Global Warming or Cooling

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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:49 am

Just for my own interest, I started thinking about the IR absorption issue I mentioned above. The anti-climate change theory is that if all the IR in the wavelengths absorbed by CO2 are currently absorbed by the CO2 in the atmosphere, then adding more won't make a difference. The anti's have tested this theory in a lab (several groups, several times) and found that at current atmospheric CO2 levels all this energy is absorbed in about 10 meters. The counter argument to this are that "that's not true, not all of it is absorbed", that it depends on the height or atmospheric layer that does the absorbing, and finally that a higher proportion of CO2 increases the frequencies over which it absorbs CO2.

So I did a bit more searching, though it is difficult because so much "data" is tainted by the climate change issue, and I have therefore tried to keep away from any source that refers to climate change at all.

The results:

"a higher proportion of CO2 increases the wavelengths absorbed". It appears that this is indeed correct when measured in a lab for large changes in gas concentation, however the degree of increase seems to be tiny, far too small to have any relevance in our context. It is more a blurring of the edges of the absorption peak than any real increase.

"the atmosphere does not have sufficient CO2 to absorb all the IR radiation". I can find very little data about this that does not refer to climate change (either for or against). However, from "Nova, Science in the News, (published by the Australian Academy of Science) http://www.science.org.au/nova/065/065box02.htm I quote
Australian Academy of Science wrote:"Most of the infrared radiation reaching Earth is absorbed by water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) in the atmosphere. Only in a few wavelength ranges can the radiation make it through to ground level. Overcoming this limitation is the greatest challenge faced by infrared astronomers. "

I do not know if this organisation has any bias in the Climate Change debate, but this particular article is about IR telescopes, and (as you can see) suggests that the atmosphere is indeed saturated with regard to IR absorption by CO2.

"it depends on the height or layer doing the absorbing". I cannot find any data about this that is not related directly to climate change. Moreover I cannot find any useful measured data at all, only theories and models. I have found data that suggests the CO2 distribution throughout the atmosphere is relatively constant (as a proportion), unlike some other gases (ozone, for example) that tend to exist in layers, which would perhaps suggest that absorption by CO2 is not related to atmospheric layers. This area of research and discussion seems to be based entirely on theories and modelling.

Edit:
To clarify, when I talk about "climate change" I am referring to the debate about whether mans activities have any significant bearing on the climate. The climate is always changing, of that there is no doubt. Because of the debate about the causes of climate change, the vast majority of data sources and research about the subject are now (as we have previously discussed in this thread) edited or in some way biased to suit the views of the author. In order to avoid such bias, I have attempted to use data sources that are not in any way linked to the climate debate or in fact the climate AT ALL, such as the IR telescope article I quoted above. I can see no reason for the IR telescope operator to be anything less than 100% open about the IR reaching the earth, therefore I can see no reason for them to "adjust" the data or it to be anything other than genuine.
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:04 am

That kind of misses the point a bit, since (if I remember correctly from high school geography, back in the 70s) quite a bit of the long wavelength IR (ie heat) present just above the Earth's surface comes from below. Incident radiation that makes it through the various absorbing gases, dust, clouds, water vapour, etc in the atmosphere is mostly visible light and a bit of near UV and IR. This is absorbed by and heats the surface and objects on it, which then re-radiate long wavelength thermal IR.
Now apply the above post to that and it wont matter if the CO2 absorbs most of the IR in 10mm, 10m or 1km, it's still all being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and more CO2 would mean more heat in the lower atmosphere.

Another factor which may have some importance is the concept of a "heat island" - cities that have vast areas of concrete and tar, creating zones that are quite a bit hotter than they would have been before the natural vegetation was cleared away. For some strange reason they call it "progress" when they remove all signs of nature and cover it in roads, carparks and huge concrete boxes :? It makes me really glad I live way out in the country :D

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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:07 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:That kind of misses the point a bit, since (if I remember correctly from high school geography, back in the 70s) quite a bit of the long wavelength IR (ie heat) present just above the Earth's surface comes from below. Incident radiation that makes it through the various absorbing gases, dust, clouds, water vapour, etc in the atmosphere is mostly visible light and a bit of near UV and IR. This is absorbed by and heats the surface and objects on it, which then re-radiate long wavelength thermal IR.
Now apply the above post to that and it wont matter if the CO2 absorbs most of the IR in 10mm, 10m or 1km, it's still all being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and more CO2 would mean more heat in the lower atmosphere.


I think you are talking about the atmospheric layers concept. Remembering that we are talking about a small portion of the IR radiation. CO2 has three main absorption bands, two of which overlap with the absorption bands of water, which may or may not be relevant (depending whether you ask a pro or anti!). CO2 will therefore only ever absorb energy in those bands.

Conceptually therefore, the portion of IR energy re-radiated by the earth that is in these three bands (lets ignore possible interactions with water!) is absorbed by CO2. If the lab measurements of absorption carried out by the "anti's" is correct, all this radiation is absorbed (currently) in the first ten meters. It doesn't matter if this is ten meters vertically, or horizontally. This would mean that CURRENTLY all the IR that will ever be absorbed by CO2 is absorbed below the roofline of my house. Increasing the level of CO2 will reduce that still further, but lets face it, dropping from 10 meters to 8 meters is irrelevant.

Of course, to add excitement (and a get-out clause), those excited CO2 molecules have to do something with this energy. Some may collide with other molecules, warming them by what I guess we'd call conduction. Some will simply re-emit the IR radiation in random directions. This re-emitted IR will be the same wavelength, so may be absorbed by another molecule of CO2, at which point the cycle repeats. So the get-out clause would appear to revolve around how many times a unit of energy can go through the [IR to excited CO2 to IR] cycle before an excited CO2 molecule hits another molecule. But logically, if no IR radiation in the effected frequencies travels for more than 10m, then the answer is 10m!

However if this were the case, there would be no IR measurable in the sunlight hitting the earth at ground level. OK, actually a little bit, caused by the CO2 molecules randomly re-emitting energy that was re-radiated from the earths surface. But at 20m altitude there should be none, because anything going up from the earth will have been removed in the first 10m, and anything coming down will have equally been removed. OK, actually an excited CO2 molecule will always emit IR at the same frequency, so even if it were excited by a collision with another molecule (rather than by absorbing any IR directly), the IR it emits will be measurable, and in these frequency ranges. So in fact there will always be a small amount of IR in the "CO2 bands". Probably. Maybe we need a model?

In fact it would appear that there is indeed a small amount of IR in the CO2 bands measurable at the earths surface. Did it get all the way through the atmosphere? Is it earth-sourced energy "bounced" back by the nearest CO2 molecule? It seems to depend on your model!

There is evidence that there is enough CO2 presently in the atmosphere to absorb all or nearly all the IR in those bands (there is simply not much reading when your frequency specific IR meter is pointed upwards!). That being the case, the only possible difference that extra CO2 can make is, as you say, the lowering of the altitude at which this IR is converted to "heat". Assuming that any "heat" in the atmosphere is not actually fixed at an altitude, but rather redistributes throughout the entire atmosphere via conduction, convection and still more radiation, then the net effect is still zero.

The difficulty here (at least for me) that this becomes a matter of speculation, and then depends on a great number of (questionable?) assumptions, eventuating in a model (reliant of those same assumptions). What the model shows is therefore entirely based on what assumptions were made.

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:Now apply the above post to that and it wont matter if the CO2 absorbs most of the IR in 10mm, 10m or 1km, it's still all being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and more CO2 would mean more heat in the lower atmosphere.


If it's all being absorbed, it's all gone. Adding CO2 cannot absorb more, as there isn't any left to absorb. So if it's all absorbed (converted to heat) in the first 10m, it's all in the lower atmosphere already....... the question then becomes how far it does have to travel before it's all absorbed, and whether a change in that distance will "concentrate" that heat in a way that might cause a problem. 10m to 8 m, I can't see an issue. 10km to 1km could be a problem. Unfortunately, once again we now enter the realm of "research to prove a point", and the results will always confirm what the author wants to demonstrate.
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby greg c » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:01 pm

Where to start

1. I never said CO2 was the only greenhouse gas. Methane for one is far worse, just that CO2 is the most important as it is the most abundant. Water Vapour is also in the mix but when it forms clouds acts as a cooling influence on the earth. If you read the Hansen paper (One of the many) he goes into great lengths on clouds and their effect. In the end though we end up with a net surplus called a 'forcing' in Hansen speak equivalent to a 1 watt incandescent globe placed in every cubic metre of the atmosphere.

2. The infra-red radiation absorption......... I know nothing about this but it has the ring of pseudo science to me. Especially when one of its proponents when researching it will not read any paper that supports climate change.
If we just forget about trying to explain things for a moment and take stock of what we can feel and touch. The earth is warming, the snows of Kilimanjaro are no more. Unfortunately the warming is uneven over the world, felt mainly at the poles with catastrophic consequences for the Arctic Polar Ice Cap. What is causing it? If we limit our look back to the end of the last ice age (10,000 years ago) we know the climate has been fairly constant since that time until about 150 years ago. Can you think of anything that happened in the last 150 years to cause this. I can tell you one thing it is not,and that is the Sun. People are trying to say the sun went peculiar just in the last 150 years, you may be able to align some graphs but really it is nonsensical. The only credible explanation is that Homo Sapiens discovered fossil fuels, coal first and then oil and has been merrily burning them ever since, at an exponentially increasing rate. The fact that we have got through half the worlds stock of oil in 100 years gives you some idea of the voracious appetite we have for the stuff.

The solution need not mean doom and gloom. Can we run the entire economy on renewable energy - absolutely. In the USA one of he builders of Solar Thermal power just got a dump of last years data of energy supply right across the USA on an hour by hour basis. The question was could that energy be supplied by solar and wind. It is a lot of data but the preliminary analysis gives the answer as yes. Australia is in a much better position.
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:40 am

greg c wrote:1. I never said CO2 was the only greenhouse gas. Methane for one is far worse, just that CO2 is the most important as it is the most abundant. Water Vapour is also in the mix but when it forms clouds acts as a cooling influence on the earth.


But we are largely talking about CO2 when we talk of fossil fuels etc. CO2 only accounts for about 9% of the greenhouse effect, water is about 85%. Methane is worse, but breaks down in about 9 years and is recycled.

greg c wrote:2. The infra-red radiation absorption......... I know nothing about this but it has the ring of pseudo science to me. Especially when one of its proponents when researching it will not read any paper that supports climate change.


"pseudo science"? Is anything you don't understand automatically pseudo-science? You seem to be looking at a scientific debate, accepting without question anything that supports you view and writing off as "pseudo-science" anything that doesn't, even though by your own admission you don't understand it. If something you don't understand supports your view, is that "pseudo science" too?

If, by the way, you are talking about me when you say "one of it's proponents", then I would like to state that I have read a great many papers both for and against man-made climate change. In fact I have read enough of them to discover that they are all (both the for and against) flawed. I could quote stacks of facts that "prove" climate change is man-made, and equally as many facts that "prove" it's not. That is why for the posts above I tried to gather data from sources not related to climate, they are unlikely to be biased. I am sorry you didn't understand that point.

greg c wrote:If we just forget about trying to explain things for a moment and take stock of what we can feel and touch. The earth is warming, the snows of Kilimanjaro are no more. Unfortunately the warming is uneven over the world, felt mainly at the poles with catastrophic consequences for the Arctic Polar Ice Cap. What is causing it? If we limit our look back to the end of the last ice age (10,000 years ago) we know the climate has been fairly constant since that time until about 150 years ago.


On a daily basis the temperature can vary (where I live) upwards of +/-30C
Across a year, the average monthly temperature varies nearly 20C (14C to 31C max, 2C to 16C minimum)
From measured records, the historical average for any month varies in a range of about 8C

Looking a the IPCC graph, between 1880 and 1910 the "average global temperature" dropped by 0.5C
Looking at the IPCC graph, between 1910 and 1950 the "average global temperature" rose by 0.6C
Looking at the IPCC graph, between 1950 and 190 the "average global temperature" dropped by 0.5C
Looking at the IPCC graph, between 1910 and 1950 the rate and amount of temperature increase matched that shown between 1970 and 2004
Looking at the IPCC graph, the last four years (2000 - 2004) show no increase in temperature, and in fact the last year shows a drop.

The IPCC have chsoen to use this period of data (1850-2000) and put a "best fit line" through it that shows a 0.57C rise in average temperature. When judged against the yearly variation shown even on the IPCC graph, 0.57C is not that earth shattering. And that's before we start debating the changing measurement techniques (the IPCC graph is "ESTIMATED" temperature, remember!), location of weather monitoring facilities (there was an argument that most are at airports or cities, where large expanses of black bitumen cause localised temperature increases) etc.

Even if we accept that there has been some "warming" (and it does seem likely), none of this in any way fits your concept that man created this through fossil fuels.

Throughout history glaciers have advanced and retreated. Temperatures have gone up and down, seas have become deserts and vice versa. There have been reports that even now whilst some glaciers are melting, others are in fact growing (I haven't been there so I don't know!). I haven't been to many of the places you mention, but I have seen the same mountains covered in snow one year, then snowless, then covered again a couple of years later. Nature is a very large and complex (perhaps even chaotic) system, yet we are now making judgements based on a photo of a mountain in a cold year, and another in a hot year! Should we believe all the "before and after" photos we are shown?

I have nothing against renewable energy, in fact I'm all for it. I have invested in energy saving X and power saving Y. My house is fully insulated, with solar hot water. I have a compost heap, chickens and we grow some of our own fruit, vegetables and even meat. I am currently planning a PV installation. All of this makes sense. But a wide-spread media enhanced panic, resulting in a money making opportunity for various unscupulous businesses, a power grab by various unscrupulous individuals and organisations, the furthering of various dubious causes "by association" (do you know we're now told we have to cull all the water buffalo in the northern Territories?) on the basis of an unproven theory?

Two questions for you:

First question:
Man has farmed animals for meat for tens of thousands of years, and in fact in Australia our livestock numbers are no greater than they were in the 90's. We have also grown crops for tens of thousands of years. We have a growing population and food shortages are predicted. On the other hand, we have only recently adopted air travel. We need food to live, but we can live perfectly well without air travel.
If "we" are genuinely concerned with man-made climate change, rather than using media induced fear to forward other agenda, do you think we should be cutting back on farming or air travel?

Second question (in three parts!):
How many adverts have you seen telling you that air travel is bad and that you should cut back?
How many adverts have you seen encouraging you to take cheap holidays abroad?
How many adverts have you seen telling you that meat is bad for the environment (sponsored by the Vegetarian Society!)?


Apart from any science, pseudo-science, computer models or debate, one the the greatest pieces of evidence that I see to suggest that man-made climate change is a myth, is that politicians worldwide, even after getting supposedly the best advice, are not doing anything to help. They may make noise and run around, but any of us here could suggest a great many easy quick options that would make an instant difference (ban leaf-blowers, demand hard "off" switches on appliances, ban large engine capacity cars, legislated movement sensors on office lighting etc.). Have any of these things been done? Or have they got on another plane and flown to another conference where they made some plans about how to waste some more time and avoid upsetting the masses?
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby greg c » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:31 pm

As far as water vapour is concerned, if it was responsible for 85% of the greenhouse effect we would already be stuffed. More water vapour = more heat = more water vapour = more heat......... Hello Venus. What is actually happening is shown here
Picture 2.png


I am not a huge fan of the IPCC, they are way to conservative in my view, every report they have done has been found to understate the case after a few years, the actual observations track at the top or above their predicted range. As it is based on thousands of scientific papers I guess you have to expect that. One thing though, they are not hostage to any one view, they just are reporting the research papers on the climate written by climate scientists. If we are to respond adequately to the crisis we must follow the science and nothing else.

Full report http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_dat ... report.htm

The view that I think should be given greater credence by world leaders is this by James Hansen, probably the preeminent climate scientist who started blowing the whistle in the '80s, The Bush administration tried to muzzle him but he has stuck to his guns. More power to the man.
http://arxiv.org/pdf/0804.1126v3

Now to the questions.

1. As far as animals are concerned one statistic nicely sums up how hard we are driving the planet. In pre-industrial times if you added up the weight of all the vertebrate animals on the planet including man, man and his animals was about 2% of the total. Do that now and man and his animals are 98% of the total. This say a lot about extinctions as well but we are not leaving much space for the birds and frogs of this world. As far as air travel is concerned, it is a necessity. At present we can offset it, when the oil gets too expensive they can run on hydrogen, but really we should save as much of the oil as we can for the uses that really need it like air travel. If there was a robust market in carbon it might make economic sense for Indonesian peasants to leave the forest alone as a carbon sink.

2. I have not seen any adds at all to cut back on air travel, offsetting the CO2 emissions of your trip should be compulsory and part of the ticket price. People would whinge but air travel is so cheap these days, less in dollar terms than in the '70s that they could easily wear it. Maybe carbon trading will fix that too. We shall see.

Politicians are not doing anything because they are geared to the short term. Likewise in the private sector, the CEO is looking after the shareholder interest, nothing else. I personally think Mr Rudd should wake up. He had ample evidence from Treasury modeling and the Garnaut review that going hard on emissions would not effect the economy overall. Instead all the CEOs from the coal industry, power stations have been given his ear and the CPRS is a weak, useless document. He should not negotiate with the opposition, let the legislation be defeated and have a double dissolution election where the main issue would be climate change. He has such a lead over the others, he could afford to squander some of his political capital and show some leadership. Unfortunately he like every other leader is focussing on getting re-elected. That said I think you would agree the European leaders have done a lot better, Germany has the highest uptake of solar panels in the world yet they receive 30% of the solar radiation that we do. Maybe one day we will get leadership in this country but I don't see anything on the horizon.

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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:33 am

greg c wrote:As far as water vapour is concerned, if it was responsible for 85% of the greenhouse effect we would already be stuffed. More water vapour = more heat = more water vapour = more heat......... Hello Venus. What is actually happening is shown here
Picture 2.png


Ah, I see. So in your view the only greenhouse gases are those that man creates?

Or did you not notice that the graph you posted was of "anthropogenic emissions" and not of the total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? If you research (just look in wiki if you like) the total greenhouse effect you will find that water vapor account for (according to wiki) 36%-72% if you look in other sources you will find the number is tended to be stated in the 70 and 80% range.

Regarding Venus, it is accepted that Venus has a temperature of twice what it would if it had no atmosphere (477C vs. 235C), and this is due to the greenhouse effect of its atmosphere. Ohhh scary.... now look at the details. Venus has an atmosphere of 96% CO2, at a pressure (and therefore density) far higher than earth - actually about 90 atmospheres. It also has never been cool enough for water to liquify (it's closer to the sun, even with no greenhouse effect the surface temperature would be 230C), and has never had an ozone layer to prevent disassociated hydrogen molecules being lost to space (we do, by the way). So, we are suggesting that 96% CO2 atmosphere at 90 time the pressure of earth causes a doubling of the temperature. If we extrapolate that back to earth, with 1/90 the pressure and 0.0365% CO2
(thats 1/2630th the amount, by the way), I'd estimate the effect to be, roughly speaking, b*gger all.

Air travel is a necessity? In pre-industrial times when man and his animals made up 2% of the total animal weight, how many aeroplanes were there? FOOD is a necessity, air travel is a luxury.

There is ample evidence that Garnaut had little idea what he was talking about, and produced a report entirely tailored to what its sponsors wanted. Cows are bad for the environment? This from a man who holds such environmental credentials as wiping out large tracts of coral reef with effluent from his mines..... (I have tried to refrain from the normal approach of "trashing the author", and stick to debating the data, but in this case I can't resist!).

The European leaders have made some noises, and Germany has reduced it's electricity industry to a state described as "disfunctional", with just about the highest electricity prices in the world. Of course Europe also protects it's own industry with enormous subsidies and creates import restrictions to prevent competition from other countries. Australia doesn't do this, so any economic burden forced upon local poducers will simply cause them to be undercut by imported goods and go out of business. Then, of course, air travel will become a necessity as all your food will need to be imported, together with everything else!.
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:10 am

greg c wrote:I am not a huge fan of the IPCC, they are way to conservative in my view, every report they have done has been found to understate the case after a few years, the actual observations track at the top or above their predicted range.


No, the observed and measured data has always been below that which the IPCC has predicted, as far as I can find.

greg c wrote:The view that I think should be given greater credence by world leaders is this by James Hansen, probably the preeminent climate scientist who started blowing the whistle in the '80s, The Bush administration tried to muzzle him but he has stuck to his guns. More power to the man


Unfortunately the document you linked to is not dated. However I would refer you to an article Hansen wrote that was publish by Natural Science http://www.naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-16/ns_jeh.html

I'll make some quotes:

"In the summer of 1976, Andy Lacis and I, along with other colleagues at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, calculated that these human-made gases were heating the Earth's surface at a rate of almost 2 W/m2. "

but after comparing that to what has actually happened, now...

"We conclude that the Earth is now out of balance by about 0.5 to 1 W/m2"

and now he believes

"There are reasons to believe that the IPCC scenarios are unduly pessimistic"

and in fact

"It is apparent that the real world is beginning to deviate from the prototypical IPCC scenario, IS92a. It remains to be proven whether the smaller observed growth rates are a fluke, soon to return to IPCC rates, or are a meaningful difference. "

but to show the believers that he hasn't abandoned them entirely

"Although I have shown that the IPCC scenarios are unrealistically pessimistic, I am not suggesting that the alternative scenario can be achieved without concerted efforts to reduce anthropogenic climate forcings."

Finally, to justify all this backpedalling and excuse his past "exaggerations" (errors?) , he says

"Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as "synfuels," shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions"

Of course he still generally believes there is a problem, and we need to do something - it would take a lot of balls to simply say he was wrong - but he now states quite plainly that the IPCC's estimates are "unrealistically pessimistic".
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby joeb » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:16 pm

I don't care much about "who really causes climate change."
All i know is, the less we leave a footprint on mother earth, the better it will be for our future.
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Re: Global Warming or Cooling

Postby zzsstt » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:25 pm

joeb wrote:I don't care much about "who really causes climate change."
All i know is, the less we leave a footprint on mother earth, the better it will be for our future.


Now that I totally agree with. There is a massive amount we can do as individuals, as countries and as a planet to achieve this end, and we can do it without causing economic hardship, "perverse outcomes" or any other nasty side affects. Sadly much of what is currently being suggested (Copenhagen, Kyoto, Australia's CPRS etc.) is driven by a combination of panic, misinformation, financial greed and manipulation by groups and individuals who are simply using it as a convenient cover under which to forward other agenda. As a result it not only in many cases fails to provide the best outcomes for the planet, but also run the risk (or in some cases the certainty) of having negative impacts both environmentally and in other spheres.

Unfortunately until we stop panicking, start thinking (panic and clear thinking are mutually exclusive) and submit the proposed solutions to some objective and rational analysis, we are simply enabling the bad decisions to propagate.
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