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Climate Change: Finding the Middle Ground

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posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 04:09 PM
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Some people deny climate change is happening at all, others acknowledge that it is, but insist it's a totally natural cycle - while some environmentalists claim catastrophe is already upon us. Debate is heating up in the scientific community because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is writing the final draft for its latest assessment of global warming - and scientists holding the middle ground are entering the fray. Middle-grounders say climate change is real, and human activities do have an impact - but. As Dr. Hume writes, "I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory." Middle-grounders tend to say that human-caused global warming is a risk to be reduced, not a problem to be solved. Scientists like John P. Holdren, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and energy and environment expert at Harvard, says "What keeps me going is my belief that there is still a chance of avoiding catastrophe."

 



www.nytimes.com
The discourse over the issue has been feverish since Hurricane Katrina. Seizing the moment, many environmental campaigners, former Vice President Al Gore and some scientists have portrayed the growing human influence on the climate as an unfolding disaster that is already measurably strengthening hurricanes, spreading diseases and amplifying recent droughts and deluges.

Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energy companies, have variously countered that human-driven warming is inconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis.

A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



These middle-grounders are bringing sense to an important debate - calming tempers - and focusing on pragmatic action.

They're asking questions like, "What can be done? When? How do we make it work?"

Nothing can be gained by polarizing the debate - before anyone comes to any agreement, we'll be under water or maybe frozen. Which will be a big problem for everyone on the planet, whatever the cause(s) and final impact(s).

Time to move forward, imo. But the questions remain: What changes do we need to make? How do we make them?




posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 04:34 PM
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2007 will be the most hot year EVER recorded, quote from scientists... Maybe this will be truth and that at the end of 2007 people will stop denying that there's a global warming, from human or natural.

IMO, I think it's a natural cycle, but we are accelerating it with our pollution, anyway, it's not just about global warming, but more about polluting our air, water, land and destroying forests.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 05:00 PM
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Natural or unnatural, climate change is real - and has to be dealt with.

Unlike other times and cultures, we do know what's happening.So we can deal with it before it destroys our way of life. We won't be blindsided.

We can choose. We can act, not react. Pretty amazing, dontcha think?

...It's the new age mantra, just like with pandemic planning:


Don't be scared; be prepared.









[edit on 3-1-2007 by soficrow]



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 05:30 PM
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I live in Winterpeg, Canada.

Planning for winter storms and spring floods is part of life. So is shovelling snow and cleaning house.

I figure dealing with climate change is the same thing, just on a bigger scale. Planning is like going shopping and organizing the cupboards; cleaning up toxins and contaminants is like shovelling the driveway plus doing the bathroom and the garage all on the same day. A major pain, but doable.

Am I wrong?



(It would be an unprecedented first.)




apc

posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:32 PM
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Well lets see... it was 55degF here in Missouri today. Normally this time of year it's freezing or below. Normally this time of year we've had several very good snows. We've had one. Yeah... I think there's little doubt da shizzy is whack, yoh.

I just hope we can figure out some way to adapt (to) our changing world without resorting to blocking out the sun or some other idea our children will look back upon and ask, "WTF were they thinking?!"



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 11:01 PM
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Uh huh.

And Winterpeg should be 30 below right now, but it's about 45 above.

Go figure.




posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 12:18 AM
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I suspect that if I had titled this one "Global Warming Causing End of World" it might have seen more action.

Which shows to go that the nasty doomsaying "activists" probably had the right idea all along.




posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 01:02 AM
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Umm... if climate change is natural then why should we "deal" with it? Wouldn't that be messing with nature? Something that generally has unintended and unforeseen consequences later on. Who knows how the world would be today if we did not have a natural ice age...

IMO, the Earth cools and heats up, no denying that, are we helping a bit? Probably, but we're not causing it.

BTW, in geological historical context one 'unnaturally' warm year over some 200 years of established records means little. If you have 200 or so consecutive warm years (by previous established standards that is) then you might have something.

[edit on 5-1-2007 by WestPoint23]


apc

posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 08:05 AM
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My concern is based on the fact that climate change has been responsible for the destruction of multiple civilizations over the millenia. The Chinese Tang Dynasty was overthrown as a result of the widespread impact of a shift in the monsoon season in the 10th century AD. The mini ice-ages Europe has suffered through. Climate change may even be responsible for the disappearance of the Mayans.

A threat exists that must be dealt with. I feel we must first try to adapt ourselves to the changing planet before we even consider attempting to change the planet.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 09:05 AM
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And don't forget the Anasazi, the "elder ones" of the American soutwest, the cultulral ancestors of the Hopi and other southwest tribes. They built the cliff dwellings (multi-storey condos) in places like Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. They had an extensive canal system for crop irrigation. Practically all scientists believe that climate change played at least some role in their dissapearance.

Personally, I believe that the climate is warming. But there is so much variation on an annual and even century scale, that while it feels warmer, that's not the same as saying it is warmer.

Looking at a data plot of temperatures looks a lot like a graph of the stock or commodity markets. And the people who get paid BIG money argue continually about whether we are in a bull or bear market, and if so, to what extent.

There has obviously been great climate variation in the past, that was NOT due to humans. So it is entirely possible that this current trend could be "bigger than us."

If you spend a day cleaning volcanic ash out of your car's radiator fins, when you lived a thousand miles from Mt. St. Helen's, it sort of warps your impression of the power of nature, and human irrelevance in the face of it.

Either way, every planner should be asking the second question for survivalists:

"What if I'm wrong?"

.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23

Umm... if climate change is natural then why should we "deal" with it?




Erm.

Our entire economic system - our food supply - our cities, societies and cultures - are based on a disappearing world, climatically speaking.

We could act on the information we are privileged to have, or we could wait until it's too late, and react in panic, when our options are even more limited.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.





posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 01:32 PM
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As an example of things we could do that would improve the situation, regardless of whether the change is human-caused or not:

Modernization of US oil refineries.

I'm not suggesting ANY increase in capacity, if it's not what the nation wants. But here's the deal: The last new refinery in the USA was built in 1976. Most plants are even older, from the 1950's. Some of the oldest, running at full capacity were built in the nineteen THIRTIES!

The EPA has not allowed any new plants to be built. Regardless of what you think of THAT decision, it means that the US oil industry is running old, dirty plants at full capacity. They have the tech to update the equipment; but are afraid that if they begin to do so, the EPA will just shut down the old operations, without approving any new ones. This is an artefact of having regulations capriciously enforced: people are more afraid of the government, than they are of minimizing costs.

We could lower the pollution the US produces by phasing in more efficient plants, particularly in desert areas. Humidity is a definite factor in pollution, as is stagnant air. The windy conditions in the US SW would help minimize the discernable footprint of these plants. In addition, they'd be closer in some cases to southern california--where the bulk of US consumption is.

Because environmentalists and oil companies have waged bureacratic war against each other for so long, we have the worst of all possible worlds. Lots of obsolete plants, churning out at maximum capacity. We could have fewer cleaner plants, without decreasing output.

Exxon/Mobil has built state of the art refineries in mexico and africa, where there is no real oversight. The plants are cleaner, not because of environment, as much as because dirty plants are wasteful. Exxon said in last year's report to stockholders that they plan to shift refining to Africa, and only import finished petro to the US, to avoid litigation and capricious federal enforcement. They also said that less than half of their profit is now generated within the US.

I don't mean for this to sound like a pep rally for the oil companies. But I think that many people blame them for all ills, when they are only the visible, unpopular front-men for a way of business and politics.

At a previous shareholder meeting, it was pointed out one 2 cycle motor, like a gas leafblower, produces as much pollution as twenty cars idling in rush-hour traffic. Funny how the news didn't jump to cover that . . .

I would be all for re-arranging infrastructure in case we are causing GW, as long as it was phased in over time. But I doubt the voters will outlaw gasoline leaf blowers anytime soon. Everybody hates $2 gas, so just blame the big companies; much easier on the conscience.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

Because environmentalists and oil companies have waged bureacratic war against each other for so long, we have the worst of all possible worlds. Lots of obsolete plants, churning out at maximum capacity. We could have fewer cleaner plants, without decreasing output.

Exxon/Mobil has built state of the art refineries in mexico and africa, where there is no real oversight. The plants are cleaner, not because of environment, as much as because dirty plants are wasteful. Exxon said in last year's report to stockholders that they plan to shift refining to Africa, and only import finished petro to the US, to avoid litigation and capricious federal enforcement. They also said that less than half of their profit is now generated within the US.

I don't mean for this to sound like a pep rally for the oil companies. ...



Interesting information, points, and recommendations.

Thank you.


Off the top...

Doesn't it make more sense to invest in alternate energy sources? ...I'm thinking that most oil companies are diversifying and moving in that direction anyway. So why step backwards?





posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 05:38 PM
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because of the millions of cars on the road.

The best long term answer IMO, is mass transit. It's what America used up through the 1950's. Steel wheels that don't give loose far less energy on a steel rail, than flexible tires on asphalt do.

But in the mean time, even if Tesla motors' totally electric car proves workable, it'll be at least a decade before most combustion motors are replaced.

Even gasoline substitutes are meant to be burnt proportionately with gas. So the cleaner our gas production, the better off we'll be.

For some applications, especially where diesel is used, a lot of fuel substitutes just aren't as efficient. I'll be really impressed when an electric tractor becomes economical.

So in reality, we're probably talking about 20 years after an alternate fuel becomes practical, before it becomes really widespread.

In that time, refinery pollution can make us all miserable, unless it is, in and of itself, modernized.

I hope I'm wrong.

All the best.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 09:21 PM
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Thanks for that explanation Dr_strangecraft.

Thoughtful, simple and easy to understand.


Anyone disagree with the argument?



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 09:52 PM
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But in the mean time, even if Tesla motors' totally electric car proves workable, it'll be at least a decade before most combustion motors are replaced.


Well that assuming that we don't hit peak oil in a decade first. I really don't see how the US alone can build enough refineries to offset the increasing demand from the East, which holds the bulk of the worlds population.

In a perfect world, we would actually have enough time to develop all the necessary technologies to avoid severe heartburn after the peak hits. What I'd do is put an emphasis into Plug-in Flexi-Fuel Electric Drive Hybrid Cars(FHEV) for the next decade with appropriate tax incentives and disincentives applied. While doing that I'd also start upgrading the grid into a Smart Grid,(google it). The technology developed for both will eventually usher in a truly economical pure electric vehicle.

But that mitigates part of the problem. We still have entire sectors that are entirely Dependant upon oil and in order to survive in the 21st century, they are going to have to find substitutes NOW. These substitutes has to be sustainable.


So in reality, we're probably talking about 20 years after an alternate fuel becomes practical, before it becomes really widespread.


There will be no "alternative fuel" to rule them all. One thing I failed to mention above is that circumstances will dictate actions. If you live in the desert then it may be a very good idea to go with solar and wind to augment the grid. The government could give massive tax incentives to make this a reality. Just think of it. It would make your economy much more robust against terrorist or military attacks.

I close with a link that is not totally unrelated...
Six stories you may have missed in 2006

[edit on 5-1-2007 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 10:00 PM
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like Sofi said we depend on nature for food and survival but our modernized minds think that as long as is food stores full of goods we are OK.

Well all that stuff comes from somewhere and that somewhere more often than not depends of nature.

Earth has too many people and if we get global changes that we can not control this time around the death toll will be incredible.

Nations like ours should take responsibility and start preparing people for eventualities, but so far it has been in denial of what is going on with our climate because the economy.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 10:08 PM
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As marg reminds us - what about our food supply?

* Growing patterns are changing, and traditional crops are not doing that well where they are being grown currently.

* Wild weather is changing rainfall patterns - which also affects agriculture.

* Topsoil is being blown away...

* Fish stocks are almost depleted - and we need more/better protein sources.

LOTS of changes - that we already must adapt and respond to.

What kind of adaptations are needed? What should we do and how should we do it?



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 10:15 PM
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From what I have gathered, the middle ground that climatologists hold is

1. The actual experimental evidence that the world infact is warming due to greenhouse gasses is not conclusive.

There was a one degree difference in temperature measured over a period of several years. This one degree temperature swing, while it is definitely a cause for concern, is not conclusive proof that the world is heating up. Also, just because you are experiencing a day where the temperature is warm, it does not mean global warming is occuring. Heat waves and unusually warm winters can occur without polution, just as severely cold winters or cool summers can occur.

2. Which gases are the culprits is in dispute.

The main greenhouse gas product from fossil fuels is CO2. There are many mechanisms in the earth's environment that can keep the CO2 level in check like photosynthesis or having the CO2 get fixed as carbonate in the earth's crust. Whether the ammount of CO2 being emitted exceeds the earth's natural capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere is in dispute.

Methane, is another greenhouse gas culprit that mainly comes from cows. Unlike CO2, the earth's ecology is less suited to absorbing methane. Some clientologists speculate reducing fossil fuel use will do little to help the environment as methane, and not CO2 is or will be the main culprit.

3. There is still cause for concern

Even if climatologists have doubts as to whether there is good evidence that greenhouse gases are causing global warming, or which sources of greenhouse gas are causes or potential causes, the climatologists still have cause for concern and no serious climatologist is going to advocate driving around in Hummers.

Put it this way, you would not walk into a casino and place your entire life's saving on Black at the roulette wheel. Even though the odds are roughly 50-50 you will not lose your life savings, the odds are slightly greater than 50% you will lose everything. When it comes to global warming, there is a good chance that climatologists with doomsday predictions are wrong, but at the same time there is a good chance they may be at least partially correct. With the fate of the world in the balance, does it just make more sense do make reasonable changes in our lifestyle like driving more fuel efficient cars, using more public transport, being more energy efficient, eating less beef, etc. that will take the destiny of the world off the global warming crap table?



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 10:18 PM
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Like all things with Climate Change/Peak Oil, it depends on the location and situation.

No "one size fits all" solution here I'm afraid.

If you're talking about Aquifer depletion in Central Texas, part of the answer is actually cutting down non-native trees.

Gobi desert encroachment would call for planting trees in massive amounts, something which China is doing and having some limited early successes too, though getting rid of deserts could impact rainforest's.

Scientists reveal link between Sahara and Amazon



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