Thursday, January 25, 2007

On global warming and 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Stever has submitted some comments for publication that I have not published or rejected as I write this. I'm not impressed enough with the "new" Blogger service to upgrade this account and I don't have the ability to edit comments. I will post part of Stever's latest submission here and reply to that portion. The portion I am leaving out is a reference to Ickipedia, a source of disinformation I neither trust nor endorse.
I don't buy this partial data rebutal. have read it other places too.

Sure it's only a blip out of the 4.5 billion year age of the earth. But it is not a blip to the human race and all other forms of life on this planet today.

And just saying that 600k years does not matter is simply brushing it off. 600k years matters plenty. We don't know what the pattern was before those 600k, or how long we have been in that pattern. At some time in the past it was certainly different.

If it only shows us a cycle we have been in, for the past 5 or 6 cycles we can measure, and now shows us the cycle has drastically changed, and the timing of the change coincides with our petro burning, forest clearing, ocean raping, blah, blah, blah, etc. activities, then 600k years is more than enough data to show a significant change.

And what do you mean by "the current ice age is older that 600k years old"? What are you calling an ice age? The entire period that there has been ice at the poles? I think that what we typically like to call an ice age is that 100k cycle we see in the chart. At all the other peaks there is still ice at the poles, just much less than there was during the cold periods when the ice cap reached all the way to Florida.
I am not pretending to be a climatologist, but you somehow got the erroneous impression from my previous post on global warming that I somehow don't believe in it.

I conceded the whole global warming point on a personal level after surviving Crazy Ivan, but in my post I specifically wrote: "Okay, folks, we get it. It's going to get hot, it's going to get wet, and a lot of people will be displaced for any number of environmental reasons."

Now, does the data from 600,000 years of recent geological climactic history matter with respect to analyzing the current climatological trends?

Yes and No.

Yes, it matters in the sense that if we have indeed accelerated the process (as I wrote in my previous post) of climatological change, then current temperature trends will conflict with the recent historical temperature trends.

So Al Gore and I do, in fact, agree on the point that human activity has accelerated the process of global warming.

As far as the Earth's natural processes are concerned, what does 600,000 years' worth of data mean? Not a whole lot. Things were once much hotter and wetter in places (and drier in other places) than it's about to become in the next few hundred years of human experience. Life on Earth has survived a lot of changes far more dramatic than we're about to experience.

If you could go back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, you would have to wear an environmental suit because you would have trouble breathing the atmosphere. I loved the "Jurassic Park" movies but without some genetic modification I'm not sure reconstituted dino DNA could actually help us rebreed long-dead species that simply were not adapted to our current environment. What would an oxygen-rich atmosphere do to them? Maybe they would burn out. I don't know. Maybe a biologist would say, "Eh. Wouldn't matter as much to them as it might to us if we swapped atmospheric conditions".

Still, there was once far more CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere than there is today, than there will be in 100 years, and maybe -- just maybe -- the fact that we humans have accelerated the process doesn't mean we're about to push the Earth's climactic changes past any records set in previous geological epochs. After all, during the periods of great volacnism, the atmosphere was extremely toxic by today's standards. Somehow Mama Earth managed to change things out and here we are.

My previous post was not written in opposition to taking action about global warming. I'm not sure how anyone could possibly get that idea from what I wrote. But obviously at least one person is concerned I'm not taking the issue seriously.

Personally, I feel I am taking it as seriously as anyone else who has written on the topic lately. But I'm also proposing that we do something useful with all the additional water that is coming from the melting ice caps. We can eventually stop flooding our atmosphere with pollution and I'm all for that, but in the meantime a geologic process has begun which cannot be stopped in an instant.

So despite the fact that we can expect more ecological threats and disasters in the near future, we really do have an opportunity to change some of the desert conditions that make life extremely inhospitable to people. Furthermore, undertaking such massive ecological transformation projects would cost less than we are spending on foreign wars and would most likely win us more friends and respect around the globe than using the most powerful army in modern history to spread "democracy" at gunpoint.

We can accomplish a lot if we find the collective will to take action now.

That's all I'm saying.


Anonymous Stever said...

Fair enough you didn't post the the wiki link. I hunted around quite a bit for something with a graph of the data. Found lots of articles and pages for "600000 year co2" searches but the wiki page was the only one i could find with a graphic.

And I'm really in the same boat on the view that climate was drastically different in the past (maybe not even survivable for humans) and will change greatly in the future (even if we never got past sticks and stone tools and never spewed giga tonnes of CO2 into the air). One way or another life on this planet will end , entirely, someday. Perhaps we get smucked by an asteroid, or the sun goes BOOM!

I just feel the data shows we are in for some serious shit in our life times. And we caused it. If we had not been here, in this current warming cycle, I'll boldly assume that it would have likely hit a typical peak and then taken the next 80k years to cool off again.

But we were destined to cause it anyways. All life forms will exploit their available resources to its maximum potential regardless of the inevitable conclusions. Thats life.

As far as doing something useful with all that "additional water", I don't see what could possibly be feasible. Convert the Alaska pipeline to pump water, instead of oil, from Northern Canada? They will certainly need the water to irrigate and keep the lawns green in Las Vegas. [Sarcasm] We certainly wont be trucking it to the Sahara.

Anyways, thanks for responding and clearing up my mis-interpretation of your views. No need to cut and paste this into the blog.

I had come across your other SEO blog and the spiderfood forum a couple days ago. I'm one of those hack SEO's who learned most of what i know from the forums. But I have recently begun to, more or less, ignore Page Rank, somewhat. And hunt for better links than just submitting to 100's of directories. So there is salvation for me yet :)

I'll be lurking your forum some more and may start posting.

8:23 AM  

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