Climate change - what could happen?

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Climate change - what could happen?

Postby davidh » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:50 pm

When large regions of ice melt, it changes the distribution of mass in that region, which lowers gravity in that location, which in turn lowers the ocean level (but of course there is more water overall). There is redistribution of that ice as water mass elsewhere on the planet, which increases ocean level more in the remainder of the ocean, and changes gravity elsewhere. It’s not just a matter of mean rise.

The greater the amount of melting, the more gravity will fall in that region, which means not only will ocean levels rise everywhere because of more water, but it will rise more the further away we move from the location of the melting.

This could all happen as a consequence of warming, which is why it would be wise to be conservative in estimating the factors associated with warming, and to clamp down as tightly as possible on any source that could contribute to warming, and to use technology to change the way we make energy, with emphasis on sustainable renewable energy.

What is the worst that can happen if climate scientists are wrong about the factors associated with global warming?

It is inevitable that peak oil will be reached as some point ... by accelerating the rate at which we switch to other sources of energy, all we are doing is preparing better for the change that must happen anyway. Why not make that change sustainable, so the entire ecosystem can remain?

What is the worst that can happen if we do nothing?

It is not conservative to do nothing. To be conservative would be to do the wise thing, without waiting for hindsight to say “we should have done something”.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Joey » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:37 am

I say do nothing because no matter we do it will achieve nothing , unless of course someone can produce evidence that we have ever been able to influence climate , weather , sea levels or the amounts of ice globally.

Have we been able to control Tsunami's , Tornado's, Volcano's , Earth quakes , snow fall , rain fall , ice production , sea levels , sun temperature , gravity , earths magnetic fields or in fact natural event in the history of the world ? NO , we can't control a single natural event, we never have or never will but before we take our first step lets pretend we can control earths climate.

If ice is melting it will continue to melt until it stops or disappears or reforms , not matter which way it goes all we will be able to do is observe it and speculate.
So to answer your question "What is the worst that can happen if we do nothing?" exactly the same as if we did something .
We have never been able to control natural events , many of them kill millions of people yet we are focusing on a ridiculous theory and worrying about some ice melting that to date has not harmed or killed a single person.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Inspector » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:15 am

If everyone gets solar panels, will it create a "solar sail" and allow the sun to spin the earth off-balance? :)



I think there's a storm brewing! :)
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:34 am

worrying about some ice melting that to date has not harmed or killed a single person


There are some Inuit communities in Alaska that may disagree. Thawing permafrost is having a direct impact on humans and is changing ecosystems.

Local coastal losses to erosion of the order of 100 feet per year have been observed in some locations in both Siberia and Canada. Aerial photo comparison has revealed total erosive losses up to 1,500 feet over the past few decades along some stretches of the Alaskan coast. Several villages on Alaska's west coast are sufficiently threatened by increased erosion and inundation that they must be protected or relocated.


US National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change.

http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/nacc/default.htm

Old report, but those relocations have already begun. For example, a village of Yup'ik Eskimos (different to Inuit) is currently being relocated about 15k's to escape inundation brought on by erosion that has its roots in melting permafrost.

Climate change aside, our slash and burn hyperconsumptive lifestyles have wreaked all sorts of damage on ecosystems - deforestation in the Amazon to grow soybeans to feed cattle, ripping up boreal forests to squeeze oil from tar sands, our non-essential inefficient gadgets and gizmos seeing vast swathes of landscapes destroyed in the pursuit of coal (e.g. mountaintop removal)... just to name a few. Destruction of habitats that cause the extinction of one species can have a knock-on effect for many others.

Taking steps to address climate change (whether or not that is futile in the very long term) helps to address those issues too. Without the climate change "boogeyman", some of these changes would not be occurring and climate change is only one of many environmentally related crises humanity faces.

Climate change is an ongoing thing, but the speed at which it occurs is crucial in what adapts and survives and what doesn't. If we are speeding it up, I feel it's in our best interests to address the acceleration we are responsible as it also helps to preserve species, the beauty of landscapes many of us love but are so much more than a postcard moment, air and water quality, ensure fair and continued access to resources etc. etc. etc. All these things are connected.

Nature sometimes adjusts with a gentle nudge over a long period that allows organisms to adapt, sometimes with a mighty slap that causes chaos and mass extinctions. I fear we are directly encouraging the latter - the sixth great extinction. Many species have become extinct already through the activities of humanity.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby BarKing » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:51 am

I say do nothing because no matter we do it will achieve nothing , unless of course someone can produce evidence that we have ever been able to influence climate , weather , sea levels or the amounts of ice globally.

What about the increased ozone layer hole? Was not that due to the addition of man made gases into the atmosphere?

I wonder just what it would take to convince skeptics of human enhanced climate change. Humanity could sit on our collective hands and do nothing and say we get a half metre sea level rise in a several decades. But I doubt whether that would be sufficient proof for some skeptics. My guess is that they would just say it is a natural phenomenon - noting to do with any human activity.

So what sort of evidence are they looking for? What would convince them that humanity was implicated in climate change?

Skeptics demand proof but I fear nothing that scientists or anyone else could provide would ever convince them.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:07 am

Hi BarKing,

We've got another thread happening on the forums regarding the evidence side of things and just how difficult that is to produce to everyone's satisfaction:

living-green/topic735.html
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Joey » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:20 pm

Inspector wrote:If everyone gets solar panels, will it create a "solar sail" and allow the sun to spin the earth off-balance? :)

Yeah you are probably right , there will be a new Solar Sail tax that will reverse any effects don't worry :)

MichaelB wrote:There are some Inuit communities in Alaska that may disagree. Thawing permafrost is having a direct impact on humans and is changing ecosystems.
You mean their choice of where to live is having a direct impact on them , they either adapt of move on there is no other option., As you pointed out they are being relocated which is the only available response to that situation because it is impossible to reverse the natural events they are experiencing .


To Quote myself again : I say do nothing because no matter we do it will achieve nothing , unless of course someone can produce evidence that we have ever been able to influence climate , weather , sea levels or the amounts of ice globally.

The evidence I am referring is evidence that man has ever been able to influence any naturally occurring event. Not an observation but actually physically changing something we are not happy with or needs to be changed. This is where the whole debate is so ridiculous we have never been able to produce anything not even a single ice cube or mm of water "naturally" , we can see a tornado coming but we cant stop it , we can see drought killing livestock but we cant make it rain , we can know an earth quake has occurred and a Tsunami big enough to wipe out millions has resulted form it , what can we do "Observe and React .
We cant make these things happen and we sure as the sun shines cant stop these things happening.

We most certainly have never been able to reverse or prevent a single naturally occurring event in the history of man kind.


Michael, your last quote really cracked me up "I fear we are directly encouraging the latter - the sixth great extinction"
Please don't tell me that man also created the previous 5 great extinction periods !! we all know how ludicrous that sounds , if the sixth does occur it will be out of our control just like the previous 5 .
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:32 pm

Joey, I never said anything about man being responsible for the previous 5 great extinctions, they were well before our time :).

I once again gently remind you about straw man arguments :)

Re: the Inuit and Eskimo issue, that was simply addressing your claim melting ice had not done anyone any harm; as for any evidence of man's hand in that - well, that gets back to the topic of discussion in the other thread about "facts" and such I guess.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:58 am

New thread started up to focus on another issue - what to do about climate change and why it's not being done at the scale or pace urged

..and yes, this topic also includes wiggle room for the argument of not doing anything at all as a strategy :).

living-green/topic839.html

This new topic isn't to stop this topic or the original from being further discussed, just trying to keep various conversations on track as climate change is such a huge issue.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:54 am

Just on the general concept of the consequences of doing something or doing nothing re: climate change, this is an interesting video. Don't expect an uber-geek-speak or polished presentation; it's directed to the average Joe and is meant to be a little lighthearted.

A bit of background - the guy is a school science teacher - bear in mind also it was created a few years ago. Please don't pass comment on it unless you watch the whole thing. The reason I say this is the first time I watched it, I was thinking "but" at different points.. and then he would wind up addressing that point.

No, I don't base my views entirely on what a guy in a funny hat says and no, this isn't all the answers in 9 minutes 59 seconds - just another angle and more to contemplate :)

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