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Global Warming - Questions and other BS.

Post in 'The Green Room' started by webbie, Jan 24, 2007.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I admit it - I get bored by the idea of Global Warming. For that reason I don't keep up with it. I think the whole idea is a non-starter, because people have a tough time relating to such a massive issue.

    My points are really as follows.....

    I don't dispute Global Warming. I also don't confirm it. I think a lot of people feel the same way. For that reason alone, it seems like a bad cart to hitch ones horse up to.

    I'm told that if it does exist, it will take decades of reversal to change it. In other words, not during my lifetime. That automatically means it moves down my priority list.

    Ok, so let's assume it does exist. Then a lot of other questions arise - like is it good or is it bad and does it even hold a candle to the normal heating and cooling cycles of the earth? As I have mentioned before, we are likely to address these issues for decades, and then one Volcano will erupt and change the earths climate more than we did! Longer summers will make for better crops in the north here. Ski areas will suffer. Which is more important in the total scheme of things?

    Ok, so by now you are thinking I am a pessimist. No, the answer to that is that I am a Marketer. A sales person at heart.

    As such, I think we can "sell" changes in behavior much easier by stressing the IMMEDIATE results of our actions. If we talk about Acid Rain, Water and Air Pollution, Traffic, National Security, Quality of Life and the many other issues that affect the SAME courses of action, I think Americans may come along for the ride. We can also add JOBS to that, because a new economy based on efficiency and renewables would add a number of skilled workers to the payroll.

    In short, you will never hear me talk other than jokingly about Global Warming - not because I think it's not true, but because I think it is Pie in the Sky compared to many issues which can drive people to change.

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Well put, Bill Oreilly! :)

    I'm a bit skeptical, too. For me, the numbers just don't add up...The big hoopla seems to be over carbon dioxide and usually followed by a quote about how many billion tons we humans put into the air. Well, for us humans billion is a pretty big number and I think people cringe over that and start thinking the sky really is falling. But, really, on a planetary scale, billion tons is pretty insignificant. For example the whole atmosphere is estimated at 5,000 trillion tons.

    The global concentration of CO2 is what...around 360ppm (parts per million) - that represents 0.036% of the total atmosphere

    About 90 billion tons of CO2 come from the oceans every year, another 90 billion tons from biologic activity on land...6 billion tons (about 3%) from human activity.

    Water vapor is a huge contributor to global warming. (ever notice how desert areas tend to have hot days and cold nights while tropical areas are warm day and night...it's not CO2 keeping you warm it's water vapor - or lack there of) Water vapor is conveniently left out of most charts, because there is not much money in regulating that the oceans have us puny humans beat by about 1000 to 1 when it comes to water vapor emissions. But counting in the amount and potential warming of water vapor by some accounts can be as much as 95% of the global warming gases in the atmosphere. It knocks CO2 to a paltry 3.6% of the warming gasses in the atmosphere and the human contribution is 3% of that 3.6%.

    If the weather is changing, we would be much better off to spend money to adapt to the changes rather than try and stop them.

    just my .02

    Corey
  3. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    I won't see it. I just tell my kids in your lifetime you may see.. Maybe they will remember these good old days.

    The time after... between wars was a time my children grew up in. They had no idea what war meant until 11/9/2001. Issues which can drive change happened that day.
  4. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Well said, Web......carve this one in stone because I totally agree with what you said...too many variables to say if it's us or mother nature............being an engineer though, I know there are cleaner ways to produce power and run automobiles, etc., and for no other reason than that, we need to be continually searching for better (cleaner, cheaper, etc.) ways to do things...
  5. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I just saw a show talking about this. They got into the Hydrogen fuel. Said one day each house could have a Hydrogen power generator looks the size of a central a/c unit. But I am thinking the electric companies would have that one squashed.
  6. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    Global warming DOES exist. It is speeding up. And there is no stopping it.

    What Scientists believed up until this year is that the man-produced CO2 was shifting the earths environment a little to the warmer, and that if we stopped producing so much CO2, the shift would slow & stop. But this year some scientists realized that this tiny amount of heating was melting the arctic perma-frost. Inside the perma-frost is a huge quantity of plant and animal matter that hasn't rotted for thousands of years, because it was frozen. When that stuff rots, it will produce even more CO2, melting more perma-frost, releasing more CO2. - it will feed back on itself, acclerating global warming.

    And the idea that it will be only a few degrees over the next 100 years is a global AVERAGE. For instance, the Arctic has already seen a 4F increase in temp in the past 10 years. It wams up earlier in the spring and cools later in the fall. This has allowed insects to flourish, especially a tree-boring beetle that is exterminating large swaths of forest.

    Also, a 2-3 F increase in the temperature of the south Pacific could produce an effect similar to El-Nino (which is causing this years wierd weather): 10-20F change in local temperatures. It will also change rain patterns, causing water prices to spike in some places.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, so if we cannot stop it, then I should probably should not pay too much attention to it - my point exactly!

    Again, my take is that we should attack it from the pollution angle, and then the CO will be cut down as a result. For instance, a news story today:
    "FRIDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children growing up alongside freeways risk having their lung development impaired, which can increase the likelihood of serious respiratory diseases later in life, researchers report.

    Other studies have shown that children living next to highways are more likely to develop respiratory problems, such as asthma. But this is the first study to show that long exposure to car and truck exhaust actually affects the growth of the lungs, and hence their capacity."

    OK, so ther are telling us something we already knew - but now it is proven more. And when you consider the number of roads in the country and how many people live near them....that's a lot. Consider also that - if people living alongside are affected X much, then people living 1/4 mile away are probably also affected, but only x much. In other words, we are killing ourselves and our children....choking ourselves to death!

    CORRECTION - THE STUDY USED 1/4 MILE AS THE REFERENCE, SO FOLKS LIVING 1/4 MILE AWAY ARE HEAVILY AFFECTED!

    That seems like something that we should be able to get through our thick heads - that driving a Hummer as the only occupant hurts 10 times more children than driving a Prius, etc.
  8. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    I remember years ago when a guy invented the automatic damper for furnaces..when the burner shut off, the damper closed and the fan kept going to extract all that latent heat out of the heat exchanger that if the damper remained open, would go up the stack.....the AGA (American Gas Association) fought this guy tooth and nail using every bogus argument they could to shut him and his idea down........they claimed it was dangerous because what if the damper shut while burner was still on, etc......the AGA got "stomped on" big time by the courts who saw it for what it was...the AGA trying to sell as much gas as possible and if people began using this damper it could cut down their gas usage by several percent and therefore gas suppliers revenue.......also the idea of "interlocks" to prevent one thing from happening before/after another task are not new.......what if an interlock that was there years BEFORE the damper idea came about, failed and the burner began flowing gas BEFORE the spark ignitor began sparking...... so, courts see monopolies for what they are and generally new technology prevails......
  9. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    Actually, the danger from the melting permafrost is methane, lots of it and it's much more of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Although there would certainly be some CO2 released as well.

    Siberian peat bogs thawing

    So we might not eventually end up causing the worst of the warming but we certainly have started pushing the snowball down the hill.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I don't pretend to know what the outcome will be, but it's clear we are already seeing the effects of global warming. Just look to the mountains and the glacier retreat. It's pretty obvious in our region. Or look at the ancient and massive beds of permafrost in Siberia that are now thawing. There already are some island nations in the Pacific that have had to move.

    We will very likely see the effects of the rapid rise in greenhouse gases in our lifetime. True that nature has swing cycles, but CO2 is at it's highest level in 650,000 years and the current rapid rise tracks directly with the industrial age and increasing human population. The reason I say that it the problem is accelerating is that it gets compounded by several factores like the release of stored gases in the permafrost, especially methane. This is a release on a massive scale. The problem is also compounded and accelerated by the loss of the arctic ice sheet which acts as a heat reflector. The darker water and land underneath is much more absorbant. There are current predictions are that the northwest passage will be navigable and ice free within 13 years.
  11. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    On that note - word to the wise - don't buy real estate in New Orleans (or any other place hiding from the ocean behind a wee little wall)
  12. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    Yup, pollution is a killer.

    But while we can't stop global warming, we can slow it down a little. Remember - most long lived plants & animal species need time to adapt to change. So the slower the change, the fewer of them will go extinct.
  13. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    No question that global warming is occurring. There's some question how much responsibility humans have for it. Funny part is that we're all talking about warming, but what we should be worried about is cooling. All that melting up north will release gobs of fresh water, which will decrease the salinity of the North Atlantic. When that happens, the salinity currents (of which the Gulf stream is part) shut down, meaning all that heat that's transferred from the tropics to the poles stops. Just like if I shut down the circulator fans near the stove. It's hot in the living room, but it's gonna get damn cold in the bedrooms. And Europe, and NE, and just about everything north of DC.

    Not quite like that silly Dennis Quaid movie a couple yrs ago, but they had the general idea.

    Steve
  14. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Uhh... But what if the sun explodes? That might cause global warming too.

    (Warren ducks) :)
  15. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Increased CO2 leads to increased plant life. More food, bigger trees, etc, etc. More plants produce more O2. It's a natural cycle and the impact of humans to the cycle is like an ant climbing Mt. Everest.

    Global Warming is nothing but the next "Dooms Day" scenario. Yes, the earth is warming. But when the GCM's take into account the effect of water vapor, the temperature graphs fall right in line with historical averages. People scream "But our glaciers are melting so fast" or "Look at all the bad hurricanes". Once again, the recent (past 30-40 years) are average, or even slightly below average. Hell, most scientist still agree that we're still coming out of the last ice age!!!!

    And when the everyday joe hears of Global Warming, they think it's gonna be 190° out and all life will cease to exist. The most aggressive calculations put the temperature rise at or around 10° in the next 100-150 years. By then, the earth will begin to slide back towards cooling due to ocean current changes and decreased solar output.
  16. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    You can't just worry about the pollution & let global waming take care of itself, because the real issue with global warming is not "how do we stop /slow it" but what do do to cope when it DOES happen.

    As a country, we need to put more thought into drought preparedness. We need to put money aside to fix more weather related damage. We need to ways to offset economic damage to farmers & fishermen. Stuff like that. It's not any one huge thing, but all this little stuff can break the bank if you aren't ready for it.
  17. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    I vote for desalinization plants!
  18. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    We need to find a new way of doing that - the current meathod makes water that cost something like $0.10 a gallon
  19. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    No problem.....they're able to sell "bottled water" to the uninformed at about $4/gallon...twice that of gasoline so 10 cents/gallon is pretty cheap...LOL But I know what you mean, in large quantities, it needs to come down by about a factor of 10 to 1 cent or so per gallon.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  21. detmurds

    detmurds New Member

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    I agree with you. There was a scientist from some university in Oklahoma saying that yes, we may be going through some global warming, but it cannot be proved that man is doing it. I say, "yes, we the human race needs to be responsible, but we cannot do a thing about how our solar system works, and what it and Mother Earth is doing.
  22. Stan70

    Stan70 New Member

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    While I would agree that there is much data on this subject which needs to be organized in order to properly understand the situation and determine the extent to which global warming is a function of the human behavior, why would we not at least attempt to err on the side of caution? Sure statistically, you can probably gather the data, compare it what we've been able to gather so far (which isn't a great time in the grand scheme of things) and come to the conclusion that either we are or aren't contributing to this phenomena (as opposed to it being some natural cycle of the earth). But is it really that hard to think that 200 million American cars, in addition to the number, and relative inefficiency, of vehicles that India and China (among others) are putting on the road isn't going to have some detrimental effect on the earth's atmosphere? And when taken in conjunction with the pollution generated through burning coal, which China burns in huge quantities, methane production due to cows, industry, etc., extensive use of CFCs, more rapid deforestation, etc. it seems reasonable to believe that the sum of these activities could have a detrimental effect on the environment. And for a system which is potentially somewhat metastable, I'd rather not make the mistake of having given the snowball it's first push as one previous person commented. A simple fact is that our world is not an infinite sink and it's ludicrous to think that when taken in aggregate, humans will never have any effect on the environment. That having been said, it seems like a small price to pay to simply err on the side of caution in ways which could also benefit us economically. For example purchasing cars that get slightly better gas mileage, increasing the energy efficiency of our homes, etc. all speak to the greater problem of our attitudes towards what many Americans have always assumed would be there, namely cheap, consequence free energy. To me, it seems more reasonable to make this type of mistake than to merely dismiss the issue with a wave of my hand and say "It's not my problem, so what if my kid's kids have to deal with it, I'll be long dead and gone by then..." Just my .02.
  23. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    That's essentially my position - human induced global warming is debatable, but for a variety of reasons we should be looking at efficient alternatives.

    The reason 'not to' is the potential economic damage of doing it suddenly. If we could come up with something like a long term energy policy (I thought I was promised on of those 6 yrs ago) industry, consumers, and producers could adapt.

    Steve
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed Steve (What?? :)) I'd prefer we weren't forced into harsh economic change due to procrastination and dithering. There are a lot of economic opportunities here as well. Someone is going to capitalize on them and I'd rather it was us. Many businesses that worried about going green have found that is wasn't as painful as they thought. They are now reaping nice economic benefits that put them ahead of their competitors. And face it, it's easier to be motivated by a national effort to reduce consumption with the goal of energy independence than to sustain an economy based on govt. funding of a war machine to sustain our addiction to fossil fuels.
  25. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    True. I think we should be modifying our lifestyles with the goal of leaving a smaller footprint overall. And do it in a logical and concerted manner, because it is actually the right thing to do. But not under false pretenses, and not under the auspices of a fabricated (or at least speculative) crisis.

    This whole debate may well be moot if the "we're the problem" crowd are correct. There's no way to maintain anything like our current standard of living without relaeasing more CO2 (and more methane) than we did predevelopment. We can roll it back to 1990, or 1950, but we'll still be enriching the atmosphere. We're not going to roll it back to 1750.

    Steve
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