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[P]
Antarctic Response to Climate Change - Not Pragmatic

By imrdkl in News
Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:32:34 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Early in 2002, this website published an excellent article which documented the activity among the various ice shelves on the perimeter of the Antarctic. At that time, there had recently been several significant calving events, rendering vast, floating islands of ice. Also discussed was the complete collapse, in 1999, of an ice shelf known as Larsen B, which was formerly the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula - the northernmost and warmest part of the continent. The disintegration of the Larsen B shelf was called a "profound event", because it was thought to be stable. Fortunately, when massive icebergs are calved from ice-shelves, and even when they collapse and disintegrate completely, there is no resulting rise in sea level. It turns out though, that these same ice shelves serve a surprisingly important role in "holding back" the glaciers and land-locked ice on Antarctica which, if released into the ocean, would raise the world's sea level an estimated 20 feet (7m).

Now it's much clearer just how important that role is.


It was not known, after the collapse of Larsen B, what the result would be on the glaciers behind it. But now, according to a paper published this month in Geophysical Research Letters entitled Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica (abstract), the glaciers which were once held back by the Larsen B ice shelf are now growing (and sliding off into the sea) at a rate which is as much as six times faster than before, once again surprising scientists. According to Theodore Scambos, a University of Colorado glacier expert who worked on of two separate studies confirming this,
"If anyone was waiting to find out whether Antarctica would respond quickly to climate warming, I think the answer is 'yes'. We've seen 240 kilometres of coastline change drastically in just 15 years."
The Antarctic peninsula, where these results are being witnessed, has seen a temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius during the past 60 years, a rate which exceeds that of any other location on Earth. Ice shelves in the region have lost more than 13,500 sq. kilometers of area just during the last 30 years. Even so, the result is being called a 'Miniature experiment' by these researchers, an experiment which clearly demonstrates how quickly the Antarctic glaciers and land-based ice sheets can respond to the loss of their corresponding ice-shelves, and warmer temperatures.

Meanwhile, farther south, the larger ice shelves of Antarctica which hold back the more significant threat appear to be somewhat stabilized since the major calving events of 2000 - 2002. According to scientists, most of the face of the Ross Ice shelf, for example, has now been released into the sea, with some very bad results for sea life in the region. There is another large crack on the Ross shelf, but it is difficult to say when another large iceberg may result from that crack.

In a more recent article published here with an eye towards the politics of Global Warming, this reporter was roundly criticized for pointing out that the targets of the Kyoto agreement had not been met by the vast majority of the countries which signed on, and that, perhaps, these targets were simply not pragmatic. In light of the startling results in this 'Miniature experiment' at the bottom of our planet however, it seems reasonable to ask if perhaps the time for pragmatism is coming to a close.

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Poll
Antarctic Warming
o Will continue to move farther south to the larger ice shelves 42%
o Will only affect the peninsula 5%
o Will be offset by the cold water from the melting glaciers 5%
o Will provide many profitable opportunities for new beach resorts 47%

Votes: 57
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o excellent article
o Larsen B
o much clearer
o Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica
o very bad results
o more recent article
o Also by imrdkl


Display: Sort:
Antarctic Response to Climate Change - Not Pragmatic | 233 comments (228 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Pragmatism (2.58 / 12) (#2)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:46:02 AM EST

No, the time for pragmatism never really closes.

Look at it this way - the Kyoto targets were unrealistic because it was unrealistic to expect billions of people to obey them.

I don't see how you expect to impose any kind of solution to this problem when a billion Chinese, a billion Indians and a few billion 3rd worlders will just ignore you.

The only real solution is for someone to figure out how to really deliver cheap wind and solar power to those billions of people and develop electric cars that are cheaper to run than gasoline cars. Otherwise they will do what they have always done, right up to the day they die.


I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort

I have a better idea (none / 1) (#3)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:48:38 AM EST

Why not just nuke them? Problem solved - no more snooty Third-Worlders to ignore our laws. Besides, they had it coming.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

Sound good, but (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:51:22 AM EST

wouldn't that mess up the environment?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
You've gotta think of the children. (none / 1) (#6)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:16:29 AM EST

That's why my plan works.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

environment (none / 1) (#9)
by b1t r0t on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:24:48 AM EST

That's why you need to nuke 'em with neutron bombs.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]
Ah, the neutron bomb. (none / 1) (#15)
by glor on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:12:45 PM EST

All of the environmental damage without any of this pesky structural instability stuff.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

It's perfect (none / 1) (#41)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:13:44 PM EST

Away with excess enemy with no less value to property.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

A Better Way... (none / 1) (#18)
by Ogygus on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:31:19 PM EST

Wait for some virulent plague to start wiping them out, develop treatments for it and then we can finance our lifestyles with the profits. Less collateral damage that way.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
AIDS (none / 1) (#144)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:32:01 PM EST

aren't we already doing that?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Right. (none / 1) (#5)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:54:24 AM EST

So, you're saying you think the 3rd world would abide by Kyoto, then?

Or do you think that cutting back emissions in the US will solve the problem all by itself?

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

No, where'd you get that? (2.25 / 4) (#7)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:17:04 AM EST

I'm saying nuke the Third World. I don't know how I could make that any more explicit.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

Then who would make my shoes? (nt) (none / 1) (#91)
by UCF BullitNutz on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:48:17 AM EST


----------
" It ain't a successful troll until the admin shuts off new user registration for half a year." - godix
[ Parent ]
because. (none / 1) (#186)
by /dev/trash on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:05:35 PM EST

Nukes aren't environmentally friendly.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
We can't ever totally prevent murder (2.71 / 7) (#8)
by mcc on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:18:43 AM EST

So we might as well legalize it

[ Parent ]
Making drugs illegal (none / 1) (#11)
by Skywise on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:52:34 AM EST

will stop drug use...

[ Parent ]
IIRC (none / 1) (#10)
by szo on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:37:42 AM EST

it was the USoA the only one among the major countries and one of the greatest pulluters who refused to sign. Correct me if i'm wrong.

Szo
--
I guess it wasn't the dove...
[ Parent ]

At least we were honest. (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:43:27 PM EST

Please provide a list of the countries that either are now, or are planning to, implement Kyoto.

See - Kyoto has a huge gaping hole in it - it only limits current 1st world nations. So what happens if we implement it? The remainder of our factories move to the 3rd world even more quickly than they are now.

So, the pay off countries like Japan get for "protecting the future"  is the collapse of their economy and no net reduction in CO2.

Sorry, it won't work.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Implementing Kyoto (1.33 / 3) (#162)
by cep on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:53:49 PM EST

Please provide a list of the countries that either are now, or are planning to, implement Kyoto.

The EU does it - slowly.

[ Parent ]

The former eastern block (none / 0) (#223)
by szo on Wed Sep 29, 2004 at 12:26:53 PM EST

Granted, it's easy, because the industry collapsed, but still, the output of gases decresed faster than kioto demands.
--
I guess it wasn't the dove...
[ Parent ]
I love this (2.83 / 12) (#12)
by GenerationY on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 12:27:28 PM EST

4% of the world's population create more than 25% of the CO2 emissions, drive ridiculously oversized cars, overconsume products of every consumable nature and expect to pay virtually nothing for their petrol.

And its everybody else's fault. Sure it is. You should look up how much CO2 emissions India produces per capita before you point the finger.

I think your President (50 million in contributions from the energy companies greatfully received) was most eloquent on the subject for once:

"In terms of the CO2 issue, I will explain as clearly as I can, today and every other chance I get, that we will not do anything that harms our economy. Because, first things first, are the people who live in America."

Fuck you too, George.

[ Parent ]

I'm glad I'll be dead (3.00 / 5) (#13)
by RandomLiegh on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 12:34:10 PM EST

before it all totally goes to hell.

It's gotta suck to be you kids, though.

---
Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
---
[ Parent ]

Um. Yeah. (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:41:12 PM EST

And if the US disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, what would change?

Nothing. Because (A) the rest of the world is still, already, producing too much CO2 and (B) the third world would continue to industrialize, possibly even faster, so you still end up in the same place.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

There'd be a REALLY BIG tsunami. (3.00 / 5) (#25)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:21:33 PM EST

The resultant flooding would devastate coastlines everywhere, killing millions of people and displacing tens of millions. I'm not sure what the effect of all that suddenly exposed mantle would be, but I'm sure it wouldn't be good. Really bad acid rain everywhere, at the very least.

It would be a disaster to rival the Precambrian extinction, you heartless monster!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Exposed mantle? (none / 1) (#29)
by CanSpice on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:01:05 PM EST

How would that work, exactly?

[ Parent ]
Well (2.83 / 6) (#50)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:49:38 PM EST

The North American continent wakes up one day, finds out it's out of coffee, and inadvertantly goes to work with its pants off, thus exposing the "mantle".

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

What would change? (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by GenerationY on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:27:16 PM EST

25% of the world's total CO2 emissions would cease. Its a radical plan but if you are offering...

"The rest of the world" hasn't got anything like the problems Americans have. If Americans made strenuous efforts it would be worth the reamining 96% of the world's population who only produce 75% of the CO2 emissions to have a go too. You have the situation exactly back to front. America isn't some bystander, its by far the guiltiest party in all this.

Washington Post, 2002.
U.S. cars and light trucks produce a fifth of all carbon dioxide in this country associated with problems of global warming, and those emissions have begun to surge after decades of steady decline, a new study says. The report by Environmental Defense, a New York-based advocacy group, blames the problem on an auto industry that has catered to mounting consumer demand for light trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans that provide more room and power but less fuel efficiency.

Emissions of carbon dioxide from American cars and light trucks nearly match those of all sources in Japan, and exceed those of India and Germany, which rank fifth and sixth among the world's countries in terms of global warming emissions, the study found.

Way to go in 2002 America, thanks again. I can see the environmental message has really sunk in.

A real incentive to everyone else. Hey, if we destroy our power plants and live in caves we might offset the increase from just the new SUV owners of California! For fuck's sake. Just, stop trying to blame other people. Quit whining. Americans are too greedy and they hurt everyone else with it. Time for change not specious excuses.

[ Parent ]

You missed that closing tag. (none / 1) (#32)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:27:44 PM EST

I also notice that you missed my point. I'm not arguing about how much CO2 the US emits - I'm arguing that even eliminating 100% of it won't solve the problem.

The only solution to this problem is to develop an effective and cheap replacement for fossil fuels. Solar is too expensive, wind is too fickle. Nukes are too dangerous.

What, exactly, do you intend to do?

By the way, I appreciate the way you write that whiny, bitter post blaming America for the world's problems while simultaneously accusing me of trying to blame other people.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Its the same logic (none / 1) (#68)
by GenerationY on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 08:07:17 PM EST

as your argument (you were blaming India and China). Whether we like it or not the world looks to its major power for leadership, a mantle that the USA is quite happy to assume with when it comes to prosecuting illegal wars.

America could so something. It could even just try and stand still. But no, another record year for Hummer purchases. How the hell is that even vaguely socially acceptable?

This isn't some specious "blame America" argument, this is a factual matter. It produces disproportionate levels of CO2 for its population. That isn't "the world's problems", there is no need to lapse into cliche. If it was India or England or Tinbuktoo I'd be blaming them, especially if they had more or less told the rest of the world to piss off and drown.

Its all about momentum and concensus. I don't believe these problems can be addressed overnight, but a show of willing would be a start.

[ Parent ]

Solution - fewer Americans (3.00 / 2) (#77)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:38:11 PM EST

Face it, you need to either decimate the US economy or the population. Something like a "Great Depression" downturn in the economy wouldn't be very popular, and therefore is unlikely to be something that would be welcomed by the US government. And, can you imagine a US President being elected on a platform of giving the country a "big economic downturn"? 80% unemployment? I don't think so.

So, the answer is fewer Americans. Lots and lots fewer. This would cut down the pollution and energy use. The next target, logically would be Western Europe - if they were at an Eastern Europe economic level, they too would be producing less pollution and less energy use. Might have a few less people as well because of starvation and freezing to death. Not a big change, but a step in the right direction.

The question is how to start implementing a "fewer Americans" plan. Would people just walk into an euthansia center for the betterment of the planet? Probably not. Will the war in Iraq make a difference? Probably not. Not even WWII make anywhere hear the size difference that is needed. The planet needs something on the order of the Black Death or an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak in a major city.

Does this make you feel a little queazy? Just a tad uncomfortable? If so, maybe you will start to understand what is at stake here. And why climate change is invitable.

[ Parent ]

it's worse than that, though. (none / 1) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:01:48 PM EST

Because as I pointed out - even if the US does produce 25% of the worlds CO2, the world as a whole is producing way more than 125% of pre-industrial levels. Eliminating the US would only slow things down a tad - and that not much, since warming is apparently well under way.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
Yes but it would be a good start (none / 0) (#217)
by Nursie on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 07:31:54 AM EST

For all your whining in this thread about the US not producing everything, about industrialisation of the third world - Cutting down emissions in the US, a country that has the technological resources to advance alternative enrgy sources and low-emission energy massively if it put it's mind and a tiny amount of its resources to it, would really really help!!

As it is, all we hear out of the US is "STFU, we don't believe we're doing anything wrong"

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
The "Fewer Americans" Program (none / 1) (#189)
by marx on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 06:46:32 AM EST

Give me a call if you need volunteers.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Uh. Yeah. (none / 1) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:56:33 PM EST

At which point did I say that global warming was the Indian's fault? Or the Chinese?

Pointing out that Indians and Chinese want to enjoy the same wealth as Americans isn't blaming them for anything.

On the other hand, it does explain why Kyoto won't work - because simply because you want them to give up their dreams of luxury doesn't mean that they will, any more than Americans will. Or Germans will. Or Japanese will.

I'm still waiting for you to tell me that list of countries that have implemented Kyoto. Because we both know that no country has even tried.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Where do you get that idea? (3.00 / 4) (#86)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:06:12 AM EST

France, Germany, Sweden and the UK. [Link is a PDF]

The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark have earmarked "considerable" funds for carbon sinks (ie. planting trees) and will make it if they can sustain their officially submitted spending plans which are fairly ambitious, but then again, the present Dutch Government in particular have proved almost crazily honorable about things like this.

Other people are getting close but it looks like they might overshoot. Europe as a whole and greenhouse gases as a whole, it is at least 2.9% below figures from 1990 (Spain and Portugal are probably responsible for this mean not being a lot more flattering...).

C02 remains a problem for sure, but at least there are some signs of Europe's leading "Big 3" getting their act together (the Swedes have always been pretty serious environmentalists anyway).

You should look at the regs on, say, building or manufacturing cars and certainly for the petrochemical industry (which I was working in relation to the first two months of this year because they'd changed procedures and I was trying to do the safety on it) in Europe now. They are quite aggressive in many cases and its attributable to Kyoto.

[ Parent ]

Interesting. (none / 1) (#199)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 10:46:06 PM EST

I promise to look through it. Still, I have to compare your confidence with things like BBC articles that as of March, 2004, no EU country has yet to file a draft plan on how to meet even the newer, watered down, Kyoto treaty.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
That report is from (none / 1) (#200)
by GenerationY on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 12:12:54 AM EST

the European Environment Agency so I think they are pretty authoritative. And it isn't all good news either. In fact if you do read some of the report, the author expresses considerable displeasure with the performance of Europe as a whole.

But what they say is that if present trends continue those four countries will meet their agreed levels for emissions. Its not a mortal lock.

Now I wouldn't say I'm exactly confident, but it is slightly better than nothing (it was on BBC News on Thursdayish but I can't find it now). There has been legislation and the revision of standards and so on.

Interestingly Blair (aka The B-liar) has been calling for far stricter standards. Don't know if it will come to anything - seems like an electioneering stunt to me.

[ Parent ]

You couldn't bitch about it here, for starters. (1.50 / 2) (#102)
by Zerotime on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 05:27:22 AM EST

Enn-tee.

---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
[ Parent ]
What else do you expect? (2.60 / 5) (#36)
by godix on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:46:05 PM EST

The US government should put the people who live in America first, the same and the UK government should put UK subjects first, France's government should put the French first, etc. That's the entire point of democratic government, the government is elected by the people in order to serve and benefit the people. The government works for and answers to it's voters. If you aren't a US voter then George Bush's job isn't to pander to your desires. Deal with it.

Americans, like almost everyone else in the world, are not going to destroy their economy to fix a nebulous possible future problem. The solution to CO2 production is to find an alternative that is more attractive so people want to switch to it instead hoping human nature will change and an entire country will hurt themselves to stop a possible, but unproven, harmful enviromental event.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

I don't expect the President (3.00 / 6) (#89)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:41:25 AM EST

to say something so insulting and blunt in public.

Its not the text as much as the subtext. In many areas of life there are things commonly understood. But if you say them plainly, it is more than stating the flat truth, it implies something else.

That was one such occasion. It was a very aggressive thing for an American President to say on the world stage. Especially a President who spends the rest of his time calling on the world to join him in other pursuits in the interests of the well-being of the civilised world.

[ Parent ]

yep.. (none / 1) (#110)
by vivelame on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:35:17 AM EST

notice how the french are vilified when they put France first.
what the parent really said was: everyone should support the US and forget their interest, because, uh, because!


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
So in other words (none / 1) (#184)
by godix on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:54:35 PM EST

You honestly think the President should NOT say something that happens to be true? You WANT the President to lie to you?

Jesus christ, I'm in shock. I think I just found the first non-American Bush supporter ever


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 1) (#185)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 09:25:06 PM EST

No, but there is a way of saying things.
For example, imagine what would happen if he said "We hold the entire muslim world under suspicion and we don't like their way of life either for that matter".
I would say that is reasonably true of the Bush administration and  also fairly obvious to everyone already. But if he came out and actually said it, the implications would be far wider than just confirming what everyone already suspected.

(My support for Bush is limited to the fact that Presidential addresses would be a lot less amusing to watch if it were someone more skilled in communication in the job).


[ Parent ]

It must be strange being you (2.00 / 3) (#51)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:52:29 PM EST

Waking up each morning with the fervent expectation, nay, hope that you may pay 0.50 Euro more for petrol than you payed the last time you filled up your car.

Most of the rest of the world, incidentally, does want stuff for about as cheap as they can get it.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

But Europe tolerate heavily taxed petrol... (2.50 / 2) (#113)
by vhokstad on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:55:03 AM EST

Even if most people would love it to be priced lower, many enough prefer the fuel taxes to the alternative (voting in a far,far right government willing to ruin public services to finance a drop in the fuel taxes - NO mainstream European parties support dropping fuel taxes enough to get US price levels on petrol). That is the fundamental difference. A difference that in the end is contributing to the viability of public transport in Europe, because it to many is the preferred cheaper alternative.

[ Parent ]
No, not really (2.00 / 2) (#149)
by The Fifth Column on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:13:01 PM EST

Public transport is viable in Europe because the population is much, much more dense (well, in more ways than one) than in the United States. Take a look at population density maps of both areas sometime and compare, you may be surprised at the difference. Besides, if public transport were as feasible in the US as it is in Europe, we'd probably see private companies spring up the fill the void left by our lower taxes and consequently fewer public services, esp. with buses and other systems that don't require large investment in infrastructure.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

That's not completely true (3.00 / 3) (#150)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:26:59 PM EST

Norway has the highest gasoline prices in the world, but one of the lowest densities. In the big city, Oslo, public transport is pretty good, but most of the rest has only average - not any better than one finds now in Phoenix, for example, where gas is still 1/4th the price as it is in Norway.

Population density is a red herring - Norwegians tolerate higher gas tax because the money is spent well, and because they know it's the right way to encourage conservation.

[ Parent ]

Reading too much Kipling, huh (none / 1) (#75)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:24:55 PM EST

Half of the Indian people are peasants living in conditions that have barely changed in the last 500 years.

I realize that you are an enlightened Euro and would love to live in third world scholar to get over your guilt, but I don't feel the need to see my life and culture destroyed because cars may or may not be changing our climate.

I also resent that you propose to destroy Western economies based on agreements made between unelected diplomats. The US President and Senate acted in the interests in the american people for a change and voted against an awful treaty.

Here's some Kipling for you. Maybe it will inspire you to travel to some third world shithole and produce less CO2.


Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke (1) your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel, (2)
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!



[ Parent ]
s/scholar/squalor/ (none / 0) (#76)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:26:05 PM EST

eom

[ Parent ]
Woah coincidence (none / 1) (#87)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:38:07 AM EST

I was just talking about this very poem (in the context of discussing Orwell's Burmese Days). You have some strange powers indeed!

Anyhow...

Article 12, the Clean Development Mechanism.
Seems like a reasonable idea. The Indian "shit hole" and other Annexe 2 countries stand to gain considerably from Kyoto. It looks like a win-win proposition. I suspect you are trying to imply through your quotation of Kipling that technology transfer and funding will amount to a form of latent Imperialism but I disagree.

[ Parent ]

And oh btw (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:41:14 AM EST

The official Indian position on the US pulling out of Kyoto and Bush "accidentally" forgetting that he  was quoting gross and not per capita emission figures for China and India.

In fact, these "population centres" which Bush refers to [in his March 2001 announcement] make an insignificant contribution of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, since they have extremely low per capita emissions. The US, on the other hand, contributes to one-fourth of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. The total carbon dioxide emissions from one US citizen in 1996 were 19 times the emissions of one Indian. US emissions in total are still more than double those from China. At a time when a large part of India's population does not even have access to electricity, Bush would like this country to stem its 'survival emissions', so that industrialised countries like the US can continue to have high 'luxury emissions'. This amounts to demanding a freeze on global inequity, where rich countries stay rich, and poor countries stay poor, since carbon dioxide emissions are closely linked to GDP growth.
Centre for Science and Environment (Delhi)

[ Parent ]

That's pretty wacky (none / 1) (#125)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 09:16:27 AM EST

That's was the second time that I quoted something that someone else was thinking about... maybe I do possess supernatural powers... :)

I think westerners have felt collective pangs of guilt over the conditions of people in Africa and Asia. Kipling wrote that poem as part of a campaign to convince the Americans to take on the "white man's burden" and "improve" the Philippines after the Spanish American War.

Its kind of ironic that in Kyoto the ministers negotiating that treaty created a program that essentially boils down to an incentive to create CO2 emissions (i.e. economic activity) in developing nations.

Some scientists are theorizing that rapidly increasing emissions from the Pacific Rim are exaggerating the Pacific Ocean temperature changes that will eventually affect ocean currents and turn the UK into an ice cube.

The problem with respect to the whole climate change issue is there is too much spin and too little fact. If CO2 emissions are bad, than gross CO2 emissions are a problem and per capita figures are infoporn.

[ Parent ]

Thats true (2.75 / 4) (#128)
by GenerationY on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:26:50 AM EST

I think the intention was a bit more interesting than that, although I suppose its possible it will revert to that situation.

My reading is this. Say I'm France and I can spend 1 billion dollars on improving my infrastructure and it will reduce the CO2 emission by 10 nominal units through, say, tweaking filters in a plant. In a poor country (so-called "Annexe 2" within Kyoto), that 1 billion dollars would pay for the replacement of a terrible old antiquated plant, reducing their output by 20 nominal units. Kyoto supports this by saying that France can then spend their 1 billion in the poor country. The net gain to "the planet" is 10 arbritary units (20 - opportunity cost of spending the money in France, which was 10) OK, so France are still pumping out this "avoidable" 10 units, but thats for another day. Our poor country has developed its power generation and the French are also grinning because they don't have to trash their trusty Citroens just yet, and the planet is better off.

The same could even apply to the development of new technology (e.g., a landlocked but rich country could look into wavepower research on the behalf of a partner coastal country etc.). Alternatively, the transfer of existing IP could be counted as a contribution.

Its supposed to recognise that not everyone is created equal with regard to natural resources and opportunities for alternative sources of power and to try and equalise this a bit. Poorer nations will want to do everything on the cheap, the idea was that the system would have a bit of play in it so that sometimes a helping hand could be given to everyone's mutual benefit in the end.

Of course this has silly and crude logical conclusions (e.g., Belgium pumping out the world's wealth, its entire surface area covered in one large factory pumping out toxic green smoke from every orofice and throwing wads of cash at everyone else to live in aescetic idleness) but there are mechanisms and oversight, you can't shift all your responsibility and so on onto someone else.

It may be impractical but I think it was a beautiful idea if nothing else.

[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 1) (#146)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:44:15 PM EST

I can see your logic and it makes sense.

But -- lets say that today emmissions from (primarily) Europe and North America are having dramatic effects on world climates and climate patterns.

Europe & N. America have been the dominant industrial powers for a couple of centuries now... so what's going to happen if we move the sources of pollution to Asia while dramatically reducing emmissions at home?

The result could be a change in climate patterns that bring devastating results to N. America and Europe.

That's why I hesitate to take dramatic action when we don't really understand the forces that we are playing with. The unexpected consequences may be worse than the predictable problem that we are trying to fix.

[ Parent ]

#pragma tism (none / 1) (#16)
by noproblema on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:21:40 PM EST

If a lie works repeat it else find a new one.

[ Parent ]
Great! Am I allowed to quote you? (nt) (none / 0) (#206)
by Kuranes on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 07:26:44 AM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Great point (2.00 / 3) (#19)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:36:09 PM EST

If you read about the bleating that's been going on here for the past several years about how Bush destroyed the economy etc, you can't help but wonder what K5 would have looked like if the US had embraced the Kyoto Protocols.

Does anyone realize what would happen to the US if we adhered to those reductions?

You're talking about depression-starting implications.

[ Parent ]

electric cars alone are worse than gas (none / 1) (#38)
by anon 17753 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:58:49 PM EST

Electric cars that charge off the electrical grid are not a solution with our current infrastructure. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the power company has to burn much more coal in order to 1) maintain the appropriate excess of available power and 2) compensate for power lost in transmission over the power grid.

Converting a vehicle's forward momentum to energy, bringing the vehicle to a stop at the same time, is nice for auxiliary power, but another primary power source is still required.

[ Parent ]

Correct as far as you go, but you didn't finish it (3.00 / 4) (#42)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:16:28 PM EST

Yes, electric cars charged from fossil fuel plants are a net loss; so are hydrogen cars.

But a complete solution to the petro-problem does require moving from gasoline cars to another power source.  The only reasonable solution at this time is electric cars that receive their charge from whatever petro-replacement power plants we finally devise.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Yes another source is required... (2.75 / 4) (#66)
by Coryoth on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 07:33:47 PM EST

But while we're getting to work developing that source it might be useful to, in the meantime, shift our transportation systems over to a supply infrastructure that can rapidly accept and utilise new power sources immediately as they come on line.  

Given that new power sources are likely to be plugged straight into the electricity grid wherever possible, having our cars run off that grid means we get the immediate gain for them as well.

Jedidiah.

[ Parent ]

electric cars could be cost-effective (none / 0) (#212)
by danharan on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 03:22:26 PM EST

Or at least hydrogen cars -it's just another way to store energy, and a lot lighter and more environmentally friendly than heavy metal batteries.

As long as cars are fueled at night when demand is the lowest, it could help balance energy demand. Heck, some people have suggested plugging cars during peak demand times to give power back to the grid, thereby delaying costs for new power plants. Those plants that are brought online only for peak production are typically cheap to build, expensive to run and very polluting (e.g. coal).

It's not a perfect solution, but it can be part of a larger one.

[ Parent ]

you can always tax gasoline (none / 1) (#65)
by wakim1618 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 07:33:24 PM EST

At $10/gallon, I know that people will drive a lot less. And no one who wants to be elected president of the US (or most countries in the world) would propose something so outrageous.

What is wrong with nuclear? France gets something like 3/4 of their electricity from nuke.


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.
[ Parent ]

Won't work (3.00 / 5) (#94)
by physicsgod on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:20:36 AM EST

I live 10 miles from work and .1 mile from downtown. I drive to work and walk everywhere else. A $10/gal tax wouldn't cause me to drive less, it just means I won't be walking into downtown to buy things as often.

Most driving done in the US is work-related, given the choice between:

  1. suffering a 500% increase in gas bills,
  2. Rearranging their entire life to live within walking distance of their job (which isn't always an option, I can't live within walking distance of my job) or
  3. voting the fucktard responsable for the 500% price hike out of office
which do you think most people will do?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
10 miles is easy... (2.75 / 4) (#99)
by driptray on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:56:27 AM EST

...on a bicycle.

Re your point No. 2, you ignore the way in which the built environment would rapidly change to reflect the higher cost of personal transport, such as:

  • expansion of mass transit

  • increased housing density

  • better facilities for walking and cycling.

It's not that people would have to completely reorganise their lives - their lives would get reorganised for them anyway. For the better.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Look at Europe to see an example... (3.00 / 6) (#111)
by vhokstad on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:49:23 AM EST

We ARE living with fuel prices that in some countries are 5 times the US, and care prices that in some prices are increased equivalently by taxes. As a result, in Europe you'd be hard pressed to find ANY city where you can't get around reasonably easily with public transport. Living in London it's not always a pleasure, but personally I've never had a car - never even gotten a license - because I've had no real need for one. Most of the time, tube (subway/underground) and trains is as fast or faster than going by car anyway.

[ Parent ]
reorganized yes, better for some but not all (nt) (none / 1) (#145)
by wakim1618 on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:38:02 PM EST


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.
[ Parent ]
when it's -30 (2.75 / 4) (#147)
by physicsgod on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:54:02 PM EST

and 8" of snow on the ground? That's what happened last winter, and I'm not going to ride a bike in anything close to that.

As for changing the built enviroment:

  1. It's going to take time, buildings don't spring up overnight (taxes do)
  2. It's going to cost money, buildings and busses aren't cheap
  3. It's going to totally fuck any kind of efficiency.
To explain #3: Right now I live within walking distance of several bookstores, about a dozen eating establishments, and various other shops. If I were to move as close as possible to work (still a decent hike in the summer) and still be in walking distance of those shops the shops (or an equivalent) would have to open outlets near my new abode. Since we don't want the workers to drive (talk about compounding the problem) they'd have to live within walking distance of work...viola, you now have hundereds of people living within 2 miles of a couple of nuclear reactors. And I'm still freezing bits of my anatomy off going to work in the winter.

I REALLY dislike the concept of people's lives getting "reorganized for them anyway. For the better" and that attitude is exactly why such a proposal will NEVER succeed in the US at large.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Or 100+ (2.66 / 3) (#165)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:55:36 PM EST

Have you ever peddled 10 miles in 107 degree heat? I MIGHT have been able to do that 20 years ago. No way would I try it now.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
exactly (2.50 / 2) (#167)
by demi on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:32:15 PM EST

...their lives would get reorganised for them anyway. For the better.

If there's anything these people need in their lives, it's a little bit of involuntary reorganization, orderliness, and civil proximity to their fellow man. A month ago at my summer dacha this matter was discussed with fellow members of the committee, and the matter has been all but decided.

[ Parent ]

Just the usual "free" market disorder (2.33 / 3) (#177)
by driptray on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:39:15 PM EST

I'm not suggesting reorganisation via some central planning committee - in fact exactly the opposite.

It would be good ole fashioned market forces working to achieve this. If private transport became sufficiently expensive, there would be great demand to live in higher density neighbourhoods, close to mass transit and employers. Entrepreneurs would spring forth to supply what everybody is demanding. The built environment would change rapidly. I've already seen this change occur in my home city of Sydney, without the catalyst of higher gas prices (though they are much higher than in the US).

There is nothing "orderly" about the process, and it would be just as voluntary as the current regime of suburban living encouraged by artificially low private transport costs.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Enviromentalist (2.50 / 2) (#181)
by godix on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:27:55 PM EST

What is wrong with nuclear?

Enviromentalist have pretty much killed nuke power, at least in the US and much of Europe. Realistically it's the least dangerous of all options avalable but politically it's suicide. I've always found it odd that the one group most concerned about the enviroment have killed the cleanest source of power avalable but there you go.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
it's not the environmentalists (none / 0) (#211)
by danharan on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 03:11:04 PM EST

It was the cost overruns. Nuclear plants are very capital expensive and take a long time to come online.

Since natural gas is much cheaper and faster to build, there's no reason you'd go nuclear in a capitalist system. Even the lowered operating costs are discounted in any rational accounting system.

Wind is already cheaper than nuclear and a few other conventional sources. Now why some environmentalists are fighting against wind really is beyond me.

[ Parent ]

Let me get this straight... (2.46 / 15) (#14)
by nkyad on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 12:59:16 PM EST

You're saying that because some ice in a God forgotten land far away from here is melting, people should care?

Are you out of your mind? You want us to give up our hedonistic pleasures, our large cars and huge industries just because some penguins lost their favourite beach spots?

Sea rising? You gotta be kidding. The sea only rises as a curse from God to punish the wicked. If any sea will rise it will be in the Persian Gulf whereabouts, where the infidels live, not here around God's flock.

And don't even start me on science, these scientists guys don't know jack - you can't even understand what they say and there are always two of them on TV contradicting each other.

Now let me answer that phone, my father is saying something about fishes swimming in his Florida beach-house's living room. Old people are all nuts.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


I know you're being sarcastic, trolling, whatever (1.66 / 3) (#31)
by jongleur on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:21:28 PM EST

but dang I'm tired of trolls. Thus my 'discourage'.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
trolling?? (none / 1) (#33)
by nkyad on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:28:31 PM EST

I really thought there was a difference between irony and trolling. But maybe it is me.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
There is, but I'm tired of irony too (2.50 / 2) (#49)
by jongleur on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:47:56 PM EST

maybe I'm just tired :)

Hey, I'll undiscourage you.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

Gotthecrack (none / 1) (#55)
by r0b on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:16:59 PM EST

I guess I'm just tired, damn tired.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, I feel encouraged now... :) (1.50 / 2) (#61)
by nkyad on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:34:16 PM EST


Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Pragmatism vs. Bullshit (2.20 / 10) (#17)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:30:36 PM EST

The whole problem with the whole climate change thing is that we do not have enough data or understanding of climate systems to figure out what is going on.

We do know that climatic cycles change without human influence...  for example during the 1600's temperatures dropped to the point that New York Harbor and the East River in NYC were frozen solid.

Looking back 2,000 years, we know that North Africa was the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. Now that prime farmland is desert.

The Kyoto treaty was a noble attempt at "doing something", but shattering the world economy to *possibly* improve weather conditions is sheer lunacy.

Idiot (2.13 / 15) (#92)
by felixrayman on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:53:45 AM EST

Looking back 2,000 years, we know that North Africa was the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. Now that prime farmland is desert.

The scary part is that you are too fucking stupid to even consider the possibility that this could be related to the actions of humans.

There is a saying known from ancient times, "Forests precede man, deserts follow him".

That is wise.

You are not.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

Hey, um... (2.83 / 6) (#100)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:04:47 AM EST

do you have to be so damned insulting all the time? We had a pretty clean discussion going here until you came in and started calling people names. I had to give you a 3 for your comment in this case, because you're right, but duffbeer makes a valid point, we don't have enough data (at least where it concerns Antarctica) to make valid inference concerning the rest of the planet, or even the local region, based on what's happening on the peninsula. I tried to point this out in another comment, highlighting the fact that ice shelves aren't just breaking up in Antarctica, and at least one that has begun to disintigrate is more than 3000 years old.

Perhaps you would consider finding persuasive and reasonable counterpoints once in awhile, instead of just throwing around insults?

[ Parent ]

I dispute this (none / 1) (#126)
by speek on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:04:36 AM EST

Clearly, you did not have to give him a 3.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

are you some sort of particularly stupid troll? (none / 1) (#134)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:12:46 AM EST

You do know you can see how each person rated a comment, right?


I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
??? [nt] (none / 0) (#151)
by speek on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:33:07 PM EST


--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Yes, yes (none / 1) (#141)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:59:10 AM EST

It was rare.

[ Parent ]
Yes, he does (2.33 / 6) (#130)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:52:04 AM EST

do you have to be so damned insulting all the time?

Apparently, he does. I've looked through his comment history and it appears he thinks he's God.

Since I find that unacceptable, I've been reviewing each of his comments on a case-by-case basis and rating them 1 appropriately. This isn't mod-bombing -- I'm making conscious judgments of each comment independently, and they all suck.

The guy isn't even a troll. He's a sociopathic nutball.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

-1: For fearmongering nonsense (1.85 / 14) (#22)
by fyngyrz on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 01:47:34 PM EST

The world has undergone many climate shifts. We have too small a baseline to know if the tiny, and I strongly emphasize tiny, climate shift we've observed in the last few years is significant at all.

Yes, the current shift may indeed have a mostly man made component (or not.) So what? It's a little thing for one, and for another, our energy use patterns are changing quite rapidly.

Go look at some fossil tree rings or ice cores if you want to see evidence of real climate shift. This isn't climate shift. This isn't even climate "wiggle."

So what if things change? We'll cope, that's what. Stop jittering and find something worthwhile to look into. Like world hunger.

Blog, Photos.

That's the right attitude, lad!! (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by nkyad on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:57:22 PM EST

Young people nowadays are always worried about something or another. Too much TV and this computer thing, I say.

Everybody knows absolutely nothing can happen to us humans - these fools talk about mass extinctions as if God would let his own creation be subject to natural laws. Not mention the fact every right-headed minister has already dismissed this fossil thing as a liberal lie.

Statistics and curves and analisys, who needs that -  my grandfather burned coal and wood, my father burned gas and coal and we should lived as we always lived since the beginning of time. Anything else and eco-terrorists win...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
When... (1.75 / 4) (#70)
by fyngyrz on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 09:00:38 PM EST

...all the statistics and curves agree that (a) we're causing this and (b) we can do something proactive about the cause that is significant enough that it will outpace the normal rate of change of technology, then it will be time to look at the issue as a to-do item. We're not there. We're not even close.

50 years from now, we will most likely not be using fossil fuels the way we are today, if indeed we're using them as fuels at all. There are lots and lots of technologies being born right now that can entirely change the face of man's pollution output, and I'm sure there are many more to come. This makes me think we will most likely be doing something quite different. At that time, I suspect it will look pretty darned silly to have been jumping up and down about "climate change." Probably this is a near term, perhaps ten or twenty years, but it might be longer, say 50 years.

Look back at the "little ice age"... those winters were so cold, and the crops failed, and etc... and it surely wasn't "us" who caused it. That climate swing happened all on its own, and yet it was orders of magnitude more severe, and faster, than the current so-called swing, that it is quite funny to hear people jump up and down about global warming.

Climates change by themselves. Normally. Naturally. And like hurricanes, you're not going to do squat about it. What the smart human being will do is adapt and make the most out of the opportunities that arise, if indeed any change that we have to pay attention to comes to pass. Which again, I see no particular confirmed sign of.

One volcano - just one... dumps more crud into the atmosphere than a nation can even hope to do. And they do it all the time. Sometimes more than others. You could do everything imagined by the green folk, and Yellowstone basin could erupt (it actually shows all manner of signs of it too, if you *really* want something to worry about) and in five minutes it'd puke out more gas, ash and poisons than mankind ever thought about. I'm a lot more inclined to take that threat seriously, however, the same thing applies - you're not going to change the outcome one whit. What you can do is not live near Yellowstone. Anywhere near - like, Pennsylvania might be far enough away. Likewise, should the seas begin to rise or the teperatures begin to change, there are things you can do. So do them. :)

Now I will say that if the scientific weather community could agree on this - then I'd be at least a little more interested. But they don't agree. There are just as many learned climate guys who think there is a swing, as there are those who think there isn't one. All of whom, by the way, are unable to predict the weather a month from now, which doesn't give me a great deal of faith in their ability to predict the climate 50 or 100 years from now.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

coal will still be the cheapest energy resource (none / 0) (#98)
by tetsuwan on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:45:29 AM EST

50 years from now.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Perhaps so. However... (none / 1) (#156)
by fyngyrz on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:01:30 PM EST

Cost isn't the key factor. Practical is the key factor.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Practical for the developing world (none / 0) (#197)
by tetsuwan on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 03:33:38 PM EST

means low initial investment. Even if fusion succeeds, the reactors will be extremely expensive for the first 15 years or so.

Hopefully, we'll have efficient fuel cells and better batteries by then.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Wind, not coal (none / 0) (#210)
by danharan on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 02:48:20 PM EST

The cost of wind is going down so fast that in 50 years from now it will cost about $0.02/kWh. That's much cheaper than coal.

Still, demand-side management is inevitably cheaper.

[ Parent ]

For fearmongering nonsense? (none / 0) (#231)
by tantrum on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 07:54:54 AM EST

Go look at some fossil tree rings or ice cores if you want to see evidence of real climate shift. This isn't climate shift. This isn't even climate "wiggle."
true, and so extremely wrong at the same time!
Show me a single scientific study that can point to the same temperature/CO2/greenhousegas increase within a century. I've never heard of one.
On a sidenote: I think the earth has no problem coping with the increased temperature in the long run, but it _might_ wreck havoc in the short run.

So what if things change? We'll cope, that's what. Stop jittering and find something worthwhile to look into. Like world hunger.
You're ironic, right? Could become a problem with altered rainfall-patterns. Could be good as well. Statistics show that the deserts in africa is declining, maybe because of the changes.

Yes, the current shift may indeed have a mostly man made component (or not.) So what? It's a little thing for one, and for another, our energy use patterns are changing quite rapidly.
They are? I thought the world as one kept poluting more and more. Maybe I'm wrong, really don't think so, though.

You might be right, but I'd rather take precautions and let the next generations polute if it turns out that the changes are natural.

[ Parent ]

mankind will never bother (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by cbraga on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:03:12 PM EST

The average person (and I'm not talking about any specific population) is poorly educated and couldn't care less if the global environment goes to hell in a handbasket, all they care about are their sofa to watch TV, fast-food and a big fat-ass car to haul their asses to work each day.

And that's the kind of person who votes and decides who gets elected, since those people who can be bothered about the environment are a minority.

There's no central authority that determines we won't go to extra efforts to protect the environment. It's the small actions of billions of people who don't care that create the general devastation we see today.

Therefore no democratic government will risk jeopardizing the conforts of its population, even if that means letting the world's oceans boil. And, everybody else is doing it! Why should we be different and bear the cost of the confort of others?

The only thing that can bring environmental issues to the front is a major swing in the world's population attitude. I hope it comes to be before there isn't much to salvage.

Oh, and check out these pictures from NASA showing the shelf's collapse and subsequent movement of the glacier.

ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p

Not quite. (2.85 / 7) (#24)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:07:37 PM EST

all they care about are their sofa to watch TV, fast-food and a big fat-ass car to haul their asses to work each day.

Right. Actually, the average human is more worried about having clean water, food, heat and maybe someday owning a car. Which is the problem - because all those billions of humans are doing all that they can to get those things and right now that means burning wood, oil and coal.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

we only ever see half of the chain of reaction (2.60 / 5) (#27)
by xutopia on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 02:54:05 PM EST

We never connect the dots like we're supposed to. I think sea level changes is the least of our worries. The warmer the planet the more chances there are of having rain and floods inland. If ice melts down and flows into the sea it cools it down but once all the ice is melted the water from the sea will evaporate much faster. It takes more heat to change the state of ice to water and when the protection from the ice is gone we'll have a lot more evaporation happen on a global scale. Excpect torrential rain and floods like you never saw before. It started already and it's only going to get worse and worse.

Too many dots for the average joe (3.00 / 4) (#30)
by nkyad on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:05:33 PM EST

Even most above-the-average joes (the ones who post here, for instance) eventually lose themselves among the multiple causal chains and go find refuge in short-term reasons for ignoring everything - people like to talk about what Kyoto would do to US economy, but they absolutely refuse to consider what will happen to that same economy when all crops fail and the economy shuts down for some months waiting for the roads to be passable again. They dive deep  into the (predicted but not tested) Kyoto economic depression scenario and pray to be dead when payback is due...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
The effects should be obvious (1.50 / 2) (#74)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:23:08 PM EST

The problem is heat. People and their energy use increase the heat of the planet. Above some level of population and energy use the planet cannot radiate the excess heat into space. The result is the temperature rises.

We are well above the population and energy use levels that would allow the planet to radiate all of the excess heat. So, it is obviously getting warmer.

The solution is simple - reduce energy use (drastically and all energy use) and simulatenously reduce the population drastically. And quickly.

[ Parent ]

Or better yet... (3.00 / 4) (#84)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:21:35 AM EST

BIG HEATSINKS ;P

heheh, I know, stupid idea

[ Parent ]

isn't the ocean responsible (none / 1) (#174)
by auraslip on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:22:48 PM EST

for creating most of the worlds oxygen, via plankton? Wouldn't fucking with a delicate ecosyswtem that gives life to this world be the worst problem we can think of?
124
[ Parent ]
Regarding the "lack of baseline data" (2.92 / 13) (#35)
by imrdkl on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:45:58 PM EST

A common argument which is being voiced among the dissenting comments in this article is that we simply don't have enough data to say whether the results in the Antarctic are significant. I am forced to agree with that assertion - the absolute age of the Larsen B ice shelf was not known before it broke up, and for all we know, it may have formed quite recently, we just don't have that much knowledge about the continent to say for sure. And even if it was 500 years old, who's to say that it didn't form after the "little ice age" which is often referred to at the end of the middle ages, for example?

Yes, our lack of knowledge and historical data is a problem when we try to make inference about events which occur in Antarctica, but this is not the case with all ice shelves. Consider, for example, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, in the Arctic. This ice shelf is (was) the largest in the Arctic, and had been firmly in place for at least 3000 years - much longer than the most optimistic estimates for the previous "little ice age" which the dissenters like to use as an example for "significance". And whaddya know, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf split into two major pieces late last year - releasing the Northern Hemisphere's largest freshwater epishelf lake back to the sea.

In short, and much like the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf itself, the "not enough data" argument just doesn't hold water anymore, friends. An anomaly might be responsible for the changes we're seeing on the Peninsula, I don't think so, but I can't reject it - one commentor even pointed out the possibility of an underground volcano in the region. But, anomalies don't break up 3000 year old ice shelves, friends. Only temperatures which are warmer than they've been in 3000 years can do that.

I'm still in the "not proved" camp, but (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:09:27 PM EST

I have to say I'm in the "probably true, but not proved" camp. Even if this warming trend isn't any different from other prehistoric events that doesn't mean it won't be terribly disruptive.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
Good on you! (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by imrdkl on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:25:21 PM EST

Disruptive is, of course, a subjective term. The human population and our beachside resorts are clearly at risk for disruption. I'd say that we are the most susceptible life form to climate change which has globally propogated. Others, like cockroaches for example, probably wont even notice the difference. A few hundred billion of them will be drowned, and they'll go on like nothing happened.

[ Parent ]
You know the one group I don't understand? (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by jreilly on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:08:25 PM EST

The people who say "only humans will be affected by global warming, the planet will be fine." and think it's a reason to ignore global warming. I can understand wanting to curb industry to attempt to stabilize the climate. I can understand saying "screw the environment, I want my money, and I'll be dead before the bill comes", and I can understand "global warming is a myth."

The one opinion that makes no sense at all is: "oh, but the cockroaches will be fine, so why should I care?"

Would you like to clarify things? I'm genuinely mystified.

Oooh, shiny...
[ Parent ]
Well, er... (none / 1) (#56)
by imrdkl on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:20:32 PM EST

The cockroaches will be fine, I have no doubt about that, and I doubt anyone else does either. Taken contextually, as a reply to porkchop's partial agreement with my original assertion, I don't think anything other than a confirmation of his allowing for the possibility that a disruption could be terrible, at least for some species, should be read into it.

[ Parent ]
um... (none / 1) (#62)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:40:11 PM EST

The human population and our beachside resorts are clearly at risk for disruption.

And don't forget the things that drink water as well. Since once the glaciers melt a lot of the rivers will no longer flow

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

That makes no sense. (2.50 / 2) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:33:02 PM EST

If rivers were filled from glaciers, they would have gone dry when the glaciers weren't melting.

yes, the spring floods will be lacking, but there will be more water the rest of the year as rain fall onto mountain tops goes right into the river rather than getting parked for 3 or 4 months.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

glaciers always melt... (3.00 / 2) (#82)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:44:03 PM EST

in the summer.

The problem is that they're not being replenished in the winter as they once were... and some are even continuing to melt year round.

We'll all be fine until there's no more glacier up there to melt.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

My understanding was that (2.50 / 2) (#107)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:27:36 AM EST

the glaciers are melting at a faster rate, not that precipitation patterns are changing.

So, yeah, they're melting year round, but as long as the area in question receives the same levels of rain the rivers will have the same average flow.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

um no. (3.00 / 4) (#135)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:15:21 AM EST

A glacier is great at holding water in a repository, then releaing it at a slower rate.

Without the glacier, that water all goes away in the spring thaw. Therefore, there are no rivers in August. Anyone who lives in a mountainous area can tell you this. Spring creeks abound. Main rivers are there because they are fed throughtout the year by snowpacks on top of the mountain. No Snowpack, no river.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Damn you're stupid. Seriously. (1.16 / 6) (#90)
by felixrayman on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:47:14 AM EST

Hopefully the fucking Cluemobile will be making a stop in your trailer park relatively soon.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Hope you know how to swim (none / 1) (#101)
by Bluelive on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:54:16 AM EST

The point is that glaciers and snow slow down the release of the water that falls in the cold part of the year, else you would be washed away in one part of the year and in a desert the rest

[ Parent ]
Ah. yeah. (none / 1) (#109)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:31:27 AM EST

You do know what happens on most mountains each spring, right? when all the water that was collected over the winter gets released all at once?

They call that the "spring flood" you know.

So, no, it isn't a simple equation that "no glacier" = "more flooding". More commonly, I'd expect "no glacier" = "increased river flow in winter and less flooding in spring".

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Buy now! (2.00 / 5) (#37)
by NaCh0 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:54:26 PM EST

Call up your Antartican real estate agent to get your land before the rush. Guarenteed to be beach-front by the time you retire!

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
We didn't need another article... (1.50 / 2) (#44)
by RyoCokey on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 04:30:59 PM EST

...but since it's obviously going to get posted anyway, I'll put in my 2 bits:

Satellite data still shows little to no warming trend, and is collaborated by weather balloon data.

Originally, Satellite data showed no warming trend in either the lower atmosphere or troposphere. Then, there were a series of corrections done, detailed here:

The Spencer and Christy version D record from 1979 to 2002 show a warming trend of 0.04 oC/decade, compared to 0.06 to April 2002 or 0.074 to July 2003 (see above).

An even more recent but still controversial analysis (Vinnikov and Grody, Science, 2003) finds a trend of +0.22?C to 0.26?C per decade

The +0.22 C/decade is what is predicted with global warming, although the Vinnikov paper seem have been universally rejected, partially because the results made no sense in light of weather balloon data.

Abandoning the issue of lower atmosphere temperatures, the advocates of Global Warming next came out with a correlation for troposphere temperatures which would support their models. Dr. Fu made the news with a correction that put the data in the range of predicted models.

However, this "correction" too was short lived, as Dr. Spencer, the man who has worked with the satellite data at UAH since 1990, came out with some glaring problems with the suggested correlation.

So as it stands now, satellite data shows a very mild warming trend that seems to have decreased in recent years, but still remains positive.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
Well, OK (none / 1) (#48)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:40:26 PM EST

Since, according to you, there is no warming and therefore what the article says is happening shouldn't actually be happening, would you care to offer up an alternative explanation for the large losses of ice in Antarctica and elsewhere in the past few years?

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

global warming is incorrect term (1.50 / 2) (#64)
by wakim1618 on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 07:23:53 PM EST

the descriptively correct term is climate change. So the guy has a point about warming and so does the author. The masses keep thinking about warming but it is fucking CLIMATE CHANGE .

Given how little we know and what the evidence on migration patterns we have from the previous ice age, it may be sensible to diminish our contribution. Unless you think that moving lotsa of people around for no good reason is a good idea.


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.
[ Parent ]

Evidence for CO2 influence is tenuous (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by RyoCokey on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 07:46:17 PM EST

If people are concerned with climate change, there's a serious problem with "doing" anything about it, and that's human influence is probably a minor factor. If the ice sheets are melting, it's unlikely there's much humans as a whole can do about it.

Climate change turned the Sahara into a desert, and there wasn't much about it we could do at the time. Man-made desertification and clear-cutting however, are issues that can be addressed. I wish the environmental groups would spend more time focusing on the very real ecological man-made damage and less time chasing the phantom of global warming.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
[
Parent ]
You obviously not Brazilian (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by tetsuwan on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:39:24 AM EST

then you would argue the opposite way, with the same fervor.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Why? El Nino? (none / 0) (#202)
by Kuranes on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 06:52:06 AM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
A bit off topic, but also a bit on-topic (2.75 / 8) (#45)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:11:02 PM EST

Where does Antarctica come from? Like, seriously. We hear about glaciers breaking off and falling into the sea, we hear about icebergs calving, but we never hear anything about Antarctica spontaneously gaining a large amount of ice. Is this something that only happens in ice ages, and then it decreases  gradually until the next ice age? Or is it supposed to be roughly stable, and the fact that it's diminishing a Really Bad Thing?

Have there been any studies on this?

Or is this a totally pointless question?

snow and math. (3.00 / 7) (#47)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:37:33 PM EST

It rains all over the earth.
Some places more than others.

When it's cold out that rain turns to snow. Lots and lots of snow gives you a big pile on the ground. In the summer, if it gets warm, that pile melts... if it gets cold again before the pile melts away completely, you have at net growth in the size of your pile, if the pile is smaller at the end of summer than it was the year before, you get a net loss.

Multiply by thousands of years and you get antartica in it's current state.

(Antartica is actually a desert, which is why the effects of global warming are so pronounced.)

You can argue about the causes of global warming, but only idiots, or those that have a vested interest in not facing reality would argue the warming itself anymore.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

except (1.50 / 2) (#58)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:29:47 PM EST

Antarctica is a Desert.

[ Parent ]
yes, but even deserts (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:30:37 PM EST

get precipitation... just not as much.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
it took a damn long time for that ice to form (none / 1) (#85)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:24:49 AM EST



[ Parent ]
well, maybe not... (none / 1) (#137)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:17:30 AM EST

the desert effect is a result of the snow, but who know what it was like before the snow was there.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
also (3.00 / 4) (#123)
by the sixth replicant on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:56:05 AM EST

there is a nice large ocean/air current that goes right around the land mass keeping the cold water/air in. IIRC, it was quite tropical a few million years ago when it was joined up with a few other land masses (where the ocean currents had to do conveyer belt type thing like the north atlantic current)

It's all very fasinating stuff!

ciao

[ Parent ]

Antartica is not as important as.... (2.85 / 7) (#46)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 05:29:26 PM EST

the rapidly receeding alpine glaciers, which are without a doubt shrinking into oblivion. For Example, Glaicer National park in the US had a documented 150 glaciers in 1904; in 1968 it was 37; today, it stands at 28.

These are marked changes that are easily observed by any loser with a camera.

Will this raise sea levels? Not really. That's not what's important.

Consider the locations of these glaciers, and the water they supply in the form of rivers and run off to most of the world's population.

For example, the Swiss alps are generating 50% less water than they were a century ago.

In North America, Glacier fed rivers provide drinking water to such major urban centers as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, LA, San Deigo, Phoenix, Denver, and even St. Louis and Kansas city...

Who cares about sea level increases, we won't make it that far if we don't have any water.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Excellent point. (none / 1) (#57)
by Dr Caleb on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:21:40 PM EST

Even in my lifetime, I've seen the change to Glaciers in Alberta. I remember the Angel Glacier in Jasper National park looking like this. On a more recent visit, it's more like this.

Drastic change, and it's one of the glaciers that feeds water to Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan through the Athabasca river.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Stop Drinking the Glaciers!!! (3.00 / 3) (#73)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:11:36 PM EST

The answer is as plain as it can possibly be. You can't save the glaciers while people are drinking the water. The glaciers will melt because of increased heat from pollution, thermal releases (every cigarette adds more BTU's to the earth's environment) and even people breathing.

The answer is simple - bring the population down. Quickly. If everyone reading this killed 100 people a day it still wouldn't make a difference that would be seen for hundreds of years. We need people that understand the threat to the earth's environment to start actively reducing the population immediately. Around 10-50 million people is probably the limit for complete sustainabilty of the earth's environment. Since we're nearing 10 billion that is at least 200 times this level. You can plan on a lot more changes to the environment unless we get the population down.

[ Parent ]

I have a better idea (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by The Fifth Column on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:48:11 PM EST

When you gotta take a leak, hike up to the top of the glacier and let loose. Problem solved.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

Interesting, but (2.75 / 4) (#69)
by epepke on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 08:49:23 PM EST

Surely the fact that the glaciers fed the aquifers had something to do with their melting, no? You can't have your glacier and drink it, too.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Glaciers (2.50 / 2) (#127)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:09:57 AM EST

have the handy property that they collect precipitation during winter (when there is plenty of it) and then release it again in the summer (when it may be lacking). This is what makes them so useful.

However if they become tiny or dissapear completely this useful service is lost.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

fed the aquifers... (none / 0) (#209)
by danharan on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 02:19:09 PM EST

right- but not all the melted glacier became an aquifer. Not to mention that what melts now doesn't get into the aquifers right away.

[ Parent ]
Viz: (1.33 / 3) (#71)
by fyngyrz on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 09:16:25 PM EST

Who cares about sea level increases, we won't make it that far if we don't have any water.

We have the ocean. We can get all the fresh water we want from there. All it takes is political will. This would be a non-problem, and in fact, it would help reinvigorate the nuclear (What? Oh, pardon me, George, that's nuke-you-lar to you) industry which at present, we could definitely benefit from. We would all have lots of power, and fresh water, and the uneducated would have something to protest about. Everyone wins.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

You are an idiot. [n/t] (1.16 / 6) (#88)
by felixrayman on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:40:18 AM EST



Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
and... (none / 1) (#95)
by fyngyrz on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:48:55 AM EST

you, sir, are an eloquent, articulate, insightful and...

Oh, wait.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Middle East (3.00 / 2) (#108)
by vhokstad on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:29:21 AM EST

Because clean water is so cheap and readily available in the Middle East... After all they have all that sea water and oil to power desalination plants... Oh, wait, desalination is ridiculously expensive, even in areas like the Middle East, where the heat reduces the effor quite bit. Wars have been fought over access to fresh water.

[ Parent ]
No... (none / 1) (#155)
by fyngyrz on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:00:09 PM EST

...nuclear (fission) desalination isn't ridiculously expensive. A nuclear power plant can provide enough energy for a long enough period to supply astonishing amounts of water using only a small amount of fuel (while producing power for the local region and industrical byproducts at the same time.) The Saudis use non-nuclear methods, which are indeed expensive and ill-advised. I don't advocate non-nuclear desalination.

Nuclear driven desalination, on the other hand, is cost-effective, non-polluting, ultra-high volume capable, largely maintainance free (no filters to replace or service, though of course the plant needs staff and control systems.) The only task is to carry off the extracted salts and minerals, and I suspect those would turn out to be very useful industrial products - they're not "waste" in the classic sense - not used up or leached materials.

Fact: The very idea that we could "run out of fresh water" is utter nonsense. It is there for the taking. The only impediment is political will. So if you get thirsty, it will have nothing to do with the availability of natural resources. It is simply because your politicians didn't get the job done.

Running out of fresh water is not a current threat of pressure on the environment, rather, it's a future screwup of politicians who very well might not do the right thing. And in the time between when/if we might need to desalinate, we might yet get a working fusion system up and running. That'd be even better, of course.

I do enjoy countering the various poorly thought out arguments against nuclear power and industry, so please, feel free to argue my points.

<MafiaVoice>I've got your "environmentally friendly" right here, pal</MafiaVoice> [waves U235 slug around.]


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Cheap? (none / 1) (#187)
by kahako1 on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 01:01:38 AM EST

What about the cost of cleanup for the other byproduct of nuclear power, depleted uranium (or other fuel)? Is that cost factored into the cheap, theory? What is the cleanup cost and who pays it?

What are the costs related to the collection and processing of the fuel cells? Who pays those costs and how are factored into the costs of nuclear power?

Is nuclear power feasible without subsidies?

In other words if "cheap" does not include the TCO for the entire life cycle of the fuel used in nuclear power, then it is not an accurate representation.

Please, enlighten me.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]

Sure. (none / 1) (#188)
by fyngyrz on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 04:12:15 AM EST

Spent nuclear fuel can be canned, sealed, and stored for very little money. All it takes is political will. If, on the other hand, you let the politicians turn it into a scare-fest, you'll pay tons for oversight, administration, regulation, committees, etc. Any enterprise can be turned into a too-costly enterprise by being stupid; that's what happened to nuclear power the first time around. That's why it's expensive to store byproducts now. That's why you can't get a license to build a reactor now, and why its so expensive to build one - study this, study that, envionmental impact (absolutely ludicrous, that... there are very few industries that are less polluting than a nuclear plant!)

Let me tell you the difference between spent nuclear fuel and the nuclear materials we mine. We know where the spent nuclear fuel is. Raw nuclear ores, on the other hand, are in the ground, slowly poisoning things wherever they are. We are able to prevent spent fuel from getting at the world's water tables. We can't do that with the not-yet-mined materials. And of course, the unmined materials have more energy - they've not been cooked at high rates of speed to give up the energy we use for the generation cycle, so in fact, ores in the ground are more dangerous not only because they're uncontrolled and in the ground, but because they're more potent overall, and more spread out and so much harder to control and monitor.

Now. How hard is it - really - to store a fuel container. How expensive is it - really - to create such a container. I mean, as compared to say a years worth of generating huge amounts of power. Maybe even design it to be re-cannable. Of course, not expensive. Not at all. Not rocket science. Just mechanical engineering, and engineering only done once, if quite carefully. After that, it's just manufacturing. Next, how do you compare the costs - because this is a comparison - between cleaning up all the materials dumped from coal plants - and yes, there sure are enormous amounts of isotopes and other nasties amongst the chemical poisons a coal plant dumps - How exactly are you going to clean up all that coal exhaust? Not the stuff that's already been released, but the new stuff? Catch it in filters and... store it? It's quite poisonous, you know. You might want to rethink that one. You're going to need leakless canisters that are good for many, many years, and can be re-packaged, and... say, does this sound familiar? You can't filter it all, of course (and we don't) but you can get some. Turns out those plugged-up filters are nasty as heck. Turns out, that pollution/cleanup costs for nuclear plants are higher only because you can clean them up completely, meaning no environmental release, unlike coal pollution. But that doesn't mean it has to be expensive. It's only expensive if we let the idiots in Washington make it that way (do $500 hammers ring a bell?) How about million dollar licenses for a radio or TV station?

The problem with nuclear power in the USA isn't actually nuclear power. It never was. It is people, more specifically, half-educated, so-called environmentalists who can't add two and two (or haven't bothered to look up what the value of two even is), not to mention (he mentioned) half-educated legislators who can't be bothered to even give a half a darn about anything at all other than the next election and how best to rattle the people's cage so they can keep their perks. The "Drug War." Janet Jackson's nipple. Bill Clinton's sex life. "In God We Trust" on our money. Gay governors. Prayer in school, prayer in congress, monuments in courtyards. Huge chunks of the population don't have medical care, but they reward welfare mothers to have more children. Oh, they're just a bunch of smart old boys out in Washington, they make me so proud with their deep understanding of the things that are critical to our country.

But there is a factor that will cut through all this if it comes to pass. And we've been talking about it here. That is dire need. If we really, actually, need fresh water, it is there for the taking. Nuclear power is (right now) the most powerful tool we can use to get it. I suspect it will continue to be so.

Nuclear power can be quite profitable. The power companies at least are sure of it; lots of studies detail this. But of course, the storm of idiocy from Washington has made it impossible. Look up how hard it is to get clearance to build. Plenty of grass roots resistance too. And you know the average guy is just so up on the safety records of reactors, etc.

Facts: Pop a nuke into a submarine and the thing can dissapear until it runs out of food, if it has to. Pop a nuke into a satellite (either a thermal generator or a live fission generator) and it'll go for years and years too. Why do we do this? Because it's ultra-ultra-ultra reliable, super efficient, and provides an astonishing energy yield.

Bottom line: If society decides, or acts, to make something artificially expensive - like street drugs, nuclear power, radio broadcasting - then it is, but that does not mean it will stay that way. Society can change, and we've seen it do so more than once. Why does society change? Dire need is one of the forces that can stimulate and/or outright force change. Dire need is what we're talking about here.

So there you have it. Cleanup is not only not required to be expensive, complete control of it is actually possible, unlike coal. Nuclear power generation is potentially inexpensive. Build the plant, automate the controls, monitor them with a few good people. Design the plant itself so that it can be picked up and carted away when it becomes too old to function. Use small, relatively portable modules. Generate power (and water, and many useful industrial byproducts.) Store the waste byproduct materials safely, and inexpensively. They're just barrels of crud that need to not leak, or if they start to, to be caught and repackaged. It's not even "much" crud, and no doubt there are and will be ways to dispose of this stuff more permanenently. Like dropping them in a lava flow, to be entombed for a few eons between layers of hardened lava. That'd knock a few half-lives off the stuff. Any small, uninhabited active volcanic island would be a good choice for that. They're pretty common, too. Or maybe we should just evacuate Hawaii... now there is a nice reliable source of constantly layering lava flows! :) Fusion sources might burn the materials for us. Who knows? Doesn't matter anyway. Get the clowns in Washington out of the way, and the costs will drop to realistic levels. For assembly, for generation, for storage.

Or, if water is needed, and you can't make it, perhaps the population will prefer to keep its precious illusions about the so-called threats of nuclear power and die of thirst. Whatever works for them. No problem for me - I'm old, and I'll be gone long before any of this matter hits the fan. :)


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Ohh... K... (none / 1) (#195)
by kahako1 on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 12:28:42 PM EST

I was looking for actual numbers. While I enjoyed your anti-washington rhetoric, it did not answer the questions. In fact it was a tacit admission that nuclear is expensive, even if the costs are artificially inflated.

I agree that fossil fuels are dangerous, dirty and cost more than people realize. If you are going to compare them to nuclear, show some numbers.

People, however irrational they may be, don't seem to mind being slowly poisoned over their lifetimes e.g. smoking. It is the acute effects that scare them enough to take action, i.e. suing 'after' they get sick from smoking. That mindset will always play against nuclear. This site gives a good account of why people perceive acute danger in nuclear power http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter1.html.

I admit I don't have all the facts. You implied you did:

"I do enjoy countering the various poorly thought out arguments against nuclear power and industry, so please, feel free to argue my points.". - fyngyrz
Too be fair, mine was not a "poorly thought out" argument but, a request for verification.

I was entertained, not enlightened. Oh, why bury the spent fuel in lava, when storing it might allow its reuse in the future (if some method is devised)? It is dangerous because it still has energy.

"...always look on the bright side of death... "- Eric Idle
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]

You got it. (3.00 / 2) (#196)
by fyngyrz on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 02:58:08 PM EST

Oh I admit it's expensive now, you bet. But there's no reason for it to have to be expensive - that's the point I am making. Don't have (or need) the numbers you request, all I need is for you to look right at the issue:

US farmers convoy farm machinery on big tractor trailers with leading and trailing flag cars. Slow and careful and way, way too wide for the road. Now, if a single farmer can afford this mode of transport (and they can, they do it all the time) it is obvious that a power company can as well. Transport issue solved. Storage containment: obviously inexpensive. Storage: The gummint owns tons of land. Issue solved. Reactor: Reactors can be made any size, and they are pretty simple devices, really. That's why you can jam one in a sub or one of the new "boxed" reactor cubes, and that's also why they are so reliable. Large production runs also reduce cost. One-offs require the same specialized skills as many-offs, hence the cost goes way up. And of course, the completely artificial costs need to go away - those that the crew in Washington have crowbarred into the process.

I take your point about perhaps wanting to use the waste later; but as it is an ongoing cost to store it, the best economy for now would be to dispose of it - lava still seems like a good way to me. You say the waste remains dangerous; but I contend that radioactive/poisonous materials trapped between layers of solid stone that isn't going to be eroding for some thousands of years are not particularly dangerous. Certainly they are less dangerous than the ores that are scattered in all manner of formations, many open to underground water resources. By the time the waste erodes out, it'll probably be pretty benign. If not, it'll still be out in the middle of nowhere anyway. Looking at your typical lava field around here - in Idaho, for instance - it's been thousands of years since the flow and the field still doesn't even have any vegetation on it. Tropical erosion is of a bit different character, but the orders of magnitude are at least similar.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Mine is an old argument, but... (none / 0) (#205)
by Kuranes on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 07:18:27 AM EST

...what will happen to all that nuclear fuel maintenance after the next economic crash? The problem with such risky business is that we never have a guarantee that our socio-economic system will have the long-term stability to do all the things it has planned for in the next, say, 50 years (which is already a kind of exaggeration).

Think, for example, of all the Soviet Nuclear subs lying around in the sea because their economy crashed.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Maintainance (none / 1) (#207)
by fyngyrz on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 11:06:32 AM EST

...is a network of redundant voting sensors. In the case of a leak, maintainance is what amounts to a specialized forklift, a wrapup/foldup of the impervious layer and a new "can".

Reasonable storage would provide for easy access, containment dams (like those you see around any oil storage tank these days), impervious layers underneath and surrounding each barrel, empty re-containment vessels at the ready, and cleanup for the tiny area inside the containment dam.

However, if it were done correctly, there wouldn't be any spills. It'd be an awfully boring job. It's not that difficult to build a proper barrel for the task, and it is not difficult at all to build voting, self-testing redundant sensor arrays.

Maintainance should be an independent entity, after all, this is storage for any number of reactors. Storage costs (which are extremely minimal) are a general taxpayer burden (as probably so should be power, water, telecommunications and information networks, heating and cooling.)

There is a major difference between a nuclear sub and a power/water producing nuclear installation.

The sub is a huge piece of unbelievably expensive capital equipment that has very little directly recoverable economic value (there is, or was, a Soviet sub in Florida that would take you out and give you dinner underwater as a tourist attraction, but that's pretty lame, in my view.) Therefore when the primary reason the sub has for existing (potential warfare) goes away, as it easily might as countries re-align, then support for the sub goes away as well and you have a problem if the country isn't rich enough to properly mothball the machine - as is the case with the Soviet Union and the fragments left behind with the collapse of the Soviet failure to implement working communism.

In stark contrast, a power/water producing installation has continuous value to the society that builds it. As with any operational reactor, most of the cost is in the construction as long as you get the political factors out of the way; once built, they can make more money than they cost to run on a continuous basis if commercial, and if government run, they produce more usuable value than they cost to run, which is the same thing, basically, just more indirect.

With current and previous large designs, there is an issue of the whole thing becoming too old and having to be shut down, at which point you have a pile of hugely expensive and fairly dangerous trash. This is as bad as, or worse than, storage of spent fuels. That's a design problem. The solution? Modular, relatively easy to handle reactor components allow a reactor plant to be continually kept up to date and in good operating condition. If the outer shell were to become too old, then a new shell can be created, the modules moved to it, and the old shell demolished just like any other industrial building. When modular components need replacing, you just "do it." Instead of shutting down the plant forever and having a pile of junk, it is down for a just a few hours, easily and inexpensively refurbished, and back on line doing what it was designed to do.

It is critically important that the reactor cores and exchangers themselves are kept small and managable, because these are the only components that become irradiated in use - they will have to be either recycled or stored in some fashion when they are no longer usable, after many years of operation. Plan for it and just do it. If you make a huge non-modular reactor like the monsters out there today, then obviously, you're going to have a real problem when the thing reaches the end of its usable lifetime. As near as I've been able to figure out, the modular concept is the only one that makes any sense for a reactors complete life cycle.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

OK, drop the sub argument (none / 0) (#232)
by Kuranes on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:10:36 PM EST

The problem is simply: With all those millenia radioactive fuel will still be radiating, there just is no guarantee that things will work indefinitely. It's a Murphy's law thing.

I know it's short and easy, but that doesn't necessarily make it wrong. ;).


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
This is the key! (none / 0) (#204)
by Kuranes on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 07:12:14 AM EST

Now I know why all these Middle East nations are so keen on maintaining a nuclear energy program:

DESALINATION!

Questions remain:
1. Why is everybody at the UN against it? ;)
2. Who the fuck is going to invest in power-effective desalination in our economic system?


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
This argument doesn't make sense (2.50 / 2) (#132)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:01:27 AM EST

Consider the locations of these glaciers, and the water they supply in the form of rivers and run off to most of the world's population.

If the water was supplied by the glaciers, then they would be shrinking, global warming or not. Although the meltwater from the mountains originates at the glaciers, these glaciers are replenished by annual snowfall.

A global increase in temperature would increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which would commensurately increase the precipitation. It might even replenish the glaciers in colder parts of the world. Remember that water vapor can travel many thousands of miles from where it evaporated.

There are plenty of theories which suggest that global warming might end up leading to a sudden reversal, for reasons similar to what I've just laid out. Increased equatorial temperatures lead to more evaporation and stronger wind patterns, those wind patterns carry water vapor to colder regions of the planet, the vapor precipitates as snow, the snow increases the albedo, and the global temperature plummets.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

hello? (none / 1) (#133)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:11:25 AM EST

these glaciers are replenished by annual snowfall.

That's the point, they are not. It's negative growth.

It doesn't matter how much snow they get in the winter... if it, plus n amount on top of that melts every summer (which is happening) the glacier shrinks.

Simple Math.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

The point (none / 1) (#136)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:16:58 AM EST

It doesn't matter how much snow they get in the winter... if it, plus n amount on top of that melts every summer (which is happening) the glacier shrinks.

The point is, that can equally well be blamed on lack of precipitation as it can on melting of the glacier. Any significant global warming may lead to increased precipitation, solving your "water shortage" problem.

The system is too complex for you to predict anything.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

if the system is so complex... (none / 1) (#138)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:18:39 AM EST

why are you accepting this:

Any significant global warming may lead to increased precipitation, solving your "water shortage" problem.

as fact?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Because (none / 1) (#139)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:26:09 AM EST

why are you accepting this:

  Any significant global warming may lead to
  increased precipitation, solving your "water
  shortage" problem.

as fact?

Because it is.

Just because you can't "see" the outcome of a game of chess in mid-game doesn't mean I can't tell you that moving a particular piece to a particular square will put the king in check.

If global temperatures are increasing, then the amount of water in the atmosphere and the amount of precipitation must also be increasing. Can I predict the long-term consequences of that? No, and neither can anyone else.

Again, my point was that glaciers shrink for two reasons: 1) They melt, and 2) Not enough snow falls.

Do you know enough to tell me it's definitely because of #1 and not #2? I don't think so.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Just a side note here (none / 1) (#140)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 11:57:03 AM EST

Converting snow to hard glacier ice, at least for antarctic and other extremely remote glaciers with very little warming or rainfall takes a very long time - hundreds of years. Each chrystal must have it's "spikes" worn off first by wind, then the core eventually gets compacted by the weight and pressure into the ice. Even on the "warmer" glaciers, it takes 7-20 years to convert, according to researchers here in Norway.

[ Parent ]
glaciers are thousands of years old... (none / 1) (#142)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:24:53 PM EST

the snow in them is not new... if they are melting, it's because it's warmer, period. If Glaciers aren't getting the snow they once were, but the temperature is not changing, the rate of change would be slow. They would not be receeding as fast as they are. The only explination is a warmer climate. Debate as much as you wish, but this is pretty much agreed on.

To assume first off that global warming definitaley causes more water in the atmosphere while at the same time saying that science is shakey in this area is pretty arrogant.

To further assume that increased moisture in the atmosphere would somehow stabalize glacier shinking instead of, say, creating a whole bunch of hurricanes in florida is a logic leap that is a little too large for my liking.

It's quite obvious that when you see dramatic glacier reductions such as this or this, or this lack of snow is not the problem, unless of course you are suggesting that it has stopped snowing altogether.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

No. The glaciers can partially melt every year. (2.33 / 3) (#154)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:50:46 PM EST

The only question is whether the run off from the glacier melting is replaced by new water falling as rain.

See - you don't seem to be making the connection. If the water in the rivers is coming from the glaciers, then the glaciers must be melting. If the glaciers weren't melting at all then (a) every new drop of rain that fell on the glacier would add to the size of the glacier and (b) you wouldn't have a river at all.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 1) (#157)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:21:52 PM EST

I'm not sure what your point is really.

I never argued that glaciers should not be melting, of course they do so constantly.

What I'm saying is that it is an issue that such   melting (or receeding, if you will) is accelerating because the climate is warming. Therefore the glaciers are shinking (where they were not before).

This is a known fact. Are you disputing this?

If a glacier vanishes, the rivers and water sources tht flow from it also stop. This is common sense. Are you suggesting that Glaciers do not feed rivers? Do you really think that the loss of millions of pounds of ice can be offset by rainfall?

I don't undertand what you are trying to argue here.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

I keep butting in here (none / 1) (#160)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:46:24 PM EST

But you're seriously talking nonsense. As I tried to point out in another comment, glaciers don't grow (e.g. - add mass) from rain, a growing glacier requires a constant temperature below 0, plus lots of snow times many years and layers of snow (which doesn't get melted). The pressure of the snow layers eventually compacts the lower layers into the ultra-hard, "blue" ice that is seen in glaciers. The absolute minimum amount of time for an snowflake to become part of a glacier is 7 years, and there the wind and pressure has got to be mighty strong.

Even a little rain on the compacting layers can kill the process, and render the layers just so much crust.

Very few glaciers in the world are actually growing.

[ Parent ]

no. (2.66 / 3) (#183)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:34:55 PM EST

Okay. First, feel free to replace rain with "precipitation" but your still confusing how the arctic and antarctic ice shelfs fill - which is as you describe - with mountain glaciers which can

If the glaciers in northern europe didn't partly melt each year you would have that famous glacial water that sells for so much.

Part of it is the weight of the glaciers themselves - which exerts enough pressure to heat and melt the bottom of the glacier, but weather is a major factor as well. As long as the total amount of water added to the glacier each year exceeds the out flow, the glacier will grow. If it does not, the glacier will shrink.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Um he is right though (none / 0) (#227)
by xria on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 11:07:24 AM EST

To assume first off that global warming definitaley causes more water in the atmosphere while at the same time saying that science is shakey in this area is pretty arrogant.

Its quite simple - the science of evaporation is a very well known phenomena that can be studied in isolation - the amount of water (salt or not) that converts to gas at any given range of temperatures/pressures is a well known, measurable and predictable quantity. Increases in mean atmospheric temparature are known to strongly correlate with increased mean ocean temperatures, so an increase in the global temparature would clearly have more water per unit time entering the atmosphere (and therefore leaving once a new equilibrium is reached). This isnt anything to do with climate change science, its basic thermodynamics, so is very well understood when compared to climatology.

[ Parent ]

You're still not getting it. (2.50 / 2) (#153)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:47:27 PM EST

If the glaciers were melting faster than they were being replenished, they would be supplying more water today than they were 100 years ago, and they would do so up until the moment they were exhausted.

Say, for example, the glaciers were in equilibrium - neither growing nor shrinking on a year-to-year basis. That would mean that if, for example, 1 million liters of water per year fell as rain on the Alps then the rivers flowing off the Alps would discharge 1 million liters per year.

If the glaciers began melting, then in addition to the million new liters of water (that fell as rain) you would have the water emitted by the glaciers as it shrank. So, the rivers would discharge 1 million + S liters of water per year, where S is the number of liters lost from the glaciers.

But you assert that this is not happening that, in fact, river discharge is below historic levels. The only explanation for that is that the mountains are receiving less precipitation. The glaciers might also be shrinking due to direct warming, but not neccessarily - the glacier might be as cold as it ever was, but it's receiving less input so it shrinks.

This sounds more like an indirect effect - a change in the weather patterns is reducing the total amount of rain fall in the Alps.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

That's just plain wrong. (3.00 / 2) (#161)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:47:29 PM EST

Your entire argument hinges on this one statement:

river discharge is below historic levels.

This is incorrect. Glacier rivers are doing exactly what I assert is happening, spring and summer run-offs are increasing. Please back up your assertion if you continue to disagree. Links that I have found support my thesis.

The only explanation for that is that the mountains are receiving less precipitation. The glaciers might also be shrinking due to direct warming, but not neccessarily - the glacier might be as cold as it ever was, but it's receiving less input so it shrinks.

Honestly this isn't even debatable really, at least according to the sources above.

I'm sure the hot air generated by this site affect the glaciers too, but the main culplit is inceasing temperatres.

Percipitation has little to do with it compared to rising temperatures. Unless of course you are going to argue that it didn't snow at all in some of these locations this past decade.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

I think we're talking past each other. (2.66 / 3) (#173)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:19:55 PM EST

You made that statement, not me. From your own post:

For example, the Swiss alps are generating 50% less water than they were a century ago.
....
In North America, Glacier fed rivers provide drinking water to such major urban centers as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, LA, San Deigo, Phoenix, Denver, and even St. Louis and Kansas city...

  • okay - now, explain to me how a river can be "glacier fed" without some of the glacier melting. Answer: It can't.
  • Now,  how can a glacier can melt enough to fill a river and still not shrink? Answer: New ice arriving in the form of rain or snow replaces the ice lost to the river.
  • What happens if less rain or snow arrives, but temperatures stay the same? Answer: river flow stays the same, but the glacier shrinks. Eventually the glacier disappears and the river dries up.
  • What happens if the same amount of rain or snow arrives, but temperatures rise? Answer: The glacier melts faster. This increases the discharge of water to the river which contradicts your statements above. A direct increase in the melt rate of the glacier would increase the amount of water in the rivers, not decrease it. On the other hand, a change in the annual rainfall would cause the effect you claim.
Therefore, either you were wrong about the amount of water coming off the Swiss Alps or you are wrong about whether or not glaciers are shrinking. Since I know that glaciers are, in fact, shrinking, I'm still waiting for you to admit you're wrong about the rivers.


I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
all that for a mis-typed sentence... (3.00 / 3) (#175)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:38:01 PM EST

Since it came out wrong, I never realised I said it like that...

For example, the Swiss alps are generating 50% less water than they were a century ago.

should be:

For example, the Swiss alps have 50% less water capacity than they were a century ago.

...or in other words, their glaciers are half the size as they used to be.

Why didn't you just show me the direct quote faulty logic earlier? Obviously it goes against every other point I'm making, and is of course, incorrect.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Ah. I see. (3.00 / 2) (#179)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:25:22 PM EST

Then we are in agreement.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
I believe global warming is a crock (1.00 / 2) (#52)
by StephenThompson on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:02:22 PM EST

But its useless to explain why I believe this; might as well try to disuade people from praying to Jesus or buying the latest Britney album. Yes, the weather changes, but no, its not your fault, so be happy.

even if it isn't "your fault" (none / 1) (#60)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:34:04 PM EST

do you not agree that we should at least try to prevent it from changing further?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Too many unknowns (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 10:00:36 PM EST

There may be a component from human activity which is contributing to climate change. But this is not the only factor. Climate change was occurring before humans were present and occurred in the last 1,000 years without much human input.

It is possible that reducing human population and changing the amount of energy used by humans would affect the climate change we may be seeing the beginnings of. However, there are a couple of details we do not have perfect knowledge of, like what affects the planetary climate. We do not know all of the inputs and we are guessing from a rather small sample that there is a trend. Do we know why Greenland was farmland less than 1,000 years ago? Do we know why it got colder? Which is "normal" - for Greenland to be green or covered by ice?

If we don't know what "normal" is, or where the climate is headed now, how can we make any assessments as to what changes to the inputs we can control should be?

Finally, it is entirely possible that the only way to really reduce our input into the climate is to reduce our energy expenditure to around 1850 levels, or even earlier. We were having substantial affects in localized areas even then. That would involve simple little things like no electric power for most of the day, no cars or trucks and maybe having to restrict factory energy consumption. The problem isn't that you can just point to one thing and say "cars are causing the problem" because that isn't true - you need to factor in the heat that is produced by energy usage. This isn't going to get any simpler as time goes on, especially with as large a population as there is now. Reducing the population might help quite a bit, but there are few people agree with population reduction in the near term.

[ Parent ]

well, all I can say is... (3.00 / 3) (#80)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 11:15:35 PM EST

that "too many unknowns" is stopping us from doing everything else we do... nuclear power, genetic foods, drug therapy, city development, etc etc.

Your argument may seem logically valid, but unless you are suggesting that we stop doing anything that we aren't 100% sure of all the effects, it's simply a very scientific sounding cop-out.  

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

strawman, meet logical fallacy [nt] (none / 1) (#122)
by the sixth replicant on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:50:36 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Following the Kyoto protocols IS pragmatism. (2.00 / 6) (#54)
by mjfgates on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 06:14:20 PM EST

My JOB is less than five meters above sea level. Actually, I think it's less than one... you go across the "street" from Building 435, and around a couple of sheds, and you fall into a drydock.

Therefore, so far as I'm concerned, preventing global warming is a very important concern, and forcing all countries to follow the Kyoto protocols is the only sensible thing to do.

Excellent (1.88 / 9) (#93)
by C Montgomery Burns on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:55:56 AM EST

Free markets in ice melting equal free minds, which equal maximum freedom, except for the people who drown.  

As for the drowned people, screw them, they couldn't afford moving to higher ground.

As for me, Smithers, I will be dead when things go to hell, so I don't care! <insert diabolical laughter here>
--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design

Ozone Hole Over Antartica due to pole shifts? (2.50 / 2) (#103)
by mveloso on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 05:31:42 AM EST

You know, every season people post articles about that big-ass ozone hole over Antartica. It's always blamed on CFCs, pollution, or whatever.

But given the articles on the weakening of the magnetic field (possibly due to a pole swap)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/09/0909_040909_earthmagfield.html#main

This weakening would allow more ionized particles in, which would basically destroy the ozone. Correct?

The science behind (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:44:57 AM EST

the ozone hole is pretty well understood in fact the 1995 chemistry nobel prize went to these three guys for discovering exactly how it forms.

There are areas where uncertainty abounds, but this is not one of them, the nobel prize commitee are notoriously conservative only giving out awards once enough time has passed that the discoveries involved are well validated.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

ozone (none / 1) (#166)
by Lacero on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:10:58 PM EST

ozone is created by ionised particles.

[ Parent ]
More evidence of global warming. (2.62 / 8) (#104)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 05:34:11 AM EST

All of the following evidence is available from the IPCC the international expert group set up to examine if climate change is occurring.

First take a look at the temperature record . As we can see for the years where observations are available temperatures have been rising, and proxy data (that is data from other sources like tree rings) show that the present changes are markedly greater than any in the last thousand years (lower graph).

Now lets look at the causes , that is the near exponential increase in atmospheric concentations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide due to increased use of fossil fuels, increased cattle farming and increased use of nitrogen fertilizers. All of these gasses make the atmosphere less able to transmit heat (as IR-radiation) back into space and lead to warming. Note the sulfate aerosols (bottom right) are actually thought to produce a short term cooling effect, but they are now declining due to measures now being taken to reduce power station sulfur emissions (and thus reduce acid rain).

Now moving on to the models. This diagram shows the output from a general circulation model (GCM) which models the entire global ocean atmosphere system. It compares the results of the model when human induced (anthropogenic) effects, such as increased in greenhouse gasses are included; with the output of the model when only natural variations such as changes in the sun's output are included. Clearly only a model which inludes the human-induced changes in greenhouse gas concentrations can reproduce the increase in temperatures which has been observed.

Sea levels are already rising Strong action is required immediately because the global system responds slowly to any changes we make. We have yet to see the effects of the changes that we have already made, and yet we continue to increase the rate at which we emit carbon dioxide.

Time to take your heads out of the sand people, the time for action is now. I know you all like your big gass guzzlers and cheap aviation, and that you really don't want to believe this, but read the IPCC reports, hunt down their references and read them too. The evidence is out there if you look, and if you look with an open mind, it is overwhelming.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

The tempurature graphs are bogus (none / 1) (#106)
by StephenThompson on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:26:46 AM EST

There are all sorts of misleading cues to designed to bias your reading of the chart. First off, what the hell are the blue lines crossing the graph? Depending on where you put that bar, the data will tell a totally different story. Next, look at the markings for recent data, why is it bright red? Making it red sets it apart from the rest of the data demarking artificial emergency. Notice that there are different methods for achieving the results as well; most of the data is what they call proxy data, or, guesses. Then, at the apparent rise, they use direct measurement. This is unsound method.

Finally, the biggest crime is that there is a non-zero based scale to the data in all axes. The graphs make it appear as if there is a huge deviance in temperature, when in fact it is about 1 degree, which is less than 2%. This is exactly the method used by stock brokers to trick you into seeing patterns in the stock market. Zooming in on small varianaces like this is completely invalid, what you are seeing is chaotic noise. There are parts of this very graph you could 'zoom' in on that would show decreasing tempurature over time. So, there is no basis for cutting off the data at 1000 years; without data over a significant amount of time of earths history (or at least mankinds history), there is not enough data to determine what normal variance should be.

[ Parent ]
The Blue line (2.40 / 5) (#115)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:19:57 AM EST

crossing the graph indicates the 1961-1990 average for temperature. It is simply included as something to compare against. The data are still the same regardless of where this bar is.

Recent data is marked red to indicate that it is directly measured data from meteorlogical stations rather than proxy data.

Its a bit ridiculous to ask for a zero based scale on the temperature axis. You could draw the graph starting at absolute zero, but that would simply make any variation (natural or otherwise) impossible to see. Zero celsius or fahrenheit is also a pointless choice since the zero point of both of these scales is arbitrary. If we are looking at variation, then it makes sense to choose a scale which fits the size of the observed variation, then rely on peoples abilities to read the scale, after all that is what it is there for.

As for your figure of 2% variation, where the hell does that come from, are you saying 2% of the total temperature as measure from absolute zero, how does using percentage change even make sense here?

The choice of the last 1000 years of data isn't totally arbitrary. It does a good job of comparing values before and after the industrial revolution. Before which we had relatively little influence on the composition of the atmosphere. Also we are limited to some extent by what data is available.

Finally, proxy data are not "made up". Proxy data are the result of groups of scientists spending years working hard to find out reliable ways of extending the temperature record backward, to give us a better way idea of whether the present warming is just a blip, or the start of a major trend. If you want to read the journal articles and make specific criticisms or specific methods of gathering proxy data, that is fine with me. But to just dismiss it all out of hand without even knowing where it comes from is ridiculous.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Did you notice the error bars? (3.00 / 3) (#114)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:04:52 AM EST

I'm suspicious of any graph that draws conclusions when the error bars are that huge. For example, note that the error bars indicate that temps from 1000 to 1600 could have been above the "average" bar.

In addition, as the other poster pointed out, these graphs are designed to scare rather than educate - the whole vertical range is less than 2 degrees, they hide that a large portion of the increase happened in the first half of the century (when you'd expect the process to be accelerating) and show that interesting below-average dip that lasted 15 years, also right where you'd expect the curve to be turning upwards.

Meanwhile, your "causes" graph doesn't show error bars or even the sampling method (you know they didn't measure it directly) so there's no way at all to tell how they knew what CO2 in the atmosphere was like in 1400.

The models are meanlingless - so they created a model that matched their existing observations? So what? I can create a program that matches predetermined output, too.

Finally, if you notice, your sea-level graphs contradict your global warming graphs. The warming graphs assert that all the warming occurred during the 20th century - yet your sea-level graphs indicate that more than half the sea level rise occurred during the 19th. And, again, the absolute rise is only a few hundred millimeters.

So, sorry, I don't find your graphs convincing at all.


I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

On error bars (2.75 / 4) (#116)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:31:16 AM EST

Yes the error bars are large, they probably represent the 95 percent confidence limit on each measurement. I.e. based on the variability withing the data they can be 95% sure that the actual value lies within the error bar indicated.

This applies to the data for each individual year, so while it is possible, or even likely that the data for single years within the 1600-1900 period is above the 1961-1990 average, the chance that the temperature was above the average for extended periods of time is very small. If you look, the centre of those error bars is consistently under the average, even if the real data had a lot of scatter, the position of the average over long periods of time is pretty certain.

Just ask Baldrson ;-)

Also it isn't fair to say the models are meaningless. Sure if someone wanted to they could produce a model which was designed to support a given theory, but that isn't how it is done. The models are made by people sitting down and working out the physical relationships that govern the system being studied and finding ways to implement this in the computer. Next they test the ability of the model to reproduce the present climate, given the present conditions. Then and only then do they use the model to make predictions. The workings of all these models are published and peer reviewed, if they have gaping holes in them then so far nobody has been able to see them. If you want to you can even hunt down the relevant papers for yourself and see how they work. That is how science works. If you don't believe it, all the information is openly available, and can be criticised by all.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Long term CO2 data (2.00 / 2) (#118)
by brain in a jar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:01:32 AM EST

can for example be gathered by analyzing the small bubble of air that become trapped and snow is compacted into ice. One such core is at a place called vostok and it has been used to get a record of carbon dioxide for the last 400,000 years.

See this graph.

As you can see, despite the earth having passed into and out of a number of ice ages during the last 400,000 years the atmospheric CO2 never got above 250ppm, we now have 380ppm and rising.

Also note that the natural rise in CO2 following an ice age is at a rate of about 1 ppm/1000 years, whereas we have increased the atmospheric CO2 conc by about 80ppm just in the last 100 years.

To summarize the changes in the CO2 conc are undprecedented in speed and scale in the last 400,000 years.

Even if you refuse to accept the ice core data for some reason, the CO2 have been measured continously on Hawaii since the 50's. see here.

The objections you present are reasonable, given the amount of information you have been given up to now. But there is no excuse for not digging for more info. All your objections are answerable given the will and the time.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Agreed. (3.00 / 3) (#119)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:17:05 AM EST

As I mentioned in another post, I find the evidence of warming to be strongly suggestive, if not absolutely compelling.

That's still no reason to endorse scare-graphs though.

As for the direct measurements of CO2 in Hawaii, evidence of the past 50 years isn't in doubt - it's the evidence of the previous 10,000 that has a significantly higher error rate.

In the end though, it doesn't matter - as I also mentioned elsewhere, the real problem isn't whether or not Americans believe in global warming, it's that you're not going to convince first worlders to lower their standard of living nor will you convince third worlders to abandon their dream of moving up to the first world.

Consider - let's say the US passes a huge gas tax, and over a decade all those SUVs are replaced with 50 MPG cars. This is plausible, but all it does is slow the rate of CO2 accumulation, not reverse it. Meanwhile, China is industrializing on a scale that has never been seen before and India will probably follow. So, even as the US puts a small dent in CO2 accumulation, China will be radically increasing it.

I really believe the only solution is a new form of power generation. It has to be as cheap (preferably cheaper) than fossil fuels in order to convince everyone to switch and it has to easy. The only candidate at this point are those new "failsafe" sealed-unit nuclear reactors. But, of course, that means that in 50 years we'd have a huge waste problem.

All we can do is hope for a technological solution; imposed treaties like Kyoto just won't work.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 1) (#148)
by Error404 on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:12:39 PM EST

Nuclear waste isn't a problem if the IAEA would get it's head out of it's ass and realize that it's okay to re-refine spent fuel, even though that means making weapons grade plutonium as a precursor to more fuel rods.

[ Parent ]
Not the whole solution (none / 0) (#216)
by brain in a jar on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 03:13:28 AM EST

In the UK we have a reprocessing plant (sellafield) but reprocessing the spent fuel rods doesn't fully eliminate the waste problem. Even after the unused uranium and the plutonium have been recovered you are still left with high level liquid waste (stuff so active it has be constantly cooled to avoid trouble).

That said, I don't think waste is an insurmountable problem. I think at the moment we have the worst of all worlds. We are producing a lot of waste, but opposition to nuclear power is making it very hard to do anything with it to reduce the risk it poses.

I think the real issue with nuclear is that it is probably less cost effective than most renewables. The plants are expensive to build and expensive to decomission, uranium mining isn't such a cheap business either. Nuclear generally has to be heavily subsidised to make its power affordable, and now that we have no need for huge amounts of plutonium (if we ever did) people are looking for another way to justify the subsidy.

Maybe climate change is a good enough reason, but energy efficiency and renewables are a cheaper solution, and politically easier.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

global warming (none / 0) (#233)
by peter318200 on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:16:46 PM EST

the weather office in australia in one of the most stable and predictable weather systems on the planet cant reliably predict the weather four 4! days in advance and you want me to sell the ford because these same people think its going to be 2 degrees warmer in 2 decades? are you insane? its just a model reality is the wet/hot cold/blowie(little aussie joke there) stuff outside. whats so special about the way the weather is now anyway? wait till you see what natures going to do to it when the sun goes nova!

[ Parent ]
ntssk ntssk. (2.33 / 9) (#105)
by vivelame on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 06:19:32 AM EST

Remember, the only good science is the Official Science, that is, Science that Dubya can grasp and that allows his friends to keep their SUV.
Everything else has a leftist agenda.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
integrity? (3.00 / 2) (#121)
by gr00vey on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:40:57 AM EST

Scientific Integrity in Policy Making Further investigation of the Bush administration's abuse of science

[ Parent ]
You're correct. (2.20 / 5) (#131)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:54:44 AM EST

There is leftist agenda, there is conservative agenda, and there is the truth. And the "leftist" agenda is no closer to it than the right.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]
to be honest (none / 0) (#230)
by tantrum on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 07:43:51 AM EST

There is leftist agenda, there is conservative agenda, and there is the truth. And the "leftist" agenda is no closer to it than the right.
In the environmental policies I'd rather take precautions even though they might be wrong, than take no precautions and cross my fingers.

We know very little about how things are connected, but we know that changes are more rapid than before.

I'd guess that even the most extreme environmentalist is a tad more correct than the people who believe that the changes we are seeing are all natural.



[ Parent ]

Global warming is real and underway (none / 1) (#120)
by gr00vey on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:38:13 AM EST

Global Warming is real...

if the Union of Crazy Socialists (2.00 / 4) (#182)
by sellison on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:33:38 PM EST

who hate America, say so, then it must be wrong!

These folks are just pushing their anti-American dreck on and on.

The only global warming we should be worrying about is what will happen if the terrorists win, and get their hands on nuclear weapons!

We need to stay on the Right course, and that means re-electing George Bush and buying American SUVs, the bigger the better! Only this way will we stop the terrorists and hold on to our Rightful Place at the top of the world's food chain!

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

OH STFU Sellison. Cold war is over (N/T) (none / 0) (#215)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 01:55:37 AM EST

.


---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]
The problem is (3.00 / 4) (#124)
by the sixth replicant on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 09:10:47 AM EST

that the science needs a long time and a lot of minds trying to come up with some sort of conclusion. Unfortunately we don't have that long to make a decision if one end of the Bell curve (of opinion) is right. A lot of people don't understand that all the varying ideas and disargeements is precisely what science is. What science isn't good at is trying to force an issue when there is such a large range of views. The *ONLY* way to get opinion narrowed down is to have as much data as possible to weed out most of ideas and that takes time.

But then how do you make a decision when you might not have the time to wait for the concensus.

That's the problem. So what do we do?

Who the fuck knows. Like most of our problems they usually get "solved" by a shift in resources from one area to another (oil production to...whoops...no more oil...umm...what do we do now...ah...we die en masse, our economies collapse - problem solved).

Ciao

Yes but... (none / 1) (#214)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 01:54:20 AM EST

If one school of thought is right, we will all drown while the top 10% of society waves us goodbye from the luxury of their underwater domes.

If the other school of thought is right, we will expand a fortune to reap untold returns in new technologies as we come up with technological and social solutions to the problem.

I think the choice is pretty clear.

.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

The right choice is very clear: (none / 0) (#219)
by Polverone on Tue Sep 28, 2004 at 06:09:53 PM EST

Those who promote false dichotomies will be used as bubbledome ballast or, alternatively, reprocessed into lubricant for the eco-friendly machines of tomorrow.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
One possible solution (none / 0) (#226)
by xria on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 10:20:28 AM EST

Is to hang on until all the people scared of the nuclear bogeyman die or are no longer policy makers so that new modern facilities can be built in 20-30 years time maybe.

[ Parent ]
hold on a minute... (2.00 / 4) (#129)
by mmclar on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 10:37:04 AM EST

WHAT THE HELL DOES PRAGMATIC MEAN!???

---
sig sig sig sig (sing with the notes C G A B, and feel free to transpose to any key)
it seems to mean "short time horizon" (none / 1) (#159)
by jbuck on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:43:19 PM EST

If you're a corporate exec, you're focused madly on making this quarter's numbers, and are thinking somewhat about the next fiscal year. Maybe you have a three-year plan, but you don't take it seriously. Anything after that is Somebody Else's Problem. This focus on the short term is considered "pragmatic"; we can't predict the future, so why worry, especially if doing something about it hurts this quarter's bottom line?

[ Parent ]
See the title of the previous article (none / 1) (#176)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:39:10 PM EST

The one I was "roundly chastised" for.

[ Parent ]
prag·mat·ic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (prg-mtk) (none / 0) (#225)
by xria on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 10:16:24 AM EST

  1. Dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.
  2. Philosophy. Of or relating to pragmatism.
  3. Relating to or being the study of cause and effect in historical or political events with emphasis on the practical lessons to be learned from them.  


[ Parent ]
Wow! (none / 1) (#143)
by CodeWright on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 12:29:14 PM EST

Think of all the new coastal property! This will be a tremendous land development boon!

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

-1. Old Joke. (none / 1) (#152)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 01:40:09 PM EST



I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
Nope (1.00 / 4) (#158)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:41:01 PM EST

Pragmatism is always in vogue. Sorry to burst your bubble, but even if all that ice fell off and raised sea levels 20 feet, while it might be a big change with some short term catastrophic effects, most of us would be just fine. Sea levels have been up and down more than that over the last few thousand years, and we're still here. So, it ain't quite time to ditch modern civilization just yet.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

if sea levels rise 20 feet... (2.50 / 2) (#163)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 02:58:28 PM EST

most of us would not be "just fine".

At what altitude do you live at? Any city that borders the ocean is within those 20 feet.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Nope (1.25 / 4) (#164)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 03:17:30 PM EST

First of all, I live in St. Louis. Roughly six hundred feet above sea level, plus or minus a hundred or so depending on exact location.

Second, most coastal cities do have some parts that are at or below 20 feet above, but few of them are mostly or entirely that low.

Third, historically, such events as this are the big risks of living on a coast. You now think you should be exempt from that risk? Here's a hint: nature is still stronger than we are.

Fourth, the majority of the world's population does not live on ocean coasts, or at any place 20 feet or less above sea level.

The coastal states in the US are mostly miniature peoples' republics anyway; who gives a damn what happens to them? As for other countries, I suggest they start moving people inland ahead of the rush:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
The ocean is not a placid lake. (3.00 / 3) (#169)
by professor bikey bike on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:45:13 PM EST

A rise of 20 feet in ocean levels would be far more dramatic than simply submerging everything below the 20 foot line. Most, if not all, of your arguments are contradicted here.



[ Parent ]
You got that so wrong. (none / 1) (#191)
by tonedevil on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 11:00:33 AM EST

It's fly-over country that nobody cares about. Unless someone wants to take our money and hoodwink you yokels out of your vote.

[ Parent ]
The world is not round (none / 1) (#178)
by imrdkl on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:49:45 PM EST

Did you know that? If all the ice melted off of the Antarctic though, it would tend to roll and yaw more. Here's hoping you're the first to fall off.

[ Parent ]
Sagan didn't quite have it right (2.66 / 6) (#168)
by John Miles on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 04:32:28 PM EST

In response to belief in the supernatural and other forms of quackery, Carl Sagan is often quoted as saying, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."  I wonder if Sagan himself would have applied that aphorism to climate science?  

Perhaps he should, instead, have formulated his saying as "Extraordinary demands require extraordinary proof."  After all, your claims regarding religious or other supernatural entities don't "require" proof at all, extraordinary or otherwise... at least, not until you try to sell them to me.  However, treaties like the Kyoto Accords have certainly imposed extraordinary demands on the US economy, and the treaties that will probably follow it will have to impose similar demands on growing Asian economies or risk being revealed for the hypocritical exercise in economic handicapping they often are.

Currently, the "proof" of man-made climate change, ridden as it is with large error bars and presuming as it does a complete (although historically, laughably-incorrect) understanding of the most complex dynamic system on Earth, simply does not yet have enough predictive power to justify rewiring Western civilization to address it.  The unfortunate truth is that in scientific terms, it probably never will.  If science is to come to our rescue in this case, it will have to open the toolbox of religion to find the means.

Think about it.  In classical scientific terms, we're building a model from a test case consisting of a single experiment with one subject and no controls.  Would you try a new prescription drug or undergo a new surgical procedure developed on a foundation that shaky?  No?  Then how can you possibly expect three hundred million Americans to overturn their economic lives on the same basis?  The prescription in this case is so drastic that if our politicians force us to choke it down before the Empire State Building is half-submerged in melted Antarctic ice, they'll risk assassination.

In short, almost all forseeable arguments for the presence of anthropogenic climate change demand nothing short of faith, something that most people here will agree we should not be using as a basis for policy.  At some point, the more rational among us may have to admit that, like matters of religion, our concerns about climate change are not a topic that can be adequately addressed by science.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.

Sagan and climate science. (3.00 / 4) (#170)
by glor on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 05:25:15 PM EST

Carl Sagan was actually the first to demonstrate that the greenhouse effect is what keeps the atmosphere of Venus hot and dense.  He recognized that this would apply on this planet as well, and that it could be influenced by (a) changes in the atmospheric mixture of greenhouse gases, or (b) the  pollution of the upper atmosphere with lots of dark aerosols, which he suggested would cause a "nuclear winter."  

So the answer to your question is "yes."  Carl Sagan did apply that aphorism to climate science.  And he felt that requirements were met, and was active in the field until his death.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

Anything we choose to do is extraordinary (3.00 / 2) (#171)
by andersjm on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 05:57:36 PM EST

Whatever we do has consequences.  As a billion chinese get cars and refrigerators, the world is going to change, one way or the other.  The world is not going to stop in its tracks while you lean back and wait for proof.

There is no abstain vote.  

You are getting scientific criteria and political criteria mixed up.  We make our political choices based on what we find to be the most probable.  Unlike science, politics does not require a high degree of certainty.

Yes, the evidence of man-made climate change is ridden with large error bars, and there is room yet for scientific discussion.  But for political purposes it is very compelling.


[ Parent ]

Selling wars, etc. (none / 1) (#172)
by John Miles on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 07:16:25 PM EST

A minor rephrasing of your comment:
...  Unlike science, politics does not require a high degree of certainty.
Yes, the evidence of (nuclear weapons in Saddam's basement) is ridden with large error bars, and there is room yet for ... discussion.  But for political purposes it is very compelling.


Again, extraordinary demands, whether political or scientific in nature, should require extraordinary proof.  Otherwise, we're doomed to spend all our energy and resources as a species running around like decapitated chickens, starting unjustified wars and trashing our livelihoods to "fix" a planetary climate we don't understand.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]
Earth, could you stop rotating for a second? (3.00 / 2) (#194)
by andersjm on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 12:19:53 PM EST

There does not exist any wait-and-see option.  We are in a speeding
car with no brakes heading for a Y-fork.  One road holds rising energy
consumption with ensuing climate change.  The other road holds
expensive CO2-reducing measures.  You can pick one road or the other,
but don't pretend that your choice is the safe, conservative choice,
because there is no safe, conservative choice.  The world is changing,
and we can only hope to choose how.

As for your straw man argument: Prior to the war, independent experts
did not believe Iraq had WMD.  This is just one reason why your
analogy sucks - as analogies always do!


[ Parent ]

Close, but another repeat of the mistake. (none / 0) (#220)
by Polverone on Tue Sep 28, 2004 at 06:33:39 PM EST

One fork in the road holds expensive CO2-emission-reducing measures. The other does not. Beyond that, we do not know for certain what the different roads hold. If we knew what they held, the choice would be more obvious.

It's not even one fork, but a series of little forks with no backtracking. Suppose Kyoto targets are met but there's no statistically significant change in the rate of climate change, measured over 5 years or so, or the rate of change actually increases. Suppose Kyoto targets are met and there's a measurable, statistically significant reduction in the rate of climate change. Suppose Kyoto targets are not met and either of these things happen.

Would slowing climate change prove Kyoto is worthwhile? Would accelerating climate change prove Kyoto is misguided, or not aggressive enough? A problem missed with the "big fork in the road" analogy is that even if you can get people to pick your preferred fork now, they may not stick with it for as many years as you'd need to see if the strategy actually works.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Who needs to 'prove' what? (none / 1) (#193)
by carb0n on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 11:49:59 AM EST

The Kyoto accord has not imposed any increased demand on the US economy because they have not shown the leadership (as the world's largest national economic and political entity) to sign on.

You said "Extraordinary demands require extraordinary proof".  Now what could be a more extraordinary demand (to the earth) that basing one's economy on the flawed assumption that the earth's resources are limitless?  In this case, the proof you need to provide is that this system is sustainable and does not incur 'dangerous' damage to the natural systems we need to survive.

It seems to be that the argument _for_ man-induced climate change holds up a lot better that the argument that a system based upon limitless growth doesn't do dangerous harm to the earth.

Or are we simply talking about what the definition of 'dangerous' is?  Well, I'd say that even without the single issue of climate change, that our current system poses a 'dangerous' threat based simply upon it's effects upon habitat, biodiversity (and extinction) alone.  With the potential for climate change factored in, I don't think its a very hard case to make.

Well, if climate change is "not a topic that can be adequately addressed by science", then I know of no other testable ways in which we can hope to discuss this issue in a rational manner.  I don't think religion needs to play much of an issue here - but it's funny that you compare the two.  It seems that the ones who wish to dismiss climate change are willing to accept any potential uncertainty as proof of a flawed argument, thus this must prove the fact that we are doing no harm.  

Now I won't pretend that there aren't zealots on both sides (well, all sides) of the argument.  Many environmentalists as such seem to cling to it as more of a faith (with talk of 'luna' and such), then with any well thought out arguments for their positions.  This is perfectly fine for a faith (who am I to judge), but it usually fails to convince those looking for a perspective on conservation and sustainability.

Of course, the probability that we are doing no harm is approaching (if not) 0, while the probability that we will reach the worst case predictions are probably also approaching 0.

Now, if you accept that we are doing harm - and doing a significant amount as it stands today, why on earth would anyone willingly pursue a course of action that leads to _more_ harm?  [The Bush administration's appaling regard to environmental standards, for example].

I believe the answer is a willful disregard for any environmental outcomes, based upon (usually) two things:

 1) Valuing the economy, and (supposed) human comfort far more than any environmental concerns.  Even though some in the administration may share these concerns, they know exactly who their corporate masters are, and would not dare step out of line.

 2) Assuming 1) is false, perhaps this disregard is due to an actual belief that these actions do no harm.  I find this hard to believe - but our skies are still blue, and our waters still have a couple fish.  Some people are totally unwilling to acknowledge truth until they are kicked in the ass  by it.

In short - you want to trade the potential suffering of 6 billion people (that environmental science has roundly said is likely to happen), for the short term benefit of the US economy, on the side chance that this devestation won't happen.  

Ok, thanks for including me in your game, but no one asked me what my opinion was.

[ Parent ]

What is the last refuge of utopian thought today? (none / 0) (#203)
by Kuranes on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 06:57:09 AM EST

Believe it or not:

It's today's late capitalist economy.

The basic underline of economic politics today is: If growth is high enough, everything else will take care of itself automatically.

Therefore, any substantial change to the way things are going which does not accommodate the economy is irrational.

Easy.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Who are we saving the environment for? (none / 1) (#221)
by Polverone on Tue Sep 28, 2004 at 07:13:08 PM EST

I would have to say that "humans now living or yet to be born" is the only reasonable answer. If humans are taken out of the picture, whose side is a godlike observer supposed to take? The side of aquatic and warmth-loving organisms? The side of whatever species were dominant the moment humans disappeared? I see no reason to suppose that Earth, 10,000 years ago, was any more "natural" or universally better than earth present, earth 100,000,000 years ago, or earth 10,000 years from now.

The reason humans should work to prevent earth from becoming too radically different than it was at the dawn of civilization is that it's good for humans. It's good for humans to have healthy ecosystems, to learn from and directly extract resources from (sustainably!) It's good to have the climate remain more or less as it has been for the last 5000 years is because it would cause a lot of human suffering if things change too much. It's good to have a biosphere like we have because humans are dependent on it.

Too many people in the US have gotten the impression that environmentalism is about choosing which you love more, your family or trees. To be fair to them, some vocal environmentalists have perpetuated exactly this ridiculous idea, that humans should put the welfare of plants or animals above that of humans. Humans should value the environment because they depend on it, and future humans will have richer or poorer futures (economically or merely in terms of natural variety) depending on what present humans do.

However, even making this clarification may not be sufficient to enact bold CO2 emission reductions, since a large minority (hundreds of millions of people in industrialized countries) may still see overall benefit in continuing unconstrained emissions/growth if they look only within their own national borders.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Global Warming is Socialist-Eurotrash Myth! (1.00 / 15) (#180)
by sellison on Fri Sep 24, 2004 at 08:26:57 PM EST

All available evidence indicates that man-made global warming is a physical impossibility, but if the predicted warming could be induced it would probably provide net benefits. However, there is a widespread imagined risk of the warming and politicians are responding to it. Responses to imagined risk are often extreme and dangerous. For example, somebody with a fear of mice may see a mouse and as a response try to jump on a chair causing damage to the chair and injury to himself. There is no point in telling the injured person that mice are harmless because fear is irrational so cannot be overcome by rational argument.

Global warming proponents call for reduced CO2 emissions and this equates to a call for cuts in the use of energy, but the energy industries have done more to benefit mankind than anything else since the invention of agriculture. And global warming proponents often call for use of `renewables' to replace fossil fuels, but that is a call for a return to preindustrial society: the industrial revolution occurred when fossil fuels replaced biomass and windpower. It is physically impossible for wind and solar energies to supply the energy needs of the developed world, and the peoples of the developing world are insisting on their right to develop too.

Also, some global warming proponents are accepting a good financial income from the global warming scare and have become global warming propagandists to promote their interests. These include some researchers who obtain research grants and some environmental organisations who need donations. They are making a living by promoting fear of man-made global warming. Their behaviour is similar to that of the `snake oil salesmen' in the nineteenth century. Snake oil salesmen sold snake oil that did not require real snakes to make it. Global warming propagandists are selling fear of man-made global warming and that does not require real man-made global warming to make it.

A rational assessment of appropriate policies would include cost/benefit analysis, but imagined risk is not rational. All the proposed responses to the imagined risk of man-made global warming would increase starvation and poverty while inhibiting economic development throughout the entire world. And CO2 emissions would not be reduced and may be increased. In practice, politicians are accepting the predictions of climate models as being predictions of the future, and they are acting to change that future. This is similar to the behaviour of people who believe horoscope predictions of future harm so they avoid situations where that harm could happen.

This stuff is just bogeyman the lefties have made up to scare us into governmental control of resources and to hurt America, because all the jealous little eurotrash socialist want nothing more from life than to see America lose our rightful position as leader of the Capitalist Christian Free World.

Fact is kiddies, God controls the climate, and all the forest burning and hotrodding we little mortals can do isn't going to change that!

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

What? (none / 1) (#190)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 10:05:09 AM EST

--The only solution for the left in 2004: Go Nader!

That's your tagline. Why you voting for the GREEN PARTY candidate when you're against the bullshit ideas he spits forth?

[ Parent ]

Nader is not the Green Party candidate. (none / 1) (#192)
by kahako1 on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 11:10:01 AM EST


"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
Yeah, he was too nutty for even them! -nt- (none / 1) (#201)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 12:48:28 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I'm not (none / 1) (#208)
by sellison on Sun Sep 26, 2004 at 02:10:30 PM EST

I'm supporting George W. Bush, of course. But the left is stuck, you can't vote for Kerry and be honest lefties, Kerry is a flip-flop in the wind.

Only Nader provides a way for honest lefties to get their point--that American should be a socialist labor camp serving the needs of postmodernist intellectuals--accross.

Kerry would have fought the same war George Bush is,  but Kerry's waffling would have lost it. Heck, we'd probably be paying reparations to Saddam right now if Kerry had his way!

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Just the fucts maam. (none / 0) (#222)
by Wulfius on Wed Sep 29, 2004 at 12:30:33 AM EST

<cite>Kerry is a flip-flop in the wind.</cite>

Bush may well be an ignorant, incompetent illiterate but he certainly has some half decent spin doctors.

To take the opponents ability to EVALUATE EACH ISSUE ON ITS MERITS AND IN ITS CURRENT POLITICAL SCENARIO and call it flip-floping is a masterful stroke.

Its called GOOD JUDGEMENT.
Only in America though, everywhere else, Dubbayas attitude would be called 'Blind, pathological stubborness'.

Please cease your gregarious labeling and highly speculative assertions sellison.

'Would have fought the same war... but Kerry's waffling would have lost it...'.
One, given the evidence, nowhere it is shown that Bush has actually won the war yet. Last I've seen the body count is going up and the stability is going down.

Two, what the American Taliban (ie: religious fundamentalists) call 'waffling' the rest of the planet calls 'Diplomacy'. The yuppie-ky-ay bang bang youre dead, approach does not work. It never worked, unless you were prepared to kill *ALL* of your oponents.

Anyway, I might as well argue with a wall.
There is a reason why Bush has supporters, more to do with the ownership of mass media and declining education standards rather than his merits. Bleh. I'm off to get drunk.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

We are "prepared" for that (none / 0) (#228)
by sellison on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 07:43:39 PM EST

That is George Bush's policy in a nutshell, of course.

And that is why we must relect him, only with all of the terrorists dead or in orange pjs in Guantanamo, will America be truly safe.

Kerry would like to open 'bi'-lateral talks with the terrorists, he would like to bend over and grease up for them, hoping they will come to like us and stop trying to kill us.

This is the failed policy of a man who should never be allowed to lead.

George Bush will keep us standing tall and firm, being the ones on the right side of the punishment, being the strong ones, until all our enemies have bent before us, or are gone to explain their failures to their maker.

So now you can choose, which would you rather be, the limp, flip-flopping, waffler cowering  in fear at his "summit", begging the world for mercy, or the strong, fearless, American standing tall behind George Bush as he lays the enemy low?

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

The more you tighten your grip (none / 0) (#229)
by Nursie on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:56:54 AM EST

The more star systems slip through your fingers!


Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Great troll. (none / 0) (#213)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 01:46:07 AM EST

Nice troll sellison...or to use your honorific 'kid'.

I guess the 4 cyclones hitting Florida in a row as FOXNEWS puts it 'most ever for 100 years'
or more factualy 'most ever since scientific records were kept' are an act of God too.

Please provide sensible references to your wild assertions. Regurgitating the oil industry propagande even they themselves do not believe is not evidence.

You say a rational assesment would include a cost/benefit analysis. I agree.
Please provide the dollar values for the following items;
a) Preservation of biodiversity.
b) A liter of clean water.
c) A liter of clean air.
d) The future IP value genes of the 20,000-30,000 species going extinct annually.
e) The future projected product income for the lifecycle of the product derived from the the 20,000-30,000 species going extinct annually.
f) The annual health bill due to environmental pollutants (cancer, asthma etc).

This is just of the top of my head.

To paraphrise? "Cost Benefit analysis? You dont have the balls to do the cost benefit analysis!"

Talking about YOUR idea of Cost benefit analysis is like a pirate caluclating the cost of gunpowder in his business operation as the sole variable of the equation.

And please, 'kiddo' stop refering to anyone who holds a different opinion to you as a 'leftie'.
You do yourself a disservice.
You are obviously half-literate, which sets you apart from others of your ignorant ilk.

.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Global Warming (3.00 / 2) (#198)
by StirlingNewberry on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 07:27:32 PM EST

In A World Without Fire I set a novel on an alternate Venus, where the sun's rays are weaker and Venus, not Earth, is in the center of the zone of life.

One of the primary tropes of the novel is that what is, on the earth, a "hot deep biosphere", on Venus is near the surface. Venus is rich with sulphur and the ecology of the planet is constantly in danger of "overheating".

On our own planet energy giveth and energy taketh away: energy sources are economically liberating, in fact, one can make a good argument that the discovery of a power source is what begins a long "S" curve of growth - until that power source had been topped out, and the next power source is brought on line.

However, each power source has had its problems, either limitations of the source itself - or a fight for control of the raw materials of it, or the waste and by products of it.

In our own time the limits of the petro-economy are being reached and we are having to wrestle with austerity, or ingenuity, as the ways out.


Actually... (none / 0) (#218)
by ckaminski on Mon Sep 27, 2004 at 01:21:23 PM EST

I once did the calculations for sea level rise based on some known numbers (averages) for the thickness of the Antarctic ice sheet and the size of the worlds oceans

73 meters, sea level rise if you don't take into account lowland flooding, but just raised the sea levels.

Obviously, lowland flooding will reduce this, so 20-30 meters does not seem unreasonable... I couldn't find a decent metric on total land below 10m, 20m, ... 70m to really figure it out.

Yes (none / 0) (#224)
by imrdkl on Wed Sep 29, 2004 at 05:03:13 PM EST

There are varying estimates. I've found the 20-meter version as well.

[ Parent ]
Antarctic Response to Climate Change - Not Pragmatic | 233 comments (228 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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