Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Dec 2016 21:53 UTC
In the News

Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

There's a war going on. A war waged by religious extremists (of at least two major world religions), the extreme right, and fossil fuel-funded politicians, against the very foundations of our secular, post-Enlightenment, post-scientific revolution society. You think I'm exaggerating? I wish. Extreme right websites are asking their readers to pick up arms against scientists. That's where we are.

Religious extremists, the extreme right, and fossil fuel-funded politicians know all too well that science, secularism, and a clear, non-negotiable separation between church and state are grave threats to their continued existence. We - as a species - have come a long way these past few hundred years, but it feels like today, with the all-out attack on science by these deplorable parts of our society, we are regressing backwards into the dark ages.

Science is the only foundation of progress. Any who seek to erode this foundation are the enemy of the Enlightenment - mankind's greatest invention. Pick your side carefully.

Thread beginning with comment 638427
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Savior
Member since:
2006-09-02

a) Raising the energy supply for poor people in the form of access to cheap, abundant and reliable electricity supply is central to pulling a couple of billion people out of life shortening and cruel poverty.


Probably the only reason why the world is not fucked up completely is that those billions are poor. Give all of them a car and we are doomed.

I am not saying that people being poor and starving is good. What I mean is that climate change or not, there are already way more people on Earth than it can suspend in acceptable conditions; just to say one example, the seas are virtually empty (and there are no "shale fish"). The only solution would be an immediate one-child rule everywhere, but especially where the population boom is ongoing.

... it is clear that the only source for the required electricity will be fossil fuels. If the use of fossil fuels is restricted in order to deal with an over blown climate scare it will severely hamper global poverty reduction.


Except easily acquirable fossil fuels will run out soon, and what do you do after that? Also, if the result of depending on fossil fuels indeed adversely affects the climate (even educated deniers should at least consider the possibility), then how would the collapsing ecosystems advance poverty reduction?

BTW the only fossil fuel we can (and should) use without ill effects on the climate is nuclear power. It has its own problems, though.

Since the early part of the 19th century the earth climate has warmed gently.


Gently? Have a look at this: https://xkcd.com/1732/ , will you? A good look I mean, read everything as you scroll down don't cheat. And read the tooltip of the picture too.

It is now about one degree higher than it was 150 years ago. During that period of warming climate change largely went unnoticed, and during that period human welfare has increased massively. The rise of one degree actually didn’t create any problems.


I am sorry to ask this, but are you out of your mind? Disappearing ice caps and glaciers, "dead zones" in the ocean are facts, that you can easily check just by comparing (aeriel) photos taken today and a few decades ago. Also, I don't know how old you are, but even comparing now to 30 years ago, the weather has clearly become much more extreme. Yes, 1.5 degrees might just still be in the acceptable range, but another 1 will not be.

sea levels are rising at a constant rate of a few millimetres a year as they have been for as far back as records extend. If this a continues nothing much will happen.


That is only since the last glacial period. This a graph goes a bit more back: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_sea_level. And you can say that the sea levels have been higher before, which is true, but at least back then there weren't any human settlements on the shore (nor any, for that matter ;) ). Also, the current sea level rise is accelerating (ice caps), while it had been monotonically decreasing before.

If this a continues nothing much will happen.


Tell that to the Dutch and anyone living on a sea island. Though I guess if mostly the islands in trouble are poor, it could be taken as a form of global poverty reduction?...

but will make poor people poorer, would be utterly criminal.


Ideally, this should not be an either-or situation. And if the denier lobby wasn't so powerful and people could accept what is happening then we could start thinking about how to solve it properly, without stupid compromises and the ill effects you are writing about. Too bad it is not to be.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Tell that to the Dutch


No need to worry about us. I live below sea level (about 2m or so), but our defences against the water are of such incredible size and technological prowess that we can easily handle even several meters in sea level rise. I'm not joking - when our engineers devised the Delta Works after the last truly major flood (1953), they employed a margin that's kind of insane, and is working out in our favour today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Works

I'd be A LOT more worried about the southern US states, Miami, and New York (let's not even get started about other developing countries!). New York has effectively zero water defences, and even a small rise in sea level will have disastrous consequences for Manhattan. As a Dutchman, it blows my mind that cities with millions and millions of inhabitants, like Miami and New York, are completely exposed to the water like they are. I am protected by humblingly complex system of dunes, dikes, pumps, and god knows what else - yet New York City, the largest city in the US and its financial centre, has no defences?

Amazing. A disaster waiting to happen.

Edited 2016-12-14 14:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

I don't think anybody is going to change their mind on much so just a few quick points.

The current warming is less rapid than similar warming periods in the recent past.

The early holocene (i.e. around the time the first cities were being founded and farming was starting) was warmer than today - in fact it is named the 'Holocene Optimum', a name given back in the days not so long ago when it was recognised that warming was better than cooling.

Given that the temperature during the 'Holocene Optimum' was considerable warmer than now it is quite likely that the artic ice sheet vanished for a while. The world did not end and polar bears did not go extinct.

As global glaciers have retreated in some places they have revealed the remains of old forests long buried under the glacial ice, similarly in the norther tundra zones which are now tree free there are remains of old trees that grew there when the norther tree line extended right up to the northern edge of Eurasia. Both the trees uncovered by the retreating glaciers and the old trees in the tundra zones can be reliably carbon dated and both give dates during the medieval warm period ( AD 950 to 1250 approx). This means back then it was warm enough, and warm long enough, for forests to grow where now there are retreating glaciers and frozen tundra. The world did not end and polar bears did not go extinct.

The 20th century warming coincided with the most intense period of solar activity for thousands of years, similarly the Little Ice Age (AD1300 to about 1850 and the coldest period since the last real ice age ended) coincided with a period of significantly reduced solar activity. There are many scientists who think that the role of solar activity in driving climate change has been obscured by the CO2 theory. The sun is currently sinking into a deep solar minimum with much reduced activity, it will take a while for the effect of that to change the climate system but if the effect of solar activity has been overlooked then we are in for a rude awakening in the next few decades.

Even the large IPPC study on extreme weather events concluded that there were no discernible trends in unusual or extreme weather patterns.

A 150 years of warming up until now has not had any serious deleterious effects that I can discern. The world is warming, it may continue to warm, human activity may have contributed to that, but it seems a truly trivial issue.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

A 150 years of warming up until now has not had any serious deleterious effects that I can discern. The world is warming, it may continue to warm, human activity may have contributed to that, but it seems a truly trivial issue.


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/five-pacific-isl...

But okay, who cares about some islands in the Pacific, right? Those people are probably poor, and probably not white to boot, so who gives a shit, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/science/flooding-of-coast-caused-...

Oh shit, that's closer to home! The coastal regions of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and so on, are literally flooding as we speak due to climate change.

But still, that's far away down south where only idiots, Trump voters, and black people live, right? Who cares?

http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/9/13898546/sea-level-rise-climate-c...

New York City? Whatever man. It's just the most important financial centre of the United States without any form of flood protection whatsoever, home to millions and millions of people all packed onto a small island. I'm sure they'll be fine in their high-rise buildings.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/regional_information/ca-and-we...

Wait, you mean to tell me the home of Apple is literally drying up and burning to the ground? THAT IS WHERE MY FUCKING MACBOOK PRO AND IPHONE ARE DESIGNED.

FUCK.

SEND IN THE FUCKING MARINES.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01


The early holocene (i.e. around the time the first cities were being founded and farming was starting) was warmer than today - in fact it is named the 'Holocene Optimum', a name given back in the days not so long ago when it was recognised that warming was better than cooling.

Given that the temperature during the 'Holocene Optimum' was considerable warmer than now it is quite likely that the artic ice sheet vanished for a while. The world did not end and polar bears did not go extinct.

....

A 150 years of warming up until now has not had any serious deleterious effects that I can discern. The world is warming, it may continue to warm, human activity may have contributed to that, but it seems a truly trivial issue.


Thats interesting and I have no doubt your account of history is true, however:

If memory servers, the very first cities were founded around 10'000 years ago when estimated world population was around 1-10 million people. We are now almost at 7.5 billion, well armed people, mostly living on coastal areas, and absolutely depended on farm land. People aren't going to just disappear when their farm lands get too hot/cold/dry/toxic to grow crops or their home is left under rising sea level. Those people will move elsewhere and fight for their right to do so if necessary. I bet most of Osnews readership is young enough to live to see that poo really hit the fan.

Warmer or colder, on the long run, the earth will keep spinning and the human kind as a species will survive (in greatly smaller numbers).

Reply Parent Score: 4