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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:49 am
by davidh
Thanks Greg C

greg c wrote:
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.

It has already warmed significantly. 2010 looks like being the hottest year on record. Previous hottest was 2005, second hottest 2009.
The planet [planetary climate system] has very large inertia
The climate system is non linear.




Yes! Check the global average temperatures. 0.1 degree celsius average global increase per decade since 1910 may not seem much compared to the swings we see each day, but it is massive at a global level, and it means that increases in some parts of the planet are much greater than that, which of great concern.

Have you pondered why Antarctic sea ice has been increasing during sourthern hemisphere winters lately? Some people think this is a good thing, because it means more sunlight reflected away from Antarctica back into space. Well think about this: at the same time there has been a seven-fold increase in the rate of melting of Antarctic undersea glaciers. That's a lot of cold fresh water pouring into the oceans around Antarctica. The increased disintegration rate of Antarctica contributes to increased freezing at the sea surface, but this is just one of those inertia steps in the climate system that will eventually lead to a massive increase in global average temperature, much greater that anything we've seen so far.

greg c wrote:
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.

Greg


And that's not saying anything about the economic projections that show if we do nothing about carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane (and other synthetic greenhouse gases) accumulating in our atmosphere, then there will not be an economy to worry about, because the whole system will have collapsed anyway. Anyone old enough to remember the "Club of Rome" might like to read this (and the rest of you):

Turner, G. (2008). A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality. Global Environmental Change, 18(3), 397– 411.

The original "LImits to Growth" article (published 1972 with revisions in 1974) had some computer models about what would happen if we continued using resources the same way (the "usual run"), and it included several alternative models if we managed to change our habits significantly, and it was based on data from 1900 to 1970. The 2008 article added in the data from 1970 to 2000, and it shows that for the most part we on the "usual run" trajectory of no change. What's up with that? you might ask! Well, if we keep going on the "usual run" we end up with population overload, and collapse of multiple systems, including economic and agricultural. Even without globla warming this is a scary scenario, but add in global warming, and the pot just gets more deadly.

Did you watch Dick Smilth's population debate documentary the other evening on ABC? Catch it on http://www.abc.net.au/iview if you missed it.

There is no filter system better than nature for cleaning up the planet, but the climate change opposition keep forgetting that greedy people are continuing to consume natural resources without bothering to ask where they are coming from, or turning a blind eye even when they do know better. We are destroying nature so fast there is no way back while humans continue to dominate the planet instead of working with it.

Kind regards, David

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:03 am
by davidh
zzsstt wrote:
greg c wrote:People making a profit now from global warming? Not many .......


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.


I'm a heretic ... I like democracy very much, but that does not mean I have to like what capitalism is doing to the planet. We could vote to have a different type of trading system.

zzsstt wrote: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!!!!!


Nice try, but you know as well as I do that we are not talking about that type of CO2!

zzsstt wrote: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.


I know you not suggesting that we should just dump all that carbon up there all at once, just to be spiteful to nature, and then sit back and watch what happens ... now I'm going to go for a ride on my greeny bicycle and breath out some CO2.

Kind regards, David

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:32 am
by Gordon-Loomberah
zzsstt wrote:... a "low flow" tap...


Slightly off this topic, but since you mentioned it, I'll just make the observation, (because it is something that really annoys me!): low flow bath taps are more likely to waste hot water in my experience. They take so bloody long to fill the bath that you need to add more hot water than you otherwise would with a sensible flow rate tap, to compensate for the cooling while you wait! :x

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:44 pm
by zzsstt
davidh wrote:Nice try, but you know as well as I do that we are not talking about that type of CO2!


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

The only additional carbon (in any molecule) above the subsoil of this planet is that which we have extracted from below the surface in the form of fossil fuels. Everything else was already here, either as atmospheric gases, inorganic compounds (using "organic" to mean life, not benzene rings!) or as plants and animals. Indeed that which we have added from fossil fuels was originally tied up in plant or animal tissues which over time have transformed into those fossil fuel deposits.

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? On that basis, then that which is breathed out from an increasing number of humans is as bad as that created from fossil fuels - in both cases the carbon was previously tied up in a non gaseous state, whether that was a a barrel of oil or a bag of wheat.

The only difference between fossil fuel based carbon and any other form of above the subsoil carbon is that the "deeper" sources have been out of the atmospheric system for longer - carbon in a tree may have been tied up in a non gaseous state for 100 years, coal has been tied up a lot longer! In either case the carbon is not new, the CO2 produced by burning it (whether in an engine or a human body) has the same impact.

So, as examples (and in basic form):

1/ Gaseous CO2 is fixed by a plant and converted to carbohydrates. The plant is eaten by a human. The human converts the carbohydrates to CO2 and exhales some of them, the remainder are fixed in the body until the human dies and is cremated, at which point the remainder is returned to the atmosphere. The entire cycle may take as little as one growing season, or (if the body is buried) as long as the body takes to decompose.

2/ Gaseous CO2 is fixed by a plant and converted to carbohydrates. The plant is eaten by a steer, part of the carbon is exhaled as CO2, part is belched out as methane, part is retained as meat. The meat is eaten by a human, after which that portion of the carbon becomes subject to the same time frames as the plant based carbon from 1/ above. The methane belched from the steer has a 9 year lifetime, after which it has broken down to CO2 and rejoins the cycle. The methane has a higher greenhouse effect than the CO2, but unless there is an increase in the number of cattle there is no net increase in the amount of atmospheric methane because it constantly breaks down, and therefore there is no net increase in greenhouse effect. This cycle can therefore take between one growing season and the lifetime of the human as described above.

3/ Fossil fuel is removed from the earth and burnt. The CO2 joins the cycle above, with a net increase in the greenhouse effect. HOWEVER, the process of fossil fuel creation is ongoing, the flora and fauna in the oceans absorb that CO2, and as they die they sink to the bottom of the ocean where over time they become the "fossil fuel" of the future. This cycle is obviously very slow, but each carbon atom may be in gaseous form for a relatively short period.

So, it's all a cycle. The problem is that the cycle involving fossil fuels is dependent on the speed with which the oceans can absorb the CO2. At present, they apparently cannot absorb it at the rate we are burning it, so the amount above the subsoil is increasing. But it would not stay in the atmosphere if we, for example, grew massive quantities of sugarcane and then simply stockpiled it! If there were fewer humans, then we would not need to eat everything in sight and convert it back to CO2, that additional vegetation whether it be trees or wheat, would be a carbon sink. Unfortunately we keep increasing in number and therefore keep recycling the carbon, rather than retaining it in a solid form. Moreover the constant increase in our number results in the need to produce more food, thus removing even short term (1 to 100's of years) of carbon fixing provided by plants, and increasing the amount of fossil fuels required to keep our society moving.

[Out of interest, and as an aside, if the planet and its oceans warm, the volume of water in the oceans increase, their salinity decreases (presumably, as the melt water is said to be 'fresh") and the concentration of CO2 increases, does this not provide conditions suitable for an increase the number and activity of the oceans flora that would equally increase the rate of CO2 absorption?]

In any case, there is no reason that I can see why fossil fuel based CO2 should be any worse from a greenhouse viewpoint than human breath based CO2, except that it's cycle to return to a non gaseous state is longer. That being the case, then CO2 from breath, or burning wood, or brewing beer is all equally bad from an "instantaneous impact" perspective. So get off your bike and try to breathe less, stockpile bags of sugar, stop drinking beer ;)

Edit: spelling

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:12 pm
by zzsstt
Gordon-Loomberah wrote:
zzsstt wrote:... a "low flow" tap...


Slightly off this topic, but since you mentioned it, I'll just make the observation, (because it is something that really annoys me!): low flow bath taps are more likely to waste hot water in my experience. They take so bloody long to fill the bath that you need to add more hot water than you otherwise would with a sensible flow rate tap, to compensate for the cooling while you wait! :x


I'm not sure there is any legal requirement for low flow bath taps, BASIX specifies basin taps but makes no mention of baths. They are required on sinks, where the water runs straight to waste, and showers for the same reason. In any case, they are typical of "green" products, in that ALL taps are low flow if they are only cracked open rather than turn on full. So at best a low flow tap is an attempt to fix a bad attitude, at worst it's manufacture and sale of an item that is not required! This is similar to the low energy light vs. just switching it off debate.

When I was young, toilets were all syphonic flush devices. Now they are all low flow units, but operated with a simple valve. When operating correctly, a valve flush toilet may use less water per flush than an old syphonic - though I imagine a syphonic could be developed to use less water. But a good proportion of valve toilets actually leak constantly, whereas a syphonic flush unit cannot leak but can only fail to flush*. Does replacing syphonic flush toilets really improve water usage in the real world when they get grit under the valve and start to leak, or just in lab testing when the valve toilet is working properly? But I'd imagine they're cheaper to make, can be made to look much smarter and have easier to flush "push button" actions.......

And lets not wonder how a low flow toilet can save "over 35,000 liters of water a year", even at a 4.5L/flush saving, thats 22 flushes each and every day!!

*Both styles can leak due to faulty float (inlet) valves causing overflows to the pan, but syphonic toilets cannot produce the constant flow to the pan that many modern toilets exhibit.

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:56 pm
by Gordon-Loomberah
zzsstt wrote:I'm not sure there is any legal requirement for low flow bath taps, BASIX specifies basin taps but makes no mention of baths.


When the shower and bath are controlled by the same flow restricted mixer tap its a bit hard to avoid. Neater in the bathroom, but not very practical for filling the bath. Trying to get a decent flow through a 5mm hole in the guts of the tap is just too restrictive, and its not all that easy to do much about it with a drill. Here the only water supply is that which we catch off the roof, so we employ our own water restrictions when required. Having restrictive low flow taps plays no part in water saving here at all, we just dont turn it full on in the shower, or as often/long, when the tanks get low. When the tanks are overflowing large amounts of water (like now) we like to have long hot (assuming the sun has been out!) deep baths :)

When I was young, toilets were all syphonic flush devices. Now they are all low flow units, but operated with a simple valve.


Same when I was young... now I'm grown up I use a composting toilet :D

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:19 pm
by zzsstt
We are also on tank water, but all our waste goes through a BioSeptic rather than composting toilets. The flow restrictions for our showers are all in the showerheads themselves, I've never even checked to see whether the shower mixers have any restrictions. I must admit that our showerheads have the restrictors removed - I have always found that a short duration shower with a reasonable flow is better for cleaning than a long spell under a dribble! As I said, all these restrictors are designed to correct for "pilot error" (and make a sale!).

I stayed in a motel somewhere in Victoria a year or so ago, and the shower was useless. I complained, and was told that it was restricted to be "green" as the motel was eco-certified in some way. I ended up chatting to the manager, and she told me that their main problem was people who used the shower as a kids entertainment area, leaving the children to play in the shower for half the night. When I explained that I was used to being on tank water, she happily had the restrictor removed so I could actually get clean.......

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:27 pm
by 470rigby
Gordon-Loomberah wrote:When the tanks are overflowing large amounts of water (like now) we like to have long hot (assuming the sun has been out!) deep baths :)

...and here I was..thinking that you were the sort of chap that lit a fire under his cast iron bath tub and sudsed up in "plein air"...with a bottle of home brew on a conveniently located tree stump :o

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:32 pm
by Gordon-Loomberah
hehehe, I used to have a shower head tied to a tree and a bath heated from underneath by flames!
Goldfish and water plants in that bath these days, but I still have the home brew :)

Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:40 pm
by Joey
It still great to see such intelligent understanding and discussion , unfortunately whether it's fact or fiction , yes or no at very best it is still and only ever will be observation.
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.
If we were to learn global temperatures were going to rise by 10C every month or drop by 10C every month the same scenario would exist except it will be happening quicker , whether it be caused by C02 or CO77 knowing or not knowing makes no difference , the same as knowing what you know now , has that improved anything NO , has it got any worse who knows? .

With all this combined knowledge I haven't seen where anyone has presented the earths specification manual to see if the planet is operating within it's design specifications , normal operating temperatures , gas levels etc , but we are all happy to assume it was specifically designed and created just to support us.
It staggeringly incomprehensible how Earth and we come to exist , even more staggeringly incomprehensible is mans illusions of grandeur that we are able to control it all .