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Earth +6C fatal? - The warming up of the earth (Aug/03/2010 )

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Hello

Has anyone seen that episode of Nat.Geographic called 'Earth +6C could mean the end of the world' (don't remember the specific title)?

I am concerned about the earth's future.
Would one agree that people need to stop mass consuming electricity like they do (e.g.: one (if not several!) hdtv, dvd blu ray, stereo hi-fi on standby = 109 W))?
Thanks to technology dependent people nowadays, the earth is getting rapidly filled with CO2.
Every single appliance (iPod, iWhatever, iPhone, iPad, laptop, PC, hdtv, etc.) and cars, power plants, (heavily) release CO2 on a daily basis.

I've heard someone mention 'CO2 eating bacterias'. What can be said about that subject, concerning the safety of the earth?
Is the earth coming to its end soon (mass dry-outs, important cities and landmarks flooded, part of the Amazone drying up, billions of lives lost, etc.) or am I misinformed/unupdated?

I would like to see some opinions.

Thank you.

p.s.: here is a reference: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article1480669.ece

-MrEnvironment-

I think you are somewhat mis-informed, your ideas seem rather vague and based on mass media coverage of the issues, which is typically less than scientific.

"What are the human sources of CO2 and how do we generate them?" would be a good starting point for you. How much (what proportion) CO2 does humanity add to the environment in a year? Over what time spans have we been doing this? What about carbon cycles? Historical carbon records/levels?

How does your laptop/computer/phone etc. generate CO2? Learning about Watts and Watt-hours might be useful.

Don't trust Wikipedia, it is NOT a good source, though it can be used as a starting point.

-bob1-

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet" a book by Mark Lynas,
is based on his scientific (which is in turn based on other scientist's researches throughout human history)
intensive research for several months, several hours a day.

All the things you mentioned:
- How much (what proportion) CO2 does humanity add to the environment in a year?
- Over what time spans have we been doing this?
- What about carbon cycles?
- Historical carbon records/levels?

have been re-researched and reviewed by Mark Lynas, based on other scientist's researches.

So, do we have to be worried about a gradual end of the earth (maybe a 100 years from now) or is everything fine?
No one knows what the earth will turn out to be like in 500 years?

I am concerned.

-MrEnvironment-

At least four other planets are warming up, too. See here.

-HomeBrew-

MrEnvironment on Wed Aug 4 00:03:28 2010 said:


Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet" a book by Mark Lynas,
is based on his scientific (which is in turn based on other scientist's researches throughout human history)
intensive research for several months, several hours a day.

Actually he is a journalist, his degrees are in history and politics not science. Have you read anything by those people who don't believe that global warming is caused by humans, which would be relevant if you want to discuss it scientifically.

Anyway, Imaa stop feeding the trolls now...

-bob1-

People who don't believe global warming is caused by humans?
No, I haven't read on that yet.
Can you give me some names?
I've only seen on National Geographic that there is a group of professional scientists
constantly researching the CO2 output on earth and trying to get a picture of the future of the earth.
I didn't know Mark was a journalist.
Doesn't take away he can do scientific research, though.


p.s.: I came to this forum to discuss a topic in depth and serious. However, now I read concepts like 'feeding the troll',
which really belong to the immature communities. Is this a serious forum or am I wrong?
All I want to do is have serious discussions about scientific subjects and find out more, through people's opinions,
like any curious person would.

-MrEnvironment-

Ok, sorry, implying that you were a troll is a little harsh, it was purely because your topic and ideas are similar to those that we see from time to time attempting to troll these forums.

Fred Singer is the only climate change denier that I can think of off the top of my head, I am sure there are plenty more.

For a scientific discussion it is necessary to acquire a knowledge of not just one view point, but also the opposing side(s) of the topic, and apply critical thinking. Climate change is an enormously complex topic, involving climatology, physics, atmospheric chemistry, mathematics (for the climate models) and probably several other fields, none of which I can even pretend to understand in any detail. So not to denigrate National Geographic which produces many fine publications, but they are very much designed for the lay audience and are not typically balanced (by opposing views), such that I would not rely on the information provided.

Having read Mr Lynas' book, you will be aware that in the past the world was much warmer than it is now and that the CO2 content of the atmosphere was much higher than it is now, and that we are coming out of a short term cool period (since the 1800's). As it was substantially warmer and we had higher CO2 levels in the pleiocene, all plants are actually better adapted to grow at those conditions, so trees will grow better and hence sequester more carbon, also we'll be able to grow more plants in more parts of the world and ahve more available rainfall, so we'll be able to irrigate land not normally irrigatable. Given all of that information, what would you say if I said that the world was warming anyway, and will self-regulate, as it has done in the past, and that global warming will be a good thing for the world?

-bob1-

The problem is that if the planet's warming is not in large part anthropogenic, but is instead a consequence of a natural geological cycle, then we're wasting time and resources trying to stall the inevitable by nibbling around the edges. We should be putting resources into trying to make it easier to live on a warming planet, rather than spending all resources on "green" technology, which will (if the warming is not in large part man-caused) have little to no impact.

-HomeBrew-

In my opinion, we should be concern about global warming. It is a threat and we should do everything we can to slow it down and prepare our civilization for changes that are to come.

The earth has experience higher temperatures and lower temperatures, The average global temperature at the moment is about 14C and at present we are exiting the last ice age. Global average temperature at the height of a warm period between ice ages is about 20C. So yes, the earth is warming up on its own and doing so at a rapid pace, in terms of geological time. On human terms the earth is warming slowly, but warming it is. About 8000 years ago, global warming finally turned the Sahara savannah into a desert, driving human populations east into the Nile (and believe by some to spark the Egyptian civilization) and south into Africa. It turned the upper reaches of the yellow river into an arid waste, destroying early chinese settlements and thus give birth to yellow silt now washed into the yellow river.

What humans are currently doing are doing is helping this natural trend by pumping in giga tons of carbon into the atmosphere, carbon which has been out of circulation for a very long time. In the case of coal, for about 350 million years, no since the carboniferous age, where CO2 concentration was about 1800ppm. Given this extra push, it is easy to assume that the maximum global average temperature of warm period will be higher than any other. We might even be able to break out of the cyclic ice ages.

And why should we be concern?

Not for the earth. It would be fine. Not for life, species go extinct all the time and the ones that survive will adapt and fill all the empty niches.. And from a geological scale, we already are in an extinction event, with humans doing their part to contribute. Not for the human species. I believe we are too adaptable a species.

The answer is our civilization, our modern global technological civilization. Efficient function of this civilization has resulted in specialization, to a degree we would find worrying if we thought about it.. How many of us grow enough food to feed ourselves? One? None! Or know how to build a computer from raw materials. The answer is nobody. All of us (aside from communities isolated in far away jungles) are dependent on a supply chain, which we use and in turn add to. A key component of this global supply chain are sea ports.

Take zippers found in every day clothes. Over 90% of all zippers are made in Japan and most by a single company YKK. If the trade through Japanese seaports was disrupted, either by rising sea level, or increase storms activity, the world would effectively be without zippers. Japan is also the only nation in the world (aside from russia) which can build the reaction vessel to hold the nuclear pile of nuclear power stations. No Japan, and it would be very difficult to build a nuclear power station. Similar single point weakness in the global supply chain can be found elsewhere. Take RAM, the actual memory blocks within the card are made almost exclusively in Taiwan. Take palm oil, global supply comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, which is used extensively in food products. Wool, uranium and aluminium from Australia. Titanium from India.

As for crop failure... in the warm spell 2 year ago, eastern Europe had a poor harvest. A single poor harvest and it sent flour prices in UK spiking, nearly doubling, until the government put price control on and use food reserves in warehouses to make up the deficit. Now if there were two poor harvest in close succession, what do you think would happen?

Civilization collapse. Yes, it has happened repeated in human history but never like this. To produce our civilization, we have consumed all easily available natural resources. Most concentrated ore deposits on the surface are now gone. Look at oil. Can you imagine a person with 1800 technology, trying to convince investors that he wants their money to drill for oil (a substance of limited use, as plastics have not been rediscovered) which can only be found in abundance in areas where the water depth is 1500m and then only by drilling a hole 9km underground. And with no crude oil, there are no plastics, almost no synthetic fabrics, and no high purity chemicals. IIf our current civilization collapse, I find it very hard to imagine another technological civilization rising from the ashes to take its place.

So yes we should be worried. And if the question of how important important are human contribution to global warming, trying putting yourself in this situation. Your house is on fire! Does it matter if the fire was caused by a spark from the fireplace or from playing with matches. Would your immediate actions be any different? If it were caused by sparks from the fireplace, would you stop trying and let the house burn down with you in it?

The whole point of green technology and green movement in my mind is to buy time, decades, hopefully centuries of time. We can rebuild our seaports if sea level rise over the centuries, change our crops if we are given many decades. Even move whole population centers smoothly if we had enough time. But we can not adapt without major damage to civilization if the changes are happening too quickly. And that fast pace is what human aided global warming is now setting.

-perneseblue-

perneseblue on Thu Aug 5 05:27:54 2010 said:


The whole point of green technology and green movement in my mind is to buy time, decades, hopefully centuries of time. We can rebuild our seaports if sea level rise over the centuries, change our crops if we are given many decades. Even move whole population centers smoothly if we had enough time. But we can not adapt without major damage to civilization if the changes are happening too quickly. And that fast pace is what human aided global warming is now setting.


Yes, but the underlying assumption here is that mitigating human contribution to global warming will actually buy us extra decades or centuries to adapt society, which of course also assumes that the major cause of the warming is anthropogenic.

-HomeBrew-
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