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Earth Science

Rapid Arctic Melt Called 'Planetary Emergency' 757

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-cool dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes "Drawing on new data released Wednesday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center that the Arctic ice pack has melted to an all time low within the satellite record (video), NASA climate scientist James Hansen has declared the current reality a 'planetary emergency.' As pointed out by Prof. David Barber from the University of Manitoba, 'The thaw this year broke all the records that we had previous to this and it didn't just break them, it smashed them.' So, not sure why your mainstream press isn't covering this story? 'It's hard for the public to realize,' Hansen said, 'because they stick their head out the window and don't see much going on.' Thankfully, some people are noticing, as Bill McKibben's recent Rolling Stone article, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math has gone viral."
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Rapid Arctic Melt Called 'Planetary Emergency'

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  • Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:27AM (#41410025)

    So, not sure why your mainstream press isn't covering this story?

    Uh, I saw this on both the PBS Newshour and CNN yesterday. Not sure how much more "mainstream" you can get (unless you expect People magazine to do a story too). Now, if by "not covering" you mean "aren't running around like Chicken Little alarmists screaming 'WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!'" then that's true, yes. But in a world with much more present and pressing issues like war, hunger, unemployment, recession, etc. you can't very well expect every newspaper to lead with a "Average Global Temps Expected to Rise By 1-2 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 50-100 years" headline.

    Yes, it's noteworthy. Yes, we certainly need to address it. But, no, it's not the kind of thing that has people immediately scared or in present danger, nor the kind of thing that has the press running out with cameras to get the dramatic shot. It's more the long-term story that sort of simmers in the background.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:33AM (#41410089) Journal

    But in a world with much more present and pressing issues like war, hunger, unemployment, recession, etc. you can't very well expect every newspaper to lead with a "Average Global Temps Expected to Rise By 1-2 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 50-100 years" headline.

    Or in short "people can't be bothered about long-term problems."

    And it's really too bad because an individual has far more power to do something about global warming than any of those problems you listed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:37AM (#41410139)

    Because that's all these stories ever do is start flame wars. Can we please stick to technical stories, news for nerds, etc.?

    This shit is like a religion to you people, you fucking nutjobs on both sides need to go find somewhere else to discuss your fundamentalism, because I'm damn sick of hearin you all bellyache about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:37AM (#41410143)

    Does anybody watch Real Time with Bill Maher? Just about every republican on the panel has said, with a straight face, that there is no sufficient evidence for global warming being real and/or being man made. That's the real emergency, the fact that we have a bunch of people who outright ignore science. And, it's not like I'm talking about some random Joe off of the street. These are the people that have influence in this country.

  • Too much politics. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by readin (838620) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:46AM (#41410291)
    "So, not sure why your mainstream press isn't covering this story?"

    I think two of the primary reasons are Al Gore and Michael Moore. A losing presidential candidate and a filmaker famous for leftist hatchet jobs took the lead role in publicizing global warming. That made at least half the population of America immediately suspicious or simply unwilling to listen. Then the methods that were used - e.g. Al Gore famously declaring the debate over before most people had even started paying attention - just made things worse. The trend continues to this day when it seems that attempts at meaningful debate are shouted down usually by people claiming AGW is real.

    In my personal experience I tried reading some AGW pages on Wikipedia because I wanted to learn more and get a better idea of whether AGW is real (it certainly seems plausible). I found a few minor mistakes that I attempted to correct. Instead of reasoned debate or explanations I mainly encountered vitriol and ridicule. Based on what I read, I would think AGW is definitely real, but based on the attitudes of the people editing the Wikipedia page I have to question whether the article I read is sufficiently unbiased to be useful.

    There are a lot of people for whom, unfortunately, the decision has largely been made largely by prejudices based in politics - I'm pretty sure this applies to both sides. Al Gore and Michael Moore created that situation. However I'm sure there are a lot of people who are still open-minded but who feel they can't get good trustworthy information because the debate (or lack thereof) became so politicized.
  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:52AM (#41410363)

    And it's really too bad because an individual has far more power to do something about global warming than any of those problems you listed.

    Bullshit.

    You want to know why conservatives push back on global warming? Because the alarmists are claiming just what you are saying, that I (a hard working taxpayer who doesn't have the money to buy a new Prius) needs to go completely out of my way to do something that will make practically ZERO change to the current situation.

    Yet removing one container ship from the shipping industry would be the equivalent of removing 50 million automobiles [gas2.org].

    I heard the other day that our oil exports now exceed our oil imports. My question: why aren't we just using the oil we have, instead of shipping it across the ocean? Economics aside for a minute... this is having a huge impact to global warming, yet I'm the one being blamed?

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:55AM (#41410409)

    It was such a horrible event...All civilizations which used all that land are now gone...under water.

    Well, it took tens of thousands of years and we lost coastline, but gained almost all of Canada and the Northern US, Europe and Asia back from a deep ice sheet to usable land, so I guess we lost some land and gained some land.

    I get a feeling I am being force fed a media manipulation based on our individual lifetime experiences rather than the long long term cycles that man can not affect in more than tiny ways. Man certainly has not affected the prior 2 dozen major worldwide ice age cycles.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:00AM (#41410467)

    I as a pretty far lefty must agree. It is like water conservation, consumer water use is practically negligible. This is the only utility I know of the more you buy the cheaper it gets, agriculture pays next to nothing for the water and yet uses the vast majority of it. This means in the end the only lettuce I can buy is the stuff from what should be deserts or the local hydroponic. I do buy the 4x the cost hydroponic stuff because they reuse the water and I am in an area with lots of water. I can understand how you could not afford to buy that food or just would not want to pay that price.

    The problems are even real solutions will involve you paying a little more or waiting a little longer I am ok with that are you?

    Are you ok with paying another $10 on an smartphone or waiting another week to get it because the container ship was wind powered? Or just keeping your "old" phone 1 year longer?

    That is what real change would look like. I am fine with it are you?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:05AM (#41410553) Homepage

    That's where the idea of carbon taxes or cap-and-trade come from: The goal is to take a cost that is currently not being factored into the price and make it part of the price. Then you let the markets do their thing and motivate people to switch to alternatives.

    Trouble is, that for most libertarians, this kind of regulation is unwarranted government intrusion on the free and unfettered markets. And for most politicians, this kind of regulation is unwarranted intrusion on the profit margins of major campaign contributors.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:07AM (#41410587)

    But in a world with much more present and pressing issues like war, hunger, unemployment, recession, etc. you can't very well expect every newspaper to lead with a "Average Global Temps Expected to Rise By 1-2 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 50-100 years" headline.

    Well, if there is a chance that the average global temperature increase causes more war, hunger, unemployment and recession (the possibility is definitely there), you probably should expect that.

  • by yog (19073) * on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:09AM (#41410597) Homepage Journal

    Apart from having a national Open-Your-Freezer day to cool things down [joke], what realistically can be done? We can't impound all fossil-fuel burning vehicles. We can't shut down the coal electric plants. We can't stop China and other developing regions from buying hundreds of millions of cars and refrigerators and electronics.

    The random environmentally conscious person may trade in her Explorer or Accord for a Toyota Prius and feel nice and self-righteous about it, but has she truly helped the environment? The amount of energy expended to manufacture that Prius, and to dispose of that older vehicle (or merely to pass it on to another driver who'll use it for ten more years) far exceeds the trivial few barrels of oil per year that it conserves. Long term, sure, if we were all driving electric hybrids or pure electrics, we'd be generally reducing atmospheric carbon content, assuming the electric plants weren't making up for it by burning more coal and oil. (If we all switched to bicycles, an argument could be made, but of course our economy would all but shut down.)

    So what can we do other than wring our hands and worry fruitlessly? Well for one thing, we can at least maximize our efficiency which in the U.S. is pretty easy because we're so wasteful. An engineer famously observed that California's rolling blackouts a few summers ago could have been prevented had they merely painted white the roofs of all public buildings in that state.

    Technology is gradually solving these problems, without particular government intervention and sometimes despite such intervention. For example, solar panels are coming down in price, led by the increasingly dominant Chinese manufacturers. You know it's happening because American panel manufacturers are demanding an anti-dumping injunction. At the same time, a variety of new solar-to-electric technologies are in the pipeline, ranging from spray-on applications to bendable and foldable sheets, to bandwidth-specific crystals, to 3-D blocks that are more efficient per area, and on and on. DARPA is experimenting with 50% efficiency solar cells.

    Ultimately, most homes and commercial buildings can and should have some form of solar on the roof; as costs of building these features into new construction or retrofitting them to existing structures fall, it will make enough economic sense that it will happen all by itself, and peak demand for electricity will fall even as demand for storage batteries and fuel cells and solar panel equipment skyrockets (now you know where to invest your money).

    The other big trend is the availability of cheap natural gas from fracking, which is driving the construction of new gas electric plants and gas-heating in homes. Fuel oil is expensive; gas is dirt cheap. The simple economics will force a mass conversion to this relatively clean and cheap power source.

    Ultimately, we will diversify away from reliance mostly on fossil fuels to a mixture of about half fossil and half clean. The impact this will have on the atmosphere is not fully understood, however, and probably would take decades to be observed. Nonetheless, in the latter half of the 21st Century we can expect to have cleaner skies, at least. If we can actively foster reforestation across the Americas and Asia, and if we can somehow reduce the pollution of the oceans which is killing the plankton that furnish most of our oxygen, we may long term reverse the CO2 increase and perhaps eventually this will drive down temperatures.

    Or, maybe these climatic changes have little to do with human activity and nature will simply take its course, regardless of what we do. But at least we should, in my opinion, un-do some of the obvious damage we're causing and optimize conditions for a healthier planet.

    My other pet solution is to push a trillion ton block of ice out of Saturn's orbit and dump it onto the North Pole, which might buy us a couple extra decades at least.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:13AM (#41410657) Journal

    So you don't like my ideas of individual responsibility and you want to regulate shipping vessels Mr. Conservative? I'm all for it. I'd heard early news of that study on the large container ships and now that the results are in, I agree something has to be done right now.

    As an individual though you have no power to do that, you can only vote and hope a majority supports you, or vote with your dollars which is a good token effort but may be a complete joke in effect.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:13AM (#41410659) Journal
    True, but the changes will cause problems for civilization even if the earth becomes lush and habitable again. Where we can grow food changes, which will severely disrupt food production and distribution. Communications and shipping networks would become more/less viable, etc.
  • by Necron69 (35644) <jscott.farrowNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:16AM (#41410705)

    Hey, maybe we could stop burning so much coal and switch to lower-CO2 emitting natural gas? Oh wait, we already did.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/08/in-a-surprise-co2-emissions-hit-20-year-low/1#.UFx1MI2PVkY [usatoday.com]

    Or maybe we could raise the gas mileage requirements on cars?

    http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2012/08/27/tough-government-gas-mileage-rules-good-for-drivers-auto-industry [usnews.com]

    Anyone who thinks we aren't doing _anything_ isn't paying attention. Personally, however, I won't think we are serious until we start building newer, safer, CO2-free nuclear power plants. If you don't support more nuclear power, you aren't serious about stopping Global Warming, and you haven't studied the problem enough. Yes, I'm looking at you, Greenpeace.

    Necron69

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deanklear (2529024) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:16AM (#41410707)

    But in a world with much more present and pressing issues like war, hunger, unemployment, recession, etc. you can't very well expect every newspaper to lead with a "Average Global Temps Expected to Rise By 1-2 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 50-100 years" headline.

    This is why humanity is doomed. The stresses introduced by shrinking resources, exploding populations, the competition to control fossil fuel reserves, and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns are major causes of war, hunger, and economic distress, but we continue to address the symptoms rather than the disease causing them.

    Bill Hicks said it best: "We are a virus with shoes." And it looks like we're in danger of killing our host.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:23AM (#41410785) Homepage

    The Sahara hasn't always been a desert. The people who live there might LIKE climate change.

    Oh for heaven's sake this is descending into parody. No, the people who live there will NOT like climate change. More intense droughts (due to higher temperatures) and more devastating rainfall (due to increased moisture level in the air, following temperatures) will create a very unstable situation in the Saharan countries. If some of them luck into more pleasant conditions for a while, they will be swamped by refugees from droughts and wars created by the misery.

    There is no honest way to spin a 2 degrees C temperature increase for the world as something positive.

    Some researchers are contending that half the sea level rise we've seen to date is due to cities and farms pumping water out of ancient aquifers on an industrial scale.

    For one, this is not at all clear. For another, it's not good news if it is - then we can expect even more sea level rise than projected.

    If you had more rain civilization wouldn't be so dependent on depleting aquifers.

    Rain doesn't work that way. It comes in many forms which are more trouble than good. A steady stream of meltwater through spring is a good thing, a flash flood isn't. Some areas are going to get drier, some are going to get far too much water.

    its also true that the Earth doesn't have "one true" climate and we shouldn't pretend that we are going to lock it in to one.

    Straw man. Yes, climate changes, same as species die out naturally. But if it's happening a hundred times faster than it naturally does, and we are the reason, and we are dependent on things staying the way the are (or at least having a long time to adapt), then "it happens naturally" is a damn thickheaded thing to say.

    It's like shrugging over a bloody corpse on your doorstep and saying "everyone dies eventually, it's no big deal!" rather than figuring out what happened and whether you are in danger.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:23AM (#41410791)

    That article I linked talks about wind powered ships. It claims what is probably obvious, that most of the fuel is used near the ports to get the ships up to speed and to slow them down. Another reply below mentions kite-based "hybrid" ships [treehugger.com] that claim to reduce 20% of fuel consumption emissions.

    I'll put these numbers together: 20% savings over 90,000 ships is equivalent to taking 18,000 container ships out of the ocean. That is the equivalent of 900 billion cars. Since there are just over one billion cars in the world [huffingtonpost.ca], I'd say there couldn't be a more obvious solution.

    And these hybrid ships don't cost any more or take longer to sail across the ocean. With $2000 in fuel savings, we could see the price of shipped goods reduced instead of increased.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:25AM (#41410805)

    I love the idea of individual responsibility. Corporations are individuals, and they need to be held responsible.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:38AM (#41410933)

    0) all 40 major climate models are in agreement and new tweaks over last couple of years do not adjust any of them significantly
    1) previously assumed 2'C crisis point is looking bad. Current conditions indicate 1'C is likely edge of strange world. We are at 0.8'C now.
    2) 265 GT of carbon release will get us to 2'C point
    3) 2,795 GT of carbon in known preserves slated for exploitation

    why does it matter -->>
    In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can't do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we're now leaving... in the dust.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:44AM (#41410999)

    That graph shows that "SEA ICE" has been growing. Antarctica is a continent, AKA Land. So where is the sea ice coming from? Is it calving off the land? That would be bad.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:50AM (#41411071) Journal

    With 50-100 years to adapt, I'm sure it'll be fine. We survive much more immediate disruptions from natural disasters every year.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dpilot (134227) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:51AM (#41411079) Homepage Journal

    There will certainly be winners as well as losers in climate change. But there are 2 things to remember about this.

    First, our current agricultural systems are "optimized" (for some definition of optimized, though not a very optimal one) around climate patterns as they exist. Even if climate change were to increase the arable land, it would most likely be different land that became arable, and at least some existing arable land will cease to be so. It will take time to adapt our agricultural usage to the new areas. In the short term, this adaptation will likely be uncomfortable.

    Second, one of the predictions about a warmer climate is that things will become more extreme. Continental interiors are expected on average to get dryer, coastal areas on average to get wetter. And as some say, there will likely be more water evaporating, so the rainy areas may get a LOT more rain, while the dry areas may still get dryer.

    Finally, making any predictions is dicey at best. Even, or especially the climate scientists are cagey about exact predictions, because they know how inexact the whole thing is. Which is odd, because one of the skeptics' prime complaints is that there are not exact, testable predictions, and they don't seem to understand that fuzzy statistical answers are also testable.

  • by barakn (641218) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:54AM (#41411111)

    The "we can't predict weather with any accuracy and predicting climate is going to be even harder" argument is the crappiest of crappy arguments. Consider a toss of a fair coin. Toss it once and I have a 50% chance of calling it incorrectly. Toss it 1000 times and my guess that it came up heads 50% of the time will come quite close to the actual percentage of heads.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Plekto (1018050) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:00AM (#41411197)

    The big deal is that the warming water in the oceans warms up the surrounding land masses and they lose their glaciers and ice.

    Greenland is actually turning green again it's getting so warm as of late.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:05AM (#41411265) Journal

    Sounds like trying to empty the ocean with an eyedropper. In order to stop climate change reducing the amount of CO2 we produce is not enough. Ceasing CO2 production is not enough. We have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

    That means we need to stop using fossil fuels entirely. We also need massive CO2 sequestration projects, which can only be funded with public money. None of that is going to happen, because reducing energy consumption puts people at a competetive disadvantage, and we live in a world based on competition.

    There truly is nothing an individual can do to even slow climate change. All of your suggestions amount to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The entire world has to come together to solve this problem, and we all know how likely that is.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:34AM (#41411613)

    But in a world with much more present and pressing issues like war, hunger, unemployment, recession, etc. you can't very well expect every newspaper to lead with a "Average Global Temps Expected to Rise By 1-2 Degrees Celsius Over the Next 50-100 years" headline.

    Or in short "people can't be bothered about long-term problems."

    And it's really too bad because an individual has far more power to do something about global warming than any of those problems you listed.

    Yes, but nobody wants to do the one and only thing that we can do to help the situation.

    Because the solution is NOT to use less energy. The solution is to have less kids and lower the population. Individually, I hope that we're all using twice more energy than we use now in the future. Because it'd be great to have that flying car and robot maids. That's the nature of technology, we use more energy to increase our quality of life.

    Environmentally, that's not a problem if the population has decreased to 10% of the current population. Total energy usage will be down.

    Do you want to help the environment and lower your carbon footprint? Stop having kids.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:48AM (#41411801) Homepage Journal

    I do. I know exzaclt how big it is. I know home many cubim meters of atmostphere we have.

    In one can find that out.

    Here is some stuff you should know:
    Humans emit 29 gigatons of CO2 per year. ONly 40% of which is absorbed into the CO2 cycle. So around 17 gigaton of CO2 remains in the atmostphere.

    Do you know how slow geologic change is? It's SLOW, and the massive change we are seeing has happened in about 100 years. Screaming fast geologically speaking.

    AGW is real, provable, and solid science.

    You sound like a goldfish in a 100 gallon take think this place is huge, our shit could never cause a chemical change in our atmosphere.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:52AM (#41411877) Homepage Journal

    "There will undoubtedly be areas that benefit from global warming".. ug.. wrong.

    Or maybe instead of wrong I should say 'briefly, maybe' Because if we don't stop spewing all the CO2 really soon, there is no reason to think the atmosphere will stop warming during our life time. Once the earth gets to a place where there is a strong enough cycle to absorb the extra CO2. Of course the situation has to get bad enough where the cause of the problem is removed.

    Lets be clear, this isn't about destroying the earth. We would be hard pressed to do that. It's about keeping it habitable for humans.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:06PM (#41412065) Homepage Journal

    Non of which show AGW to be wrong. You take a piece of data* and then claim AGW is a scam? no it isn't, and you sound like an idiot.

    "what scares me about the sheer audacity of the sea level rising doomsayers is that any "hard" science they have is based on measurements taken at the edge of the Pacific Rim"
    Which is a lie. They take the data from MANY places. Liars like you are hurting the conversation. Here is a clue: There is no scientific debate on this matter. Just like there is no real scientific debate around whether or not the Earth revolves around the sun. IN both case, there are people who don't believe the science, but that doesn't make either issue controversial.

    *which you don't seem to understand

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:07PM (#41412087) Homepage

    Humanity isn't doomed at all. Business As Usual is doomed. The old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" is likely to become an obvious phenomena. You might see half of the human population (and 90% of everything else) go extinct. But there will still be humans screwing things up (again) for a long, long time.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Burz (138833) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:14PM (#41412175) Journal

    If you take a little time to read science journals and environmentalist sites on this subject, you'll see that the "alarmists" are actually some of the most respected researchers in climatology. And note they are not focused on telling people to "buy a new Prius". Policy wonks create rebates for things like hybrid cars in large part because they know a huge chunk of their constituency won't reconsider the consumer "growth" lifestyle they inherited from 100-year-old industrial technology.

    yet I'm the one being blamed

    You and I are part of the problem, but the only place I see climatologists and enviros blaming the average consumer is in the results at the polls. The solution requires collective responsibility and so it has to be done in the political sphere. But we keep voting for people who scarcely ever mention the greatest environmental problems.

    (OTOH, someone who believes the solution to global warming is primarily one of individual responsibility then get going and buy that Prius!)

    The statistic you cite refers to refined petroleum products (the US has a very large refining capacity), not crude for which we are still very much in the negative. The problem you point out is one of the downsides of globalization, and enviros are very much in conflict with big industry over the tendency toward excessive shipping.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:20PM (#41412257) Homepage

    So, that totally depends on where you are looking from :)

    Yes, if the AGW debate has taught us anything, it's that people can take selfish, greedy, short-sighted looks at just about anything.

    --Jeremy

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:26PM (#41412303) Homepage

    It's a good thing you're smarter and more insightful than all the people who actually study climate change. This little factoid (every AGW denier seems to have one) clearly must have escaped them all.

    Why don't you write a paper exposing this fact? You could turn climate science on its head and in 100 years be remembered as "Tastecicles, one of the greatest scientists of the 21st century."

    For as pro-science as Slashdot tends to be, it's amazing how quickly throw scientists under the bus as soon as their research forces them to examine their ideologies.

    --Jeremy

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:27PM (#41412327) Journal

    I've seen this argument many times. You think we are too insignificant, too small to affect the big bad Earth in any way? You really think so? Why do you think that?

    More like, it's that you want to believe it. Then you won't have to change, and it won't be your responsibility or fault. Change isn't always bad, you know. For instance, no one misses the old CRT monitors. Flat screens are so much better in pretty much every way, including power consumption. I'd like to see traffic lights and cars get some brains. I don't like waiting at red lights. It's all the more annoying when the light is making you wait for nothing. There are many other little things we can do, and they all add up.

    What will happen is war. After we've screwed up and melted the ice on Greenland and Antarctica, a lot of people on the coast will have to move. Crops will fail as weather patterns change. It will make the dust bowl of the 1930's look like a picnic. Many of us will face starvation. If the Arab Spring shows anything, it's that when food runs short, people fight. Can we keep the nuclear weapons in the silos? If we use nukes, we may well kill ourselves off. We will instantly halt global warming and replace it with nuclear winter, and starve because we won't be able to grow any crops. A very few of us may survive that. May. Once our population has been drastically reduced by famine and war, things will stabilize. It won't be pretty, but that's the future we're looking at if we do nothing about global warming.

    It doesn't have to be that way. What should we do? What can we do? Get ready for the changes, since we can't stop some of them now. It's too late for that. But first, we owe it to everyone to at least have a discussion about this problem.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:10PM (#41414791) Journal

    No hyperbole. War is what will happen if we do nothing. You obviously don't think matters could come to that pass. Sounds naive and childish to me, this refusal to take responsibility for this problem. I would rather not wait until matters have deteriorated to the point that we're at the final option: mass death.

    However, we will do something. What, I don't know. Wait until even the dimmest bulbs in our society see that we have a big problem, then spring into action with typical muscular and very costly solutions. Wall off our coasts, like the Netherlands? Huge water projects? More dams, canals, desalination plants, sewage reclamation, and the like to deal with droughts? Powered removal of CO2 from the air? Easier solutions like cutting down carbon emissions now appear to be politically impossible, thanks to people like yourself. Expect you'll claim it would wreck our economy. If so, you couldn't be more wrong. It will stimulate the economy.

  • Re:Press coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:31PM (#41418255) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, I thought you were talking about the general problem of predicting climate trends.

    The metaphor I like is that of driving near a cliff on a foggy day. You can't prove that you're headed towards the cliff, but that's not a good reason to assume you're not. So you need to slow down, even if makes you late for work.

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