1379: "4.5 Degrees"

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1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby InfamousAnarchist » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:21 am UTC

Image
"The good news is that according to the latest IPCC report, if we enact aggressive emissions limits now, we could hold the warming to 2°C. That's only HALF an ice age unit, which is probably no big deal."
http://xkcd.com/1379/

This doesn't make me afraid. Nope. No terrifying inevitability creeping in. None.

Given that this comic is bringing in a lot of new posters who are all wanting to post links, can I please remind people that:
1)If your post count is zero then your posts will all go into a moderation queue until at least one has been approved.
2) New members can not post images or links until they have a post count of 5.
Notice I say post count and not number of posts, as a few of the subfora do not raise your post count.

These are all automatic antispam measures.

Thanks - Angua
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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby beerme737 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:55 am UTC

FIRST!!!

I have to say, the science behind "man-caused" global warming is dubious, at best.

gomipile
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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby gomipile » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:56 am UTC

Isn't the "200m" figure off by a factor of 3 or so? I think I've seen several sources that say if all the world's ice melted sea levels would rise about a third of that, maybe 200 feet or so.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Alsadius » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:58 am UTC

Isn't it a good thing that the IPCC has quite obviously spent the last 20 years acting more scared in the face of less evidence, then? The data is falling out of the bottom end of their confidence intervals, so they keep jacking up scariness on the unfalsifiable bits instead. I'll believe the models when they start predicting something even close to what we've actually seen.

(FWIW, I think AGW is real, because the causality does make sense, but that it's not likely to be a very big deal. We're more likely to see maybe +1 degree, and that's before we start trying to geoengineer the temperature down. Not ideal, but hardly the biggest problem we face.)

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby keithl » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:05 am UTC

Yes, finding inexpensive technologies that emit less CO2 is a good idea. But even if we built a far larger war machine and held down every developing nation wanting the goodies we have, it would not stop the growth of CO2. Indeed, many so-called "green" technologies are based on faulty assumptions and will make things worse.

At the beginning of agriculture and other human biospheric interventions, CO2 was at 180 ppm. It was at 300 ppm with the major increase in global industrialization brought about by World War II. Much of the past and current runup is land use change. Trading land for energy harvest, trees for shallow-rooted annual crops, makes things worse. See "Contribution of anthropogenic land cover change emissions to pre‐industrial atmospheric CO2" by Reick et. al. Tellus (2010).

We will get nowhere if we think only about limits, or only about government-subsidized toys for the rich. Instead, we must get fiendishly inventive, and develop new systems and devices cheaper than what we have now. Devices that protect both the air and the land, systems that restore and enhance natural systems that draw down CO2, profitably. We can only lead; we can't force billions of people in developing countries to NOT use carbon fuels.

If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate. Get off your butt, think and build and sell new tools that work. If all you can think of is pointing guns at people (=laws), shut up and get out of the way.

A good start: read Stewart Brand's "Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto". You will find much to disagree with. Then make the effort to honestly compare your disagreements with 2 "Ice Age Units". The best is the enemy of the good. If the good isn't good enough, contribute, not kvetch.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby jpk » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:01 am UTC

If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate


Solution? Sorry, you have to pay a bit more attention. There is nothing that is going to happen to prevent this. The "urgent, immediate action" called for is not slowing the increase in emissions by some fraction, which is all that anyone is willing to even propose. It's to reduce the absolute level of emissions, today.

This is not going to happen.

It is not going to happen because that would require not just a reduction in emissions per capita, which is completely impossible in a world that has awakened to the same rapacious greed that the West has enjoyed for so long, but a reduction in emissions overall. Based on past performance, in thirty years global population will be about 15 billion people, or else something far worse will have happened. Cutting per-capita emissions in half will merely keep us treading water, which is not enough. And that, as we know, is not even mentioned as a possibility Some estimates show growth slowing or even leveling off in the near term, but I see no basis for this. Some ludicrous estimates show growth reversing, but this implies a catastrophe on a scale not yet seen in human history, far worse than the Black Death or any other event in history that I know of, so it's hard to say whether those estimates are pollyanna to the point of absurdity or horrifying in the majesty of the destruction they envision, or both. In any case, it hardly seems worth planning for the mass die-off envisioned by those numbers, since whatever causes that die-off is certain to throw all of our plans quite out of whack in any case.

But just for funsies, let's suppose that population suddenly stabilizes at ~7 billion people. Can we even imagine, in that fantasy world, that we manage to cut back from today's per-capita emissions by some meaningful amount? How does that happen? How many miracles do you have to invoke to make that scenario plausible to you? Can you get Americans to give up their cars? Can you get a world of rising temperatures to give up on air conditioning? Can you keep the tar sands in the ground? That's three miracles, and that's probably not enough.

As for "geo-engineering" - sorry, but magic wands are for fairy tales. We're fucked: stare that in the face for a while until the urge to spout stupid happy-talk goes away.
Last edited by jpk on Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby theoneontheleft » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:07 am UTC

Hi. I'm a little new at commenting. I did prep with the FAQ, but I still feel rather like a snowball in Hydra alpha.

Anyway, one of the things I've always thought rocked about xkcd was its impeccable display of scientific accuracy, or at least blatant disregard towards appearances of that accuracy when this was not an intended pursuit. I guess I've gotten lazy about assuming things just checked out.

As useful as this particular comic may be for putting the drastic effect of several seemingly small degrees of average global temperature change into perspective, it's still a little dangerous to handle. I attempted it, and someone immediately pointed out that the north pole doesn't have land, and therefore has never had trees of any sort, let alone palms. It may seem a minor enough sling to suffer through, but it's enough to get the poo flinging started if you're not careful. You can say that by "poles" you only mean the southern one, or that you mean the northern limits of modern day Canada and Russia, but the damage towards credibility has already been done. I don't know exactly what I wanted anyone to take from that, except that maybe to bear in mind that anything mentioned about such an incendiary topic as climate change will be handled much differently than something released casually to a friendly audience.

Reading over that, it's a bit more of a downer than I had intended. In way of penance, if you youtube search "slow motion massive water balloon", you'll likely find a video of someone getting water balloons thrown at their face in slow motion to the tune of Ave Maria, which hopefully makes up for it. Anyway, hope you have a great weekend. Oh geez, it's almost midnight...

postscript edit: Someone was kind enough to point out a possibility that had escaped me, namely that with continental drift it's possible that there were trees on the north pole. Unfortunately I haven't come across a map projection of the Cretaceous that makes it clear if this is so. Does Youtube have globes?
Last edited by theoneontheleft on Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Turing Machine » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:08 am UTC

Hide that decline!

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:38 am UTC

Schedule the 3000 convention on climate change at the North Pole.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby keithl » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:56 am UTC

jpk wrote:There is nothing that is going to happen to prevent this.

That is, you won't bother thinking about ways to prevent this. Sit on your butt and kvetch if you wish - just keep it out of our way, please.

Information substitutes for energy. We will build 1000x more computation over the next decade, and will consume 4x more energy doing so. But with that computation, we can replace vehicular travel with telepresence, large items with minaturization, combustion with capital. Slow robotics can substitute for V3 drag. Bioengineering can reduce disease and the vast energy and labor associated with that.

There are a vast amount of fissionables in the Earth's crust. There is not quite enough knowledge to use those fissionables safely, but that can be remedied with study, hard work, and vigilance. That will tide us over while we shut down all combustion.

Iceland has the highest power consumption per capita - 22477 Watts (2.4x US). 11 billion people (projected peak population) at that rate is 250 terawatts. The sun blows 380 trillion terawatts of sunlight into empty space, never to touch matter again. We can turn vast amounts of that power into information, knowledge capital, in space, and shrink terrestrial power consumption still further.

A square meter of graded-junction indium phosphide solar cell is rad-hard as hell, weighs 1 gram and produces 200 watts. A SpaceX Falcon 9 requires about a gigawatt-hour of energy to build and fuel and launch, putting 5000 kg into medium earth orbit - about 200 watt-hours per gram. Of course you must add far more structure to that solar cell to make computation happen, and a lot of extra expense and energy to making structure and rockets, but greed, properly channeled, will minimize that expense and drive the race to grab that energy. And that will keep us going until the sun burns out.

I'm sure most people will find plenty of reasons not to participate. And will accuse the participants of "greed" when some of them succeed. Read Arthur Herman's The Idea of Decline in Western History; whiny parasites have avoided responsibility for millennia. More wealth and glory for the rest of us.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:07 am UTC

jpk wrote:
If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate


Solution? Sorry, you have to pay a bit more attention. There is nothing that is going to happen to prevent this. The "urgent, immediate action" called for is not slowing the increase in emissions by some fraction, which is all that anyone is willing to even propose. It's to reduce the absolute level of emissions, today.

This is not going to happen.


Not unless we do something about it.

It is not going to happen because that would require not just a reduction in emissions per capita, which is completely impossible in a world that has awakened to the same rapacious greed that the West has enjoyed for so long, but a reduction in emissions overall.

You are confusing emissions with energy. They are not the same.

Based on past performance, in thirty years global population will be about 15 billion people, or else something far worse will have happened. Cutting per-capita emissions in half will merely keep us treading water, which is not enough. And that, as we know, is not even mentioned as a possibility Some estimates show growth slowing or even leveling off in the near term, but I see no basis for this.

The western world is already leveling off in population. Same for eastern Europe and Russia, even China. The only reason the US population is still growing is all the immigration. Even in other countries the number of children per family is decreasing rapidly. Yes, there are some populations that are increasing, and you can employ the fancy research tool of extending lines on a graph and come to the conclusion that at some point in the future everybody will be a mormon, a hassidic Jew or a Palestinian, but even among those, family sizes are dropping.

But just for funsies, let's suppose that population suddenly stabilizes at ~7 billion people. Can we even imagine, in that fantasy world, that we manage to cut back from today's per-capita emissions by some meaningful amount? How does that happen? How many miracles do you have to invoke to make that scenario plausible to you? Can you get Americans to give up their cars? Can you get a world of rising temperatures to give up on air conditioning? Can you keep the tar sands in the ground? That's three miracles, and that's probably not enough.


The world is afraid of nuclear power. Get over that fear, replace all coal and gas-fired plants with nuclear plants. Build more. Make all cars electric. Also ships and trains. Planes when technology allows. Move plantations to multistory buildings growing by grow lights powered by nuclear energy with no need for pesticides. Plant trees in the land that you vacated. Use genetic engineering to grow meat in a lab. Eliminate beef cows. Plant trees on their former grazing grounds.

None of this is in the realm of science fiction and together this can reduce emissions substantially. It doesn't require people to give up their car or A/C.

This is all very hard politically, but it's a case of "won't", not "can't".

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby CocoaNutCakery » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:12 am UTC

Ugh. So much wrong with this. Just saying, "the last ice age" calls his knowledge about anything related to climate into question.

Protip: We are currently in an ice age. Having polar ice caps is not a normal thing for the planet. Since the Triassic, 1% of the Earth's history has involved polar ice caps.

Try this, though: Find a list of large US National Parks. It could be the top 10 visited, 10 prettiest, whatever. Go to Wolfram Alpha and plug in the name of the park and "temperature," for example, "Yellowstone temperature" (without the quotes... which I really shouldn't need to say by now). Go to the temperature readout and select "all."

Do this for every park on whatever list you find. You might need to reword things a bit to get just the park (make sure it's the park and not an airport 50 miles away or something, as often happened when I tried it with UK parks).

Tell me the trend that you find.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby zz1000zz » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:34 am UTC

I'm not looking for a debate on global warming, but there is so much wrong with this comic. I'll just focus on the big point. Projections of future warming depend on two things: 1) The level of future greenhouse gases; 2) The planet's sensitivity to greenhouse gases.

The former is described by Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), estimates of how greenhouse gas levels might evolve in the future. These are given in the form of RCPx, where x is the change in radiative forcing from pre-industrial times to 2100. The IPCC uses four RCPs: RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6 and RCP8.5. Of these, only RCP2.6 requires prompt, aggressive action.

Once you've chosen an RCP, there is still the question of the planet's sensitivity. I won't delve into that save to point out the IPCC gives the likely range for the sensitivity as 1.5-4.5°C. You can't simply ignore that level of uncertainty.

Regardless, I'll just accept the IPCC's values. That's convenient because the IPCC gives estimated temperature changes for each RCP as of 2100. The IPCC has this to say about the worst case scenario, RCP8.5:

Warming above 4°C by 2081–2100 is unlikely in all RCPs (high confidence) except RCP8.5. Under the latter, the 4°C global temperature level is exceeded in more than half of ensemble members, and is assessed to be about as likely as not (medium confidence).


And that's in reference to temperatures of 1850-1900. Even the IPCC agrees there's basically no chance we'll see 4°C of warming relative to current temperatures (by 2100), even in the worst case scenario. We certainly won't see 5°C of warming. Moreover, plenty of climate scientists think RCP8.5 is unrealistic, saying RCP6 is more like what we'd see with no climate related policies. If they're right, there's no chance we'll see even 4°C of warming by 2100. None at all.

Even if you feel RCP8.5 is an accurate estimation of what would happen with no climate related policies, we don't need prompt, aggressive action to avoid it. Worst case scenario, without prompt, aggressive action, we can still follow RCP4.5 or RCP6. According to the IPCC, neither of those will result in the sort of warming this comic indicates.

In other words, this comic cites the IPCC, yet it exaggerates even the worst case scenario offered by the IPCC while portraying itself as discussing the best case scenario.

(I tried to include a link to the IPCC report I quoted, but it made my comment get flagged as spam.)
Last edited by zz1000zz on Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby zz1000zz » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:37 am UTC

I have a comment awaiting approval. For a short version of it, this comic exaggerates even the worst case scenario offered by the IPCC, while portraying itself as examining (all but) the best case scenario.

And this isn't a matter of skeptics disagreeing with a conclusion. This comic is wrong according to both sides of the debate.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Crissa » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:37 am UTC

Interesting that someone would compare an Earth with an atmosphere and climate that no human could survive 'normal'.

I wonder what sort of dishonesty fuels climate change deniers... And why they have to be so loud.

-Crissa

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby xxnnss » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:50 am UTC

*An article claiming Germany 74% renewable in 2014 https://plus.google.com/+Earththeoperat ... n2og7oQJFf

* An article claiming the switch to solar will happen because it will be cheaper, not because people care about global warming. http://pando.com/2014/04/11/now-can-we- ... sing-solar

* Rooftop solar provides off-grid energy cheaper than utilities. and will soon be combined with battery storage from Tesla. https://www.solarcity.com/residential/energy-storage

* Financial analysts are downgrading the stock of electricity utility companies due to growing and forseen competition from solar panel installations on homes and businesses. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/24/ele ... -barclays/

* Global warming isn't the only reason for switching to electric vehicles:
Image

* A long argument on one of David Brin's posts: https://plus.google.com/116665417191671 ... MH2qWaFaGq

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:56 am UTC

I think it's fair to force people who contribute disproportionately to our problems to stop, just like it's fair to force people who take your stuff to stop. That said: I find all that land use dubious, there's plenty of unused sun and wind exposed areas in cultured areas (roofs, streets, farmland etc.). I mean, I think most windmills here are on existing farmland (I suspect one windmill doesn't need to replace a whole cow in land use requirements), but why not also on roofs of high buildings? I think it should be mandatory before getting a license to build something at the same height as the surroundings.

All of this does depend on surroundings of course, in more sunny areas solar panels should be mandatory instead of windmills.

Of course none of this would help us get to the right level, but every bit helps. Another thing that would probably help is replacing the huge amounts of low buildings with a couple of high rising buildings (no more buildings with fewer than 10 floors, bar some special use cases) and replanting the then-unused areas.

What I don't get, are the large differences between developed countries in greenhouse emissions per capita.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:01 am UTC

Crissa wrote:Interesting that someone would compare an Earth with an atmosphere and climate that no human could survive 'normal'.


What atmosphere and climate is that?

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby zjxs » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:05 am UTC

I have to say, the science behind "man-caused" global warming is dubious, at best.


No, it is not. This post had objectionable content.

The science behind carbon dioxide (and the six or so major greenhouse gases) warming the planet is extremely well established. It is established physics, it is established through experiment, and through observation. The various feedbacks that follow from these are still being established, but in almost all cases the direction of these feedbacks is known with a high degree of certainty, and what is being threshed out through intense and extensive study is *exactly what* those feedbacks will look like.

For those who actually enjoy science, This post had objectionable content., I commend the excellent climate statistics site Open Mind. http://tamino.wordpress.com/ Total statistical smackdowns This post had objectionable content.

We do have a standard of discourse here. It's pretty low, but this post doesn't quite meet it. - ST

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby CharlieP » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:39 am UTC

The "palm trees at the poles" comment jumped out at me too - not just because there's no land at the North Pole, but because there's a latitude above which trees won't grow because of the period every year where the night lasts for weeks. I remember watching a BBC nature documentary a few years back, and thinking how man-made the straight edge of the forest at that "border" looked...
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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby idisjunction » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:33 am UTC

Trees at the South Pole sounds plausible, though I highly doubt they'd be palm trees.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby drachefly » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:42 am UTC

Delta Temperature = d(Glacier) /dt
not
Delta Temperature = Delta Glacier
on the time scale of a century. Glacial accumulation and melt are far from instantaneous.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Various Varieties » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:42 am UTC

keithl wrote:Information substitutes for energy. We will build 1000x more computation over the next decade, and will consume 4x more energy doing so. But with that computation, we can replace vehicular travel with telepresence, large items with minaturization,


It'd be great if those things happen, and maybe they will if the short-term cost and productivity benefits to companies and governments are clear enough that they can't be ignored.

But I doubt they will: the suggestions you mention come across as reminiscent of those predictions that increased use of computers would lead to paperless offices, and increased automation would lead to shorter working weeks.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby CigarDoug » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:44 am UTC

Children graduating high school this year have never seen global warming. For all the scare-mongering I have had to listen to for the last twenty years, NOTHING that Al Gore predicted would have happened by now has happened. At what point do all rational people begin to question these hysterical predictions?

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2014/02/18/5-scientific-reasons-that-global-warming-isnt-happening-n1796423/page/full#!

I'll say it again, slowly: There hasn't been any global warming since 1997. That means children graduating high school this year have never seen global warming. The trouble with hysterical predictions about the future based on pseudo-science is, eventually the future gets here and we can see that you were just making it up.

http://www.rightwingnews.com/climate-change/report-no-statistical-global-warming-in-17-years/

Should we pursue alternative sources of energy? Absolutely. Build a solar-powered mousetrap and we'll beat a path to your door. But does that mean we stop using fossil fuels in the meantime? Of course not, that is ridiculous. But let the free market take it's natural course. Can you use massive amounts of tax payer dollars to FORCE alternative energy to come into existence overnight? You tell me.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby AverageWriter » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:50 am UTC

I'm not scientific enough to seriously understand everything behind climate change, but I will say this-

It seems that entering a forum and calling someone you disagree with a "cretin" and a "scum feeder" doesn't seem the best way to engage in legitimate debate.

Aren't we better than that here?

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:53 am UTC

AverageWriter wrote:I'm not scientific enough to seriously understand everything behind climate change, but I will say this-

It seems that entering a forum and calling someone you disagree with a "cretin" and a "scum feeder" doesn't seem the best way to engage in legitimate debate.

Aren't we better than that here?

Unfortunately, this is hardly atypical for this forum. Or for other Internet forums.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Blackima » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:55 am UTC

There's a big question mark on what the world would be like +1 IAU, yet there isnt one on +2 IAU as we have already experienced this back in the Cretaceous Hothouse

But if we've been through +2 IAU, we must have been through +1 IAU too. The most recent time this happened was during the Miocene Era (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record); so maybe we can use that to predict what the world could look like in 86 years:

earthgrind[dot]com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/earthimg121.jpg
(this is my first post, so I can't have dotcoms in my message; replace [dot] with .)

So a future with massive global warming doesn't look too bad! Northern Europe's a bit flooded, as is a sizable chunk of the middle east, but Canada and Russia get a ridiculous amount of usable land out of it. I'm looking forward to my holidays in Antarctica and my inevitable move(/displacement) out of a flooded London

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:42 am UTC

CigarDoug wrote:I'll say it again, slowly: There hasn't been any global warming since 1997. That means children graduating high school this year have never seen global warming. The trouble with hysterical predictions about the future based on pseudo-science is, eventually the future gets here and we can see that you were just making it up.

I disagree that climate science is pseudo-science. But it is has three strikes going against it:
  • It is a young science. Accurate measurements are a fairly recent thing, and historical data is interpolated from fossil evidence that may or may not be well understood. Mostly, climate science has not had the time to become as well-founded as quantum mechanics and astrophysics. It hasn't yet got to the stage where it makes a surprising prediction, and then for that prediction to (surprisingly) come true. This is not a bad thing. All sciences have been young at some point. There is nothing wrong with scientists publishing papers about what information and conjectures they have now.
  • There can be no experiments or measurements in the traditional sense. A traditional scientific experiment would be to take seven identical earths, subject them to the same conditions except that you vary the CO2 load among them. This is ridiculous, of course, so we don't do such experiments. Instead, scientists rely on natural experiments (where variables other than CO2 are not controlled) and on models. Again, climatology is not unique here. Astrophysics is much the same, and a lot 20th century physics was done way before it could be confirmed by actual experiments. This is not a reason not to pursue climate science. But it does slow down the rate at which the science can progress.
  • Climate science has become highly politicized. The two former points are not really destructive. They make the science harder, but they don't make it any less a science. If some astrophysicist posits a theory that the solar system is in fact 7 billion years old, or 3 billion years old rather than the standard estimate of 4.6, their paper would be reviewed like any other. Peer review would either find flaws in the arguments, or concede that this theory also explains the facts. The scientist would not be shunned, or be blacklisted from receiving further grants. Such is not the case for climate change. One theory is promoted by the president of the US, and everyone who has a different opinion is labeled a "denier" and portrayed as part of a fringe minority. This does not the way science is done. It reminds me of a psychologist a few years ago (too lazy to look for a reference) that published a paper following a study of adults who had been sexually abused as children. The study concluded that the conventional wisdom had over-estimated the effects of childhood sexual abuse on victims' adult life. This created a shit-storm. Studies of people with a history of sexual abuse should have an ever-escalating estimate of the harm caused to the victims. This included death threats against the researcher and people labeling him a pedophile promoting sexual abuse of children. I guess that will teach psychologists not to publish any papers questioning the long-term effects of things the media don't like.

In a way, the political angle is inevitable. Climate science is predicting dire things for our environment. A disagreement among scientists about the age of the universe or of the solar system, we have no problem waiting it out, or even letting them argue over it for centuries. The predictions made by climate science are such that action is called for, and that's where government funds and political meddling has to come in. It has become a right-wing vs left-wing issue, and got entangled with creationism. Even the two links that you provided are definitely right-wing websites. So the whole question of climate science credibility gets into the grinder that is US politics, with abortion rights, taxation, creationism, and social medicine get mixed together. Climate science is valid if you believe in social medicine and gay marriage, and is invalid if you don't. That's just silly, but it's the way American politics work.

It's not that Climate science is invalid. It's just too young to inform policy the way it is doing now. On the other hand, I can understand the politicians. Having scientists predicting doom and doing nothing is against the bias for action that executives have. As a wise man once said, "We have to do something. This is something. Therefore, we have to do this."

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:00 pm UTC

Palm trees at the poles? An end to pretentious glacial-runoff bottled water iconography? Dislocating those smug bastards on the coasts? I'm not seeing the downside, here.
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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:17 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Palm trees at the poles? An end to pretentious glacial-runoff bottled water iconography? Dislocating those smug bastards on the coasts? I'm not seeing the downside, here.

Who are those smug bastards on the coasts of which you speak? Poor fishermen in Bangladesh?

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:21 pm UTC

synp wrote:In a way, the political angle is inevitable. Climate science is predicting dire things for our environment. A disagreement among scientists about the age of the universe or of the solar system, we have no problem waiting it out, or even letting them argue over it for centuries. The predictions made by climate science are such that action is called for, and that's where government funds and political meddling has to come in. It has become a right-wing vs left-wing issue, and got entangled with creationism. Even the two links that you provided are definitely right-wing websites. So the whole question of climate science credibility gets into the grinder that is US politics, with abortion rights, taxation, creationism, and social medicine get mixed together. Climate science is valid if you believe in social medicine and gay marriage, and is invalid if you don't. That's just silly, but it's the way American politics work.

It's not that Climate science is invalid. It's just too young to inform policy the way it is doing now. On the other hand, I can understand the politicians. Having scientists predicting doom and doing nothing is against the bias for action that executives have. As a wise man once said, "We have to do something. This is something. Therefore, we have to do this."

Unlike climate change evolution doesn't have such political implications. It doesn't call for large interventions, just for restrictions on antibiotics, yet I understand it has the same political sensibilities in the US. Isn't there more behind the climate change controversy than the actual political issues?
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keithl wrote:Information substitutes for energy. We will build 1000x more computation over the next decade, and will consume 4x more energy doing so. But with that computation, we can replace vehicular travel with telepresence, large items with minaturization,


It'd be great if those things happen, and maybe they will if the short-term cost and productivity benefits to companies and governments are clear enough that they can't be ignored.

But I doubt they will: the suggestions you mention come across as reminiscent of those predictions that increased use of computers would lead to paperless offices, and increased automation would lead to shorter working weeks.

We actually do have shorter workweeks here, 40 hours is the norm (although many people work part-time, so it's often less), not the 80 hour weeks of our ancestors. I think paper is also being used far less nowadays, it seems to be going the right way.
synp wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:Palm trees at the poles? An end to pretentious glacial-runoff bottled water iconography? Dislocating those smug bastards on the coasts? I'm not seeing the downside, here.

Who are those smug bastards on the coasts of which you speak? Poor fishermen in Bangladesh?

Probably those tribes living their traditional lives on small islands near India that have absolutely nothing to do with the cause of the climate change issue. But I guess Bangladesh works as well.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Alsadius » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

I'm impressed. I expected to come back this morning to find three dozen people jumping down my throat, because this has never really struck me as the kind of audience that would question AGW. But in reality, we've got one guy who's belligerent in his unjustified pessimism, and two dozen who mostly make sense.

Anyone know if Randall reads these threads?

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby synp » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:41 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
synp wrote:It's not that Climate science is invalid. It's just too young to inform policy the way it is doing now. On the other hand, I can understand the politicians. Having scientists predicting doom and doing nothing is against the bias for action that executives have. As a wise man once said, "We have to do something. This is something. Therefore, we have to do this."

Unlike climate change evolution doesn't have such political implications. It doesn't call for large interventions, just for restrictions on antibiotics, yet I understand it has the same political sensibilities in the US. Isn't there more behind the climate change controversy than the actual political issues?

There is a call for action here that would cost a huge amount of money. If the popular opinion among scientists is right, not doing this would lead to a huge disaster. It can't not be political. Without the political angle, it would be a controversy between scientists, much like many other controversies, and few of us would care.
Various Varieties wrote:It'd be great if those things happen, and maybe they will if the short-term cost and productivity benefits to companies and governments are clear enough that they can't be ignored.

But I doubt they will: the suggestions you mention come across as reminiscent of those predictions that increased use of computers would lead to paperless offices, and increased automation would lead to shorter working weeks.

We actually do have shorter workweeks here, 40 hours is the norm (although many people work part-time, so it's often less), not the 80 hour weeks of our ancestors. I think paper is also being used far less nowadays, it seems to be going the right way.

True, but Various Varieties is talking about predictions made in the 80s and 90s, when the work week was already at 40 hours ("working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livling..."). It was predicted that robots would do all the work, and offices would become paperless soon, and people would all work from home. In fact, some jobs were replaced by robots, but we've had an explosion of jobs related to the Internet or Internet-enabled, and those tend to be full time. We don't work less hours today than we did in 1990. And with computers came printers, and offices produced much more paper than before. That trend has only started to reverse in the last few years, but I agree it's going in the right direction. As for working from home, that has not caught on very much.
synp wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:Palm trees at the poles? An end to pretentious glacial-runoff bottled water iconography? Dislocating those smug bastards on the coasts? I'm not seeing the downside, here.

Who are those smug bastards on the coasts of which you speak? Poor fishermen in Bangladesh?

Probably those tribes living their traditional lives on small islands near India that have absolutely nothing to do with the cause of the climate change issue. But I guess Bangladesh works as well.

Oh, I see you're from the Netherlands. You might be a smug bastard too! :D

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:42 pm UTC

CigarDoug wrote:Children graduating high school this year have never seen global warming. For all the scare-mongering I have had to listen to for the last twenty years, NOTHING that Al Gore predicted would have happened by now has happened. At what point do all rational people begin to question these hysterical predictions?

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2014/02/18/5-scientific-reasons-that-global-warming-isnt-happening-n1796423/page/full#!

I'll say it again, slowly: There hasn't been any global warming since 1997. That means children graduating high school this year have never seen global warming. The trouble with hysterical predictions about the future based on pseudo-science is, eventually the future gets here and we can see that you were just making it up.

http://www.rightwingnews.com/climate-change/report-no-statistical-global-warming-in-17-years/

Yes, if you start counting in an extremely warm year but don't acknowledge that it was an outlier at the time, and then compare that year's temps with this year's, it's easy to pretend that there has been no warming. But you'd still have to pretend, because while the late-90s outlier was enough to statistically swamp further warming up through 2008 or so, but if you continue up through today the warming trend shows back up.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:45 pm UTC

Anyone else notice the extremely important (historically) time interval mentioned there?

86 years: the elapsed time between the last Red Sox World Series win of the 1900s and the first BoSox Series win of the 2000s :D . What else could matter?



PostScript: I would like to point out, purely as an exercise, that we could increase personal energy consumption while simultaneously dropping CO2 emissions to a pittance by simply reducing the world's population to something reasonable like 700 million.
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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby McBee » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:53 pm UTC

I am saddened to see that in a forum which is supopsed to attract people who science, so many people, some of them probably scientists (not climatologists, but scientists nevertheless) disagree with ... actual climate scientists. (...or nitpick at one unfortunate hyperbole about palm trees...)
Spoiler:
Image

Image

Image

...How educated do you have to be, to become a politics denier?

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby ctdonath » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:54 pm UTC

Historical cyclical temperature change (per Antarctic core samples, with modern sensors filling in at the end):

Image
Last edited by ctdonath on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Whizbang » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:55 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:PostScript: I would like to point out, purely as an exercise, that we could increase personal energy consumption while simultaneously dropping CO2 emissions to a pittance by simply reducing the world's population to something reasonable like 700 million.



I'm on board with that. Everyone kill the 9 people closest to you. If you find this intolerable, please hold still so that others can kill you. If you still find this intolerable, please, uh, reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby ctdonath » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:59 pm UTC

McBee wrote:I am saddened to see that in a forum which is supopsed to attract people who science, so many people, some of them probably scientists (not climatologists, but scientists nevertheless) disagree with ... actual climate scientists.

There's a valid concern about professional bias: if you participate in X as a career, you probably have incentive to support it. Considering that there's money in proving "humans are to blame for global climate change" (nee "warming", nee "cooling", as fads change) but not in the alternatives, and dissenters from that view are labeled "heretics", little surprise there's lots of peer-reviewed back-patting and little approved dissent.

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Re: 1379: "4.5 Degrees"

Postby Diadem » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:07 pm UTC

Half a dozen people with 1-2 posts, shouting in this thread that global warming in a hoax.

I wonder, do you anti-science bigots have message board where you coordinate that kind of action? Is this some kind of paid campaign by lobbyists to make it look like climate change is not a near universally accepted fact?


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