Pharyngula

The bottom line

Isn’t this what the global warming debate is actually all about?

i-bc614e83d0715dd3bbe4955cd1873d35-betterworld.jpeg

Comments

  1. #1 vanharris
    December 18, 2009

    That god-fellah will sort things out, without any help from them ther pesky librels, eh!

  2. #2 Bill Dauphin, OM
    December 18, 2009

    FTW!!

    Where was this succinct and cogent takedown when we needed it a day or two ago, to fight all that “Pascal’s Wager” nonsense in the first Randi thread?

  3. #3 Andyman
    December 18, 2009

    Oh how I wish the denialists are right, but they’re probably not.

    This image needs to remind us that even if AGW/CC is all bark and no bite, we still need to take much better care of the environment we live in and make some changes for the better.

  4. #4 Occam's Machete
    December 18, 2009

    Joel Pett’s political cartoons are worth a visit at Pens and Needles

  5. #5 VoiceoftheGods
    December 18, 2009

    “That god-fellah will sort things out, without any help from them ther pesky librels, eh!”

    I don’t know about that. I’m pretty clueless on this whole thing.

  6. #6 pikeamus
    December 18, 2009

    Actually I think the crux of it is “What if it’s all a hoax and we make a better world for everyone rather than the best possible world for us at the expense of everyone else?”

  7. #7 history punk
    December 18, 2009

    The Global Warming debate we are having in America is a product of our everyone is special and unique culture that produces nonsense like participation ribbons and the idea that everyone’s idea, however ill-informed or idiotic, is worthy of consideration and respect.

  8. #8 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Better world my ass. More bait and switch.

  9. #9 Vaal
    December 18, 2009

    I didn’t see the holy grail of exponential unsunstainable population growth on that board. Should have been the number one point.

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    but

    but

    ALLLLLLLLLLL

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE

  11. #11 holyspiritdenier
    December 18, 2009

    I don’t understand why the global warming issue has politicized the way it has, namely, the right’s denialism that AGW exists or its questioning of the advocates’ motives. You’d think the right, with its dominator world view, would latch onto AGW science as a new tool to increase man’s mastery over the forces of nature. Don’t conservatives and libertarians want man to have the ability to control Earth’s climate, like an advanced civilization from science fiction?

  12. #12 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    @history punk,

    While that might have something to do with it (the idea that every viewpoint is worthy, despite evidence or lack thereof), I think it has more to do with powerful self-interested parties that are willing to fuck over other people for their own gain (which is an excellent definition of evil).

    In almost every case of AGW denialist propaganda, the funding comes directly or indirectly from parties that have a profit interest in arresting AGW research. They then have the balls to claim that AGW research is only interested in continued funding, that the scientists are only in it for the money. This ignores the idea that scientists can get funding for all kinds of things. Available public funding does not increase that tremendously. Sure, the total amount available specifically for AGW research goes up, but usually at the expense of other research.

    Meanwhile, funding for AGW denialism is a fresh funding source, usually at the expense of PR budgets, or perhaps from the Christmas bonuses of oil industry workers. This is new money for any scientist willing to shill out for corporations, and cloud the actual issues with half-truths and misinformation.

    Not that I believe these scientists are necessarily lying. They quite likely believe what they say. But it’s easier to believe what you say when the paycheck is very nice, and you’re not scrabbling for research dollars (which is usually predicated by results).

    Aaaaanyway, all I’m say is that Purple Ribbon syndrome isn’t the only (or even the primary) factor involved. Carefully crafted misinformation is more at fault than some strange view that all opinions are equal. The general public is getting views from “scientists” from both sides, so all other things being equal, it’s hard to tell whom one should believe.

    After all, not all laypeople are equipped to understand the scientific method, let alone evaluate empirical claims.

  13. #13 Sigmund
    December 18, 2009

    Unfortunately it also brings to mind that famous cartoon of the physicist deriving a complex equation with the key intermediate step being “and then a miracle occurred”.
    I too would like to see the end result detailed on that chart but I think it would be helpful if we were more explicit about step 2.
    How do we get to the desired end result? I’m not a political analyst but I suspect the sorts of measures necessary to achieve these aims are incredibly difficult to achieve in the prevailing electoral systems around the world – with perhaps one exception, China.
    Lets say we all agree that AGW is both real and serious enough to require concerted action.
    What exactly is this action?

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Better world my ass. More bait and switch.

    um?

    What?

  15. #15 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Still a fuckwit, Abdul?

  16. #16 David23
    December 18, 2009

    I wonder why the real problem of there being to many people on the planet is never addressed.

  17. #17 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Population growth isn’t exponential anymore. If everything keeps going as it is ? no Peak Oil, no gradual disappearance of Bangladesh ?, the world population will have started shrinking before the end of the century, and there’s a small chance (I forgot how big exactly) that it will be lower then than it is now. I’ll look up the paper this evening.

    Birthrates are dropping everywhere, even in countries where that means 4 instead of 8 children per woman. The only exceptions are France (rampant socialism ? free crèche & kindergarten everywhere) and the most horribly theocratic countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman and the like ? not Iran, IIRC).

  18. #18 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Regarding the issue of global warming, there are not too many people on the planet. A small subset are using tremendous amounts of energy.

    (Regarding food supplies, there may be too many people, but this discussion has very little to do with global warming.)

  19. #19 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    Better world my ass. More bait and switch.

    Yeah. I know what you mean. I’m still pissed about the lack of flying cars, too.

  20. #20 foeclan
    December 18, 2009

    There’s a great rant on YouTube that makes a similar point at the end. (it autoplays when I click that link, so be forewarned)

  21. #21 Fred the Hun
    December 18, 2009

    Yep, and the guy who is saying it is a hoax is like the T cell of a slowly dieing organism mustering an immune response to the dangerous new organism that is hell bent on speeding up the demise of the old system. Which by the way, will happen regardless.

    However green BAU isn’t going to work either unless population overshoot is addressed first. If we don’t address it, no worries, there is ample evidence that nature knows exactly how to do it.
    David correct me if I’m wrong (while growth rates are indeed declining the population is still growing, growth is defined by an exponential function)

    The planet is fine, its the people that are fucked.
    George Carlin

  22. #22 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Nothing proposed as a solution to global warming strikes me as leading to a better world.

    What I see are policies of profiteering, including by oil companies. The anti-big-oil-anti-capitalist line may pull in suckers, but the big guys will be taken care of.

    Also payments to poor countries allegedly harmed by global warming, meaning subsidizing the goverments that keep them poor (and in some cases commit genocide).

    No I don’t have any “positive suggestions”. Fuck Utopia.

  23. #23 Lt. Cccyxx
    December 18, 2009

    I agree with the sentiment but the cartoon misses (or ignores) the critical point that people who oppose action on climate change often do so because they feel – or have been convinced – that it will make the world worse, not better.

  24. #24 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Fuck Utopia.

    Who said anything about Utopia?

    Progress is not a synonym with utopia.

  25. #25 Sven DiMilo
    December 18, 2009

    Isn’t this what the global warming debate is actually all about?

    Nah, as several have noted above, it’s not nearly cynical enough. They don’t see it as “for nothing,” they feel that they will be victimized. They weigh the short term against the long term differently than we do.

  26. #26 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    No I don’t have any “positive suggestions”.

    IOW, I don’t have anything useful to contribute and I’m not afraid to let you all know it!

  27. #27 Vaal
    December 18, 2009

    David. The end of the century? So, you will be happy for the earth to be supporting some 12 billion people by then, and that is a conservative estimate. When I was born the world population was less than 3 billion. By the time I pass away the population will have trebled, in one lifetime. At what cost to the planet, to our own species and to the other species we share this planet with, who are rushing inexorably to extinction by our overconsumption, and by the unstoppable habitat loss.

    I hope you are right, but I fear we are already beyond the tipping point. As you have noted, Islam may also be a primary factor, unless they, and Catholism, learn to address the harm of overpopulation, which I fear, is beyond them, until too late, and we turn the earth into Easter Island.

  28. #28 felixthecat
    December 18, 2009

    Not everyone would agree that population growth is not a problem- more people use more resources and cause more pollution. Certainly, if we could dismantle developed economies and level everyone down, that might help with the global warming problem.

    And are birthrates everywhere truly declining? No. But believing that makes it seem like a terrible problem doesn’t exist and will just go away if we ignore it. People like Pat Robertson, though, rejoice in ballooning populations (“Texas can hold 20 billion comfortably”)

    At current rates of fertility, not the imaginary rates of a utopian AD 2499, or the presumed rates of 10,000 BC, the worlds population will be in the trillions in just a few centuries.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3302497.stm

  29. #29 KOPD42
    December 18, 2009

    No I don’t have any “positive suggestions”. Fuck Utopia.

    Neither do I, but I don’t attack scientists and other interested parties for trying to come up with some.

  30. #30 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Lets say we all agree that AGW is both real and serious enough to require concerted action.

    What exactly is this action?

    It’s not a single action. Off the top of my head?
    ? Limiting energy consumption by replacing inefficient machines with more efficient ones, insulating houses*, replacing lightbulbs with fluorescent lights or (in a few years) LEDs, and so on. Did you know that, in 2000, the average US citizen produced almost twice as much CO2 than the average German, at the same or perhaps a slightly lower standard of living?
    ? Building more power plants that use renewable energy so coal-fired ones can be taken off the grid. There’s a German project underway to build lots of solar power plants throughout the Sahara. Of course, the biggest problem when it comes to coal is China now.
    ? Building more railways, especially in the USA.
    ? Building more efficient cars, especially in the USA, where anywhere near reasonable standards were only introduced a few months ago ? later than in China.
    ? Building more cars that run on something else than petroleum. We’re not really there yet, but we’re fairly close.
    ? Saving the rainforests. Easier said than done, but, really, it’s just a question of political will about where to put one’s money.
    ? And so on and so forth.

    Note that several of these actions can be done by corporations that would make a handsome profit from them. In recent threads, several denialists have claimed that every “alarmist” wants to introduce global communism. I still don’t understand where they get that from. Is it a knee-jerk reaction that just follows from them being libertarians, or something? ~:-|

    * The museum building I’m sitting in right now has windows that don’t close properly, and are obviously designed that way, so it gets cold right now. Despite already wearing a fairly serious pullover, and even though the sun just shone in a bit (that has a very strong effect in this strange room with its 8 big windows), I just put on my thick cardigan, and sometime in the evening I’ll probably have to turn up the very powerful heating. This is Paris, which experiences negative Celsius temperatures every winter, if only for a few weeks. ? Or take the biology building of the university of Vienna, in a somewhat more continental climate, which consists mostly of metal. It’s actually hot in there in winter, because they heat like crazy.

  31. #31 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Fuck Utopia.

    Oops! Wrong planet!

  32. #32 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Nothing proposed as a solution to global warming strikes me as leading to a better world.

    Notice fuckwit doesn’t mention preserving forests or using alternative energy to reduce the flow of capital to the Saudis.

  33. #33 alopiasmag
    December 18, 2009

    Technically speaking, The EARTH cannot be saved. It is WE, that must be saved. The better living conditions are for us. If the deniers can’t see that, they’re morons.

    Earth will be here long after we’re gone. It’s unfair the length of time our planet still has.

  34. #34 Mr T
    December 18, 2009

    Let’s face it. The future will either be “utopia” or “the apocalypse”. Anything else is hyperbolic speculation from the ivory tower commie-pinko-fascist liberals, and which is certainly not based on any empirical evidence.

  35. #35 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    It isn’t scientists who came up with cap and trade. Or the subsidies to slavemasters.

    Bait and switch.

    First apocalyptic hysteria, then the promise of a better world. And systematic slander. Science? Yeah right!

  36. #36 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    I wonder why the real problem of there being to many people on the planet is never addressed.

    No-one likes to be told they have to “get off the planet”.

    Although I would be quite happy to leave if anyone feels like terraforming mars with me.

  37. #37 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Cap and trade isn’t a solution to global warming.

    It would involve capping emissions at current levels. That is suicide.

    But your portrayal of the science as “apocalyptic hysteria” demonstrates that you are a fuckwit.

  38. #38 Mr T
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred:

    Your defeatism is noted.

  39. #39 holyspiritdenier
    December 18, 2009

    Re: Mr T:

    Let’s face it. The future will either be “utopia” or “the apocalypse”.

    I’ve heard that before, from Buckminster Fuller back in the 1970’s, only he framed it as “utopia or oblivion,” even publishing a book with that title. He thought we’d reach either state by that mysterious, far-future year 2000.

    In other words, Fuller underestimated man’s ability to muddle through at a low level of efficiency.

  40. #40 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Defeatism? Sure.

    Better the alleged climate disater than be ruled by the likes of you (or rather those you support).

  41. #41 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Regarding food supplies, there may be too many people

    At the moment, there’s enough food for twice the world population. Outside of North Korea, everyone who is hungry is so because they’re too poor to buy food and/or because they live in war zones where distribution is a problem. Or as Jean Ziegler at the UN put it: “Every child that starves is being murdered.”

    Of course, current agriculture depends a lot on petroleum (tractor fuel and stuff, and fuel for nitrogen fertilizer production), and Peak Oil is near. Also, the amount of arable land has been maxed out and can only shrink anymore.

    while growth rates are indeed declining the population is still growing,

    Yes.

    growth is defined by an exponential function

    No, where do you get that from? Growth can be linear, sigmoid, asymptotic, anything. ~:-|

    David. The end of the century?

    Yes, the world population will have started decreasing before the end of the century if everything keeps going as it’s now.

    So, you will be happy for the earth to be supporting some 12 billion people by then

    9, not 12, is the predicted maximum.

    Of course, this calculation doesn’t take into account what I wrote near the top of this comment: several resources may well be too limited for 9 billion to be ever reached. Let’s hope Peak Oil won’t be too catastrophic, for one. We’re living in interesting times, as the curse goes.

    As you have noted, Islam may also be a primary factor, unless they, and Catholism, learn to address the harm of overpopulation

    In the long run I’m optimistic about both of those ? half of Europe claims to be Catholic, but ignores everything the church says about contraception. The fundie Muslim countries consist mostly of desert and have rather small populations, so even if education never gets in there and those populations keep exploding, it simply doesn’t amount to much. Let’s just hope that “in the long run” won’t be too late.

    It’s still entirely possible that we’ll turn the whole planet into Easter Island. I’m just saying there are reasons for not being quite as pessimistic as comment 16 implies.

    Not everyone would agree that population growth is not a problem

    Did anyone say it’s not a problem!?! I said it’s not exponential.

    And are birthrates everywhere truly declining? No.

    The global average is declining, and the birthrates in most countries are declining, too. As I said, incredulous one, I’ll dig up the paper later today.

    the worlds population will be in the trillions

    Obviously it won’t be, because there’s just no way to get there. Barring science-fiction advances to food production and resource management in general and so on and so forth, the carrying capacity of the Earth is in the billions, not the trillions.

  42. #42 KOPD42
    December 18, 2009

    It isn’t scientists who came up with cap and trade.

    Then maybe it was “other parties,” fuckwit.

  43. #43 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    David23 says: “I wonder why the real problem of there being to many people on the planet is never addressed.”

    Global overpopulation is a serious issue, but to pretend this problem would go away if we reached zero population growth is naive. I find that generally, those who quote this are merely trying to shift blame to developing countries where population growth is higher.

    The fact is that consumption of resources has outstripped population growth–and that has mainly happened in the industrial world. Somehow we have to reach a situation where we maintain a dynamic, growing economy without growth in consumption–in other words, a sustainable economy. I know of no way of doing this except by a rapid expansion of science and technology.

    Ironically, the most reliable strategy for controlling population is development in poor countries–which of course increases consumption. The most effective of all strategies seems to be the education and empowerment of women and girls.

  44. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Although I would be quite happy to leave if anyone feels like terraforming mars with me.

    Are there beer and bacon on mars?

  45. #45 SaintStephen
    December 18, 2009

    But PZ… I don WANNA! I DON WANNA GO! NO MOMMY, I DON
    WANNA GO TO DA DOCTER!!!

  46. #46 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    You guys realize of course that one major war will make a hash of all your plans, and there has never been a century without a major war?

    And that Ahmedinejad likes climate control?

    Hmm?

  47. #47 Mr T
    December 18, 2009

    Better the alleged climate disater than be ruled by the likes of you (or rather those you support).

    Yeah, sure…. I’m worse than global warming.

    lol

    Now fuck off.

  48. #48 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    #41 I have seen estimates above 9. These are usually based on everyone living more economically…and probably don’t take into account our reliance on fossil fuels for food production though.

  49. #49 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Better the alleged climate disater than be ruled by the likes of you

    Stated by someone who clearly knows they won’t be likely affected by AGW in the least (in their lifetime, anyhow), but might be by any potential solutions…

    IOW, “We’re all fucked anyhow, why should I be inconvenienced now?”

    How very selfless of you.

  50. #50 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    me fail english? Thats unpossible

  51. #51 tuckerch
    December 18, 2009

    As with everything else Libertarians consider “evil”, it always seems to come down to the money.

    Unions are fine, until they cost a transnational hypercorp a few extra dollars per employee. Then the unions are evil bloodsucking communards.

    That said transnational hypercorp offshored 90+% of its labor force is not looked upon as a bad thing, because, according to the Libertarians, labor is transportable. “Lost your job, well, MOVE you lazy fuckers! Move to where the jobs are!”

    It’s always about the money. Always.

  52. #52 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Once the “obstructionists” take us past the tipping point, will you warm-mongers shut up and leave us alone? ;)

  53. #53 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Better the alleged climate disater than be ruled by the likes of you (or rather those you support).

    As the coastlines shrink and the displaced populations begin to move, in the resulting wars you won’t have even the pretense of a choice who to be ruled by.

    If you think energy efficiency standards are totalitarian, you’re a fuckwit.

  54. #54 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    As the coastlines shrink …

    You might as well threaten me with Hell.

  55. #55 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred,

    Have you given any thought to how people will react when the climate catastrophe begins to unfold? The panic. The desperation. The willingness to follow blindly anyone who promises them safety and survival? Sound like a recipe for a demagogue to take power? If so, maybe you ought to think about the relative merits of action now while cooler heads are still being listened to versus waiting until the panic begins.

    Are you honestly admitting that your worldview is impotent in the face of a challenge like climate change?

  56. #56 KOPD42
    December 18, 2009

    there has never been a century without a major war

    And there has never been a climate change threat without major trolling.

    Not that I’m complaining. I find these exchanges to be educational.

  57. #57 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVT1LBhwmO9ej9LNg7a5e9d-AVJ8ezfmE
    December 18, 2009

    About a better world? Well, that would be nice. But from where I sit, it looks more like the endless war between the haves and the have-nots. With the amount of energy that the haves use, the have-nots will never have, unless there is major change. But meanwhile, the almost-haves are saying “fuck all those other gomers. just let us get a taste of the have lifestyle for a little while.” In spite of all the talking, it appears to me that everyone involved is perfectly comfortable with living for today, and leaving subsequent generations to deal with the mess.

    And, of course, there’s the pointless posturing for the crowd like:
    IOW, “We’re all fucked anyhow, why should I be inconvenienced now?” How very selfless of you.

    …typed by someone sitting at a computer that’s probably sucking down 400 watts of power while he’s doing it. Holier than thou bullshit doesn’t help, but I guess it might make you feel better about yourself. Wanna help? die. Wanna help more? die before you breed. You can do both of those without making a big fuss.

  58. #58 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    Are there beer and bacon on mars?

    Of course…What else is terraforming for?

    You bring the piglets, i’ll bring the demijohns.

    (and thus bacon-beer became the national drink of mars)

    You guys realize of course that one major war will make a hash of all your plans, and there has never been a century without a major war?

    A good war will wipe out a few million people. Ease things up a bit. anyway, science and tech have moved on towards more efficiency in spite of (and sometimes because of) war. Shrug, whats your point?

  59. #59 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    You might as well threaten me with Hell.

    Are you seriously such a fuckwit that you don’t understand the sea level is already rising?

  60. #60 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    And that Ahmedinejad likes climate control?

    You get an F for the fallacy of guilt by association.

    You really typed that out, looked at it and thought that was a good argument huh?

    nice

  61. #61 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Hitler liked climate control too.

  62. #62 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Yeah you can paint a good word picture. So?

    The willingness to follow blindly anyone who promises them safety and survival? Sound like a recipe for a demagogue to take power?

    You are already panicking and ready to do that.

    I’ll take my chance. And so will you lie it or not.

    Nothing that has been proposed as a remedy for climate change does anything but enrich and empower people who are already rich and powerful.

    If your scenario is credible, they will do what?

  63. #63 Vaal
    December 18, 2009

    Hi David, looking at several population charts, there is a high degree of uncertaintly about the population growth, with some models showing that the population growth is exponential, and many showing that the population will be 9 billion by the middle of the Century. Personally, I regard our population, at nearly 7 billion as already far too much, as evidenced by the shrinking water resources, the emptying of the oceans, the shrinking of habitat, the destruction of rain-forests. Indeed, the we are already closing on a human footprint of 1.5 earths, with the WWF predicting our footprint to equate to 2 earths by 2050.

    Just this week, we saw that scientists are getting closer to curing cancer, and with increases in technology, lifespans may be increased by some measure.

    I wish I was as optimistic as you, but that is not what I see on the news every day. Even here in the UK, professional breeding is encouraged, with one acquaintance of mine having had 18 children, yet never having provided for any of them, considering it his right to have as many as he likes, and his right to not have to work. The only way I can see to address such appalling selfishness is education, education, education.

  64. #64 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Although I would be quite happy to leave if anyone feels like terraforming mars with me.

    In the long run, Mars is too small to hold a dense atmosphere ? every little asteroid impact erodes a bit off. That’s why it no longer has one.

  65. #65 KOPD42
    December 18, 2009

    I meant “thread” and not “threat.” Please forgive me.

  66. #66 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    The sea level is rising and what exactly is being proposed that will remedy that?

    You understand that plans that absolutely require universal cooperation will not work, right?

  67. #67 Jeremy O'Wheel
    December 18, 2009

    @13 “What is this action?”

    Wow, there is so much we could be doing but are choosing not to. It’s hard to answer such a broad question in a tiny amount of space.

    Just by adopting laws from other countries for things like compulsory double glazing we can dramatically cut emissions.

    There are all kinds of other more creative things that could be done as well – turning free space into vegetable gardens. There’s a city in Brazil that gives people who help clean up rubbish free public transport tickets.

    There’s really nothing holding us back.

  68. #68 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Nothing that has been proposed as a remedy for climate change does anything but enrich and empower people who are already rich and powerful.

    Although this is false, perhaps you’d care to offer other remedies.

  69. #69 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    -Nothing that has been proposed as a remedy for climate change does anything but enrich and empower people who are already rich and powerful.-

    Yep, those damned super rich wind farmers and their gold plated cars will be the death of us.

  70. #70 daveau
    December 18, 2009

    Fuck Utopia.

    Why? What did Todd Rundgren ever do to you?

    There’s a lot more to worry about than just global warming. Here’s a relevant article which bears reposting.

  71. #71 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    “In spite of all the talking, it appears to me that everyone involved is perfectly comfortable with living for today, and leaving subsequent generations to deal with the mess.”

    Excuse me, but many of us here are trying to do something now–and I don’t even have any children to bequeath the problem to. The situation is not in any way hopeless. Concerted action and foresight would be sufficient to triumph. Instead, we seem to be dedicating our efforts to providing an answer to the Fermi Paradox.

  72. #72 En Passant
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul, I don’t think I understand your position on this subject. Governments should not take action on GW because… um, that’s where I get lost. Because greedy companies will find a way to profit? Because it won’t improve your life, personally? Why shouldn’t those with the power to do good, do good? Why NOT take the steps we can toward a responsible, sustainable human population?

  73. #73 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    I’m all for stuff like conservation and efficiency standards. And pollution laws. And use of zoning laws to control land use.

    Hasn’t already been said that this is will not be enough? Otherwise why the big deal international conference?

  74. #74 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    In the long run, Mars is too small to hold a dense atmosphere ? every little asteroid impact erodes a bit off. That’s why it no longer has one.

    Ugh, you are nearly as bad as Abdul. Surely there is a way to get around that. Its only physics.

  75. #75 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    The sea level is rising and what exactly is being proposed that will remedy that?

    See #30, fuckwit.

    You understand that plans that absolutely require universal cooperation will not work, right?

    I understand that fear has motivated humans to avoid nuclear apocalypse thus far, though we have the capability to utterly destroy civilization in a matter of hours.

  76. #76 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred says “You understand that plans that absolutely require universal cooperation will not work, right?”

    OK, Genius, let’s hear the libertarian plan. Oh, I know, just let human civilization collapse, right? And you guys wonder why everybody thinks you are a joke.

  77. #77 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Although this is false, perhaps you’d care to offer other remedies.

    Spare me your dishonest apologetics.

  78. #78 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    The most effective of all strategies seems to be the education and empowerment of women and girls.

    Bingo.

    You guys realize of course that one major war will make a hash of all your plans,

    Duh.

    We’ll just try not to have one.

    and there has never been a century without a major war?

    There has also never been a war between two modern democracies. How convenient, then, that the days of big authoritarian empires are over.

    And that Ahmedinejad likes climate control?

    O NOEZ!!! Hitler ordered a campaign against smoking, therefore smoking is good for us!!!

    Are you trolling?

    Personally, I regard our population, at nearly 7 billion as already far too much, as evidenced by the shrinking water resources, the emptying of the oceans, the shrinking of habitat, the destruction of rain-forests. Indeed, the we are already closing on a human footprint of 1.5 earths, with the WWF predicting our footprint to equate to 2 earths by 2050.

    I don’t disagree with any of that. I just said the growth is not exponential anymore.

    The only way I can see to address such appalling selfishness is education, education, education.

    Of course.

  79. #79 Pygmy Loris
    December 18, 2009

    Richard Eis

    Although I would be quite happy to leave if anyone feels like terraforming mars with me.

    I’d be happy to go to Mars. It’ll be a grand adventure :)

    AGW worries me because of the food issue. If the arable land moves to places where there’s no topsoil (the Canadian Shield, for example) then we’re going to have some serious issues feeding people. I’ve become rather attached to eating everyday. If fact, if I don’t eat, I feel sick and tired. Funny thing, that.

  80. #80 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Now we are in the territory of my words being deliberately tiwsted.

    I’m not a “libertarian” or even a “small government conservative”.

    I’m not against cooperation. I am merely realistic about the chances of universal cooperation. Someone will inevitably defect.

    OK folks. Bye for now. Have fun piling on, and I will read it later.

    Y’all are doomed and I am happy. :)

  81. #81 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Spare me your dishonest apologetics.

    Fuckwit, it is a fact that simply reducing energy use will not benefit the already wealthy, except insofar as it benefits all of us.

  82. #82 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    In the long run, Mars is too small to hold a dense atmosphere ? every little asteroid impact erodes a bit off. That’s why it no longer has one.

    I suggest we make Mars bigger. The plan is fairly simple.

    First, we build some oceans. Asimov showed us how with “The Martian Way.” We go on out to Saturn and pick up some icebergs from the rings. We set up nuclear thrusters, and use some of the ice as thrust mass. Drop a few of those on Mars, wait for oceans to form, and we’re set for Phase 2.

    We can drop both Deimos and Phobos into the new ocean. This won’t help much, but we need to clean up the asteroid belt anyway. We’ll just dump a couple of million asteroids into the new ocean. This will take some time, as the asteroids will evaporate much of the water, causing clouds, which will cause a greenhouse effect, heating up Mars even more. We’ll still need more mass to keep the atmosphere in place, though, so I calculate (using my hindquarters) that we can probably drop about 1.214 × 10^22 kg a year. In about 300 years, we could double Mars’s mass.

    Either that, or we can swap orbits with Mars and Venus. We’ll need a contained black hole for a tractor. That would only take about 62 years, if we moved them both simultaneously.

  83. #83 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    I understand that fear has motivated humans to avoid nuclear apocalypse thus far, though we have the capability to utterly destroy civilization in a matter of hours.

    Well, weeks maybe. There aren’t enough nuclear warheads to do that in one go. Fallout and lack of food/water/medicine would be the main cause of death probably.

  84. #84 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Holier than thou bullshit doesn’t help, but I guess it might make you feel better about yourself. Wanna help? die. Wanna help more? die before you breed. You can do both of those without making a big fuss.

    Taking the stance that actively advocating for actions that reduce AGW, and calling those who could give a shit if it inconveniences them “selfish” is being “holier than thou” is a pretty sleazy attempt at redirection and projection.

    Go fuck yourself you pretentious, self-concerned halfwit. You can do that without making any fuss at all.

  85. #85 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    You understand that plans that absolutely require universal cooperation will not work, right?

    Universal cooperation is not required. There is such a thing as an emission that is too small to count.

    Hasn’t already been said that this is will not be enough?

    Numbers please.

    Otherwise why the big deal international conference?

    <headdesk>

    To get each other to take more of the actions in comment 30, and perhaps even support each other in that financially? To coordinate the efforts a bit? To show the voters (and the potential rebels in dictatures) that “we’re doing something”, if nothing else?

    Man, you can ask stupid questions. That Lovecraftian madness is getting to your head.

  86. #86 Sir Eccles
    December 18, 2009

    Isn’t this the same as asking “why do we do good things?” in general.

    The religious person will say they do good things to avoid being sent to hell. They need the whole carrot and stick thing because they are inherently evil and will just naturally go to the dark side without God’s prompting.

    The rational person doesn’t believe in hell and does the right thing because of the greater good. There is a natural goodness to us all. We have self determination and can see for ourselves what is right and wrong.

  87. #87 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Y’all are doomed and I am happy. :)

    I could at least understand a Ranum-style counsel of despair: “yes, global warming is real, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so we might as well learn to die.”

    Anti-depressants would be in order, but I could understand where it’s coming from.

    You, Abdul, are merely intellectually dishonest. As you refuse to acknowledge the reality of the science, there’s no point in engaging with your evasiveness. You are motivated by a love of lying.

  88. #88 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    If the arable land moves to places where there’s no topsoil (the Canadian Shield, for example) then we’re going to have some serious issues feeding people

    Does anyone know how centralized farming is in America for corn/maize? I heard it was mostly in one or two states but damned if I can remember where that info was or if i didn’t just make it up.

  89. #89 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Ugh, you are nearly as bad as Abdul. Surely there is a way to get around that. Its only physics.

    Well, see comment 82.

  90. #90 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Well, weeks maybe. There aren’t enough nuclear warheads to do that in one go. Fallout and lack of food/water/medicine would be the main cause of death probably.

    Weeks for humanity. But hours for civilization, no?

  91. #91 TampaDale
    December 18, 2009

    I have a few questions that I hope may get answered here. I am not a global warming denier but I am a sceptic on issues that seem a little light on the evidence, hence my enjoyment of this site. Why was global warming not evident in the early part of the last century when there was uncontrolled industrialization with absolutely no action taken to reduce or eliminate emissions? Picture Detroit, the Ruhr valley, the English industrial midlands etc. during the first half of the 20th century. Wouldn’t that have had a large impact? If not, why not then, while today with a much lower level of industrialization in the western world and even among developing countries with little regard for the environment a lower level of emissions then existed 75 years ago climate change is blamed on industrial output and emission.
    I am old enough to recall in high school that immediate action was required to slow greenhouse gas emissions because the world would experience a devastating ice age before the end of the 20th century due to CO2 emissions. Missed that cold snap I guess. Of course now reports are that polar ice caps are melting although since the temperature at the poles remains well below zero for much of the year, I am not sure of the mechanism for melting ice at those temperatures.
    I have some pictures of my grandfather, taken in the 1910’s or 20’s in which he is standing on some rocks at Pinellas Point Fl, at the south end of St. Petersburg Fl, where I live. Those rocks are still there, at high tide they still look identical as they did almost a century ago. If they climate is changing so radically wouldn’t there have been at least some sea level change? Florida is constantly being threatened with disappearing below the water and indeed would seem to be at high risk but there seems to be little evidence of same. Another example, years ago (before it was bulldosed for an apartment complex #*&@!!!) there was remains of a village, believed to be of the Tocobaga people also on Pinellas Point. This village dated from the 11th or 12th century, was directly on the coast as evidenced by middens which showed a diet of oysters, fish and other marine animals. This village was in existance at the same time the Vikings were growing crops and raising cattle in Greenland and the earth was much warmer then it is today, yet sealevel appeared to be relatively similar to today.
    We are constantly being told the evidence for global warming is overwhelming and definitive. As a non scientist who never the less trusts the scientific process ( I am an Emergency Room RN) could someone direct me to a solid, well researched book that would lay out the evidence. For example, the evidence for evolution is readily available to anyone who cares to look at any level from basics to advanced, in any bookstore or library. I have not been able to find any book, laying out the evidence for climate change that is readable yet truly scientific in its approach.

  92. #92 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    NigelTheBold although I like your plan for bringing bacon to mars it has a couple of teeny issues that could take a little too long to overcome.

    How about parking ourselves in a crater and doing more of a “colony” thing, rather than world domination. Or some such.

  93. #93 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    Weeks for humanity. But hours for civilization, no?

    Well, qualified and good point. But since I must get the last word in I would have to say that some small civilisations would survive on small islands.

  94. #94 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    I am old enough to recall in high school that immediate action was required to slow greenhouse gas emissions because the world would experience a devastating ice age before the end of the 20th century due to CO2 emissions.

    You may have heard such bullshit — it was high school, after all — but that was never the conclusion of the scientific community.

  95. #95 Pygmy Loris
    December 18, 2009

    Richard Eis,

    Every link I found to corn production by state is a workbook page for kids…

    http://www.kycorn.org/kycgaprojects/education/corninclassroom/3uscornprod.pdf

    I’m not sure how accurate this is, but it’s a place to start. If something happens to the ability of the Great Plains and Upper Midwest to produce agricultural goods, we’re going to have some serious problems.

  96. #96 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    I’m not sure how accurate this is, but it’s a place to start. If something happens to the ability of the Great Plains and Upper Midwest to produce agricultural goods, we’re going to have some serious problems.

    Thanks Pygmy…your a star…

    Ah, its more or less as I remembered. Your main corn producing areas are actually quite close together. This would probably magnify the effect to food production of any warming.

  97. #97 TampaDale
    December 18, 2009

    Strange Gods.
    Good point, not to mention that I am not sure I recall all that much accurately about my high school years. Damn the drugs were swell! But the 1960’s were the beginning of the environmental movement and global cooling was pretty well publicized in the popular press as your useful link indicated. There were specials on TV etc warning us of our impending doom and multiple popular books at the time outlining the “evidence”.It was certainly taught in my earth science class as a real threat.

  98. #98 Pygmy Loris
    December 18, 2009

    TampaDave,

    If you are sincere in your desire for more information, you can go to realclimate.org for lots of helpful pages. Also, there’s this article about the mistaken idea that Greenland used to be good for agriculture.

    If not, why not then, while today with a much lower level of industrialization in the western world and even among developing countries with little regard for the environment a lower level of emissions then existed 75 years ago climate change is blamed on industrial output and emission.

    Carbon dioxide emissions are much higher now than they were are the beginning of the 20th century. The first graph on this site is a graph of carbon dioxide emissions over time. Notice the dramatic rise since 1950. The world is far more industrialized now than it was then.

  99. #99 daveau
    December 18, 2009

    Pygmy Loris & Richard Eis-

    According to this climate wizard, the midwest should maintain it’s rainfall, but average temperature will go up. I hate that everything is made out of corn now, anyhow. Thank you, Earl Butz.

  100. #100 daveau
    December 18, 2009

    Fuck! I spelled “its” wrong.

  101. #101 Knockgoats
    December 18, 2009

    This village was in existance at the same time the Vikings were growing crops and raising cattle in Greenland and the earth was much warmer then it is today, yet sealevel appeared to be relatively similar to today. – Tampa Dale

    No, the Earth was not much warmer then than it is today. Globally, it was colder. The Medieval Warm Period was a regional phenomenon. The evidence is clear that the Earth was warmer in the 20th century than at any time in the last millennium, probably considerably longer.

  102. #102 Pygmy Loris
    December 18, 2009

    Thanks daveau!

    I do wonder how the higher temps will affect crop production. Corn is a tropical plant, so maybe it’ll be okay. Will wheat?

    One thing I think is important to remember is that the USA, Canada, and Australia are the top exporters of food in the world. If AGW severely affects our abilities to raise crops, people all over the world are going to suffer.

  103. #103 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Oh, the Medieval Warm Period.

  104. #104 TampaDale
    December 18, 2009

    Pygmy Loris;
    Thanks for the links, both very useful. Having read the Viking accounts however I do dispute some of the statements made in the first. At least for a while, the Vikings did pretty well on Greenland and were able to grow crops and raise cattle, No doupt they had to leave after a few hundred years due to climate changes. Of course everybody who knows anything about Viking history knows the story of how Eric named it Greenland to attract settlers. That’s why they called North America Vineland!! For the grapes on Newfoundland that no longer can grow there due to cold! So, in history as in Science, there can often be different interpretations of incomplete data! Personally I have little doupt the earth is trending warmer, that is pretty evident, I think the evidence that man is causing it and that we can change it is another matter. Another way to look at it, as the west is no longer primarily industrial and much production is shifting to third world, read poor countries, it seems the west has a newfound desire to curtail industrialization. HMMM. The sceptic in me does detect a political thread in the climate change evidence.

  105. #105 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Y’all are doomed and I am happy. :)

    Does this mean you’re leaving the human race or the earth?

  106. #106 destlund
    December 18, 2009

    As far as crop production goes, some places (USA) are at least temporarily experiencing some benefit from AGW. I, for one, would be very happy if the Midwest transformed from the bread basket into another salad bowl. The people of Tuvalu, Jakarta, and Mumbai would probably beg to differ, since they’re the ones who will be racked by droughts, floods, cyclones, and plagues. It’s a bizarre and bitter irony that the worst offenders will likely experience the least harm.

  107. #107 Knockgoats
    December 18, 2009

    TampaDale,

    You are managing to pack so many false or uncertain factoids into your comments, that it’s hard to keep up.

    Of course everybody who knows anything about Viking history knows the story of how Eric named it Greenland to attract settlers. That’s why they called North America Vineland!! For the grapes on Newfoundland that no longer can grow there due to cold!

    There is no firm evidence that Eric named Greenland for that reason, there is no evidence at all vines grew in Newfoundland.

    I think the evidence that man is causing it and that we can change it is another matter.

    Given the number of misconceptions you have repeated, what you think is of no relevance. Learn something about the actual state of the science, at least.

    the west is no longer primarily industrial and much production is shifting to third world, read poor countries, it seems the west has a newfound desire to curtail industrialization.

    This is of course a load of crap. The vast majority of industrial production remains in rich countries, and much of what has moved to poor ones is production for rich company markets.

    HMMM. The sceptic in me does detect a political thread in the climate change evidence.

    Denialists make this claim that climate science is a plot to do down the poor countries almost as often as they claim it’s a plot to introduce socialism and cripple the industries of the west. Sometimes both at once. Do you actually have any evidence for your silly conspiracy-mongering?

    *crickets*

  108. #108 bastardsheep.com
    December 18, 2009

    It’s already been said enough times, but I want to add my (AU$)two cents. I have seen enough fallacies from both sides that I find it near impossible to distinguish as to which is correct. What matters the most to me is the goals, and those on the AGW side I agree with the most. We do have finite resources on this planet and should aim towards preserving what we have whether we are running out, overwarming or not. Even if AGW is wrong and it’s just GW, only the AGW side has goals that will help.

    It’s a win-win situation supporting them in the long run. Capitalisation may hurt at first, but it WILL find a way to survive and flourish off it. Our society as we know it WILL continue.

  109. #109 robinsrule
    December 18, 2009

    The sceptic in me does detect a political thread in the climate change evidence.

    That’s just climatologists and their incessant demands for luxury goods.

  110. #110 skeeto
    December 18, 2009

    Humans have been fascinated by doomsday predictions for thousands of years, always believing it’s right around the corner. I think it’s what drives a lot of religion. We revel in destruction. I guess it’s provided some sort of evolutionary advantage, which is why we are this way.

    Though AGW is likely taking place, so many people project it into some kind of huge end-of-the-world event, rather than the relatively minor, gradual sociopolitical shift that is more likely to happen. Look at you people. You’re talking about huge wars and the end of civilizations here. Don’t you see this is just the current doomsday fascination that’s been going on throughout human history? Don’t let those primal tendencies cloud your judgment.

  111. #111 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Don’t you see this is just the current doomsday fascination that’s been going on throughout human history? Don’t let those primal tendencies cloud your judgment.

    And you’ve come to this proclimation in spite of the science how?

  112. #112 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Though AGW is likely taking place, so many people project it into some kind of huge end-of-the-world event, rather than the relatively minor, gradual sociopolitical shift that is more likely to happen.

    — headdesk —
    — headdesk —
    — headdesk —

  113. #113 destlund
    December 18, 2009

    @skeeto #110,

    Thank you, your words are very soothing, but the fact remains that we have a problem, and inaction up to a point worsens the problem, and past that point most likely renders it catastrophic and irreversible. No, the planet won’t explode, nor will God intervene to judge the righteous and the damned, but the reason we get our hackles up over this is because very powerful factions have got a lot of allies spewing junk science and nonsense to lull people into a false sense of security, or to terrorize them into believing in a global conspiracy to take away their SUVs. I agree it’s easy to slip into apocalypse mode, but let’s not deny the urgency of the situation.

  114. #114 Acronym Jim
    December 18, 2009

    strange gods before me@61:

    Hitler liked climate control too.

    So, if you invoke the Godwin rule for snark purposes, does that mean you win or lose?

    Either way, it’s a win for me sgbm. Thanks for the lulz.

  115. #115 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    TampaDale, First, the Vikings never had farms outside of the coastal valleys, which are warmer than the rest of Greenland. Second, the North Atlantic is very dependent for heat on the flow of the Gulf Stream. It is likely that during the MWP, Gulf Stream flow was temporarily accelerated, and the North Atlantic was somewhat warmer. On the Tree-Ring thread we have been pointing out that all the contentions that the MWP was global rely on proxies–and none of the proxies line up temporally. Thus, what you have are in fact many independent, local warm periods, not a single global MWP.

  116. #116 Paul
    December 18, 2009

    @skeeto

    Just because you cannot imagine the sheer unbridled horror that a relatively minor, gradual increase in the sea level could cause doesn’t mean we should ignore what would result. Although it does imply you might want to, you know, go out and read some of the literature.

    Do you really think large portions of some countries going underwater would result in “relatively minor, gradual sociopolitical shift”?

  117. #117 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    ok I’m blaming AGW for my piss poor and declining typing and proofing skills.

  118. #118 skeeto
    December 18, 2009

    > And you’ve come to this proclimation in spite of the science how?

    There’s no science for the sociopolitical outcome of AWG. Just wild speculation from people enjoying doomsday predictions.

  119. #119 skeeto
    December 18, 2009

    >Do you really think large portions of some countries going underwater would result in “relatively minor, gradual sociopolitical shift”?

    Worse things have happened and we’re all still here having a good time.

  120. #120 Acronym Jim
    December 18, 2009

    Jeremy O’Wheel@67:

    There’s a city in Brazil that gives people who help clean up rubbish free public transport tickets.

    SOCIALISM!!! Those sick pinko commies. How dare they provide payment in exchange for services.

    Wait, what?

  121. #121 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    There’s no science for the sociopolitical outcome of AWG. Just wild speculation from people enjoying doomsday predictions.

    Interesting… you don’t seem to require science to assert this:

    the relatively minor, gradual sociopolitical shift that is more likely to happen.

    Is that intentionally selective? Or do you just love good irony?

  122. #122 Knockgoats
    December 18, 2009

    Don’t you see this is just the current doomsday fascination that’s been going on throughout human history? – skeeto

    Remind me of the peer-reviewed scientific studies that supported the various religious claims of forthcoming apocalyse throughout human history.

    *crickets*

  123. #123 Knockgoats
    December 18, 2009

    skeeto,

    If you were not so obviously invincibly ignorant, I’d suggest you go read about some of the past civilisations that have collapsed due to climate change.

  124. #124 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Worse things have happened and we’re all still here having a good time.

    Care to name them, and in doing so remember that it would not be a one time disaster, but an ongoing, steadily worsening event, and make sure it’s an apples to apples comparison?

  125. #125 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Worse things have happened and we’re all still here having a good time.

    such as?

  126. #126 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Worse things have happened and we’re all still here having a good time.

    O.o

    I guess you also don’t think the Black Death was all that bad, either…

  127. #127 Fred the Hun
    December 18, 2009

    David@ 41,

    No, where do you get that from? Growth can be linear, sigmoid, asymptotic, anything. ~:-|

    Yes, growth can be any of a number of types but population growth is exponential as long as it is still growing and last time I checked the global population is still growing at about 1.3%, representing a doubling time of 54 years.

    Exponential growth (including exponential decay) occurs when the growth rate of a mathematical function is proportional to the function’s current value. In the case of a discrete domain of definition with equal intervals it is also called geometric growth or geometric decay

    Application to biology:
    The number of microorganisms in a culture broth will grow exponentially until an essential nutrient is exhausted.
    Source wikipedia>

    Are Humans smarter than yeast?

  128. #128 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    RBDC, Jadehawk…

    I framed the question the way I did because I’m guessing skeeto will point to things like the Plaugue, Hiroshima, Holocaust, etc… without realizing that those events were singular, time specific events and would not continue to happen the way the effects of GW would, and I wanted to make sure he gave a fair, apples to apples comparison…

  129. #129 Richard Eis
    December 18, 2009

    Actually thats a good point, what effect is this going to have on that underwater heat stream thing that circulates around the earth…I forget the fancy name. I just know its important.

    To point out about the doomsday predictions, most of those were probably over hyped news stories. Not actual proper science. You know newspapers and their wacky way with science “interpretation”.

  130. #130 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    I mentioned the plague because even though it killed a fuckload of people, “we’re all still here having a good time”; so apparently unless something leads to total extinction, it ain’t that bad. which is a disgustingly callous attitude

  131. #131 TampaDale
    December 18, 2009

    Knock goats:
    I admit I am not a scientist, I really do not understand the science of global warming. Most of my background is in history which I admit is open more to interpretation. The evidence is very suggestive that Eric named Greenland so as to attract more settlers as he came from Iceland which didn’t sound very hospitable. Some of the other posters here have ponted out that the warmer conditions in Greenland at that time were possibly a local occurance and that does seem very plausible. Of course the west is still the dominant industrial culture but that is changing rapidly. The bottom line. Are there or are there not a few good books that outline the facts about climate change, similar in nature to Richard Dawkins excellent series of books on evolution? Here is where I am. I readily admit I am self referencing here. You show me graphs charts etc saying the world is warming, sea levels are rising etc. I go to the ocean, I see that sea levels have not changed in my lifetime (I am AARP eligable!) What evidence should I believe? are seawater levels rising or not? If so, when and where. I really do want to read more, I just want a solid, scientifically sound overview that does not have an aqenda. I know there are many titles, I am asking the posters on this blog to help me out, to sort through the garbage. I just want to be informed, I don’t want to take a degree in climatology. I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

  132. #132 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    Are Humans smarter than yeast?

    Yeast invented beer. Therefore, they are my heroes.

    They have also shown me my plan for dealing with overpopulation and global warming: I shall build an impenetrable cocoon, within which I shall go into stasis until such time as the environment improves.

  133. #133 Paul
    December 18, 2009

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    I take it he did not teach quantum physics. Not everything is simple, and not everything can be made simple.

  134. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Actually thats a good point, what effect is this going to have on that underwater heat stream thing that circulates around the earth…I forget the fancy name. I just know its important.

    The Gulf Stream?

  135. #135 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    what effect is this going to have on that underwater heat stream thing that circulates around the earth

    Gulf Stream. and it could shut down, thus turning Stockholm into Churchill, Manitoba

  136. #136 skeeto
    December 18, 2009

    > Remind me of the peer-reviewed scientific studies that supported the various religious claims of forthcoming apocalyse throughout human history.

    Remind me of the peer-reviewed scientific studies that supported the various AWG fanatic’s claims of forthcoming apocalyse.

    *crickets*

    >Interesting… you don’t seem to require science to assert this

    Where’s the science that predicts the end of human civilization? I’m just saying that things probably aren’t going to change any more than they did over a couple of world wars.

    >I’d suggest you go read about some of the past civilisations that have collapsed due to climate change.

    When in history did all of human civilization collapse from climate change? You’re either confused or misunderstanding me.

    Ok, I’m done here. I see even atheists can be thickheaded, making stuff up (“Science predicts the end of the world!”), and subject to religious tendencies of doomsday wishing. Trust me, you’ll feel silly in a few decades when it turns out everything worked out fine and civilization, in general, went along without a hitch. Just ask someone who got tired of following Peak Oil for a decade or so, thinking doomsday was “any day now”. Or someone who stocked up for Y2K. Or someone who thought nuclear apocalypse was imminent during the Cold War.

    I’m not saying that nothing should be done, but that this isn’t the end of civilization like so many of you here like to think.

  137. #137 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Trust me, you’ll feel silly in a few decades when it turns out everything worked out fine and civilization, in general, went along without a hitch. Just ask someone who got tired of following Peak Oil for a decade or so, thinking doomsday was “any day now”. Or someone who stocked up for Y2K. Or someone who thought nuclear apocalypse was imminent during the Cold War.

    Y2K and Nuclear War? you mean the sort of things that were entirely possible but prevented by human cooperation and great effort to PREVENT it from happening?

    you’re even more callous and clueless than I thought.

  138. #138 Gregory Greenwood
    December 18, 2009

    That cartoon pretty much sums up the whole ‘email-gate’ manufactured scandal about climate science perfectly. Still, I have to wonder if it is not a little superfluous.

    I can think of few things that are simultaneously as funny and disturbing as listening to climate deniers, like the Saudi Arabian delegation to the Copenhagen conference, desperately grasping at straws by trying to claim that a few willfully misinterpreted e-mails somehow invalidates decades of careful climate research and mountains of mutually supporting data.

    It is all the funnier (and disturbing) when their true motivation in protecting the river of petrochemical dollars flowing from the oil fields is so transparent and yet much of the mainstream media (Faux News being a particularly prominent offender) continues to treat their position as if it has some scientific validity.

    I suppose it is true what they say. You can take an idiot (or someone with a vested pecuniary interest) to the facts, but you cannot make them think.

  139. #139 R. Schauer
    December 18, 2009

    TampaDale @ #91
    Try this:
    “Plan B 4.0″
    by Lester R. Brown

    or visit:
    http://www.earth-policy.org/

    The climate data sets are all there. Take a look.

  140. #140 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    TampaDale | December 18, 2009 11:28 AM:

    Why was global warming not evident in the early part of the last century when there was uncontrolled industrialization with absolutely no action taken to reduce or eliminate emissions? Picture Detroit, the Ruhr valley, the English industrial midlands etc. during the first half of the 20th century. Wouldn’t that have had a large impact?

    And the climate did warm from about 1860 until about 1940. (Although not all the late 19th century warming was due to CO2.)

    But climate is not simple; among other factors, industrial activities – especially with primitive engines – also generate a great deal of sulphate aerosols, which cause cooling. Between about 1940 and 1970, aerosols masked AGW. (In the long run, CO2 has an advantage over aerosols: aerosols leave the atmosphere with the rain, while CO2 accumulates.)

    Keep in mind that global warming is a slow effect; the oceans have an enormous heat capacity (it takes about 6 * 1024 Joules to warm the oceans 1 C). They warm very slowly, and they’re coupled to the atmosphere.

  141. #141 destlund
    December 18, 2009

    What evidence should I believe? are seawater levels rising or not? If so, when and where. I really do want to read more, I just want a solid, scientifically sound overview that does not have an aqenda

    You will find a number of those here.

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    A nice gentleman has made a movie just for you. No doubt you’ve already bought into a pack of lies about it though, so I guess it’s not much use asking you to watch it.
    It sounds like the only evidence you’d believe would be The Netherlands going underwater, but they’re actively working on preventing that, so if they succeed, you’ll probably just see more evidence of the “myth.”

  142. #142 daveau
    December 18, 2009

    Richard Eis@129-

    This thing?

    This village was in existance[sic] at the same time the Vikings were growing crops and raising cattle in Greenland and the earth was much warmer then it is today…

    But that was before Brett Farve…

  143. #143 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009
  144. #144 Josh
    December 18, 2009

    I go to the ocean, I see that sea levels have not changed in my lifetime…

    Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me.

  145. #145 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    Or someone who stocked up for Y2K.

    Heh. Those poor schlubs. As someone from the computer industry, I didn’t worry at all about Y2K. None of us figured it was going to be bad. Well, except Ed Yourden, but he had an interest in selling sensationalist books. The rest of us, though, knew everything was OK.

    Y’know why? Because we took it seriously long before the media started trading in on all the millennial fever. We rolled up our collective sleeves, dug into those hundreds of millions of lines of COBOL and MUMPS code, and started fixing it.

    See, we knew there was a problem. We knew how to fix it, and there were hundreds of millions of dollars spent worldwide to fix it.

    If the industry hadn’t paid all us geeks to audit decades-old code and fix the two-digit years, there could’ve been major potential economic fallout. This would’ve been far worse than the leap-year bug that bricked a few Zunes a couple of years back. Those doomsday predictions? Yeah. Probably not that bad, but bad enough. Not end-of-civilization bad, but end-of-your-retirement-fund bad.

    Or someone who thought nuclear apocalypse was imminent during the Cold War.

    Uh… you do realize how close we came to nuclear war with the Soviet Union, right?

  146. #146 Knockgoats
    December 18, 2009

    Remind me of the peer-reviewed scientific studies that supported the various AWG fanatic’s claims of forthcoming apocalyse. – skeeto

    Start by reading the IPCC AR4 report, and the thousands of peer-reviewed studies referenced therein, fuckwit. That human activity will cause global climate change sufficient to disrupt human agriculture, fisheries, and coastal settlement is, simply, the conclusion of almost all the relevant scientific experts.

    When in history did all of human civilization collapse from climate change?

    WTF are you on about, fuckwit? “Because X has not happened, X cannot happen” seems to be your bleat. There has not been, within the Holocene, global climate change of the magnitude now underway. Regional climate change has indeed caused the collapse of regional civilizations (the Maya, for one). Explain why global climate change is unlikely to cause the collapse of our global civilization.

  147. #147 daveau
    December 18, 2009

    Richard Eis-

    This is a better link. Thermohaline Circulation.

  148. #148 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Skeeto,
    Spoken like a man who hasn’t looked into the science. Sea level rise gets all the press, but mainly because it is the most certain. And the consequences are pretty severe. Never mind the loss of coastal cities, increased damage from higher storm surges and inundation of fertile crop lands, one of the scariest consequences is the contamination of aquifers with sea water.

    Now let’s look at agriculture. A temperature rise of a couple of degrees will render it impossible to grow winter wheat in much of the North American Great Plains. Now, you may suggest that we just move North. Big problem: The glaciers stripped the Canadian shield of most of its topsoil–it’s one of the reasons why the Great Plains was so fertile before the dustbowl.

    If we go to higher temperatures, we could get into some severe issues. At 5-6 degrees, the ocean’s shift to favor H2S producing bacteria over O2 producing bacteria. This is what caused a mass extinction in the PETM.

    You will forgive me if I do not share your sanguine attitude that everything will work out OK. The thing folks like you ignore is that the reason we haven’t faced a real catastrophe is because scientists have worked their asses off increasing crop yields, opening up new crop lands and generally addressing threats to human civilization. Survival doesn’t just happen.

  149. #149 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    This has to be one of the dumbest arguments I’ve heard against AGW.

    People have gotten worked up before about completely unrelated threats with totally different situations, therefore AGW isn’t something to worry about.

  150. #150 BAllanJ
    December 18, 2009

    No doupt they had to leave after a few hundred years due to climate changes

    Oh look, somebody is siting how well the Vikings were able to adapt to cooler temps after the MWP! Heehee!

    Except I believe most of them adapted by starving to death. Not such a good example for us to follow, I think.

  151. #151 nigelTheBold
    December 18, 2009

    A temperature rise of a couple of degrees will render it impossible to grow winter wheat in much of the North American Great Plains.

    There’s already some major fallout from warming. This is all kinda personal to me, as I grew up in Alaska. It’s painful to go back and see acres of dead trees.

    It’s hard to predict exactly how extensive damage will be, when you can’t even predict the source of the damage. All it took was a long-term average increase of a couple of degrees, and suddenly some forests in Alaska are being decimated.

  152. #152 KOPD42
    December 18, 2009

    Or someone who stocked up for Y2K.

    People who say this sort of thing obviously don’t know anything about y2k. But I see others have already answered that charge quite well. I will have to remember this thread so I can link to these responses if it comes up again. This is just a hint at the sorts of things that could have happened if y2k had not been recognized and thwarted by the expenditure of millions of programmer-hours of work, and a lot of money.

  153. #153 Fred the Hun
    December 18, 2009

    skeeto @ 136,

    Trust me, you’ll feel silly in a few decades when it turns out everything worked out fine and civilization, in general, went along without a hitch. Just ask someone who got tired of following Peak Oil for a decade or so, thinking doomsday was “any day now”. Or someone who stocked up for Y2K. Or someone who thought nuclear apocalypse was imminent during the Cold War.

    I guess you’re one of those folks who ignores warnings such as:
    “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”

    BTW if you are one of those who are also tired of following “Peak Oil” You’re really going to love this:
    http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2009/12/monte-carlo-of-dispersive-discoveryoil.html

    Here is my solution to both climate change and energy depletion.
    http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll225/Fmagyar/ChineseMagicMotor.jpg

  154. #154 v.rosenzweig
    December 18, 2009

    Skeeto–

    By definition, everyone reading this is a survivor, and descended from survivors. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been past disasters.

    You might just be saying “it’s okay, you still have two children” to someone whose daughter just died in a crash. Or you might be saying “it could be worse” to someone who just lost their whole family. Things could always be worse; as intelligent humans, we can find a higher standard than “we aren’t all extinct yet.”

  155. #155 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk6EuJ25qQXXX6AA1qI20x3qF-U7gYF3Dw
    December 18, 2009

    Posted by: David23 “I wonder why the real problem of there being to many people on the planet is never addressed.”

    The solutions are politically and socially unpalatable (rationed births, rationed health care to the elderly, sterilizations, and 2 of the biggest religions are totally against it) and few politicians are prepared to threaten their position by acknowledging it.

  156. #156 Mark G.
    December 18, 2009

    Does anyone know if rising temperatures have resulted in increases in sea levels significant enough to require tide chart adjustments?

  157. #157 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Things could always be worse; as intelligent humans, we can find a higher standard than “we aren’t all extinct yet.”

    I think to properly (and honestly) represent skeeto’s argument, you need to replace those we‘s with me‘s…

    Seems to be a common theme regarding this issue… pity.

  158. #158 robinsrule
    December 18, 2009

    a few good books that outline the facts about climate change

    TampaDale, here is a good place to start.

  159. #159 SC OM
    December 18, 2009

    The Gulf Stream?

    Please stop with this fancy academic science talk. I’m not able to follow.

    ***

    Seriously, boneheads: Stop mistaking your ignorance or incomprehension for the actual state of scientific knowledge. There is no connection. Nothing falls out of the sky because you can’t grasp aerodynamics. If you don’t understand evolution, living beings will continue to evolve.

  160. #160 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    There’s already some major fallout from warming. This is all kinda personal to me, as I grew up in Alaska. It’s painful to go back and see acres of dead trees.

    apparently, the same thing is slowly happening to Horse-chestnuts in Central Europe, because of some butterfly that is extending its range northwards

  161. #161 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Tampa Dale asked for books:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/12/books-08/

    Also, read Six Degrees (review here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/six-degrees/
    )

    And Spencer Weart’s Discover of Global Warming:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Now that’s what I’m talking about–a skeptic who actually wants to know the evidence.

  162. #162 Walton
    December 18, 2009

    This is absurdly simplistic.

    If AGW is happening, then the measures needed to combat it will cost a lot of money, hold back economic growth, reduce the production of consumer goods, and lower the standard of living for many people. A cleaner environment isn’t going to come free; dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth. Reducing industrial production will inevitably increase employment and throw more people into poverty. And even “saving the rainforest”, which might sound like an unambiguously good thing, will not be great for those people in the developing world who currently make a living from logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.

    Nevertheless, if AGW is as much of a threat as some are predicting, we should take these measures despite the economic cost, because the consequences of failing to do so are even worse. But this doesn’t mean that we can make simplistic statements like “if we turn out to be wrong, we’ve created a better world anyway, so where’s the harm?” The potential harm from environmental protection measures is immense – and so it is absolutely critical that every measure taken is based on sound science. That’s why it’s important to have these discussions.

  163. #163 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    … dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth.

    It also incurs enormous medical costs. Your assumption that the additional wealth produced by being dirty exceeds those medical costs is unwarranted.

  164. #164 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    And even “saving the rainforest”, which might sound like an unambiguously good thing, will not be great for those people in the developing world who currently make a living from logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.

    A living they will no longer be able to make when said rain forests are gone.

  165. #165 SteveM
    December 18, 2009

    Why was global warming not evident in the early part of the last century when there was uncontrolled industrialization with absolutely no action taken to reduce or eliminate emissions?

    This was a big part of The Great Global Warming Swindle which conveniently said nothing about all the other crap that was being dumped into the atmosphere at that time, such as the sulfer compounds which have a strong cooling effect. As we have cleaned up those pollutants we are left with the effects of CO2 alone.

  166. #166 destlund
    December 18, 2009

    Walton, you’ve embedded the response to your argument yourself. “Those people in the developing world who currently make a living from logging and slash-and-burn agriculture” are going to starve within a few decades because their efforts are unsustainable. Endless economic growth models in a finite world will ultimately prove self-defeating. Nobody said putting a stop to AGW would be quick, easy, cheap, or painless.

  167. #167 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    I sense Walton sliding back into Libertarian thought processes w.r.t. AGW… que sera…

  168. #168 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    I wonder why the real problem of there being to many people on the planet is never addressed.

    You could start.

  169. #169 Tom S. Fox
    December 18, 2009

    @Bill Dauphin: Those are two different arguments.

    Saying that you had better believe in Global Warming because of the consequences that will come upon us if don?t is Pascal?s Wager, aka an Appeal to Fear. Just because you managed to scare somebody into believing something it doesn?t make it true. The fact that Global Warming happens to be actually true (which we know because of the [i]evidence[/i], not because of fear-mongering) doesn?t make the argument any less fallacious.

    Saying that it is a good idea to make the world a better place regardles of whether Global Warming is true is a completely different, valid argument.

  170. #170 Celtic_Evolution
    December 18, 2009

    Saying that you had better believe in Global Warming because of the consequences that will come upon us if don?t is Pascal?s Wager

    No, no no no NO… dammit have we not already covered this ad-nauseum?

    —headdesk—

  171. #171 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    The sceptic in me does detect a political thread in the climate change evidence.

    That’s not the sceptic in you. It’s something down closer to the colon.

  172. #172 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 18, 2009

    Saying that you had better believe in Global Warming because of the consequences that will come upon us if don?t is Pascal?s Wager

    Wait, you can demonstrate empirically what will happen if you don’t believe in god?

  173. #173 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkD9oPuO_ZXJ3kp7Woq8jiLZTGNrn19t9w
    December 18, 2009

    Explain why global climate change is unlikely to cause the collapse of our global civilization.

    This is also irrelevant. All that is necessary is for it to effect some countries which are already *in* financial, social and ecological messes, enough that they find war a more convenient solution than asking for help (which many such countries won’t do, since they already blame the problems they have on the western world “conspiring” to do them harm). Civilization doesn’t need to collapse to result in the collapse of countries, or the death of millions in all of them, due to some new global war, triggered by a refusal of either help, or of those that could have helped to do anything. And, some of those countries may get their hands on nukes, if they are desperate enough, and *would* use them on countries that would have otherwise remained completely unaffected otherwise.

    Hell. Think about it. You are starving, and you just got your hands on a couple of long range nukes. Do you target NY, and kill a few people, or nuke and contaminate a large portion of the “green belt” in the state, leaving your “enemy” in the same state you are, so they starve too? I would think, if anyone had half a damn brain, they would at least *consider* that as a possible consequence of radicals on some country, wracked by loss of arable lands, and mass death from starvation, due to something we knew about, but decided to not act on, getting their hands on such weapons.

    For that matter, it doesn’t even need to be nukes. A large enough dose of defoliant, or some other contaminant could devastate crops in any country where the growing area is sufficiently limited to a relatively small region. The US has a bigger on than could maybe be effected, without something like fallout, but some others…

  174. #174 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    …reduce the production of consumer goods…

    because in the perfect world, everybody would have a singing bass

  175. #175 CJO
    December 18, 2009

    This is absurdly simplistic.

    One might almost say comically so.

    If AGW is happening, then the measures needed to combat it will cost a lot of money, hold back economic growth, reduce the production of consumer goods, and lower the standard of living for many people.

    Acheiving a post-greenhouse world will likely necessitate a redefinition of “standards of living” and an acceptance of the fact that economic growth has been defined as an unadulterated good by keeping external costs such as environmental degradation “off the books” or even by counting them on the positive side of the ledger.

    A cleaner environment isn’t going to come free; dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth.

    Doesn’t “not coming free” imply spending money? As in, economic activity, albeit toward a different goal than untrammeled corporate wealth, employing people and producing wealth?

    Reducing industrial production will inevitably increase [un]employment and throw more people into poverty.

    Retooling industrial production for a new energy regime will inevitably employ people and averting various disasters related to a changing climate will ameliorate the impact of AGW on the poor.

    And even “saving the rainforest”, which might sound like an unambiguously good thing, will not be great for those people in the developing world who currently make a living from logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.

    AGW or no, such practices are patently unsustainable over the longer term. Some of the perspective you need is to think about these people’s children and grandchildren too. Yes there will be disruptions to the way of life of millions, but if the outcome is alternative, more sustainable means of making a living for millions, the net effect on these communities will be positive.

    Nevertheless, if AGW is as much of a threat as some are predicting, we should take these measures despite the economic cost, because the consequences of failing to do so are even worse.

    Yes.

    But this doesn’t mean that we can make simplistic statements like “if we turn out to be wrong, we’ve created a better world anyway, so where’s the harm?”

    The current energy regime that our industrial society operates under is simply unsustainable, whether or not it is causing GW (moreso if it is). We can change it, with planning and an eye to minimizing the inevitable disruptions to traditional modes of generating wealth and sustaining life, or we can do nothing while it catastrophically fails, plunging much of the overpopulated world into one of Malthus’s worst nightmares.

    The potential harm from environmental protection measures is immense

    So say lobbyists for Chevron, et al.

    - and so it is absolutely critical that every measure taken is based on sound science. That’s why it’s important to have these discussions.

    Not exactly an earth-shattering conclusion, and I doubt anyone here disagrees, on either count.

  176. #176 negentropyeater
    December 18, 2009

    Walton,

    recommended reading : The Stern Review

    ?The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change provides the most thorough and rigorous analysis to date of the costs and risks of climate change, and the costs and risks of reducing emissions. It makes clear that the question is not whether we can afford to act, but whether we can afford not to act. To be sure, there are uncertainties, but what it makes clear is that the downside uncertainties?aggravated by the complex dynamics of long delays, complex interactions, and strong non-linearities?make a compelling case for action. And it provides a comprehensive agenda?one which is economically and politically feasible?behind which the entire world can unite in addressing this most important threat to our future well being.?
    Joseph Stiglitz
    Nobel Prize economist 2001

  177. #177 negentropyeater
    December 18, 2009
  178. #178 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    Either you had a really cruddy professor or you must have been 5 at the time and didn’t understand what he was actually saying.

  179. #179 Fred the Hun
    December 18, 2009

    Walton,

    This is especially for you but a good read for anyone who still doesn’t quite get it…

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2009/12/political-ecology-of-collapse.html

  180. #180 Walton
    December 18, 2009

    Jadehawk,

    because in the perfect world, everybody would have a singing bass

    No – I’m talking about the kinds of consumer goods which are essential to our modern quality of life, but which use substantial amounts of energy to manufacture and operate. Things like cars, central heating, refrigerators, and the like. The likely end result of hardline environmental measures is that people on low incomes will be unable to afford these goods – leading to a lower standard of living for many people. Not to mention that restrictions on air travel and long-distance transport will make it more expensive to import food from around the world – making it harder for poorer people to maintain a varied diet.

    One of the great triumphs of the modern age is that, thanks to the consumer goods industry, the average person in the developed world today lives a life of comfort and luxury which would have been unimaginable a century ago. Unfortunately, if the most dire predictions of climatologists are correct, we may not be able to maintain this lifestyle any longer with Earth’s scarce resources. If that’s true, then we have no choice – but, because the consequences are so dire, we urgently need to be very, very sure that the science is correct. That’s all I’m saying.

  181. #181 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    At some level, I agree with Walton–it’s a mistake to say that we should carry out the reforms needed to combat climate change whether it’s true or not. However, it’s only a mistake because it understates the strength of the evidence showing that we are changing the climate.

    The current petroleum-based economy is unsustainable. We will have to revolutionize our economy in any case. All climate change does is force us to opt for other energy alternatives than coal and other fossil fuels.

    We should not underestimate the sacrifice that will be needed to beat climate change. At the same time, I have every confidence that the technologies we develop will ultimately lead to higher standards of living for our progeny. If, on the other hand, we don’t get our act together, our prospects are not good.

  182. #182 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Walton says, “One of the great triumphs of the modern age is that, thanks to the consumer goods industry, the average person in the developed world today lives a life of comfort and luxury which would have been unimaginable a century ago.”

    One of the other great “triumphs” of the modern age is the fact that we’ve distorted the economy enough that it’s cheaper to have slave labor in China build our furniture and ship it across the globe than it is to have our neighbors build it. It’s also cheaper for me to buy durian (a very perishable, exotic and weird tropical fruit) than it is to buy locally grown apples (if I can find them).
    Walton, when an avalanche took out the power lines from the hydro-electric plants that supplied power to Juneau, the capital had to generate its power with expensive diesel generators. People managed to cut their power consumption by about 35% at the drop of a hat. Nobody died as a result. This is doable. It will require hardship, but it also carries opportunity. And we have no choice.

  183. #183 Josh
    December 18, 2009

    Unfortunately, if the most dire predictions of climatologists are correct, we may not be able to maintain this lifestyle any longer with Earth’s scarce resources.

    *shrug*

    Some kind of change is on the horizon, anyway, Walton. And we’re racing toward that horizon. The last clause of your statement would be accurate no matter what the climatologists had discovered. CO2 or no CO2, the coal and petroleum aren’t going to last forever. And they’re going to get really fucking expensive before they’re gone.

  184. #184 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    At some level, I agree with Walton–it’s a mistake to say that we should carry out the reforms needed to combat climate change whether it’s true or not.

    I think the point of the cartoon is the opposite. Everything on that list makes sense to do in its own right. You don’t need AGW to defend their benefit and utility. Yet, at the same time, these are the type of things that need to be done to address AGW.

    Remember, a good chunk of denialists also think DDT is the greatest thing in the world and … surprise … that the science about DDT is all “wrong” because of a leftist scientific conspiracy.

  185. #185 Jadehawk, OM
    December 18, 2009

    cars are not a necessity; they are merely the prevalent solution to (and in some cases the cause of) a series of problems. they can be solved differently, without diminishing quality of life.

    as for food transport… there is a reason the “local food” movement exists. it’s perfectly possible to feed the entire world on (relatively)local agriculture (ignoring for a moment such aberrations as Las Vegas, which really shouldn’t exist to begin with), but this isn’t done because the free-ish global economy doesn’t allow for that. and it will become increasingly difficult to do as more and more arable land disappears.

  186. #186 Josh
    December 18, 2009

    (ignoring for a moment such aberrations as Las Vegas, which really shouldn’t exist to begin with)

    Amen, sister.

  187. #187 amphiox
    December 18, 2009

    In the long run, Mars is too small to hold a dense atmosphere ? every little asteroid impact erodes a bit off. That’s why it no longer has one.

    For the purposes of terraforming, though, the long run doesn’t matter. If it lasts just 2 million years, that’s longer than man has had use of fire; 20000 years is twice as long as human agriculture; 5000 years, and that’s as long as written history; even just 500 years could be more than enough as a stepping stone to the next waystation in the colonization project.

    In about 300 years, we could double Mars’s mass.

    Not with the method you described. There aren’t enough asteroids. Their total mass is substantially less than a quarter of the Moon. You’ll have to add in a lot of Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud objects.

    Weeks for humanity. But hours for civilization, no?

    That depends on your definition of “civilization”. Getting knocked back to Sumeria-level, for example, is still civilization. The worlds depicted in things like Mad Max, Waterworld, and most other apocalyptic fiction also still count as civilization.

    I also think that humanity as a species is very likely to survive a nuclear exchange. A single tiny pocket of survivors is all it takes, and I don’t see that as all so unlikely, and we’ve already made it through one similar bottleneck already.

    Don’t you see this is just the current doomsday fascination that’s been going on throughout human history?

    The flaw in the beginning of your argument: when the Romans fretted about the threat to their civilization posed by barbarian invasions and overexpansion, they were right. When the Inca prophecised the end of their world, they were right. When the Easter Island birdman cults predicted the end of their world, they were right. Humans may have always been fascinated with doomsday, but guess what, sometimes the threat is real.

    The flaw at the end of your argument: World War II was not doomsday (the good guys won, after all). The London Smog was not doomsday. The Great Stink was not doomsday. The Irish potato famine was not doomsday. The collapse of the Classical Maya was not doomsday (the Mayans are still here, and the current population is estimated to be about the same as it was during the peak of the classical period). The American Civil War was not doomsday. If it had been possible to foresee and avoid any one of these events beforehand, are you saying that it would not have been worthwhile to try?

    And the big, gaping, jagged, cracked flaw in the middle and throughout the substance of your argument: this time there is solid, real-world evidence behind the concerns.

    I’ll give you a moment to get a broom to sweep up the mess that remains of the splinters of your position here. Be careful not to choke on the dust.

  188. #188 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    Unfortunately, if the most dire predictions of climatologists are correct, we may not be able to maintain this lifestyle any longer with Earth’s scarce resources. If that’s true, then we have no choice – but, because the consequences are so dire, we urgently need to be very, very sure that the science is correct. That’s all I’m saying.

    Please see this video from Greg Craven.

  189. #189 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    because the consequences are so dire, we urgently need to be very, very sure that the science is correct. That’s all I’m saying.

    What you’re saying is totally upside down. The larger the threat, the less exact proof you need to take action, because the risk of taking no action is so great. And this threat is irreversible. Once temps. go up 2-3 C there is nothing you can do to bring them down for centuries or millennia.

    You appear to be saying that unless you are very, very sure that your gun is loaded, it’s okay to put it in your mouth and pull the trigger.

    Prudence dictates the opposite approach.

  190. #190 The Science Pundit
    December 18, 2009

    I also liked this cartoon.

  191. #191 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Amphiox,
    Here is the thing that I worry about. Modern Man has been around for over 100000 years. And yet, it was only about 10000 years ago that we started to practice agriculture and so to lay the framework for the eventual defelopment of civilization. Why?

    If you look at Earth’s climate, things fluctuate quite a bit in recent history up to about 10000 years ago and then we wind up with an exceptionally stable climate that has persisted to this day. Now this is speculation. But could it be that that extra stability tipped the balance between generating more calories from agriculture than from hunting and gathering? And if our current experiment in anti-terraforming Earth ends that period of stability at a time when we have depleted the planet’s ability to produce AND we have 9 billion people AND we have depleted the Himmalayan glaciers as a water source AND… then I think we could be looking at the sort of massive dieback that could well spell the end of civilization (though, as you say, not of humans).

    Perhaps someone more knowledgeable in anthropology or climate science than me could put my mind at ease. Still, I don’t think it is a concern to be dismissed lightly.

  192. #192 robinsrule
    December 18, 2009

    I’m talking about the kinds of consumer goods which are essential to our modern quality of life, but which use substantial amounts of energy to manufacture and operate.

    The problem is the combustion of fossil fuels. We can produce and operate these goods using other sources of energy.

  193. #193 SC OM
    December 18, 2009

    Walton, it’s interesting that you so often sing the praises of our current unsustainable consumer-industrial culture. Even as one of the few who benefits from it materially relative to billions of others, you are manifestly an unhappy person. Deeply unhappy, and you’re certainly not alone. (And you haven’t really started work yet…) I wonder if you’ve questioned the real meaning of a “high standard of living” and its relation to a good life. You may wish to think, as the ancients did, about the elements of a good life, and then consider, in modern terms, how we can create the conditions to make a good life possible.

  194. #194 sparky-ca
    December 18, 2009

    Also good reading for trying to figure out why it’s a good idea to combat AGW is Collapse.

    http://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Societies-Choose-Fail-Succeed/dp/0670033375

    In his Pulitzer Prize?winning bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, geographer Diamond laid out a grand view of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology. That vision takes on apocalyptic overtones in this fascinating comparative study of societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations. Diamond examines storied examples of human economic and social collapse, and even extinction, including Easter Island, classical Mayan civilization and the Greenland Norse.

    (Oh look, Greenland Vikings!)

  195. #195 CJO
    December 18, 2009

    Perhaps someone more knowledgeable in anthropology or climate science than me could put my mind at ease.

    I think it’s more likely that such a person will agree that your surmise is eminently plausible. You’ve expressed very well an idea I’ve often tried to get across to people who don’t deny AGW but who fail to see the problem with such a seemingly small disruption to the climate. The point is not that there’s an ideal climate from the perspective of “the environment,” it’s that there manifestly is an ideal climate from the perspective of a massively interconnected material culture of global scope that is dependent on it.

  196. #196 Canman
    December 18, 2009

    It’s a shame that the right wants to debate weather global warming is happening. They should be arguing about what to do about it. (Answer: Geoengineering!)

    Developing countries with billions of people are cranking out coal fired plants. Any meaningful reduction in the level of CO2 looks politically impossible. And what is wrong with trying to have some control over the climate. Geoengineering looks like something that will create jobs and what are we going to do when Yellowstone Park goes off?

  197. #197 sparky-ca
    December 18, 2009

    Seriously? Geoengineering?

    Does anyone else remember Biosphere?

    Perhaps the ultimate example of how conscious planetary engineering can go awry, Tosteson points out, is what happened with the original Biosphere 2 experiment. “The story of oxygen loss and the rise of CO2 and the ways in which the Biospherians tried to combat those problems,” he says, “is a sort of case study unto itself of how we don’t have the intellectual resources at the limit to solve problems of this complexity. I think it illuminated just how difficult it is to do conscious management of a little mini-world.” And if we can’t manage a mini-world, what business do we have experimenting on the big one?

  198. #198 Kel, OM
    December 18, 2009

    They should be arguing about what to do about it. (Answer: Geoengineering!)

    See? You’re just drumming up money for your own field. Trying to take away the profits of big oil and into the hands of quasi-scientists…

  199. #199 Josh
    December 18, 2009

    …and what are we going to do when Yellowstone Park goes off?

    *shrug*

    Some of us are going to die.

  200. #200 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    Canman | December 18, 2009 5:14 PM:

    Any meaningful reduction in the level of CO2 looks politically impossible. And what is wrong with trying to have some control over the climate. Geoengineering looks like something that will create jobs …

    Every proposed geoengineering scheme – whether it is injecting sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere, global planting of bio-engineered trees, global seeding of plankton growth, building giant mirrors, or whatever, will require global agreement that global warming is indeed dangerous, and that said geoengineering scheme is the best way to improve the situation. To believe that global agreement on the very well-understood and very well-evidenced proposal that GHG emissions should be reduced and later eliminated is “politically impossible”, but global agreement on poorly-evidenced and poorly-understood geoengineering schemes – all of which may have serious disadvantages – is possible, is quite foolish and self-contradictory.

    … and what are we going to do when Yellowstone Park goes off?

    Oh, right, I guess we all forgot there was super-volcano eruption scheduled for December 21st, 2012.

    Yes, I know, the Yellowstone super-volcano is real, and it really did go off big 3 times in the distance past, but 3 irregularly spaced eruptions are poor evidence for a cycle, and even if the theory that it erupts cyclically is true, the 150,000+ year variance in the spacing of the last 3 eruptions indicates the chance of an eruption in any particular century is tiny.

  201. #201 negentropyeater
    December 18, 2009

    Meanwhile, it looks like current proposals by variouscountries in Copenhagen are not yet ambitious enough :

  202. #202 negentropyeater
    December 18, 2009

    …failed to embed the Climate scoreboard !

  203. #203 negentropyeater
    December 18, 2009

    gee, what am I doing…

    Climate scoreboard

  204. #204 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    I sense Walton sliding back into Libertarian thought processes w.r.t. AGW… que sera…

    It’s inevitable, because he won’t commit to learning any science and he won’t commit to the intellectual honesty that would require him to really shut up about things he is unwilling to learn about. Learning is stressful, but refraining from running his mouth is more stressful, and blithe dogmatism provides comfort and stress relief.

  205. #205 Peter G.
    December 18, 2009

    A very pithy cartoon. Sums it up beautifully.

  206. #206 SteveM
    December 18, 2009

    And if we can’t manage a mini-world, what business do we have experimenting on the big one?

    So is this an argument for or against AGW and trying to correct it? Because we currently are “experimenting on the big one” by dumping megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. So if you are saying we shouldn’t try to control the climate, maybe you’re right and the first step would be to stop breaking it!

  207. #207 truth machine
    December 18, 2009

    I am not a global warming denier

    And yet you repeat a slew of denialist talking points that have repeatedly been refuted.

    but I am a sceptic on issues that seem a little light on the evidence

    Anything can seem light on the evidence to someone who willfully avoids the evidence.

  208. #208 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    Jim Hansen:

    The important point is that nothing was found in the East Anglia e-mails altering the
    reality and magnitude of global warming in the instrumental record. The input data for global
    temperature analyses are widely available, on our web site and elsewhere. If those input data
    could be made to yield a significantly different global temperature change, contrarians would
    certainly have done that ­ but they have not.

  209. #209 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Not to mention that restrictions on air travel and long-distance transport will make it more expensive to import food from around the world

    No food or any other type of bulk cargo is transported by air. Air travel is by far the most expensive form of transportation. The cheapest form of transportation is by water. A VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) tanker of 100,000 tons GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) needs only 30,000 SHP (Shaft Horse Power)/22,000 KW (KiloWatts) for a sustained speed of 15 knots (28 km/h). Such a VLCC has a cargo capacity of 1.5 million barrels/255 million liters of crude oil.

    The cheapest form of land transportation is rail. An EMD SD90MAC-H has a 6,250 hp/4,660 KW engine with a continual tractive effort of 200,000 lbs/90,000 kg on straight and level track.

  210. #210 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Canman,
    At present there is no viable geoengineering technique. Sulfate aerosols last on the order of months, while CO2 lasts centuries. They also have undesirable consequences and the efficacy of the scheme is uncertain. Note that aerosols are among the most uncertain forcings, while CO2 is among the best known.

    There are no carbon gulping trees, no magic algae, no carbon capture and storage. Bupkes. And that is why we need to conserve, so science and technology have time to come up with solutions–in other words to buy back some of the 20 years we’ve wasted arguing over the known science of climate change.

  211. #211 Kel, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Hearing all these people talking about how it will destroy the economy makes me incredibly infuriated. And these are the people who are meant to have faith in the system! It’s like they think things are going to be exactly the same as they are now, except with sacrifices. Not creating an entire new industry (which needs to take place), not creating research and development opportunities, not creating new and different jobs – just that what we have now except without driving our cars anymore and we communicate by carrier pigeon and drink rats milk and eat tofu burgers and whatever else this fantasy socialist ecofascism will take its form.

    In the Dawkins documentary Nice Guys Finish First, he put forth an application of game theory and how it related to the actions of the planet. There was a public grazing area in England which had been accidentally overallocated. Because of too many farmers using the land, weeds were taking over and it was gradually becoming more and more unusable. So what could be done? Each farmer if they reduced their own size of their grazing herd would not fix the problem and would only put them at a disadvantage. While if many all decided to withdraw and that being enough, then the others who didn’t withdraw would benefit. So they kept on going as they were, gradually destroying the land.

    The moral to the story should be pretty self evident. If we know the path we are going down is destructive, and we have the capacity to change, then why the fuck aren’t we? The way we are doing things now is unsustainable, and sooner or later we are going to have to work towards making a sustainable future. Pretending that this system of consumption and growth can go on ad infinitum is absurd, and if we can recognise this then not acting would be a great moral failing.

  212. #212 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Wolfgang Lutz, Warren Sanderson & Sergei Scherbov: The end of world population growth, Nature 412, 543 ? 545 (2 August 2001)

    There’s no real abstract, so here’s the first paragraph, which is in boldface in the original:

    There has been enormous concern about the consequences of human population growth for the environment and for social and economic development. But this growth is likely to come to an end in the foreseeable future. Improving on earlier methods of probabilistic forecasting1, here we show that there is around an 85 per cent chance that the world’s population will stop growing before the end of the century. There is a 60 per cent probability that the world’s population will not exceed 10 billion people before 2100, and around a 15 per cent probability that the world’s population at the end of the century will be lower than it is today. For different regions, the date and size of the peak population will vary considerably.

    (Endnote 1 is a reference, as usual in Nature.)

    Next paragraph…

    Figure 1 shows the probability that the world population size would reach a peak at or before any given year. It indicates that there is around a 20 per cent chance that the peak population would be reached by 2050, around a 55 per cent chance that it would be reached by 2075, and around an 85 per cent chance that it would be reached by the end of the century.

    Further on…

    Figure 2 shows the distribution of simulated world population sizes over time. The median value of our projections reaches a peak around 2070 at 9.0 billion people and then slowly decreases. In 2100, the median value of our projections is 8.4 billion people with the 80 per cent prediction interval bounded by 5.6 and 12.1 billion. The medium scenario of the most recent United Nations long-range projection2 is inserted in Fig. 2 as a white line. It is almost identical to our median until the middle of the century, but is higher thereafter owing to the United Nations assumption of universal replacement-level fertility, that is two surviving children per woman.

    Most of the First World is considerably below that fertility level. Even China is, and so is the poor state of Kerala in India with its comparatively highly educated population.

    At the end of the main text…

    Even sub-Saharan Africa in 100 years is likely to be more aged than Europe today. The trend of our median proportion over age 60 is almost identical to that of the UN long-range projections2 up to 2050, but shows significantly stronger ageing thereafter. This confirms recent criticism that conventional projections tend to underestimate ageing6,7. The extent of and regional differences in the speed of population ageing&emdash;the inevitable consequence of population stabilization and decline&emdash;will pose major social and economic challenges.

    However, population numbers are only one aspect of human impact, and in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions, significant population growth is still to be expected. Nevertheless, the prospect of an end to world population growth is welcome news for efforts towards sustainable development.

    Then comes the methods section, which starts like this:

    The method of probabilistic population projection that was applied here (see Box 1) is a further development of our earlier approach1,8,9 that allows short-term fluctuations in the vital rates6,10 and refers to the ex post error analysis of past projections11.We produced a set of 2000 simulations by single years of age for 13 world regions12 starting in 2000.

    Information on baseline conditions has been derived from the United Nations2 and US
    Census Bureau4 estimates, and the sensitivity of our results to possible baseline errors is discussed in the Supplementary Information. World population sizes at five-year intervals for all 2000 simulations are also listed there.

    The substantive assumptions about future trends in the three components of fertility, mortality and migration, and their associated uncertainty ranges are based on revisions and updates of our earlier work12 and the extensive analyses summarized in the recent US National Research Council (NRC) report11.

  213. #213 Abdul Alhazred
    December 18, 2009

    Prediction:

    1) Successful obstruction (cf India and China walking out of COP15 + nothing particularly effective from Washington).

    2) Curses foiled again, that is to say much hand wringing for a while.

    3) A bit of a rest followed by a different pretext for the “better world”.

  214. #214 llewelly
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred | December 18, 2009 7:10 PM:

    Prediction:

    1) Successful obstruction (cf India and China walking out of COP15 + nothing particularly effective from Washington).

    2) Curses foiled again, that is to say much hand wringing for a while.

    3) A bit of a rest followed by a different pretext for the “better world”.

    If United Nations Climate Change Conference achieves nothing, AGW will continue to be a real and present danger, and risks from global warming will continue to worsen. You’ve no evidence that AGW is merely a “pretext”.

  215. #215 John Morales
    December 18, 2009

    Himself @209,

    No food or any other type of bulk cargo is transported by air.

    Huh?
    Air Freight Exports from Australian Airports, 2006-07.

    290,000 tonnes is not inconsiderable.

  216. #216 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred,
    If nothing gets accomplished this time around, we’ll be back at it in 5 years, with new record temperatures, new evidence and more certainty. Idjits like you will still be trying to obstruct things, because after all, you don’t care about the truth.

    Eventually, though, things will get bad enough, that even YOU will get concerned.

  217. #217 Fred the Hun
    December 18, 2009

    Kel, OM @211,

    The moral to the story should be pretty self evident. If we know the path we are going down is destructive, and we have the capacity to change, then why the fuck aren’t we? The way we are doing things now is unsustainable, and sooner or later we are going to have to work towards making a sustainable future.

    Why the fuck aren’t we?… this is something that the regulars over at the Oil drum have been discussing for quite some time. This post by Nate Hagens is an example of the complexity and the depth of this particular dilemma, there simply may be no solution at all. I think what we all agree on is that the current paradigm is a dead end, what comes next is just about anybody’s guess.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node?page=2

    The Common Link with Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits To Growth, Etc. – Belief Systems

    Posted by Nate Hagens on December 10, 2009 – 9:46am
    Topic: Sociology/Psychology

    Many of the issues discussed on this bandwidth are large, long term, and threatening. Consider the three primary society-wide topics of analysis and discourse: climate, energy and the economy. It is my belief these 3 are linked by an underlying cultural growth/debt imperative running into a planet with finite sources and sinks. But within each category you have, still, despite the same access to facts and considerable passage of time, widely disparate and strongly held opinions. E.g. climate change is largely anthropogenic/climate change is largely naturally forced; peak oil is past/ peak oil is decades away; the financial crisis is passed/ government handouts have made the financial peril even greater etc. If you find yourself in a debate about any of these issues you’ll find apathy or you’ll find cognitive biases underlying a polarized opinion.

    This post will address some social and psychological reasons why the urgency of our resource situation may not be being addressed on an individual level and only at a snails pace on the governmental level. Among the phenomena we will explore are a) why we have beliefs and how they are changed, b) our propensity to believe in authority figures, c) our penchant for optimism, d) cognitive load theory, e) relative fitness, f) the recency effect, and several others.

  218. #218 truth machine
    December 18, 2009

    So is this an argument for or against AGW and trying to correct it? Because we currently are “experimenting on the big one” by dumping megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. So if you are saying we shouldn’t try to control the climate, maybe you’re right and the first step would be to stop breaking it!

    He was responding to Canman’s nonsense about geoengineering.

  219. #219 truth machine
    December 18, 2009

    why the fuck aren’t we?

    Category error — individuals have minds, but a group of individuals doesn’t; actions belong to the former but not to the latter. The tragedy of the commons described by Dawkins is one example of the consequences; the Prisoner’s Dilemma is another — see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superrationality The problem with Hofstadter’s so-called “Superrationality” is that it is not in fact rational; it relies on an expectation that other people will act in a way that there’s no reason to expect them to act other than wishful thinking.

  220. #220 David Marjanovi?
    December 18, 2009

    Walton, what ? if anything ? makes you think that the actions listed in comment 30 will cost horrible amounts of money?

    (Also, what is a horrible amount of money in a world where a war can cost three trillion dollars in three years?)

    I go to the ocean, I see that sea levels have not changed in my lifetime

    It used to be 1.3 mm per year. Now it’s 3.4 or something.

    cars are not a necessity; they are merely the prevalent solution to (and in some cases the cause of) a series of problems.

    “To alcohol ? the origin and the solution of all of life’s problems!”
    ? Homer Simpson

    If you look at Earth’s climate, things fluctuate quite a bit in recent history up to about 10000 years ago and then we wind up with an exceptionally stable climate that has persisted to this day.

    Except in Australia, where the weather isn’t stable ? precipitation is so unpredictable that agriculture never developed on that continent.

    Interglacials in general have a much more stable climate than glacials.

    and what are we going to do when Yellowstone Park goes off?

    What Josh said. We’ll look deep into your eyes and say “today is a good day to die”.

    Sulfate aerosols last on the order of months, while CO2 lasts centuries. They also have undesirable consequences and the efficacy of the scheme is uncertain. Note that aerosols are among the most uncertain forcings, while CO2 is among the best known.

    Also, “sulfate aerosols” are sulfuric acid. Does “acid rain” ring a bell?

    We have already tried that. It even worked ? that’s where the slight cooling of the 40s to 70s comes from (as mentioned above in this thread). The side effects were just a bit too much.

  221. #221 truth machine
    December 18, 2009

    P.S.

    sooner or later we are going to have to work towards making a sustainable future.

    No, really we are not going to have to, any more than a meth user is going to have to quit. Of course, following the current course has undesirable consequences, but logic doesn’t care.

  222. #222 strange gods before me, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Prediction:

    1) Successful obstruction (cf India and China walking out of COP15 + nothing particularly effective from Washington).

    2) Curses foiled again, that is to say much hand wringing for a while.

    3) A bit of a rest followed by a different pretext for the “better world”.

    And we’d already have our New World Order, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

  223. #223 truth machine
    December 18, 2009

    A cleaner environment isn’t going to come free; dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth.

    So cleaning it up requires laying them all off?

    Sometimes, Walton, you go so far out of your way to be stupid.

  224. #224 Kel, OM
    December 18, 2009

    No, really we are not going to have to, any more than a meth user is going to have to quit.

    Yeah, true. Though I thought that was implied.

    Category error — individuals have minds, but a group of individuals doesn’t; actions belong to the former but not to the latter.

    But isn’t that what we have governments for?

  225. #225 tim Rowledge
    December 18, 2009

    the measures needed to combat it will cost a lot of money, hold back economic growth, reduce the production of consumer goods, and lower the standard of living for many people

    CJO said somewhat the same above, but you do need to remember that the money spent on attempted ameliorative measures is in itself economic activity that follows the normal course; people get paid to do stuff, they spend their pay on living which pays other people to do their living and so on. It doesn’t just evaporate or go down some sinkhole.

    The only thing that can save us becoming extinct in the medium term future is a serious space program. The only thing that could stop us becoming extinct in the long term is a new branch of physics that offers hope of migrating to other universes as this one wears out.

  226. #226 Pygmy Loris
    December 18, 2009

    The only thing that could stop us becoming extinct in the long term is a new branch of physics that offers hope of migrating to other universes as this one wears out.

    That sounds exciting!

  227. #227 joaodiogo
    December 18, 2009

    Is it just my impression, or this cartoon gives away that AGW is a hoax?

    I think knowin the causes of global warming, or the non-causes, is essential to fight global warming, so what is the point of making agreements to fight global warming, without knowing the its causes? What’s the point of driving the biggest slice of the money to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, when there’s no evidence of Co2 caused warming?

    The money can be driven better, with better knowledge, UN has a history of imcopetent decisions, is not the trustful organization that the media presents us to be, UN let 2 million east-timor people being killed, who is UN to save the planet?

    Euphoria is not a good decision making system.

  228. #228 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 18, 2009

    joaodiogo #227

    Another denialist slinks into the thread.

  229. #229 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 18, 2009

    Notice the denialist talks economics and not science. That tells us he has nothing cogent to say on the science. Just political blather.

  230. #230 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    A cleaner environment isn’t going to come free; dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth.

    Walton is a talking point from a money-laundered southern Dixiecrat in Louisiana arguing against passage of the Clean Water Act in 1971. It only exists as a quantum-probability talking point still floating in the virtual/non-virtual vacuum.

  231. #231 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    Euphoria is not a good decision making system.

    You might want to lay off the glue.

  232. #232 John Morales
    December 18, 2009

    joaodiogo:

    Is it just my impression, or this cartoon gives away that AGW is a hoax?

    Probably not just your impression, but it’s an unwarranted one, since one major point is that moving away from a fossil-fuel-dependent economy would have many benefits other than preventing further climatic complications — i.e. though taking action to ameliorate the anthropogenetic climate forcing is a very strong reason, it’s not the only one.

    Euphoria is not a good decision making system.

    It’s not even a “decision making system” :)

    But I take your meaning, and counter that wilful ignorance of science isn’t, either.

  233. #233 Douglas Watts
    December 18, 2009

    Eventually, after you talk to denialists, you will find you’re talking to a weird, hobbled, knock-kneed contrarian who is just waiting to bust out his proof that Einstein was wrong that has been sitting in his backpack getting moldy since he got it printed at Kinko’s, next to the lemon eclair that’s all squished.

    This is not about science or anything. This is about that weird dude who is sitting under a 50 watt light bulb with nothing but a 4 month old bottle of flat ginger ale in his refrigerator, with Art Bell blaring on the side, saying, dood, fucking perpetual motion is possible. I did some calculations.

    Either that or this is “free internet time” at a high quality “facility” which advertises in magazines catering to mental health practitioners.

  234. #234 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 18, 2009

    joaodiogo says, “What’s the point of driving the biggest slice of the money to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, when there’s no evidence of Co2 caused warming?”

    [FACEPALM]

    [Bangs head on desk]

    FUCK!!! Did the short bus arrive late today?

    Dude, Go! Read!

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    Now!

  235. #235 bcoppola
    December 18, 2009

    Quoth Walton:

    A cleaner environment isn’t going to come free; dirty industry currently employs a lot of people and produces a lot of wealth.

    Good Lord. Hasn’t that argument been trotted out ad nauseam to oppose every pro-environment policy for the past 40+ years? I think I remember William F. Buckley bloviating back in the day about how clean air was not a “free good”. Why wasn’t the economy ruined by the Clean Air Act? The Endangered Species Act? The Clean Water Act?

    If we manage to avert the worst effects of AGW in spite of the FUD spread by vested corporate interests and their lackeys in elected office, the first item on the agenda should be to get corporations out of politics: Abolish corporate personhood by constitutional amendment.

    It probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I hope the kids get wise and make it happen. That is, if they’re not preoccupied with flooded coasts, dwindling agriculture, wildfires, drought, and waves of climate refugees from increasingly uninhabitable regions of Mexico and Central America.

  236. #236 Pacal
    December 18, 2009

    Knockgoats Post 107:

    Of course everybody who knows anything about Viking history knows the story of how Eric named it Greenland to attract settlers. That’s why they called North America Vineland!! For the grapes on Newfoundland that no longer can grow there due to cold!

    There is no firm evidence that Eric named Greenland for that reason, there is no evidence at all vines grew in Newfoundland.

    Your right about grapes in Newfoundland however your comment about Eric the Red and no firm evidence about why he named the country Greenland, well The Greenlanders Saga says:

    He (Eric the Red) named the country he had discovered Greenland, for he said that people would be much more tempted to go there if it had an attractive name.[The Vinland Sagas, Penguin Books, London, 1965, p. 50.]

    Eirik’s Saga says almost exactly the same thing:

    That Summer Eirik set off to colonize the country he had discovered; he named it Greenland. for he said that people would be much more tempted to go there if it had an attractive name.[The Vinland Sagas, Penguin Books, London, 1965, p. 78.]

    It does appear to be the case that the name Vinland had nothing to do with attracting settlers and does in fact refer to grapes. However since it seems that Vinland refers to a lage area and not just the area of L’anse Aux Meadows it would seem tyo include areas further south like parts of New Brunswick where grape vines did and do still grow.

  237. #237 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 18, 2009

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    It’s comforting to know I can blame that D+ I got in Calculus either on my professor’s inadequate understanding or on calculus itself being flawed.

  238. #238 SC OM
    December 18, 2009

    It’s comforting to know I can blame that D+ I got in Calculus either on my professor’s inadequate understanding or on calculus itself being flawed.

    Ah, well, you should’ve taken it in first grade.

    [I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love calculus. Calculus is beautiful. If I get another doctorate, it will involve calculus.]

  239. #239 Snoof
    December 19, 2009

    Except in Australia, where the weather isn’t stable ? precipitation is so unpredictable that agriculture never developed on that continent.

    Australia may be screwed anyway. Isn’t there evidence that it’s been unusually wet over the last two centuries, and that the current “droughts” are actually just the climate going back to normal? And yeah, there’s a reason that the indigenous inhabitants never used agriculture and it’s not stupidity.

  240. #240 Stanton
    December 19, 2009

    Of the so-called “grapes” of Vinland, I remember reading that Eirik’s colonists made wine out a local berry, the “squashberry,” Viburnum edule, a relative of the honeysuckle, and not actual grapes.

    (That, and I was under the impression that most wild grape species had tiny fruit that are regarded as squintingly edible)

  241. #241 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    Is it just my impression, or this cartoon gives away that AGW is a hoax?

    No, others with room temperature IQs have the same impression.

  242. #242 bad Jim
    December 19, 2009

    Groucho: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”

  243. #243 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    But isn’t that what we have governments for?

    Yes, and I almost wrote that very thing, but decided that going into how and why governments often fail to achieve outcomes that are rational in terms of the interests of the governed would open too big a can of worms. Governments are our best bet, but not a very good one — look at Copenhagen.

  244. #244 tim Rowledge
    December 19, 2009

    The only thing that could stop us becoming extinct in the long term is a new branch of physics that offers hope of migrating to other universes as this one wears out.

    That sounds exciting!

    So get out there and invent! Leave no turn unstoned!

  245. #245 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    Either your professor was an idiot or you are lying. Considering how often I’ve seen this stupid line — about as often as I’ve seen the one about people only using 10% of their brains — the latter is almost certain.

    Anyway, the point is moot because there are 6 year olds who are capable of understanding what you choose not to understand. There are also 6 year olds who are more knowledgeable of Viking history than you appear to be.

  246. #246 Kel, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Governments are our best bet, but not a very good one — look at Copenhagen.

    Yeah, and that’s what in my mind is the most disappointing about it. There’s a chance to actually do something useful in terms of forward planning, yet it seems that any excuse not to do anything is enough to avoid it. I still find it astounding how many are using the fragility of the economy and the resistance to change as excuses not to implement even the most minor of measures to start to plan for a long term solution – as has happened in Australia recently.

  247. #247 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Governments are our best bet, but not a very good one — look at Copenhagen.

    Outcome as expected… see prisoner’s dilemma.

  248. #248 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    I still find it astounding how many are using the fragility of the economy and the resistance to change as excuses not to implement even the most minor of measures to start to plan for a long term solution

    You find it astounding ? The whole of human history on this planet is evidence that we have a very strong bias to focus on short term threats and heavily discount more longer term ones.

  249. #249 bad Jim
    December 19, 2009

    I thought it was

    No
    Left
    Turn
    Unstoned

    but I may be confused because there’s a Least Tern refuge just up the road.

  250. #250 Kel, OM
    December 19, 2009

    You find it astounding ?

    I find it astounding that those who champion such a system for its versatility and efficiency wrap it in cotton wool whenever it suits them. The advantage they propose disappears behind a black curtain the moment it is asked to do what it proposes. No faith in their own system whatsoever.

    I remember a decade or so ago BHP ripping into the Australian government for not signing up to Kyoto. Because if there were laws requiring better practices then they would have to oblige, but without such laws they wouldn’t be able to justify such costs to shareholders.

  251. #251 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    I find it astounding that those who champion such a system for its versatility and efficiency wrap it in cotton wool whenever it suits them.

    What system ?
    We’re nothing more than a collection of tribes that we call nations, engaged in a vast prisoner’s dilemma who, as always, choose to focus on the short term, so that we are extremely ill prepared to tackle a common threat that is a bit longer on the horizon.

    We’ve never had such a problem, so we have zero system in place to handle it. The first thing humans should do it to recognize our shortcommings. On top of that, the overdevelopped nations (that we call advanced) have already accumulated such mountain of debt from their consumption binge (the equivallent of more than 5 years of their entire annual output) and ressemble more addicts on meth than healthy nations who might eventually be able to super-reason their problems.

    I’d like to be optimistic about the future, but honestly, I can’t.

  252. #252 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    Outcome as expected… see prisoner’s dilemma.

    That’s what I said.

    I find it astounding that those who champion such a system for its versatility and efficiency wrap it in cotton wool whenever it suits them.

    You’re astounded that people do what suits them?

    No faith in their own system whatsoever.

    You’re advocating faith now?

  253. #253 Canman
    December 19, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,
    You say “at present there is no viable geoengineering technique”. Things like making roofs and roads more reflective must help a little bit. I saw a show on TV where people were putting fabric on a glacier to keep it from melting. It’s been argued that this kind of thing is more cost effective than cutting carbon.

    llewelly,
    You call my belief, that significant cuts in greenhouse carbon are politically impossible, foolish. Consider this. Reducing carbon causes a lot of displacement right now, while the benefits (and they seem small to me) happen decades in the future.

    I don’t know how effectively the climate can be engineered, but I think it is desirable to be able to do so. I brought up the possibility of Yellowstone going off. Mabe it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon along with an event of the type that caused Meteor Crater Arizona. But how about the Tunguska event or a “minor” nuclear exchange?

  254. #254 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    It’s been argued that this kind of thing is more cost effective than cutting carbon.

    It’s also been argued that Obama is the anti-Christ and wants to kill grandma.

  255. #255 truth machine
    December 19, 2009

    ressemble more addicts on meth

    I said that too.

    I’d like to be optimistic about the future, but honestly, I can’t.

    I argue with deniers, sign petitions, urge political action to my friends, etc., as if I believed we can turn the ship before it hits the iceberg, but really I don’t; in fact, I think we’ve already struck and are taking on water and no amount of bailing will keep us from sinking.

  256. #256 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Canman,

    It’s been argued that this kind of thing is more cost effective than cutting carbon.

    I don’t know how effectively the climate can be engineered, but I think it is desirable to be able to do so.

    *facepalm*

  257. #257 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    I said that too

    actually, “addicts on coke” would be a better analogy. They can continue for a longer time than meth.

  258. #258 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkD9oPuO_ZXJ3kp7Woq8jiLZTGNrn19t9w
    December 19, 2009

    The likely end result of hardline environmental measures is that people on low incomes will be unable to afford these goods – leading to a lower standard of living for many people.

    My father pointed out a few days back that when he got his first car, it cost $1 per pound. His second on weighed twice as much, and still cost $1 per pound. Then we had certain unions (not to disparage the work of unions) in the auto industry that managed to get their wages run up to the point of pure idiocy, where even attaching a door knob netted you the same pay as the guy building the engine. Cars are now about the same weight as that second vehicle my father bought, but they cost more like $25 a pound. In other words, instead of the cost going “down”, they went up to absolutely stupid levels.

    One has to wonder how much of this kind of idiocy you would find in the management levels of most major companies, especially when some estimates place the highest paid CEOs as *making* $50 for every $1 the guy on government food stamps, with a minimum wage pay rate, who works at the lowest level of the company is making.

    We are already “lowering the standards” of people that can afford stuff now. The next major financial disaster is likely to be more “credit” BS. Why? Because the financial institutions haven’t learned a damn thing, and people whose parents would have **never** taken out credit on anything have 10 credit cards, just to buy the *equivalent* junk their parents did. And its only going to get worse, until even the credit cards are not going to be enough to get Joe Nobody to buy a new, even *cheap* TV, if he can’t get credit any more, it costs $600, because Chad Moneybags needs a raise from $2.1M per year to $2.5M, and the other 10,000 people that want one are in the same situation Joe is in.

    I mean seriously, look at the “real” price of something like a cell phone. A cheap, almost useless one, costs like $500, and without that being “offset” by the service plan, no one would have one. The service plan? You get to make phone calls. If you want to do **any** of the other 500 things your phone can do, well…. That is where the price gets offset. Instead of getting “all” of the features, you pay extra for every damn thing it does. Kind of like if you bought a car and had to pay extra to use more than one gear, extra to wash the windows, extra to go in reverse, extra to “open” the windows, extra to have access to the trunks, etc. Oh, and extra to drive on roads outside the town you bought it in. After all, *none* of those things are any more necessary than all those added feature of the phone, right?

    Its pure, complete, madness, and the result of it, in cases like California and light rail, is also stupid stuff like running study after study, after study, which says, “We need it, but this time around it costs too much, so lets wait until it costs even *more* too much.” As I said on the other thread, no one wants to risk their business on actually inventing, if its easier to scrape tar off a rock, and keep dealing with the “same” technology, until you can’t even find any tar, and not only the auto industry is hosed, but **every other industry** that needs oil to do anything, like making cell phone cases, or the protective material around your computers CPU.

  259. #259 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    strange gods,

    It’s inevitable, because he won’t commit to learning any science and he won’t commit to the intellectual honesty that would require him to really shut up about things he is unwilling to learn about. Learning is stressful, but refraining from running his mouth is more stressful, and blithe dogmatism provides comfort and stress relief.

    That is not fair. (In case you’ve formed the wrong impression of my current political position from certain recent comments, I’d like to draw your attention to my self-correction here on the endless thread.)

  260. #260 Kel, OM
    December 19, 2009

    You’re astounded that people do what suits them?

    When you put it that way…

    You’re advocating faith now?

    Nope. Can’t get away with using any hyperbole employed as a rhetorical device when you’re around :P

  261. #261 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    SC,

    Walton, it’s interesting that you so often sing the praises of our current unsustainable consumer-industrial culture. Even as one of the few who benefits from it materially relative to billions of others, you are manifestly an unhappy person. Deeply unhappy, and you’re certainly not alone. (And you haven’t really started work yet…) I wonder if you’ve questioned the real meaning of a “high standard of living” and its relation to a good life. You may wish to think, as the ancients did, about the elements of a good life, and then consider, in modern terms, how we can create the conditions to make a good life possible.

    My periodic unhappiness (which is not as bad as it was; things are getting better in my life) is primarily a result of my personal failings, not of the society in which I live. Compared to the vast majority of my ancestors and of all human beings throughout history, I’m very fortunate in almost every respect, and have had lots of opportunities which are denied to most people. I don’t blame anyone, except myself and my own nature, for the things that have gone wrong in my life.

    Jadehawk,

    cars are not a necessity; they are merely the prevalent solution to (and in some cases the cause of) a series of problems. they can be solved differently, without diminishing quality of life.

    Cars may not be an absolute necessity; but for the majority of people in the developed world today, especially those living in rural or remote areas, owning a car is the only way of accessing a lot of opportunities. Public transport is all very well – and is the sensible option if you live in a large city – but for those living in more remote locations with poorer transport links, it simply isn’t practical to use public transport for everything. (Why am I telling you this? You’re the one who lives in North Dakota…) I don’t currently own a car myself (and haven’t passed my driving test, though I have a provisional licence), but when I start work (next year or the year after) I will certainly need to drive.

    If the cost of cars and fuel increases to the point that the poor can’t afford to drive, many people will become trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to access job opportunities because they don’t have the ability to travel. This is, IMO, a bad thing.

  262. #262 Mr T
    December 19, 2009

    To me it seemed more like Kel was advocating against bad faith arguments. In that sense, one wouldn’t be so much calling for “faith” as trustworthiness, intellectual honesty, sincerity, consistency, etc.

  263. #263 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    The Bottom Line is that the developped country with by far the largest CO2 emmissions (in absolute terms and on a per capita basis) is the developped country that has promissed by far the least reductions by 2020.

    If promisses are kept (and it’s not even sure the American promiss will be ratified by congress next year), the difference between Western European and American emmissions, already staggering, will actually increase.

    Talk about fairness.

  264. #264 Mr T
    December 19, 2009

    Walton:
    It probably won’t make you feel better; but I’m not happy either. I doubt it has much to do with my political beliefs.
    That said, if I can offer some (probably unwanted) advice:

    I don’t blame anyone, except myself and my own nature, for the things that have gone wrong in my life.

    “O, that way madness lies.” -King Lear
    Shit happens. Don’t beat yourself up so much. Bad things happen to everyone which are entirely beyond our control. I think your outlook may even have some relationship with your libertarian tendencies: many people really need help from society. Many times it was no fault of their own, and many times nothing they can do as individuals is enough.

  265. #265 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Walton,

    If the cost of cars and fuel increases to the point that the poor can’t afford to drive, many people will become trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to access job opportunities because they don’t have the ability to travel. This is, IMO, a bad thing.

    Well, the idea proposed by several political parties in several countries is that the carbon tax be budget neutral, and that the proceeds be redistibuted to those who need it the most (in rural areas, etc…).

    But that you’ll probably call it socialism…

  266. #266 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    The so-called Fallacy of Capitalism is that an economy has to expand indefinitely and infinitely.* It appears that reality is showing where the limits of capitalism are.

    *Yes, I’m familiar with the arguments against the Fallacy. Yes, I agree that my definition is simplistic. Yes, I know the Fallacy was promulgated by Marx. Yes, I know free-marketeers hate the Fallacy. Yes, we can discuss it but don’t, whatever you do, tell me that Murray Rothbard wasn’t a utopian.

  267. #267 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    #258,

    especially when some estimates place the highest paid CEOs as *making* $50 for every $1 the guy on government food stamps, with a minimum wage pay rate, who works at the lowest level of the company is making.

    50 to 1 ? You must be joking, CEOs aren’t that poorly compensated. The ratio for an average CEO to an average worker (not even the highest paid CEOs), is actually 275 to 1
    It’s gone up ten times in 40 years.

    In other words, a CEO makes in a bit less than a working day what a worker makes in a year.

  268. #268 Blind Squirrel FCD
    December 19, 2009

    I had a professor once who stated if you cannot explain a concept so that a 6 year old could understand it, either the concept is flawed or you don’t understand it very well.

    I believe he cribbed that from Robert Heinlein, Who, IIRC, used a 12 year old in his aphorism.
    Typepad is still borked; thanks PZ for turning off registration.

    BS

  269. #269 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    I’m going to assume from what you wrote in #261 that you still haven’t informed yourself about the advantages of redundancy systems over efficiency systems. And that you know nothing about the effects of social environment on mental health. you’re not that special, your problems aren’t unique.

    If the cost of cars and fuel increases to the point that the poor can’t afford to drive, many people will become trapped in a cycle of poverty

    1)these people are already stuck in a cycle of poverty

    2)the price of cars and fuel is going to increase regardless of whether we take action on AGW

  270. #270 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    oh yeah, I missed the part where you’re blaming your “nature” for your misery. Guess what, your nature is that of a social animal, and your society is one that produces the 2nd largest percentage of mentally ill people (after the U!S!A!, which of course is NUMBER ONE!![/sarcasm]).

  271. #271 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Things could always be worse; as intelligent humans, we can find a higher standard than “we aren’t all extinct yet.”

    I think to properly (and honestly) represent skeeto’s argument, you need to replace those we’s with me’s…

    Yep, give them the grammar they understand.

    Actually Walton, re getting to work, a good thing to do might be to decentralise a lot of things. It makes them less efficient in some ways (making as much money as possible for very few people), but it has other benefits.

  272. #272 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    Jadehawk, all I’m pointing out is that there is a direct conflict between the need to protect the environment, and the desire for human beings to enjoy high living standards. In the end, global trade and industry is what lifts the poor out of poverty, produces wealth, and produces the cheap consumer goods and vast quantities of energy we need to sustain our current lifestyles.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take harsh measures to protect the environment. It’s increasingly clear that we have no other choice. But we need to recognise that the future will not be some sort of eco-utopia in which people are happy and comfortable. Rather, if and when governments implement tough environmental measures, the inevitable result will be a massive increase in poverty and deprivation, and a reduced quality of life for most of us. Material comfort may not be a sufficient condition for happiness, but it certainly is a pre-requisite for happiness.

  273. #273 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 19, 2009

    @258

    OK, I’m sorry, but judging the value of a car by weight is a pretty silly metric. By the same metric, computers in the ’60s were a much better buy than they are now.

    Fail!

    Cars today get better gas milage, are less polluting, stop quicker, run better and longer and are much, much safer.

    The main problem with cars is that the industry remains extremely labor intensive.

  274. #274 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    And I find it depressing that some people on this thread have gone down the easy road of bashing CEOs, bankers and the like. They may be convenient bogeymen, but it’s incredibly short-sighted to blame them for all the world’s problems.

    In the UK, the wealthiest 1% of income-earners contribute 25% of income tax revenues. The wealthiest 10% contribute over half of income tax revenues. In short, the rich pay for the public services which we all use – not to mention that their consumer spending props up the luxury goods and services industries (which employ a lot of people), and the businesses they run create jobs and wealth. Just food for thought.

  275. #275 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Jadehawk, all I’m pointing out is that there is a direct conflict between the need to protect the environment, and the desire for human beings to enjoy high living standards.

    no there isn’t. there’s a conflict with what the traditional economic model demands vs. what continued human wellbeing demands. so we need a new economic model, with a definition of “living standard” that actually reflects human wellbeing, not just wealth.

    the level of “material comfort” that is a necessary prerequisite for human well-being can be achieved at levels significantly lower than what the West currently has. The connection between monetary wealth of a nation and the wellbeing of its citizens decouples around $20000 per year per capita PPP; after that, getting richer doesn’t make people healthier, happier etc; it only makes them richer. so why would we continue demanding increased riches, when they’re not actually helping human wellbeing?

    besides, what lifted Europe and the USA out of poverty was the economic robbery of the rest of the world. what precisely is the rest of the world supposed to rob to catch up?

    Anyway, the point is that a huge change in the way we live is inevitable, AGW or not. however, the changes necessary to not make the change a catastrophic one from a humanitarian POW are precisely the same (or at least tightly connected with) the ones necessary to fight AGW.

  276. #276 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    And I find it depressing that some people on this thread have gone down the easy road of bashing CEOs, bankers and the like. They may be convenient bogeymen, but it’s incredibly short-sighted to blame them for all the world’s problems.

    CEO wages before the 80’s were a small fraction of what they are now. and yet, the economies functioned just fine. clearly, throwing stupendous amounts of money at CEO’s doesn’t actually improve the wellbeing of people; or the wellbeing of the economy, for that matter. counter to your claims, when the richest 10% was less significantly richer than the poorest 10%, social welfare systems were less decrepit, people saved more money, and infrastructure was still being invested in. the wealth of the richest members of a society is inversely correlated with the health of society as a whole

  277. #277 Bug
    December 19, 2009

    Drive-by linkage here: http://www.isabigot.com/2009/11/richard-dawkins-is-a-bigot/

    Trolling? Very likely. Would be interested in seeing the Pharynguloid take on this, erm, interesting piece. I have no personal connection to the site, but their aggregator randomly started following me on Twitter. Hmm.

  278. #278 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Walton seems concerned upthread with rising costs of food, fuel, transport, etc driving these things out of reach of the poor. It’s a fair concern. This, however, is what we have social programs for. Well, it’s what we had them for (in the US) until they were gutted by Ronald ReaganBushClintonBush. I seem to recall Walt is a libertarian though so I’m guessing that restoring welfare is anathema.

    I’m also not convinced that intelligent farm and industrial subsidies could not offset much of this problem, allowing cleaner industries to out-compete the dirty ones even while their real costs are higher. They could thus pass a lower cost onto the consumer, allowing the poor to continue eating, etc… But this is more socialism, therefore evil. Of course we’re already doing stupid corporate socialism by subsidizing the coal, automotive, oil and corn rackets.

    Finally, I agree with person who said that we must absolutely end corporate personhood and prohibit corporations (even the “green” ones) from participating in political life. Otherwise my subsidy proposal could enthrone some future “green” version of Dick Cheney and all his crooked friends. Civil society must reassert it’s dominance over business if anyone is going to survive.

  279. #279 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Walton,

    The wealthiest 10% contribute over half of income tax revenues. In short, the rich pay for the public services which we all use

    Except that in the UK income tax revenue represents only a small fraction of the total cost of public services.
    For instance, how much taxes does a poor guy pay when he puts a liter of gasoline in his car ? The same as rich guy.
    How much taxes does a rich guy pay on capital profit which is made offshore ? Hint : much less than a teacher pays on his income.
    etc…
    Walton, why do you seem to make so much effort to try and defend the rich when all economic analysis show that they’ve increased their net wealth tremendously over the last forty years, whilst the poor and middle classes didn’t ?

    And that’s particularly evident in the UK and the USA.

    Do you think it’s fair that an average CEO makes in a day what a worker makes in a year ? Forty years it used to be that they made in a day what a worker made in a month, and the highest income tax bracket was much higher than what it is nowadays.

    Don’t you realise that worker’s real wages in the UK and the US didn’t increase at all over the last forty years ? Meanwhile, the employers, the rich capital owners benefitted from immense productivity gains from the same workers, and used the proceeds (capital gains) to lend the money to those same workers and charge them insterest.

    You are such a fool to be so blindfolded by the permanent propaganda on how the rich are such a benefit to society.

  280. #280 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    the level of “material comfort” that is a necessary prerequisite for human well-being can be achieved at levels significantly lower than what the West currently has. The connection between monetary wealth of a nation and the wellbeing of its citizens decouples around $20000 per year per capita PPP; after that, getting richer doesn’t make people healthier, happier etc; it only makes them richer. so why would we continue demanding increased riches, when they’re not actually helping human wellbeing?

    I’m sceptical of that. US$20,000 pa (about GB£12,500 pa), even for a single person living alone, doesn’t buy all that much. While that income level would allow you to subsist and obtain food and shelter, it doesn’t easily allow for the comforts which enhance a person’s quality of life; dining out at restaurants, driving a good car, shopping, going to the cinema or theatre, drinking wine, and the like. These things make a substantial difference to most people’s level of happiness. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to be happy without these material luxuries, or that having them makes you happy. But it’s hard for the average person today, in a society where these things are commonplace, to be happy without them. And if economic growth is slowed or halted by environmental protection measures, fewer people will have access to these luxuries.

    besides, what lifted Europe and the USA out of poverty was the economic robbery of the rest of the world. what precisely is the rest of the world supposed to rob to catch up?

    Over the last few decades, Taiwan and South Korea have managed to become relatively wealthy via industrialisation and trade, without “robbing” anyone. Parts of India and China are now going in the same direction.

  281. #281 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Jadehawk:

    besides, what lifted Europe and the USA out of poverty was the economic robbery of the rest of the world. what precisely is the rest of the world supposed to rob to catch up?

    Using the model Walton seems to prefer they are supposed to keep robbing the future generations and climate. This is “working” now for China and a few other nations but it can’t continue. The Chinese, for instance are now stupidly recreating the car & freeway transport approach that makes LA, Houston and other suchbelt cities such shitholes. This is hugely stupid and actually reduces the quality of life. It benefits the corrupt authoritarian power structure in those nations though so it goes forward.

  282. #282 mythusmage
    December 19, 2009

    Inhabitable Mars

    Adding mass to Mars has a few problems. For one thing, the increased mass will mess with orbital dynamics. resulting in orbital perturbations and the like. Then there is the matter of what adding all that extra mass means to Mars itself. Keep in mind that Mars masses a fraction of what the Earth does, so bringing it to even half Earth’s gravity means heating things up a bitch. Hope you’ve got tens of millions of years to wait until the new crust forms and temperatures fall to the point liquid water is possible. And with planetary orbits all out of whack we may not have those tens of millions of years.

    There is another way, it starts with first inventing time travel.

    You build yourself a time machine (believe me, if you have the tech to do that cheaply, all the other stuff you’ll need to do should be a cinch). You use your time machine to go back in time to when the Solar System was first forming. Then you can start to work.

    You’ll need to first move a few “eddies” out a bit from the Sun. The one’s that’ll later become Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. And widen the gap between Mars and Jupiter as well. This should allow Mars to accumulate more mass, what with Jupiter not hoovering up all the mass that otherwise would’ve gone to Mars.

    Next you need to make sure Mars gets a Moon sized moon. You do know about the “Great Splash” theory of how we got the Moon? You’ll need to replicate that for Mars.

    Why?

    Because according to available evidence an Earth sized world without a Moon-sized moon quickly cool down and develop a thick, rigid crust. Much like Venus. You need a close by (just outside the Roche Limit) Moon-sized moon to keep the proto-crust stirred up and give water time to lubricate things so continuous tectonic activity is possible.

    (Yes, water saturates everything on Earth. Water even saturates the upper mantle.)

    So along with moving five blastospheric proto-planets (as in very young embryonic planets) you’ll need to guide the development of a Mars sized world that will provide the material for Mars’ moon should things work out, and then make sure that things do work out.

    Do it right and Mithras (Persian war god) impacts (or near misses) Mars just right and Mars’ thick, rigid crust is destroyed, to be replaced by a thinner, weaker crust the new Ares (moon’s gotta have a name you know) can keep stirred up through tidal stress so tectonic activity can continue and all the stuff that follows from that.

    You could even do the same thing for Venus. Only in this case it would be Freya (Norse goddess of wild monkey sex) impacting (or almost impacting) Venus to produce Helen (who was also strongly lusted after).

    There is one small problem with this scenario. Now you get to wait for almost 4.5 billion years for Homo sapiens to arise (and that may require a bit of finagling), meanwhile life evolves on Mars, and in ways that wouldn’t necessarily be compatible with Terrestrial life. (“Such as?” I hear you ask. “Such as using arsenic in the place of phosphorus,” I reply. (Think about it, Martian cows as rat poison.)) Even if Martian life uses phosphorus as we do, it may used different nucleotides (maybe ATP in place of Guanine) or even a different number of them. Six instead of our four for example. Think of the xenopharmacology that would arise there.

    In the long run I doubt such a course of action would really do us much good. (All else aside there is the fact doing this wouldn’t actually benefit us, unless you planned on taking the Earth’s population back with you; and wouldn’t figuring out who got what be lots of fun? Oh, and how do you keep people occupied and out of trouble while waiting for the new Venusian, Terrestrial, and Martian crusts to cool and oceans to form?) No, it looks like the only viable course is to establish environmentally self contained structures where Earth-like conditions can be maintained. And won’t that be a bitch?

    (That inconsequential digression from the topic brought to you by the number 36 and the word “gizon” (Basque for a male wolf).

  283. #283 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    Of course we’re already doing stupid corporate socialism by subsidizing the coal, automotive, oil and corn rackets.

    True. The current US and EU farm subsidy regimes, in particular, are absolutely iniquitous. They spend vast sums of taxpayers’ money subsidising wealthy agri-businesses, while producers in the developing world are unable to compete, leading to more poverty and starvation. They also distort the market, leading to land being wasted on producing surplus crops in huge quantities which can’t be sold. If I could snap my fingers and make one change to global public policy, I would choose to put an end to the US Farm Bill and the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

    Of course, where you and I would part company is on the issue of subsidies. I don’t think “intelligent subsidies” are possible; government, because it doesn’t have the supply-and-demand mechanisms inherent in a free market, cannot acquire enough information to make “intelligent” decisions about what should be produced in what quantities. And the reality is that, however noble your intentions, any subsidy scheme will in reality be hijacked by wealthy and politically-connected businesses in their own interests. I would argue that government subsidies for industry and agriculture, therefore, should be completely abolished immediately and not replaced.

  284. #284 Fred the Hun
    December 19, 2009

    Walton @ 272,

    …I’m pointing out is that there is a direct conflict between the need to protect the environment, and the desire for human beings to enjoy high living standards. In the end, global trade and industry is what lifts the poor out of poverty, produces wealth, and produces the cheap consumer goods and vast quantities of energy we need to sustain our current lifestyles.

    Methinks you are confusing high living standards with consuming tons of crap that no one really needs and only concentrates wealth in the hands of very small elite.

    In my book only a civilization that understands the laws of thermodynamics and the fact that it depends on a healthy environment and therefore must first and foremost protect it can aspire to a high standard of living. Otherwise you are just putting the cart before the horse.

    Btw, extracting those vast quantities of energy you mention, from fossil fuel, is not a very sustainable practice long term…

  285. #285 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Prediction:

    1) Successful obstruction (cf India and China walking out of COP15 + nothing particularly effective from Washington).

    2) Curses foiled again, that is to say much hand wringing for a while.

    3) A bit of a rest followed by a different pretext for the “better world”.

    Face it guys, the Mad Arab just doesn’t want to live in a better world. He’s waiting for the Great Old Ones to return. When that happens none of your feeble plans will matter. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh C’thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

  286. #286 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    But it’s hard for the average person today, in a society where these things are commonplace, to be happy without them.

    If no one had them, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    The problem with humans is that once they get some level of something, you have to wrestle it from their cold dead hands before they will go back to how they were. Even though they were quite content before they had it.
    Going to the cinema is pathetically and unnecessarily expensive in England. Most of the films suck anyway. I drink too much, because wine is so cheap over here. Cmon, its sugar, grapejuice and water left for a bit. There are cheap restaurants. Eating out loses its thrill when you are doing it every other day anyway.

    You know whats fun. walking through whats left of our forests, playing my piano and hanging out with my friends.

  287. #287 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    1)look up what PPP means
    2)eating at restaurants, shopping etc. are not necessary or even particularly conductive to increased happiness. they are, as others have pointed out, a symptom of the addiction to consumerism, nothing else. people are TOLD that they will be happier when they can do these things, so they feel miserable when they can’t. But they usually don’t actually feel better when they can do those things, because there’s always something that some can do and they can’t.

    studies have shown that people are happier and healthier when they manage to stop feeling the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”, either because the “Joneses” don’t have more than them anyway, or because they live in a group/society/neighborhood where other things are valued more than wealth (and obvious displays thereof). Wealth makes people only happier when it helps them cover basic expenses. beyond that, it simply doesn’t correlate.

    also, I don’t particularly care whether you’re skeptical of the $20000. I didn’t make it up, I took it from statistics that show the correlation between average income and social health. and it’s only correlated below that level, not above.

  288. #288 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Walton,

    And if economic growth is slowed or halted by environmental protection measures, fewer people will have access to these luxuries.

    Economic growth in the west is going to be halted anyway by the societal cost our immense debt overhang and the rising cost of fast depleting basic resources. Environmental protection measures isn’t going to make the situation worse, especially if they help reduce our dependency on those same resources.

    Having said this, the current level of output of the rich nation is more than sufficient to provide those “luxuries” to a much larger proportion of the population if wealth was distributed more fairly with the adequate tax code.
    Do you understand waht Warren Buffet means when he remarks that it is quite remarkable that the current Amerrican tax code is such that he pays less taxes as a percentage of his income as the lowest paid of his employees ?

  289. #289 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    You know whats fun. walking through whats left of our forests…

    Which, unless you are lucky enough to live next to a forest (which would be an expensive location), requires you to have a car and fuel to get there.

    …playing my piano and hanging out with my friends.

    A real piano tends, in my experience, to be rather expensive. You can always get a cheap Yamaha keyboard, of course, but it doesn’t feel or sound the same.

    In the end, few things in our world come free. And one of the more unpleasant feelings in life is the nagging voice in the back of one’s mind saying “you shouldn’t be spending money on this, you can’t afford it.” Financial security and material comfort are, in the real world, essential to maintaining any kind of happiness. They are a necessary, though not always a sufficient, condition for a happy life. It therefore follows that halting or slowing economic growth will make life worse for most people.

  290. #290 Carlie
    December 19, 2009

    Walton, here’s a recent study reported from BBC News about the relative worth to society of bankers and janitors. Turns out bankers destroy 7 pounds of value out of the global economy for every 1 they earn. Janitors create 10 pounds of value for every 1 they earn. Trash collectors create 12 pounds of value for every 1 they earn.

  291. #291 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Of course, where you and I would part company is on the issue of subsidies. I don’t think “intelligent subsidies” are possible; government, because it doesn’t have the supply-and-demand mechanisms inherent in a free market, cannot acquire enough information to make “intelligent” decisions about what should be produced in what quantities.

    Of course it can. We need sustainable energy, food, water, transport systems, etc… Those get a subsidy, the old dirty businesses lose theirs and eventually get an increasingly heavy “sin” tax applied to them. We’re not talking about a 5 year plan where a commissar decides how many shoes to make. The market signal is still there but has been pushed in the right direction. You are ignoring the need to bootstrap cleaner approaches into existence and the dominant power of established businesses.

  292. #292 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    2)eating at restaurants, shopping etc. are not necessary or even particularly conductive to increased happiness.

    But wine drinking is ! Especially if it’s French :-)

  293. #293 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    1)look up what PPP means

    I know what it means – Purchasing Power Parity – but I read your post too quickly and missed it. Sorry.

  294. #294 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    mythusmage,

    If we’re moving planets around why not put Venus and an enhanced Mars into Earth’s Lagrangian points? Possibly the leading and trailing Trojan points (L4 and L5) would be most convenient for travel between the planets.

  295. #295 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    And one of the more unpleasant feelings in life is the nagging voice in the back of one’s mind saying “you shouldn’t be spending money on this, you can’t afford it.”

    you still don’t get it, do you. for those who have managed to escape the brainwashing of consumerist culture, that voice (almost) doesn’t exist. There’s always one or two luxuries that are indeed part of personal wellness; but for the most part, all this stuff people spend money on doesn’t actually make them happier, but they are told that it will, when it reality it just makes them feel guilty because they can’t afford stuff. which makes them more miserable, so they do what society tells them will make them happier (i.e. spend money); which makes them more guilty and more miserable… etc. ad nauseam. it’s a vicious cycle, not unlike that of drug addicts.

    let me repeat the fact that richest countries are neither the happiest ones, nor the healthiest; they are however disproportionately those that have the most people in debt and the lowest savings rates.

  296. #296 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Walton #284

    government, because it doesn’t have the supply-and-demand mechanisms inherent in a free market, cannot acquire enough information to make “intelligent” decisions about what should be produced in what quantities.

    Typical looneytarian “da gummint are bad” bullshit. Tell me, Walton, what do you think economists do for a living? Does the term “feedback” mean anything to you? How about “economic models”?

    I’ve told you before you need to take a basic macroeconomics course or three before you start pontificating on shit you’re obviously ignorant about. I’d be much more impressed by your points if you weren’t parroting looneytarian propaganda.

  297. #297 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Tis Himself:

    mythusmage,

    If we’re moving planets around why not put Venus and an enhanced Mars into Earth’s Lagrangian points? Possibly the leading and trailing Trojan points (L4 and L5) would be most convenient for travel between the planets.

    Or we could put Mars in orbit around Venus at a Lagrangian. Mars would stabilize the axial tilt of Venus and it’s own. Suck off some of Venus’ excess CO2 and give it to Mars. Venus cools, Mars warms and both are covered in forest and field.

    Nah, let’s just keep driving our Hummers and kill ourselves.

  298. #298 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Oops, I’ve done a bad thing. I’ve been enabling a looneytarian takeover of a thread. My looneytarian codependency needs to be further stifled. I apologize to all and sundry.

  299. #299 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Right, self-sustained small pockets of earthlike artificial evironments it is then.

    Heres a question for the chemists. If we lived in a crater, is there a gas or set of gases we could use as a roof which would keep a suitable air level in but still allow through sunlight within the crater. So it would be lighter than “air” we can inhabit, but heavier than the mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere of mars. Rather than building big plastic structures which would cost a lot in transportation.

  300. #300 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    I’ve been enabling a looneytarian takeover of a thread.

    Well, it seems to me as if the whole “global warming debate” is the result of a looneytarian takeover.

  301. #301 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Which, unless you are lucky enough to live next to a forest (which would be an expensive location), requires you to have a car and fuel to get there.

    except when you live in a country with ebil gubmint forest management, at which point you can have forests IN your cities, around your cities, and pretty much everywhere that isn’t being used for agriculture. :-p

    for that matter, walks through a wheat-field or along a river, or along a beach, or on the open prairie, or up a mountain, or whatever can be just as pleasant, relaxing, and happiness-inducing. And the only thing necessary for that is to make sure development doesn’t eat everything in an attempt to make more money, which as I’ve just explained, doesn’t make anyone happier; unlike easy access to nature.

  302. #302 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    But wine drinking is ! Especially if it’s French :-)

    Overrated. I am brewing batches of english strawberry and also cherry wine as we speak. Grape is so last century.

  303. #303 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    But wine drinking is ! Especially if it’s French :-)

    Or Californian. They also grow some good wines in Italy, Germany and even Chile. Supposedly there’s also some drinkable wine from New Zealand or Indonesia or somewhere around there.

  304. #304 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    …it even seems a new poll indicates that looneytarians now outnumber republicans :

    The results: Democratic 36%, Tea Partylooneytarians 23%, Republican 18%

    Poor country.

  305. #305 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    In the end, few things in our world come free.

    Nothing is free, but my piano will last at least up to a hundred years (the last one did). That is value for money that you will rarely see.

    I could afford it, I saved for it and made some sacrifices. I wouldn’t have bought it if it had got me into debt. I leave that to the plebs who want a bigger tv so they can waste away their lives and bodies in style.

  306. #306 spudvol
    December 19, 2009

    It’s been 24 hours, PZ is officially missing in action now.

  307. #307 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    Jadehawk, I disagree. There are lots of things I would definitely miss if I were living on a tighter budget: attending black-tie dinners (which can easily cost £50 a head), going to the gym, and the like. Conversely, if I had more money, I can think of plenty I would do with it; it would be great to be able to go shopping and buy a £300 suit, or a £50 shirt, or a £100 pair of shoes, without having to worry about what I can afford. And I desperately want a car; at the moment I can’t afford one of my own.

    It’s true that a lot of these specific desires are the result of the social environment in which I live. But a different social milieu would simply engender different desires.

  308. #308 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    I’m not disputing any of what you said in #307; I’m merely trying to explain to you that you didn’t come to like these things/think that way on your own, and that those other social milieus are more conductive to actual human wellbeing than the perceived happiness experienced by consumerism and the “need” for ever more luxuries. And that it is possible (albeit temporarily painful) to switch from one to the other, without permanently sacrificing people’s wellbeing; on the contrary, switching out of consumerist culture to a more sustainable, human focused tends to make people happier and healthier in the long term.

  309. #309 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Which, unless you are lucky enough to live next to a forest (which would be an expensive location), requires you to have a car and fuel to get there.

    Actually, I live right across a beautiful forest. Ad I’m trying to push myself to get off this phayngula thing and go for a nice walk in that forest with my dog.

    Anybody know of a method to log off Pharyngua for a while ?

    On top of that, it has snowed last night, so it’s even more beautiful than usual… and it’s really exceptional here on the French Riviera. That must be absolute PROOF Global Warming isn’t happenng.

  310. #310 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 19, 2009

    There are lots of things I would definitely miss if I were living on a tighter budget: attending black-tie dinners (which can easily cost £50 a head)

    Black tie dinners are overrated. At one time I went to so many that I owned my own tuxedo. I don’t miss black time dinners in the least. Among other things, the food was usually mediocre.

  311. #311 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    Maybe willpower will work…

    I’m off to the forest. Ciao

  312. #312 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    oh yes, and also: consumerist society is so structured that there is always something “better”, something that would make your life “perfect” just out of your reach… and when you get that, there will be something else again, because the last thing just didn’t do the trick as promised. it’s an addiction, not a healthy desire for happiness.

    real happiness is something that must actually be achievable, an actual finite goal. granted, sometimes life fucks with us and makes it harder or even impossible to reach that goal, or takes it away once achieved… but a society in which the goal is designed to be always juuuuuust out of reach is pathetic and pathological

  313. #313 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 19, 2009

    Calculus is beautiful.

    Calculus is cool, as is math in general. It’s just very hard for me to understand. (I got a B- the second time I took the course, though.) I also recently bought a book on trigonometry and one on calculus to see if I can understand them better if I don’t have the pressure of exams and grades and crap like that.

  314. #314 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 19, 2009

    PPP? You mean that statistic the Republicans love to use to prove that even though we have less money per head, we’re ‘really’ doing better, because it’s basically per Capita GDP ‘divided’ by the cost to buy ‘essentials of life’, when those essentials of life are priced towards the poorest people, which makes our disproportionate income where the wealthy get MOST of it and the average ‘Merikan makes well below the Per Capita GDP, but that doesn’t matter in debates because PPP?

    *Continues raging*

    Sorry, the enabling effect this has on Ron Paul the History Failure continually enrages me, since he LOOOOVES applying it to the Gilded Age without realizing that the average peon still had absolutely shitty living conditions.

  315. #315 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 19, 2009

    Er, and I’m aware it’s not being used for that, just ergh.

  316. #316 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Why would you want to go to black tie dinners? Is that some kind of social meet club thingy?

    I went out in waistcoat, shirt and tie last night and got back 4 hours later exhausted, happy and having spent about £14.

    You are so doing it wrong.

  317. #317 Carlie
    December 19, 2009

    Anybody know of a method to log off Pharyngua for a while ?

    Stealth Kiwi is about the only thing I’ve found that works. :)

  318. #318 Carlie
    December 19, 2009

    There are lots of things I would definitely miss if I were living on a tighter budget:

    There’s the thing right there: you’re defining it as living on a “tighter budget”. Of course it would make you miserable to constantly think of your life as one of an enforced restriction of your desires. Changing how you think of what makes you happy, though, there’s the secret. I’ll admit I’m fairly consumerist, but the few times a year I end up at the megalith known as “the mall” I simply wander about in confusion as to why so many people want to buy so much crap. And maybe I buy a pretzel, but only if I’m hungry. There’s just so much life out there that doesn’t really have anything to do with stuff.

  319. #319 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2009

    it doesn’t easily allow for the comforts which enhance a person’s quality of life; dining out at restaurants, driving a good car, shopping, going to the cinema or theatre, drinking wine, and the like. These things make a substantial difference to most people’s level of happiness

    As usual, Walton, you have no clue whatsoever about the lives of “most people.” Seriously. Zero.

  320. #320 Scott Pigeon
    December 19, 2009

    This comic illustrates a point I try to make often; that the debate is mostly a shortsighted partisan distraction. It’s no secret that belief and denial goes right down party lines. It’s a blatant tip off to anyone that tries to be objective.

  321. #321 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    And that it is possible (albeit temporarily painful) to switch from one to the other, without permanently sacrificing people’s wellbeing; on the contrary, switching out of consumerist culture to a more sustainable, human focused tends to make people happier and healthier in the long term.

    So which actual existing societies do you see as role-models for your desired “sustainable, human focused culture”? The Kingdom of Bhutan, perhaps (where the official policy of the government is to advance “gross national happiness” instead of Gross National Product)?

  322. #322 MAJeff, OM
    December 19, 2009

    There’s the thing right there: you’re defining it as living on a “tighter budget”. Of course it would make you miserable to constantly think of your life as one of an enforced restriction of your desires. Changing how you think of what makes you happy,

    Reminds me of something in Juliet Schor’s recent book Born to Buy. In some research she does with suburban and inner-city children she finds that the greater the degree of integration into consumer society the worse results for tweens/teens in terms of depression, anxiety, self-esteem and psychosomatic symptoms like headaches and nausea. Greater integration into media/consumer society led to worse outcomes. The key isn’t getting more, but wanting less.

  323. #323 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    The key isn’t getting more, but wanting less.

    Its a shame that humans aren’t really built like that. Give somebody something then take it away because they don’t need it and see what happens. Funny how the conversation currently reminds me of the obesity issue.

  324. #324 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    role models? that’s… idiotically simplistic. this entire conversation is about the fact the currently prevailing economic paradigm is about to grind to a screeching halt, whether we do something or not. existing cultures cannot be role-models. they can only be evidence for which direction produces which results, i.e. how we can adjust so that the changes that are inevitable will become less painful.

    I have already noted that economic growth and increase in average national income do help poor and undeveloped nations, so your bhutan comparison is a red herring. I have also noted that above about $20000 average income, there are no more benefits to such increases; at that point, it becomes wasteful and useless to continue chasing increased wealth. this is evidenced by a simple comparison between existing countries above the aforementioned level. when you do that, you see that the richest country (the USA) is actually the least healthy. OTOH, Japan, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, which are not nearly as wealthy, have healthier and happier citizens. They also have a much smaller Carbon footprint; redundancy systems in things like transportation, social support, economy, etc.; fewer working hours; higher personal savings; etc.

    these are not role-models in the sense of “this is exactly how the rest of the world should look like”. They are however evidence of which direction is the right one to steer our societies towards, because they’re happier, healthier, and more sustainable, thus making the inevitable transition less likely to come at as high human cost (which would be what will happen if we don’t to shit and let things run as they are)

    the entire point here is, one more time, that the cost of not doing anything is immense regardless of AGW, and the benefits of doing something are also immense regardless of AGW; statistical comparisons among the wealthy nations confirm this.

  325. #325 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    also, excellent reading material on increasing wellbeing of people and their immediate societies (neighborhoods, towns, etc), even WITHIN the larger framework of a consumerist, unhealthy society: Affluenza

  326. #326 MAJeff, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Funny how the conversation currently reminds me of the obesity issue.

    I’d like to move both of them toward a social analysis. Part of the obesity epidemic lies in how we organize life. The use of high fructose corn syrup in everything, a more sedentary lifestyle, particularly in terms of physical labor, for man of us than has ever existed before, a culture which is always stressing “More, more, bigger, bigger” and selling 1-lb burgers as a bargain (instead of as irresponsible). Yeah, there are more of us who are fat–but that’s not solely about each and every individual fat person. It’s about a society that tends to create fatter people.

    Same thing for consumption. There are different ways of being consumers, and we’re in the middle of a society that elevates that role above all others (even look at certain discourses about the relationship between individuals and the state–no longer are we citizens, but consumers of government services). it’s a society that, as Jadehawk noted, preaches the gospel of purchasing for self-improvement. It’s a society in which the mall has become the public square. That’s not inherent in human nature, but it is the result of human social activity. Consumer society is, in very many ways, bad for people.

  327. #327 bcoppola
    December 19, 2009

    Walton said:

    And the reality is that, however noble your intentions, any subsidy scheme will in reality be hijacked by wealthy and politically-connected businesses in their own interests.

    Big kernel of truth there, and the agricultural subsidies mentioned previously are a good example. IIRC, in the US they began as a way to assist farmers during the Depression, most of whom were small independent operators in danger of being impoverished. They also had the aim of assuring our food supply. Both were laudable and necessary at the time. The programs were gradually hijacked by agribusiness, so now the likes of Archer Daniels Midland are suckling at the public teat. One could no doubt name many other examples of subsidies that were defensible at the time devolving into corporate welfare…but I’m no historian. Big Oil and King Coal, for sure.

    I wonder though: if corporations did not have the rights of persons, might that have put some brakes on that process?

    Ending corporate personhood is becoming something of a hobbyhorse for me, alas. I realize it’s no panacea – nothing is – but it could surely mitigate the tendency toward the concentration of power in the hands of the few.

  328. #328 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    OTOH, Japan, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, which are not nearly as wealthy, have healthier and happier citizens.

    Can you justify this statement with data? Firstly, the countries you cite are actually fairly wealthy. Norway is actually wealthier than the US in terms of GDP per capita, because of its extensive oil reserves in the North Sea and its small population (allowing it to have artificially generous government spending subsidised by oil). Sweden, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands and Finland are all (depending on the data source you use) in the top 20 or 30 countries in the world by GDP per capita at PPP. So while these countries are relatively healthy and happy, that health and happiness is not unconnected to wealth.

    Measures which take into account non-economic aspects of wellbeing, such as the Human Development Index, do place the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands very high – but they also place the US very high, along with jurisdictions like Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand that are well-known for their free-market policies.

    I would also point out – as another measure of (un)happiness – that Japan, Denmark and Norway all have substantially higher suicide rates per capita than the United States. In the case of Japan, the suicide rate per capita is 24.4, more than twice the average for the United States.

  329. #329 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Scott Pigeon:

    This comic illustrates a point I try to make often; that the debate is mostly a shortsighted partisan distraction. It’s no secret that belief and denial goes right down party lines. It’s a blatant tip off to anyone that tries to be objective.

    Sure Scott, it’s just like the way belief/denial in evolution goes down party lines too. I mean it’s not like one side has facts and science and the other side just has bullshit and lies. It’s just like choosing a laundry detergent or a football team. You, however, are “objective” and stand above such things.

  330. #330 David Marjanovi?
    December 19, 2009

    when there’s no evidence of Co2 caused warming?

    There is indeed no evidence for warming caused by molecules that might exist in cobalt vapor.

    If you don’t know anything, why do you comment?

    your society is one that produces the 2nd largest percentage of mentally ill people (after the U!S!A!, which of course is NUMBER ONE!![/sarcasm]).

    Where is Japan in the list? Does mental illness just go unreported there, do such people simply quietly kill themselves*, or what’s up?

    * After protests that they were just too callous, the Tokyo subway system had to remove signs saying “please don’t jump during rush hour” a few years ago.

    we need to recognise that the future will not be some sort of eco-utopia in which people are happy and comfortable. Rather, if and when governments implement tough environmental measures, the inevitable result will be a massive increase in poverty and deprivation, and a reduced quality of life for most of us.

    What makes you think so?

    I have already asked you: what, if anything, makes you think the actions listed in comment 30 will have such consequences?

    Won’t some of them even create jobs?

    Ronald ReaganBushClintonBush

    LOL!

    Walton, why do you seem to make so much effort to try and defend the rich when all economic analysis show that they’ve increased their net wealth tremendously over the last forty years, whilst the poor and middle classes didn’t ?

    Maybe he expects to become rich himself one day? He is after all studying law.

    (Black-tie dinners? 300-£ suits? Man. Take anything, claim it’s expensive, tell Walton it’s a luxury, and he’ll just love it. It’s luxury itself that makes him happy. <headshake>)

    Such as using arsenic in the place of phosphorus

    That would be cool.

    different nucleotides (maybe ATP in place of Guanine)

    Erm… the A in ATP is ordinary adenine. We use that one already. But you’re right that plenty of other possibilities exist.

    the word “gizon” (Basque for a male wolf)

    Is it? Because it’s the ordinary word for “man”…

    Heres a question for the chemists. If we lived in a crater, is there a gas or set of gases we could use as a roof which would keep a suitable air level in but still allow through sunlight within the crater. So it would be lighter than “air” we can inhabit, but heavier than the mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere of mars.

    No chance, because the atmosphere of Mars just isn’t dense enough.

  331. #331 bcoppola
    December 19, 2009

    MAJeff: What you said. We not only posted nearly simultaneously but seem to think very much alike.

    A telling anecdote FWIW: A former co-worker with whom I’ve kept in touch has a pretty libertarian/conservative orientation. Hard worker, highly skilled, smart gal (politics aside). Had a pretty successful consulting business. All lost. She has come close to bankruptcy and nearly lost her home due to medical expenses (a mere broken bone) and the credit crash. One day at work she lamented how she was getting fat “because it’s so hard to eat healthy when you’re poor”.

    I also failed to wrap up my previous post to say: Maybe if we didn’t have corporate “people”, we might not be embroiled in the manufactured “controversy” over the science of AGW right now. Perhaps we would be spending more arguing about means to deal with it (or not) as citizens.

    I gotta step away from the keyboard and do something useful…

  332. #332 Jadehawk, OM
    December 19, 2009

    walton, are you ignoring what I’m saying on purpose? first you’re offering bhutan, which lies below the $20000 threshold, and then you’re complaining that I’m comparing countries above that threshold only. have you even understood what my argument is?

    anyway, you want data? knock yourself out

    lastly, not only are suicide rates are not the only measure of social health, I have no idea where you get the idea that Norway and Denmark have significantly higher suicide rates than the US. it’s 11.6, and 13.7, vs. 11.1, which is a relatively minor variation. The excessive Japanese rate is a well-known and unfortunate social artifact, the import of which (in case you haven’t noticed) I’m not advocating

  333. #333 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    -No chance, because the atmosphere of Mars just isn’t dense enough.-

    Sorry but you will have to explain that a bit more. I would have assumed that if I put oxygen in a crater on a planet with a carbon dioxide atmosphere then the oxygen would stay where it is since it is heavier.

  334. #334 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    David, don’t get the wrong impression of me. I’m a very careful steward of my money; I don’t actually buy £300 suits. That’s a dream, not a reality. Indeed, in reality, I worry all the time about over-spending, and I keep my day-to-day living expenses quite low. (I even begrudge paying £0.05 for a plastic carrier bag at Marks & Spencer, which has recently started charging customers for bags.) So don’t get the impression that I have some sort of extravagant money-wasting lifestyle. :-)

  335. #335 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Carbon dioxide has a molecular weight of 44. The oxygen molecule (O2) is only 32. Oxygen will go flying off before carbon dioxide.

  336. #336 Carlie
    December 19, 2009

    I even begrudge paying £0.05 for a plastic carrier bag at Marks & Spencer, which has recently started charging customers for bags.

    There’s a perfect example of urging desires in a different direction to the benefit of both the economy and the environment. Follow this advice and you will save money over time, help the environment, and be happier that you aren’t being gouged at every market trip.

  337. #337 Walton
    December 19, 2009

    Jadehawk, citing the “Equality Trust” to me is about as helpful as me citing Heritage or Cato Institute papers to you. Partisan political think-tanks, which cherry-pick data to make an ideological point, are not reliable or trustworthy sources of analysis.

  338. #338 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Carbon dioxide has a molecular weight of 44. The oxygen molecule (O2) is only 32. Oxygen will go flying off before carbon dioxide.

    And thus thats why i’m not a chemist, i mess up on the figures. So that means a crater dome would have to be solid then?

  339. #339 David Marjanovi?
    December 19, 2009

    …it even seems a new poll indicates that looneytarians now outnumber republicans :

    The results: Democratic 36%, Tea Partylooneytarians 23%, Republican 18%

    Read the comments to that one!

    I would also point out – as another measure of (un)happiness – that Japan, Denmark and Norway all have substantially higher suicide rates per capita than the United States. In the case of Japan, the suicide rate per capita is 24.4, more than twice the average for the United States.

    In Denmark and Norway depression from darkness probably plays a role. In Japan, the incredible pressure throughout education does, as might the culture ? suicide has a long tradition of being seen as something courageous and therefore honorable, and even today life insurance pays after suicide in Japan, while in the West… in Christianity, suicide is aggravated blasphemy against the Lord Over Life And Death™ ? you go straight to hell and, traditionally at least, can’t even get a Christian burial because you died in the state of mortal sin or something. It goes so far that the 9/11 terrorists were labeled “cowards” because they killed themselves in the process.

    It’s no secret that belief and denial goes right down party lines.

    In the USA.

  340. #340 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2009

    I’d like to move both of them toward a social analysis.

    What a surprise for a, you know, sociologist.

  341. #341 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 19, 2009

    So that means a crater dome would have to be solid then?

    Yes, capable of holding in the necessary pressure too.

    Unless, of course, the science fiction staple the force field is invented.

  342. #342 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2009

    I don’t actually buy £300 suits. That’s a dream…So don’t get the impression that I have some sort of extravagant money-wasting lifestyle.

    Right, you merely aspire to one.

    back into the killfile with you!

  343. #343 David Marjanovi?
    December 19, 2009

    One day at work she lamented how she was getting fat “because it’s so hard to eat healthy when you’re poor”.

    That’s the biggest American Paradox these days.

    (…Interpret “big” as a pun if you like. Wasn’t intended as such, though.)

    [a heavier gas] would stay where it is since it is heavier.

    Gases do mix if you leave them alone, and when the pressure on top of a gas is too small, little prevents the molecules on top from moving upwards.

    (Besides, you only need to know that carbon doesn’t have negative weight to find out that CO2 is heavier than O2.)

    So that means a crater dome would have to be solid then?

    Yes.

    I’m a very careful steward of my money

    I don’t doubt that at all. I’m just baffled that you would like to buy that kind of thing. I see a suit as something useless that I am pressured to wear at formal occasions (about 3 times a year), and a 300-£ suit as something that, while marginally prettier than a 50-£ one, is to me something you can’t do anything with other than showing off (to those people, mind you, who look so closely in the first place that they can distinguish a 300-£ one from a 50-£ one).

    BTW, I don’t need plastic carrier bags for anything except wrapping trash in them. Buy one big solid bag once, and use it again and again…

  344. #344 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Yes, capable of holding in the necessary pressure too.

    Some leakage is acceptable as we could use some energy to replace the oxygen from the carbon dixoide. Some kind of circulating system might actually work better.

    So a solid, transparent material capable of keeping in gas. Doesn’t sound too difficult. Won’t a plastic do the job?

  345. #345 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 19, 2009

    Scott Pigeon says, “This comic illustrates a point I try to make often; that the debate is mostly a shortsighted partisan distraction.”

    Well, I agree that the debate is political. After all, there’s no real debate among scientists any more that we’re warming the planet.

  346. #346 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    One day at work she lamented how she was getting fat “because it’s so hard to eat healthy when you’re poor”.

    That’s the biggest American Paradox these days.

    Nah, I never believed thats true for a second. Not when in the last thread eating out on crap at McDonalds was apparently cheaper than eating in with a healthy meal.

  347. #347 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Check out Scott Pigeon’s website. It’s hilarious. Turns out he’s a looneytarian candidate for office somewhere.

    Different topic: it’s easy to build the towers that support the dome over the crater on Mars. The low gravity means multi-kilometer high structures are easier to support than on earth.

  348. #348 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    So a dome stretching across a crater is technically doable? We aren’t talking a soppy little dome in a crater to keep out the wind here. You would need about 1 kilometre square of land to keep about 200 people.

  349. #349 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Well, SB ate my post but yes, you could get 1km^2 under a dome without much building material there. There is a problem of micrometeroid impacts though. Martian atmosphere lets a lot of shit through that burns up on earth. It will need constant repair.

  350. #350 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Martian atmosphere lets a lot of shit through that burns up on earth. It will need constant repair.

    A heavy seethrough gas to protect the dome?

  351. #351 bcoppola
    December 19, 2009

    We should all realize, of course, that all this is going to be moot when the Large Hadron Collider makes a black hole that swallows the Earth. :)

  352. #352 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    A heavy seethrough gas to protect the dome?

    Not sure about that. If something does get through the heavy gas pours into the dome. I’m guessing it’s not O2 so that could be bad.

  353. #353 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    We should all realize, of course, that all this is going to be moot when the Large Hadron Collider makes a black hole that swallows the Earth. :)

    Don’t forget 2012 when Jesus, Cthulu and Quetzacoatl come back and rape us all with light sabers (or whatever is supposed to happen then).

  354. #354 MAJeff, OM
    December 19, 2009

    Don’t forget 2012 when Jesus, Cthulu and Quetzacoatl come back and rape us all with light sabers (or whatever is supposed to happen then).

    goats will spontaneously burst into flames.

  355. #355 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    Mhhhmmmm…. goats…..

  356. #356 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    mmmm…Freshly cooked goats.

    Not sure about that. If something does get through the heavy gas pours into the dome. I’m guessing it’s not O2 so that could be bad.

    Yes, but a dome without a protective layer suffers exactly the same thing. The dome will have to be airtight, holes will have to be patched quickly. An air filter system that pulls out the heavy gas and puts it back up there as part of its function perhaps?

  357. #357 Sven DiMilo
    December 19, 2009

    If the gas inside the dome is kept under slightly positive pressure, then atmospheric incursion would not be a problem for small holes. Some sort of self-repairing membrane would be nice.

  358. #358 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    Small roaming machines using solar power, a plastic gun and basic AI could do it. You would need some other system in place and the occasional overhaul of course.

    That still leaves us the question of whether such a gas exists that won’t blot out the sun, or react violently with the atmospheres.

  359. #359 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 19, 2009

    “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kitd…”

    OK, not only is the atmosphere thin and the temperature cold enough to make brass monkeys extinct, there’s almost no oxygen, very little water and the neutron flux peaks right at the surface–in short, nasty!

    Now, consider, that to terraform the planet, you would need to bring pretty much everything from Earth. At present, we can only manage the trip to Mars once every two years, when the planets near their closet approach. The trip takes several months, during which time you ar exposed to the full galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux and any solar particle events that might occur. GCR fluxes are so energetic, that to sheild out half of them, you’d need a shell of aluminum 14 cm thick all around you–good luck getting that off the ground.

    There is only one habitable planet we know of. ONE. And it is likely to stay that way until long after we render it uninhabitable. We aren’t all going to go to Mars. And we certainly aren’t going to venus. And the stars are right out. We live or die on Earth.

  360. #360 Richard Eis
    December 19, 2009

    We aren’t terraforming the planet anymore. It takes too long and those lazy scientists won’t make any more physics for us to use. Please try to keep up.

    If the protection needed is as you say then we will need a stopover in earth orbit to build something there. Or something on the moon so that we can transport humans there.

  361. #361 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 19, 2009

    Richard Eis,
    It takes 10 Grand to launch a can of soda into orbit–orbit, mind you, not to the moon or to Mars. What is more, that total is unlikely to diminish any time soon. When we build a satellite, we worry about grams of mass!

    And as to the radiation, you also need to understand that the galactic cosmic rays are high Z, high energy ions (HZE), which do more damage to DNA than gamma, or beta radiation typically encountered on Earth. Look, Richard, I do this for a living. NASA runs a radiation facility at Brookhaven just for tissue damage studies. It ain’t pretty.

    We are stuck on Earth unless somebody comes up with a warp drive, and I’m not holding my breath.

  362. #362 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    David,

    Read the comments to that one!

    Yes, Rasmussen isn’t trustworthy. However, this comment is just what I’m thinking :

    If the Teabagger Party wants to run candidates against the GOP and Dem candidates, I’ll happily contribute money to them. A strong Teabagger Party means certain doom for the GOP, and nothing could be more richly deserved. I look forward to a Palin/Beck Teabagger duo in 2012 as much for the hilarity that would ensue as the damage it would wreak on the Rethuglicans.

  363. #363 destlund
    December 19, 2009

    negentropyeater,

    That Palin/Beck plan sounds just crazy enough to work, but what do we do if they win?

  364. #364 negentropyeater
    December 19, 2009

    …then we all move to Plan B.
    That’s as far away as possible from the US of A. Mongolia, Fidgi, or preferably another planet.

  365. #365 amphiox
    December 19, 2009

    If we’re moving planets around why not put Venus and an enhanced Mars into Earth’s Lagrangian points? Possibly the leading and trailing Trojan points (L4 and L5) would be most convenient for travel between the planets.

    I think a problem with that is that the Lagrange points are only stable if the object within it is not too large relative to the primary orbiting mass. For example, one of the theories about the origin of Theia (the moon impactor) was that it coalesced in the Earth-Sun L4 or L5 Lagrange point, and then, once it got too big, was no longer stable there, drifted out, and then kaboom.

    Of course, if you’ve got the tech to move Mars, gravitational inconveniences like this are probably trivial.

    OTOH if you got the tech to move Venus, its pretty likely that you’re not going to be needing planets for anything much more than a big convenient source of building material.

  366. #366 amphiox
    December 19, 2009

    re: #282

    You bring up a very interesting and I think very valid point, which is that a “habitable” earth-like planet, if it is already inhabited, may well pose even more of a technical challenge for colonization than a presumably sterile and unearth-like world like Mars, or even the Moon. The alien biosphere is going to have had its own unique evolutionary trajectory and who knows what kinds of biochemistry its going to have cooked up. All the trace elements essential to biological energy production are going to be different in amount and detail, and even minute differences in these is the difference between “essential” and “lethal”. And this is just base chemistry – we haven’t even started with any potential interactions at the biologic level.

    Frankly, I think constructing an entire habitat in space, from scratch, where you have total control of your environment from the ground up from the beginning, is going to turn out vast easier than trying to adapt to another planet with a pre-existing biosphere, even if that planet as 1G gravity, and 20%O2/80%N2 1 atmosphere pressure.

  367. #367 mythusmage
    December 19, 2009

    Tis Himself, #294

    There is a huge problem with this idea. Now ideally the lagrangian points are stable, but there is one enormous destabilizing influence hanging around, Jupiter. Jupiter’s gravitational influence perturbs the orbits of the Triad, and catastrophy ensues.

    Besides, if you have the tech for cheaply moving planets around, you’ve got the tech for traveling to their current locations cheaply.

  368. #368 mythusmage
    December 19, 2009

    To the tune of the Small World song.

    It’s a small world after all
    We’re not satisfied at all
    We’ll go build one not so small
    As this small, small world.

  369. #369 llewelly
    December 19, 2009

    OK, not only is the atmosphere thin and the temperature cold enough to make brass monkeys extinct, there’s almost no oxygen, very little water and the neutron flux peaks right at the surface–in short, nasty!

    The cold of Mars wouldn’t makke brass monkeys extinct. It would make a brass monkey a freeze pop rather than a liquid drink.

  370. #370 destlund
    December 19, 2009

    Depending on the brass monkey’s proof, it might not.

  371. #371 Meathead
    December 19, 2009

    amphiox:

    Frankly, I think constructing an entire habitat in space, from scratch, where you have total control of your environment from the ground up from the beginning, is going to turn out vast easier than trying to adapt to another planet with a pre-existing biosphere, even if that planet as 1G gravity, and 20%O2/80%N2 1 atmosphere pressure.

    Check out Ian M. Banks culture novels. He talks about “orbitals” like this. Basically it’s a 3.8 million km ring, about 30,000km wide that spins so that you get 1g at the surface and a 24 hour day/night cycle.

  372. #372 tim Rowledge
    December 20, 2009

    Actually Meathead, Banks’ orbitals are more like a bracelet than a ring, a connected set of plates.And I don’t think the Culture needs to spin anything to fake gravity, they just tap into the Grid and pull hobbits out of their invisible hats. Niven’s ringworld is the bracelet and as was pointed out fairly quickly it has stability problems. Do keep up in the back there…

    Both ideas are massively more grandiose than what amphiox was (probably) referring to which I think were O’Neill type habitats.

    Stross came up with an even more outrageous idea a while back, whereby a truly vast mass of matter was converted into a staggeringly enormous flat plane ‘world’ and humanity dumped onto it. See http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/04/missile_gap.html And we shouldn’t forget Niven’s Smoke Ring idea either. I quite like that one.

  373. #373 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Ah, ys…glbl wrmng s gng t dstry s ll. Nvr mnd tht th plnt hs bn clng fr dzn yrs nw, tht Antrctc s c s ncrsng…gtt kp tht rsrch grnt grvy trn -rlln’, lst w bcm nmplyd. Hrr FÜhrr Hnsn wld b mst dsplsd t sch dvlpmnt, nd wld ndbtdly prcd t gv hndrds f md ntrvws, dmnstrtng gn hw h s bng mzzld.

    Th wntr strms crrntly ffctng th st cst r wtht dbt csd by glbl wrmng, bcs wrmng css clng, dn’tch knw?

    By th wy, wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt nywy?

  374. #374 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Yawn, another self titled liar and bullshitter without any peer reviewed citations. Which are the only thing that counts in a scientific debate…

  375. #375 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 20, 2009

    #373 is from a banned poster. Killfile.

  376. #376 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009
  377. #377 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009
  378. #378 MAJeff, OM
    December 20, 2009

    ExxonMobil or BP?

  379. #379 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 20, 2009

    No, looneytarian “don’t take my SUV away!”

  380. #380 MartinM
    December 20, 2009

    Never mind that the planet has been cooling for a dozen years now

    No, it hasn’t, you fucking liar.

  381. #381 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Stll prjctng, PH? Hw sd fr y! Bt ntrly xpctd frm fndmntlst lk yrslf.

  382. #382 Sven DiMilo
    December 20, 2009

    Never mind that the planet has been cooling for a dozen years now, that Antarctic sea ice is increasing…gotta keep that reasearch grant gravy train a-rollin’, lest we become unemployed.

    what a fucking idiot
    weather =/= climate
    Here are the data. Feel free to go in there and cherry-pick any 12-year period to draw whatever conclusion you’ve already decided on.

  383. #383 Rorschach
    December 20, 2009

    The winter storms currently affecting the east coast are without a doubt caused by global warming, because warming causes cooling, don’tcha know?

    People can be this stupid? Amazing stuff.

  384. #384 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Yawn, all attitude, no evidence. Just like before. And weather and climate are often confused by the scientific illiterate. Weather is what happens in one year. Climate is what happens over thirty or more years. Anything less than thirty years is weather. The alleged evidence is weather. What a loser.

  385. #385 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Y knw y’v wn th rgmnt whn ll th thr sd hs t ffr s prfnty nd jvnl nslts. Oh, wll, rlgnst s s rlgnst ds, I spps.

  386. #386 MartinM
    December 20, 2009

    You know you’ve won the argument when all the other side has to offer is profanity and juvenile insults.

    No. You win the argument when you prove your case. Put up or shut up.

    Let’s start with your claim that the planet has been cooling for the past dozen years. Prove it.

  387. #387 Rorschach
    December 20, 2009

    Comment by TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

    *warmandfuzzies*

  388. #388 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    Ah, yes…global warming is going to destroy us all.

    Except it won’t. It will however make you regret that you sat back and laughed at all the warnings.

    Cold comfort indeed…but frankly if there is one upside to this, it will be the ability to rub the noses of the eejits in it.

    Of course then they will be a persecuted minority…

  389. #389 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    You know you’ve won the argument when all the other side has to offer is profanity and juvenile insults.

    Well, that is all you have offered. Zero citations to the peer reviewed scientific literature. I wonder why? Maybe the true scientific literature doesn’t say what you presuppose is the answer? Gee, you wouldn’t be the first person here to make that basic scientific mistake. So, either cite the scientific literature, or shut the fuck up. Welcome to real science, where the evidence, and not attitude rules. And no evidence means you have nothing but attitude.

  390. #390 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 20, 2009

    150 years ago the Thames River* in Connecticut was normally frozen across by January 1st. By February 1st wagons were drawn by horses across the Thames to haul the ice being harvested for ice houses.

    The last time the river froze from shore to shore was during the 1940s. Right now the ice on the Thames extends about three feet/one meter from the shore.

    *The one that flows by New London. Incidentally, the name rhymes with “names.”

  391. #391 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 20, 2009

    The last time this troll came from under his bridge he offered little but insults and lies. Now he’s whining because he got insulted first.

    From the Dungeon List:

    Global Warming is a Scam – Insipidity – He could have just posted his pseudonym once. He had nothing to add beyond that, ever.

  392. #392 destlund
    December 20, 2009

    TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax marks the first time I thought we got Godwin’d and Poe’d in the same first post. But everybody says he’s for real? It looks like the powers that be have been working very hard of late.

  393. #393 Peter G.
    December 20, 2009

    “So, either cite the scientific literature, or shut the fuck up. Welcome to real science, where the evidence, and not attitude rules. And no evidence means you have nothing but attitude.” Noid@389
    Coming from someone who never, ever posts a citation before hurling turds and whose tenuous grasp of the fundamentals of science is evident in just about every post where you do offer an opinion,this may constitute the most exemplary case of projection I have ever seen. Did you think no one would notice?

  394. #394 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    -Richard Eis,
    It takes 10 Grand to launch a can of soda into orbit–orbit, mind you, not to the moon or to Mars.-

    We are talking hypotheticals here, not getting bogged down with such uninteresting things as “money”.

    My knowledge of cosmic radiation is um…not good. Would you be able to make something that shields us by reacting strongly with the cosmic particles?

    Go on. If money was no object but you only had todays technology. Could you get us to mars?

  395. #395 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 20, 2009

    The winter storms currently affecting the east coast are without a doubt caused by global warming, because warming causes cooling, don’tcha know?

    I’ll take examples of not having a fucking clue for 1000 Alex

  396. #396 Canman
    December 20, 2009

    I think PZ may be unwittingly making a point for the right when he says “isn’t this really what it’s all about?” (the man does display a lot of wit — mabe he’s used it up). Many see the issue as a power grab by government for more control over people’s lives.

  397. #397 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    tenuous grasp of the fundamentals of science

    Compared to your tenuous grasp? Don’t project your ignorance unto others. We know better, especially those of us who have been living science for a long time. What are your credentials? I don’t recall you saying, but you sure have an attitude. Is it truly justified? I suspect not.

  398. #398 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    The question is not whether Nerd-o-Red is projecting but whether he is right. In this case, it rightosity could be seen from space. Its not like the troll wasn’t obvious.

    However I didn’t “notice” his projection, perhaps it is only noticeable to “special” people.

  399. #399 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 20, 2009

    Richard Eis “Go on. If money was no object but you only had todays technology. Could you get us to mars?”

    Well, NASA has been looking at this very question as part of their Lunar Lunacy and Martian Madness. Since the overwhelming majority of space within an atom is taken up by the electron clouds, it isn’t too surprising that the way an energetic particle slows down is by interacting with the electrons–so so-called “Stopping Power” is roughly proportional to the atomic number, Z of the medium through which the energetic particle is passing. Second order effects actually make the increase in effectiveness with Z a little less than linear–so they don’t help. But basically what this means is that shielding power is proportinal to mass. Even worse, because ions deposit their highest energy density at the end of their track (low energy), if you miscalculate shielding, all you do is maximize the energy deposited in astronauts (or electronics).

    One approach NASA has been looking at is to use a very strong dipole magnetic field to deflect particles around the spacecraft. They still hit at the poles, but you can at least limit where you need maximum shielding. Thing is you need a REALLY strong magnetic field. Other things they are looking at are various pharmaceutical solutions that hopefully allow more rapid repair of damaged tissue (unfortunately probably not effective for high-energy heavy ions, which obliterate large chunks of DNA) and age and gender restrictions for astronauts going to Mars (old guys will likely die before the cancer develops too far and men are less prone to radiation induced cancers than women).

    Anyway, it’s what we call “an area of active research”. Sorry for the long answer, but you did ask a radiation nerd about radiation.

  400. #400 Sven DiMilo
    December 20, 2009

    Many see the issue as a power grab by government for more control over people’s lives.

    Many are paranoid fools.

  401. #401 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 20, 2009

    You know, I’m always glad when idjits like Hoax show up, since they show how devoid of science and evidence the denialists are. It’s what we refer to as an “own goal”.

    But Hoax, feel free to prove me wrong. Any time you’d like to discuss some facts such as:

    1)the current decade is the warmest on record–last decade is 2nd warmest and the one before is third–17 of the 20 warmest years have occurred within the past 2 decades

    2)Simultaneous cooling of the stratosphere and warming of the troposphere indicates an energy source below the stratosphere–and greenhouse gasses are the only candidate.

    3)CO2 is higher than it has been in 800000 years and explains ~80% of the change we see in climate

    That will do for now. There’s lots, lots more evidence where those came from. Can you hear me Hoax, or does your tinfoil hat pull down over your ears and make you deaf as well as stupid.

  402. #402 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    Sorry for the long answer, but you did ask a radiation nerd about radiation.

    I will pick your brains for a bit longer then if you don’t mind.

    What about attracting the ions away from the ship? If that makes sense. Could you collect and process the radiation into an energy source or are we talking minute amounts here?

    Or since you need materials, robots etc… create a convoy of ships with the humans protected in the middle because they are the most squishy.

  403. #403 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

  404. #404 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Gd mv, Rv, snc y hv prvdd mny sch xmpls. By th wy, hv y ttmptd t sk hlp fr yr sss?

  405. #405 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    And that is why you were banned. Stupid question from a stupid troll. Still no scientific evidence. Ergo, nothing of interest being said.

  406. #406 Kel, OM
    December 20, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    Not this tool again. If you’re not going to answer your own question, fuck off!

  407. #407 Ichthyic
    December 20, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    What causes hurricanes?

  408. #408 TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax
    December 20, 2009

    Prjctng gn, r w Kl? Why dn’t y sk t hlp fr yr sss?

  409. #409 Ichthyic
    December 20, 2009

    Good move, Rev, since you have provided many such examples. By the way, have you attempted to seek help for your projection issues?

    LOL

    Projecting projector is projecting.

    you are only dimly aware of yourself.

  410. #410 MartinM
    December 20, 2009

    Let’s start with your claim that the planet has been cooling for the past dozen years. Prove it.

    I’ll take that as a ‘no’ on proving your claim, then.

  411. #411 Kel, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Projecting again, are we Kel?

    Nope, just memories flooded back of the tedious broken record you are. You have no point to make, just drone the same question over and over again. Nevermind that the relative temperature is set to rise – you keep asking the same irrelevant question as if it’s profoundly insightful and you’ve outsmarted the smart guys who actually study the climate for a living.

    Are you actually going to engage the science, or keep asking the same unanswerable loaded question as if it invalidates everything climate scientists have ever studied?

  412. #412 Ichthyic
    December 20, 2009

    Why don’t you seek out help for your issues?

    it’s quite obvious who the one with the issues is.

    …and it ain’t Kel.

    Many see the issue as a power grab by government for more control over people’s lives.

    which government would that be? the one previous to the current administration that worked hard to suppress any data supporting AGW, scuttled any support for any international cooperation on the issue, and made record profits off of their oil investments, all the while tapping your phone lines with your tacit approval likely?

    that one?

    or the current one?

    the previous?

    not even in this country?

    …not even on this planet?

    I get confused which “government” is trying to control your life.

  413. #413 PZ Myers
    December 20, 2009

    “TheGreatGlobalWarmingHoax” last posted here as “GlobalWarmingIsAScam”. All you will get from him is the same loud assertion as his pseudonym, so there is no point in engaging him.

  414. #414 Ichthyic
    December 20, 2009

    because warming causes cooling, don’tcha know?

    actually, I’m sure you’re butt ignorant about the processes involved, but locally, it can.

    we could catastrophically have the North Atlantic circum-polar circulation stop, and that might indeed lead to MUCH colder temperatures locally.

    among other very, very bad things.

    this isn’t the best article on the subject I have seen, but it’s the first one that popped up on quick search, and at least is referenced.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/oceans.htm

    well, not that someone like yourself would bother to actually read the references.

  415. #415 SleaZLyersGoBuggerYourself
    December 20, 2009

    Dr Sl Z Lyrs:

    Pls g bggr yrslf.

    Sncrly,

    Glbl Wrmng Is A Scm

  416. #416 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 20, 2009

    Richard Eis, GCR fluxes average about 6 particles per cm^2 per second–pretty feeble. Even the solar wind is a very tenuous plasma. There have been some schemes to use a large positive charge on the ship to repel the ions, but
    1)the charge would have to be huge due to the energy of GCR, and
    2)you would then attract LOTS of electrons in the space plasma that would neutralize your positive charge.

    The magnetic idea is about the most promising, but the problem here is that generating such a large magnetic field is very difficult and takes a massive amount of material. This is a big problem in terms of launch costs. However, there is at least one satellite proposed which hopes to capitalize on this technology–but it’s a much smaller satellite than anything that could carry even one human. For each human you need to be able to carry about 500 kg of gear even for a short mission. This is one reason why NASA’s manned missions eat up about 2/3 of the agency’s budget.

  417. #417 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    Haha, someone got disemvowelled. Hey, there was no information change.

    Does that mean the creationists are right?…or was it simply random drivel to begin with, so no change was seen?

  418. #418 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    -This is one reason why NASA’s manned missions eat up about 2/3 of the agency’s budget. –

    We seriously need to get AI up there at least to the intelligence of a smart dog.

    IMHO NASA shouldn’t be even considering man missions yet. It just isn’t that useful, even though its good PR.

    So, what about colonizing the moon then? I mean Mars would be nice…but…Don’t we still have issues with solar wind and the like there?

  419. #419 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 20, 2009

    Gd mv, Rv, snc y hv prvdd mny sch xmpls. By th wy, hv y ttmptd t sk hlp fr yr sss?

    I’m sorry it’s hard to hear you with that pacifier in your mouth.

  420. #420 Sven DiMilo
    December 20, 2009

    Wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

    if anything, it makes more sense that way

  421. #421 Richard Eis
    December 20, 2009

    Wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

    if anything, it makes more sense that way

    Yknow, i think you just undermined the whole of Behe’s “theory”. Not that this would cause any great impact to anyone.

  422. #422 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    tim rowledge:

    Actually Meathead, Banks’ orbitals are more like a bracelet than a ring, a connected set of plates.And I don’t think the Culture needs to spin anything to fake gravity, they just tap into the Grid and pull hobbits out of their invisible hats. Niven’s ringworld is the bracelet and as was pointed out fairly quickly it has stability problems. Do keep up in the back there…

    I think you’re right actually. The funny thing is that when I first heard about orbitals I sat down and worked out the size on my own making the assumptions I layed out above. g=v^2/r, v=omega*r –> g=omega^2/r –> r=3.8*10^6 km if omega = 2pi/24hrs. Then I went to Bank’s webpage and damned if didn’t have the same number. He must have worked it out the same way and then added the plates and force fields later.

  423. #423 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    Correction r = 1.855*10^6 km

  424. #424 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    In case no one else has pointed out there is another vowel challenged asshole who calls itself avsn in this thread

    It’s an anti-choicer over there. Big surprise.

  425. #425 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    Munkies, no wait Hobbits.

    What causes hurricanes?

    goats?

  426. #426 MetzO'Magic
    December 20, 2009

    Are Humans smarter than yeast?

    Please specify. Are you referring to the garden-variety kind of yeast, or the sentient kind?

  427. #427 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Posted by: Rev. RetardedGorilla | December 20, 2009 3:16 PM

    I’m sorry it’s hard to hear you with that pacifier in your mouth.

    Gee Rev, it’s hard to hear you with so much of Herr Hansen’s semen in your mouth. Why don’t you swallow already? You know the Fuhrer will be most disappointed if you don’t.

  428. #428 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 20, 2009

    “In case no one else has pointed out there is another vowel challenged asshole who calls itself avsn in this thread”

    Ah, a vowel movement!

  429. #429 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 20, 2009

    Richard Eis,

    You can tunnel into the Lunar rock and be protected from radiation. The main issues with Lunar colonization are:
    1)you have to bring everything up from Earth

    and

    2)Why? It’s a pretty dead rock. At least if we could figure out how to mine asteroids, many of them are enriched in Platinum group minerals.

  430. #430 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Wht s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt? Hw d y xpln th Mdvl Wrmng Prd? Or th rcnt wrmng n Mrs? Why shld w tmtclly blv th cnclsns f ths whs lvlhds r dpndnt pn xctly whch cnclsns thy rch? Why hs th plnt bn clng fr th pst 12 yrs? Why s Antrctc s c ncrsng? Why r plr br ppltns ncrsng?

  431. #431 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    Gee Rev, it’s hard to hear you with so much of Herr Hansen’s semen in your mouth. Why don’t you swallow already? You know the Fuhrer will be most disappointed if you don’t.

    Hoax is back, but his vowel colostomy bag is gone. PZ predicted that avsn, Hoax, etc… would morph. Damned if it didn’t.

  432. #432 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Yawn, still nothing of cogency. To change our minds, the peer reviewed scientific literature is required. And guess what sleazy a-hole doesn’t have. Anything scientific. What a loser.

  433. #433 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    What is the optimal temperature of the planet?

    This has been covered, it’s Hobbits.

    How do you explain the Medieval Warming Period?

    Masturbation

    Or the recent warming on Mars?

    We have robots on Mars – and they masturbate.

    Why should we automatically believe the conclusions of those whose livelihoods are dependent upon exactly which conclusions they reach?

    As covered before – goats.

    Why has the planet been cooling for the past 12 years? Why is Antarctic sea ice increasing? Why are polar bear populations increasing?

    Polar bears eat ice cream. Ice cream is nourishing. This means more Polar Bears (and goats). Polar bears, being white, reflect heat, thus more ice and more ice cream. Thus even more Polar bears. It’s quite simple.

  434. #434 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Rd s prjctng. Wht srprs. Nt.

  435. #435 WowbaggerOM
    December 20, 2009

    Which whiny, banned pissant is this one again? I can’t keep track of all these people, but I will say it’s kind of their employers at the whack-parlour to give them time out from their busy jizz-mopping schedules to post content-free drivel on blogs.

  436. #436 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Still no evidence. Without evidence you are nothing but a loudmouth asshole. What part of that don’t you understand?

  437. #437 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Hy Rd, whn hv y vr pstd vdnc bt ? Oh, tht’s rght, y hvn’t.

  438. #438 Pygmy Loris
    December 20, 2009

    Polar bears eat ice cream. Ice cream is nourishing. This means more Polar Bears (and goats). Polar bears, being white, reflect heat, thus more ice and more ice cream. Thus even more Polar bears. It’s quite simple.

    ROTFL!

    So polar bear and goat populations are correlated?

  439. #439 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    Hey Red, when have you ever posted evidence about ANYTHING? Oh, that’s right, you haven’t.

    Well I don’t know about him but I have. I told you Hobbits!! Or to be more exact, Hobbits + your mom = Orc orgy. I’ll dig up the precise refs later, I know that O. Jism, et al.. 2014 is a good starting place though.

  440. #440 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    So polar bear and goat populations are correlated?

    Yes, polar bears eat almost any ice cream but hate Rocky Road. The goats eat that and multiply. This leads, through a complex biochemical mechanism I will not detail here, to increased Hobbits. Hence, Mars bitches!!!

  441. #441 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Posted by: Cowbuggerer | December 20, 2009 8:26 PM

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Wow, CB, you sure got a whole lotta projectin’ goin’ on there. Might be time to seek help for that disorder.

  442. #442 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Sleazy Asshole still has no evidence. AGW is standard science. You display nothing but attitude. Only citing the peer reviewed literature will change our minds. You keep making the claims. Ergo, the burden of proof is upon you. And you fail every time.

  443. #443 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    @411: My my, someone likes hot beef sex in the projection room with Polar Bears, Hobbits and his own mom.

    goatsex to U FSZL.

  444. #444 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    AGW s psd-scnc, lk Mnn’s lng-g-dbnkd hcky stck, nd Albr’s “dcmntry”.

  445. #445 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    Hey Red, what’s the optimal temperature of the planet? Or are you STILL avoiding the question?

    It’s sad that he can’t answer this simple question. I agree with you actually, it’s an important question. I, unlike Nerd, have developed a technique to determine it.

    1) Take a thermometer (preferably containing Mercury)

    2) shove it up your ass as far as you can but leaving just a bit sticking out.

    3) snap it off and suck the shiny liquid metal out of the part you’re holding onto

    4) Jam a sock filled with arsenic and bleach far enough up your ass to bury the remains of the themometer.

    5) Jump off a building at least 2 stories tall

    6) Pull the shattered remains of the thermometer out of your ass (this will hurt ALOT). read the value on it. Subtract Munkeys, multiply by goats and divide by Hobbits.

    7) Scratch the resulting value in your own blood and shit before you die.

  446. #446 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    AGW is pseudo-science,

    Fixed it for you sleazy asshole. And still no evidence, just idiotic and unscientific claims. It’s almost like you know you are a stoopid liar. Exactly what is expected from idjit losers. And why scientists rule. They have evidence.

  447. #447 destlund
    December 20, 2009

    Wow. And I thought this guy started on the wrong foot. Stop feeding the troll, guys. This one has anger management issues.

  448. #448 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Ah, ys…glbl wrmng s gng t dstry s ll. Nvr mnd tht th plnt hs bn clng fr dzn yrs nw, tht Antrctc s c s ncrsng…gtt kp tht rsrch grnt grvy trn -rlln’, lst w bcm nmplyd. Hrr FÜhrr Hnsn wld b mst dsplsd t sch dvlpmnt, nd wld ndbtdly prcd t gv hndrds f md ntrvws, dmnstrtng gn hw h s bng mzzld.

    Th wntr strms crrntly ffctng th st cst r wtht dbt csd by glbl wrmng, bcs wrmng css clng, dn’tch knw?

    By th wy, wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt nywy?

  449. #449 WowbaggerOM
    December 20, 2009

    It appears our banned dumbass troll can’t even count. There’s a shock.

  450. #450 FuckSleaZLyers
    December 20, 2009

    Ww, Rd, tht mst b nw wrld rcrd fr . I sggst y stp prtndng t b scntst nd sk t hlp fr yr rlgs dlsns.

  451. #451 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 20, 2009

    Wow, still no evidence from sleazy asshole. Must know he is a liar and bullshitter, with nothing top add to any discussion. Otherwise, you would be citing the peer reviewed scientific literature instead of giving meaningless and illogical attitude, which proves my points every time.

  452. #452 WowbaggerOM
    December 20, 2009

    Wow, Red, that must be a new world record for PROJECTION. I suggest you stop pretending to be a scientist and seek out help for your religious delusions.

    Hmm – can’t count, doesn’t understand the meanings of common English words, possesses no social skills (or he wouldn’t be posting on a blog where he’s banned)nor insight (or he would realise all his posts will be deleted) – is there anything he is capable of?

    Back to the whack-parlour, GWIAS. There’s jizz that needs a-moppin’.

  453. #453 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    I must apologize to all here. I was testing some of my AI code. This one is called AGWD14. Anthropogenic global warming denier 14. My 14th attempt to create a believable denybot. Sadly my genetic algorithms produced an unexpected result. It simply repeats previous assertions with extra “blah” added. My attempts to shut it down by triggering its “yo mama” subroutine have, alas, failed. I will try to contain it better next time but you may be forced to ban it this time.

  454. #454 Canman
    December 20, 2009

    I said:

    “many see the issue as a power grab by government for more control over people’s lives.”

    Ichthyic responded:

    “which government would that be? the one previous to the current administration that worked hard to suppress any data supporting AGW, scuttled any support for any international cooperation on the issue, and made record profits off of their oil investments, all the while tapping your phone lines with your tacit approval likely?

    that one?

    or the current one?

    the previous?

    not even in this country?

    …not even on this planet?

    I get confused which “government” is trying to control your life.”

    The current one.

  455. #455 Kagato
    December 20, 2009

    What is the optimal temperature for apple pie?

    I demand to know!

  456. #456 Meathead
    December 20, 2009

    Canman:The current one.

    The Federation of Planets?

    The Klingon Empire?

    The Ferenghi? Couldn’t be them, they’re good free market crapitalists.

  457. #457 ieatgravel.myopenid.com
    December 20, 2009

    It’s funny that you posted this. I was elected to serve on my city’s city council and we just recently voted to join the Alaska Coastal Communities Global Climate Change Compact. There were a number of people testifying, both for and against. One of the people providing testimony in support handed all of the Councilmembers a copy of this comic.

  458. #458 Canman
    December 21, 2009

    Meathead:

    “The Federation of Planets?

    The Klingon Empire?

    The Ferenghi? Couldn’t be them, they’re good free market crapitalists.”

    I usually (not always) like to see things done by markets and capitalists. In earlier posts in this thread I expressed a hopeful enthusiasm for geoengineering. That will definitely require a lot of government financing and control.

  459. #459 Richard Eis
    December 21, 2009

    You can tunnel into the Lunar rock and be protected from radiation.

    Any asteroids we can hollow out and cadge a lift in between here and mars? Or set up a permanent robot base on for using as a stepping stone to the rest of the galaxy.

  460. #460 negentropyeater
    December 21, 2009

    Canman the cornucopian,

    I usually (not always) like to see things done by markets and capitalists. In earlier posts in this thread I expressed a hopeful enthusiasm for geoengineering.

    Denials of ecological limits resemble anosognosia (inability of stroke patients to recognize their paralysis). Some denial literature resembles their confabulations (elaborately unreal stories concocted as rationalizations). Denial by opponents of human ecology seems to be a way of coping with an insufferable contradiction between past convictions and present circumstances, a defense against intolerable anomalous information.

    The rest here : The Problem of Denial

  461. #461 Walton
    December 21, 2009

    Over the last day, this thread seems to have degenerated from a perfectly sensible highbrow conversation about consumer capitalism and lifestyle choices, into an unending war of attrition in which the weapons are graphic scatological insults and incendiary farm animals. What’s depressing is that the latter seems to be attracting more attention than the former.

  462. #462 Walton
    December 21, 2009

    into an unending war of attrition in which the weapons are graphic scatological insults and incendiary farm animals.

    I forgot to mention onanistic robots, hobbits, polar bears and the entire planet of Mars.

  463. #463 Sili
    December 21, 2009

    an unending war of attrition in which the weapons are graphic scatological insults and incendiary farm animals.

    ‘Tis the Season after all. Please respect our traditions.

    Happy Monkey!

  464. #464 David Marjanovi?
    December 21, 2009

    We are talking hypotheticals here, not getting bogged down with such uninteresting things as “money”.

    Money isn’t everything!
    But without money everything is nothing!
    ? On the wall in Scrooge McDuck’s office.

  465. #465 Richard Eis
    December 21, 2009

    David, worrying about money before working out what to spend the money on is thoroughly pointless. Especially given that this entire thing is a bit of fun. You can’t take global warming deniers seriously.

    Fun Walton…do you remember that? Not that setting fire to animals should be considered fun of course…Anyway, its only a bit of mars. A cratery bit (since the scientists won’t let me have my way)

  466. #466 destlund
    December 21, 2009

    By th wy, wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt nywy?

    Wht’s th vrg flght vlcty f n nldn swllw?

    The current one.

    Riiiight. And the previous one was squelching climate research because they were such champions of freedom.

  467. #467 Cimourdain
    December 21, 2009

    Very cute bottom line. Well, here’s another one:

    “What if it turns out that the measures proposed are bullshit, the programs unenforceable, and the only real effect of this hogwash will be the full scale immiseration of the wretched of the earth?”

    And, no, that isn’t an exagerration. While I accept the AGW science that I read in journals (though not from the lips of men like Gore), I still have a purest hatred for the riff-raff peddling their government solutions for it. And the reason I hate them so much is summarised in a poster I saw at this year’s Festival “Renewable energy is the way for the Third World”

    In other words:

    “Crap technology that we can’t even get to work massively subsidized in the First World is what you’re going to have to try to use, and don’t even think of touching all that coal, oil, gas and uranium, beneath your own soils. Yeah, we got ours but you can’t get yours.”

    Which is exactly the message preached by the likes of Gore and Prince Charles.

    Phillip Stott is excellent on this. This sort of behaviour beggars belief.

  468. #468 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 21, 2009

    Richard,
    Asteroids are either pretty well confined to the asteroid belts or they’ve been scattered out of the asteroid belts and have highly erratic and unstable trajectories. And the lack of gravity could be an issue–you could trip while running and achieve escape velocity. IMHO, Arthur Clarke was about 5 years too early for 2001 (if we make it at all), and Star Trek can only happen if we have multiple Universes, some of which have very different physics from our own.

  469. #469 Canman
    December 21, 2009

    negentropyeater:

    “Canman the cornucopian,”

    I just looked up cornucopion on wikipedia. You’ve got me pegged!

    I’m always amazed that when predictions of doom fail to materialize,
    the malthusians are not in the least bit humbled. People have a stubborn way of solving and working their way around problems. It’s what we do.

    That said, I’m really bothered by the “black or white” term, “denialist”. It looks like there is a scientific consenses that carbon dioxide is warming up the Earth and that it is a problem. Former skeptics like Ronald Bailey and Michael Shermer are jumping on board. If science writers weren’t so hysterical in their attacks, I wouldn’t be suprised to see George Will change his mind (he’s called for withdraw of troops from Afganistan and Iraq). “Denialest” is probably a good label for someone who says warming is not happening.

    I don’t think there is any consice consensus on how bad the problem is.
    I don’t think we’re turning into Venus. I hear various figures for tempature and sea level rise over the century. I hear warnings of crop failures and cities flooding. It seems to me that over time, people will migrate or build dikes and levies. Farmers will change their crops or move to different places. Mabe bioengineering will make farming obsolete. Mabe we’ll have mechanical bodies(the sport model from Yamaha!)

    I don’t think I’m a denialist!

  470. #470 Walton
    December 21, 2009

    Cimourdain,

    While I accept the AGW science that I read in journals (though not from the lips of men like Gore), I still have a purest hatred for the riff-raff peddling their government solutions for it. And the reason I hate them so much is summarised in a poster I saw at this year’s Festival “Renewable energy is the way for the Third World”

    In other words:

    “Crap technology that we can’t even get to work massively subsidized in the First World is what you’re going to have to try to use, and don’t even think of touching all that coal, oil, gas and uranium, beneath your own soils. Yeah, we got ours but you can’t get yours.”

    Which is exactly the message preached by the likes of Gore and Prince Charles.

    Yes, I concur. While I used to be sceptical of AGW, there is now an increasingly clear scientific consensus that it is a reality. As much as I’d prefer it not to be true, there is no scope to deny the evidence.

    However, I would add that we should be wary of the many AGW “activists” who are not climatologists, but rather are political hacks who see it as a convenient pretext for pushing their preferred agenda, or (in the case of Prince Charles) misguided do-gooders with little to no understanding of economic reality. These people are a dime a dozen (particularly at universities, I can attest from personal experience), and are quick to urge “tougher action”, condemn Teh Ebil Corporations for destroying the environment, and advocate “green solutions” to economic problems, without really knowing anything about the subject.

    This has no relevance to the question of whether AGW is a real threat, nor does it detract from the need to take measures to combat it. But it does mean that it is necessary to ignore the hyperbolic political debate and the blithering of “campaigners” and “activist groups”, and, instead, formulate policy based on objective scientific and economic advice. Unfortunately, I doubt this can actually be achieved through democratic political processes.

  471. #471 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 21, 2009

    Canman says, “I don’t think I’m a denialist!”

    Ah, so you’re in denial about being in denial, eh?;-) Just KIDDING! Seriously, though, we have a pretty good determination of what increasing CO2 means in terms of increased temperature–roughly 3 degrees per doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. Pretty much all evidence says this is the most likely value, and all of them preclude a value under 2 degrees per doubling. What that does is render the entire US Great Plains incapable of growing Winter Wheat–and no it can’t move north, because the Canadian Shield doesn’t have much topsoil. It melts the Himmalayan glaciers, removing most of the water from the Ganges and the Yangtze, threatening nearly 40% of the globe’s population. It brings permanent drought to the US west and to Western Oz. It raises sea levels to flood coastal cities and contaminate aquifers with salt water. And it acidifies the oceans (H2O +CO2-H2CO3) destroying coral reefs, further depleting fisheries and possibly eventually tipping the balance from oxygen-producing bacteria to H2S producing bacteria and leading to mass extinctions like we had during the PETM.

    Canman, my issue with your position is that our avoidance of global catastrophe just happens. It doesn’t. Malthus was wrong because as he wrote his words, the New World was opening up, providing a population outlet for Europe’s teeming masses. And the Green Revolution saved us by effectively coming up with ways of turning petroleum into food. Well, now there is no New World, and the petroleum is gone, and human population is speeding toward 9-10 billion, and the unintended consequences of all the things we did to avoid catastrophe so far are making Earth less productive. We’ve avoided catastrophe so far because some awfully smart cookies have worked their asses off to come up with solutions that could buy time. Well, we’re now running out of time and energy and resources and ideas. Will our species dodge another bullet? Maybe. Maybe not. But sooner or later, if we don’t get smart, the exponential curve is gonna win. It’s a mathematical certainty.

  472. #472 negentropyeater
    December 21, 2009

    But sooner or later, if we don’t get smart, the exponential curve is gonna win.

    But hey, when you’ve got Ayn Rand’s worldview vectored into your cerebral cortex, like Walton or Canman here, insufferable defensors of invidualism who are absolutely convinced that we ARE going to be smart, and just on time by the way. So we don’t need to worry, we don’t need no bloody environmental activists to pressurize us, because it’ll all happen, all by itself by the magic of the invisible hand.

    Walton,

    This has no relevance to the question of whether AGW is a real threat, nor does it detract from the need to take measures to combat it.

    And WHAT do you suggest those measures be ?

    Going “Galt” maybe ?

  473. #473 Walton
    December 21, 2009

    But hey, when you’ve got Ayn Rand’s worldview vectored into your cerebral cortex, like Walton or Canman here, insufferable defensors of invidualism who are absolutely convinced that we ARE going to be smart, and just on time by the way.

    I am not, in any way, shape or form, a follower of Rand. Nor did I assert that the free market would take care of it without any government intervention; indeed, I’ve said precisely the opposite on a number of occasions.

  474. #474 Josh
    December 21, 2009

    …and contaminate aquifers with salt water

    Again, whereas we are definitely facing very serious global water problems, the amount of freshwater that’s going to be lost/contaminated/whatever because of climate change is actually a very small percentage of the total. Ocean-proximal surface aquifers that are having issues with salt water contamination are having these issues at least as much because of the rates at which they are being drawn* as they are because of sea-level rise.

    *i.e., substantially faster than their rates of recharge.

  475. #475 Meathead
    December 21, 2009

    Walton:

    Over the last day, this thread seems to have degenerated from a perfectly sensible highbrow conversation about consumer capitalism and lifestyle choices, into an unending war of attrition in which the weapons are graphic scatological insults and incendiary farm animals. What’s depressing is that the latter seems to be attracting more attention than the former.

    As a brit you just can’t understand our holiday troll traditions I fear. So Merry Goatmas! and may your holiday be full of robot munkeys jacking off!

  476. #476 llewelly
    December 21, 2009

    IMHO, Arthur Clarke was about 5 years too early for 2001

    Still, it was way cool that humans orbited Saturn(0) 2006. Oh wait, no we didn’t. I think you mean 50.

    (0)I know, I know – it was Jupiter in the movie. And yeah, good movie, but Kubrik left every important aspect totally unexplained, so most people need to read the book to understand WTF was going on anyway.

  477. #477 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 21, 2009

    Cimourdain, I missed your post. It blended in so well with our resident troll, I didn’t spot it until I saw that you had in fact used vowels. Good show!

    OK, you buy the science. You deplore the riff-raff and their “government solutions. Got that. What do YOU propose? We’ve heard lots of denial and sniping from the right, but when it comes time to talk solutions, they are nowhere to be found. In fact, the only solutions I’ve heard from the right (e.g. nuclear power) seem intended to discomfit the greens mor than they’re intended to solve the problem. Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not against nuclear power, but given the track record of the latest French constructions, it’s not clear whether nuclear power is a viable solution, particularly in very poor developing countries.

    It’s all well and good to decry the left, but I’ve heard a lot more constructive discussion coming from that direction than I have from you and your buddies on the right.

  478. #478 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 21, 2009

    Llewelly, Yup, I meant 50, and even that might be optimistic. I’m wondering whether we’ll have anything resembling civilization by then, but as I would be 91 in 2051 and as I am an angry, type A personality, I doubt I’ll be around to see it.

  479. #479 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 21, 2009

    Some problems with nuclear power are:

    1. Reactors are expensive to build, maintain and operate. The main users of nuclear reactors are navies, who don’t worry particularly about expense.

    2. Waste disposal is expensive both economically and politically. This disposal has to be for longer than civilization has existed so far.

    3. Nuclear terrorism is a concern. Flying a 767 into a containment vessel would be a major, long-lasting disaster.

  480. #480 Canman
    December 21, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space:

    “Post 471″

    A lot of what you say about CO2 is very disturbing. Two things about the level of CO2 in the air really strike me.

    1: It has already almost doubled since pre industrial times. It looks like we are not going to significantly lower it any time soon. Any reductions in carbon output result in miniscule reductions in the increase of the CO2 level.

    The main bad effect of this increased Co2 looks to me like an increase in temperatures. We should be researching the hell out of how to lower them.

    2: The percentage of CO2 in the air is really small (doesn’t mean it’s not important). We should use geoengineering to target areas where increased acidity is a problem.

    All this stuff happens over decades at least. Plenty of time to see how it’s going, make adjustments and debate solutions.

    I’d like to see the political debate be between cutting carbon and geoengineering. The left can argue about what we should stop using to sustain the Earth and the right can argue about what to blow up for a quick fix reflective dust cloud tempature drop.

    You say the world is running out of resorces and ideas. There I strongly disagree with you. Petroleum (finite as it is) is not going away anytime soon. (If petroleum does get used up, AGW solves itself — gallows humor:)). George Will sums it up nicely in a column titled “Awash in Fossil Feuls”. I’d like to see Chris Mooney find some howlers in it.

  481. #481 FuckTheWarmistas
    December 21, 2009

    Dr Sl Z. Lyrs:

    Pls g BUGGER yrslf.

    Sncrly,

    Fck th Wrmsts

  482. #482 FuckTheWarmistas
    December 21, 2009

    Wht’s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

  483. #483 Josh
    December 21, 2009

    Petroleum (finite as it is) is not going away anytime soon.

    And you base this assertion on what literature?

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    39.266667 degrees. C.

  484. #484 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 21, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    Stupid question from a stupid man. What else is new? And still no evidence being presented, just the evidenceless stoopid opinion of an inane idjit.

  485. #485 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 21, 2009

    Don’t feed the troll.

  486. #486 WowbaggerOM
    December 21, 2009

    Is it lunch break time at the whack-parlour already?

  487. #487 AGWIsAScam
    December 21, 2009

    Shrtr Rd:

    I cn’t nswr yr qstns bcs I’m jst prtndng t b scntst. I wll rsrt t jvnl nslts nstd.

  488. #488 destlund
    December 21, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    I don’t get it. That’s not even an opinion. It’s not even a loaded question. The obvious answer (as long as you’re talking about optimal for human civilization) is somewhere pretty fucking close to what the average global temperature has been, on average, for the last 5 or 6 millennia. Is that not obvious? Am I supposed to reach another conclusion?

  489. #489 WowbaggerOM
    December 21, 2009

    [fap fap fap]

    Uh-oh, GWIAS, sounds like break’s over. Better get back to mopping up that jizz.

  490. #490 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 21, 2009

    I can’t answer your questions because I’m just pretending to be a scientist. I will resort to juvenile insults instead.

    Nope, your question is inane and irrelevant. If you don’t wish to be ridiculed for your stoopidity, quit being stoopid. Stop posting here, as you are both banned, and have nothing cogent to say.

  491. #491 WowbaggerOM
    December 21, 2009

    What’s the optimal temperature of the planet?

    How much jizz can a jizz-mopper mop if a jizz-mopper can mop jizz?

  492. #492 AJ Milne
    December 21, 2009

    How much jizz can a jizz-mopper mop if a jizz-mopper can mop jizz?

    (/See also: what is the sound of one banned fapping?)

  493. #493 destlund
    December 21, 2009

    Wow. Fap, fapping, fapped, have fappen. I knew I came on here for a reason.

  494. #494 Canman
    December 22, 2009

    I said: “Petroleum (finite as it is) is not going away anytime soon.”

    Josh responded: “And you base this assertion on what literature?”

    I said this assertion is summed up nicely in a column by George Will titled “Awash in Fossel Fuels”, but the liturature I base it on is a book coauthored by Peter Huber titled “the Bottemless Well”.

  495. #495 Meathead
    December 22, 2009

    What amazes me is its ability to create new accounts with one hand and a jizz covered keyboard.

  496. #496 Pygmy Loris
    December 22, 2009

    Canman,

    I said this assertion is summed up nicely in a column by George Will titled “Awash in Fossel Fuels”

    George Will is known for misusing information and straight out lying to support his a priori assumptions.

    As for The Bottomless Well, that piece of optimistic propaganda has little support in reality. The overwhelming dependence of our society on fossil fuels is dangerous. Assuming that we’ll find a way to replace them before things get really bad is foolish. Gasoline won’t keep gradually rising in price. One day we’re going to go to the pump and it will be $15.00/gal. Very few people will be able to afford that.

    You may want to look for new, reliable sources of information. I suggest the peer reviewed literature.

  497. #497 Canman
    December 22, 2009

    Pygmy Loris: “You may want to look for new, reliable sources of information. I suggest the peer reviewed literature.”

    I am not a scientist. I suspect most peer reviewed literature is over my head, so I have to rely on authors, whom I respect, that do read or consult people who read and write for peer reviewed jornals.

    As good of an idea as peer review is, it’s not 100 percent perfect. Nobel prize winning physicist Luis Alvarez criticizes the peer review proccess in his autobiography. I suspect common, shared political views among reviewers have subtle effects on what is accepted or rejected.

  498. #498 Jadehawk, OM
    December 22, 2009

    As good of an idea as peer review is, it’s not 100 percent perfect.

    true. it’s merely the single most reliable form of quality control we have.

    also, if you can’t read the peer-reviewed literature, maybe you shouldn’t have contrarian views. That way the Dunning-Kruger effect lies.

  499. #499 Cimourdain
    December 22, 2009

    Walton,

    Thank you for getting it. What the eco-racket has done to the Third World is a shame beyond expunging.

    a_ray,

    We’ve heard lots of denial and sniping from the right, but when it comes time to talk solutions, they are nowhere to be found.

    First of all, quit with the “right/left” thinking. Solidarity with the wretched of the earth used to be a centrepiece of the left, but these days it seems the wretched of the earth can go hang in the eyes of the First World leftist intelligentsia.

    To move onto the meat of this, you ask me for my solutions, I’d like to start by asking solutions for what, precisely? There are many ways one can phrase this problem. I’ll start with one: What is my solution to the negative impact on human lives by the environment, especially in the Third World?

    Well, the first and most important answer to that is trade liberalization. This is the number one thing that can be done to help more people for the least amount of money, all over the world. When a tsunami ravages Indonesia or Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands can die. Throughout Africa, millions die from the smoke of cooking fires, or fall to drought, or die of disease or a million other scourges of the natural world. And what does the First World do? It gives out huge amounts of cash to subsidize kleptocrazies, while maintaining massive trade barriers that gut any hope at the development of the ordinary people. This is a sub-Brechtian racket.

    Scrub those damn trade barriers, phase out the klepto-subsidies, allow these places to economically develop, and believe you me, far fewer human beings will be dying at the hands of the enviroment, regardless of what’s going on globally.

    I like how Phillip Stott put it: “We have a global crisis, and that is four billion people in poverty“. We have the solution. We know it works. Yet through sheer bloody stupidity, we don’t use it.

    Now, as regards the problem of carbon emissions, this carbon wasn’t just conjoured into existence out of nothing – it was released from ancient biomass. The question, therefore, should be how do we get the stuff back under the soil? Well, that’s a technological problem. The Virgin Earth challenge is a good step, and glance through any good journal and you come across similar ideas.

    In fact, that’s the only real solution. I mean that literally – if we don’t have technological solutions to this problem, we don’t have solutions, period. All these transnational Kyoto/Copenhagen/Whatever are so much horseshit.

    Why do I say that? Well, consider the following: on the genocide watch website, they list about one hundred and fifty instances since 1949. Now think about that for a few seconds. Okay, granted some of these are arguable multiple instances of the same genocide, but you get the idea. Now if the international community can’t honour and police it’s most sacred obligation – that of “Never again” – what chance does it have of enforcing the boondoggles hammered out by these transnational rodeo-clowns?

    Add to that the minor matter that we have no right whatsoever to jam this nonsense down the throats of the poorest of the poor. China and India, bless ‘em, are perfectly right to tell Copenhagen to go piss up a rope.

    No. It’s technological, industrial solutions, or none. Which is good, because, unlike government crap, these are solutions that actually work. They work like crazy, as the history of the last two hundred years demonstrates.

  500. #500 Cimourdain
    December 22, 2009

    And, a_ray, please get politics out from this. Two of the most convincing critics I’ve read are from the left, Bjorn Lomberg and Phillip Stott.

    I have to say that I really dislike the right/left terminology. They don’t seem to denote anything concrete.

  501. #501 John Morales
    December 22, 2009

    Cimourdain,

    Two of the most convincing critics I’ve read are from the left […].
    I have to say that I really dislike the right/left terminology. They don’t seem to denote anything concrete.

    Yet you presumably still consider it meaningful, since you’ve just employed it.

  502. #502 Richard Eis
    December 22, 2009

    I wonder what effect on peace global warming is going to have. America already invaded a country for its oil (yes ok, its more complicated than that). I wonder how relations between Canada and the US will hold up under pressure…

  503. #503 Canman
    December 22, 2009

    Jadehawk,OM: “Post 498″

    The peer review proccess as it applies to AGW, tells us it’s happening and it’s a problem. What to do about it, is a political problem to be decided on by politicians that are elected by voters (most of whom I suspect have never heard of the peer review proccess). Being a successful peer reviewed scientist involves skills which do not neccessarilly make one good at (and may even make one bad at) politics.

    Hopefully, the politicians will not discard the consensus on AGW. But how much warming is tolerable and what actions to take are going to be different among different constituencies. Sorting this out is a political problem.

    I Breifly checked out the Dunning-Kruger effect. Interesting stuff. Got any peer reviewed studies showing a consensus on contrarian views leading to it?

  504. #504 Walton
    December 22, 2009

    As a brit you just can’t understand our holiday troll traditions I fear. So Merry Goatmas! and may your holiday be full of robot munkeys jacking off!

    *mind boggles*

    OK, I am now imagining a holiday celebration where revellers, bedecked in ceremonial cephalopod hats and robotic monkey suits, exchange traditional seasonal insults before sitting down to a festive meal of bacon and ice cream. The bacon is slightly burnt to symbolise the Medieval Warming Period, while the ice cream, of course, is served at the Optimum Temperature of the Planet. After dinner, the party-goers recite the ritual prayer for enlightenment – “O mighty Zeus, reveal unto thy humble servants how it is that there are PYGMIES and DWARFS” – before setting fire to a sacrificial goat and shooting it into orbit.

    This year, of course, the tradition has been modernised for reasons of health, safety and animal welfare: an effigy of Glenn Beck is now used instead of a goat.

  505. #505 Walton
    December 22, 2009

    Cimourdain,

    Well, the first and most important answer to that is trade liberalization. This is the number one thing that can be done to help more people for the least amount of money, all over the world. When a tsunami ravages Indonesia or Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands can die. Throughout Africa, millions die from the smoke of cooking fires, or fall to drought, or die of disease or a million other scourges of the natural world. And what does the First World do? It gives out huge amounts of cash to subsidize kleptocrazies, while maintaining massive trade barriers that gut any hope at the development of the ordinary people. This is a sub-Brechtian racket.

    Yes, this is what I keep pointing out. The US farm bill and the EU Common Agricultural Policy are, essentially, legalised corruption on a massive scale. They spend billions subsidising vast Western agri-businesses, while starving producers in the developing world who can’t compete. The whole system of agricultural subsidies and tariff barriers is designed to benefit the wealthy few, while screwing over some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Furthermore, not only is the current system of subsidies grossly immoral, it isn’t even necessary for preserving the domestic farm industry; New Zealand abolished most of its farm subsidies in the 1980s, and it still has a thriving and efficient agricultural sector.

    Unfortunately, the cosy links between the farming lobby and politicians in the US, and in some EU member states (France being the worst example), make it unlikely that serious reform of agricultural subsidies or trade laws will ever take place.

  506. #506 Josh
    December 22, 2009

    It seems that Jadehawk and PL beat me to a response. I have a few things to add, but they’ll have to wait.

  507. #507 negentropyeater
    December 22, 2009

    Cimourdain another cornucopian libertarian nutcase,

    No. It’s technological, industrial solutions, or none. Which is good, because, unlike government crap, these are solutions that actually work.

    Yet more libertarian bullshit. And you want to get politics out of this ?
    Then stop denying reality.

  508. #508 negentropyeater
    December 22, 2009

    Canman,

    I’d like to see the political debate be between cutting carbon and geoengineering.

    Why would there be a debate between the two when it’s quite obvious that we are going to need both.

    Cimourdain,

    And, a_ray, please get politics out from this. Two of the most convincing critics I’ve read are from the left, Bjorn Lomberg and Phillip Stott.

    Do you actually make use of your brain when you write stuff like this ?

    Walton,

    I note that you still haven’t replied to my question.

  509. #509 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 22, 2009

    Canman,
    The problem with geoengineering solutions is that we have no such solutions to address the current problem. The most commonly proposed geoengineering solution is use of sulfate aerosols, but there are several big problems
    1)The time scales: The effects of aerosols last for months, while those of CO2 last for decades to centuries.
    2)Acidification–it’s not generally a good idea to have H2SO4 raining on your parade.
    3)Masking of warming–If we find that we must stop the use of aerosols (e.g. due to acidification), then you would see a huge and sudden spike in warming.
    4)CO2 is among the best known of all climate forcings, while aerosols carry with them considerable uncertainties. In effect, you are rejecting the solution we can best model for efficacy and replacing it with one where our models are more uncertain. This is a little like finding you have walked into a mine field. The best stragegy is to tiptoe out the way you came in.

    As to other geoengineering ideas. I don’t know where I can buy any carbon-gobbling trees as Dyson suggests. Ocean ferro-fertilization was a failure. Carbon-capture and storage is not economical. Terra-preta could have some effectiveness, but has not been validated on a large scale. And on and on.

    Unfortunately, at present, geo-engineering is simply a disguise for inaction. It is not that I am against it. I think we will have to avail ourselve of some and perhaps lots of geoengineering to get through this. However, there simply is no viable technique at present.

  510. #510 Canman
    December 22, 2009

    I said: “I’d like to see the political debate be between cutting carbon and geoengineering.”

    negentropyeater: “Why would there be a debate between the two when it’s quite obvious that we are going to need both.”

    It’s not a black/white issue. How much disruptive carbon cutting do we want to do? How prudent do we want to be with new geoengineering schemes?

  511. #511 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 22, 2009

    Cimourdian says, “Solidarity with the wretched of the earth used to be a centrepiece of the left, but these days it seems the wretched of the earth can go hang in the eyes of the First World leftist intelligentsia.”

    Cimourdian, sweetie, I spent 2 years of my life as a volunteer in Togo training science teachers. I taught villagers to build improved, safe cook stoves and to filter water to prevent guinea worm. When you can match that for commitment to the “wretched of the earth,” then we can talk about solidarity, ‘kay.

    Now, if I can strip away the diatribe from the constructive suggestions, I get two:

    1)Trade liberalization
    2)Technology will save us!!!

    Now the thing is, I’m all for both of these, and it is my sincere hope that the developing world can wring some concessions on the former out of climate talks. None of these, however does anything to stop the already-too-high CO2 levels from going even higher. Both take significant amounts of time to work, and technological solutions will take considerable investment that is unlikely to occur when the payoff may be decades away. So, again, I’m asking, can free-marketeers (since you don’t like the term “political right”) supply any more detail than “And then a technological miracle occurs!”

    For instance, how do we hold CO2 levels low enough that we are confident we won’t hit any tipping points before technological solutions can be developed–say in 2050 or so?

  512. #512 Canman
    December 22, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    Regarding Post 509,

    Just read an article online about Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft guy who has a sulfur pumping scheme. He says other things can be substituted for sulfur.

    As to your list of 4 problems:

    1)The time scales: AS we do this stuff, we learn more and get better at it.

    2)Acidification: This is not a black/white issue. How much H2SO4 do we want to keep from raining on my parade.

    3)Masking of warming: We need contigencies. If sulfur causes problems, try the next best candidate.

    4)CO2 is among the best known of all climate forcings: We know that we put a lot of it up there and reducing it is going to take a long time. I’m for trying somthing faster.

  513. #513 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 22, 2009

    You are missing the point–there isn’t an ideal aerosol producer–and the fact that aerosols last weeks to months means we have to use a helluva lot of it and keep using it. Myrvhold, unfortunately, is a loon. He has zero understanding of climate and not enough patience to learn. If this were easy, the smart people wouldn’t be so concerned.

  514. #514 Meathead
    December 22, 2009

    Walton, we don’t to put the goats in orbit anymore. NORAD complained.

  515. #515 Non Edible Nacho
    December 22, 2009

    oh yeah, I missed the part where you’re blaming your “nature” for your misery. Guess what, your nature is that of a social animal, and your society is one that produces the 2nd largest percentage of mentally ill people (after the U!S!A!, which of course is NUMBER ONE!![/sarcasm]).

    That would be pretty impressive and interesting if true. Where did you take that stat from?

  516. #516 destlund
    December 23, 2009

    Walton, we don’t to put the goats in orbit anymore. NORAD complained.

    Trouble is, the GOATS don’t tend to stay ON FIRE once they leave the stratosphere, leading to spacegoat debris.

  517. #517 Canman
    December 23, 2009

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space:

    “You are missing the point–there isn’t an ideal aerosol producer–and the fact that aerosols last weeks to months means we have to use a helluva lot of it and keep using it. Myrvhold, unfortunately, is a loon. He has zero understanding of climate and not enough patience to learn. If this were easy, the smart people wouldn’t be so concerned.”

    If we have to use a lot of something and keep doing it, at least it’s a sustained jobs program. As stuff like this is tried, we are bound to learn more as we go along and get better at it.

    While the understanding of the science of climate might be nearing compleation (I’ve read that effects of water vapor are still not fully understood), I think technology has a long way to go. Bio and nano technology appear to me to be in their infancy. Computers and electronics just keep on advancing.

    Even if guys like Myrvhold don’t completely understand climate science, it doesn’t mean they can’t come up with useful technology. If he’s a complete doofus, I’m sure there’s others who aren’t. This stuff needs to be researched.

  518. #518 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 23, 2009

    Canman,
    By all means, we need to be looking into as many geoengineering and geomitigation tactics as possible. On the other hand it would be looney to implement them before 1)they’ve been shown to be effective, and 2) shown not to make things worse. We aren’t there. For now, decreasing carbon output is the only viable strategy for buying back the 20 or more years the denialists have cost us by refusing to accept established science.

  519. #519 Canman
    December 24, 2009

    negentropyeater (Post 472): “…when you’ve got Ayn Rand’s worldview vectored into your cerebral cortex, like Walton or Canman …”

    Walton (Post 473): “I am not, in any way, shape or form, a follower of Rand”

    Ayn Rand wrote a lot of interesting, thoughtful stuff I never saw anywhere else. Some of it is bizarre. She’s too black/white and humorless for me. Christopher Hitchens called her batty.

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space: (Post 518)
    I’ve run out of thoughts. I’m leaving before the bartender kicks me out. Holy shit, it’s Christmas eve. I’ve still got shopping to do.

  520. #520 Jadehawk, OM
    December 24, 2009

    That would be pretty impressive and interesting if true. Where did you take that stat from?

    I don’t have the source at hand, and I won’t until I’m back home, but here’s a couple studies that show similar results*:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/15173149?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn

    http://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/wmh/IFPE_WMH.pdf (graphs on pages 22-26)

    ——

    *btw, I might not have made this clear, but I was originally talking specifically about the developed world, since it can be hard to gather data in the developing world; however, some of the studies linked here show that even compared against poorer countries, the U.S. does very badly.

  521. #521 llewelly
    December 24, 2009

    (If petroleum does get used up, AGW solves itself — gallows humor:))

    US coal-related emissions of CO2 totaled 2,125 million metric tons in 2008 (0), or about 36.5% of all US energy-related CO2 emissions. That number alone – even ignoring the coal burned in the rest of the world – is more than enough to keep atmospheric CO2 levels rising faster than any other time in the last 2 million years. Although coal is the second-largest sorce of CO2 in the US (right behind oil) it is the largest source of CO2 worldwide.
    Some other important points about coal:

    Hansen has said that phasing out coal ?is 80% of the solution to the global warming crisis.?[7] As pointed out in Ted Nace’s Climate Hope, Hansen?s reasons for emphasizing coal were fourfold:

    * The amount of carbon remaining in the ground in oil and gas reserves is much smaller than the amount of carbon contained in coal reserves.[8]

    * “Second, coal is the most carbon intense of the fossil fuels. Producing a kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal produces about 2.4 pounds of carbon dioxide, while producing a kilowatt-hour of electricity from natural gas produces about 1 pound of carbon dioxide. While coal produces half of the electricity used in the United States, it is responsible for 80 percent of the carbon dioxide released by electric utilities.”[9]

    * “Third, coal consumption is far more concentrated than the use of other fossil fuels. A mere six hundred large coal-burning power plants account for nearly all coal usage, in contrast to the tens of millions of cars, trucks, planes, homes, businesses, and factories that burn oil and gas. Thus, reducing emissions from coal is a far simpler task.”[9]

    * “Fourth, production of oil and gas is primarily located in countries that American domestic energy policy has little or no ability to control. Any reduction in use by the United States might well be consumed by other countries. In contrast, our ability to control the consumption of coal is substantial, since the United States leads the rest of the world in the size of its coal reserves.”[9]

    […]

    7. Letter from James Hansen to Nevada governor Gibbons, April 14, 2008, at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/

    8. Historical Fossil Fuel Emissions and Remaining Reserves. Source: Adapted from James Hansen et al., ?Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?? Open Atmospheric Science Journal (2008): page 11. Estimates for remaining oil, gas, and coal reserves are from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, B. Metz et al., eds. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

    9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ted Nace, Climate Hope: Chapter 1, published 2010

    (From here. )

    (0) Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2008, page 10

  522. #522 John Morales
    December 25, 2009

    llewelly, shouldn’t coal radioactive emissions be noted too?

  523. #523 Cimourdain
    December 26, 2009

    a_ray,

    Sweetheart, I’m African born-and-bread. And that has emphasized one very important lesson, that too few seem to care – that charity is about ensuring your own virtue by fawning on the poor – and hence desiring them to remain so. Witness Mother Teresa.

    So don’t even try to get into the “authentic” game, ‘kay?

    Now, in your response you did not disgree with my comments on trade liberalization and technology. Good. What’s more important, though, is that I fail to see any disagreement with my fundamental point that the hideous measures being urged by the likes of Copenhagen & Kyoto will a) have fuck-all effect on the climate, and b) immiserate the world that is too poor to fight back against such nonsense.

    As regards my confidence in technological progress, it’s a confidence that’s repaid many times over. I’ll place my confidence in technological solutions over faith in government salvation any day.

  524. #524 Canman
    December 27, 2009

    llewelly: “|(If petroleum does get used up, AGW solves itself — gallows humor:))
    …….Hansen has said that phasing out coal ?is 80% of the solution to the global warming crisis
    ……Producing a kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal produces about 2.4 pounds of carbon dioxide, while producing a kilowatt-hour of electricity from natural gas produces about 1 pound of carbon dioxide
    ……coal consumption is far more concentrated than the use of other fossil fuels.”

    One of deshh shientishts hash dragged me back into the bar by quoting me. Hmmm, does coal fall under the category of petroleum. In the interest of technical accuracy, the next time I spring this lame quip, I’ll use the term “fossil fuel”.

    It’s time to sober up to political reality. Copenhagen doesn’t look like it’s accomplished much. A large portion of the public has heard about the decade long stoppage of warming and perceives it as a cooling.

    Phase out coal. Eliminate it? Walton and Cimourdain aren’t going to like that much. Replace it with solar? The most unconcentrated, area intensive source of electricity. Natural gas? A very volumous fuel. It can probably be retrofitted. They appear to have found a lot more of it. Heating bills are going down. It still gives off some CO2. Nuclear? I kinda like it. Hope they can harden it against accidents and terrorists. The Muhammad Ali of concentrated electricity sources. I hear breeder reactors are all the rage.

    But what do I know? I’m just a starry-eyed cornucopian.

  525. #525 Richard Eis
    December 27, 2009

    I’m just a starry-eyed cornucopian.

    You’re a fruit basket? Well, we don’t judge around here.

    Solar and wind power needs pushing properly. The obsession with it being efficient enough to be marketable and comete with coal and oil reminds me of the anti-vaxers demanding 100% safety from vaccines otherwise its just not good enough.

  526. #526 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 27, 2009

    Cimourdian says, “Sweetheart, I’m African born-and-bread[sic].” So were Mobutu and Idi Amin, and P.W. Botha for that matter, and you strike me in their mold more than, say in the mold of, say, Mandela.

    He continues: “…that charity is about ensuring your own virtue by fawning on the poor – and hence desiring them to remain so.” I guess that you figure as long as you can impugn the motives of the charitable, that makes you free of any obligation toward your fellow men, eh? Sorry, dude, but altruism exists, and you can even demonstrate (via biology and game theory) that it confers a survival advantage.

    And yes, I am with you on trade liberalization, but with the admonition that free markets do not just happen. Sometimes they need SMART regulation.

    And although I am a technophile, I’m painfully aware that technical solutions require time. Even with an all-out effort, the Manhattan Project took half a decade, and what we require here makes the scope of that project pale in comparison. And since we have spent 2 decades debating with idiots over settled science, time, unfortunately, is precisely what we do not have.

    The immediate future of the human race will be chaotic and not always pretty. Ideology will have to be supplanted by pragmatism and doing well will have to make way for making do. At stake is the question of whether the bulge of neurons on the top of our spinal column really serves any useful purpose or whether we merely use it to delude ourselves.

  527. #527 Canman
    December 27, 2009

    Richard Eis: “Solar and wind power needs pushing properly”

    They’re also going to need zoning.These sources take up a lot of space.

  528. #528 John Morales
    December 28, 2009

    Canman, wind farms can be put on pastureland or even cropland with very little footprint.

    Solar, well, not so much. Unless of course space solar power technology can be developed and commercialised.

    (Geothermal and tidal are also nascent technologies with a lot of promise.)

  529. #529 Cimourdain
    December 28, 2009

    In a_ray‘s post there is no refutation of the effects of these horrible copenhagen/kyoto measures – there’s not even an attempt to do so. It’s as though the fate of these human beings doesn’t register.

    This is exactly why I hate charity-heads. The mask of charity allows people to get away with things they’d otherwise be hung for. Witness the biofuels debacle. Witness Greenpeace’s record of fucking the Third World. Witness the DDT scandal. On and on it goes.

    The immediate future of the human race will be chaotic and not always pretty. Ideology will have to be supplanted by pragmatism and doing well will have to make way for making do.

    Yeah, I’ve heard this before. “We have to be practical, we have to make sacrifices now…” – it’s never bloody them! It’s not a_ray who’ll end up having to bury a child or three that choked to death because coal use get’s blocked and the people are forced to rely on cooking fires.

    If that’s your altruism, you can stick it.

    This is why I have to admire India and China, if for no other reason that they’ve told the kyotocrats, in so many words, to go fuck themselves.

    The rest of the post is nothing more than hysterical insults. I think I can guess why. You’re one of those who have been very quick to label my loathing of Islam as “racist”, aren’t you? Can’t be nice to have the wind taken out of your sails.

  530. #530 Jadehawk, OM
    December 28, 2009

    ray, you can stop arguing with that moron, it won’t do any good. he thinks scientists are genocidal freaks for not letting him spray the whole world from top to bottom with DDT. I even tried discussing this with him and gave him scientific citations as to why he’s wrong; as a response, I got conspiracy and denialist sites and lots of (willful?) misunderstanding of what I was saying *rolleyes*

  531. #531 Richard Eis
    December 28, 2009

    I see Cimourdain has finally assploded into complete gibberish and a persecution complex that would make a christian green with envy.

    We have always made do. We have always had to make small sacrifices. Those that don’t are currently enjoying massive credit card debt. You expect too much from bipedal monkeys.

    Coal use will either be rationed or will run low and become unprofitable to extract. “Cooking fires” (or alternatives) are inevitable except for them that can afford it…and I doubt thats anyone on this forum.

  532. #532 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 28, 2009

    Uh,Cimourdain, you might want to wipe that spittle away and readjust your tinfoil hat.

    FYI, I think ethanol from corn is a stupid idea–less so from sugar cane.

    Uh, dude, have you ever tried to inhale coal smoke? It’s not a lot better than wood smoke.

    And as near as I can tell, your entire mitigation approach seems to be predicated on a technological miracle. Sorry, dude, you’ll need to show your work on that one to get even partial credit. Fail!

  533. #533 Canman
    December 28, 2009

    Some thoughts on solar power. While statistics show it’s use to be expensive and marginal, there is clearly a lot going on here. PV streetlights really surprised me. I hear of lots of companies popping up. One selling point I like, whether it’s companies selling to consumers or politicians selling subsidies to voters, is that it offers people independence. If solar really takes off, the left might be chagrinned to see it contributing to suburban sprawl.

  534. #534 Richard Eis
    December 28, 2009

    There is also a good side to solar or wind power that is easily forgotten. Energy cooling is apparently the largest water requirement in the US. I heard 50% of all water used in the US is used for cooling.

    Thing is, it doesn’t have to be really good, it just has to be “not so bad”. I’m sure no one complained 50 years ago when coal use wasn’t as efficient as it is today.
    I know a few places where it is being used and clearly there is a market… it just needs pushing and maybe government grants. Green energy is a huge “new” possible market, its just the “wrong time” for it, because other methods are slightly cheaper (yet much more toxic).
    The problem is, green energy is dealing with an old market centered on fossil fuels and getting litle help to undo this from the government.

  535. #535 Cimourdain
    December 29, 2009

    Let’s see now – a_ray is whining about my tone, despite the fact that he/she thinks calling me “Idi Amin” is an acceptable debating practice, Jadehawk is lying through his/her teeth about the minor fact that I refuted each and every one of its claims, and Richard is claiming “we have to make small sacrifices”, despite the inconvenient truth that there is no ‘We’ here, and that it is human lives that will be wrecked and destroyed by this drivel.

    None of you have provided any evidence agains my basic point: these moronic measures will do nothing to the climate, and immiserate vast numbers of the wretched of the earth. You don’t, because you can’t. And because having a bunch of natives starved to death is of no concern to you, as long as you can feel good about yourselves. Witness the Greenpeace blockade of GM foodaid, the biofuels debacle etc. etc.

    I particularly resent a_ray‘s weird idea that, just because he’s taken a two-year extended holiday, he’s competent to decide on the fate of the world’s poorest.

    That’s my point. Phillip Stott is quite right: if you have clean water, electricity, and decent infrastructure, you’ll manage no matter what’s happening with the climate. Or, to state the case negatively, if there are no technological solutions to this, then there are no solutions, period.

    Oh, and Jadehawk? I happen to be a scientist. And I can tell you, as such, that we don’t need water-boys with delusions of grandeur, thank you very much.

  536. #536 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    Phillip Stott is quite right: if you have clean water, electricity, and decent infrastructure, you’ll manage no matter what’s happening with the climate.

    Then America is thrice screwed just like your natives. Happy?

    A_ray is right…you don’t half moan.

  537. #537 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Wht s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

  538. #538 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 3, 2010

    The temperature where you cease to post your inanities here oh banned fool. What a stoopid idjit.

  539. #539 Steve_C
    January 3, 2010

    Dumbass question.

  540. #540 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Th Rdhd cntns t xtnd hr wrld rcrd fr ! Hw ttlly nsrprsng!

  541. #541 Steve_C
    January 3, 2010

    Fuck off. Please?

  542. #542 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Bt n ncrdbly ntllgnt rspns.

    Nt.

  543. #543 Patricia Queen of Sluts, OM
    January 3, 2010

    When did you get a sex change Nerd?

  544. #544 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Mk m.

  545. #545 Jadehawk, OM
    January 3, 2010

    Jadehawk is lying through his/her teeth about the minor fact that I refuted each and every one of its claims,

    ahahaa…. no.

    here is the exchange, for everyone to see.

  546. #546 Steve_C
    January 3, 2010

    It’s an intelligent answer to a pathetic question.

  547. #547 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 3, 2010

    Make me.

    PZ will. You will be gone shortly. What a loser. An intelligent person would realize that he is not wanted. A rational person would do the same, and cease trying to post here. Only stoopid irrational unscientific jerks like you would do what you do.

  548. #548 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    It’s an intelligent third-grade schoolyard-level answer to a pathetic legitimate question which you and your ilk are never able to answer.

    There, fixed that for ya, Stevie-boy.

    Don’t mention it.

  549. #549 WhatIsTheOptimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Stll mr frm th rdhd. Oh wll, sch s th ntr f wrkng s th jntr t phrmctcl cmpny nd cllng nslf scntst, I spps.

  550. #550 WhatIsTheOPtimalTemperatureOfThePlanet
    January 3, 2010

    Wht s th ptml tmprtr f th plnt?

  551. #551 destlund
    January 6, 2010

    Persistent troll is persistent? I still don’t see why he’s asking that question. For life on earth as we know it, particularly human life, it’s pretty obvious that the optimal temperature of the planet is pretty fracking close to what it is today. Push it in either direction and we have desertification or an ice age, to put it simply. From the universe’s perspective, there is no such thing as an “optimal temperature of the planet,” which makes it pointedly obvious that it’s our responsibility to be aware of our influence on such things and react appropriately when our influence runs amok. Why does WITOTOTP think he’s making a point here?

  552. #552 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    destlund,

    I still don’t see why he’s asking that question.

    Troll thinks it’s a “gotcha”, and being oblivious to evidence and reasoning, it will keep thinking that.

  553. #553 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    I still don’t see why he’s asking that question.

    Because he’s a moron and can’t comprehend that rates of change from environmental conditions that the bio inhabitants of the planet have evolved over millions of years to tolerate have significant impacts that we are already seeing in spades today. The acceleration of the change is the issue not any straw man mythical optimal temperature.

    But monotonous troll will continue to be monotonous, and stupid.

  554. #554 destlund
    January 6, 2010

    Does he think we can develop an entirely new biosphere within a generation or two? I’m kind of frightened by what appears to be complete distrust of science and delusional faith in science in the same being…

  555. #555 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    destlund, he doesn’t see AGW as occurring. He’s stupid git without any redeeming features. Think of him as a creobot with one mantra, who repeats “how old is the earth?” over and over, and you won’t be far from the truth.

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