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Earth Science

Dialing Back the Alarm On Climate Change 490

Posted by samzenpus
from the really-bad-not-really-really-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A leaked copy of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made the rounds and the good news is that the predicted temperature rise expected as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than predicted in 2007. From the article: 'Admittedly, the change is small, and because of changing definitions, it is not easy to compare the two reports, but retreat it is. It is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet. Specifically, the draft report says that "equilibrium climate sensitivity" (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is "extremely likely" to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), "likely" to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and "very likely" to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was "likely" to be above 2 degrees Celsius and "very likely" to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since "extremely" and "very" have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.'"
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Dialing Back the Alarm On Climate Change

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  • In before (Score:5, Funny)

    by Orp (6583) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:02PM (#44857717) Homepage
    CLIMATEDERP!
    • Re:In before (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:34PM (#44857919) Homepage Journal

      Like a tin-teardrop!

      My dear God in heaven! We can even predict Brownian motion and particle distribution in 20 cubic meters, with percentages and concentrations involved with this "modeling".

      Yet, with the introduction of additional variables, let us say n variables, which include surface interaction with seas, the presence of ice-sheets and glaciers, solar activity, volcanism, etcetera, ad infinitum... Somehow, a reliable and predictable model of planetary atmospheric climate - without prejudice or bias - is expected to be produced within the statistical expectations required to make policy decisions?

      I hate Koch Brother-sponsored "make me obscenely richer" propaganda, much as the next free-thinker does. But there is also a giant, Billionaire-fueled machine at setting the agenda for individual and collective behavior, based on making dramatic assertions about "Global Climate". If you don't believe it?

      Well, then Albert Gore has a bridge to sell you, and you've already made the first couple of payments - at the low, introductory "teaser" rate.

      This whole business is a war between old-school resource robber-barons, and new-global capital, which looks to establish cooperation on permanent rentier concessions. Both spend tens-of-millions shaping perception (insert standard Edward Bernays reference [prmuseum.com]), in the form of "research science", think tanks and public policy forums. None of these players are charities...

      • by TWiTfan (2887093)

        Careful, brother. This is Slashdot, where even modest questioning of the Church of Global Warming can get you modded right into Hell.

  • by stoploss (2842505) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:02PM (#44857721)

    I look forward to the calm, rational, and coherent discussion!

    For once, there may be a thread on this site that avoids tangenting off into politics. It will be refreshing to witness a debate that does not invoke Nazis, gun control, or the results of previous US elections, because those are totally offtopic and everyone will realize that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:08PM (#44857753)

      Are you kidding? Climate change was out of control when Bush was president. Notice how now that Obama is president the climate change is not a big deal anymore? President Obama saved us! Thank goodness that all those people voted for Obama when I, as a very uneducated voter, voted for the other guy.

      • by sycodon (149926)

        "this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth."

        AAAahhhaaahahahahahahahaha!

      • by srmalloy (263556)

        Notice how now that Obama is president the climate change is not a big deal anymore?

        “This is the future we must avert. This is the global threat of our time. And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work.”

        Hardly sounds as if Obama considers "climate change" to be a sideline. You just have to look at Obama's Climate Action Plan [whitehouse.gov] to see for yourself. In his speech on climate change in June, he declared that he would be invoking

    • by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:09PM (#44857763)

      I look forward to the calm, rational, and coherent discussion!

      For once, there may be a thread on this site that avoids tangenting off into politics. It will be refreshing to witness a debate that does not invoke Nazis, gun control, or the results of previous US elections, because those are totally offtopic and everyone will realize that.

      Yeah, good luck with that.

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:25PM (#44857853) Homepage

      I'm finding it hard to see what the change is here.

      The old number was that the doubling sensitivity was most likely to be in the range 2 C-to-4.5 C. Specifically:
      "we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2C to 4.5C, with a most likely value of about 3C."
      (reference: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-5.html#box-10-2 [www.ipcc.ch] )

      This report-- if the leaked version is accurate-- is that it's "'likely' to be above 1.5 degrees C, 'very likely' to be below 6 degrees C".
      That's not a "reduction" or a "retreat"-- it is, at best, a slightly higher range. But since, as the summary says, "Since "extremely" and "very" have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.," I don't see that there's any clear change at all-- just different wording.

      This is spin-- there isn't be anything new here.

      • by petsounds (593538) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:41PM (#44857953)

        This is spin-- there isn't be anything new here.

        Yup, exactly this. This report doesn't lead to any conclusion that we should "dial back the alarm" as the news title suggests. The approval of this submission by slashdot editors shows either bias towards climate change denial, or just a desire for more linkbait, button-pushing articles. Perhaps both.

      • by KeensMustard (655606) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:24PM (#44858175)
        The change appears to be that after some analysis, they've determine the stability of the next equilibrium to be below 6 degrees. This means that there is low risk of the temperature increasing beyond 6 degrees. There was always an equilibrium, and six degrees or anything like six degree is well into the dangerous range, so the authors conclusion it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet seems to be dangling in the wind. How did he draw that conclusion?

        A quick check of the authors credentials indicates he wrote a book some years ago expounding the view that climate change will be beneficial for humanity. The WSJ article is the author promoting his own ideas under the guise of interpreting the results of the next IPCC report for us (rather than letting us interpret the results for ourselves).

      • Ignore the evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

        by huckamania (533052) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @06:13PM (#44858501) Journal

        Ignore the pause, ignore the missing heat, ignore the solar cycles, ignore the lack of sea level rise, ignore an arctic that is not ice free, ignore ENSO effects, ignore weather stations next to tarmacs, ignore urban heating, because they don't match the models.

        Ignore the money being made, ignore the cost to society, ignore the lack of true peer review, ignore the missing data, ignore academic misconduct, ignore the denied FOI requests, ignore the emails, because that is just human nature.

        When you are blind, everything is 'Nothing to see here, move along'...

      • Once again, the psuedo-skeptics will play a clever etymological and semantics game to try to make it sound as if science is saying one thing, when it's actually saying something else. It's so typical of the pseudo-skeptic movement to simultaneously declare climatologists morally bankrupt communists out to destroy poor whttle oil companies while they take every word uttered by climatologists out of context to try to declare that climatology now rejects AGW.

    • I look forward to the calm, rational, and coherent discussion!

      Yeah, exactly the sorts of discussions they NAZIS led before the confiscated all the GUNS, Obama-style!

      640K ought to be enough for anybody!

      • I look forward to the calm, rational, and coherent discussion!

        640K ought to be enough for anybody!

        Hey, when you take the initiative to invent the internets, you can make that claim. Not until. ;^)

      • Nobody ever made that claim about 640k by the way. Not Bill Gates, or anybody else.

  • by stkris (1843186)
    I remember in second grade ca 1974 my teacher explaining that the Earth were slowly heading into a new ice age.

    If I ever meet him again I'll buy him a beer!
    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:09PM (#44857761)

      I remember in second grade ca 1974 my teacher explaining that the Earth were slowly heading into a new ice age. If I ever meet him again I'll buy him a beer!

      Except that was a fringe idea that was obliterated in peer review fairly quickly. But people for some reason tend to fixate the weirdest shit in their memories, instead of the actually useful stuff.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Oh, is that based on the Time news cover back then? That's cute. I also get all my knowledge of those devious "hackers" from the mainstream media as well.

      Now for real science:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm [skepticalscience.com]

      Survey of 68 Scientific Studies from 1965 to 1979, 10% predicted cooling, 62% predicted warming, 28% had no stance. Today, more than 97% scientist agree on warming.

      • Oh, is that based on the Time news cover back then? That's cute. I also get all my knowledge of those devious "hackers" from the mainstream media as well.

        Now for real science:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm [skepticalscience.com]

        Survey of 68 Scientific Studies from 1965 to 1979, 10% predicted cooling, 62% predicted warming, 28% had no stance. Today, more than 97% scientist agree on warming.

        Oh yes, that 97% consensus study from Cooks that is really just 0.3% consensus [wattsupwiththat.com]. Great appeal to an imaginary authority!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know why people keep bringing this up as if it somehow negates global warming.

      1) We *are* slowly heading into an ice age (read up on Milankovitch cycles), but it is not due for tens of thousands of years, so it's kind of irrelevant on century scale;
      2) On a shorter time scale (the next century or two), we're expecting the Earth to warm up due to higher CO2 concentrations, and that is a concern.

      There is nothing inconsistent about these two statements because they are at different timescales. Your log

      • by Arker (91948)

        In fact we arent heading *into* an ice-age, we are living in one. The climate we consider normal is an ice age climate, specifically the interglacial, periods colder than typical for earth, but not the most extreme cold in earths cycle - times when there are solid ice caps at the poles, but they dont extend very far from them. The next phase of the ice-age climate is the shift from interglacial to glacial, a period of greater cold when the glaciers will grow down towards the equators as they have done many

  • Also... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Orp (6583) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:05PM (#44857735) Homepage
    Two mistakes pop up immediately int the article - IPPC (eh? OK, typo) and "The Journal of the American Meteorological Society". It's IPCC and the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS). Maybe this guy creamed himself while typing, it is the WSJ after all.
    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Two mistakes pop up immediately int the article - IPPC (eh? OK, typo) and "The Journal of the American Meteorological Society". It's IPCC and the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS). Maybe this guy creamed himself while typing, it is the WSJ after all.

      So..., I am trying to wrap my head around this... You're saying that the WSJ, a periodical noted for it's business expertise, is putting spin on this report? Why, oh why, would they want to do that, I wonder?

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:06PM (#44857743)
    Given the inertia of our industrial and economic processes, it only means that the unstoppable iceberg will simply crawl slower. But at least we have more time. I also don't think that this means a time-out for ocean acidification.
    • Well if these were truly big concerns, then why didn't they wipe out all life on earth 65 million years ago? 65 million years ago we had a few things: Large macroscale life like Dinosaurs and giant mosquitos, a large supercontinent named pangea, no ice caps, and CO2 levels ten times as high as they are right now. The ocean at this time was acidic beyond even the worst doomsday predictions of Al Gore. The planet was also "greener" (more plantlife) than at any point in history.

      • by jbengt (874751)

        65 million years ago we had a few things: Large macroscale life like Dinosaurs and giant mosquitos, a large supercontinent named pangea, no ice caps, and CO2 levels ten times as high as they are right now.

        65million years ago we had oxygen levels around 35%.
        250 million years ago, we had ocean acidification that helped wipe out 95% of the complex life forms in the ocean.-
        None of that implies that the current trends are good for us.

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:12PM (#44857779)
    The world's climate is such a huge, complex and fluid system that the best supercomputer in existence will only be able to model its future behavior "very approximately". It should thus not come as a big shock when what the computer models predicted in 2007 doesn't happen exactly in 2013, or indeed further down the timeline. It is only when more complex & accurate simulations can be run on supercomputers that we can have any reasonable expectancy of modeling the future behavior of the earth's climate with any accuracy.----- And suppose for a moment that we happen to realize further down the line that "Climate Change" worries were a bit overblown? Well, no harm done! Without the Climate Change alarmism of the last 2 decades, nobody would have put much money into developing renewables like wind and solar or tidal energy. We also might not have Toyota Priuses or Tesla electric cars on the market today. Not to mention computers and other household devices that save a lot of energy compared to past cousins. ------ So whether Global Warming is real or not, fear of it has influenced everything from automobile to refrigerator designs to become more "earth friendly". That's a good thing in my book....
    • by Derec01 (1668942) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:28PM (#44857869)

      It's not a bad thing, per se.

      However, it does feed the idea that the alarmism was trumped up for that purpose in the first place, a suspicion that many have had over the years. If too many people, scientist or not, subscribe to this "ends justifies the means" rationalization (instead of just saying that they were mistaken), that is not going to foster public trust in the scientific community.

    • by mc6809e (214243)

      It is only when more complex & accurate simulations can be run on supercomputers that we can have any reasonable expectancy of modeling the future behavior of the earth's climate with any accuracy.

      The deviation from reality, though, seems systematic. Nearly all the models predicted warming greatly exceeding what we've witnessed over the past 15 years or so.

      What we need are not more complex and accurate simulations. What we need are more accurate physics that we can then simulate.

    • by trewornan (608722)

      So whether Global Warming is real or not, fear of it has influenced everything from automobile to refrigerator designs to become more "earth friendly". That's a good thing in my book....

      Yeah screw all the plebs who died unnecessarily because money that could have been spent on health care, research, foreign aid, etc was spent on emission targets to combat global warming "real or not".

      • I'm a big skeptic of the global warming movement, but emissions standards are fine in my book so long as they target actual pollutants (e.g. soot, etc). Even if we cause global warming, I don't believe it will hurt us. However we can cause ourselves grief by polluting the ground, air, or water with toxic chemicals. Let's keep those two separate and not let the issue of global warming distract from the issue of pollution.

        If you need proof of why we need emissions standards, go have a walk around Beijing.

        Othe

        • by khallow (566160)

          If you need proof of why we need emissions standards, go have a walk around Beijing.

          That just means Beijing needs emission standards.

          In my book, all the money squandered on "real or not" problems could have been used for real problems that affect billions of people. I'd wager that we'll find out that the cost of addressing imaginary climate change problems has cost the lives of tens of millions of people.

    • According to this recent paper [ed.ac.uk], the climate models were a bit off......
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What about the poor people who can not afford to heat their homes due to higher energy prices due of course to more expensive renewable energy? What about those who freeze to death in the winter time because they can not afford to heat their home? What about those poor people who start chopping down trees instead of paying for traditional heating? There is always a negative side to any political action and denying that is just as bad as denying that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Face it, lots of

    • I've said this here before, but it's worth repeating: regardless of whether or not AGW is true or not, it's probably not a good idea for us to be running an open-ended experiment of dumping as much carbon dioxide as we can into the atmosphere just to see what happens.
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasnw (1913892) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:17PM (#44857813)

    (Sound of pooch being screwed.) This is how real science works, particularly with highly complex issues like the earth's climate. We learn new things as we go along, and when new knowledge means we need to adjust our undestanding, that's what is done. The next update by the IPCC (if it gets funded, that is) may well show that what we learn in the interim indicates that the current estimates of climate change were too small. Unfortunately, the polarization of politics will take this latest IPCC report (if it indeed says what the article states) as an indication that these science types have been lying to us all along and they should now be ignored and driven from the temple. Efforts to deal with the effects of the upcoming changes will be killed off and nothing will be done until it's too late to do much of anything other than hope to cope.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AlphaWolf_HK (692722)

      If you want to know who to blame, blame the groups that try to use climate science to push their pet agendas like vegetarianism, socialism, organic, or whatever "new age" philosophies they think are mankinds next answer when they have almost nothing to do with the issue at hand.

      (By the way I'm not speaking about whether vegetarianism or socialism or good or bad, just that they don't belong in this discussion and only serve to complicate things.)

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:27PM (#44857863)

    Just a few days ago, there was a story how the ice in the arctic "rebounded" 60%.

    The real story is in this graph:

    http://postimg.org/image/hcadakghv/ [postimg.org]

    We've been measuring arctic ice the late 70s. It's at it's maximum in March, melts during the summer, and sees it's minimum in September. 2012 was the record year we had so far for the LEAST amount of artic ice. 2007 has second place and 2011 has 3rd. This year we have more than 2012. This was expected among scientists because of something called regression towards the mean. That concept basically says when an extreme outlier event occurs, we expect the next event to be closer to the average. Basically, the entire hoopla is about playing math games to appear more impressive than it is.

    When the story came out, it was premature the typical September lowpoint, so don't expect the 60% figure to quite hold that high, but it is higher than last year none the less. However, you can see it's still well below 00s average and that every decade has since the measurements started have less and less ice.

    So there you have it? Maybe the heat is going into the oceans? Then melting the poles as the currents do a good job of distributing the equator heat around via currents. The ice melts, breaks off whatever, and like icecubes in a warm drink, cool it down.... until there is no ice left?

    Come on, what is with the propraganda here? Last year was an obsolute low point in Arctic Ice extent.... and we get stories of so called "rebounds"? Just look at the graph and tell me that it trend isn't clear.

    • by Alef (605149) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:02PM (#44858029)

      The ice story was particularly idiotic. The ice cover of 2012 was at an extreme low; this years it's pretty much spot on the (downward) trend line, which happens to lie 60% above the 2012 record. Drawing any long-term conclusion from that difference is like saying there will be no winter this year, because it was warmer today than yesterday.

      Peter Hadfield summarised it [youtube.com] quite nicely in a video.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:46PM (#44858323)
      The problem is the global-warming deniers trumpet the low temperature outliers, and the global warming proponents trumpet the high temperature outliers. Last year, one side made a big deal about the least ice in the Arctic in recorded history. This year the other side is making a big deal about the ice pack rebounding. Same thing with hurricanes. In 2005 it was all about the worst Atlantic hurricane season in history being caused by global warming. Then 2006 was one of the mildest hurricane seasons in history and the other side got to crow.

      It's stupid trying to use outliers as evidence. Both sides of the global warming debate are guilty of this. The average trend is what everyone should be looking at. The same goes for pretty much everything. e.g. People get their panties in a bunch about plane crashes or nuclear reactor accidents, when statistically they are the safest forms of transportation and power generation respectively. People are convinced schools are becoming more dangerous because of recent mass shootings on the news, when in fact they're the safest they've ever been in spite of those shooting incidents. We give up our rights and freedoms because of a single hugely successful terrorist attack, when once you remove that single incident you're statistically more likely (in the U.S.) to be killed by lightning than a terrorist attack. All these incidents are outliers and they should be assumed to be non-representative of the long-term average.
    • by argStyopa (232550)

      I keep hearing this - was this the "talking point" posted on DU the day this story came out?

      Because I looked it up at NOAA and this doesn't look nearly as 'scary'.

      http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z36/hogan99/screenhunter_561-sep-14-06-01_zps52aaf3b0.jpg [photobucket.com]

  • by dgp (11045) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:33PM (#44857903) Journal

    http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators [nasa.gov]

    The CO2 graph (direct measurement) is clearly climbing at a never-before-seen rate. How does this compare to the conclusions in the report?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlphaWolf_HK (692722)

      Never before seen? Ever? What about during the Cambrian period? CO2 levels 18 times as high as they are today.

      In fact - this may come as a shock to you - we are currently at one of the low points for CO2 levels in Earths history. Not just low, but VERY low.

      http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html [geocraft.com]

      • by blueg3 (192743) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:15PM (#44859267)

        Let's compare.

        The CO2 graph (direct measurement) is clearly climbing at a never-before-seen rate.

        Okay, graphs don't climb. That nitpick aside, it's clear that what is never before seen is the rate. The rate at which a quantity Q climbs is its derivative dQ/dt.

        CO2 levels 18 times as high as they are today. ... we are currently at one of the low points for CO2 levels in Earths history.

        Here, you're talking about the quantity Q and not its rate of increase dQ/dt.

        It may surprise you to learn that a quantity and its derivative are totally different things, and that one can be very low while the other is very high.

        This is actually a good tangent, though, because it's a frequent mistake. Graphs of temperature and CO2 over very long periods of time are often dominated by sharp transitions. This causes people to say that the current situation is not unprecedented because there were very sharp transitions in the past! The problem is that if you pick an appropriate time scale, all transitions look sharp. The reader is mentally comparing two graphs (CO2 or temperature today, of the course of a few hundred years, with ages ago, over the course of thousands). Quantification is absolutely necessary. Very roughly, the rate of CO2 and temperature increase today is at least an order of magnitude higher than the "natural" transitions of the past that we have (indirectly) measured. So yes, unprecedented.

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      The CO2 graph (direct measurement) is clearly climbing at a never-before-seen rate. How does this compare to the conclusions in the report?

      Note that sawtooth shape? That's regular glaciation cycles, the kind that cover most of Europe, Asia, and North America in thick ice sheets.

      If we're really lucky, our CO2 spike will actually finally break us out of those cycles and take us out of the current ice age, an ice age that has been going on for 7 million years.

  • what the evaluation on the CO flood will say - damage, cost, cause.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/09/15/colorado-floods-weather/2816051/ [usatoday.com]
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/14/colorado-flooding-climate-change_n_3926284.html [huffingtonpost.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX3w90YecnA [youtube.com]

    How much denials there will be and if it's all blamed on the FSM (or equiv.).
    Enjoy the coming show!
  • by Bueller_007 (535588) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:36PM (#44857929)

    The author of this article, Matt Ridley, is a known climate change denialist and of course the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch and therefore operates under the same umbrella as Fox News.

    Supposed leaks from the IPCC document have already been mischaracterized in the right-wing media. See, for example, Phil Plait's demolition of them here:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/09/10/climate_change_sea_ice_global_cooling_and_other_nonsense.html [slate.com]

    Or if you prefer your demolition in video format:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lH5D9P6KYfY [youtube.com]

    I have no reason to trust the right-wing's interpretation of the IPCC document before it is officially announced and I can check it for myself. Why don't you try WAITING for it to be released before you start spreading this very likely BS.

  • Conversion (Score:5, Informative)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:43PM (#44857961)

    1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit)

    1.5 degrees Celsius is 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature#Conversion [wikipedia.org]

  • by eriks (31863) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:13PM (#44858095) Homepage

    I really wish that both "sides" in the climate change "debate" could put away the hyperbole and come to grips with the fact that we need to live in some way approaching equilibrium with the various processes happening here on planet Earth. That's not just about co2 production. Even though there is unquestionably consensus among climate scientists that the rising co2 level IS significant, there are *many* other factors at play. It won't matter if we get the co2 situation under control, but still have high-levels of fresh water pollution and half-dead oceans.

    We need to pollute less, period.

    We need to dramatically increase our total energy efficiency, which can largely be achieved by picking the "low-hanging fruit" of building insulation, indoor daytime lighting and industrial energy usage. All three of these can be addressed (easily!) with incentives like rebates and tax credits -- granted that takes political will, which seems in short supply, but it's all there already, just waiting to happen: just (gradually) shift the subsidies currently granted to fossil fuel companies over to businesses and homeowners that are willing to make investments in long-term energy efficiency and savings, it just makes sense: since energy saving == money saving.

    The reality is that our total energy usage is increasing, so the more we stretch it, the more comfortable humanity can be in the long term. We need to be building as many solar, wind, wave, thermal gradient and salinity gradient systems as we can, all the while earnestly studying the effects and operation of these systems, and discovering our mistakes and correcting them as we go. We need better fission reactor designs: meaning serious R&D and testing. We need better (and more!) energy storage systems. And probably most importantly we need to come up with new ideas for generating and storing energy. Life is not static, we can't just say "hey, this is good enough" -- we have to make it better! Life forms don't stop evolving just because they find a successful niche. They keep going, because there's always more pressure around the corner. As humans, we've insulated ourselves from a lot of pressures, but that's really an illusion, since all we can ever really do is make buffers. Everything remains interconnected and interdependent.

    As Bunker Roy [ted.com] says: Decentralize, demystify! People should know that they CAN provide for themselves, but they have to understand how it all works.

    We are squandering our resources: geological, biological, financial and (most importantly) human. We need to refine our entire way of doing things.

    The oil and coal WILL run out someday. It might be 100 years or 1000 -- but we need to be thinking truly long term here. It would be nice to still have plenty of oil and coal left for other stuff when we finally stop having to burn it for fuel just to keep the lights on. It's amazingly useful, and we have a finite supply.

  • The oceans (Score:2, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) *
    The oceans weigh 280 times as much as the atmosphere, so it's nice to see it start to be included in the climate models. Maybe next year they will start to consider geothermal inputs as well. Maybe do some energy flow models rather than trying to recreate the world with statistics.
  • by rueger (210566) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:35PM (#44858253) Homepage
    Just for minute let's ignore the seemingly pointless harangues about whether or not "climate change" really exists.

    Instead let's examine the issue in the terms that we used back in the 1970's:

    1) Burning stuff releases pollutants.
    2) Putting less pollutants into the air, water, and ground is a good thing.
  • Just a note to point out that IPCC has an agenda, as opposed to the climate scientists, who, while perhaps suffering from confirmation biases, have a much more neutral stake on the whole thing either way.

  • omfg (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:02AM (#44861585) Homepage Journal

    Science updates its data, i.e. total non-story, it's like writing the sky is still blue and there are clouds moving - omg, moving! across it.

    But of course, most people are really, really conservative at heart. Not in the political sense, necessarily. As a species, we hate change. Things that naturally change unsettle us. That's why for 99% of human history, things simply were. Fixed and eternal. You know, gods and their laws. Morality. Even today, just the idea that morals and ethics is something that changes and evolves is revolting. That fucking underage kids was perfectly fine in some ancient societies is not a topic for a polite dinner conversation, and the first instinct I bet almost everyone who just read that had was something along the lines of "what was wrong with them?".

    And that is why you can make a headline out of the fact that something that everyone with three grams of working brain matter knows and expects to continuously be updated has, in fact, been updated.

    Some days, I wonder how our species managed to survive at all. omfg, I think I just realized that everything else on this stupid planet must be even worse.

  • by Mike Van Pelt (32582) on Monday September 16, 2013 @02:58PM (#44865799)

    Simple. "Doing something about climate change", phasing out burning of coal in favor of the only power source capable of replacing it, quad for quad, has been obstructed at every turn for the past 40 years by the omni-obstructionists. They still won't permit any nuclear power plants to be built.

    One might easily come to the conclusion that they do not care about CO2 warming at all; that their actual agenda is something else entirely.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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