last 10^H^H11^H^H12 years) and then the "reasonable" ones who say it's happening but that human activity plays no part. This mirrors the pseudo-split between young earth creationists and "intelligent design" proponents almost exactly, and it's no surprise that there's a lot of crossover between the groups.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:04PM (#33071504) Homepage

    Does it matter if it's anthropogenic? I'm against a hot world with rising seas, melting ice caps and global drought. I'm against all of the other terrible nastiness associated with it. I don't give a damn who we blame, but let's find a way to halt/fix it, shall we?

    If it's nonanthropogenic, there probably is not a way to stop it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:06PM (#33071554)

    eldavojohn,

    As I'm sure has been posted by others millions of times before, the question for most people is not whether GW is happening but is it man-made (or is man now the major factor). The fact that GW/CC has been so politicized (and, in a number of ways, corrupted) it makes it hard to know who's data/interpretation/conclusions to trust. Personally, I dislike the fact that the most heavily pushed solution to GW (assuming it is man-made) is to pile on taxes on businesses and individuals for their energy usage, which, incidentally, runs perfectly parallel with the liberal agenda. And who happens to be the biggest proponents of AWG? Liberals. I have an open mind to the topic in general, but I do not think it's a coincidence that the ones that are the most vocal believers in man-made GW/CC are also the ones that stand to benefit the most at the expense of others if their "solution" is implemented.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:06PM (#33071562)

    The study does not address the cause of the warming.

    We know no we have caused acid rain and the ozone hole by releasing different materials into the air.

    We know that when we mess around with our environment whether it be with lead, pcbs, dioxins or really another chemical it causes problems.

    Why do people find it so hard to believe that the incredible increase in atmospheric CO2 is not a problem?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:07PM (#33071576) Homepage

    People deny evolution. People deny global warming...

    People are incredibly good at denying that reality exists, especially when its reality they don't want to comprehend.

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#33071610)

    He appears to be trying to argue that since the last major climate change was clearly not caused by humans that the current one must not be.

    While not without some merit, this is logically akin to arguing that I didn't get killed driving home last night therefore it would be impossible for me to be killed driving home tonight.

    Convincing the deniers is like arguing religion with a believer since their beliefs are not founded in fact, measurable science or sound theory.

    One of the problems with the whole debate is that by the time we have definitive proof CO2 emissions are causing global warming it will be far, far too late. At some point I'd like to actually hear a coherent argument about why it could possibly be good to actively modify our atmosphere from the deniers, so far all I've heard is rote-repetition of nonsense arguments.

  • by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#33071612) Homepage Journal

    First line of defence there is no warming

    Second line of defence the warming is not manmade

    Third line of defence I didnt cause the warning so I wont change my way.

    Fourth line of defence come closer or I blow your head off.

    Fifth line of defence praying will save the world - all stop working and pray with me.

    Welcome to the second line.

  • by bonch (38532) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#33071618)

    When there stops being data to the contrary, I guess.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:10PM (#33071634)

    The word used in TFA is 'unmistakable'. Still, all things can be denied/mistaken by hardcore deniers...

    --Irrational response squad is a go!--

    Rising indicators

          1. Air temperature over land

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and the sun did it (despite the solar minimum).

          2. Sea-surface temperature

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - whales did it, we need to allow more hunting.

          3. Marine air temperature

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - underwater volcanoes must have done it.

          4. Sea-level

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - land must be getting lower, or else human sin is causing a new flood.

          5. Ocean heat

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - sonar must be messing with the equipment.

          6. Humidity

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and this is a self-correcting, perfectly natural thing.

          7. Tropospheric temperature in the 'active-weather' layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and heat rises, duh!

    Declining indicators

          1. Arctic sea-ice

    Something must be eating the ice! Must be all those hungry polar bears - caused their own problems!

          2. Glaciers

    Something must be weighing them down - they're just going underwater! Perhaps all those polar bears crowding on them.

          3. Spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere

    Ha! Is it too much snow, or too little now - confused scientists don't know nuthin'!

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a congressional subcommittee to advise.

    --/Irrational response--

    It's easy to find a 'reason' to deny something, when you don't have a burden/benefit of evidence or peer review. And when all you're doing is stalling for the status quo, denial is all you need.

    Ryan Fenton

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dachshund (300733) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:11PM (#33071646)

    I had an eye-opening experience the other day over at the Oil Drum [theoildrum.com], a blog run by folks associated with the industry. Not people you'd exactly think of as being against the consumption of fossil fuels. But the gist of this posting (which had nothing to do with climate change, and received a lot of favorable commentary) was that we're deeply, deeply fucked if we think we're going to continue burning fossil fuels into our old age. The argument was specifically related to the increasing cost of extraction. (In a nutshell, there's a reason we're now getting our oil from wells a mile underwater).

    Now, the conclusion of that poster was pretty depressing, though I don't think he covered all of the options. But what struck me is that if you believe his arguments, it doesn't really matter whether you believe that humans are causing global warming. The actions we need to take now to ensure a reasonable standard of living in 40 years are exactly the same actions we need to take in order to deal with the global warming problem. Above all, to place a tax on fossil fuel consumption (and CO2 taxes do this pretty well) as a means to encourage the market to do something reasonable about the problem. The fact that we couldn't even pass the tiny little tax proposed in the recently defeated Waxman-Markey bill tells us something deeply frightening about our chances.

    What kills me about the anti-global-warming argument is that its opponents think that it really matters whether AGW exists. It doesn't matter. For either reason we need to dramatically reduce our fossil fuel consumption and develop alternative sources (efficient, cost-effective nuclear, wind, solar, etc._ just to ensure that we and our children have a chance at living a decent life in the future. There's nothing in the universe that guarantees we won't face terrible consequences for our bad decisions, just because we've had a pretty good run for the past few decades.

  • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:11PM (#33071656)
    Exactly what the oil lobbies wanted you to do, stay the fuck out of their cash cow...
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:11PM (#33071660)

    > who are we to think we have that much power over the entire planet?

    Ozone hole. Acid rain. Plastic Gyre. Rain Fores destruction. Species extinction. Desertification of large areas by agricultural practices.

    We have done it many times.

  • Re:"Undeniable" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:13PM (#33071702)

    But the thing is, in order to justify creating the global socialist utopia which is the true goal of the "warmers", ALL the goalposts must be cleared. ALL of the following must be true:

    a) warming is happening

    b) it's a bad thing

    c) human activity contributes significantly

    d) it's possible to do something about it

    e) the cure is better than the disease

    Unless every one of those things is true, then the "green" crusade against global warming falls apart. So yes, you do have a goalpost issue: it's that you have to get past (at least) five of them to even have a shot.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:15PM (#33071768)
    Everything is deniable. Look at all the anti-vacination, intelligent design, 9/11 conspiracists. In each case they have had copious incontrovertible evidence shoved in their faces and they still parrot the same idiotic nonsense as they always did. So it is with the anti-global warming crowd. Some people will not budge from a viewpoint no matter how obviously wrong or idiotic it is demonstrated to be.
  • by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:17PM (#33071802) Journal

    When there stops being data to the contrary, I guess.

    Care to share the contrary data?

  • by frist (1441971) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:17PM (#33071812)
    And mankind had as much to do with that as we do with global warming. The time period during which we've been collecting data is insignificant compared to the age of the earth. You know what the most prevalent "greenhouse gas" is? Water. Yeah H2O. Whoever figures out how to sell capping and trading H2O will be even richer than Al Gore.
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:18PM (#33071836)

    I can't find the link so hopefully someone will provide the proper link before I get troll moderated to death.

    Personally, I believe GW is real. I'm just not convinced that man is entirely behind it. And to date, I've not read one account which addresses the problem of the most accurate data in the world (US data) being so inaccurate as to be useless. These scientists then take this data to derive information which they then use to prove a conclusion. When sadly, if the conclusion is anything other than our data is invalid, the only thing they've proved is they are extremely poor scientists who don't grasp the very fundimentals of scientific research.

    The problem is, the US has tons of sensors all across the US. Many have been in place for extremely long durations. That sounds great until you discover that almost no one validates the location and integrity of the sensor yet continue to blindly accept the data on which all of this research depends. Worse, independent volunteers who do go validate these sensors are horrified at what they find. And yes, they do document their findings with diagrams and pictures. Again, hopefully someone will provide the link to which I refer.

    Many times the findings document sensors which were once in a field are now in the middle of a paved parking lot, or literally next to an A/C exhaust for a building, or receiving radiant heat for an endless list of man made factors which absolutely invalidate the sensor's readings. As a result, the readings are verifiable much higher than would otherwise exist. Additionally, the rise attributed to man by GW falls well within the noise provided by these very erroneous readings.

    In other words, these "scientists" are finding a signal from known invalid data, which does not rise above its noise level. This type of science is what is universally called, "quackery", and yet that's largely the basis of a vast amounts of GW research. Until credible researches step forward and both, address how they can get valid data from invalid data and two, can come to inescapable conclusions based on invalid research and data, they only continue to dig their quack-hole deeper.

    Man may very well be behind GW, but to date, most if not all research supporting a man-made GW conclusion is compete quackery. Address the validity of their data and then they'll have my attention. Until such time, we have every reason to view them as grant-whores and science-for-hire. They are their own worst enemies.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:18PM (#33071844) Journal

    1. humans are causing it

    Read the report. I'm not going to keep posting the same damned thing over and over [slashdot.org]. It's all over there with convincing evidence that man-made or "anthropogenic" changes are attributing to this in serious ways. No, it does not account for 100% of all the warming but certainly some of it.

    2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

    And where the hell did anyone propose that? Huh? You think energy star ratings are drastic? You think that putting a date 30 years out to curb our countries carbon emissions is drastic? Do you know what drastic means? Do you know what rationing is? Apparently not.

    Here's the only place I'd like to get to: agreeing that 1) climate is warming to a point of unnatural irreversible damage and 2) man made factors are contributing to it. You don't even have to change anything right now. Just make your base agreements and then lets start voting on how much we should react to it and keep a measurable pace of results if possible.

    This is why I hate commenting on this shit. It upsets me, it makes me swear and lash out at complete strangers who don't have the time to read the material they are commenting on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:19PM (#33071866)

    Anthropogenic factors are proven out in other studies. There isn't a legitimate debate about that anymore, either.

    There isn't? Where were the papers published?

  • Re:Soooooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arlet (29997) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:21PM (#33071910)

    There has been no global reduction in CO2 production, despite some local efforts.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_trend_mlo.png [noaa.gov]
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png [noaa.gov]

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:26PM (#33072004) Journal

    I don't think there is much doubt that global warming is real. The Earth has experienced both global warming and global cooling many times in its past.

    Okay and from the expert:

    'greenhouse gases are the glaringly obvious explanation' for 0.56C (1F) warming over the last 50 years.

    Tell me, Mr. Arm Chair Expert I Referred to in My First Post, where in this 'long history of global warming and global cooling' did the average temperature rise 0.56C (1F) a degree in 50 years?

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:27PM (#33072014)

    False dichotomy.

    There's no need to go back to an agrarian society, as much as it's a right wing fantasy that the global warming hippies want everyone to live in a mud hut and eat grass it's not true. Green technologies are coming along nicely, if slowly and on a smaller scale than is desirable.

    We want people to stop denying the scientific evidence and start collaborating on a solution, rather than being obstructive.

  • by Dishevel (1105119) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:29PM (#33072052)
    I think that cap and trade is stupid and drastic.

    Dose that count?

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:32PM (#33072108)

    "Cap and trade" may be stupid, but it is not drastic.

    "Cap" would be drastic, and probably a lot less stupid.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:33PM (#33072112) Journal

    And yet you managed to get in so early too.

    Yeah, turns out if you chuck $5 at Slashdot you can see the stories 30 minutes before they pop. Big secret nobody knows about because nobody subscribes except those of us who appreciate Slashdot.

    And despite trying to hold my tongue on opinion and just refer the reader the NOAA, that post is already moderated as Troll. Slashdot has gotten to the point where you can't even refer to the people that devote their lives to the study of climatology across the world without being called a Troll. And the real awesome thing is that I see people who haven't even read the report in question being moderated up up up up. People who have never studied climatology are deriving their own reason to disbelieve what's in this report. If it's not one thing, it's another.

  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:33PM (#33072130) Homepage Journal

    There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

    1. humans are causing it

    It is nice we've made progress on this front. 15 years ago the argument REALLY WAS that Global Warming didn't exist at all. 10 years ago they were still trying to manipulate the data to make it seem like there was a localized "cooling trend" beginning. Now we've FINALLY reached the point where we at least acknowledge it's happening and start to examine why.

    The case for anthropogenic causes is pretty strong. By scientific standards, it's stronger than many things people take for granted in astronomy or particle physics. But because politics has gotten involved and it's inconvenient, there's a natural reaction to try to explain it away with natural causes.

    2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

    I haven't seen any bills before my Congress to do anything drastic or immediate. Right now we're having a hard enough time convincing everyone that we SHOULD do something REASONABLE over DECADES to slow it down. It's worth noting that doing nothing, by many reasonable estimates, is going to be much more expensive than taking action now. We're once again mortgaging our kids' future to pay for our laziness today.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:35PM (#33072166) Journal

    The one fact that counts, regardless of whether it's causing the warming or not, is that oil will not last forever. Whether taking millions of years worth of sequestered CO2 and puking it into the atmosphere in the space of three centuries is tipping us over the edge, the real disaster will happen when the price of a barrel of oil skyrockets to the point where everything from fertilizers to plastic spoons are priced beyond what our economic system can bare.

    The reality is that complex long-chain hydrocarbons are goddamned fucking valuable for industrial processes and for the production of a stunning number of chemicals and products. The most idiotic and short-sighted thing we can do with these hydrocarbons is to put them in our fuel tanks. It's absolute madness, and the only cure is the disaster itself, that when oil does reach obscene prices, we'll be forced into using the alternatives. The hope of many was that we, as a species, would for once plan the obsolescence of a fading resource, rather than driving headlong into the wall and somehow hoping we would all pick up the pieces.

    At some point in the next fifty to a hundred years that's going to happen, global warming or not, and then maybe not us, but our kids and grandkids, are going to be left the horrible mess that we could have dealt with, if we hadn't been dominated by greedy oil companies who don't give a flying fuck how things go down the shits when the flow of cheap hydrocarbons comes to an end.

  • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:37PM (#33072200)
    I think an important element to this debate (the thing people get fussy about) is the cause. If humans are the cause, then it means we can do something about it, and it'll probably come out of everyone's wallet. If there are larger forces causing the warming, e.g. the sun, natural epoch-scaled cycles, that means there's less we can do about it, short of large-scale, unproven tera forming to fix the problem, which again will come out of everyone's wallet. Since there are a lot of cheap bastards out there, those with good reasons to be cheap and those with not-so good reasons, this conversation will naturally trend towards a flame war. I'd prefer if, the discussion was more on the order of: is global warming occurring, and if so, what is a meaningful response to mitigate it for our (human) comfort. Because, let's face it, we're selfish and like to have a nice place to live.
  • by SpryGuy (206254) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:37PM (#33072210)

    So basically, you admit to being living proof of Upton Sinclair's famous quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

    So you're essentially admitting to refusing to believe something with overwhelming scientific evidence, because believing it would affect your business model? You really think that's the rational response?

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:37PM (#33072212) Homepage Journal
    While the notion that

    There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up

    May be true in across this planet in general, it is sadly not true in the USA. In the USA there is still a very substantial number of people who deny global warming outright for various reasons (often nothing more than political - just wait for this story to be tagged "manbearpig" on the front page).

    (especially in the United States) liberals are ONLY concerned with the man-made "portion" of the effect

    It is almost impossible to be concerned "only" with that portion - assuming it to be significant. That would be like being concerned about second hand smoke but not lung cancer in smokers, the two are directly connected matters. Whether global warming is caused by activities of humans doesn't change the fact that global warming is having dramatic affects on all life around the world.

  • by Tailhook (98486) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:40PM (#33072286)

    So far, it's been a scorcher for folks all around the world.

    released a report revealing 2010 having the record for warmest June, warmest April to June and warmest year to date

    I thought weather is not climate [thehill.com].

    I remember hearing that a lot in 2009. Don't hear it so much this year, for some reason.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:42PM (#33072326) Homepage Journal

    Thank you for the above. You've outlined why I have such a hard time discussing climate change in general.

    You get the people who think the world isn't heating up. Show them the evidence, they still discount it.

    You get the people who will acknowledge that the world is warming up, but insist humanity has nothing to do with it. Show them the evidence, they still discount it.

    Then, you get the people who are willing to accept that it is happening and that we are largely responsible, but think the whole problem will sort itself out so we shouldn't make any changes. Well, at least that's a place to start discussion, I guess.

    But, as with so many other things, reasonable voices are drowned out by the extremists--the "do-nothing" crowd that thinks climate change will take care of itself, and the "down with civilization" crowd that would happily use combating climate change as a pretext for setting technology back 500 years. There has got to be a happy medium with reasonable solutions that, yes, will be painful, difficult, and long-term, but survivable--and not nearly as painful as the genuine possibility of making our planet uninhabitable.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:50PM (#33072500) Journal

    You don't understand the difference between weather and climate? Really? That's been a huge part of the debate for decades now, because every moron out there thought he could debunk climate research with weather anecdotes, and so other people have had to explain the difference, again, for decades now. So I'm surprised you have not had this explained to you before now.

    Take a pot of water. Put it on a hot stove. Given that you know the temperature of the stove, the water, the air, the material of the pan, the humidity, and the altitude, you can predict exactly when the pan will boil (climate) but you will not be able to predict the location of the first bubble to break the surface (weather).

    If that explanation helps, please take some of the burden off the rest of us and pass it on the next time you hear someone saying "But we can't predict the weather." Thanks.

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:50PM (#33072512)

    Humans already have so much food they don't know what to do with it all, and we've had more food than we could eat since sometime around 1890. The reason people go hungry has nothing to do with our ability to feed them and everything to do with corruption, transportation, and economics (usually in that order).

    So yeah, there will be plenty of food in the Yukon - which is great for the 34,000 people who live there, the question is what do you do with the populations that grew up around what used to be fertile plains and that will likely become expanding deserts?

  • You are a moron. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:51PM (#33072520)

    I get tired of the constant "Two Minutes' Hate" from the left towards "corporations." Guess what: if you plan on doing business in any developed nation, then you would be wise from a tax/litigation standpoint to incorporate, even if you are a company of one. Furthermore, it is undeniable that without corporations the standard of living that we currently enjoy would not be possible. When you get your paycheck, you need to multiply it by 2 if you work in the US because that's what it costs your employer to employ you after you account for payroll taxes, benefits, etc. Now try going out on your own and earning a replacement income (your current salary x 2). Not very many people can do that.

  • by chuckwilson (1320025) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:51PM (#33072528)
    So what about everyone who works in the oil, gas, and coal industries? Their rational is that if we do something, they lose their job. Which is a very legitimate argument. What do we with everyone that is now unemployed? How will they make their livelihood? Will they have to move? People's financial stability are at stake when you talk about legislating changes that would mitigate global warming, so of course they're going to oppose it.

    A good example of this is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The people that live there have had their beaches and fishing grounds devastated. But when Obama proposed a moratorium on deep sea drilling, those same coastal states that were devastated opposed it more than inland states. Why? Because that's how regular folks make their money there.

    Until you address the social issues that would arise from all these changes, and address them utterly completely, you will have people who will oppose (and yet not necessarily deny) global warming. The UN's Brundtland Commission established that sustainable development is defined as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Until we show that we have firm plans for meeting that, well, we're fucked.
  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:54PM (#33072588)
    You get the people who think the world isn't heating up. Show them the evidence, they still discount it.

    And show them the faults in the system that collected the evidence, and the proponents deny that.

    What I found most fascinating in the summary was the statement "it's been a scorcher for all of us" (or words to that effect), which is both untrue (we've had a few hot days here, mostly cool) and refers to WEATHER and not CLIMATE. So, when WEATHER supports the global warming argument, WEATHER is proof. When WEATHER doesn't support the global warming argument, we're told that "WEATHER ISN'T CLIMATE, YOU MOUTH BREATHING KNUCKLE DRAGGER."

    You get the people who will acknowledge that the world is warming up, but insist humanity has nothing to do with it. Show them the evidence, they still discount it.

    Which Earth was used to conduct these experiments that provided the evidence? Are we confusing "the scientific method" with "correlation" again?

    But, as with so many other things, reasonable voices are drowned out by the extremists--

    You mean the ones who keep shouting down anyone who dares question the science behind global warming, calling them mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers, even when some of those people doing the questioning are climate scientists? Yes, I agree. Reasonable voices are drowned out, on purpose.

  • by SirWinston (54399) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:54PM (#33072606)

    There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

    1. humans are causing it

    Indeed. The problem most skeptics see isn't in the argument itself for global warming--it's in the argument, nay assumption, that it MUST be manmade. Because recent warming trends coincide with the Industrial Revolution, greens cry "It's obvious the two are connected!" and climate scientists, who have an overwhelmingly self-selected green bias (after all, the field attracts certain kinds of people), have a vested interest in minimizing the Little Ice Age and Mediaeval Warm Period and making the recent warming seem more intense and unprecedented than it actually is. If we pull back and look at a 100,000-year cycle (thanks to ice core data) instead of just the past 1,000 or 2,000 years, we see that current temperatures aren't unsurprising at all and that indeed we're overdue for warmer temperatures (overdue, because for reasonse which we still can't explain temperatures in the Holocene were relatively steady for about 10,000 years at a time when, according to the cyclical ice core temperature graph, they should have risen as they're finally doing now):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Ice_Age_Temperature.png [wikimedia.org]

    And heck, if we look back even further with million-year timescales, we see that the Earth was significantly warmer for long geologic periods of time:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png [wikimedia.org]

    There's just no logical reason to ascribe a majority of current climate change to anthropogenic causes.

    2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

    That's the one that loses most people, even those willing to assume that current warming is anthropogenic. How can we assume these changes will be bad for mankind--so bad, in fact, that possibly destroying all industrialized civilizations and dragging them back into stagnation through oppressive resource taxes is preferable to using technology to adapt? When larger timescales show such temperatures aren't unusual, where's the justification? While undeniably bad for small island nations which will be submerged, and for some poor and unstable nations which may see more instability as a result of climate change, the already-industrialized world could easily adapt, survive, and prosper. Given that, why should anyone in the already-industrialized world risk economic meltdown and chaos to avert something they can probably adapt to easily?

    For some nations, global warming may even be a big plus. While the southwestern U.S. will probably suffer, the farming belt will just shift north and the country at large will continue to prosper. Canada will benefit greatly from more usable farmland. Europe is a toss-up because ocean and air currents which currently heat it are unpredictable, so anything could happen; but no matter what does, they have the economic and industrial power to cope. Wealthy island nations like Japan will find ways to cope and build sea walls and other defenses or adaptations. China will probably see desert shifting, but increased desertification isn't a foregone conclusion especially with their rapidly-expanding industrialization and huge workforce. Russia would probably benefit.

    Indeed, it's only the third world--Africa, parts of Latin America, small island areas like Micronesia--which will certainly be negatively impacted. And while the humanitarian in me says, "It would be nice to help them," the realist in me says "Our civilizations got to the next level first. If the unadvanced civilizations wither away so that the advanced can prosper, that's how it should be."

    We are never going to get off this rock and expand into space, safeguarding our civ

  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:56PM (#33072654) Journal

    Unless you're a preist ordained by the correct temple, your religious views are irrelevent to mine. We can only trust the wisdom of the correct high priests, it's pure childishness to expect them to explain why they believe what they do - after all priests all agree that the priests are wise! And any priests who disagress isn't part of the religion, so he doesn't ever really count as a priest. It's all so clear to me now.

  • by Monchanger (637670) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:58PM (#33072696) Journal

    No it can't because that's a conspiracy theory. If it were the case, they'd be proven wrong, lose their funding, and have to find a different theory or field to work in. Of course, they haven't so it's just a hypothetical to make you feel better about being in the minority.

    ...if global warming turns out to be an artifact of inadequate sampling of long-term normal climate variation?

    Which is a theory proposed by who? And what's the basis for this theory? With what kind of evidence behind it? Has it been published or critiqued, or is it just scribbles on a notepad sitting in some guy's garage? Does it predict planet-wide variation, or limited to a specific geographic region? What's the projected extreme of this variation and is it even more dire than that predicted by the global warning crowd? Because that'd be kind of an important, and certainly far more important than simply disproving our best science to date and getting their own grants (because we've established that's why people do science- the massive paychecks and opulence in which they live, and hell- we liberals love them so much we don't even make them teach classes like other university-based researchers).

    You can't just make up whatever crazy hypothesis you like and compare it to an established theory without anything to make people change their mids. If you have appropriate proof of this please let someone know so my tax dollars go to funding a better alternative. Otherwise, quit spreading nonsense on the Internets. Of course, posting AC, you don't even have the conviction to stand behind your silly idea, so what hope do I have expecting an honest answer?

  • Re:Strawman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:59PM (#33072714) Journal

    a record going back 500 MILLION years illustrating that our current temps are actually fairly COOL compared to history

    lest someone coopts your caveats to deny global warming, and ignores the errors you've made:

    1. Anything before a few thousand years ago is pre-history, not history.

    2. 500 million years ago the Earth was not inhabited by anything resembling humans, and likely not habitable to us. So referring to it as part of the norm is missing the point.

    The point is that pollution is altering our climate in a way that may make the planet uninhabitable by us. Whether that's due to excess warming, cooling, or persistent rains of acid is not relevant. The fact that something bad is happening is true, and the fact that we have the ability to consciously stop it from happening is true.

    Al Gore's a politician; calling him a self-promoting dick is a tautology. He's doing good work on this subject, in any case.

    It is what it is. Now, what're we gonna do about it?

  • by Caviller (1420685) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:01PM (#33072748)
    And this comment:

    1) climate is warming to a point of unnatural irreversible damage

    is the reason people don't want to listen to the 'climate' scientists.

    1) Unnatural - What the hell gives them the right to decide what is natural or unnatural? Thew world has been MUCH MUCH hotter and MUCH MUCH colder then it is today. So where do you draw the line between natural and unnatural?

    2) Irreversible - Once again, see above...the planet has been on both ends of the spectrium and, if you look out a window today, it has reversed.

    3) Damage - To apply the word damage means that something is out of norms. Consider the planet has been both hotter and colder then it is today...I say that no 'damage' has occurred...

    Global warming and cooling is a natural cycle that our planet goes through; study after study shows that. The problem for us, is that our species evolved at this, roughly, current level. If it goes too far in either direction, we have two choices... Adapt or die! Every other animal or plant on this planet has to do this so why do we think we are special?
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:01PM (#33072758)

    Correct me if my back-of-the-envelope estimate here is wrong.

    Just looking at some readily-available graphs of recent temperature averages, it looks like there's a change of 0.8 C in somewhere between 100 and 150 years. That's about 0.005 C/yr (using 150 years). (NOAA claims the rate for the past 50 years is 0.013 C/yr.)

    The graph you link notes two areas of interest: a time period with 41 kyr cycles and a time period with 100 kyr cycles. The maximum oscillations during the former appear to be about 5-6 C; during the latter, about 8 C. Using 6 C for the shorter cycle and approximating a "cycle" as taking one-half the period (20 kyr and 50 kyr) to vary between the maximum and minimum, I get temperature change rates of 0.0003 C/yr and 0.0002 C/yr. That's a solid order of magnitude lower rate than the effect that is described as "global warming".

    It seems very reasonable to estimate that the decidedly natural effect(s) responsible for the periodic temperature change in the graph you link to account for no more the 5-10% of the temperature change referred to as "global warming".

    Sometimes a little quantification is useful.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:02PM (#33072766) Homepage Journal

    The science of all this is pretty settled by now. If you don't accept it, that's your problem.

    I love how everybody thinks they're a climate scientist now, though. I am not. If the broader community of climate scientists says anthropogenic global warming is happening, I am inclined to believe them. Even the scandals that have come out (Climategate, etc.) have done very little to poke holes in the underlying science.

    I'll start to question the whole thing if and when it looks like climate science has fractured and the community is disintegrating. Instead, the consensus is only building and skeptics are coming into the fold, convinced by the evidence.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:03PM (#33072794) Homepage Journal

    No one is doubting Global Warming.

    Actually, you only have to turn on your AM radio and go up and down the dial anywhere in the United States to hear global warming doubted every day.

    We have better pollution issues to solve. Like Why east houston stinks.

    Are you certain that it's not all part of the same problem?

    Personally my business model would be screwed up if someone could prove causation, So I'm not likely to buy it unless shown undeniable proof.

    I suspect that when someone says they need "undeniable proof" they are really saying that there is no proof that they would find sufficient because their very worldview depends on denying the undeniable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:03PM (#33072796)

    For the sake of this discussion, I'll accept the viewpoint that humanity has nothing to do with warming, that it's a completely natural phenomenon, and that we are in the state of an ice age winding down. That's a separate debate not covered by this study.

    That doesn't mean that it is in our best interests just to watch it happen. Quite the opposite.

    Humanity, at anything approaching our current levels of population and technology and energy need, has not gone through a warming period of the magnitude being predicted even in pretty conservative estimates.

    The planet will get by just fine, but there will probably be a whole hell of a lot fewer of us humans around. That reduction is not likely to be pretty. Been laid off lately? Yeah, like that, except you're dead.

    The advantage of having all this fancy technology is that we have all these great tools and knowledge about trying to slow down what's coming, mitigate it, and try to figure out ways to feed ourselves when the current crops need to be moved further away from the equator to survive.

    At some point, we have to say "OK, whether or not we did anything to contribute to this, is there something, anything, we can do to slow it down, even a little bit? And how do we get by when it changes? What hot-weather arid-land foodstuffs should we be learning more about? What new water purification technologies might we need? How do we slow the fouling of what water and land we do have before we start losing it to desert and ocean?"

    That time is not after the climate shifts enough to turn significant fractions of our arable farmland into desert, or after the poles have substantially melted and we've lost vast tracts of livable land and the resulting flooding of shoreline structures has massively polluted the new shorelines.

    Preferably, instead of waiting for tax breaks and incentives and whatnot, just think about what you can do to reduce your use of energy. Because, if nothing else, energy use turns to heat. Entropy's a bitch that way.

    Will personal measures be sufficient to stop it? Absolutely not. Slow it down significantly? No. Slow it even to a small degree? Probably not, but will popping the AC up a few degrees, turning off lights we don't need and sharing a ride (or bussing, or even cycling) to work from time to time really hurt? We need to buy time. That's the only currency we have left in this effort.

    We're beyond blame. It appears to be happening. The evidence is pretty compelling. And if the evidence pans out it's going to suck to be a human in not too terribly long a time.

    The earlier we start trying to change things, the more effective that change is going to be. If we all do little things, now, that will reduce the size of the bigger things the governments of the world will have to step in and do later. It won't eliminate them, but it will reduce them.

    The question is no longer "why?".

    It's moved on to "how?".

  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:05PM (#33072854)

    You do make a good point, especially as regards the attitude that people have. In fact, assuming that global warming is occurring, the two statements "it is man-made" and "we must do something to stop it" are independent. We could elect to try to reverse the warming even if it wasn't anthropogenic; or, we could elect to do nothing if it was proven anthropogenic.

    Having said that, and even having acknowledged some potential upsides, the fact is that we know with very little certainty the specifics of the global climate change. To pin our hopes on potential upsides (which may not even materialize) as an excuse to ignore the downsides is not wise. The effect of dramatically altered weather patterns is likely to extend further than an expansion of your pool season. And while it might be ironic should the industrialized nations suffer massive famine and drought due to their excessive emission of greenhouse gasses, images of sandy Antarctic beach resorts will provide little comfort to those struggling to adjust to a rapidly changing global redistribution.

    Fear mongering, bad. Head in the sand, also bad. We have likely crossed the point of no return, and there will be some level of adjustment "no matter what we do" to remedy the causes. I respect your pragmatism. But ultimately, there is no practical difference between the "denier" and the "do nothing".

  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:07PM (#33072882) Journal

    cost-effective nuclear

    We developed that back in the 1960s! Go look up the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment.

    The same assholes who have blocked further development of "4th generation" nuclear power which forced us to built a bunch of coal power plants instead are the ones pushing for cap and trade.

    Because it's always been about control.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:07PM (#33072888) Homepage

    Indeed, it's only the third world--Africa, parts of Latin America, small island areas like Micronesia--which will certainly be negatively impacted. And while the humanitarian in me says, "It would be nice to help them," the realist in me says "Our civilizations got to the next level first. If the unadvanced civilizations wither away so that the advanced can prosper, that's how it should be."

    The little humanitarian inside you appears rather weak and malnourished. Indeed, you're probably breaking a number of international treaties concerning the humane treatment of inner humanitarians.

  • Does it matter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:15PM (#33073046)

    Personally I think arguing over global climate change is a red herring. Do we really need an excuse to advocate "green" technologies?

    Shouldn't the fact that we would have cleaner air (eg. less smog), and cleaner water (eg. less spills) be enough?

    The fact that industry is willing to pollute the air, water, and land to save a buck and use the threat of job losses to keep the populace from demanding stricter environmental regulations should be a huge clue on why we are even having this global climate change debate. It keeps us busy, and as long as we are busy trying to define what global climate change is, we are distracted from the real meat of the argument which is why are we living in this pollution now?

    I'm not a registered tree hugger, but even I question why our energy and environmental policies hasn't evolved with the rest of our technological achievements. It becomes more evident by the day that we are keeping a very old and harmful power, industrial, and transportation system just to keep the current revenue generators fat and happy.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:19PM (#33073142) Homepage Journal

    But... but.... the scientists are paid regardless of findings. In fact, given how much big, money-swollen industries want global warming to be false, I'm pretty sure it would pay better.

    The real problem here is that you're putting this in terms of beliefs, when, in fact, this situation is about facts. It's perfectly reasonable to be upset with people who, in a factual debate, do the intellectual equivalent of shouting "NUH UH!" and putting their fingers in their ears.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:21PM (#33073188) Homepage Journal

    Dude - if your business model is a primary grounds for your acceptance or rejection of a theory, you have a serious fscking problem with your logic skills.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:22PM (#33073212)

    Irreversible damage, to me, from a systems engineering perspective

    Irreversible damage, to a farmer, from a corn engineering perspective, means having the entire crop wither and die because he can't irrigate it enough to make up for the extra 1-2 degrees in the middle of his "longer growing season".

    Corn crops in Texas have been marginal for at least a decade now. Last couple of years I've even heard of farmers turning away the Corn Subsidy (now you know its bad!) to grow something that might have a chance of surviving. There doesn't need to be any kind of crazy power law or unstable anything for a stable shift in climate to ruin it for everyone.

  • by Hutz (900771) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:23PM (#33073216)
    And this is the whole point. The "denialists" rarely if ever deny that we are experiencing a period of warming trends. The question has always been whether or not it is a natural phenomenon or if it is directly effected by the works of man. I, personally, am a mugwump on the issue. But I have no patience for anyone who says that they definitively know how the Earth's climate functions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:23PM (#33073220)

    eponymous howard here,

    question: Assuming global warming is occuring, is this bad and why? What is the ideal temperature for our planet, is there some consensus on this?

  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:27PM (#33073288) Homepage Journal

    Adapt or die! Every other animal or plant on this planet has to do this so why do we think we are special?

    Animals and plants adapt via evolution. Most people are opposed to this strategy for adaptation, since it will mean, literally, billions of people dying of causes other than old age, and likely the downfall of our current civilization.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:28PM (#33073304) Journal

    Dur hur, just because you are too stupid to think up any other way of fixing global warming except for everyone becoming Amish, does not mean that more intelligent people are unable to come up with more feasible plans.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:29PM (#33073332) Homepage Journal

    It may take a climate scientist to do the original research, and to collect those results into a valid analysis - but it's certainly possible to condense and explain the broad results to lay people. That's, in fact, a large part of the rationale behind having these analyses - people who aren't specialists need to make decisions that cover specialist fields all the time. And wildly differing specialist fields interact on a regular basis - that climate scientist might be on a committee with an agriculturalist, and they may both be making decisions and assumptions based on data outside of their fields. It's not perfect, but it's functional.

    The issue is that people who aren't even informed second-hand are continually taking one side or the other because of political, religious, or other rationales.

  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:32PM (#33073364) Journal

    Let's assume for a moment that the world is 1/5 of a degree warmer than it was a few decades ago, and that this is causing glacial melt. Here's my question to you all:

    So what?

    Climate is not a constant. Never has been, never will be, and the variation has been a whole lot more than 1/5 of a degree. CO2 levels and global average temperatures have been higher and lower at many points in history, and we didn't magically turn into Venus or Mars. There have been times when the icecaps disappeared, and life somehow went on. Sea levels have varied by hundreds of feet, without Americans to blame for, well, everything. There have also been ice ages, and somehow the world didn't end.

    So what?

    There will be winners as well as losers. Canadians and Russians should be happy, as this will result in much longer growing seasons and more arable lands for them. They will be the breadbaskets of the world. And if this doesn't happen, if we decide that the current climate is decreed to never be allowed to change again, will there be a demand for subsidies for what "might have been"? Lack-of-CO2 credits?

    So here's a question. If civilization had arisen 10,000 years earlier, and someone observed how quickly the ice sheets were retreating, would there be a clamor to protect the glaciers that blanketed pretty much everything north of 50 degrees latitude? Would THAT climate change be seen as the Armageddon that the proposed climate change is being presented as? Would rising sea levels lead to a frothing panic about the loss of the Bering land bridge?

    So once again, I ask: If the climate is changing, so what? Climate is not a constant, things aren't automatically evil just because it's a human doing it, and I fail to see how this is any different from any other climate change in the four billion year history of everything on Earth.

    Mod this down because I don't agree with you. It's the Slashdot definition of "fair". I just hope none of you are ever on a jury with the opportunity to destroy someone's life if you don't like their politics or religion or hairstyle or something.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#33073382)

    Moron.

    1) Unnatural = man made
    It can be argued that if beaver damns are natural then why aren't man-made damns, but the actions of man are generally taken to be actions that do not occur in nature.

    2) Irreversible = death of species: insect, plant, and/or animal.
    Once they are gone, they ain't coming back except as CG.

    3) Damage = death of species, destruction of habitats due to climate change (waters rising, poles melting, desertification, etc)

    Yes- cooling and warming happens. On a geologic scale. meaning over the course of millenia. This is proof it is happening over years. You do see the difference, right?

    And adapt or die? Those are your two choices? Not "hey- let's try polluting less?" We are special because we are unique in the inhabitants of this planet have the ability to see the world around us and change it. In theory at least. Posts like yours make me doubt that.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#33073388) Homepage Journal

    It's much more like this: "Unless you're a priest or other person trained to understand religion, your religious views don't carry particular weight."

    Except, it's actually about something based on known principles, facts, and science - so it's really: "Unless you understand how car engines work, you have no business telling me what's wrong with my car."

    Which is true.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#33073394)

    0.56C

    Do you know the standard error of an early 20th century thermometer as used in the weather sensor network?

    Middle century?

    Once you've looked it up, start questioning your/the use of too many significant digits.

  • by flitty (981864) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:34PM (#33073422)

    Artificially increasing the price of energy will harm the poorest of the poor, and increase poverty and misery throughout the world. Cheap energy means better lives for humanity, period.

    If you think that monetary costs are the only cost of energy, you've missed the point. The reason why we are artificially increasing the price of energy is because we are going to start charging for the social costs of "cheap" energy. Processing of oil/coal is toxic and/or dangerous. Most of these costs are paid by the poorest of the poor already by their proximity to the processing plants. If there is a company out there who can create energy cleaner than anybody else, why not reward them? Currently, in the "market-based economy" that we have, there is NO reason to make your coal plant cleaner, other than keeping within the EPA standards. The cleanest companies should be rewarded monitarily as well, why does this escape so many people?

  • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:37PM (#33073468)

    I have to disagree - that's not how academic funding works anywhere I've been. Academia is a hotbed of politics, in fact it's one of the worst environments for that I've ever come across. Yes, once you get tenure you can pretty much say whatever you want. You can also not get merit increases in your salary, not get approved for sabbatical, not get approved by the anonymous committees adjudicating grant applications and publication submissions etc. And if you are a post-doc or non-tenured in some other capacity you have to be very careful if you want to keep that pay-check rolling in at all.

    Sadly you can't just rely on "facts" either - they don't really "speak for themselves" - facts always have to be interpreted by human beings and that's where the problems start.

  • by Rary (566291) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:38PM (#33073502)

    Big secret nobody knows about because nobody subscribes except those of us who appreciate Slashdot.

    As a longtime Slashdot visitor and commenter who also appreciates Slashdot (as much as it drives me insane most days), I just wanted to let you know that your comment made me feel guilty, and I just (finally!) became a Slashdot subscriber.

    Just thought I'd let you know.

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:41PM (#33073562)

    Adapt or die!

    Suggesting that we adapt biologically is the levelheaded solution. Adapting the way we consume resources is the faggoty socialist answer. Got it, genius.

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:41PM (#33073566)

    Processing of oil/coal is toxic and/or dangerous.

    And how would you measure that danger? Compare it to the manufacturing dangers of solar/wind/nuclear with the various industrial processes required for that?

    Put more simply, if I was poor, and had the opportunity to see my children grow up to be grandparents, and then die of some toxin related disease because we lived too close to a refinery, I'd choose that over watching my children starve to death before they were 12.

    Human poverty is only relieved when we have increased energy use per capita. You can do that by increasing your energy supply (cheap energy), or reducing your capita (mass starvation and death). You only get to pick one.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#33073612) Homepage Journal

    Ah, but we only give a good goddamn about thriving ecosystems that are livable for humankind. Furthermore, we'd be pretty pissed about a thriving ecosystem where most of the former coastal regions were under the sea.

    Irreversible damage to us is the worst kind of irreversible damage ;-)

  • by Rei (128717) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#33073624) Homepage

    Coal is only "cheap" because it doesn't have to pay for its externalities. It can dump mining waste into creeks and contaminate rivers downstream. It can emit all of the CO2 into the atmosphere that it pleases. And it can emit amounts of other pollutants that, while regulated, are still extremely costly to society. I read one paper recently that showed that if America's coal plants had to pay for the health the cost of their emissions -- *not* counting CO2 and climate change -- the cost would range from just over 2 cents per kilowatt hour for the cleanest plants to just over 12 cents per kilowatt hour for the dirtiest. So merely making them pay for the health consequences of their emissions alone would put them out of business. Even the lower end is more expensive than the production tax credit for wind.

    That's ignoring the consequences of AGW, of course. What do you think it does to poor fishermen when the ocean acidifies, dramatically lowering coral growth rates and hurting population of various kinds of phytoplankton? What do you think it does to poor Bangladeshis when they lose another large chunk of their country every decade, and a corresponding higher elevation suddenly finds itself at risk of storm surges? What do you think the expansion of the Sahara does to poor Africans? It's not that a warmer climate is somehow automatically a bad thing; in fact, historically, warmer climates have led to greater biomass and biodiversity. The problem is that it's a different climate than our societies are adapted to. It doesn't help a poor Bangladeshi that there's a bunch of new farmland in Canada when their country is drowning. It doesn't help an African village whose well just dried up that the winters are milder in Anchorage. And mass migrations are not only not a solution, but they're the cause of some of the greatest periods of chaos in human history. The Dark Ages were a consequence of the mass migration of Germanic tribes as a result of Mongolian pressure in the Asian steppes, for example.

  • by Hylandr (813770) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:49PM (#33073714) Homepage
    Global warming will exist, so long as theirs money to be made from it.

    - Dan.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:50PM (#33073734)

    If the broader community of climate scientists says anthropogenic global warming is happening, I am inclined to believe them. Even the scandals that have come out (Climategate, etc.) have done very little to poke holes in the underlying science.

    I'll start to question the whole thing if and when it looks like climate science has fractured and the community is disintegrating. Instead, the consensus is only building and skeptics are coming into the fold, convinced by the evidence.

    The funny thing about this community, though, is that the 'heretics' are ejected from it. You do just as well waiting to find Muslims amongst the Catholics. In other words, in a community that rejects dissent, consensus is a non-fact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:55PM (#33073822)

    Yes, but they aren't going to be able to actually execute them.

    Look, we couldn't get a coordinated global response if space aliens were invading, or if a giant meteor was going to hit the earth. Something slow and subtle like global warming? We're hosed! We're going to do essentially nothing until the water level rises a noticeable amount and then half-assedly erect levies around major urban centers that are near bodies of water (i.e. most of them) and whine that "if only we could have known about this ahead of time, we wouldn't have had to spend a quintillion dollars!". This is how human beings always, always work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:55PM (#33073828)

    I've read many reports; more than most people ever will. There are flaws to the man-made global-warming logic (and hence the anonymous post). I'd like you to remember back to all of the reports you've read and reconsider some basic facts. Especially related to atmospheric phenomena that's known to cool the Earth, but, in the context of global warming, is said to contribute to global warming by warming the Earth. Think cloud cover, but I'll leave it up to you to reread the reports with this in mind.

    A lot of modeling is being done as well, which conclusively proves that humans are contributing to global warming. However, as anyone with a computer science background will tell you, modeling is about as good as the assumptions made going into it. Sure, if the modeled result doesn't reflect empirical observations, you know your assumptions are wrong. But, you can't be sure your assumptions are accurate when the model seems to predict correctly. There have been models that assumed the Earth was the center of the universe, and could still predict planet placement in the sky, but they turned out to be not-so-accurate too.

    There is a definite correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming, but causation is unknown. This is key. Most modeling is done with the assumption that carbon dioxide assists global warming, and we can go "back in time" to see that correlation between the two. However, it's also possible that there is a natural increase in carbon dioxide as the Earth warms, going back through the ice record corroborates that also. So, there is strong evidence that global warming is man-made as long as we work on the premise that carbon dioxide causes global warming and humans are responsible for that increase in carbon dioxide. But, that's a lot of assumptions to make.

    Please don't get me wrong, a lot of the science is very good in this area. However, quite often, assumptions are made and the results sensationalized by the media. There is a lot of soft science out there. For example, the unlabeled graphs in An Inconvenient Truth don't prove anything, and some of the information was blatantly taken out of context. For many people, that movie provides hard evidence for man-made global warming, but it's anything but.

    Also consider that the Earth has been a lot warmer than what it is now, and carbon dioxide levels much higher, well before humans were here to blame. Carbon dioxide levels today are higher than any point in the last 15 million years, but the temperatures aren't, nor are they rising at the expected rate--such as if there were a delay between carbon dioxide and temperature, even though the ice record doesn't seem to support such a delay. There is also the possibility that the increase in carbon dioxide is a result of global warming, not the reverse, and that the heating of the oceans releases carbon dioxide into the air (basic chemistry). There are a lot of things (even basic phenomena) that scientists don't understand. This isn't a bash on the scientists by any means, our knowledge is hampered by the fact that we can't test hypotheses very easily, and atmospheric processes are very complex and interdependent. Also, factor in that the argument for man-made global warming is inductive, and therefore can only be proved by eliminating every other possibility. That's quite difficult to do.

    The debate on global warming is not settled, except where the public is concerned. Any researcher that comes out against global warming is going to lose their funding very quickly. It's simply not okay to question it publicly. I invite you to look at a few of the very reputable minds that have questioned it, and where they ended up. Personally, that scares the hell out of me.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:56PM (#33073866) Homepage Journal

    How temperature and pressure relate to the boiling point of water is much more well understood than long term climate changes.

    I haven't seen any math or science from the climate people to justify their predictions. Why? Because its circumstantial and not causal.

    Wake me up when we get causal data. Until then, they're probably going to do as well with their graphs as the average stock market prediction algorithm. It'll follow the curve correctly for a while and then chaos kicks in and throws a wrench in the works.

    Summary: we think we know where we're at, but not why. We suspect where it may lead, but can't actually do better than an educated guess with the tools and knowledge we have.

  • Re:"Undeniable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:03PM (#33073976)

    There isn't an intelligent person the planet who denies that global warming is real.

    And there isn't an intelligent person on the planet who can't see the Emperor's new clothes. Please don't appeal to vanity as a method of argument.

  • by Draek (916851) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:05PM (#33074002)

    If our weather men can't even predict the weather to an acceptable degree of accuracy the day before, than why should people believe predictions that far out.

    Let's play a game then: grab a fair coin, throw it a thousand times. I predict the number of heads you'll get will be approximately 500, give or take 50. Now, I'll throw a single coin, what's the result gonna be?

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:08PM (#33074056) Homepage

    And even those gotchas only apply if you assume it's even possible to predict the climate.

    The sad thing is, about the past, the IPCC is right : the climate *did* warm (mostly) because of co2 increases. Heh, guess I don't even disagree that "global warming is undeniable". But the IPCC is also absurdly wrong, relying instead on a known wrong intuition : this does not mean that a further rise in athmospheric co2 will increase warming. In fact any change could have any effect, so every policy, from let's pollute because we can to killing of the entire human species has exactly the same chances of influencing the climate. Quite frankly, anyone who's had a theoretical mathematics class at any university should know this, but of course ... there's politics. Blacks and whites have to be the same, even when we're talking about melanine levels, all religions and ethnicities have to be the same, even when talking about page count of important documents, science can answer *any* question 100% correctly to infinite levels of accuracy and anyone who believes otherwise is a racist. (get that ? you're a racist if you point out that the bible, as compared to other religions, is a very long book indeed. Or the fact that more people die from medical mistakes than that have their lives saved by medical intervention. What you are when you point out obvious flaws in the foundation of "climate theory" is simpler : unemployed and unemployable. And God forbid any publication on the "deniers" list should publish a quote from you that could, twisted appropriately, indicate you do not agree to doctrine)

    So just putting it here, getting it off my chest : why is predictability an assumption ? Because, mathematically, some things are what is called "chaotic". Which means 2 things :
    1) it is perfectly possible to predict the past, and to explain it. Down to the last tinyest little detail you can explain every variation in the graphs
    2) said fabulous, genius, nobel-prize-winning theories (or other theories), will fail 5 minutes into the future. Whoops.

    Climate is ... chaotic. Meaning it has the two properties above.

    And despite seemingly credible sources claiming the opposite (hello "newscientist", "nature" ?), chaotic systems persistently refuse to bow to statistics (if they didn't that would be a contradiction of chaos). There are weaker forms of "chaotic behavior" that can be predicted by statistics. However, they've been tested and ... well the weather and climate are really fully chaotic.

    Seemingly absurdly simple questions turn out to be chaotic (the coast of Britain to name a famous paper). How long is the coast of Britain ? Depends on your measurement device. Measure with a ruler 1000 km long and it will be seriously shorter than the English claim. Measure with a ruler of 1 cm and it will be seriously longer than the English claim. By varying the ruler's length you can make the coast of Britain any length, but it is impossible to predict what difference a change in ruler length will do to the length of the coast. The motion of the planets (the famous "three body problem"), another chaotic problem.

    The consequences of this chaos conept are vehemently dismissed as total crap, even when it's pretty old and well known mathematical theory. The moon could fly away from the earth tomorrow (and while it probably won't happen tomorrow, the chances that it will eventually happen are very good indeed). That's a trivial consequence of the three body problem. Worse : we can't predict when this event will happen (just like we can't predict the motions of comets and meteorites accurate enough to decide if they'll hit earth until they're right on top of us). At best we can hope for a few days' warning. Despite the seeming absurdity one day the papers will announce "the moon left us, tidal currents slowing to a halt", and this will just happen some day, nobody seeing it coming (or at least nobody correctly predicting when it'll happen).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:11PM (#33074108)

    This is why I hate commenting on this shit. It upsets me, it makes me swear and lash out at complete strangers who don't have the time to read the material they are commenting on.

    Ummm, well if you can't control yourself enough to stop swearing and lashing out then maybe you could control yourself enough to just not post.

    You spend 30 minutes reading a report to relay the facts to Slashdot and this is the thanks you get. +4 Informative? Yeah, maybe I will stop wasting my time here ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:25PM (#33074356)

    "Unless you understand how car engines work, you have no business telling me what's wrong with my car."

    And, just like in this situation, people have become cautious about it because they think there is a personal agenda. Just as the mechanic is going to tell you what's wrong and upsell you on other maintenance you probably don't need yet (the agenda), some facts are presented in a way to push a particular viewpoint (both sides are guilty of this).

    So the usual "take everything with a grain of salt" applies.

  • by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:38PM (#33074600)

    Global cooling:

    In the olden days, we used to do things that would release oxides of sulphur (SOx) into the air. Having these in the air creates some nasty side effects, one of the most dramatic of which is acid rain. Another less drastic side effect is that the SOx in the atmosphere reflects the heat from the sun back out into space, with global cooling as a potential consequence.

    Due to the serious nature of acid rain, and the comparative ease of not emitting SOx into the atmosphere (a cheap scrubber on your exhaust) legislation to limit the discharge of SOx met little resistance. Thus, we were able to keep the levels of SOx in the atmosphere at a low level.

    Small soot particles in the atmosphere may also contribute to global cooling (through global 'dimming') but regulations to reduce this met little resistance, similar to the SOx example.

    Global warming, however, is caused by oxides of carbon (COx) which is not simple to remove from an exhaust stream (as it is the major component.) Thus efforts to reduce the amount of COx going into the atmosphere meet significant resistance as it would necessitate a far greater upheaval than either SOx or soot.

    That was a science history update, brought to you by a concerned citizen. We now return to to your regularly scheduled flamewar.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:44PM (#33074720)

    Finally some honest truth. We can and will adapt. Anyone who can't deserves to lose and have their civilization replaced by a more technologically advanced and fit one. It's harsh, but necessary.

    Your position isn't harsh; it's stupid.

    I can adapt if my house burns down, but that doesn't mean I should set it on fire or watch it burn without trying to stop it. Being able to adapt is good; choosing a difficult adaptation for no reason other than laziness or unwillingness to face reality is stupid.

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:45PM (#33074738)

    At some point, warm is too warm and Waterworld isn't just a shitty movie.

    We've been much warmer than today, and didn't turn into Waterworld. We've been much colder than today, and life barely maintained its tenuous grasp on the planet. Even taking the absolute worst case scenario of CO2 doomsayers (and that's a huge leap of faith), we are hundreds, if not thousands of years from "too warm".

    Pretending we know the future exactly, and taking drastic action to avoid it, has real and present dangers to the present without any guarantee that they are necessary.

    Now look, if there was an alien spaceship hovering over our planet, and it had just started wiping out all the ice and glaciers across the world, I'd be the first person to volunteer to ride a nuke into orbit to destroy them before they could complete the job. But right now, the whole CO2 temperature thing is a *correlation* not a causality.

  • by Conception (212279) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:51PM (#33074840)

    From your link, their reasoning is flawed, as I've seen elsewhere. For instance, "For the US, the recently revised NASA GISS Annual Mean temperatures show 6 of the 10 warmest years were from the 1920s to the 1950s and only 4 since 1990."

    That means nothing. Global Warming means GLOBAL Warming. The US is allowed to have higher temps from time to time. If you look at the GLOBAL trend, it is getting hotter.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:58PM (#33074970) Journal

    What a lovely straw man you've built there. The use of fossil fuels creates externalities, bad things we all have to pay for, and the carbon tax is not 'weighing down productive systems' it is making those systems pay their fair share of the true costs they create.

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:59PM (#33075008) Homepage

    Artificially increasing the price of energy...

    Making people pay for costs that they've been getting away with externalizing is not "artificially increasing" the price.

    Cheap energy means better lives for humanity, period.

    Yes, so let get moving on building truly cheap energy -- wind, solar, biomass -- and get away from fossil fuel and fission systems that are only getting more expensive even if we don't bother to count externalities.

    A warmer planet is a better planet for life, period

    Insect life, perhaps; tropical disease virus, maybe. But for human civilization, rapid warming -- rapid change of any sort -- will be disastrous.

  • by ml10422 (448562) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @03:00PM (#33075026)

    Actually, many African nations are looking toward increased industrialization as their way out of poverty. They were some of the loudest dissenters against emissions controls at the world global warming summits.

  • by EQ (28372) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @03:13PM (#33075190) Homepage Journal

    Here's the main point. Unless you're a climate scientist, you're not qualified in any way to engage in a "fact based debate." There's too much data here and it requires specialists to see all of it as a homogeneous whole and draw conclusions.

    Complete and utter bullshit. Your statement is typical of cargo-cultists. No poll of scientists, nor self-selected signing onto an opinion about interpretation of data has anything to do with science. Science is not a democratic process! Try Feynman instead:

    scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition. In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @03:19PM (#33075294) Homepage

    I'd love for it to be about 3-4 degrees warmer in the 'winter' here, and extend my pool season.

    And the subsequent 3-4 degrees warmer in the summer, too? Yeah, genius.

    Now, I don't want to be too harsh here, but, well, you're a bit of an idiot.

    The human species is *adapted the climate we have today*. It's impossible to say one climate regime is objectively bad and one is objectively good. But what you *can* say is that one climate regime is what we, as a human species, have adapted to. That means we do all our farming where breadbaskets are *today*. We've built cities where there's ample fresh water *today*. We've settled on coastlines that exist *TODAY*.

    Now suppose you're right. Suppose growing regions move, rain belts shift, and previous non-arable regions become arable. Well guess what? That *also* means that existing arable land becomes non-arable. Will humanity adapt? Of course. We'll move our farms, abandon unsupportable cities, migrate away from eroding coastlines. But *while* that's happening, we'll experience terrible hardships. You know, drought, starvation, that kind of thing.

    So, yeah, you enjoy your extra few weeks motorcycling. But I suspect those who would starve in the meantime might tend to disagree with your rather rosy picture regarding the consequences of GW (whether anthropogenic or not).

  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kent_eh (543303) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @03:39PM (#33075624)
    Thank you.

    There are, and always have been, multiple reasons to reduce fossil fuel use.

    -Finite supply. If we run out before we have another energy source fully figured out, we're in trouble
    -Pollution. Have you seen the air in Los Angeles (or major cities around the globe)?. That's the problem. You shouldn't be able to see the air. Even ignoring everything else, think of your own lungs.
    -Climate change. Kinda goes with the previous point
    -Energy security. Despite offshore drilling, and domestic production most of the supply of fossil fuel come from the least politically stable parts of the world.

    Really, what's so great about having all your eggs in one basket?
  • by kz45 (175825) <kz45@blob.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @03:59PM (#33075980)

    "What motive do scientists have to deceive us? We don't take Einstein's General Theory of Relativity with a grain of salt do we? (At least only qualified people can meaningfully criticize it if at all.)"

    Because global warming research is getting funding from the government. It mean more grant money for research.

    Governments around the world are using man-made global warming to charge citizens even more taxes. If this wasn't the case, and no money was involved, I might be less suspicious of these "qualified people".

  • by Gabrosin (1688194) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:09PM (#33076132)

    I don't think you're using the right metric. It's not about how much food we produce, it's about how much food we're capable of producing. GP is right, the "world hunger" issue is about distribution, not production capacity. With current technologies we will easily be able to keep up with global demand for a long, long time... and the technologies are improving rapidly as well. If we have to dedicate more land to food production, we can and will do that.

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thetagger (1057066) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:26PM (#33076372)

    You mean how people might be affected by the Arctic Ocean would be open all year and decrease shipping costs?? Or how growing seasons could shift so that some areas that can't grow much food will now have longer growing seasons, and in areas where people live so transportation costs could decrease? Or how winters would be less severe so fewer people might die??

    Awesome if you live in a cold country. I live in a tropical country. Can you list some of the advantages that global warming would bring to my country?

    You know, I am really happy that global warming will make life easier in Europe and North America at the expense of the entire rest of the world. It's like colonialism all over again, but at an apocalyptic scale.

  • by sorak (246725) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:29PM (#33076422)

    I hate the argument that AGW policies are all too drastic. We've known about this for half a century, and have responded by dragging our feet. If you want a more subtle solution, blame the AGW deniers who came before you. If you want to see drastic, then oppose cap and trade as much as possible, and see where it leaves us in ten years.

  • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:38PM (#33076510)

    Even if it is 100% caused by man I don't see what they expect us to do about it.

    Simple, in the short term, save energy (remember to turn the lights off, insulate your house etc.) and recycle, this has the added benefits of saving you money and conserving land fill space. In the medium term, society needs to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and build nuclear power plants; this also has added benefits - it lengthens the life of our limited supply of oil and creates jobs in new industries. In short, theses are things we should probably be doing whether man made climate change exists or not; the controversy around the subject is just dumb. Personally I don't know enough about the minutiae of climate change to engage in the scientific debate, but I know that the results of the people asking me to "do my bit" is I get more money in my pocket, and society moves on the results of the people who tell me "don't bother" is I get nothing and society stagnates.

  • by Hausenwulf (956554) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:43PM (#33076584)

    The real issue is not global warming. The real issue is population. No matter what you do to control "global warming," it's pointless without measures to control population, and if history is any indication, if we don't control it ourselves, mother nature will gladly step in to take a hand.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:46PM (#33076626) Journal

    It's not about how much food we produce, it's about how much food we're capable of producing

    Which is limited by the loss of arable land, the increasing cost of fossil fuel fertilizer, the pace at which we're depleting aquifers, etc.

    With current technologies we will easily be able to keep up with global demand for a long, long time... and the technologies are improving rapidly as well.

    How can you say that when we can't even keep up with *today's* demand?

    If we have to dedicate more land to food production, we can and will do that.

    I see that you don't understand the scope of the problem. This is not about use of arable land. Even if land were infinite (it's not), fresh water was infinite and cheaply deliverable to the needed sites (it's not), population growth was stagnant (it's not) we'd still be screwed in the next 50-100 years because modern agricultural production is highly dependent on finite sources of cheap fertilizer (natural gas, mostly).

    And as for the technologies improving... are they really? To the extent needed? Most of the improvements we are seeing do not solve the intrinsic problems of limited resources (water, etc), nor do they address another fundamental problem -- the change in global consumption habits (increasing meat consumption, etc) that is increasing food demand on top of population growth.

    Please, do some reading on the subject before stating simple platitudes that we all wish were true, but are nowhere close to the truth.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:49PM (#33076648) Journal

    If companies could raise prices willy nilly, they would without waiting for the excuse that the government imposed a new cost on them. Market forces restrict them from raising prices beyond the elastic limit of demand.

    But that's besides the point. The point is that there are costs, and the ones gaining the benefits should pay the costs. If consumers are gaining the benefit, they should pay the true costs.

    Encouraging good behavior is certainly good. Punishing bad behavior will not necessarily result in more good behavior, but it will result in less bad. If less bad means that being good is now cheaper, people will choose to be good.

    That five grand punishment for being bad does not simply disappear out of the economy. And things do not become more expensive. They were already that expensive. You just weren't paying your fair share directly. Now, I understand people like getting stuff below cost, but someone has to pay that cost. Maybe you see paying your fair share as someone 'taking' things from you, but that cheap price was not rightfully yours to begin with.

    When you get a cheap product that causes pollution, you only pay a small percentage of the cost, that's what an externality is. I and everyone else, who may be refraining from buying that underpriced, polluting thing, have to pay for the part you didn't pay for.

    Why do you want me to pay for your things?

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:50PM (#33076668)

    Yes, so let get moving on building truly cheap energy -- wind, solar, biomass -- and get away from fossil fuel and fission systems that are only getting more expensive even if we don't bother to count externalities.

    "truly cheap energy". If it's "truly cheap" then the profit motive will kick in and you don't need to subsidize it or penalize other forms of energy. "truly cheap" is a cop out, because you want to put your finger on the scale. You ignore externalities of wind, solar and biomass (dead birds, expensive rare earth materials, higher food prices causing starvation in the third world), but you want me to worry about petroleum emitting plant food into the atmosphere? Really?

    But for human civilization, rapid warming -- rapid change of any sort -- will be disastrous.

    Because of course the Holocene maximum and Medieval warm period were terrible for human civilization. And the rapid change over the past 50 years with computers, cell phones, pagers, fax machines and cable have been disastrous for civilization.

    Your house rapidly warms in the morning, rising in temperature nearly 10C. Has this been a disaster for you every day?

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:08PM (#33076890)

    What motive do scientists have to deceive us?

    You don't get grants for suggesting that nothing unusual is happening.

  • by SpryGuy (206254) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:10PM (#33076922)

    Yes, that's right... it's a massive conspiracy of tens of thousands of scientists from hundreds of countries across the world, crossing all scientific disciplins, out to get you by putting their scientific reputations on the line to propose a total lie to squeeze a few more tax dollars out of YOUR pocket. (rolling eyes)

    That makes SO much more sense.

    It's like you have no clue what scientists are like. And you have no clue who is funding all the Global Warming denialism. It's the most ludicrous conspiracy theory I've heard yet, and I've heard a lot of completely crazy ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:46PM (#33077336)

    And to date, I've not read one account which addresses the problem of the most accurate data in the world (US data) being so inaccurate as to be useless.

    [citation needed]

    When sadly, if the conclusion is anything other than our data is invalid, the only thing they've proved is they are extremely poor scientists who don't grasp the very fundimentals of scientific research.

    [citation needed]

    In other words, these "scientists" are finding a signal from known invalid data, which does not rise above its noise level.

    [citation needed]

    Until credible researches step forward and both, address how they can get valid data from invalid data and two, can come to inescapable conclusions based on invalid research and data, they only continue to dig their quack-hole deeper...

    First, you haven't shown that any data is invalid. Second, you haven't shown that any research is based on invalid data. Third, you haven't shown that any of the conclusions are based on invalid research. You need to link the chain together with something stronger than unsourced claims and vague hand waving.

    I really hope for your sake that you don't believe your own post, and a big petro-chemical company is paying you to spread this tripe. Because the only alternatives are that you troll because your mommy didn't love you enough, or your critical thinking skills are very, very poor.

  • by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:46PM (#33077344)
    if climate scientists are using applied physics to make their forecasts, then why is absolutely no one absolutely sure what specifically is causing the warming or what specifically could stop it?

    oh, that's right, because they aren't applying physics, they are guessing.

  • by Count Fenring (669457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:48PM (#33077366) Homepage Journal

    Really? I'd be fascinated to know how.

    You see, the Emperor's Clothes is a story about the willingness of a crowd to go along with untruths that are socially mandated. This conversation, on the other hand, is about the validity of expert knowledge.

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:03PM (#33077508)

    "Cap" would be drastic, and probably a lot less stupid.

    Yea, because essentially saying "no more power" is "a lot less stupid". I'm all for switching over to non-fossil fuels. However, fucking our society up to try to speed up the rate that the technology is built / implemented and designed is NOT an intelligent move.

    Though, if the same people pushing cap and trade hadn't been anti-nuclear in the US for the last 60 years, we'd already be a lot farther along towards being able to switch away from fossil fuels.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:18PM (#33077662)

    Making people pay for costs that they've been getting away with externalizing is not "artificially increasing" the price.

    We arent talking about paying external costs. We are talking about charging for external costs. There has been no proposal for the proceeds to be used to pay for them. Instead, the proposals are to subsidize alternatives, and I think we all know thats bullshit too. The end result will be that governments will spend the money on whatever pork they can.

  • by lennier (44736) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:24PM (#33077720) Homepage

    Even if it is 100% caused by man I don't see what they expect us to do about it. Given the choice between civilization and some abstract harm to people they don't know, most people are going to go with civilization.....

    And given the choice between saving that civilisation by modifying it and standing by and watching the collapse of that civilisation by doing business-as-usual until the end, people will happily ride the collapse right up to the 'Oh shiiiii----' moment?

    I hope you're wrong and we have a little more prescience than that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:42PM (#33077856)

    Almost every piece of evidence is consistent with this conclusion, and there is almost no evidence against it.

    Compare and contrast "consistent with" and "evidence against". The evidence is consistent with a slight warming to be followed by 1000 years of prosperity. How do you find evidence against a slight warming to be followed by 1000 years of misery? Note how one phrasing requires nothing and how another phrasing requires an undue burden of proof or a crystal ball.

    You will not have evidence for an impending calamity until we are sufficiently near an impending calamity. Likewise, I can't promise you a boxed set of Good Times (TM) to come.

    Your post and the article continue a practice of spining the story in your favor. Look at the strawmen they knock down:

    "Despite the fact people say global warming has stopped, the new data, added onto existing data, gives us the greatest evidence we have ever had," he said.

    Who - of relevance - thinks we had "da global warming" but it stopped now? Here is another one:

    Sceptics claimed that emails stolen from the University of East Anglia show scientists were willing to manipulate the land surface temperatures to show global warming.

    The scientists were cleared by an independent inquiry but the 'climategate scandal' as it became known cast a shadow over the case for man made global warming.

    Whether or not we are approaching armageddon - and that should be the only debate, not a piddling warming - the scientists were willing to manipulate the data and have openly expressed a willingness to lie about it. Likewise, the apologists for Iraq were willing to lie and getting caught in that lie does naught to change the opinion or affect the course of the debate. They are liars and are untrustworthy.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:20PM (#33078192)
    Well, firstly, global climate is an astroundingly complex thing. There are many different factors such as incident solar radiation, local albedo, thermotropic effects, vegetation uptake, UV chemical cycles, ocean thermal flow and trade winds - each and every one of which effects the others. Add into that the fact that measurements of the system are limited, and it gets harder.

    This is complicated again by an interesting phenomena called sensitive dependence on initial conditions, which relates to chaos theory. Basically, if you don't have -exact- measurements of all states of the system, you cannot precisely know the behaviour of the system at arbitrary time intervals. What you can do is make predictions on the near future states of the system. And this is what's scary - those near-future states look pretty dire.

    Like all science, there are cavets - we can poke our models ten different ways and get ten different answers, based on the assumptions we make and how much confidence we assign to different measurements. Some of those answers aren't scary; some of those answers are frightening. It's not a perfect crystal ball, but it's the best we can do with our current data and understanding of physics. However, if 9 out of 10 models suggest Bad Things due to anthropogenic effects, it's foolish to ignore it.

    Are we absolutely sure of what's causing it? Of course not - but then again, we're not entirely sure what causes gravity, either. That doesn't mean we doubt its existence. Like all science, we can only have hypotheses (they're not guesses, they're theories that fit a set of known facts). But when increasing amounts of additional data strongly supports specific hypotheses and there is a lack of conflicting data, it gives 'not absolutely sure' its correct context.
  • by owski (222689) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:24PM (#33078242)

    I think the real problem is that extremists on both sides have taken control of the debate.

    There are nutters who say that "the earth isn't really warming, or it doesn't matter if it does so I say let's do NOTHING!"

    Conversely, there are other nutters who say "this is the most catastrophic thing ever so we need to spend any and all costs to do EVERYTHING!"

    These people represent a teeny, tiny percent of people but they have somehow gotten most everyone in between these two extremes to believe that they're fighting against one extreme or the other.

    The vast majority of people think that AGW is a problem of some magnitude and that something needs to be done. But because of the loudmouths on the ends, those who favour erring on the side of doing less are treated as though they want to do put their heads in the sand and do nothing and those who favour erring on the side of doing more are treated as though they want to have a blank cheque to shut down society.

    That's what's obscuring the real science from the junk.

  • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:32PM (#33079364)
    You're right the grants go to doing research (mostly ;)...assuming you need equipment and/or staff to do the research then the anonymous grant application evaluation committee gets to decide if you get to keep doing research. No research => no publications => no merit increase. And if you don't have tenure then no research => no job.
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:16PM (#33079538) Homepage Journal

    climate scientists, a while ago and ever since, bought into the politics of the debate, and as far as I'm concerned they can go fuck themselves

    But it wasn't the scientists who politicized the issue. They're knee-deep into the politics as a defensive measure, not because they enjoy punditry. I think they were surprised their results became a political issue at all - after all, you can't vote for or against climate change any more than you can vote down gravity. Mathematicians would get into politics, too, if politicians and pundits started saying you can't computer the square root of a million.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:38PM (#33079636) Homepage

    How about either finding a way to MOVE those people to a place where their yearly food supply WON'T be wiped out in 5 minutes during a drought, or alternatively build serious water pipelines to mitigate the problems in those areas.

    Okay, sure, let's do that.

    Wait, first, *who* is going to do that?

    Next, who is going to pay for doing that?

    Third, how do you convince them to do that when it's very likely a good portion of their people a) don't believe GW is happening at all, or b) think it's a good thing because, hey, they get to play in their Phoenix swimming pool for a little while longer!

    The point is, I don't disagree with you. Not at all. We *should* be doing all we can to mitigate the effects of GW before it really screws with us. But there's simply *no political will to do anything about GW*. Which is why a report like this is import. It flat out points out that a) GW is happening, and b) it's gonna fuck people up. And that includes catastrophic drought, *unless we do something about it*, either to deal with GW itself (alas, probably too late for that), or to deal with the effects (as you propose).

  • by epine (68316) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:43PM (#33079670)

    Here's the main point. Unless you're a climate scientist, you're not qualified in any way to engage in a "fact based debate." There's too much data here and it requires specialists to see all of it as a homogeneous whole and draw conclusions.

    Unless you're a climate scientist who confers with hard core statisticians and even then the climate record suffers an appalling lack of homogeneous data. It's not been until the satellite era that anything resembling a homogeneous record has come into existence. Different times, different instruments, different measurement densities. Go a little further back, it's tree rings in a teacup.

    I think the global warming hypothesis is somewhere around "preponderance of evidence" (civil standard) and nowhere close to "beyond a reasonable doubt" (criminal standard). It's almost certainly probably true.

    I'm not a climate denier. I just think it's a darn hard to build a definitive case on a data set that's thin on the back end. If we had satellite climate data dating back to 1900, it'd be a slam dunk. Within another two or three decades, it'll be a slam dunk. Urgency != certainty.

    It'll be interesting to look back in 2050, if civilization still exists, to see which point in history is regarded as having successfully proven the global warming thesis. Will half the data from 2010 have been shot full of holes in retrospect? Or not? As compared against the standards of scientific proof in other branches of science not bearing the weight of the survival of planet earth and life as we know it.

    Here's a question. Let's imagine a world where AGW is taking place, but the paucity of data makes this fact scientifically unprovable, until underlying agents of AGW are far advanced (far more so than earth presently). Would the scientific consensus in this world be that the AGW thesis is unprovable as the data stands, or would they busy themselves with squeezing blood from a rock?

    Is an ambitious scientist convinced of the future outcome not vulnerable to the thought process "it doesn't matter if I stretch the data a little bit, I'll soon be vindicated anyway"?

    Economics as a discipline usually tells you what you needed to know long after you needed to know it. Why is it not possible that climate science also dabbles in dismal? And on what planet is the dismal realist rewarded with the largest study grant?

    Neither am I sure I buy the strategy "safety in numbers". Isn't that just a good way to dissipate the painful fact that nobody understands the elephant as a whole?

    On the other side of the fence, proof that the planet is *not* warming consists of lies, fabrications, distortions, and bupkus. In a prudent world, one would want to see that proof before conducting a grand experiment on the whole ball of water.

  • by daver00 (1336845) on Friday July 30, 2010 @11:32PM (#33093038)

    I am not denying climate change at all, I am exhibiting what I consider healthy skepticism, perhaps I am wrong and I am open to being proven wrong. More importantly though I ask, why aren't we talking about living with a changing climate, instead of embarking on some vast geo-manipulation experiment?

    Yes, we should cut emissions of greenhouse gasses, but the question remains, where is your second earth to do controlled experiments on? This question will always remain, it does not mean climate change is wrong, but it does mean as scientists we should be aware of and honest about anything that may cast doubt upon the theories, that is what it means to be a scientist.

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