Global Warming 4--2007

Middle Stance Emerges In Debate on Climate--THERE IS STILL A CHANCE OF AVOIDING CATASTROPHE

According to a NY Times article dated Jan. 1, 2007, some scientists are adopting a middle ground in the debate over global warming. They agree that accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping tailpipe and smokestack gases probably pose a momentous environmental challenge, but they say the appropriate response is more akin to buying fire insurance and installing sprinklers and new wiring in an old, irreplaceable house than to fighting a fire already raging. Others remain much more pessimistic. ALL AGREE WE FACE A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

"Climate change presents a very real risk," said Carl Wunsch, a climate and oceans expert at MIT. "It seems worth a very large premium to insure ourselves against the most catastrophic scenarios. Denying the risk seems utterly stupid. Claiming we can calculate the probabilities with any degree of skill seems equally stupid."

Roger Pielke: "We do have a problem, we do need to act, but what actions are practical and pragmatic?...But the discourse is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory."

Other experts say there is no time for nuance, given the general lack of public response to the threat posed particularly by carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuels and forests that persists for a century or more in the air and is accumulating rapidly in the atmosphere and changing the pH of the oceans.

James E. Hansen, the veteran climate scientist with NASA:

"If we want to avoid producing a different planet, we need to start acting now," and not with paltry steps, he said in a recent e-mail exchange with a reporter and other scientists. "It seems almost to be a secret that we cannot put all o f the fossil fuel CO2 into the air without producing a different planet, and, yes, dangerous change. There are people who don't know that!"

21st CENTURY WARMING LIKELY TO BE SEVERAL TIMES GREATER THAN 20th.

Studies used to generate the next UN report have shown a likely warming in the 21st century--undless emissions of greenhouse gases abate--at least several times that of the last century's one-degree rise.

Dr. Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in Britain, says it's best not to gloss over uncertainties. In fact, he and others say that uncertainty is one reason to act--as a hedge against the prospect that PROBLEMS COULD BE MUCH WORSE THAN PROJECTED.

Dr. Hulme and others avoid sounding alarmist, but offer scant comfort to anyone who doubts that humans are contributing to warming or believes the matter can be deferred.

These experts see a clear need for the public to engage now, but not to panic...many in this group see a need to portray clearly that the RESPONSE WOULD REQUIRE FAR MORE THAN SWITCHING TO FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS AND HYBRID CARS.

Dr. Jerry D. Mahlman, climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado: "This is a mega-ethical challenge . The buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases cannot be quickly reversed with existing technologies. And even if every engine on earth were shut down today, there would be no measurable impact on the warming rate for many years, given the buildup of heat already banked in the seas."

Because of the scale and time lag, a better strategy, Dr. Mahlman and others say, is to treat human-caused warming more as a risk to be reduced rather than a problem to be solved.

John M. Wallace, climatologist at University of Washington: "Global warming is real, it's serious, but it's just one of many global challenges we're facing...I portray it as part of a broader problem of environmental stewardship--preserving a liveable planet with abundant resources for future generations."

Some experts, though, argue that moderation in a message is likely to be misread as satisfaction with the pace of change.

John P. Holdren, an energy and environment expert at Harvard and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science defended the more strident calls for limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

"I am one of those who believes that ANY REASONABLY COMPREHENSIVE AND UP-TO-DATE LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE MAKES CLEAR THAT CIVILIZATION HAS ALREADY GENERATED DANGEROUS ANTHROPOGENIC INTERFERENCE IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM. wHAT KEEPS ME GOING IS MY BELIEF THAT THERE IS STILL A CHANCE OF AVOIDING CATASTROPHE."

Andrew C. Revkin's article is linked below. READ IT!

A researcher crossed sea ice adjacent to Ayles ice shelf visible in upper left corner of photo

GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz Doesn't Get It!

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14 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

Unfortunately, all the CO2 reduction we do will have little impact. The rapidly-growing developing world has no restrictions on CO2 production and they're not going to stop using fossil fuels, esp if the price goes down b/c Americans are using less of it. This is not an argument against conservation and fuel economy improvements--those should happen regardless, but for different reasons.

The fact is that global warming is going to happen, and the only solution will be some sort of technology (whether deflecting the sun's and/or earth's radiation, seeding ocean phytoplankton, etc.) that cools the earth off.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

What you say may be true, but the United States is still the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. And we should be leading the way. Instead, we refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty. However imperfect it may have been, it was a start. Some of our congressmen are still global warming deniers.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

Do you think if we and Australia sign (and abide) Kyoto that global warming will stop? The fact that we're the biggest emitters doesn't change the fact that even if we reduce CO2, global warming will continue at a really fast pace. Again, I'm not arguing for sticking our heads in the sand; there are plenty of reasons to conserve better (for other reasons). But CO2 levels will continue to rise, and global warming/climate change will continue. Kyoto would only slow down the inevitable a tiny bit, and is more an attempt by rich countries to absolve themselves of future recriminations and guilt by the developing world, which will bear the brunt of global warming damage.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/060407.html


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

No, I don't think that global warming will stop if the U.S. and Austria sign the Kyoto treaty. But we have to start somewhere, and the U.S. should be leading, not dragging it's feet. Global warming is more of an educational and world political problem than a scientific problem. The science is pretty clear. We should be offering leadership toward the worldwide cooperation required to do what the best science tells us we should be doing. The Bush administration has done just the opposite.


Miranda Marquit profile image

Miranda Marquit 9 years ago from Logan

What we need to do is focus on a pollution debate. While the global warming is a real threat, the fact that its danger is "debatable" and subject to ideology stymies the ability to have an actual discussion. People deny and deny.

Pollution is different. Most people, looking at smog and treating their kids for asthma recognize the reality of air pollution. Reframe CO2 as air pollution and an immediate health issue, and force politicians to reinstate caps on factory pollution and look into alternative, cleaner power sources.


Joan Janse 9 years ago

Yes, I agree. I hope that people take a turn to the path to pure products- biodegratable and safe from harmful toxins. We all must work together to ensure that the companies that make the products, also, are using the best technology needed for the safety of our environment. It may be a bit costly to make a change, but in the long run.........it is very much worth it. Our children, and grandchildren deserve a planet that has the harmony and balance......it needs to survive. Joan http://wwwiseepure.com


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment!


JazLive profile image

JazLive 9 years ago from Decatur

I did s quick search to learn of global warming contributions from the clutter in outer space; but was intrigued to learn that light pollution is a great contribution to the global warming concern

This link http://www.greenledlight.com/global-warming/light-... shares --

"Effects on human health and psychology

Medical research on the effects of excessive light on the human body suggests that a variety of adverse health effects may be caused by light pollution or excessive light exposure, and some lighting design textbooks use human health as an explicit criterion for proper interior lighting. Health effects of over-illumination or improper spectral composition of light may include: increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety.

Common levels of fluorescent lighting in offices are sufficient to elevate blood pressure by about eight points. There is some evidence that lengthy daily exposure to moderately high lighting leads to diminished sexual performance. Specifically within the USA, there is evidence that levels of light in most office environments lead to increased stress as well as increased worker errors.

Several published studies also suggest a link between exposure to light at night and risk of breast cancer, due to suppression of the normal nocturnal production of melatonin.

Disruption of ecosystems

Life evolved with natural patterns of light and dark, so disruption of those patterns influences many aspects of animal behavior. Light pollution can confuse animal navigation, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations, and influence animal physiology.

Studies suggest that light pollution around lakes prevents zooplankton, such as Daphnia, from eating surface algae, helping cause algal blooms that can kill off the lakes' plants and lower water quality. Light pollution may also affect ecosystems in other ways. For example, Lepidopterists and entomologists have documented that night-time light may interfere with the ability of moths and other nocturnal insects to navigate. Night blooming flowers that depend on moths for pollination may be affected by night lighting, as there is no replacement pollinator that would not be affected by the artificial light. This can lead to species decline of plants that are unable to reproduce, and change an area's longterm ecology.

Migrating birds can be disoriented by lights on tall structures. Estimates by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the number of birds killed after being attracted to tall towers range from 4-5 million per year to an order of magnitude higher. The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) works with building owners in Toronto, Canada and other cities to reduce mortality of birds by turning out lights during migration periods.

Other well-known casualties of light pollution are sea turtle hatchlings emerging from nests on beaches. It is a common misconception that hatchling sea turtles are attracted to the moon. They are not; rather, they find the ocean by moving away from the dark silhouette of dunes and their vegetation, a behavior with which artificial lights interfere. Juvenile seabirds may also be disoriented by lights as they leave their nests and fly out to sea.

Nocturnal frogs and salamanders are also affected by light pollution. Since they are nocturnal, they wake up when there is no light. Light pollution may cause salamanders to emerge from concealment later, giving them less time to mate and reproduce."

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My former co-workers thought I was weired for wearing sun-glasses while working on-line. I was not aware of the contents of the above article; however, I must admit that I was too productive and energized at the end of the work-day. I resumed studies in a Masters program at Keller Graduate School [on-line] in March 2003. Soon as I was committed to studies; my supervisor kept running off admin support; the assignment for the vacant position(s) were dumped on my desk; I got tired of performing multiple-tasks that belonged to other active admin support in addition to 100% of tasks for vacant positions I resigned in December 2004. The supervisor was terminated 16 months later for embezzlement.

At home, I can work straight through 40 consecutive hours without being physically tired. I studied on-line and created a on-line business - Jaz Live Cash Culture http://jazlive.com/ - from scratch.

My son {high school sophomore} has an interest in noise pollution, I have saved this light pollution article link to share with Him, later this morning. Yes, I have been up all night and have not been guilty of that in almost a month.

Have a Winning Day!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

Thanks for your interesting and informative comment. An additional thought on sunglasses--my ophthalmologist told me recently that the UV protection in regular clear glasses is sufficient to prevent damage and premature cataracts. He wasn't against sunglasses but seemed to think UV protection available in clear glasses does a pretty good job of preventing damage to your eyes.


Global Warming 9 years ago

This has become a huge problem and is only getting worse. We need a uniform mandated policy globally to help slow down the process!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

You are right. The science is pretty clear. The problem is an educational, political problem to get all countries to cooperate in measures to deal with it. The U.S. should be leading, not dragging our feet. Thanks for the comment!


ipsism profile image

ipsism 8 years ago

SCIENCE IS CLEAR that Global Warming is a NATURAL Event.

Global warming is real. Only thing is, global warming is a transient trend in the cycles of earth's history.

If one reviews the temperature history that scientists have obtained, There can be no conclusion other than that our current climate is a natural cycle, no worse than prior cycles. See, http://hubpages.com/misc/The-Global-Warming-Forest orhttp://Ipsism.com

Climatologists ignore the affects of geological events, such as sub-oceanic volcanoes and astrogocial findings. Everyone takes a small sampling of data to support their pet hypothesis, rather than examining the globe in a unified approach. As such, there is rancor and duplicity to force an agenda that will make a few super-rich while making the majority poorer.


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 7 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

Ralph, I'm liking this new "grouping" tool, which is enabling me to find much more readily, these valuable hubs you have been putting up all along!

One of the concerns expressed by a poster above is that no action will make a difference to the warming problem; however, analysis shows that, although it is too late to avoid all warming, emissions reductions will still have a major beneficial impact.

News also shows that the assumption that major developing nations are indifferent to the problem is no longer true. In fact, India and China are among the nations today showing most rapid deployment of renewable energy technology.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment, Doc, we're on the same wavelength. As I've pointed out many times before, the climate at any given time is the product of both natural forces over which we have no control and man-made factors which we are capable of controlling and should as a sensible precaution.

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