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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:16 pm
by zzsstt
More playing devils advocate!

greg c wrote:His argument was that climate change has been studied for at least 50 years and in all that time no paper has ever been published in the peer reviewed literature that refutes the central tenet of climate change


That is indeed a very interesting statement. Of course whilst it may be true, to some extent one must consider the entire situation. Initially, of course, climate change was not an issue and nobody cared. Then a few people starting making noises about how man was destroying the planet. Mostly they were regarded as freaks and largely ignored. They persisted, however, and in the 80's (or sometime around there) they persuaded the press that CFC's were destroying the ozone layer. Because at that time it appeared that there may be a hole in the ozone layer, they gained some traction. The world changed and everybody bought a new fridge. Having gained a victory, most of these same people went on in a similar vein but now researching CO2 or other "environmental" issues. The difference was that by now they had some influence in the press, and very quickly the world became terrified of climate change. Anybody who was not a supporter of climate change was villified and ridiculed. With media support and a great deal of financial backing, their claims grew larger and with each new claim there power grew. If the climate-gate emails are to be believed (and I have not seen any denial of their authenticity) they quickly gained sufficient power to "discourage" the journals from publishing anything that did not support their cause.

By this time various other organisations, it could be argued, had seen the opportunity climate change presented. The IPCC has been accused of being a strictly political body, with an agenda more concerned with political gain than climate change. Certainly the proposed "Copenhagen Treaty" seemed to me (I did read it) to be less to do with carbon emmisions than with political power and wealth redistribution. Obviously the vegetarians also spring to mind in this context, with their now discredited "facts" about meat production being worse than fossil fuel usage. As demonstration of the overriding acceptance of anything "climate" related a that time, the Garnaut report based it's case to replace cows with roos on that vegetarian conference paper that was clearly little more than propaganda, and who's authors have since admitted as much.

We then have to ask who would be carrying out any research that did not support man-made climate change. At that time (and probably to this day) climate change was, for want of a better term, enormously popular. It was easy to get financed for work associated with it, such that it skewed the entire basis of research. Everything from the spread of disease to the decline of endangered animals was suddenly attributed to climate change, because the climate change association made it easy to get financed and published. On the other hand, I know people (scientists) who have experienced discrimination because they did not believe in man-made climate change.

So, we very rapidly moved from there being no requirement to disprove something, to a situation where any such research would not be funded by any public entity (university or national institues etc.). The only remaining source of funding would be private, either from companies or individuals. The obvious source of such funding would be the oil companies, but whilst this initially was the case they were instantly disregarded becuase of a vested interest!

So, overall, we have a situation where it is very easy to get funding and publication of a research project designing a computer model that proves AGW, but very hard to get funding for an equivalent project to disprove it, the results of which would be very hard to get published, reviewed by "peers" who were hostile to the concept, and likely to be written off as "industry funded" in any case.

There is of course the other aspect to this, being that it is as hard to "prove" climate change is natural as it is to "prove" it is man-made. The only approach is by computer modelling, and whilst "any fule" can write a simulation that disproves it (simply by using a few different assumptions to the simulation that proves it!), given that all the supercomputers are owned by the "pro" climate change camp, it would be quite hard to achieve in practice. Of course, as it is much easier to get "pro" funding, why would anyone bother?

Whilst the argument that nothing has been published to disprove it sounds tempting, it is actually no more proof of truth than anything else! As you said, everybody once believed the world was flat, and it was very hard to convince people otherwise. That statement works equally well for either side of the climate change debate, except that currently the world of science believes in AGW! When any idea is popular it takes a while for opinions to change...

By the way, I have no knowledge of Prof Pilmer of UNSW, though I do know of Prof Ian Plimer but I believe he is anti AGW so I doubt he is the person who's talk you attended.

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:54 pm
by davidh
zzsstt wrote:
They persisted, however, and in the 80's (or sometime around there) they persuaded the press that CFC's were destroying the ozone layer. Because at that time it appeared that there may be a hole in the ozone layer, they gained some traction. The world changed and everybody bought a new fridge.



Just to be clear about the hole in the ozone layer. It is still there. It has not completely closed over the poles yet. It is a separate issue to other atmospheric gas issues.

zzsstt wrote:Having gained a victory, most of these same people went on in a similar vein but now researching CO2 or other "environmental" issues. The difference was that by now they had some influence in the press, and very quickly the world became terrified of climate change. Anybody who was not a supporter of climate change was villified and ridiculed. With media support and a great deal of financial backing, their claims grew larger and with each new claim there power grew. If the climate-gate emails are to be believed (and I have not seen any denial of their authenticity) they quickly gained sufficient power to "discourage" the journals from publishing anything that did not support their cause.


The peer review process does not prevent literature that is contrary to popular opinion being published, but it can make it quite hard. If a piece of scientific work has rigorously gathered data, and rigorous analysis, with clear rationale and interpretation, and the results are shown to be repeatable, and there is converging evidence from multiple sources, it gets published. In fact, it may surprise you to know that it took many years of research to confirm the theory that carbon dioxide contributed to atmospheric warming, and early presentations on the subject were treated with ridicule because it was considered by the main stream scientific community that there was insufficient evidence. Now we have that convergent evidence, some people still have difficulty believing it. After multiple scientists working separately from each other came to the same conclusion, the peer review process eventually allowed the publication of greenhouse gas theory, with supporting data. What you are suggesting is that somehow, despite all the resistance to the publication of this theory, and many attempts to disprove it, the entire process of science (that also brought you the computer you are using right now) has fallen flat on its collective faces on this one subject.

zzsstt wrote:
The IPCC has been accused of being a strictly political body, with an agenda more concerned with political gain than climate change.



Only when the policy makers get involved at the end of the process. The scientists are independent. The IPCC is comprised of science from several fields, including climate, physical, biological, economic, and social. The IPCC scientists do not do the research, but rather they review the thousands of different published journal articles across multiple fields. Each chapter of the report has 8 -10 expert scientists in that field, who review their field, and come up with a first draft. They try to capture an overview of all the science, and express it in an intelligible way. Then that draft is reviewed by external scientists not associated with the IPCC. They send back criticisms and comments to the IPCC scientists, who then modify the draft with documentation of how they addressed any criticisms. This next draft is read by internal reviewers in the IPCC. After that, the next draft is sent to all the countries in the world who can choose whoever they want to review the draft report and make comments on it. Those comments come back to the chapter authors, who review the comments, and again modify the chapter if it is warranted. The draft report is then reviewed again by scientists who are independent of the chapter authors. This is one of the most rigorous scientific assessments in existence for any type of human endeavour. The "errors" that were found were found during the draft process, and appropriately excluded from the final document. It is interesting to me that the "errors" in the draft have received more attention than the underestimations in the final report. The underestimations occurred because whenever opinion is wavering for any of the multiple reviewers, that part of the report is treated conservatively, to avoid overestimation. This means that the IPCC report is one of the most conservative scientific reports on climate change you could read.

In the final report, the fact that one predictive statement about Himalayan glacier melting rate, out of over 3000 predictive statements about all kinds of things including coral reefs and melting rates of other glaciers, was in error, is not a reason to discard the entire report. In fact, glaciers have already disappeared in Chile before the IPCC predicted them to disappear. And, the arctic is melting faster than the IPCC predicted, and the Western-Antarctic undersea glaciers are accelerating in their melting rate. Apart from these examples, there are multiple examples of how the IPCC has underestimated climate change events.

zzsstt wrote:
We then have to ask who would be carrying out any research that did not support man-made climate change. At that time (and probably to this day) climate change was, for want of a better term, enormously popular. It was easy to get financed for work associated with it, such that it skewed the entire basis of research. Everything from the spread of disease to the decline of endangered animals was suddenly attributed to climate change, because the climate change association made it easy to get financed and published. On the other hand, I know people (scientists) who have experienced discrimination because they did not believe in man-made climate change. So, we very rapidly moved from there being no requirement to disprove something ...



Science only works by attempting to disprove. Precisely for this reason the science needs to be continually reviewed and updated, and there is continuing data collection to try to disprove things like increased glacial and polar icecap melting. At present, the melting rates are still increasing, which is very concerning. There is also continuing research to try to disprove the climate paleontology data, but the more independent groups of scientists do (from different countries with different agendas), the more they find that there are fewer and fewer alternative explanations for the accelerating rate of current climate change. As you rightly point out, this does not mean they do not exist, but it also does not mean that the research is not being done. Quite the contrary.

Kind regards, David

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:51 pm
by zzsstt
Your description of the processes, both of peer review and of the IPCC are exactly what is published. Indeed I have little doubt that they are also a reasonably accurate description of what happens. However whatever process is used, it relies entirely on the impartiality of those involved, and the morals of those involved to stand up when they do not agree with what has been suggested. Unfortunately we humans are notorious for not abiding by the high ethical standards required! I have read a great many complaints about the IPCC process, including allegations that the review process is heavily biased, that statements are taken from source material without context, and that where editing is carried out the original author has no right of veto of the edited version. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, the entire process has been said to be that a handful of individuals simply take whatever data they wish from all that has been submitted, and use it in more or less whatever context they wish. Given the current popularity of the AGW cause, is it likely that any country would appoint a vocal anti climate change reviewer?

As I have said, I am a scientist by training. I would really like to say that I do not believe those allegations, but sadly I cannot dismiss them entirely. I have seen similar things happen at many levels, in many industries, and honestly I have no reason to doubt that the IPCC process could not be equally faulty. How many of the IPCC reviewers do not bellieve in AGW? Of course it is easy to state that "all scientists believe in AGW", but is there not a conflict of interest in having a review system carried out entirely by people who believe? A court where the prosecutor is allowed to pick their own jury would surely be one to avoid as a defendant!

Equally the statement that there is constant research being done to disprove melting glaciers and so forth is very interesting. Who is doing this work, and who is financing it? It would surprise me if any public money was being spent on projects to disprove anything related to climate change at present. I may be wrong, but I suspect that any work along those lines is not being carried out by a group of "deniers" dedicated to disproving climate change!

I am, in this thread and in my overall opinion, trying to consider both sides of the argument without becoming too cynical. I know exactly how the IPCC process works, and I know exactly how science and peer review work. I also know the influence that ambition and personal gain can have over people, not to mention the commitment that a strong personal belief can create. I do not doubt for one minute that the key scientists involved in the process believe that climate change is real, but I do believe that a strong belief does not make for an impartial judge.

In this case I am faced with a situation where a small number of people have been pushing a cause for many years. They have a deep belief in this cause, and now largely have the media convinced and the public running scared. They are making a great deal of both money and power from the situation. The IPCC can see an opportunity to achieve aims that it has been denied for years, and simply by appointing the correct scientists it can ensure that it's reports maintain the fervour that will enable it to achieve those aims. A situation exists where anybody who attempts to disprove AGW is labelled "a denier" (a term which I have previously only seen used with regard to war crimes) and would find it hard to get either funding or publication. It would therefore seem likely that work to disprove any aspect of AGW is likely to be funded by institutes with a pro AGW stance. Whilst science does progress through a process of proving or disproving a theory, it is clear that there are currently strong motives, both financial and social, not to rock the boat but instead to support AGW. Indeed, I am acquainted with somebody who decided it was easier to walk away from science and a university position rather than "risk everything" making a stance. I am sure there are more!

All of the above, of course, is pure speculation and does not mean that AGW is not real. But yes, I am willing to consider that it is true. And therefore I must also be willing to consider that, as you put it, the entire process of science has fallen flat on it's face. That is a big call, but consider the money involved. In the past, scientists have been relatively poorly paid, regarded as nerds (or equivalent) and left to rot in the backroom. Climate change has pushed them in to the spotlight, and boosted their income potential hugely. the entire drive behind "science" has changed at the same time - university research in the UK is now actively encouraged to favour subjects with a commercial basis, I have no doubt that many other countries are the same. Corporate science has always been about profit, now university science is following suit. When science becomes profit driven, its impartiality must surely com eunder scrutiny?

As far as the development of computers goes, I do not think the process bears any great similarity. I've been using computers since the days of punch cards, I used JANET before the internet existed, and I worked at Xerox PARC. The RFC system (as used in the development of TCP/IP) does bear some passing resemblance, but only in that it was a process designed to allow a large number of people to partake in developing a product. I do not believe the process involved attempting to disprove that TCP/IP was real ;)

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:14 pm
by greg c
If some one could come up with reasonable arguments and data to refute climate change, it would all be over if it could withstand peer review.

You probably remember the two guys who claimed to have discovered cold fusion in the 1980s. Their paper was published and they even got on TV. It was treated seriously because if it had been true our energy issues would vanish. However as we know it failed in the peer review process, no one could replicate their experiment. Same thing with climate change, there is a huge incentive to disprove and I don't think you would have any problem with funding. There are many people who are very interested in BAU.

Trouble is it has not happened. The simple issue is what we are going to do about it, you are right it has been in the public arena since the 1980s but much more in the naughties. No matter what is happening in the human world climate change is still going on and we are getting closer to possible tipping points. We are dealing with a very non linear system, so I think it quite right for some commentators to be a bit shrill by now.

The time for illogical argument is over

Greg

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:38 am
by zzsstt
A huge incentive to disprove? That is a statement with which I cannot agree! There are a huge number of people making a vast profit from climate change. Everything from cars, PV and wind power generation, insulation. A massive array of "green" versions of products including taps, sinks, toilets, lights. In addition to the direct sales, and opportunities to sell a replacement "slightly greener" product, you have corporate marketing opporunities - I am sure you have seen several large companies on TV making claims about their environmental work. Furthermore the banks and financial institutions see the opportunities for profit, which is why they are pushing for carbon trading, incentives for forestry systems and so forth. The governments see an opportunity to create a revenue stream from ETS style systems as well. At this point the worlds economic systems are geared up to profit from green related issues. Then there are activists with their own agendas that see a lever they can use, and this includes greens, vegetarians and (if you include them as activists) the political aspects of the IPCC that you mentioned earlier (if we think they can be separated from the IPCC in its full form!).

I honestly cannot see any incentive to disprove it, but a huge incentive to keep it going! there may have been an incentive to disprove it when it first started to gain traction, but at that time nobody took it seriously. Now the world has changed, and to disprove AGW would undermine the credibility and profit stream of every government, individual, corporation and scientist who has ever stood up in support of it. I cannot see either an incentive to do that, and anybody who tried would be a very unpopular person!

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:40 am
by davidh
zzsstt wrote:I am a scientist by training.

Equally the statement that there is constant research being done to disprove melting glaciers and so forth is very interesting.



Ahem ... so the scientific process, as you know, is one of disproving, not proving ...

zzsstt wrote:
Who is doing this work, and who is financing it? It would surprise me if any public money was being spent on projects to disprove anything related to climate change at present. I may be wrong, but I suspect that any work along those lines is not being carried out by a group of "deniers" dedicated to disproving climate change!

... I also know the influence that ambition and personal gain can have over people, not to mention the commitment that a strong personal belief can create. I do not doubt for one minute that the key scientists involved in the process believe that climate change is real, but I do believe that a strong belief does not make for an impartial judge.



To use an old cliche, I'm sure that there are bad apples in every barrel, but I'm also sure that the majority of scientists are highly ethical people. Of course we all flawed humans in the end, which is why we have so much environmental degradation in the first place.

zzsstt wrote:
In this case I am faced with a situation where a small number of people have been pushing a cause for many years. They have a deep belief in this cause, and now largely have the media convinced and the public running scared. They are making a great deal of both money and power from the situation.



Actually, the research shows that a large number of people do not believe in climate change, despite evidence to the contrary.

Let's get something clear hear, even people like Monckton do not argue that climate change is not happening. He admits it is happening, and that it is bad, he just argues about the causes. Monckton is in the camp that says humans only contribute a little bit to the causes, and nature does the rest on its own. The data that global warming is happening is very sound. The data on the devastating consequences is also very sound, with various tipping points being passed in different parts of land and marine based ecosystems at different times.

It does not matter which data set you look at; you can use UK Met data, Australian CSIRO data, NASA tropospheric satellite data, Russian data, Chinese data, oceanographic data collected by multiple independent sources from hundreds of sites, or land based data only. Even when corrected for the urban heat island effect, all sources from all countries, show the same picture. The climate is warming, and it is statistically significant, and it is greater than expected when controlling for other things such as the earth's elliptic orbit (Milankovic cycles) causing changes in absorbed solar irradiation heat energy, or when controlling for cooling events such as global dimming due to volcanic ash and industrial pollutants in the jetstream reflecting the suns energy back into space. And on this last point, without those cooling events, things would be much worse than they are. We have recently been in a Milankovic cooling period, and we had a large amount of ash from the Eyjafyoll eruption, so we've had a bit of cooling at the moment. All these things might give a sense of relief to some people, but we should really be more alarmed than ever, because despite these cooling events, people in various countries are still experiencing prolonged summer heatwaves, and we are not anywhere near the coolest temperatures experienced in the last 150 years, which is where we would expect to be with these combined events. Sure, if we have some really big volcanic eruptions which naturally cool the planet, than we might be thankful that things are hotter than they should be, but I ask you, is that a reason to ignore that it is happening? Should we just hope that all our human Terra-forming activities are meaningless in the greater scheme of things? Personally, I think that destruction of ecosytems just so humans can do what they want is morally and ethically wrong. We need to respect nature. In your role as a farmer, I'm sure you know that there are limits to what you can take from soils before you have to give something back.

Now we can quibble about the causes for years, but the simple case is that there is no argument about the fact that humans are contributing to some of the cause.

That being true as a given baseline, then we have an obligation to the future health of the planet as an entire system to take care of our mess.

The other thing that we are ignoring here is that if there is the remotest possibility that humans have contributed to climate change, and we do nothing, the consequences are far greater than if we do something. If we do something, than we have a little extra cost to transform our energy sources, and transform how we use that energy in the short term, in return for a great deal of extra benefit in the long term, and our precious oil reserves will be around for longer for us to make all sorts of useful substances out of (as if we had some sort of divine right to use it all up in the first place).

Kind regards, David

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:45 pm
by davidh
Dear zzsstt

I hear you when you say that some scientist have difficulty finding funding. If it has affected you or someone you know personally, than that is indeed very sad.

In my case, I make less money out of being a scientist than my wife earns packing DVD's in a warehouse. In fact, if it was not for her contribution to paying our mortgage, I could not do research. If people who are dedicated to science want to do it, they will find a way. Many of the best scientific findings have come from people who went broke in the process.

Cheers, David

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:03 pm
by zzsstt
Science generally is an interesting subject. I do know of cases where situations have been made untenable because of climate bias, and of people who have walked away from science (and in one case a professorship) because of "political" pressure to conform to a pro AGW stance. Indeed one could also cite the case of David Bellamy, who was at one point a respected conservationalist, but who after suggesting that climate change was natural and not man made was removed as president of the Royal Society of Widlife Trusts because they were "not happy with his line on climate change", and also as president of the Plantlife charity for the same reason. Bias and discrimination exists.

Science for science sake has always been a low budget affair, and often carried out (as you said) by those with a strong desire. Unfortunately that stuation seems to be deteriorating, as university science (the main source of basic research) comes under pressure to show a profit. AGW has given a massive boost to this, as any number of research projects will demonstrate. 15 years ago, we all "knew" that, as an example, some native Australian wildlife was under pressure, and the causes were a varied mix of direct interference by man (e.g. landclearing etc.), predation by introduced fauna and so forth. Yet the research now is about how AGW has impacted these same animals. The change is entirely down to the funding opportunity.

By the way, when I say "climate change" I am referring to the theory of man-made climate change, as I said earlier in the thread the climate is always changing, with that I have no argument!.

Of course, as you say, there are still a great deal of people who do not believe in AGW. As we move away from those directly involved with climate science, or those directly profiting from climate science, so the stated level of belief drops. If we also discard those people displaying an environmental bent, the numbers decline further still. The argument could be made that this reflects a lack of understanding of the subject, but that argument is mitigated because many of the believers that are not scientists have absolutely no understanding of the subject, but believe simply because it fits their general "green" stance. One only has to look at the ridiculous claims that some of these people make ("the planet will be a sterile ball in 20 years", "just look at Venus" and the like) to realise that a great many believers have no grasp of the issue. Then there are the large numbers of trained scientists, not directly benefiting from climate science, who are not convinced by the arguments. I know many, and sadly I know a fair number who would not dream of voicing that opinion publicly for fear of the reaction they would get. It is interesting to me that it appears that even among trained scientists, those who have retired or have left science or are involved in coporate science not climate related are far more likely to state doubts about AGW than those in either climate reasearch or (it would appear from what I have read) those still in the university system. Again, this could be because they're less well read on the subject (though in some cases I know that to be false) or just maybe because they have far less fear of retribution.

Actually it could be suggested that very few people believe in AGW, one only has to look at the vast majority of the solutions that are proposed to realise that they have far more to do with making a profit than changing the climate. Whilst it is a cynical view, surely it would be fair to say that if the worlds governments genuinely believed in AGW they would be trying to solve it, rather than trying to redistribute wealth, or gain tax revenues! If the situation is really as dire as has been suggested, surely that would outweigh any petty arguments of the kinds that scuppered the Copenhagen meeting?

davidh wrote:Ahem ... so the scientific process, as you know, is one of disproving, not proving...


I was trained that the process of science was to produce an hypothesis and then attempt to find faults with it. If faults are found, the hypothesis is amended until no further faults can be found. I believe I stated that earlier, and my comment about the attempts to disprove glacial melting was to do with motivation. If we assume that the scientists involved in those measurements fervently believe that AGW is false, then they are indeed attempting to disprove the melting. However if they believe it to be true, it is (as I have said previously) entirely down to their own moral compass to attempt at all costs to disprove it. Here there is a Catch-22. Let us say for the moment that (as would indeed seem likely) they believe in AGW, and they believe we need to address the problem. Now they have a moral compass that is subject to a conflict of interests. On one hand they fervently believe in AGW and the need to address it. Morally they MUST do what they believe is right for the planet. On the other hand if, despite any unconscious experimental bias that belief generates, they unearth evidence that does not agree with their theory, morally they are obliged to publish that information. On the other hand (see, I'm a scientist, I have three hands!) they also know that doing so would likely make them very unpopular with a large number of their peers and, just possibly, risk their career. Finally (a foot?) they also know that, as a modification of something you stated earlier, maintaining the requirement to fix the problem will not do any harm whether the problem is real or not. Given that dilemma, how many people would really pull out all the stops to disprove something?

Now the bit where I agree with you is that no matter whether AGW is real or not, we are basically a rather nasty avaricious species that flagrantly wastes resources. I really do think we need to change our habits, and I am certainly trying to change mine. My concern with AGW (real or not) is that it does not seem to be stimulating a rational, well thought out and logical series of changes that will improve our performance. Instead it is being used as a fear-inducing monster to forward agendas of personal, corporate and political gain.

Whether AGW is real is an interesting debate, as is the debate about modern science, funding and the like. However at the end of the day I would be perfectly happy if someone suggested that climate change was brought about by the temper tantrums of adopted Venezuelan orphans* if it resulted in a reasoned approach to reducing our impact on the planet, rather than the panicked mess we are currently seeing!

*In another thread on this forum was posted a graph of global temperature vs. number of pirates. That would do equally well!

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 11:16 pm
by greg c
Some people are working on solutions, and of course at this late stage, they will cost us. Take the plan to power all stationary energy sources by renewable sources in 10 years. I went to the launch of the study last Thursday.

http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org/

Cost, only $37bn per year for 10 years or 3% of GDP. People making a profit now from global warming? Not many but if we go down this path and develop the industry it would be very good for the country. More employment in the industry, exporting technologies, exporting green electricity (to SE Asia with high voltage DC transmission Lines !!!)

Lets put science and conspiracy theories aside for a moment and have a look at the basic facts.
1. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas - discovered in the C19
2. Current CO2 levels are about 390ppm - higher than they have ever been in the last 600,000 years at least. Highest historical level (before 1750) is 280ppm.
3. Levels started creeping up about 1750, about the same time we discovered fossil fuels. Rate of change closely follows our increasing use of fossil fuels.
4. The planets average temp closely follows the CO2 concentration
5. It has already warmed significantly. 2010 looks like being the hottest year on record. Previous hottest was 2005, second hottest 2009.
6. The planet has very large inertia
7 The climate system is non linear.

One can search for other reasons why the planet is warming but to me it is so bleeding obvious. There are too many of us and we are pumping far to much CO2 into the atmosphere. In fact we have put it up by about 40% in a very non linear system with high inertia. I think that is cause for alarm, panic even.

Don't worry about conspiracy theories, think about vested interests. That is what we have to overcome

Greg

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:48 am
by zzsstt
greg c wrote:People making a profit now from global warming? Not many .......


Every time you see a product that mentions its green credentials, you see somebody making a profit from global warming. Whether that is a direct claim on a product like solar panels or a "low flow" tap, or an indirect claim like "food miles" at a farmers market, they are all leveraging the "climate change" fear to generate or encourage a sale. Sales are profits, so all these people are making a profit from global warming. It's a massive business, lets not fool ourselves!

I started writing a paragraph about vested interests on both sides, but realised that at the end of the day there are no vested interests with regards to climate change, there are only vested interests with regards to PROFITS. The oil companies apparent vested interest in maintaining the status quo is really only about leveraging their investments to make the most profit. Equally, the climate scientists, the makers of "efficient" products and the vendors of renewable energy technology have the same vested interest in profit, but their profit comes from moving away from the status quo.

This situation is demonstrated quite clearly by car manufacturers, who will push an eco hybrid car on those with an environmental bent, but are also perfectly happy to sell a fuel guzzling V8 ute to somebody who doesn't give a hoot about the climate.

I was recently chatting to a guy who was retiring from the renewable energy consultancy business. Because he was retiring (and I was not a customer) he was able to be entirely honest, and stated without hesitation that almost all of the wind power systems that he has worked on, and he worked on big commercial systems, were designed solely to make money for the people selling them. He commented that whilst they may make a political statement, very few would ever be commercially viable for power generation. His summation was that wind power was indeed viable, but almost inevitably the area's with sufficient stable wind were too far from any populations mass or industry to be used (or noticed). So the systems were built closer to the cities, or closer to existing infrastructure, and therefore rarely had sufficient wind to make useful power.

I do not know whether climate change is man made. I do know that the climate changes WITHOUT our help, and that one fact makes it harder to define what contribution, if any, we may be making. I do agree there are far too many of us - a quick calculation suggests that our current population emits 2.7 billions tonnes of CO2 per year based on an average "at rest" breathing rate. However our response to this situation needs to be sensible. Removing food production to reduce CO2 makes no sense when we already see food shortages makes no sense. Promoting vegetarianism makes no sense when it is easily demsonstrated that meat production has almost zero net affect on greenhouse gases. These are not solutions, they are entirely separate agendas that see some leverage to be gained from the climate change fear. They make as much sense as banning sports because they make people breathe faster and thus generate more CO2!!!!!

CO2 exists in a cycle. We cannot create carbon, we can only transform it from one form to another. Even if CO2 is causing the climate to warm, the only CO2 we are adding is that which has been trapped in fossil fuels. I have no issues with finding ways to reduce the usage of that material, or even to encourage (sensible) processes to once again trap that which we have produced. But unfortunately 99% of what is being proposed as solutions has "profit" (financial or other) as its driver, not climate change.