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Conservative Argument on Climate Change

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Flatbedford, Sep 27, 2012.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Listening to both sides of the argument here it sounds like one side is saying need more data and the other is saying we have enough. Regardless, why play a crapshoot with exceptionally slow moving systems just to prove a point? That's the Exxon approach because they are making a ton of bucks with the current plan.

    The only changeable variable here is human behavior and activity. Seems like a hell of a gamble to play chicken with nature and just deny that there is a possibility that the current trend is manmade. We can create new economies removed from fossil based energy, but we do not have it in our power to reverse earth scale systems quickly if we have made the wrong assumptions.

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  2. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Sounds like a Pascal's wager to me. Since I'm not a Catholic, that gambit obviously hasn't worked so far, but bravo trying to use that which has been used to defend other religions. Because truly, that's what anthropogenic global warming is, a religion. That's what you call a belief which depends only on the fear of probabilities rooted in ignorance. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins in response to Pascal's wager... suppose we grant that there is indeed some small chance that AGW exists. Nevertheless, it could be said that you will lead a better, fuller life if you bet on it not existing, than if you bet on it existing and therefore squander your precious resources capping your carbon, eating only vegetables, protesting oil drillers, etc. Just imagine if we entertained every little superstition and pseudo-science! We'd spend our days jumping over cracks in the sidewalk, spinning three times, throwing salt over our shoulders, knocking on wood, saying Hail Mary, wearing charms and magnets, attending a different church, mosque, or synagogue every day of the week! No thank you, I value truth and reason, and therefore I'll remain skeptical of your silly claims until you provide proof.
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  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Just imagine for a minute, that this assumption is wrong. I haven't made any claims. I am just questioning the arrogance of assumptions.
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  4. Nickolai

    Nickolai Member

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    I am no scientist and do not hold a degree, but...
    My one question: Since when did we start trusting the weatherman? All of a sudden we base the end of man on what an extremely small margin of science dictates? Regardless of how well they're funded and politically backed, I think the whole premise is ridiculous.
    Remember, this is coming from the same people that can't accurately predict what's going to happen on Tuesday, yet we've been convinced that man is the scourge of the planet and every day we drive, smoke, breathe and crap we're contributing to a fiery of hell on our own expense. Either way, I'm packing my raincoat, fleece sweater, mukluks a spare t-shirt and sunscreen. 10 years in the army will learn you that.
    100 or so years of tracking weather doesn't unlock the key to the earths climate, make all the models you want, I'll bet my next pay check on you being full of it, but I do know there are a ton of people that are filthy rich because of all of this shenanigans, and the average middle class Joe doesn't seem to be reaping the benefits as per usual. Only change is now we're paying more for CFL bulbs, fuel, dual flushing toilets, electronics recycling, tire disposal oh and some corporations are supposedly paying a C02 emission tax...I emit C02 also, when should we start taxing that?
    F Al Gore and the weather man>>
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  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I think we have hit the nail on the head.

    You seem convinced that if AGW turns out to be true, and the majority were convinced of this, then sweeping policy changes would be enacted that would destroy our quality of life and/or way of life. This not only makes you resistant to the AGW concept, but feeds a skepticism based on the idea that AGW is being promulgated by those political forces that would use it as a smokescreen for a concerted effort to take away your land, your resources and your money.

    Do you believe that? Its ok with me if you do. I can't prove that isn't/won't happen, so I won't try. It is not a scientific problem.
    Not trying to bait you....here, I'll tell you what I would think and fear policy-wise....

    I **think** you can make a list of mitigation strategies, things that reduce the carbon intensity of the economy, like higher energy efficiency in our homes or cars. Things like your wind turbine, your superinsulation or begreen's solar panels. And then you can take that list of ideas and rank them in order of cost per amount of CO2 reduction. And what you find is that there are dozens of things on the top of the list that are "negative cost", that is they pay for themselves in a pretty short time. And that if you add up the things that are **negative cost** today, and implemented them, you would not only save a lot of folks money, but you would create jobs in the trades and big business, and result in a leaner US economy that was more resilient and energy independent, and which would be very much less carbon intensive. And technology being what it is, by the time we rolled out all those strategies, we would have discovered a number of new negative cost strategies, and we could do those. And so on.

    Only we in the US are not pursuing even these negative cost options in an organized way. Every single one of these ideas has become a political football. Every single one of them has a crowd of folks talking about how they are not really negative cost. Wind credits, cash for caulkers, CFL light bulbs, cash for clunkers, solar rebates, CAFE standards, EV rebates, all are imperfect govt programs whose backers believe them to be effectively **negative cost** to society when everything is toted up. No different that one of us spending money to save money by buying a woodstove or minisplit after we have crunched the numbers. And every single one of these programs is being fought tooth and nail in Congress. So of course the current 'frame' in the US is now so far to the right that the very idea that the US govt could pursue such strategies (even if everyone agreed they were beneficial) is now itself debatable! Not the government's job! They'll mess it up! No picking winners and losers! Let the market take care of it!

    Let's not go there. We've been there already in the Can.

    So what I want is these positive ends, and I don't want to fight about the means. You have implemented a lot of low carbon strategies for resilience. I get your motivations. You are also, clearly, a positive advocate for others changing their lives in similar ways. We are both approaching the same ends, for different reasons, but we are actually allies in the real world of energy and advocacy, if not the political world.

    My **fear** is that AGW deniers, as a group, discourage the sort of positive changes we have both advocated and promulgated by example. Maybe I'm wrong, but I am afraid that the politicking around all these negative cost energy programs has actually hindered not only the govt programs (duh), but also discouraged free enterprise investment, and many DIY folks from considering all their technology options. So if all the folks who killed 'cash for caulkers' were saying 'well of course airsealing is a good thing' and organizing volunteer efforts to airseal poor widows' victorian houses on the weekends through their churches...I would say "Hell yeah". But I don't see that. I see politicians laughing at the idea that it is something everyone should do...and waving tire gauges at political conventions. :(

    So, Thomas, how do we best advocate for folks in the real world to live more like you, me, Jeremy and Begreen? Back to the OP, how do we sell it to the 'right'?
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Woodgeek, you make the point far better than I could. It seems to me that if worst case projections of AGW are right, and we do nothing - as a species we may face extinction.

    Conversely if we do make changes but AGW isnt reality we end up spending a lot of money and implementing a more diverse and resilient energy policy (important anyway to deal with Peak Oil, which I believe Thomas has stated he is a believer in).

    Pretty obvious choice.


    Not to mention the "follow the money" aspect.... Who has the most to gain or loose? PHD reasearchers working 100 hour weeks in a lab going from grant to grant struggling to pay off student loans? Or the big oil companies that stand to loose billions and trillions if we break the stranglehold of oil on our economy. Like the "spice" in Herberts fictional universe... the oil must flow....
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Why don't you try to actually answer the direct questions I asked you rather than flinging insults?
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    The way my simple mind sees it:
    Humans have quickly released massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere that were naturally sequestered in the earth over millions of years.
    Its conceivable that this might impact our very complex environment.
    If our activities are impacting our climate, we,humans are probably not going to like the change. Established ecosystems won't benefit from it much either.
    Even if it is part of a naturally occurring cycle, why exacerbate the problem? Maybe this change was due in 20,000 years anyway. That's a long time for humans, nothing in geological time.
    The things that need to be done to address this problem, whether we're 100% certain its occurring or not, are things we need to do anyway to ensure the sustainability of life as we humans like it.

    Final thought: If we'd have applied the same scientific/political rigor to our decision to decrease the use of halogenated hydrocarbons worldwide (e.g. Freon) we'd have a hell of a lot more UV making its way to the surface now.
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  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Fun fact 1: The earth is a big rock floating in space in the sunshine. We can look at little rocks in space, asteroids, and take their temp by thermography, just like my IR gun, or an IR camera. A simple pattern emerges: blacker ones are hotter, whiter ones are cooler, closer to the sun hotter, further ones are cooler, etc. If you plug the earth into that pattern (its distance and average 'color') it should be cooold. In fact, about 0°F, on average. In reality, the average temp of the earth is ~60°F.

    Fun fact 2: Geologists have found evidence for something called 'Snowball Earth', sort of a super ice age where we don't just have glaciers on land, but the entire ocean freezes over all the way to the equator! Of course, this was a billion years ago, but they find fossil evidence that the big snowball happened several times, and each time lasted for millions of years. Crazy.

    These fun facts make sense because of the greenhouse effect. Gases in the atmosphere of the earth block IR from leaving, keeping the earth warm. And it is not a small effect. It is a 60°F effect, globally. If you take away the greenhouse effect, the earth would freeze over solid, and this sort of thing has actually happened multiple times in the past.

    Now, there are multiple greenhouse gases, but CO2 is a major one of them. Over all of recorded ancient history, the CO2 in the air has been ~290 ppm and not changed much. All the CO2 emitted by human activity since the industrial revolution has bumped that up by 100 ppm to 390, or about 35%.

    So, if the greenhouse effect heats the earth by +60°F, and we crank up one of the major gases by 35%, do you expect the earth might heat up a little? I would, it's actually common sense. The question is how much and how fast. The answer from 20 years of calculating....maybe 3°F and several decades. Not crazy, crank one major gas up by 35%, and the greenhouse effect goes from +60°F to +63°F, or a 4% increase. That is what the weathermen are saying.

    And +3°F is def not the end of the world. It is prob enough to turn some regions that are almost deserts into deserts, or kill off some tree species near the edge of their range, and maybe some pest species don't get killed by a hard freeze, and their range expands. So, there are costs. It will def suck for some folks.

    Of course, it doesn't stop there. CO2 is going up by 2 ppm per year, and accelerating. So if the world population and economy keep bumping along, we are on track to add as much CO2 as we have in all history in the next 30-40 years (depending on growth). And then we are talking 5°F and bigger impacts. And then there could be another 100 ppm in the next 20-30 years after that and even more impacts. That is the current trajectory....enough CO2 by 2100 to boost temps not by the current 1-2°F relative to 1950, but more like 10°F.

    Of course, 2100 is a long way away. The good news is that most of that worrisome carbon is still in the ground, and that there are lots of ways that we can reduce current CO2 emissions AND save money. Which ones you do will depend on your situation, your pocketbook and (maybe) your politics. Why don't you try some?
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Not really. Unless medical science falls backward its not inconceivable my children might live to see it, and any grandchildren I have almost certainly will. Its for them that I get so passionate about this.
  11. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Actually, I don't agree with the extinction part at all. I think we are a pretty effing smart, resiliant and durable species. When the last crumb of food is being fought over on this planet, it will be two homo saps (or whatever we become) fighting or maybe a grudgematch between a human, a rat and a cockroach.

    When my little girls were afraid of the dark I told them: "There is exactly one kind of creature that nothing on this planet will mess with, that when the bear in the woods or the shark in the sea sees one, they go the other way....and you're one of them."

    I think when the sad history of our current AGW epoch is written, it will look a lot more like the tobacco wars in the 1960s. The science of AGW now is more mature than those studies that said 'cigarettes cause cancer' were in 1962. And like the outcome of the tobacco wars from 50 years ago (we still have smokers and it was never made illegal), we will still be burning FF in 2062 and it will not be illegal (but they may be heavily taxed).

    Fun fact 3: The Jetsons aired in 1962, and was set in 2062. We are half way there. Feels about right to me. I always wondered why they built all those malls, factories and apt blocks way up in the sky? Now we can know the answer: global warming :)
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Irrespective of the outcome of this election, there are 21 more elections before 2100.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Sure the extinction comment was sensational. I was just saying that for effect, but I do believe that if we got your 10F warming we probably wouldn't be able to maintain anything close to the current 7 billion.

    Either way I think I really should give this thread a rest before I say something obnoxious enough the mods kick me.
  14. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Given no other choice but starvation, people would happily eat 'food' synthesized in a factory/fermenter with no agricultural input. Such technology has been around for a long time, and we could in principle feed >10 billion that way, with a way lower eco-footprint than current agriculture. But we don't want to, so we don't.
  15. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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  16. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    There's no personal agenda here. I live off the grid with a zero or negative "carbon footprint", so the impact to me personally from most idiotic environmentalist political solutions is negligible, other than the fact that imposing socialism under a false pretext will severely damage the efficiency of our economy and our civil liberties. I'm skeptical of ALL claims, period. That's what it means to be a scientist. To purposely inflict damage (psychological, economic, and physical) upon people based on a lie is unjust and inhumane. And I stand against it both on scientific grounds and humanitarian grounds. But let's not conflate them. The discussion here isn't how this or that scenario would effect people, but rather whether or not AGW is true or false. Arguing from consequences instead of veracity is the typical theist move once they've lost the argument.

    I'm not interested in playing central planner. Neither you nor I nor anyone else is smart enough to do so. If people want to save money or what have you by installing particular capital improvements, that must be left up to their individual decision.

    In case you hadn't noticed, the entire socialized world is collapsing under debt, regulations, and monetization.

    I'm for convincing people how to change voluntarily in their own best interests, not for imposing anything on anyone from the top down.

    On the contrary, it is the AGW believers who pervert the entire name of science and who set back those who want real, positive change. So long as this remains a political movement advocating socialism, most will never take you seriously. There are very good social and economic reasons for wanting to get off of foreign oil, diversify our energy sources, become more self-sufficient, etc., but government can never be the vehicle to achieve it. And lying to people certainly will never help you convince them.

    I already told you how to sell it to conservatives in my second post on this thread. You preferred arguing with me instead of following up on that.
  17. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Actually, it's not. If you're laying in bed with 3 wool blankets, 2 down comforters, a flannel sheet, and long johns on, what do you think adding another wool blanket will do to your body temperature? If you said "little to nothing", you'd be right. Pointing out that you'd be cold if you were naked is not an argument otherwise.
  18. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I can't seem to find that....can you reproduce it? I'd be happy to move back to the OP.

    Not saying anything unreasonable here. I think the plausibility of AGW in these terms is pretty clear. Making a significant perturbation to a 60°F effect can cause a small temp increase. For a hearth.com example, if your big woodstove is cruising along heating your house to 70°F when its 10°F outside, and you decide to bake some cookies, might the temp in your house bump up a couple degrees after a couple hours?
  19. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Ok, maybe it was my 4th post in this thread. #16


    Not the same thing at all. Your example is like adding more volcanism to the greenhouse effect, which is in fact one of the main drivers of climate change. Volcanism along with solar cycles and Earth orbit are the primary factors in climate.

    For a hearth.com example of the greenhouse effect, if your big woodstove is cruising along heating your house to 70°F when its 10°F outside, and you have R-40 closed-cell spray foam insulation in your house, might adding R-1 of additional insulation bump up your temperature a couple of degrees after a couple hours? No, it won't. But if you had R-1 insulation in your house and you added R-1 additional, then, yes it would. That's because insulation follows a logarithmic curve, not a linear curve. Showing that the original R-40 retained 60°F of heat does not mean that an additional R-1 will retain another 1.5°F. In reality, the very first R-1 retained probably 20°F or more, the next R-1 15°F, the next R-1 10°F, the next R-1 5°F, and so on. The conductance through your wall is the inverse of the R-value. R-1 = 1 BTU/sqft-°F-h. R-2 = 0.5 BTU/sqft-°F-h, which is twice as much R-value but only a 50% improvement. R-3 = 0.33 BTU/sqft-°F-h, which is three times as much "R", but only a 2/3 improvement over R-1. By the time you get to R-40, you have 0.025 BTU/sqft-°F-h conductance. If you bump it up to R-41, you'll only improve to 0.0244 BTU/sqft-°F-h. So the very first R-1 blocked an almost indefinite amount of heat loss to just 1 BTU, the second R-1 blocked half a BTU additional, but the 41st R-1 only blocked 0.0006 BTU more than the 40th. So you would not be able to measure any additional heat inside your home as a result of that extra insulation. It would be far too tiny an increment to notice. Statistically, it would be noise.

    [​IMG]

    That's how Earth's greenhouse effect works. H2O is the primary greenhouse gas and gives Earth its greatest R-value. CO2 comes next and fills all the gaps in H2O. Together, along with a few minor greenhouse gases, these are like R-100 insulation. Even doubling the CO2 from current levels would hardly make any difference in the total heat retained.
  20. jeffoc

    jeffoc Member

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    Ugh, such an attitude. Ignore the proof and screw the future gerations.
    I'll drive my SUV eating Mickey D's lighting my cigarette (that doesn't cause any health problems, the tabacco company says so, it must be the truth) with my disposable lighter, laughing at the Prius driving, tin foil hat alarmists.

    It just makes me sad.
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Just watched a program on PBS last night (yea lefty BS-whatever) very interesting, the thing is at what point does common sense come into play, I know some dont like common sense but it has always worked for me. Dumping all the crap we are into the atmosphere has no effect what so ever?
  22. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Now Now oldspark, dont you know, common sense is a left wing socialist conspiracy to punish corporate America and take away our god given right to pillage the planet!!

    To be honest I gave up on this one guys. The discussion here is going straight thought the climate skeptics handbook line by line:

    There is no proof
    Carbon is natural
    XXX scientists disagree
    The satellite data shows a cooling period if you look at 1998 and 2012
    warm weather is good- we can farm Canada ;)
    The climate changed before but life continued
    What about volcanoes?
    CO2 is caused by, not causes warming
    Incremental CO2 doesn't matter
    Its all about water vapor
    Its all sun cycles

    and on and on. Its also funny how as you walk through the list some arguments get you backed into a corner then we bring up a new argument that contradicts earlier positions.

    All just to justify unregulated pollution and more profits for Exxon and BP:(


    If we stay on script I think the next arguments in the list will be urban heat islands, the little ice age ending and the medieval warm period.
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  23. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    And yet, having heard the actual scientific facts before, you're still a true believer? Common sense or blind faith? You're following the typical theist handbook. I could just as easily be arguing with a Christian about the existence of God. I often win those arguments too. Even when they gang up on me and seem unrelenting, I check back months or years later and find that some of them are atheists (or some equivalent but less stigmatized moniker). Likewise, I may not convince a holier-than-thou adherent like you since you're not making any rational arguments and apparently not absorbing mine, there are dozens reading this who take my points and jump off the AGW bandwagon, which is why there are fewer and fewer faithful every year...

    [​IMG]
  24. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Firstly, why on Earth would I be trying to justify pollution or profits for a company I don't own? Secondly, what makes you think that I favor gasoline as a fuel? And thirdly, who is really profiting off of gasoline?

    [​IMG]
    Again, you're going through the typical true believer's handbook and making zero sense.
  25. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    If you think its actually possible to "win" an argument over an item of faith I suggest you look up the definition of faith.

    I've read yours, disagree, and presented evidence backing up my position. Its my right to do so. I have asked you to explain some of your positions - like the "farming in Canada" line or provide your scientific credentials, but you ignore.

    Wow, did I bruise your ego????



    Hmm, It only took me a whopping 30 seconds to read their front page and see they actually state that only republicans dont generally believe in human cause but people of all parties believe its happening and is a serious problem



    http://www.people-press.org/2012/10/15/more-say-there-is-solid-evidence-of-global-warming/



    Keep trying, this thread is becoming a great source of entertainment.
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