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Global Warming/Climate Change Super Thread

Cdn Blackshirt

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050728.wwarming0728/BNStory/International/

"Global greenhouse gas emissions would have increased 41 per cent from 1990 to 2010 without the Kyoto Protocol, Mr. Downer said. With the accord, they are expected to go up by 40 per cent if all countries meet their targets, he claimed."

Billions spent in Canada alone to reduce the overall world increase by 1%?




Matthew.  :blotto:

P.S.  The rest of the article deals with a new agreement being pushed by the EVIL United States to bring India and China into the effort.  ;D
 

Kirkhill

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Hi Matt.

I just posted a slightly different slant on that article on the China, Japan etc superthread.  Interested to hear your comments.

Cheers, Chris.
 

Monsoon

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Cdn Blackshirt said:
"Global greenhouse gas emissions would have increased 41 per cent from 1990 to 2010 without the Kyoto Protocol, Mr. Downer said. With the accord, they are expected to go up by 40 per cent if all countries meet their targets, he claimed."

Billions spent in Canada alone to reduce the overall world increase by 1%?
Umm, you may have noticed that 15 years of the time frame in question have already elapsed.  A one percent reduction in global greenhouse gases in the first five years of the programme represents a pretty significant long-term effect.
 

COBRA-6

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Associated Press
Update 4: Arctic Natives Seek Global Warming Ruling
12.08.2005, 04:45 AM


As ice caps shrink around them, Inuit activists are making an international case out of Washington's alleged indifference to global warming. But the Bush administration is standing by its refusal to negotiate long-term limits on "greenhouse gases."

A two-week U.N. climate conference, attended by more than 180 nations, enters its final two days Thursday with little prospect for consensus on a key item - mandatory cutbacks beyond 2012 in carbon dioxide and other emissions whose buildup in the atmosphere is expected to disrupt the global climate.

The climate is already changing in the Arctic, where an international study last year found average winter temperatures have increased as much as 7 degrees over 50 years. Permafrost is thawing, and the extent of Arctic Sea ice is shrinking, imperiling polar bears and other animals.

The warming threatens "the destruction of the hunting and food-gathering culture of the Inuit in this century," said Paul Crowley of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, representing 155,000 Inuit of Canada, Greenland, Russia and the United States, where they are known as Eskimos.

On Wednesday, the Inuit group submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an investigative arm of the Organization of American States in Washington, "seeking relief from violations resulting from global warming caused by acts and omissions of the United States" - the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The northern natives - 63 petitioners are named from all Inuit regions - seek a declaration that their human rights are being violated, putting political pressure on the U.S. government to reduce emissions.

The Montreal meeting, attracting almost 10,000 delegates, environmentalists, business representatives and others, is the first annual U.N. climate conference since the Kyoto Protocol took effect last February, requiring 35 industrialized countries to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases that act like a greenhouse trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Among major developed nations, only the United States and Australia reject that agreement, worked out in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and designed to produce an average 5 percent reduction of emissions below 1990 levels by 2012.

Under the protocol, the Kyoto nations must begin talks now on emissions controls after 2012.

Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion, looking for a compromise route that would draw the United States into the emission-controls regime, this week proposed a plan for "discussions to explore and analyze approaches for long-term cooperative action to address climate change," with a deadline for agreement by 2008.

But the Bush administration rejected the Canadian bid, saying it prefers to deal with other governments on a bilateral or regional basis, and it favors voluntary approaches. Chief U.S. delegate Paula Dobriansky pointed to $3-billion-a-year U.S. government spending on research and development of energy-saving technologies.

"We also believe firmly that negotiations will not reap progress, as indicated, because there are differing perspectives," said Dobriansky, a U.S. undersecretary of state.

President Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, saying limiting fuel-burning would crimp the U.S. economy, and complaining that fast-growing economies of developing countries such as China and India weren't targeted under the 1997 accord.

Dion suggested acceptable language might still be found to get the Americans on board. Closed-door talks "have been frank and productive," he told delegates at Wednesday's open session. "There is an urgent need to send a signal to the world about the future."

But a leading U.S. expert on the Kyoto process was pessimistic.

"I'm not hopeful for any movement by the United States," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. What's more realistic, he said, is a process by which China, India, Brazil and other developing powers might be brought in, "without the U.S. at the table," to make concessions on energy emissions.

A broad scientific consensus agrees that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, byproduct of automobile engines, power plants and other fossil fuel-burning industries, has contributed significantly to the past century's global temperature rise of 1 degree.

In October, NASA climatologists projected from thousands of temperature readings that 2005 would end as the warmest year globally since records were first kept in the mid-19th century.


This should be interesting. I think they will have a hard time proving "global warming" exists, conclusively, in a legal context.  

Has anyone read the book "State of Fear" by Michael Crighton??
 

UberCree

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I think anyone would have a hard time proving global warming does NOT exist. 
There are what... TWO(??)  scientists that argue against it, and they have become the icons of the oil industry and heavy polluting industries.


 

a_majoor

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I think what is meant is the proof that global warming is caused by human agency is lacking. After all, shortly after their ancestors crossed into North America, the ice sheets melted and the Glaciers receded farther and faster than at any time in the 12,000 years since. In the 1100-1400 time period, the Vikings settled Greenland and Labrador, and even carried out "croft" farming. Today, the cows would starve since the meadows don't produce enough fodder, except that they would freeze to death before they got the chance to starve.

Given this evidence, should we conclude the Inuit caused catastrophic global warming, resulting in the extinction of Ice Age Mega-fauna? Did the Vikings kick off an era of global warming over 500 years ago? Despite bold claims by the "scientific" community, there really isn't any coherent explanation of Global warming, and indeed there are no reliable climactic models which can be used to make predictions (even "reverse predictions" where you load in all the known variables from last week in an attempt to replicate this week's weather). Given that state of the art, and other information (such as the fact the average temperature on the planet Mars is also rising, damn those neo-cons!), I would suggest the idea of human agency is somewhat moot.
 

UberCree

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Human agency moot?  Read this!


http://www.venganza.org/
"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature"
 

a_majoor

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See? Everyone is looking in the wrong direction. Since the number of pirtes is on the rise (off the coast of Somalia and in the Indonesian archepelago), we should conclude the Earth's temperature will soon stabilize......
 

UberCree

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Sorry I cannot help it when talk turns to pirates or ninjas. 

But seriously, let me quote a document created in 1992 called ''World Scientists' Warning to Humanity''.  Signed by 1600 senior scientists from 71 countries, including over half of all Nobel Prize winners (Suzuki,1997). 
''Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.  Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on teh environment and on critical resources.  If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the planet and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.  Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.''

The evidence that we are harming the earth stares us in the face every day.  In environments where people are desensitized to nature and its fluctuations and rythms no one notices, or cares.  In environments where people are dependant on nature, we notice.  The Inuit hold thousands and thousands of years of ecological knowledge and their warning should not be cast aside lightly.  They are one more on the list of people that live with the earth that see changes to the environment first hand and understand that we humans are playing a role in this change. 

I underestand the desire to be critical of the alarmists.  I understand the desire to toe the party line in rallying against environmentalists because most of the most active are leftists.  However for the sake of our country we need to rise above getting partisan politics involved in the eco-debate.  Do not pretend for a minute that all of the industries that depend on expoiting the environment will not do what they can whatever that may be to remain profitable.  'The guilty don't feel guilty they learn not to' (NOFX  ;)).

We are living through the greatest period of extinction since the last ice age.  Is this a natural phenomenon ... I dont think so. 

 

COBRA-6

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a_majoor said:
I think what is meant is the proof that global warming is caused by human agency is lacking. After all, shortly after their ancestors crossed into North America, the ice sheets melted and the Glaciers receded farther and faster than at any time in the 12,000 years since. In the 1100-1400 time period, the Vikings settled Greenland and Labrador, and even carried out "croft" farming. Today, the cows would starve since the meadows don't produce enough fodder, except that they would freeze to death before they got the chance to starve.

Given this evidence, should we conclude the Inuit caused catastrophic global warming, resulting in the extinction of Ice Age Mega-fauna? Did the Vikings kick off an era of global warming over 500 years ago? Despite bold claims by the "scientific" community, there really isn't any coherent explanation of Global warming, and indeed there are no reliable climactic models which can be used to make predictions (even "reverse predictions" where you load in all the known variables from last week in an attempt to replicate this week's weather). Given that state of the art, and other information (such as the fact the average temperature on the planet Mars is also rising, damn those neo-cons!), I would suggest the idea of human agency is somewhat moot.

Exactly, "Global Warming" is an unproven theory at best. Proving it in a court will be next to impossible. In the 70's all the scientists were predicting we were entering a new ice age...
 

a_majoor

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Whatever the cause of global climactic change (and I am sure the Martians would like to know as well), I strongly suspect the overriding issue has very little to do with science and a very great deal with politics.

Alarmism isn't new, the "Club of Rome" made its very infamous and wrong "Limits to growth" argument back in the 1970s, and doom sayers have been threatening us with Ice ages, mass starvation, pollution, overfishing and other eco catastrophes.....There are two common features to these predictions. First is they are simple linear extrapolations usually based on limited data sets, which is not the way to make predictions with complex systems involving hundreds or thousands (or millions) of variables. The second is the proposed "solution" is always a vast expansion of government power to harness the resources of the people, the nation or the world in order to "solve" the problem.

Picture a post Kyoto Canada, where draconian "carbon" taxes and emissions limits are imposed on us all. The Government of the day would be able to control the economy by deciding who is issued these permits, and of course a vast culture of political corruption (dwarfing Adscam, the billion dollar boondoggle, Shawinigate and every other scandal combined) would come into being as politicians realized the literally life and death power they held over the population. No carbon permits would equal no production or transportation, limit agriculture and drive much of the population to a sustenance level existence.

The public would have a difficult time opposing this sort of takeover, since it is based on a poorly understood "science", and how many people would take the time and effort to check out David Suzuki's assertions about how things have gotten warmer since he was in high school in London in the 1950s? I did, accessing the weather records of London to the 1990s (when they suddenly are hidden behind a paid access database) and comparable records from Buffalo NY, and guess what? The average temperature has DROPPED almost one degree c during that period. Other so called evidence like the "hockey stick" graph proporting to show the average temperature for the last 1000 years can be debunked by using other disciplines like History to cross check the record; the graph shows a stable temperature with a dramatic upswing in the last 100 years, but we know the Earth was warmer in the time of the Vikings than it is today, and we also have records of the climate being a great deal colder from the 1600s to the late 1700s (the "Little Ice Age").  The fact that these events are missing from the public record of debates and pronouncements by these environmental activists would suggest they are not interested in science (the recording and interpretation of data).

This is very similar to the Liberal proposal to ban hand guns in Canada as a means of stopping crime. There is plenty of evidence that gun crime is a result of cross border gun smuggling, so banning and confiscating legaly owned handguns in Canada will have zero effect on the problem. Given this isn't very hard to figure out, the question becomes; are there any other reasons for doing this?

Do we use resources poorly and inefficiently? Of course we do. If we are serious about things like resource management and the environment, then we would drop industrial and agricultural subsidies and tax incentives. Once people have to start paying market prices for things, they will have a huge incentive to conserve and minimize, and no Government agency will have to tell them what to do or how to do it (or who to do it with) either. But you won't be hearing about that solution from the eco crusaders any time soon.
 

Infanteer

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Global warming, with its ties to politics and policy, seems awfully Malthusian at times....
 

TCBF

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"Correllation is NOT causation!" - anon. Statistics 101 prof.

Next!

Tom
 

COBRA-6

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U.S. and China bar any steps on climate  
By Andrew C. Revkin The New York Times

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2005


MONTREAL Two weeks of treaty talks on global warming neared an end on Friday with the world's current and projected leaders in emissions of "greenhouse gases," the United States and China, still refusing to take any mandatory steps to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Bush administration was sharply criticized by other governments and by environmental groups for walking out of a round of informal discussions shortly after midnight Thursday that were aimed at finding new ways of curbing gases.

"This shows just how willing the U.S. administration is to walk away from a healthy planet and its responsibilities to its own people," said Jennifer Morgan of the World Wildlife Fund.

American officials declined to comment on their actions. They released a printed statement, but it referred only to the expected visit and speech later on Friday by former President Bill Clinton, whose administration negotiated Kyoto in 1997 but never submitted it to a skeptical Senate for ratification.

Paula Dobriansky, head of the American delegation, said that public events like Clinton's presentation were "useful opportunities to hear a wide range of views on global climate change."

Clinton's speech was a surprise to the U.S. delegation, which was said to be displeased, The Associated Press reported. "They're not infuriated, but they're not thrilled," a Canadian official said of the U.S. delegates, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The conference is the latest in a 17-year string of sessions aimed at moving industrial powers and fast-growing developing countries toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions, most notably carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning coal, oil and forests.

The sessions have produced two agreements. The first, the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change, was accepted by nearly every country, including the United States, but includes no binding targets and never defines an unacceptably dangerous concentration of greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto Protocol, an addendum to the first treaty, took effect in February but requires only about three dozen industrial countries to make cuts in the gases. It was rejected in 2001 by President George W. Bush.

At the meeting on Friday, countries bound by the Kyoto pact were close to agreeing on a plan to negotiate a new set of targets and timetables for cutting emissions after Kyoto expires in 2012. But under pressure from some countries that were already having trouble meeting the targets, the language included no specific year for completing talks on next steps, instead indicating that parties would "aim to complete" work "as soon as possible."

Even if the talks generate new targets, some scientists said Friday that they would be insufficient to stem harmful warming without much broader actions by the biggest and fastest-growing polluters.

In a statement, Martin Rees, the new president of Britain's Royal Society, an independent national scientific academy, said that continuing disputes among wealthy nations over how to cut emissions were distracting them from actual steps to make the cuts.

Environmental campaigners said that the Kyoto process would eventually force other countries to act, particularly the United States, by building a market for credits achieved by making deep cuts in carbon dioxide and the other gases.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which supports binding cuts in heat-trapping gases. said: "As Kyoto deepens and broadens, U.S. business and industry will mount irresistible pressure on United States leadership to re-engage in the process rather than be shut out of markets of the future."

But lobbyists and groups associated with businesses that oppose such restrictions scoffed at the prospect of a meaningful carbon market.

One such group, the National Center for Public Policy Research, worked the halls, distributing mock emissions credits. Those are the chits created under a "cap and trade" system for controlling pollution that allow those businesses that make cuts beyond requirements to sell the extra tons to others.

Well it looks like Kyoto's dead in the water if the U.S. and China aren't on board. And what would be the possible outcome if everyone had agreed in the first place? A reduction in warming by 0.02 degrees Celsius by the year 2050. Not much benefit for the huge costs involved.


UberCree said:
We are living through the greatest period of extinction since the last ice age.   Is this a natural phenomenon ... I dont think so.  
 

This is also open to debate. The estimates of the number of species on earth range from 2 million to 80 million. Only about 1.6 million have been recorded to date. Any attempt to quntify the number of species that have gone extinct is pure guesswork, only 1,033 extinctions have been documented since the 1600's.

The oft-cited number of 40,000 species going extinct each year was the guess of one scientist, Norman Myers, in his 1979 book "The Sinking Ark". This is his complete argument for that number:

Let us suppose that, as a consequence of this man-handling of natural environments (clearing of tropical rain forests), the final one-quarter of this century witnesses the elimination of 1 million species - a far from unlikely prospect. This would work out, during the course of 25 years, at an average extinction rate of 40,000 species per year, or rather over 100 species per day.

I, for one, am not convinced...

 

a_majoor

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The Kyotoites who expect the business community to pressure the government into accepting the Kyoto accord are really standing on their heads. The largest and deepest market on Earth is the United States, and the two largest and fastest growing markets are China and India, both exempt from Kyoto and likely never to sign on.

Although if the EU manages to complete it's protectionest agenda by excluding American products from it's markets, they might discover retaliatory actions by the United States has a much larger effect on their economy.
 

Kat Stevens

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This is really a NAFTA issue.  We send the US blizzards in winter, and they send us acid rain in the spring, fair is fair.
 

UberCree

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So if I get your arguements correctly, there is nothing wrong with the environment?   Or is it that actually pollution is good for the environment?  
Silly environmentalists, always crying wolf when there is nothing wrong. ::)   All the bad things that are happening to the environment are simply coincidence.  
Let me get this straight:
All of the contaminated fish in the north are simply a product of some natural selection process and it's a good thing.
All of the clearcutting in Canada and across the world is good for the air and prevents soil erosion.
Polluters should be rewarded not sanctioned.   The more pollution an industry can dump into the environment the better it is for the economy and in fact for the environment too!   We should reward them!
Gas consumption should be encouraged.   Bigger cars and SUV's should be encouraged.  
Alternative energies should be discouraged, because yes, pollution is good for the environment.  
No species have been negatively effected by humans, in fact, we have helped create more diversity in the world!
Let's see what else...
Oh yeah, all of the world's leading scientists are wrong.   Even 'The Economist', that last week discussed the 'alarming' trend of global warming and its potential effects on western Europe weather is ... wrong.  

Did I get it right?


 

a_majoor

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What is "wrong" is the idea that:

a. Climate change is caused by human agency. A single volcanic eruption can put more sulphur compounds and particulate matter in the atmosphere than the entire industrial output of the human species in a year, which should be negative proof enough for most people. Historical records demonstrate climactic change happened (both warming and cooling) long before human beings had anywhere near the capabilities we have today.

b. Regulatory control of the world's industry is going to effect change to the environment. I might postulate that there would be a negative correlation, since desperate people will start clear cutting trees for warmth and to open farmland to feed themselves. (The United States has about 30% more forest than in the 1920s since technological developments in agriculture allow vastly more food to be grown on the same amount of land. Marginal farmland has gradually been abandoned and allowed to revert to forest.)

The world's scientists are not a single monolithic block, I am sure many of them disagree on the cause and extent of Global Warming and almost anything else you care to name. On the other hand, scientists proposing an economic or regulatory regime to affect climate change is about as useful as having a musician like Bono lecture Paul Martin on foreign policy, or me lecturing Bono on U2's next album and tour. (Indeed, many of the scientists who speak publicly on "Climate change" are not climatologists. Davis Suzuki is a geneticist, for example).

Many of the problems which you describe are classified as "externalities" in economics, and the best and most effective way to solve these problems is to assign cost (i.e. internalize them), which quickly makes these problems subject to market incentives. You might not agree with the solution the market comes up with (believe me, I have been doing business plans for alternative energy schemes and the only ones which show any promise at all involve making current process more efficient, not changing to some new process), but there will be a solution.

 

squealiox

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a_majoor said:
What is "wrong" is the idea that:

a. Climate change is caused by human agency. A single volcanic eruption can put more sulphur compounds and particulate matter in the atmosphere than the entire industrial output of the human species in a year, which should be negative proof enough for most people. Historical records demonstrate climactic change happened (both warming and cooling) long before human beings had anywhere near the capabilities we have today.

those aren't greenhouse gases. in fact they would probably even have the opposite effect. but CO2 and methane are.

anyway, i have yet to see a single objection to the idea of manmade global warming that hasn't been comprehensively debunked by this group of actual climate scientists: http://www.realclimate.org/
(gotta get your information from somewhere, so it might as well be from someone working in the field in question.)

The world's scientists are not a single monolithic block, I am sure many of them disagree on the cause and extent of Global Warming and almost anything else you care to name. On the other hand, scientists proposing an economic or regulatory regime to affect climate change is about as useful as having a musician like Bono lecture Paul Martin on foreign policy, or me lecturing Bono on U2's next album and tour. (Indeed, many of the scientists who speak publicly on "Climate change" are not climatologists. Davis Suzuki is a geneticist, for example).
unlike "experts" like michael crighton (novelist) or benny peiser (sociologist)?

Many of the problems which you describe are classified as "externalities" in economics, and the best and most effective way to solve these problems is to assign cost (i.e. internalize them), which quickly makes these problems subject to market incentives.
and the only proposal that actually seeks to do this is ... kyoto
 

a_majoor

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It seems from the historical record that the American suggestion to open up a market for trading emission credits was opposed by the Europeans and the various NGOs, and finally adopted in a very watered down form. This has the effect of creating an "illiquid" market, which is shunned since potential participants cannot readily realize the value of their "credits". (As an aside, creating highly regulated markets or otherwise preventing the free flow of information, capital and participants always has a negative result. Deregulation of the California electrical market was marred by restrictions which effectively shut out new players from competeing, and Ontario's decision to keep Ontario Hydro's generating system as one huge entity and dictate the consumer price of electricity has had a similar effect here. California's rolling blackouts were no surprise to anyone who saw the regulatory structure, since the invisible hand of the market will always manifest itself. Ontario will be in for it soon.)

Most of this topic is moot anyway, the non signatories don't appear to be making any moves, the signatories (such as Canada) have done nothing to impliment the plan and the "exempt" nations will fight tooth and nail to remain exempt.

Since many people believe the case is "proven", I would suggest you peruse the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

This is an interesting introduction, and you will be surprised to see (but should not be) there are climatologists who are not with the "consensus" crowd.
 
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