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Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations 313

Posted by timothy
from the it's-only-a-model dept.
sciencehabit writes "Nearly every coral reef could be dying by 2100 if current carbon dioxide emission trends continue, according to a new review of major climate models from around the world. The only way to maintain the current chemical environment in which reefs now live, the study suggests, would be to deeply cut emissions as soon as possible. It may even become necessary to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, say with massive tree-planting efforts or machines."
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Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations

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  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 23, 2012 @02:07AM (#42373703)

    95% of "sceptics" are not sceptics at all, they are deniers. It doesn't matter what evidence is presented, they will not accept it even if they can't refute it.

    Let's turn the question around. Why do you categorise everyone who accepts the evidence as accurate as "unquestioning believers"?

  • by blindseer (891256) <blindseer AT earthlink DOT net> on Sunday December 23, 2012 @02:14AM (#42373723)

    I find it very upsetting that there is an abundance of people that are concerned about the CO2 output but very few that take the time to investigate and lobby for solutions that won't drive us back into the stone age. The only solution that we have now, with no need for new technological advancements, is nuclear power. We have not built a new nuclear power plant here in the USA for something like four decades. Those that are still running are undoubtedly reaching the end of their safe and profitable lifespan.

    Alternatives like wind, solar, and bio-mass take considerable amounts of land. This land is expensive and competes with other vital needs like food. I recall a solar power plant that could not produce enough electricity to pay it's property taxes. They were allowed a discounted rate on the tax but they still went out of business since they couldn't pay their other bills. Bio-mass is a direct competitor to food as any land that can grow a plant suitable for energy is also land that is suitable to grow food. There just is not enough land, water, and sun to both feed us and provide our power needs. There might be enough to both fill our tummies and our fuel tanks on our vehicles but the biggest producer of CO2 is not our vehicles, it's our coal fired power plants.

    Wind might some day be competitive with coal and be profitable. The problem with wind, as well as geothermal and hydro, is that it is highly sensitive to location. Wind power can share land with things like food crops but it shares a weakness with solar power, it is highly sensitive to weather.

    There's a part of me that thinks this scare over CO2 output is largely a hoax. There is a part of me that just doesn't care. What I do want to see is all this arguing to stop and people put some real solutions to work. I want them to STFU and build some nuclear power plants already. I can see a perfect spot for one from my front door. It has a rail nearby, a small river flowing by for cooling water, and a ready market in the city that I can see from my back door. My only concern is that a power plant so close might shade my house.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 23, 2012 @02:56AM (#42373853)

    At absolute worst, the global warming "true believers" are putting their faith in scientific consensus; why is this some great intellectual crime? Am I a "true believer" for believing in the theory of gravity without extensive experimentation to prove it to myself? Am I a "true believer" in relativity because I haven't built my own atomic clocks and launched them into orbit to verify it? Why is it that in every other aspect of life I can accept prevailing (almost universal) scientific consensus and no one will bat an eye, and yet to accept same in regard to global warming is some sort of heinous act?

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @02:58AM (#42373859)

    My claimed "so-called skeptics" are those who are actually denialists but who insist on being labelled skeptics because it sounds more reasonable, considered and open-minded.

    They are the people who distrust scientists completely and put all their faith in right wing pundits who say that it is actually getting cooler (who do this by comparing the temperature to the El Nino year of 1998 - which was completely unrepresentative of the average of the time).

    Despite wanting to appear open-minded, they will never ever concede that there is a chance that scientists are correct. That is not merely being skeptical. If they argue a point and are shown to be wrong (when it becomes obvious that they haven't read the studies that they are skeptical about), they will never use that experience to change their thinking, but will instead seamlessly move on to the next bit of "evidence" that they found on some conservative blog as if nothing happened.

    They will not subject the anti-AGW claims to the same skepticism to which they hold the claims of science. They will question the financial motives of scientists without a shred of evidence that they are "on the take", and yet will dismiss with contempt any suggestion that big business funds the think tanks that churn out the FUD against the science. This is despite those same think tanks of having a documented history of being paid by business to discredit scientists (think back to the smoking-cancer link debate).

    I am not claiming that all people who call themselves skeptics are like this, but the real ones are quite rare to find.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 23, 2012 @03:10AM (#42373881)

    So, just to clarify: you put an equal amount of skepticism (which is to say, happily rejecting 99+% of peer-reviewed literature) on modern theories in physics, including relativities both special and general, all of quantum physics, etc... right? Or otherwise, you haven't addressed my point in the slightest.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xeno man (1614779) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @03:55AM (#42373965)
    Because no one is raising a rally to battle gravity. The government doesn't want to build a dome around the planet to prevent meteorites from hitting Earth and thus increasing gravity or prevent atmosphere from escaping thus lowering gravity. No one wants to create a gravity tax and raise the costs of goods to combat local gravity fluctuation. No one is creating more expensive utilities like water and power and sell it because it's gravity friendly.

    Global warming is not simply accepted because it affects everyone now in the wallet. If there was total acceptance, we would all be buying more expensive solar power instead of coal or nuclear, we would be paying carbon taxes on every product we buy every day and companies would be trading even more carbon credits then currently available. Making ends meet is more important to the common man than relativity.
  • Re:RT (WHOLE) FA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tp1024 (2409684) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @04:17AM (#42374005)

    Lack of necessity.

    Sardines had hundreds of millions of years to extent their range into freshwater, yet they didn't. It was only when a swarm of sardines got trapped in what is today Lake Taal, which used to be just another part of the Pacific Ocean. It became a lake only in the 1750ies, when a volcanic eruption cut it off from the ocean and rain turned saltwater into freshwater in a matter of decades.

    Those decades were sufficient to do what hundreds of millions of years had not managed to do, because it had never been necessary. In 100,000 years, all evidence of happened in lake taal will have been erazed by the same geologic processes that gave rise to all of that in the first place.

    The assumed stagnation and lethargy of the evolution of species is an artifact of processes that conserve their traces now accessible to us. Unless a species is pervasive and somehow amenable to be conserved over geologic time spans within the environment they live in, it will irrecoverably be lost to history.

    Our biosphere survived several ICE AGES. Looking out of the window I see landscape that was covered with hundreds of meters of ice a (geologically) very short time ago and has undergone numerous radical climate changes, yet, failed completely to become a dead wasteland for any appreciable time once the ice retreated.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @04:35AM (#42374047)

    I think what probably rubs people the wrong way is when those who spearhead the AGW movement either don't practice what they preach, or outright fabricate their "facts." Al Gore tells us that we all need to reduce our carbon footprint, yet he has a larger carbon footprint than dare I say 99% of the world's population. Further, he deliberately fabricated data in order to sell his "inconvenient truth" movie. As if that isn't enough, he sells carbon credits, aka "indulgences" to himself.

    When you ask his supporters why he should be able to consume a lot while telling the rest of us not to, they insist that it's because he's an important person to get the word across (as if he's more important than anybody else on the planet no less.) That falls apart though when you think about the fact that his message is about as known as it can get, furthermore, most of his consumption comes from luxuries.

  • Re:Good Grief. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by St.Creed (853824) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @05:12AM (#42374145)

    Did you leave your brains at work when you left on friday? If you could just, for a second or two, try to get it in your skull that potentially species-destroying events are not safely ignored and do not go away by wishful thinking, then *maybe* you could accept that there are a lot of people concerned about it. Maybe a tad more than the 100 lunatics you seem to think make up the entire society of "people who think it's a bad thing".

    Doesn't it bother you that the news is starting to look like the introduction to Sunshine or similarly apocalyptic movies? That there are very serious issues with our entire food chain? That there are very serious issues with the ability to sustain our current standards of living if we go on like this?

    The whole problem is *not* that most people think we need to give away boatloads of money to appease our conscience. That is just your personal straw man. You can keep setting it up and burning it down again, but no one in their right mind will accept your verbal hysteria as an argument. Most people just want to hold on to the standards of living we have. And not see it getting much worse, and see what their children potentially have to live through. If we do not act *now* we will never act until it is too late. And then, draconian measures will have to be implemented.

    The geo-engineering measures are opposed by a lot of people because outside of a very small group of techno-fetishists, it does not *solve* the underlying issues (at best it just mitigates them - but even that is questionable), has side-effects that are unknown and potentially as lethal as the current issues we have. Since we have a very well-understood way of dealing with the CO2 issues, which is to stop spewing CO2 in the air, there is no reason to go to unproven options. Reducing CO2 output has no known harmful side-effects, except that old and established industries that cannot change their operations, will go the way of the dinosaurs. Boohoo. That's not a communist plot, that's a consequence of the bed those industries made and now have to lie in.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:4, Insightful)

    by St.Creed (853824) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @05:26AM (#42374181)

    You are making assumptions. Yes, fossil fuels are necessary right now. But we can improve the wastage levels a lot. Cars do not have to guzzle gallons of fuel to transport people if you have better public transportation and enforce green standards on cars. The Japanese car factories proved that it was possible to build much better cars than were the norm (and Chrysler, GM and Ford nearly or actually died on that one). The same goes for many areas of the way we live. The US especially seems to glorify in insane airconditioning, huge wastage of food and resources, very bad insulation on housing, and on and on.

    Even without draconic measures in place, many standard building practices in the US would be utterly unacceptable in most EU countries. That could improve tomorrow, leading to a better quality of buildings and reduced CO2 consumption.

    The whole dichotomy between "reducing CO2" and "better living conditions" is fake. You can have both, in a lot of cases. We should save the fossil fuels for those cases where we cannot and not spend it willy-nilly.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amck (34780) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @05:30AM (#42374189) Homepage

    Because, historically, those who have placed their faith in the "scientific consensus" of the day have almost always turned out to be spectacularly wrong?

    No.
    Evidence, please?
    Can you show that people have been "almost always" wrong on every issue? On gravity, the laws of thermodynamics, on quantum mechanics, on the atom theory of nature, on evolution, on ...
    You can point to individual anecodatal points, but "almost always" and "spectacularly wrong" on every issue is a very strong statement.

    Also, "faith" has no place in science. I provisionally accept lots of things, based on the scientific consensus of my colleagues. Especially with the overwhelming amount of evidence to investigate. Contrary evidence trumps consensus, but in the case of climate change, it isn't there.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @05:37AM (#42374215)

    You might like to look at my definition of a "so called skeptic" below, because refusing to look at the science just because you guess that it is wrong is denialism, not skepticism. Feel free to continue with your uninformed belief, but don't try to pretend to the rest of the world that you know more than the scientists who dedicate their life to actually studying what is going on.

  • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Sunday December 23, 2012 @06:39AM (#42374335)

    My push to the movement is very very small, but I can assure you that I am not a Luddite. Except when it comes to coal fired power plants and electronic voting.

    Feel free to build as many nuclear or solar or wind power plants as you want. Solar will hopefully make electricity so cheap that we won't have to worry about wasting it. If rain forest has to be destroyed to make room for people, then so be it, the Earth is not a museum.

    Just don't ruin it all so that the next generation has an impossible clean up task to do. We have enough trouble today with dealing with the land fills of the last generation; just a little more forethought then would have saved a lot of effort now. Forcing the next generation to extract coal from the air so they can stick it back into mines is really stupid.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:4, Insightful)

    by professionalfurryele (877225) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @06:59AM (#42374359)

    Okay, can you cite a peer reviewed publication which makes that prediction (a new ice age) with the certainty you claim? Time magazine is not a peer reviewed publication and if you get your science from the media then you will just get bad science. Back in the 70s, even though global temperatures had been reasonably stable (or possibly declining) most scientists were predicting global warming would dominate global dimming. As the evidence of the last 40 years came in most scientists (who were defying the current trend of global temperatures) because almost all scientists, at least the ones who do climate research.

    Your bad science teacher and the fact that science journalists aren't worth a piss in the ocean doesn't mean the scientists had it wrong. Go read the peer reviewed literature, I promise you for ever paper you have implying we may be approaching another ice age I can find 3 going the other way.

  • Re:RT (WHOLE) FA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tp1024 (2409684) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @10:08AM (#42375007)

    The last iceage covered all of Northern Europe, Britain, parts of Germany, parts of Poland in massive, greenland-like glaciers and changed the climate massively all the way down to Africa. The alps too, were covered glaciers running all the way down into the surrounding areas, which were what you would call a tundra.

    That was 20.000 years ago not millions of years.

    Nature adapts - quickly. Much more quickly than anybody is giving her credit for.

  • Re:A wake up call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenorland (2691677) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @10:09AM (#42375013)

    It's not up to peope to self assess and choose a position they are comfortable with - if I were more comfortable with believing there is no link between lung cancer and smoking, would my position make me less likely to get lung cancer?

    Let's stick with that example. You are implying that because smoking causes cancer, everybody must come to the conclusion that they don't want to smoke. But that is obviously not the case: lots of people smoke despite knowing about the substantial (and it is substantial) increase in risk. It's the same for many other risky activities: investing, emigrating, motorcycle riding, etc. Many people engage in those activities because they think the potential rewards justify the risk. You are free to disagree with them, but there is no objectively right choice about the level of risk people are willing to accept. (A second point is that a link at the population level does not imply that a link exists for any individual; I may have information that makes it rational for me to smoke even if it wouldn't be rational for you.)

    So, continuing to emit CO2 without any kinds of imposed limits has some risks, and they are well documented. Many people have looked at those risks and said they can live with them, because they consider the alternatives of not taking those risks are far worse.

    Your risk preferences may be different, but your preferences don't imply that there is a single, objectively correct policy vis-a-vis AGW.

    Personally, I'd like to see government investment in research in renewable energies, increased taxation of oil and coal, and investment in nuclear power plants. But I strongly object to multi-national carbon trading schemes or global emission limits, because I think they would be ineffective and subject to massive abuse.

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