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Global Warming

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Buzz112, Feb 8, 2007.

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  1. Dec 8, 2007 #461 of 819
    Cholly

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    Global Warming vs. Climate Change: Here's an interesting article about the terminology.
    http://pd.charlotte.com/sp?eId=20&e...w.charlotteobserver.com/171/story/396266.html

    I know there are those who have negative feelings about the Charlotte Observer. Since the demise of Knight Ridder, the paper has changed somewhat. Still, it's the printed news source in my adopted home town, and their web site, in additon to Yahoo! and similar sites, gives one a view of 'mainstream media', which, hopefully, is less biased than acknowledged Conservative or Liberal opinion sites.

    At any rate, the article is a good read, and the bottom line suggests that "Climate Change" is more appropriate, since it is all-encompassing, whereas "Global Warming" alludes to human influence on the world's climate.
     
  2. Dec 8, 2007 #462 of 819
    jpl

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    My main beef with the way global warming is treated, is that it seems to follow the notion that if you're in for a penny you HAVE to be in for a pound. Meaning - I could agree that the earth is getting warmer, but not agree that it's anthropogenic (man-made). Or I can agree that it's man-made, but that any effect wouldn't be catostrophic - that the Gore predictions come from fantasy, not science. But if I take any of those positions, I'm a global warming denier. That's my main beef with it. That if you don't accept it all - if you don't accept the fact that NYC will be under 20 feet of water in the next decade - then you're not buying into the theory.

    That's where I think alot of the deception happens. Many of the scientists who agree that the earth is warming, and even those who believe man contributes may not necessarily believe that it'll be catastrophic. But those scientists are counted as those who ascribe to the theory of global warming. In other words, they are associated with the Gore 'the sky is falling' model even if they don't believe that. So, when someone points to ALL the scientists that believe in anthropogenic global warming, they're making the statement that ALL these scientists agree with Al Gore - when in fact a large number of them don't. And when someone counters that not all scientists buy into the Gore model, the counter argument you get is "but look at all the scientists who believe in man-made global warming." They may not believe in catastrophic climate change, but the implication is that they do. I believe this largely inflates the numbers and is done intentionally - in the world of politics this would be known as spin.

    One such person would be someone like Bjorn Lomborg. He's an environmentalist, who used to buy into all the hype about global warming, until he ran the numbers. Does he still believe that global warming exists? Absolutely. Does he believe that man is somewhat responsible? Yep. But does he believe that there is catastrophic change on the horizon? No, not at all. Not anymore. As a result of that he's seen as a global warming denier! That's my main beef with how this is treated in the media. You're almost forced to occupy the fringes - either you buy into the whole notion that we're going to explode in a fiery mass, or you're a global warming denier. The way the argument has been posed leaves no reasonable ground.
     
  3. Dec 8, 2007 #463 of 819
    txtommy

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    The only people who this made sense to are those who could not or would not observe the voluntary standards.

    By your argument, we could make paying taxes voluntary. Everyone would be given the tax code and required to compute what the government deems as their fair share, but paying them is strictly voluntary.

    If standards are set, they can only be effective if they are enforced. No company is going to meet standards that are voluntary unless there is some financial benefit in it for them. Many companies give away millions of dollars annually to community benefits. Do they do this because they are just good citizens. Maybe a little bit, but mostly it is to buy the goodwill of the people and get a tax deduction in the process. If emission standards are voluntary, companies will meet them only if it is beneficial in some way to their bottom line.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2007 #464 of 819
    txtommy

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    Agree. No one has to buy in 100% to agree with the concept. As with most science, this field is continuing to develop. As more research is done and more evidence is uncovered, there will naturally be changes in the theory. This applies to almost all scientific theories. Because a flaw is discovered or someone misinterprets some evidence or someone else exaggerates a fact does not give cause for throwing out the entire theory. Naturally the media will tend to display the most radical view since that sells papers and tv. The truth is nearly always a little short of what the media portrays, not only on scientific matters but also on political issues. It does not invalidate the story, it just requires more analysis to determine the truth.

    The wonderful thing about science is that anyone with enough knowledge can run the numbers. Even after running numbers there will be some differences of opinion based on how the numbers were run and what facts were given the most credence. Problems arise when people flat out deny the theory without running any numbers and then laws and public policy are set based on those denials.

    Copernicus was denied for years without anyone running numbers. Those that did run the numbers usually ended up in partial or whole agreement but did not speak out for fear imposed by the denyers.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2007 #465 of 819
    jpl

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    You're actually making my point. My point was that there are smart ways to implement these changes and stupid ways. The Clinton administration chose a stupid way - one that ran counter to human nature. You can't rely on the good-will of people to implement these changes voluntarily. So if you ARE going to give exemptions, you have to be smart about it. That was my whole point. It's all a balancing act, anyway. It's like Kyoto - if I hear the following argument one more time I'm going to scream: "but what if catastrophic global warming is real, and we do nothing! The cost of doing nothing is just too high!" That is the most insipid argument that I don't know where to begin. The problem with many of these changes is that they assume a static world-view - that no behavior will change as a result of legislative changes. To take that view is just asinine. It runs totally counter to reality.

    The assumption in the case of something like Kyoto is that the implementation comes without cost. And I'm not just talking monetary cost. If Clinton had pushed to make all power plants (old and new) fall in line with the new air standards, you would have seen power plants close down all over the place - it would have been too painful of a cost for the benefit of the law. Exemptions are totally valid, if done the right way. By allowing some exemption, you're allowing these changes to take place while minimizing the pain. Where Clinton got it wrong was that he actually created an incentive to keep the air dirtier.

    I think I'm hearing in some of these responses a lack of understanding of what this notion of voluntary implementation means. It doesn't mean that someone can just totally ignore the law. All it does is it gives plant owners the ability to improve their facility while still being required to not make the air dirtier. Nowhere in what Bush proposed did he allow for a relaxation of any of those clean air standards. That's just fallacy. Not to drag another example in - but this is in line with the argument that I've heard (and also wants to make me scream) that he outlawed embryonic stem-cell research. He did no such thing - but that's what's believed by his detractors. Ditto with something like this. And also what he did with Kyoto.

    The media made it sound like he was doing something absolutely horrible with regard to Kyoto. All he did was basically say 'hey, the Senate voted this down overwhelmingly - therefore the treaty is no longer signed.' He didn't back out of the treaty - we never ratified it to begin with. All he did was show some political courage that Clinton was too much of a weasle to do - Clinton took the totally political approach to that treaty - he signed it even though he didn't believe in it, and requested that the Senate reject it. There's political courage for you! That way he could LOOK like he did something - like he cared - while ducking for political cover. I'm not trying to turn this thread into a political discussion, and I know I just ticked off a bunch of Clinton supporters, but I've frankly had enough of the argument that Bush is personally TRYING to poison the air and water.
     
  6. Dec 8, 2007 #466 of 819
    jpl

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    I just wanted to counter this one point. Conventional thinking is that Copernicus avoided publishing his views because of fear of the church. Sorry, that's wrong. Copernicus was a Catholic priest for crying out loud. He would have required to follow the tenents and teachings of the church. Doing research in secret, in open defiance of the church, could have (and would have) resulted in his defrocking and ex-communication. "That's why he didn't publish it in his life-time!" is the counter I always hear. Well, to a devout Catholic, any kind of retribution like that doesn't end at that person's death. That punishment could have been enacted after his death as well (well, not the defrocking). Which is why the church only recently overturned Galileo's excommunication. They did that even though he's been dead for a while.

    Copernicus wasn't afraid of retribution from the church - from what I understand it was ridicule/retribution from the scientific community that he was trying to avoid. At the time, convention held that the Ptolemeic view of the universe was correct. It was a view that was held for over 1,000 years. Here was a priest who was proposing a theory to totally upset scientific thinking. This notion that the church always meddled in areas of science is total nonsense. Read some of the writings regarding what happened to Galileo, and you'll see the pope indicating that Galileo's theory was interesting, and that the church really had no business in making any proclamations regarding scientific discovery - that faith was faith and science was science. The convention view is that Galileo proposed his findings, and the church broke out the torches and pitchforks. Nonsense. With regard to Galileo, it wasn't the church that was trying to impose its will over Galileo - it was the other way around.

    Galileo was so convinced that he was right, that he sought, and attained, several audiences with the pope (he was a child-hood friend of the pope's). Galileo became a pain in the butt, and demanded (not requested, but demanded) that the church change its doctrine, and that they actually excise out of the bible anything that ran counter to his theory. Not that I agree with Galileo being put under house arrest (I think that stepped over the line) but the notion that Galileo was just an innocent scientist minding his own business until the church came down on him is fantasy.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2007 #467 of 819
    James Long

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    I did not say you said "consensus creates fact" and I'm glad that you agree with me that facts are not created by consensus. Now all we need to to is stop calling the OPINION of scientists that happen to believe in the theory of man made global warming "fact".

    Which is where "Family Feud" comes in ... know your survey group. In this case it appears that a group of scientists believes in the theory. That is a good first step. Now prove it via a scientific method of accurate repeatable tests not an opinion survey. Saying "it's not a vote" just casts a larger shadow. Is it really a general agreement or just something some loud politically supported scientists are saying?

    And where are you getting your numbers? I thought you said it wasn't a vote? How can you claim "a vast majority" when you have no count?

    Any number of people shouting "yes it does" does not make the theory a fact. I believe the THEORY of man made global warming exists. I believe the THEORY of Santa Claus exists. At this point it seems there is more proof that there is a Santa Claus than that man made global warming is more than a theory.

    The fact is that things fall toward the apparent center of the earth. The theory is WHY they fall in that direction.

    The fact (if you accept long term testing methods and results as accurate) is that climate on this planet wobbles over time. The theory is WHY does it wobble. "Man-made global warming" is just a guess as to why.
     
  8. Dec 8, 2007 #468 of 819
    James Long

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    Not really. The example given was of a company who wanted to clean up their emissions but were unable to afford going all the way to full modern compliance. Under grandfathering their CHOICE was to leave it as it was and continue to polute just as bad or do an unreasonably priced full upgrade.

    Making it voluntary allowed the company to take intermediate affordable steps. Steps that are more likely to be taken since they are not required to go all the way.

    Stepping into the political: One administration gave them the choice of being really bad or really really good. The cheap and perfectly allowable choice under that administration was "bad". The next gave them the choice of cleaning up their act without demanding full modern compliance. Which means they could take steps in the right direction without needing a parachute for the cliff that the previous administration wanted to throw them off.

    How about "A system of compliance that relies on individual citizens to report their income freely and voluntarily, calculate their tax liability correctly, and file a tax return on time." That is how the IRS defines voluntary compliance. (link)
     
  9. Dec 8, 2007 #469 of 819
    txtommy

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    I'm not sure what you base your opinions on but a true scientist will form his opinion based on facts. Unless there are facts to back up his opinion, a scientist will not take one side or the other of any argument. It is true that the facts can change and when that happens so does the opinion. A theory is formed only when there are sufficient facts to support that theory. The facts come first and can be repeated or observed again. A scientist will not present a theory and then look for facts to support that theory, it is just the opposite.

    While your theories may be just guesses, a scientific theory is NEVER just a guess.
     
  10. Dec 8, 2007 #470 of 819
    James Long

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    That has not been my observation of the man-made global warming debate.

    It seems that facts are observed and discarded to fit the theory and "scientists" are taking one side or another for political reasons - not because they have any proofs.

    Theories are formed when someone has an idea of WHY something happens. The next step is to prove that theory.

    On this issue we're not dealing with scientists --- we are dealing with politicians in lab coats (and at least one who wears a suit and gives lectures repeating "facts" that don't stand up in court).
     
  11. Dec 8, 2007 #471 of 819
    txtommy

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    While it may seem that way from the media coverage and lobbyist statements that is quite untrue. I am glad you put the 'scientist' in quotes. No true scientist works in this manner although there are many others who call themselves 'scientists'.

    You also need to study up on some scientific definitions. You are confusing hypothesis and theory. A hypothesis is formed when someone has an idea of why something happens. A theory is formed when the observations and experiments back up that hypothesis with supportable facts. This is quite different from the general public having an opinion on why something happens and calling it a theory but requiring nothing to support that theory. Scientific theories are always supported by well researched facts before they are stated.

    On this issue we are dealing with politicians (present and ex) who are acting on behalf of the scientists to make the public aware of their scientific theories. To alter a scientific theory based on political pressure would not be acceptable to any real scientist. But since there are corruptible people and phonies in any profession, it is certainly possible that some cases do exist.

    The misunderstanding of the scientific term has always created a problem among the general public. The theory of gravitation, theory of evolution and many others did not become theories until there were sufficient facts to support the hypothesis leading to the theory.
     
  12. Dec 8, 2007 #472 of 819
    James Long

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    OK, if you want to turn this into an English lesson and require that we use your dictionary please refer to the hypothesis of man-made global warming. Thank you.

    The rest of the world knows what a theory is ... and I remember my math and science classes where I was asked to prove theories. The result was that once the theory was proven I believed that the theory was true. The theory did not become fact, it just became a theory with a proof and one more believer.

    Theories are not facts. Consensus is not fact. And man-made global warming is not a fact.
     
  13. Dec 8, 2007 #473 of 819
    durl

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    I don't believe the actual size of Greenland's glaciers is settled. Some say the ice is receding. Others say it's receding, but it's getting taller. Here's a link commenting on the various reports that disagree with each other:

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V10/N2/EDIT.jsp

    Just another indicator that we don't need to be pulling a Chicken Little routine that could cripple economies and cause needless harm.
     
  14. Dec 8, 2007 #474 of 819
    durl

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    To me, that's one of the big problems with many of those warning of catastrophic climate change. Scientists aren't just running "numbers", they're running MODELS. If those models exaggerate various aspects or ignore others altogether, the result of running the numbers is a flawed hypothesis.

    Right now, it appears that the human-built models are taking precedence over observable environmental data.
     
  15. Dec 8, 2007 #475 of 819
    veryoldschool

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    I find myself in the middle here. I'm not chicken little or am I going to stick my head in the sand.
    Global warming [or the worry of it] is a long range prediction from some ice core data [CO2 increase] and visual observations of increased glaciers and polar ice melting.
    The "science" is ongoing.
    "Theory & hypothesis" makes me think about [another TV show] when this scientist said the craters in the moon all came from asteroid impacts around 3.8 billion years ago. Nobody believed him in the seventies, when he came up with it. "Theory or hypothesis" I don't know, but everybody picked it apart for every reason they could find [much like global warming now] and after almost twenty years, a piece of the moon was found in Antarctica, proving him correct.
    I may lean one way or the other, but I don't need Newton to know if I lean too far either way, I'm going to fall over and hurt myself.
    Extremes in any direction can get you in trouble. Keeping your eyes & mind open to new ideas can't be a bad thing.
    Everybody has some agenda. We may be able to see it, or we may not. That's just life.
     
  16. Dec 8, 2007 #476 of 819
    txtommy

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    I doubt that you were asked to prove theories since they would not have been theories had someone else not already proven them.


    That said, I hereby quit this argument since it is apparent that I know nothing of science and you are all knowing having taken a high school science class. Time only remains until the scientists of the world accept your new definition of hypothesis and theory.
     
  17. Dec 8, 2007 #477 of 819
    veryoldschool

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    Yes I agree, but the models are built from numbers. From someone running the models, I've learned it's one of the most complex modeling there is. They can run the same model several times and get widely varying "results". One time the rise in temp is less than 1 degree C [no big deal over 100 years], and another time its over 10 degrees C [a BIG deal]. This is where "probability" comes in. They ran the model enough times by '05 to say that the probability is that the rise will be significant in a 100 years and that there is a "tipping point" in 50 years that will be beyond recovery. This was done in the UK.
    As more data comes in and the model can be improved, it should become for accurate.
     
  18. Dec 8, 2007 #478 of 819
    Stewart Vernon

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    Keeping in mind of course that probabilities predict 50/50 on coin flips... but you could flip 100 or 1000 heads in a row. It could take a very long time to determine whether your results are reflective of reality or deviations from the norm. I'm not confident that everyone running models is being fed the proper information, nor that the models take all possibilities into account... and beyond that I'm not confident that those interpreting the results are capable of making the proper assessments.

    There may or may not be global warming, but most assuredly the climate does change over time. It may not be very easy to tell if we are increasing or decreasing in our small footprint of time thus far of measuring temperatures and collating data. It also may not be very likely that we have the ability to affect a large-scale change.

    There is a lot of data (real and made up) and a lot of people coming to a lot of conclusions... but very little in the way of facts or proof to backup most of the current theories.

    As I've stated before... we don't yet have the technology to predict temperature changes to next week with the same accuracy that some folks claim we have the ability to project over the next 100 years.

    Tomorrow may very well be 5 degrees warmer or cooler than today was predicting, and yet there is some claim that we can predict a .1 degree temperature rise over the next decade? I'm not buying those bridges.
     
  19. Dec 8, 2007 #479 of 819
    veryoldschool

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    I'm not "selling" anything. The ice core data is "real" and goes back 10,000 years. CO2 has been rising since the industrial age started. And is increasing much more rapidly with more burring of fossil fuels in the world. They can map volcanic eruptions, so I think they have removed "natural" sources. This isn't "global warming", this is measured data.
    Flipping a coin has two out comes.
    The climate modeling is so much more complex.
    Today I think where I am, it is five degrees warmer than they predicted yesterday. I would call it a "fact".
    Now if I were to look at every place they predicted the weather and measured what it actually was today, I think it would be much closer than where I am right now. Maybe it's the law of averages, but in any case, a sample of one isn't very accurate.
    If you were to follow this same line of thinking: more data points will give a better overall reading. "The model" is for the whole earth, not just "where I am".
    To take this even farther, you run the model over and over since it's such a complex model [more the the two state of the coin toss] because every run has a different result. Now you look at all of the results. Where do most of them cluster? Throw out the extremes since these are "unlikely", and you get "the probable" global temperature.
    Is this "fact"? no.
    Is it sound methodology? seems that way to me, or at least something that I can understand.
    Can something change that will effect the outcome? Sure [some might even say "I hope so"].
    I live in earthquake country. There is a high probability that there will be an earthquake. It doesn't mean tomorrow, or the day after, but it does mean that there will be one.
    For me "not to believe it" won't change the "fact" that one will happen.
    There is a possibility that one will happen just as there is a possibility that the increase in CO2 might cause global warming.
    I'm not a scientist, nor do I think I'm stupid. I can understand how releasing carbon that was trapped out of the atmosphere millions/billions of years ago, could cause the atmosphere to return to what it was back then. I have had enough chemistry to understand that.
     
  20. Dec 8, 2007 #480 of 819
    James Long

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    It was a long time ago ... the point being don't get hung up on the words. So you don't agree with the word usage - big deal - it is VERY clear where we fall on this argument regardless of the words one attaches.

    You believe in man-made global warming. You believe that as a truth ... not as an idea with a question mark such as "I wonder if man is causing global warming?"

    I don't believe it as a truth. Certainly not to the level where man can somehow change and reverse the process (other than, perhaps, leave the planet - which really isn't a viable option).

    Others have covered the predicted effects of global warming ... and whether or not those theories or hypothosies are correct. We are a long way from proven fact - whatever label one attaches to it.

    Who said it was one class or in high school?
     
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