Climate Change - Yes or No

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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:58 pm

Joey wrote:Glaciers melting , global temperatures , CO2 levels , Profits etc it makes no difference at all we are just spectators or participants in something we have no control over.


People will argue over whether we have control over CO2 level and its possible effects, but we certainly do have control over our ability to make a profit from the fear we can create about it!!!!!
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby greg c » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:25 pm

I do not know whether climate change is man made


Well if it is not man, who or what has pushed up the CO2 concentration 40% in the last 250 years. This is virtually instantaneous in geological time so cannot be due to any natural change. Where is the evidence that it is not man. Or put it another way what happened in about 1750 to start to push up CO2 concentrations that has increased at almost a parabolic rate. Search through history and only one plausible answer can be found - the Industrial Revolution.

Yes the carbon is a finite resource, we cannot make any more of it, but what we are doing is digging up carbon from deep below the surface, where it had no effect on the atmosphere, then burning it to produce CO2. Ditto cutting down trees, which are basically congealed carbon, turning that carbon to CO2 in a lot of cases. Trees are a bit more complicated of course in that extract CO2 from the atmosphere to form other carbon compounds that have no effect on the atmosphere. I guess you could say we have converted a greater proportion of the fixed carbon to a form that has an effect on the atmosphere.


On the point of people making a profit from Climate Change I see your point. Of course people will try and get any angle they can get to ell a product, that is how it has always been and always will be. A lot of these use the environment as a whole to position their products, look at all the washing detergents in the supermarket that claim environmental advantages. Again nothing wrong with that if the claims are genuine. I agree there are plenty of manufacturers that play both sides. That is why I don't drive a Prius. I could not stomach dealing with a company that make those ever bigger gas guzzling 4WDs as well. I have taken one for a test drive and it was pretty impressive but ...

On the subject of vested interests, there are many who wish BAU as that is where they are making their money. We should cease coal exports immediately but can you imagine the howls of protest, the advertising campaign from those well funded vested interests. All those companies who bought our coal fired power stations do not want anything done about climate change as it would hurt their bottom line, even though they probably new there was a good chance a price would be put on carbon. Likewise the general population, they don't want electricity prices or fuel prices to rise. We need a leader to face all of these down. It won't kill you to pay a bit more, and will lead to a reduction in the use of carbon based fuel.

Still leaves us with the issue of effectively dealing with Climate Change. The study I mentioned in a previous post quote a cost of $370bn over 10 years. Julia has just promised $1bn over the same time period. This gives you some idea of the gulf between what is being done and what needs to be done.

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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby Joey » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:31 pm

zzsstt wrote:
Joey wrote:Glaciers melting , global temperatures , CO2 levels , Profits etc it makes no difference at all we are just spectators or participants in something we have no control over.


People will argue over whether we have control over CO2 level and its possible effects, but we certainly do have control over our ability to make a profit from the fear we can create about it!!!!!

Making profit from fear is a given as is making profit from fooling people into believing they can make a difference if they spend X amount of dollars.
True we have control over making profits from whatever it is people imagine is happening and can change ,If I were a betting man I'll put my life earnings on profit will win hands down , what better way to do that than creating a monster so big with pretend solutions! Humans are so gullible and so self fulfilling.
My question has always been why was earth created ? and I wonder when it will reach the conditions that is best suited for it's purpose , yet most believe it was created and can be controlled by us mere nothings.

All sounding a bit like religion isn't it!
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:50 pm

greg c wrote:Well if it is not man, who or what has pushed up the CO2 concentration 40% in the last 250 years. This is virtually instantaneous in geological time so cannot be due to any natural change.


Virtually instantaneous change? To what degree of accuracy can we measure historical CO2 levels? Can we detect "virtually instantaneous" changes 100,000's of years ago? Because if we can't, then such a blip could have happened many times before, and simply be hard to separate from background noise. Obviously this is playing devils advocate again, but it's nonetheless true - we base our estimations (for that is all they are) of ancient CO2 levels on averages of multiple data sources. Inevitably there is a limit to the resolution of such estimates, and perhaps rapid swings are part of the norm? when we state a 0.5C rise in globale temperatures over the last 100 years, we are averaging annual swings of 2 or 3 degrees. Are you utterly sure that the same does not apply to historical CO2 levels, i.e. our extrapolated data is actually averaging the results of much larger short term swings?

greg c wrote:Where is the evidence that it is not man. Or put it another way what happened in about 1750 to start to push up CO2 concentrations that has increased at almost a parabolic rate. Search through history and only one plausible answer can be found - the Industrial Revolution.


I agree that this does appear to be an explanation for increased CO2 levels, especially as it appears to be confirmed by the changing carbon isotope ratios. However it still requires a computer program designed for the job to prove that this CO2 "is responsible" for the small rise in temperature that we estimate (yes, it's only an estimation) has occurred.

greg c wrote:Yes the carbon is a finite resource, we cannot make any more of it, but what we are doing is digging up carbon from deep below the surface, where it had no effect on the atmosphere, then burning it to produce CO2. Ditto cutting down trees, which are basically congealed carbon, turning that carbon to CO2 in a lot of cases. Trees are a bit more complicated of course in that extract CO2 from the atmosphere to form other carbon compounds that have no effect on the atmosphere. I guess you could say we have converted a greater proportion of the fixed carbon to a form that has an effect on the atmosphere.


That's what I said!

greg c wrote:That is why I don't drive a Prius. I could not stomach dealing with a company that make those ever bigger gas guzzling 4WDs as well.


I drive a big diesel guzzling 4WD ute, and we have a 4WD Station Wagon as well. But then I doubt a Prius would get from my house to the start of the bitumen.......

greg c wrote:We should cease coal exports immediately but can you imagine the howls of protest, the advertising campaign from those well funded vested interests.


I suspect that the changes brought about by ceasing coal exports would be intolerable to the majority of the population. The resource sector is what has largely created Australia's current wealth, and the knock on effects would have a massive impact on the financial sector, which is our other wealth generator. Australia does not produce much of anything except resources, and it imports a very large amount of what it consumes. We have a tiny population for our land size, but the majority of that population is crammed in to a few cities that produce nothing, and simply recycle the money created almost entirely by the resources sector. We could probably still be self sufficient in food, but that would be about it!

greg c wrote:All those companies who bought our coal fired power stations do not want anything done about climate change as it would hurt their bottom line, even though they probably new there was a good chance a price would be put on carbon.


The power companies will have minimal impact on their profit margins, the additional costs will simply be passed on to the consumer. That is why IPART agreed to a 64% increase in the price of electricity; to cover the cost increases associated with a carbon trading system.

greg c wrote:Likewise the general population, they don't want electricity prices or fuel prices to rise. We need a leader to face all of these down. It won't kill you to pay a bit more, and will lead to a reduction in the use of carbon based fuel.


You are quite right, it won't kill me to pay a bit more. I produce an ever increasing proportion of my own food, and domestically I produce far more electricity than I use. I have no mains water or sewage connections and I am also old enough to have already acquired most of what I need to survive. In any case we still own two businesses that provide a reasonable income. However I know many people who make daily choices of which prescriptions they can afford to fill, and see people who even now cannot afford to heat their homes (ever wonder why more old folk die in the winter?). I see people who have to buy their food based on which items are reduced because they have passed their sell-by date, and get their clothes at Vinnies because otherwise they'd be naked or hungry. In my nearest town probably more than half the families are on low income concession cards, and the other half are not simply because they work at the mines or in a job supported by money from the mines. So it won't kill me to pay more, and it won't kill you. And that's all that matters, eh?
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby davidh » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:16 pm

zzsstt wrote: Who is not talking about "that type" of CO2, and how many types are there?


Dear zzsstt

Yes, I realised after I made my comment about different "types" of CO2 that it might provoke you. So, just in case you are not just provoking me back (by playing your usual "devil's advocate" self), and really didn't get what I was meaning, or in case someone else didn't get it:

One of the ways the origins of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured is by the ratio of types of carbon isotope in the carbon dioxide. Yes, there are three different types of naturally occurring carbon (and several other very short lived ones). This is partly why we know where the carbon dioxide came from, either from burning of fossil fuels and plants, or from the natural background CO2. To put it as simply as possible, plants have a preference for a particular carbon isotope which is easier for them to metabolise. It's a pretty rough measure, but nonetheless informative.

If you are interested do a search on carbon 12 (12C) and carbon 13 (13C). These are the two most stable isotopes. The other main isotope of carbon is radioactive, 14C, and although it sill lives for a long time (approximately 5730 year half-life), it is less stable. The numbers refer to the atomic weight of each type of carbon. Lighter 12C atoms are preferred by plants. 12C is also used as a standard measure in science, because it has (by definition) an exact weight.

If you want to try to understand this more deeply, try this link (although I warn you that you will need to put your science cap on and read carefully):
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... s-updated/

Sorry for being a bit obscure in the first place. Very slack of me, but it certainly set off a nice chain of postings?

Kind regards, David
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby Joey » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:14 am

greg c wrote:Still leaves us with the issue of effectively dealing with Climate Change. The study I mentioned in a previous post quote a cost of $370bn over 10 years. Julia has just promised $1bn over the same time period. This gives you some idea of the gulf between what is being done and what needs to be done.

Greg


Absolutely proves a point regarding profit we have been trying to make $370 Billion Dollars !! and now another billion dollars for yet another study into observing and recording the past , what's the bet that $371 Billion dollars later there is not even a single part per billion of CO2 reduced.

Still all we know is what we have recently observed , there are no historical records of C02 levels prior to the industrial revolution or historically accurate global temperature records , just speculation or calculations of what we think it was.
0.5C rise in Global temperatures over the past 250 years ? increased from what ? what is normal ?sure some people draw a correlation between higher CO2 levels and this 0.5C rise but again this is only speculation.
Knowing 100% that we have the highest CO2 levels we have ever recorded and that there has been a global temperature rise does prove anything other than the 2 facts just pointed out , they are merely 2 observations. , I could draw the same graphs and correlations with the increase in left handed people born in the past 250 years.

Who knows maybe global temperatures are heading back to normal , there might be another 20C to go yet but it is being delayed by all the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere !
In the mean time I should purchase some water saving "green" gadgets because all the ice caps and glaciers are melting which obviously means the earth is running out of water as well.

Really this entire topic should be moved to it's sister thread "Green Scams ,Will they ever end " .
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:30 am

davidh wrote:Yes, I realised after I made my comment about different "types" of CO2 that it might provoke you. So, just in case you are not just provoking me back (by playing your usual "devil's advocate" self), and really didn't get what I was meaning, or in case someone else didn't get it:

One of the ways the origins of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured is by the ratio of types of carbon isotope in the carbon dioxide. Yes, there are three different types of naturally occurring carbon (and several other very short lived ones). This is partly why we know where the carbon dioxide came from, either from burning of fossil fuels and plants, or from the natural background CO2. To put it as simply as possible, plants have a preference for a particular carbon isotope which is easier for them to metabolise. It's a pretty rough measure, but nonetheless informative.


I entirely understood what you meant, which is why I said:
zzsstt wrote:As far as "types" of CO2 go, the only difference between that derived from fossil fuels and that which was already "above ground" is that we are told that fossil fuels (because of plant preferences) contains different ratios of the various carbon atoms. I am not aware of any research that suggest that any of the carbon atoms has a greater or lesser greenhouse effect, and that being the case then from a global warming viewpoint all CO2 is surely the same?


My point was that I think you are confusing two issues. Yes, the isotope of carbon may give a rough guide to where it might have come from, but as far as I know it makes no difference to the level of "greenhouse effect" the CO2 molecule demonstrates. That being the case - as I said in my previous post - a changing isotope ratio indicates a possible source for the "new" carbon, but the CO2 from fossil fuels is molecule for molecule no better or worse than CO2 derived from anywhere else. On that basis, adding any CO2 whether it be from breath, beer fermentation or burning a tree, is as "bad" as any other.

So really you need to decide whether your issue is with global warming per se or fossil fuel usage. If it is with fossil fuels, then go ahead and campaign to cease using them. However if your issue is with global warming then you must minimise CO2 emissions from any source (including fossil fuels), as it's all as bad as FF derived CO2. Equally, CO2 removed from the atmosphere and fixed as a solid will reduce the greenhouse effect whether the molecule has been in the atmosphere for 10,000 years, or came from a tree that was burnt yesterday or a piece of coal burnt in the 1800's.

It may be the case that the additional CO2 in the system has come from fossil fuel, but we cannot selectively removed only that carbon. If you truly believe there is a problem, then the answer is to get as much carbon, no matter where it came from, fixed in solid form as quickly as possible.

This, of course, is where it gets hard. It's easy to campaign against fossil fuel usage, especially when we can as individuals pretend to isolate ourselves from its use (electric cars, low energy lighting etc.), but if we consider the issue to be CO2, rather than fossil fuels per se, it gets much harder because we must accept that converting plant material to CO2 (eating and metabolising carbohydrates) is adding to the problem. So, like I said, stop riding your bike and start stockpiling sugar!

On a related issue, the isotope ratio in plants things is very intersting. It is said to give a guide of the source of carbon, but this is muddied by the fact that different types of plants demonstrate different degrees of preference, and strangely the preference seems to be linked to the water efficiency of the plant. Plants with a high degree of water efficiency - from memory - exhibit lower selectivity of carbon isotope, therefore plants thriving/dominating in drier conditions are likely to have different carbon isotope ratios to those in wetter conditions. There has been research done about using isotope ratios in food plants to indicate water use efficiency. The changing isotope ratio in the atmosphere is therefore muddied by several factors:

1/ the isotope ratio in fossil fuel may change depending on the climatic conditions when the source material was alive (and therefore it's degree of preference for a particular isotope)

2/ the isotope ratio in modern plants may or may not be similar to that of fossil fuels, depending on the type of plants in question. Burning plants with a similar ratio to that in fossil fuels will still result in a change in atmospheric isotope ratios, but the carbon involved is not FF derived

3/ the theory also requires a fairly constant degree of preferences for the extraction of the various isotopes. However a changing set of vegetation means that this is not the case. For example, replacing rainforest plants (lets suggest a low water use efficiency and therefore high isotope preference) with dryland plants (lets say high water use efficiency grasses) will result in an addition of the isotopes favoured by the low water use efficiency plants, followed by a reduced rate of removal because the new plants exhibit less preference. So the atmospheric ratio can change with no fossil fuel usage!

I have not researched this to any degree, my interest lies only in the research done to identify water efficient crop strains. However it would seem likely that once again this is a complex subject, and as open to bias as any other subject that requires extrapolation to deduce "a result".

Edit: spelling - typing before having coffee!
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby davidh » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:20 am

Hi zzsstt,
So, I admit I didn't read your post fully in the first place. From what I read, I think we both agree that the change in isotope ratios is from the addition of both the burning of plants and the burning of fossil fuels?

I don't think I'm confused about what the issue is. As I see it, environmental degradation goes hand in hand with the burning of fossil fuels. Doing dumb things like ripping-up and burning forests to plant palm trees to make "bio" fuel is not environmentally friendly at all, just as destroying forests for other types of agricultural land is not environmentally friendly. If we cared for the agricultural land we have already we wouldn't need extra cleared land in the first place. And, if we cared for the food we produce already, we would have many fewer problems.

During the food riots of 2008, part of this was due to panic buying of the available rice, which just made things worse, particularly since hundreds of millions of tonnes of that very same rice is now rotting and flood damaged in warehouses in places like the Philippines. The panic buying drove the price of rice up, and now the rotting of horded rice is keeping it up.

As another example, a portion of food aid money for some countries would be better spent putting up decent rice silos and warehouses in India, where a large proportion of last seasons crop was lost because it was stored out in the open under tarpaulins, and was damaged by out of season rain before it could be sent to market.

There are many factors converging to create the current global crisis. Population growth is one of them, being really stupid and greedy are two others. As Dick Smith put it, our population growth has been linked to fossil fuel use for various chemical and industrial purposes. Without transforming our industries and economy to be less dependent on fossil carbon, where would we be? For sure there is a bigger picture to climate change. How many people really have a global systems view of what is happening? All these things go together in one big picture. As I said previously, read Turner's article about the "Limits to Growth" follow up study.

Kind regards, David
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:51 pm

davidh wrote:There are many factors converging to create the current global crisis. Population growth is one of them, being really stupid and greedy are two others.


And this is the key point!

The issue is not with fossil fuels, or burning forests, or solar panels, or rotting food, the issue is simply that as a species we are stupid and greedy. When that fact is accepted, the rest falls in to place. Those "denying" climate change are doing so because they are stupid and greedy, changing will cost them money or power or at the very least some effort. But equally those who support it are also trying to profit from the situation which is why the proposed solutions are not solutions at all.

Then, of course, is the fact that most people have no knowledge of the subjects involved and just believe whatever "information" is supplied to them and that fits their belief system. Anything else is discarded as incorrect.

I trained as a scientist (chemist), then moved in to computing, advertising, then retired and bought a farm. I am not a climate scientist, but I am smart enough to pick up inconsistencies and errors in peoples "science", on both sides of the debate. I have also had enough exposure to a great range of subjects, including marketing, to know a good "line" when I see one. Sadly this is largely what science has become, just marketing.

We have moved from a society of small settlements where most people were involved in food production (just to stay alive) to one where a small number of people produce food for everybody else, and most people live in cities and produce either luxury goods or nothing at all, just creaming off the top. There are only two ways that such a society can grow its economy, one is by increasing the turnover of stuff (buy a new or additional one every year/week/day) and the other is by increasing the number of people. Both of these will result in bad environmental results, whether they are fueled by coal, or PV or wind, because they revolve around a constant increase in consumption, with the associated constant usage of resources. Unfortunately, because we are greedy and stupid this is unlikely to change, and "climate change" is simply another opportunity to increase consumption. Save the planet, buy a new xxxxxxx.........
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby 470rigby » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:00 pm

zzsstt wrote:I trained as a scientist (chemist).....I am smart enough to pick up inconsistencies and errors in peoples "science", on both sides of the debate. I have also had enough exposure to a great range of subjects, including marketing, to know a good "line" when I see one. Sadly this is largely what science has become, just marketing.

I trained in Applied Science (Chemistry) as well and I can't but echo your statements. Every time I hear someone rabbiting on about "The Science" I wince, because there is a lot of bad science out there these days. Unfortunately this would appear to be due to how science is funded and no one (Scientists) included will "bite the hand that feeds" them. So, experimental design, mathematical modelling etc is simply contrived to get the outcomes desire so that you can get your snout in the trough of the next round of funding.

In that sense, they (the Scientists) have to market themselves to those that dole out the dough!

With predictable results.....and don't get me started on the tarts in the media!
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