a reply to: EasyPleaseMe
I agree with most of that. We need to reduce (stop) the destruction of the rain forest. The ocean, however, with its massive store of algae, actually
scrubs much more carbon dioxide than the rainforests. Considering we also eat seafood, which eats algae, algae seeding seems to be a win-win-win
While it is true we may well never understand the exact relationships involved with climate regulation, we can get pretty close, and I am actually
encouraged by the results of climate models. We may never be able to say, "a carbon dioxide concentration of 1254.6739 ppmv will cause the global
temperature to stabilize at 23.657 degrees Celsius and release 45,763,689.54 cubic meters of ice from Antarctica, contributing to 15.764 mm of sea
level rise," but we can easily get to a point where we can say, "carbon dioxide levels above 1000 ppmv are expected to raise global temperatures by 5
degrees Celsius." (Those are made-up numbers, BTW, for illustration only.)
I understand how erring on the side of caution is appealing, but the climate is easily the most complex and interrelated system we have ever tried to
analyze. At this point in time, we are assuming that the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is the primary driving force behind global temperatures.
That is not a foregone conclusion! The truth could just as easily be that rising carbon dioxide levels are an indication of another feedback that is
countering a worse problem that we do not understand.
That is not a theory, nor even a hypothesis... just a possibility. There are many times that controls can initially act completely contrary to
intuitive expectations, but given time act appropriately. For instance, if one wishes to move an airplane from one elevation to a higher elevation
using optimal control techniques, the fastest method is not to start climbing! It is to make a very short climb, dive to increase velocity, then to
use that velocity to climb to the new altitude (this is an interesting bit of trivia that hampered research into optimal control theory for many
years, as researchers tended to stop the simulation when the dive began, thinking their equations were wrong).
In short, doing something that looks like erring on the side of caution can hamper the natural controls that would solve the issue more effectively.
While I doubt that is the case with carbon dioxide levels, I have to, as a researcher, accept the possibility.
And before anyone jumps out of their skin, I am NOT suggesting we increase fossil fuel use. Fossil fuels are an issue, even without considering carbon
dioxide. They are responsible for much of the world's warlike actions, for instance, and that alone means we would be better off to replace them. We
just can't replace them until we have something to replace them with.