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We're In Serious Trouble on Climate

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The skeptics and alarmists all sound the same to me. Put it to a referendum. The only option is let the people directly decide themselves.

Think of it as being like an invisible hand bringing order out of the chaos. Could you put any faith into something like that? Isn't this the same fundamental premise behind the wisdom of letting an unfettered market decide?

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The skeptics and alarmists all sound the same to me. Put it to a referendum. The only option is let the people directly decide themselves.
Referendums are a dumb way set policy. We just had an election. The people made it clear they did not want solutions that included large taxes on energy.

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Referendums are a dumb way set policy.

Let the scientists set the policy and use the referendum to ratify it or scrap it.

We just had an election. The people made it clear they did not want solutions that included large taxes on energy.

No, a minority of Canadians made it clear they preferred leaders that wear fluffy blue sweaters. A good 60% of us OTOH chose parties that were willing to place taxes on energy.

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Let the scientists set the policy and use the referendum to ratify it or scrap it.
Gee. Any all or nothing approach which completely contradicts your demands for a buffet style democracy. Referendum are dumb unless we are talking constitutation changes or very straight forward moral questions like abortion or the death penality.
No, a minority of Canadians made it clear they preferred leaders that wear fluffy blue sweaters. A good 60% of us OTOH chose parties that were willing to place taxes on energy.
There was only one party that was honest when it came to explaining how much the taxes would be. It got clobbered at the polls.

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The skeptics and alarmists all sound the same to me. Put it to a referendum. The only option is let the people directly decide themselves.
I suspect that the average voter has more common sense and workaday concerns than this palpable BS.

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Let the scientists set the policy and use the referendum to ratify it or scrap it.

How about we give Canadian scientific community the opportunity to study and debate? There is still time for us to make intelligent, informed decisions and not follow the world on an emotional crusade.

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How about we give Canadian scientific community the opportunity to study and debate? There is still time for us to make intelligent, informed decisions and not follow the world on an emotional crusade.

In this area panic, fanned by people with financial interests in carbon credit trading, overtakes rationality.

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The more important question is how much of the trend can be reasonably attributed to 'amplication by CO2'. The method used by alarmists is basically: presume that the CO2 amplication effect causes all warming that cannot be directly explained by something else. This method is fundementally flawed and will result in over estimates of the effect of CO2.
If it is an over-estimate, is that really a concern if nothing is done to stop a steady year by year increase in carbon emissions? Eventually we are going to hit a level that causes a runaway greenhouse effect, whether its 400 ppm or 1000 ppm!
Most of the arctic was ice free and warmer than today 8000 years ago yet no positive feedback occurred.
This can't be right if the Greenland Ice Sheet is more than 100,000 years old. How else are they able to take atmospheric samples from 115,000 year old ice core samples? http://www.geotimes.org/sept04/WebExtra091604.html
here, here, here and here
Okay, 1. I'm not sure how the Red River Floodway connects with this issue 2. It's not surprising that the Dutch will have to spend billions to cope with rising sea levels, but it is not a longterm solution to the problem, as they are just as much imperiled by drastic changes that would occur in a runaway greenhouse effect 3. China's Three Gorges Dam will help slow down their increasing carbon production, so that's good 4. And Australia has been experiencing increasing severe droughts over the last ten years, so they have to do something about finding alternative ways of getting fresh water.

But, once again, this is not a problem that can be answered with adaptation. There have been at least five previous mass extinctions in Earth history, when rapid warming of the poles shut down the ocean conveyor system enough to slow oxygen uptake and lead to the kind of anoxic ocean conditions where hydrogen-sulfide producing bacteria can thrive. Needless to say, times like the Permian-Triassic Extinction, when most of the world's oceans went anoxic for up to one million years, was a change that most of life on Earth could not adapt to, and more than 90% of the animal species at the time became extinct. So, the odds are not good for surviving catastrophic climate change....likely wouldn't be good odds for us either!

One solution to reducing atmospheric CO2 levels that hasn't been mentioned is to use natural and man-made methods of carbon sequestration to take some of the carbon out of the atmosphere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_sink

This is not about giving up before the fight. This is about realizing that a strategic retreat into a fortified location is smarter than a frontal assualt. We could try to do the frontal assault first but the losses incurred before the inevitable retreat would be much greater than the losses if we started with the strategic retreat.
Well one thing is for sure, before solutions are found, people have to take the problem seriously. The adaptation argument really doesn't address how to deal with stopping our contribution to climate change, since we are having to adapt right now whether we are ready or not! The droughts, the floods, the ice storms, tornadoes etc. all fit the pattern that our weather will become more extreme and rapidly changing due to increased amount of energy available for the Earth's weather systems. At some point, the costs of doing nothing or not doing enough to stop the increase in CO2 levels will be more than the costs of taking action. The longer it goes, the more costly it is to stop a global catastrophe.

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If it is an over-estimate, is that really a concern if nothing is done to stop a steady year by year increase in carbon emissions? Eventually we are going to hit a level that causes a runaway greenhouse effect, whether its 400 ppm or 1000 ppm!
Not at all. CO2 emissions will peak and fall off even under business as usual scenarios because we should see global population peak out at 9 billion in 2050 and peak oil will provide economic incentives to kick the oil habit. The crisis only exists in the mind of alarmists who insist that bad things will happen if we don't end all fossil fuel use now.
This can't be right if the Greenland Ice Sheet is more than 100,000 years old. How else are they able to take atmospheric samples from 115,000 year old ice core samples? http://www.geotimes.org/sept04/WebExtra091604.html
I said mostly ice free. Northern Quebec and Greenland still had the ice sheets but all of Alaska and Nunavit was ice free and toasty. Same pattern happened with even warmer temps during previous interglaicals. Massive positive feedback due melting permafrost is not a plausible scenario. In fact, I would say it ranks somewhere between asteriod strike and alien invasion on the list of things to worry about.
But, once again, this is not a problem that can be answered with adaptation. There have been at least five previous mass extinctions in Earth history,
You really need to stop obessessing about these mass extinctions.

1) In all cases the extinctions simply meant some species did not survive. The ones that did survive were the most adaptable. Humans are the most adaptable species that has ever appeared on this planet so there is no reason to believe that we would not survive.

In fact, if you look at the wiki Mass_extinction you will see that we are already living through a mass extinction event an no one noticed.

2) The extinctions took place over a minimum of 1000s of years. More than enough time to shift populations and adapt as required.

One solution to reducing atmospheric CO2 levels that hasn't been mentioned is to use natural and man-made methods of carbon sequestration to take some of the carbon out of the atmosphere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_sink
This is exactly the kind of solution that will become more economic as the economy grows and technology expands. It is quite likely that the cost of removing CO2 100 years from will be a fraction of cost of trying to avoid emitting it now.
The adaptation argument really doesn't address how to deal with stopping our contribution to climate change, since we are having to adapt right now whether we are ready or not!
We have always adapted and always will. There is no evidence that what we are experiencing now is any worse than the climate changes that humans have dealt with in the past. It may be warmer than the past but change is change.
At some point, the costs of doing nothing or not doing enough to stop the increase in CO2 levels will be more than the costs of taking action. The longer it goes, the more costly it is to stop a global catastrophe.
So wrong it is not funny. Wealthy societies are better able to pay for the cost of adaption. Even if the dollar value is more the impact is much less. Eliminating CO2 emissions will be a death sentence for millions of Africans who cannot even afford the dirty CO2 emitting energy sources we have today. Force them to use non emitting sources and you will further delay development. Given them a free ride and then you render emission reductions in the developed world meaningless. Remember that only 20% of emissions will come from the developed world in 2050 under business as usual scanario - cutting those emissions to 0 will not stop catastrophe if you are right. This means adaptation is really the only option unless you are willing to deny development opportunities to people in 3rd world countries Edited by Riverwind

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You really need to stop obessessing about these mass extinctions.

1) In all cases the extinctions simply meant some species did not survive. The ones that did survive were the most adaptable. Humans are the most adaptable species that has ever appeared on this planet so there is no reason to believe that we would not survive.

In fact, if you look at the wiki Mass_extinction you will see that we are already living through a mass extinction event an no one noticed.

2) The extinctions took place over a minimum of 1000s of years. More than enough time to shift populations and adapt as required.

I want to focus on this part because we're making some progress on some issues, while others are continually rehashed over and over. I have posted that link about mass extinctions a number of times already, and it demonstrates the problem that we see history on such a short time frame that we do not recognize the danger until it is likely too late.

Many of the extinctions mentioned are likely due to pollution and habitat destruction caused by increasing human populations encroaching on natural habitats. First of all, we are certainly not the most adaptable species. The king of that category would be the cyanobacteria that ruled the earth for two billion years before there were any multicellular organisms, and will once again rule the earth about 300 million years in the future, after the biosphere no longer supports complex lifeforms. We, on the other hand, we actually have no idea how adaptable we really are, since we have been here such a short time and we don't know how far this thinning of animal and plant diversity can go before we go down with the ship. If we reach a stage where oceans are filled with cyanobacteria, like the PT Extinction, I don't think we are going to fare that much better than the other animals.

And yes, some mass extinctions like the Permian-Triassic likely went on for a million years, but at the rate we are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we are accelerating these conditions to a level never experienced before in earth history.

A good lesson of how difficult it is to design a biosphere to support humans was provided in those Biosphere2 experiments in the Arizona desert some years back. At one time, many ecologists thought all you need is a greenhouse with some soil, oxygenating plants and a few species of animals for food production and you could have a self-sustaining space colony. And then Biosphere 2 destroyed all that when the greenhouses were completely sealed off and saw dangerous drops in oxygen levels, condensation, and molds growing over all of the gardens....pretty soon they realized that a biosphere was not as simple as originally conceived; and as far as I know, they haven't yet been able to fix the problems or figure out what went wrong with those first experiments. So how much confidence should we have that the planetary biosphere will remain a friendly environment for us when we don't have any idea yet what we require to maintain the necessary conditions for our survival, even on a small scale?

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I suspect that the average voter has more common sense and workaday concerns than this palpable BS.

Why is everyone so afraid of using this pool of common sense to determine a course of action then?

How about we give Canadian scientific community the opportunity to study and debate?

We've tried this already and the deniers won't have anything more to do with the scientific community than they will the people.

There is still time for us to make intelligent, informed decisions and not follow the world on an emotional crusade.

Who's this us you're talking about?

Edited by eyeball

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Climate destruction - There was a time when humans shit on the ground - now they shit upwards into the sky..because they have forgotten that gravity is a law to be obeyed - and when human industrial and consumer waste no longer falls to the ground as naturally intended but hovers in the sky like green piss..It means we are now defying natural law and by doing so will face the full penalty and force of natural law - YOU do not shit in heaven! You confine your wast to the earth where it will decay and recyle --- climate change is simply a thing we called pollution - or adulteration of the atmosphere - If the air were milk - it is akin to spraying vinigar with a vengence - in that milk..which makes the milk unusable.

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Many of the extinctions mentioned are likely due to pollution and habitat destruction caused by increasing human populations encroaching on natural habitats. First of all, we are certainly not the most adaptable species.
I was thinking of higher order vertibrate lifeforms.
And yes, some mass extinctions like the Permian-Triassic likely went on for a million years, but at the rate we are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we are accelerating these conditions to a level never experienced before in earth history.
The higher end emissions scenarios used by the IPCC are nonsense. Human emissions will peak and start to decline. You keep falling into the doomsayer trap by presuming that past trends can be extrapolated into the future forever. There are three factors which will ensure that human CO2 emssions will start to decline naturally within the next 50 years or so:

1) Oil will run out and this will push development of renewables.

2) Human population will stop increasing (due to economic development or massive famine).

3) CO2 intensity of economies drops as they develop (even without special regulations).

More importantly, the peak will be significantly less than the CO2 levels which were common in the past when the planet supported rich ecosystem.

There is no rational reason to believe that we capable of pushing the climate outside of the bounds in which it has been for the last 500 million years. In fact, I don't think we have to power to push it much outside of the bounds over the last 1 million years.

Of course, I can't rule out the possibility just like I cannot rule out the possibility of an invasion by genocidal aliens. But the probabilty is low enough that it is dumb to promote policies designed to prevent this outcome from happening. In fact, if it climate was really so fragile that humans could damage it in that way then it is unlikely we could stop it at this point in time.

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Hey, if the average voter has more common sense and workaday concerns than environmentalists, economists, politicians and climate scientists then why can't the average voter be trusted to democratically determine our course of action?

If we can not trust the wisdom of the people then we have a far more serious problem than the climate to deal with, because we now have no way of dealing with anything.

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We've tried this already and the deniers won't have anything more to do with the scientific community than they will the people.

No we haven't.

Who's this us you're talking about?

Canada.

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Hey, if the average voter has more common sense and workaday concerns than environmentalists, economists, politicians and climate scientists then why can't the average voter be trusted to democratically determine our course of action?

If we can not trust the wisdom of the people then we have a far more serious problem than the climate to deal with, because we now have no way of dealing with anything.

I don't think Maurice Strong has a referendum on the issue in mind.

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Maybe we should kill off a few billion people. We produce CO2 as well. Everytime we breathe.

CO2 is not the problem, carbon monoxide is far more dangerous even in small quantities. I think the focus is too much on CO2 and not on other real toxic materials that are spewed into the air. All our vehicles spew out more carbon monoxide than anything else. Volcanoes also spew out plenty of carbon monoxide.

Sulpher dioxide comes to mind as a more prominent problem. As one who has lived in a city that is known for spewing sulphur, I can attest to the validity of the following.

http://www.airqualityontario.com/science/p...nts/sulphur.cfm

Health effects caused by exposure to high levels of SO2 include breathing problems, respiratory illness, changes in the lung's defences, and worsening respiratory and cardiovascular disease. People with asthma or chronic lung or heart disease are the most sensitive to SO2. It also damages trees and crops. SO2, along with nitrogen oxides, are the main precursors of acid rain. This contributes to the acidification of lakes and streams, accelerated corrosion of buildings and reduced visibility. SO2 also causes formation of microscopic acid aerosols, which have serious health implications as well as contributing to climate change.

Remeber, CO2 is good for plants. plants convert it into oxygen for us to breath. Last time I checked, C02 does not kill plant life. SO2 seems to do that quite well.

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