Author Topic: Episode #77  (Read 31104 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mike

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2367
    • SGUFans.net
Episode #77
« Reply #90 on: January 20, 2007, 07:46:33 AM »
Quote from: "jason"
Bottom line is that humans are interested in preserving their way of life (if comfortable) or making it better (if uncomfortable). With respect to global warming, if it only resulted in changes that were beneficial to individuals (milder winters, say), we'd be cheering it on, and bugger what it did to the rest of the planet. Since the changes appear to lead to shortages in arable land, potable water and therefore the availability of food and places to live, we (humanity) should indeed do something about it, to preserve our cushy status quo.

It's got nothing to do with any kind of obligation to anyone or anything. Humans look after themselves. We can dress it up however we want, but we will not act in any fashion that messes up our lives unless not acting will result in our lives being messed up.

A cynical view, but I suspect only too accurate.


I think the fact that global warming is happening so gradually is what's keeping us from acting.  I think that until a major disaster occurs that is directly associated with global warming that our population will sit on its collective ass and do nothing about this problem.  Sure there will be SOME people making some changes, as there always are.  But not on a global scale, which is exactly the scale that is needed to even make a difference (if we even can).
"We're just so damn exciting." - Dr. Steven Novella, MD

Offline Kayto

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • http://www.michellecaldwell.com
Episode #77
« Reply #91 on: January 20, 2007, 09:29:59 AM »
Quote from: "Mike"
Quote from: "jason"
Bottom line is that humans are interested in preserving their way of life (if comfortable) or making it better (if uncomfortable). With respect to global warming, if it only resulted in changes that were beneficial to individuals (milder winters, say), we'd be cheering it on, and bugger what it did to the rest of the planet. Since the changes appear to lead to shortages in arable land, potable water and therefore the availability of food and places to live, we (humanity) should indeed do something about it, to preserve our cushy status quo.

It's got nothing to do with any kind of obligation to anyone or anything. Humans look after themselves. We can dress it up however we want, but we will not act in any fashion that messes up our lives unless not acting will result in our lives being messed up.

A cynical view, but I suspect only too accurate.



I think the fact that global warming is happening so gradually is what's keeping us from acting.  I think that until a major disaster occurs that is directly associated with global warming that our population will sit on its collective ass and do nothing about this problem.  Sure there will be SOME people making some changes, as there always are.  But not on a global scale, which is exactly the scale that is needed to even make a difference (if we even can).



I would not argue with anything stated above, but I would like to add....

I think many people may be AFRAID to act.

For example: Changing or lessening auto emissions.
I live in Michigan in a suburb of Detroit.
Here, almost everything is connected to the auto industry. I work as a commercial artist and pretty much all the money that I earn comes from the auto industry.

Generally, those who live here are terrified of anything that will negatively effect auto production.
We have terrible mass transit systems, for instance. If we had decent mass transit, some of us would not need to drive individual autos and the need to buy / sell autos would be less.
 
Even changes to the auto industry (like maybe electric engines) are very scary to some.
If we were to switch to electric engines, all those people that are involved in the design and production (and maybe even marketing, sales, advertising, management, service, etc) of gasoline engines would need to learn new things, get different jobs, and/or become unemployed.

When there are lay-offs at an auto manufacturing plant, there are "trickle-down" effects. (All the small businesses, in the area, suffer. Sales of almost everything drop. People lose their homes. They can no longer afford medical care.)

Around here, "changes to the auto industry" are translated to "fear of unemployment" by MANY people.

So I think that many people may be MORE concerned with their more immediate individual problems (like feeding their kids and stuff) than they are with global warming (which they may decide is someone else’s problem.) And, of course, everyone can reassure themselves with the “global warming denials” (they can think --- maybe it's not really happening because some people say it is not happening.)

PS: Personally, I am not really afraid of changes like I have stated above. I am healthy. I can ride my bike to work (12 miles round trip) except for when the snow piles up. There is a food store within walking distance. I learn fast, so gaining new skills does not frighten me. I can move to a different area for employment if need be. My only dependants are pets. They are much more easily cared for than children. BUT maybe others can not adjust so easily?
=^.^=

Offline cshorey

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 674
    • Earth and Environmental Systems Podcast
Episode #77
« Reply #92 on: January 21, 2007, 03:19:03 PM »
I can't speak to the politics of taking action on global warming with as much authority as the science, but I will throw these few points out.  
One of the principal reasons that non-greenhouse gas emitting energy sources are not more competitive with fossil fuels is the subsidies given the fossil fuel industries.  If these subsidies were removed, it would still be hard for alternatives to outcompete economically, but it would be a much closer game.
One argument against doing anything about global warming would be as follows: Milankovitch cycle forcing of climate change seems a rather robust theory, so we need to look at what our near future looks like if Milankovitch were the main drive on our climate.  (An aside, Milankovitch cycles are cycles in the Earth's orbit around the sun dealing with its eccentricity (circularity), obliquity (tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the plane of the ecliptic), and precession (shifting of the timing of the equinoxes/solstices relative to the aphelion and perihelion).  These cycles cause periodic variations in solar constant, measured in Watts per square meter, for our planet.)  Milankovitch forcing predicts that in the next few thousand years our planet should begin to slip back into a glacial period.  Some even say that the Little Ice Age from the late 1400's to the early 1800's may have been the beginning of a slip into one of these glaciations that in the past have lasted 70 to 120 thousand years, and that the burning of fossil fuels pumping up greenhouse gasses saved us from that decidedly unpleasant fate.  (Another aside, we are currently living in an ice age.  We would not slip into another ice age, just into another glacial period within this ice age.  We are currently in what is known as an interglacial period in an ice age and they typically last 10,000-30,000 years.  The current interglacial has been going on now for about 10,000 years.  You do the math.)  My personal opinion is that avoidance of going into another glacial period is a real benefit of increased greenhouse gas levels, but I'm still concerned about "over-fixing" the dangerous situation.  You don't need to stick your head in an oven to avoid freezing.  And this leads me to another issue that must be considered in this whole morass.
An increase in CO2 levels of the atmosphere also means an increased concentration of CO2 dissolved in sea-water.  Once dissolved it dissociates and forms carbonic acid.  This is known as the "acidification of the oceans" problem, and it is very real and has been measured.  I recently read a paper by one of the foremost biogeochemical modelers whose recent model, which differentiates nearshore, offshore, shallow, and deep oceans, shows that as far as he can tell, the oceans of the past have been a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere (more CO2 went from the ocean to the atmosphere than the other direction).  His model shows that about 50 years ago, this situation switched, and the ocean is now a net sink of CO2 from the atmosphere.  That is a major change in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon in our world, and regardless of climate change, will cause some changes in ocean water chemistry.  This leads to another reason why we may want to take political action on this issue, even if you don't mind the planet warming.
Lastly, I have pointed out elsewhere on this forum that an average global temperature change is not really the issue climatologists are concerned about.  It is the regional effects of temperature and precipitation changes (in magnitude,  amplitude, and timing).  Models are getting more specific regionally, and show some concerning possibilities.  A concern for the U.S., for example, is that Mexico gets hotter and drier (in a model that assumes a doubling of pre-industrial CO2 levels (was 280 ppm, is now 380 ppm).  You think there is an immigration issue now . . .
I'm definitely not into doomsday crap.  I think humans will do fine either way.  But we should definitely contine to look carefully at this issue (i.e. give my research community more money :wink:  (always examine the source of your information)).  Careful study leading to better understanding will certainly allow us to better delineate policy strucutres which, if implemented, could result in reduced suffering and increased global economic strength.  And then gold and naked ladies will rain down from the sky.  Just checking to see if you were still reading after all those convoluted parentheses.

Offline jason

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3067
Episode #77
« Reply #93 on: January 22, 2007, 02:09:53 AM »
Quote from: "cshorey"
An increase in CO2 levels of the atmosphere also means an increased concentration of CO2 dissolved in sea-water.  Once dissolved it dissociates and forms carbonic acid.  This is known as the "acidification of the oceans" problem, and it is very real and has been measured.

The consequence of this is that pretty much any marine organism with a shell... well, won't have a shell any more. The acidification prevents the shells from forming, or extremely weakens their structure. The consequence is that those organisms will presumably be wiped out, which will leave a vast hole in the marine food chain.

Competitors (those without shells) will expand to fill the various niches now available, though how it will all come down is anyone's guess.
Quote
And then gold and naked ladies will rain down from the sky.  Just checking to see if you were still reading after all those convoluted parentheses.

Now that I'll look forward to! See, it's not all doom and gloom. :)
quot;Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick
"Scientific skepticism: the buck stops at reality."

Offline snowy

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Episode #77
« Reply #94 on: February 07, 2010, 08:25:12 PM »
So I've finally reached podcast #77 and wanted to check out Steve Hammond's video in which the moon appears as a rectangular red streak. Referred to the show notes but the link is now broken, and I couldn't locate it through googling :(

Anyone know where to find it?

 

personate-rain