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Author Topic: Earth Day 2015
Rafi
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Today is Earth Day. In observance, I thought I'd take a look at the current state of global warming.

  • There has been no global warming for the last 18 years, 4 months. That represents over half of the satellite temperatures record and likely represents most of the adult life of those reading this. In fact, over the last 18 years, the trend has been a slight decrease in temperature: -0.01. Even more, the least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean lower-troposphere dataset for as far back as it is possible to go, still demonstrates a zero trend.
  • The global warming trend since 1900 (i.e. the last 115 years) is equivalent to 0.8 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and cannot be conclusively attributed to anything.
  • The predicted 4.8 Cº warming by 2100 is well over twice the greatest rate of warming lasting more than ten years that has been measured since 1950.
  • The 4.8 Cº-by-2100 prediction is almost four times the observed real-world warming trend since we might in theory have begun influencing it in 1950.
  • If we cherry pick out the fastest warming trend lasting at least 10 years since 1950, giving warmists the strongest starting point, the planet would have to instantly begin warming at least 2.5 times faster than ever recorded to fit predictions.
  • The oceans, according to the 3600+ ARGO bathythermograph buoys, are warming at a rate equivalent to just 0.02 Cº per decade, or 0.2 Cº per century.
  • Blaming "unusual" weather on warming, as often happens, is clearly not accurate since there is no warming.

There is no empirical evidence of warming and none has existed for almost 2 decades unless there is significant manipulation of the data to falsely create warming (google ClimateGate if you want a in depth look at the extent of the manipulation).

The doomsday scenarios and fear mongering were a staple of Earth Day from the very beginning. Here's a sample of the original predictions from the 1970 Earth Day:
  • “We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
    - Kenneth Watt, ecologist
  • “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” - Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
  • “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
    - Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
  • “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
    - Life Magazine, January 1970
  • “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” - Sen. Gaylord Nelson

As you can see, the tradition of science by consensus and politicians looking to capitalize on the fear was established at the very beginning. They were every bit as ridiculous then as they are now.

Finally, my favorite Earth Day prediction: “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” - Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

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JoshCrow
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Glad you cleared that up for all of us. We can rest easy now - your scientific credentials are unimpeachable and you've obviously done some Internet research. Yeesh, why do people waste their entire lives studying "science" when you can just look stuff up and be convinced by it!
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Fenring
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It's true that various ecological topics have been trumpeted over the years by morons.

We barely even hear word anymore of the great bogeyman "overpopulation", nor of the great "energy crisis". Each in turn was a theoretically valid concern that had no actual basis in reality and was never 'solved' even though the problems apparently no longer exist. The one problem that did really exist and seems temporarily to have been waylaid is the natural gas shortage.

All of this has nothing to do with AGW, mind you, so even if Rafi is entirely right that ecological crusaders are not always to be taken seriously that doesn't specifically refute the validity of claims made regarding AGW. If anything I might point to the Boy Who Cried Wolf and suggest that a group that has lost some credibility over the years should not be totally ignored in case something serious does come up.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
- Kenneth Watt, ecologist

You know, it's worth pointing out that in some ways the population scare was like Y2K -- not because it (or Y2K) was a false scare, but that they were both potentially serious crises that were successfully avoided through concerted action. A number of countries implemented crushing population controls that successfully slowed down the population rate, and the agricultural technologies that people warned would be necessary to support the world's population in the '90s and '00s were in fact developed.

Unnecessary alarmism is to be avoided. But our dodging of the population crisis predicted in the '60s and early '70s is a potential example of the positive results of collective alarm, in much the same way that the fact that airplanes didn't fall out of the sky on Y2K was due not to the inaccuracy of many of those claims but rather to the fact that companies, sensitive to those predictions, worked overtime to fix things.

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DonaldD
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I'm just going to copy something from the last time somebody used 1997 and the RSS dataset to make a point about linear trends in global temperature anomalies...

Here is why this particular claim is disingenuous:
It requires cherry picking both the starting year and the dataset.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the RSS dataset, taken for what it is - although even those tasked with interpreting the data in order to extrapolate a temperature anomaly are quite aware of the challenges inherent in the orbital decay of the measuring satellites. It is, however, the only dataset that shows a non-positive slope if calculating the linear trend using least squares regression with a starting point of (conveniently) 1997. If you use surface temperatures, you see no negative trends starting anywhere near 1997. If you use the UAH dataset, which uses different satellite data than RSS, you also do not see negative trends starting in 1997. It's only in RSS that this particular trend shows up, and for 1997 specifically: if you look further back, starting in 1996, you get a positive trend even with RSS. And tellingly, if you go back only to the latter part of 1998, you also see positive trends. This particular claim has the unfortunate drawback of being correct for only about 18 months in that time frame; if you calculate the trend starting either in 1999 or 1996, you actually see a positive trend.

As for this
quote:
The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean lower-troposphere dataset for as far back as it is possible to go, still demonstrates a zero trend.
This is so completely wrong that it is trivial to show otherwise. If you are interested, between 1980 and 1997, the very first starting month with a negative trend is December 1996.

Now, everybody who discusses warming trends knows that referencing 1997 as a starting point for analysis is problematic, because basically, you won't be taken seriously after you introduce that year into the debate.

Interestingly, some of the other data sets show quite different things: for instance, GISS and NOAA have, for each of the last 4 months, set new records for warmest 12-month period, and they are both likely to continue that trend for at least another month, given that April last year was not terribly warm in those data sets. In fact, for only one month in the past 8 has the 12-month global average not been higher than all other 12-month periods outside of that time frame.

Now, there is certainly room to debate the rates of increase, and how much of the current warming can be attributable to human activity, but there's no need to pretend that the data from the beginning of the satellite data set does not show a warming trend using least squares linear regressions.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

Unnecessary alarmism is to be avoided. But our dodging of the population crisis predicted in the '60s and early '70s is a potential example of the positive results of collective alarm, in much the same way that the fact that airplanes didn't fall out of the sky on Y2K was due not to the inaccuracy of many of those claims but rather to the fact that companies, sensitive to those predictions, worked overtime to fix things.

While I agree that the alarmism in both cases can be compared in the sense of "Uh oh!" being a common theme between them, the Y2K issue was a legitimate unknown that really had to be dealt with by a hard deadline. The overpopulation issue was always BS from the start for a few reasons, one of which is that it only ever applied in earnest to nations with large populations and a low standard of living such as China and India (it was a true irrelevancy in the 'first world'), and another of which is that never at any point was a calculus of how birth rates come to be a point of interest in the public discussion. People talked about it as if it was this terrible problem, "the overpopulation problem", without referencing where that problem might exist and what the problem actually was. How convenient that the measures China took to help solve it were done 'somewhere else', because God forbid anyone tried to introduce measures like that in the U.S.

And yet even now the odd person will mention in passing the 'overpopulation crisis' as if it's still a phrase with meaning. I guess they didn't get the memo.

But yes I agree with you in general that there is a big difference between making a fuss in order to avert a crisis, versus simply making a fuss.

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Wayward Son
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While Rafi assures us that global warming has stopped (although he has no good estimates as to how much of the current warming is due to the high atmospheric CO2 levels, which everyone agrees is warming the planet), the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic continues to thin.

As P.Z. Myer says, pay attention to the scientists. They actually know what they're talking about.

And how is it that, while the Earth is no longer warming (note--it's not cooling, though, as it has done periodically in the past 150 years!), it still managed to have the highest temperature ever recorded last year? I mean, if things are not getting hotter, aren't we not supposed to break records? [Confused]

BTW, Rafi, shouldn't we be controlling CO2 emissions if only to stop ocean acidification? CO2-induced acidification was responsible for the largest extintion event in Earth's history. Or do you have something against coral and fish?

And what about the warming of the deep ocean, where most climatologists believe the heat is going? Doesn't that trend bother you? Isn't that an indication that the Earth is warming? (Last I checked, the oceans are part of the Earth.)

And which climate model are you relying on? You know, the one that shows that the Earth isn't warming, and that the effects of CO2 are minimal? How does that model incorporate the Navier Stokes equation and chaos theory? And if you aren't relying on a model, what makes you think that CO2 isn't having an effect? Especially since Earth hasn't seen these levels of atmospheric CO2 in over 400,000 years, if not in millions of years?

For someone who knows better than 90%+ of climatologists--people who study climate for a living--these should be trival questions to answer. [Smile]

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The Drake
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If climate change IS a crisis, why is the reaction to it always couched in a reduce consumption message that infuriates and divides?

Where's the hue and cry to invest in technology to remove CO2, rather than not producing it?

video

Where's the idea of putting CO2 far away?

ocean floor sequestration

I can't stand the myopic "but we are bad because we consume" mythology that is always wrapped around climate messages.

I believe if people weren't always recommending deprivation as the only solution, there wouldn't be anywhere near the resistance to any evidence. In particular, it would sweep aside the "is it the result of human activity" arguments. Who cares what's causing it?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Where's the idea of putting CO2 far away?
It's out there. It's also not exactly inexpensive. Whereas reducing consumption is a win/win for everyone, paying to sequester CO2 is just a line item cost.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Where's the hue and cry to invest in technology to remove CO2, rather than not producing it?
About the same place that the cry for better horse poop catchers from horse whip makers would have fallen as a response to pressure to shift toward using cars instead. The fact that people recognize it as a dead end that only exists as a way for a currently dominant industry to protect it's effective entrenched monopoly on control of the power market plays a big part in why it's not gaining much traction.

quote:
I can't stand the myopic "but we are bad because we consume" mythology that is always wrapped around climate messages.
Then stop listening to the fossil fuel industry propaganda that falsely inflates the presence of that message and maybe start paying attention to the actual arguments that are being made, which tend to focus on more efficient and conscientious use and less waste.

quote:
I believe if people weren't always recommending deprivation as the only solution
What, exactly, are you being deprived of if your car uses have the gas (or no gas at all) to go the same distance? WHat are you being deprived of if the power for your house is coming from solar panels instead of coal furnaces? You're talking for the false premise here that CO2 emitting fuels are the only viable option to maintain our current standard of living, when the truth is that they're simply the most entrenched and invested in fighting any significant effort to invest in allowing competitors into the market, to the point that they present such false assertions and bad data like that at the top of the thread to protect themselves from being displaced and losing the power they enjoy.
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Wayward Son
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The hue and cry about reducing consumption is because it is cheaper to not produce the CO2 than to remove it after the fact.

There is also the problem of scale. We are emitting tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. You'd need a massive program to soak up that much CO2, and continue it for the foreseeable future. And remember, anything you miss stays in the atmosphere for at least a century.

And a lot of it comes from cars, for which you can't bury the exhaust. [Wink]

Reduced production of CO2 is the quickest, simplest and cheapest method of controlling CO2 at this time. While I applaud and encourage research into sequestering and removing CO2 from the atmosphere, it won't affect the stuff we are emitting now and which will stay around for our great-grandchildren's lives. Besides, we may need those techniques to remove the atmospheric CO2 we have already emitted.

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yossarian22c
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Not really global warming but on an environmental note. The oil and gas industry has made it so that Oklahoma gets more earthquakes than California.

NPR

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
And how is it that, while the Earth is no longer warming (note--it's not cooling, though, as it has done periodically in the past 150 years!), it still managed to have the highest temperature ever recorded last year? I mean, if things are not getting hotter, aren't we not supposed to break records? [Confused]

You are confused to make such a claim, where the margin for error is greater than the increase.

You might also have a bit of skepticism about how the margin of error is actually as low as it is. There's no question that even 25 years back, the quality of data and its precision is ridiculously spotty compared to today. Any further back and it's only barely better than made up.

What do you even think the average global temperature is? Is it the average of the entire volume of the planet and its atmosphere? Just the air temperature, the air and sea and an inch of the surface? Why do you think it's accurate at all when there are not actual measurements for large parts of most continents and the majority of the oceans?

I'm not going to say Rafi is right, the quality of information doesn't support that either, but it hardly demonstrates him wrong.

And on the Carbon sequestration, the fact that people are jumping to discredit something that would IN FACT be a solution if the thesis is true (ie excessive carbon is causing warming), shows how true it is that the argument is not a scientific one, but just a political one. There would be a far greater environmental gain by concentrating as much manufacturing as possible in the first world than we will ever see out of Kyoto style economic redistribution policies, yet the "environmental" lobby keeps pushing to reduce first world manufacturing.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
And on the Carbon sequestration, the fact that people are jumping to discredit something that would IN FACT be a solution if the thesis is true (ie excessive carbon is causing warming), shows how true it is that the argument is not a scientific one, but just a political one.
No, see, here's the issue.

Carbon sequestration is untested, hugely expensive, and a stopgap: it doesn't actually consume carbon (depending on the version), so it kicks the can down the road. Whereas actually cutting consumption is something that a) we know reduces carbon output; b) is less expensive than sequestration; c) permanently reduces the acceleration of carbon output.

I personally think we've reached a point where sequestration is necessary, but only alongside consumption; letting people blather on about sequestration as an alternative to reducing our carbon footprint is like telling somebody he can keeping eating all the cheesecake he wants if he starts running a mile a day.

-----------

quote:
There would be a far greater environmental gain by concentrating as much manufacturing as possible in the first world than we will ever see out of Kyoto style economic redistribution policies, yet the "environmental" lobby keeps pushing to reduce first world manufacturing.
Bull. Environmental lobbyists aren't pushing to reduce first-world manufacturing. They are pushing for marginally more expensive environmental regulations on manufacturing, which sends profiteers to third-world countries for cheaper manufacturing. Saying that lobbyists want to see the third world do our manufacturing is like saying that seat belt manufacturers want to cause shoulder bruising.

[ April 23, 2015, 03:47 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Wayward Son
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quote:
I'm not going to say Rafi is right, the quality of information doesn't support that either, but it hardly demonstrates him wrong.
While I agree that the margin of error is well within the increase, I submit that it does prove him wrong. [Smile]

Partly because he claims that there has been a "slight decrease in temperature," which he bases on exactly these measurements. If the new maximum of last year is wrong, then all the other are wrong, too, and thus he has no basis for his claim. [Smile]

But mainly because there has been no cooling for this past 18 years. While it is true that the current maximum is within the margin of error, the temperature has remained just about constant the entire time.

Which means, taking into account the margin of error, just about any year in the past 18 years could have been record breaker, not just last year. [Eek!]

That's why the last decade was the hottest on record.

Which means the Earth has not cooled. Air temperatures have paused in heating up. But deep ocean temperatures have not. The Earth continues to heat up.

And everyone agrees that the higher levels of CO2 causes the Earth to heat up. So the only question is: how much? Whose model is the most detailed? Whose model is likely to be the most accurate?

quote:
What do you even think the average global temperature is? Is it the average of the entire volume of the planet and its atmosphere? Just the air temperature, the air and sea and an inch of the surface? Why do you think it's accurate at all when there are not actual measurements for large parts of most continents and the majority of the oceans?
When these global temperatures are announced, they are given with margins of error that are supposed to incorporate these uncertainties. The uncertainties may also be larger than the margin of error. But remember, that uncertainty goes both ways. The actual temps may have been lower than published, but they are just as likely to have been higher. And the fact that the last decade has been a record-breaker means that there is a 50 percent chance it has been a worse record-breaker than we noticed.

The bottom line, though, is even with these uncertainties, we have to have some standard to measure global temperatures. Otherwise, we couldn't measure any trends. And the trend that is obvious is that the world is hotter than it was even 30 years ago, and even more hotter than it was 100 years ago.

And, remember, it is not only measured temperatures that indicate this. Plants and insects have changed their ranges; arctic pools that have existed for thousands of years are drying up; glaciers are melting worldwide. Almost all indications are that the planet is warming. The trend is clear.

So whether last year, or three years ago, or even a decade ago was the hottest year on record is irrelevant. The Earth is getting hotter. So what is causing this temperature increase?

We all agree that CO2 is partly responsible. So the only question is, how much is it responsible for?

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
No, see, here's the issue.

Carbon sequestration is untested, hugely expensive, and a stopgap: it doesn't actually consume carbon (depending on the version), so it kicks the can down the road.

I read of a technology that was designed to pull atmospheric carbon into solid carbon. That is not a stopgap, and for all purposes would in fact reverse the impact of human induced increases in atmospheric carbon. End of story.
quote:
Whereas actually cutting consumption is something that a) we know reduces carbon output; b) is less expensive than sequestration; c) permanently reduces the acceleration of carbon output.
I didn't say it couldn't work, I said there are alternatives and you can tell a lot about some ones true motives by what they reject out of hand.

By the way, none of your 3 statements is necessarily true, nor has any actual solution proposed to date, accomplished any of the three. Since nothing proposed to date has, or even would, result in a net short term carbon reduction.
quote:
I personally think we've reached a point where sequestration is necessary, but only alongside consumption; letting people blather on about sequestration as an alternative to reducing our carbon footprint is like telling somebody he can keeping eating all the cheesecake he wants if he starts running a mile a day.
No. It's more like telling someone they could all the cheesecake them want if he installed a stomache tap that would empty it right back out. Different consequences, not particularly healthy, but its a matter of math.
quote:
Bull. Environmental lobbyists aren't pushing to reduce first-world manufacturing.
Bull right back at you. There is an absolute demand to shut down certain polluting industries in the first world, and that results in them reopening at a even bigger polluting level in the third. It's an absolute feel good NIBMY issue.
quote:
They are pushing for marginally more expensive environmental regulations on manufacturing, which sends profiteers to third-world countries for cheaper manufacturing.
Lol. Some changes are minor and incremental, just a lie to claim that as a whole they are marginal and its only greed that leads manufacturers to avoid them.
quote:
Saying that lobbyists want to see the third world do our manufacturing is like saying that seat belt manufacturers want to cause shoulder bruising.
I said its the consequence of their actions. Their goal, as with everything else the left does, is economic redistribution. If they can sell it as "good for the environment" it matters not if the facts on the ground are that it's far worse for the environment. The international accords impose first world carbon caps, while getting an agreement from China to stop increasing its carbon generation sometime thirty years from now. That is an absolute fail economically. Driving Chinese manufacturing out of business with super efficient first world manufacturing would be far better for the environment. If you really believe in science that is truly an inevitable conclusion.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
There is an absolute demand to shut down certain polluting industries in the first world,
No- there is a demand that they actually innovate and continue to produce with less and eventually no pollution, which is fully within or technical capabilities.

The assertion that production and pollution are inevitably linked is disingenuous propaganda from industries that are threatened by clean competition.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I read of a technology that was designed to pull atmospheric carbon into solid carbon. That is not a stopgap, and for all purposes would in fact reverse the impact of human induced increases in atmospheric carbon.
This is absolutely true. You may want to do some research into the feasibility of this technology, however. It's a solution in the same way that fusion power is a solution.

quote:
I said its the consequence of their actions. Their goal, as with everything else the left does, is economic redistribution.
*sigh* No.
See, this is where your political bias makes it hard for you to interact with actual reality, as occasionally happens. I know many, many environmental activists, and while some of them do in fact favor economic redistribution, even those that do actually support the environment because they like the environment.

quote:
The international accords impose first world carbon caps, while getting an agreement from China to stop increasing its carbon generation sometime thirty years from now.
You are perhaps confusing the result of international accords with what environmentalists would actually want out of an ideal world. Why is that?

One might note that Americans opposed to wife-beating tend to mainly speak out about wife-beating among Americans, not among Saudis, even though Saudis are far more likely to beat their wives. Do you think this is because they don't genuinely want people to stop beating their wives, but mainly want to inconvenience American husbands?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
quote:
Whereas actually cutting consumption is something that a) we know reduces carbon output; b) is less expensive than sequestration; c) permanently reduces the acceleration of carbon output.
I didn't say it couldn't work, I said there are alternatives and you can tell a lot about some ones true motives by what they reject out of hand.

By the way, none of your 3 statements is necessarily true, nor has any actual solution proposed to date, accomplished any of the three. Since nothing proposed to date has, or even would, result in a net short term carbon reduction.

This is manifestly false as greater fuel economy in cars has certainly reduced the overall acceleration of carbon emissions. (Of course changing the claim from a reduction in _acceleration_ to a net reduction in carbon emissions, even though that was not asserted at all, leaves a veneer of truth, but only in as much as it confuses people about what was asserted.)
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
While I agree that the margin of error is well within the increase, I submit that it does prove him wrong. [Smile]

Then your submission is incorrect. Neither you nor he is PROVEN wrong. Both have made statements that are unsupportable from the factual record.
quote:
Which means, taking into account the margin of error, just about any year in the past 18 years could have been record breaker, not just last year. [Eek!]
That's kind of what a margin of error could imply, but what it really implies is that you shouldn't make conclusive statements.
quote:
Which means the Earth has not cooled.
Like this one.
quote:
Air temperatures have paused in heating up. But deep ocean temperatures have not. The Earth continues to heat up.
Or these ones, or really any of the up in arms claims you're making.
quote:
And everyone agrees that the higher levels of CO2 causes the Earth to heat up.
I don't think that claim is true. Everyone KNOWS that under laboratory conditions, with all other factors held constant, increases in carbon will cause heating in a close system. Accordingly, we have a reasonable reason to draw a hypothesis that the same effect would operate to heat the climate. We also however, have contrary facts to explain (higher CO2 concentrations without higher temperatures), and we have any number of potential confounders and interactors that the laboratory controlled conditions could not have accounted for.
quote:
So the only question is: how much?
So, again, not the only question.
quote:
Whose model is the most detailed?
Why should anyone care about precision?
quote:
Whose model is likely to be the most accurate?
This is a key question. Climate science is in it's infancy. It's a purely observational science at this point, and it may never become a legitimately experimental one.

I can say, with certainty, that all the models are garbage.
quote:
When these global temperatures are announced, they are given with margins of error that are supposed to incorporate these uncertainties. The uncertainties may also be larger than the margin of error.
What I am telling you is that the margin of error is fake.
quote:
But remember, that uncertainty goes both ways. The actual temps may have been lower than published, but they are just as likely to have been higher.
You don't understand statistics if you believe this. It's unknowable whether the actual temperature would be more likely to be higher or lower.
quote:
And the fact that the last decade has been a record-breaker means that there is a 50 percent chance it has been a worse record-breaker than we noticed.
You should rethink this entirely. First its not a fact, and second its not a 50% chance. You really have to not understand anything about the potential flaws in the data to believe (and say outloud) something like that.
quote:
The bottom line, though, is even with these uncertainties, we have to have some standard to measure global temperatures.
We do. Because that is science, continually looking for new and better data, and making hypothesis and testing them.
quote:
Otherwise, we couldn't measure any trends.
And the trend that is obvious is that the world is hotter than it was even 30 years ago, and even more hotter than it was 100 years ago.

It's not really obvious, it's at best, statistically likely (and that assumes that we can rely on the data, not even considering if it's been interpreted correctly).

This is the part I don't get, why make a passionate argument about something scientific at all? The conclusions you're making aren't supportable, you've taken all the qualifications actual scientists make and removed all the uncertainty they are aware of and converted something that is at best - our best guess, but that we realize might be completely wrong - to a 'fact' that 'everyone knows,' I just don't get it.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Neither you nor he is PROVEN wrong.
OK, I grant you that, in a mathematical sense, I haven't proven anything. Let's say the weight of evidence is on my side. [Smile]

quote:
That's kind of what a margin of error could imply, but what it really implies is that you shouldn't make conclusive statements.
OK, once again, the perponderance of evidence suggests that the Earth has not cooled. I suppose there is a small chance that, statistically, it may have cooled when the sum of the measurement indicate it has stayed warm, but, yes, there is a chance. However, there is a greater chance that it has stayed about the same or grown warmer.

In the same vein, measurements of deep ocean temperatures have consistently shown increasing temperatures, so the perponderance of evidence indicates that it is absorbing a lot of heat.

Statistically, though, the chances of all these measurements are significantly off is much smaller than the chance that they are fairly accurate.

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And everyone agrees that the higher levels of CO2 causes the Earth to heat up.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think that claim is true. Everyone KNOWS that under laboratory conditions, with all other factors held constant, increases in carbon will cause heating in a close system. Accordingly, we have a reasonable reason to draw a hypothesis that the same effect would operate to heat the climate. We also however, have contrary facts to explain (higher CO2 concentrations without higher temperatures), and we have any number of potential confounders and interactors that the laboratory controlled conditions could not have accounted for.

What I am saying is that, taken by itself, CO2 is trapping more heat on Earth than if it were at lower concentrations. I acknowledge that there are other factors. It is, in fact, these confounder and interactors which the computer models are trying to account for. But the basic idea--higher concentrations of CO2 will trap more heat on Earth--is acknowledged by all sides. See the link in my earlier post to confirm this.

quote:
This is a key question. Climate science is in it's infancy. It's a purely observational science at this point, and it may never become a legitimately experimental one.

I can say, with certainty, that all the models are garbage.

But what does this really mean, Serati?

We know that climate is a chaotic system. We know that such systems can have tipping points where they suddenly move into another configuration and stay there. We know that runaway greenhouse effects are theoretically possible. But since we have no good model for climate, does that mean we should just ignore the possibility that such a tipping point could be reached on Earth? [Confused]

We know that CO2 traps heat on Earth. We know that the Earth is heating up (refer to the other indicators in my previous post). But since we don't have a good climate model, we should believe that it has not effect? [Confused]

Climate models may be inadequate for you, but they are the best we have right now, and those who have developed them feel pretty confident about their general accuracy after comparing them to the historical data. So shouldn't we take them fairly seriously until we come up with better models?

There is one model we know we can't trust, and that is the historical "things will always be the same." Because we can look at the Keeling Curve and see that, for at least one factor that we know affects the heat captured by Earth, things are not the same. That is going to have an effect. So shouldn't we work with the best models we have to address the possible effect?

quote:
What I am telling you is that the margin of error is fake.
Hmmm. My problem is that I trust climatologists to come up with the best margin of error for the data that they can. Why do you believe their margin is "fake?" And what is a better margin?

quote:
This is the part I don't get, why make a passionate argument about something scientific at all? The conclusions you're making aren't supportable, you've taken all the qualifications actual scientists make and removed all the uncertainty they are aware of and converted something that is at best - our best guess, but that we realize might be completely wrong - to a 'fact' that 'everyone knows,' I just don't get it.
The thing about scientists is that they are constantly trying to best each other. They look at data, at models, at suppostions and conclusions, and try to find errors and biases and guesses and all the other ways we can make errors, and then try to make a better guess without those errors. They are constantly nitpicking each others work. Sure, they sometimes go with bad ideas because of initial usefulness, but sooner or later, if it's a bad idea, the data starts diverging from it or someone comes up with a better idea and it's dropped. But what all this nitpicking and competition means is that science is usually the best bet when it comes to figuring out what is actually happening.

Global warming has been studied for over 50 years now. There has been a lot of research into it. A lot of ideas. A lot of nitpicking. What other field of science has been scrutinized to such an extent in the last 50 years that we haven't made significant progress in? That we can't rely on the broad conclusions of the vast majority of scientists about?

Climate change is being singled out not because its science is any worse than any other field. It's singled out because the political and social implications are abhorent to many people.

But I've been around for the last 50 years. I've seen the progress we've made in every other field. So when climate change is attacked, I see it as an attack on every other field of science, too. And that worries me.

Exactly how the Earth's climate will change because of AGW is not certain--certainly not mathematically certain. But the proponderance of evidence indicates that it won't be pleasant. The preponderance indicates it will be harder to sustain our civilization if (or probably when) it gets much worse. But we can mitigate those problems if we act now, to prevent them from occurring. But not if we disbelieve the possibility of them occurring. Not if we deny that these scientists are just as intelligent and careful as those who produced the atomic bomb, or computers, or chemotherapy, or any number of other fields. Not if we pretend that nothing could possibly happen.

Perhaps I do overstate the certainty. But those who deny the possibility way overstate their certainty. And I think we should start doing now those things we probably should do anyway, simply because the prepoderance of evidence indicates it's a good idea.

In other words, act like it is a certainty, just to make sure it doesn't become a certainty. (But don't go overboard... [Smile] )

We have avoided disasters that way in the past.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
Neither you nor he is PROVEN wrong.
OK, I grant you that, in a mathematical sense, I haven't proven anything. Let's say the weight of evidence is on my side. [Smile]
Don't know whether to sigh or agree. Let's just say the best current interpretation agrees more with the position that global warming is a real risk.
quote:
However, there is a greater chance that it has stayed about the same or grown warmer.
No. There is no chance one way or the other. There is a factual result with an N=1, we just don't know what the factual result is. If every single assumption made was perfect and no piece of data was erroneous and every single model weighed every single thing with precisely the correct weight and didn't exclude anything relevant, or include anything irrelevant, then you may get to a point where you could make a conclusion about the unknowable actual number. As it stands, you're really stuck with the margin of error and it being unknowable within it.
quote:
In the same vein, measurements of deep ocean temperatures have consistently shown increasing temperatures, so the perponderance of evidence indicates that it is absorbing a lot of heat.
Cherry picking, no different than assertions about solar activity explaining the observed client.
quote:
Statistically, though, the chances of all these measurements are significantly off is much smaller than the chance that they are fairly accurate.
Statistically? Not sure why you think its relevant that they be significantly off on an individual basis. All it takes is a relatively minor bias (and in a process with more assumptions than facts its inevitable to have bias), to produce a conclusion that deviates substantially.

Even with perfect temperature data (which doesn't exist) that extended back in time (which really really doesn't exist), you would still have a questionable modeling process.
quote:
But what does this really mean, Serati?
It means that climate science is more likely to produce a correct prediction by chance, than by intent. A roulette wheel is easily understood, has less influences involved in the results it generates, but only a climate scientist would be willing to predict a trend on it.
quote:
We know that climate is a chaotic system.
Do we? Or do we suspect it, but can't confirm it? I'm reminded of descriptions of advanced technology appearing as magic to those without the ability to understand them.
quote:
We know that such systems can have tipping points where they suddenly move into another configuration and stay there.
Suspect, not know. But we have no actual comprehension of the specific points at which this occurs, or what other factors contribute or prevent it.
quote:
We know that runaway greenhouse effects are theoretically possible.
You literally just said we "know" that something is "theoretically possible." Think about what that means, its at the core of why I think you're grossly overstating things. We have a theory that says greenhouse gases can cause a self reinforcing run away heating, that's it.
quote:
But since we have no good model for climate, does that mean we should just ignore the possibility that such a tipping point could be reached on Earth? [Confused]
No, the fact that we don't have a good model should not cause us to ignore the possibility. But without understanding probability we can't properly weigh it. It's not reasonable to assign panic level weighting to it, without better evidence.
quote:
We know that CO2 traps heat on Earth.
Suspect. How did you prove it again?
quote:
We know that the Earth is heating up (refer to the other indicators in my previous post).
We don't know, back to margin of error.
quote:
But since we don't have a good climate model, we should believe that it has not effect? [Confused]
What does this have to do with belief?
quote:
Climate models may be inadequate for you, but they are the best we have right now, and those who have developed them feel pretty confident about their general accuracy after comparing them to the historical data. So shouldn't we take them fairly seriously until we come up with better models?
I have consistently advocated taking them seriously, they are the best we have. But you should read them as a scientist and recognize their flaws, not as a practioner of the religion of science and speak about their facts and the consensus.
quote:
quote:
What I am telling you is that the margin of error is fake.
Hmmm. My problem is that I trust climatologists to come up with the best margin of error for the data that they can. Why do you believe their margin is "fake?" And what is a better margin?
Because the margin of error is based on assumptions about the reliability and representativeness of the data and the distribution of the actual results that are unwarranted.
quote:
Global warming has been studied for over 50 years now. There has been a lot of research into it.
Really? Name the global climate experiment that has been run.
quote:
What other field of science has been scrutinized to such an extent in the last 50 years that we haven't made significant progress in?
Most fields of science have been at least as scrutinized over that time period. Many of them have significant progress to report. Not sure what you're getting at here.
quote:
That we can't rely on the broad conclusions of the vast majority of scientists about?
I think you're confusing experimental science with observational science here. Even still you only hear about "consensus" in the context of science when it's used in advertisements (9 out of 10 dentists agree) or politics. Experimental science is reported based on results and their confirmation.
quote:
Climate change is being singled out not because its science is any worse than any other field.
It's an observational science trying to pretend to be experimental via computer modeling. It suffers grossly from a GIGO problem. It is substantively worse than many other fields of science. It's been singled out, because it's conclusions can be used (and have) to justify redistributionist social and economic policies.
quote:
It's singled out because the political and social implications are abhorent to many people.
You've put your cart before the horse. This is a reaction to the proposed solutions and their inevitable linkage to questionable practices that don't seem to help the environment as much as redistribute wealth (hello Kyoto!).
quote:
But I've been around for the last 50 years. I've seen the progress we've made in every other field. So when climate change is attacked, I see it as an attack on every other field of science, too. And that worries me.
Be as worried as you want, some people are resistant to science, they've been around 50 or more years and watched scientific conclusions be walked back and forth multiple times.

But still, it's not reasonable to react to specific factual criticisms of this science as if they are criticisms of scientists or science in general. That's a fallacy that you are pursuing.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
quote:
We know that climate is a chaotic system.
Do we? Or do we suspect it, but can't confirm it? I'm reminded of descriptions of advanced technology appearing as magic to those without the ability to understand them.
Do you even understand what's meant by a chaotic system?

Without even getting into the misinformation that you're leaning on as evidence for your position, your entire argument relies on climate being chaotic; you've asserted that it meets the definition of a chaotic system in your attempts to suggest that it has too many possible inputs to be able to model accurately.

It it's not chaotic, then your objections to modeling are as baseless as they would be to the kind of modeling thats used in basic physics to illustrate force, mass, friction, etc...

quote:
Even still you only hear about "consensus" in the context of science when it's used in advertisements (9 out of 10 dentists agree) or politics. Experimental science is reported based on results and their confirmation.
This is outright false. Even the most experimental science isn't based on singe experimental results- it's based on various scientists studying an issue, designing experiments, and reaching a consensus about the meaning and consistency of the results. The only reason that you don't hear "consensus" used much in relation to them is because there isn't an active campaign afoot to discredit them by trying to play on colloquial misunderstanding of what scientific consensus means.
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Wayward Son
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OK, Seriati, I think I see our problem here.

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We know that climate is a chaotic system.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do we? Or do we suspect it, but can't confirm it? I'm reminded of descriptions of advanced technology appearing as magic to those without the ability to understand them.

I think you are looking at this from a completely probabalistic view. That all ideas are basically equal, and only how well they fit the facts can determine which one is right. That is why you keep reminding us that N=1 for this "experiment," since there is only one Earth.

(However, I believe that certain climate models have been applied to other planets in the solar system, so it is a bit higher than 1.)

But things are not all equal between all models. We have a leg-up, an edge, in creating these models. We are doing more than just shooting in the dark.

We have the laws of physics.

Now, these laws have all the usual limitations of science (not absolutely knowable, etc.). But they have been tested, repeatedly, from 50 to 1000 years. They have been used in engineering to build all sorts of things, like missiles and computers. They are very reliable from a practical standpoint.

The thing is, they apply to climate.

So when I say that climate is a chaotic system, that's not just a SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess). We know it is chaotic because the systems that are involved with it combine into a chaotic system.

Have you ever read about Edward Lorenz and how he discovered chaotic systems? He was putting together a (very) simple model of heat exchange in the atmosphere, using three partial differential equations that govern heat trasfer--equations that are used everywhere for heat transfer. He programmed a digital computer to analyze them, and let the program run to see what kind of output he would get.

Somewhere during the run the computer crashed. Rather than start at the beginning, he picked a point a little back from when the program stopped and used those values for the variables to start the run again. The run started out OK, but then started to wildly diverge from the output from the first run. Only after long analysis did he finally figure out why: the two systems had used different starting points. He had discovered an important aspect of chaotic systems.

What is important to note is that this was a simple climate system. One that is in our actual climate system, because our system is real and is subject to these laws of physics (the ones that are expressed in those partial differential equations). The only way it wouldn't be a chaotic system (that I know of) is if those laws of physics didn't apply to our atmosphere. And that can't happen.

So when I say we know it is a chaotic system, I ain't just whistling through my teeth.

Similarly with the greenhouse effect. That also is based on basic laws of physics, on how light and gases interact. We have observed it on other planets (which is to say the calculations match the observed heat retention). And we know that CO2 is one of those greenhouse gases. So, yes, we know that it is trapping heat. Know as much as anything else we know about thermodynamics.

You worry about N=1 and how we don't have any other Earths to experiment with. And with a complex system that climate is, there are doubtlessly factors that we aren't taking into account, or may not be taking into account correctly. But those things do not change the system fundamentally. Fundamentally, it still obeys all the laws of thermodynamics that we know of. Fundamentally, it still holds heat because of greenhouse gases. The only way these things would not be true is if the laws of physics don't apply to our climate system.

But that would be magical thinking. [Smile]

We know climate is a chaotic system.

We know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Thus, we know that increasing its concentration means it will hold more heat in our atmosphere.

We know that chaotic systems can have tipping points. (Once again, read up on Lorenz attractors, and what he was modelling when he discovered them. [Smile] )

We know these things because the laws of physics demand it. And we have tested those laws far, far more than N=1.

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The Drake
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quote:
What, exactly, are you being deprived of if your car uses have the gas (or no gas at all) to go the same distance? WHat are you being deprived of if the power for your house is coming from solar panels instead of coal furnaces?
If I can't drive my car at a high rate of speed using a combustion engine, that IS deprivation. If it becomes twice as expensive to light a little league baseball diamond, that IS deprivation. If those technologies were cheaper, then they already would have displaced fossil fuels. Ergo, we MUST pay more for energy without fossil fuels, which deprives us of some opportunity that we would otherwise have.

quote:
I personally think we've reached a point where sequestration is necessary, but only alongside consumption; letting people blather on about sequestration as an alternative to reducing our carbon footprint is like telling somebody he can keeping eating all the cheesecake he wants if he starts running a mile a day.
Except, if you are a pro athlete you probably can consume 1000 calories of cheesecake every day. You are implying that carbon removal can't ever really make an impact, that it is the equivalent of walking to the mailbox once a day. I don't agree. I think we can build the technology to remove carbon, and that it can be a net positive if it is a system that returns the carbon in a useful form to be used as fuel or other economically useful byproducts. As opposed to making shipping so expensive to cancel out any globalization benefits, and going back to local economies of scale.

Even in that absence, what if we have climate change that is not anthropomorphic? In such a case in the future, we would be incapable of stopping this with consumption reduction.

As for the idea that "fossil fuel industry propaganda" distorts the message, lets view some quotes:

quote:
The shift to a cleaner energy economy wont happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.
Obama

quote:
we cannot burn our way to prosperity
Ban ki-moon

The implication here is that we must accept higher costs now.

I'm very much in favor of research into Fusion energy, wind energy, tidal power, and other sources. But you have people actually opposing that. Birds get hurt by windmills, offshore windmills disturb the natural beauty, hydroelectric destroys habitats. All signs point to "we must consume less", rather than consuming more without carbon emissions.

The world needs to understand, humanity is not WIRED to deprive ourselves for the sake of hypothetical future generations.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
If those technologies were cheaper, then they already would have displaced fossil fuels.
Vice versa- those technologies would become cheaper if they displaced fossil fuels and benefited from the investments and infrastructure that are currently going into keeping fossil fuels cheaper than the alternatives.

Your statement misses the active use of the market lock that a technology with a century or more of a head start can used to prevent competition from displacing it, not to mention the fact that much of the cost of fossil feul use is displaced, so that you're paying in the form of medical bills or other downstream costs that the fossil fuel industry is more than happy to let you pick up for it on the back end instead of being required to properly compensate people fort he costs that it forces them to bear and price it's products accordingly.

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The Drake
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There have been loads of technologies that have been displaced relatively quickly over others. I know you already know this.

I'm not entirely sure that externalities of any new fuel would be any better represented, would they? Such as environmental impact of vehicular batteries?

If people really felt that it was that important or that the externalities needed to be accounted for, wouldn't they be checking that box that appears on many electric bills - please charge me more for green energy?

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The Drake
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How about another potentially great win-win solution? The migration of meat production from stockyards to laboratories. Signs point to productization of lab cultured meat production being viable within 7-10 years.

Beef production is accountable for about 5% of all emissions, roughly speaking.

But what message do we get? Try searching "beef greenhouse gas" and you'll find many articles talking about giving up beef (privation), and literally none suggesting that we can simply find ways to eat our beef that don't produce similar levels of greenhouse gases.

There are also huge benefits to the environment in terms of anti-biotic use, food-borne illnesses, and humane animal treatment.

Search "lab meat greenhouse gas" and you'll find a smattering of articles written over the past five years. Make a big push in this area, and you'd save tons of emissions. But it doesn't easily fit the narrative of most pro-environment groups who have a large voice in media.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Try searching "beef greenhouse gas" and you'll find many articles talking about giving up beef (privation), and literally none suggesting that we can simply find ways to eat our beef that don't produce similar levels of greenhouse gases.
This may have to do with the fact that lab cultured meat is 7-10 years in the future, and we really need to address greenhouse gases (especially CO2, which hangs around the atmosphere for 100 years or more) NOW, if we want to limit concentrations to low levels.

But, hey, I'm open to any suggestions. I like cheeseburgers just as much as the next guy... [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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My wife actually spent eight years trying to make beef and dairy more greenhouse friendly. It's not at all an ignored field of research. That said, pretty much no one thinks lab-cultured meat will be a substitute within this generation; no one has any idea how to scale it. It'll be far easier to come up with non-farting cows that eat algae.

[ April 28, 2015, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
There have been loads of technologies that have been displaced relatively quickly over others. I know you already know this.
Where "loads" is "almost none", unless you're talking about incremental upgrades on previously established technologies.

The number of actual new technologies, that required a completely replacement of established infrastructure to become viable, is pretty small overall, and always very slow to be adopted until a significant level of baseline infrastructure to support it has been built. Cars and computers both took decades to go from being one-off novelties till they hit the infrastructure inflection point where they jumped into common use.

People upgrade things pretty quickly, so long as they're not sufficiently different from prior technology to require major infrastructure upgrades to be generally accessible, actual new technologies are much slower, especially because those invested in current technologies tend to actively push back against them.

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The Drake
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quote:
That said, pretty much no one thinks lab-cultured meat will be a substitute within this generation; no one has any idea how to scale it. It'll be far easier to come up with non-farting cows that eat algae.
Both are hard. Getting people to lower their standard of living, or event the rate of growth of standard of living, is harder.

I don't doubt the daunting effort involved, but if there is a crisis, then why not go for one of these technologies, if not cultured meat? Especially if it is a technology that we can export, bringing in even more money. Instead we slop money around subsidizing inefficient technologies, feeding politically connected companies, etc.

Now, I will say there is one thing we can do immediately to encourage new technology. We can remove dangerous subsidies to old technology. The IAEA identified $550 billion in subsidies propping up cheap oil.

Of course most of that is happening in the Middle East, which you're not going to change. Eating these costs while other countries gorge themselves on cheap energy was a major factor in the US not adopting Kyoto.

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The Drake
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quote:
Where "loads" is "almost none", unless you're talking about incremental upgrades on previously established technologies.
I guess it depends on what you consider incremental, and how quickly you think is quick.

Compact Discs are a pretty good example. They obsoleted cassette tapes and other media in less than a decade. Despite all of the inertia of media libraries and players, and the infrastructure needed to manufacture optical media in bulk. Only to be obsolete themselves a couple of decades later, which required all new infrastructure including cell towers, wifi, consumer end devices...

Digital photography blew out film pretty quickly - it was opposed by very entrenched powerful interests. But it was easier for the consumer and less expensive.

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Seriati
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
OK, Seriati, I think I see our problem here.
quote:
We know that climate is a chaotic system.
Do we? Or do we suspect it, but can't confirm it? I'm reminded of descriptions of advanced technology appearing as magic to those without the ability to understand them.
I think you are looking at this from a completely probabalistic view.
Chaotic systems are probabilistic, did you mean a random system? We don't currently have the technology to determine if the climate is probabilistic or not.
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That all ideas are basically equal, and only how well they fit the facts can determine which one is right. That is why you keep reminding us that N=1 for this "experiment," since there is only one Earth.
I keep reminding you that the n=1, because climate science pretends to be experimental through the systematic over use of computer simulations and generates, in many cases, statistically significant results falsely. They may be right, they may be wrong, but it's mostly going to be a question of luck not science.
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However, I believe that certain climate models have been applied to other planets in the solar system, so it is a bit higher than 1.)
Which is the first reasonable criticism you've made. Still not much better than anecdotal science though.
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But things are not all equal between all models. We have a leg-up, an edge, in creating these models. We are doing more than just shooting in the dark.

We have the laws of physics.

We have far more than that.
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The thing is, they apply to climate.

So when I say that climate is a chaotic system, that's not just a SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess). We know it is chaotic because the systems that are involved with it combine into a chaotic system.

We don't know its a chaotic system, we suspect it, but we can't prove that climatic is a probabilistic system. In any event, even understanding what you do about chaotic systems ought to help you to understand how any errors in the input data into the climate (of which there are legion errors), any incorrect interpretation of phenomena, and heck even what day you started working on climate science are going to blow out the ability to predict where the climate is going.
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Only after long analysis did he finally figure out why: the two systems had used different starting points. He had discovered an important aspect of chaotic systems.
I think he discovered that his re-imputed numbers were truncated, but okay. And that proved that even slight errors can cause dramatic differences in result. You really don't see what that means for climate science?
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The only way it wouldn't be a chaotic system (that I know of) is if those laws of physics didn't apply to our atmosphere. And that can't happen.
Or there could be truly random factors. I don't personally believe that there are, but your statements aren't correct.

You do get, Choas theory essentially says that things are predictable, but that even tiny differences between two things that appear substantively identical can be enough to cause dramatic divergences in end results. If you understand it you ought to feel less confident here, not more.
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Similarly with the greenhouse effect. That also is based on basic laws of physics, on how light and gases interact. We have observed it on other planets (which is to say the calculations match the observed heat retention). And we know that CO2 is one of those greenhouse gases. So, yes, we know that it is trapping heat. Know as much as anything else we know about thermodynamics.
But you leave out everything we don't know. It's all summed up, in the giant and traditional scientific qualifier, "All other things being equal.." Which really is all I've been pointing out, other things are not equal and we don't know - just suspect - what is going to happen as changes build. In fact, the history in this field is almost overwhelmingly one of false predictions and explaining why our certainties of yesterday are wrong tomorrow.
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You worry about N=1 and how we don't have any other Earths to experiment with. And with a complex system that climate is, there are doubtlessly factors that we aren't taking into account, or may not be taking into account correctly. But those things do not change the system fundamentally.
Eeeck, how can you cite Chaos theory and make this statement in the same post.
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But that would be magical thinking. [Smile]
It's better than the religion of science thinking that your running with in these posts.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Chaotic systems are probabilistic
That's quantum, not chaotic.

Chaotic means that the system is so sensitive to changes in inputs (usually because it has so many different inputs) that a small change in initial state can lead to vastly different later states.]

That's part of why why modeling works so well for chaotic systems- you can run a wide variety of initial in puts to establish a range of possible results- even if you can't say for sure which of the results will actually come to pass, you can establish the range of possible outcomes- the best and worst case scenarios- and the general probability of where the actual outcome will fall between them.

Our increases in information and improvements in understanding of the inputs have not changed the range of possible results across all models, and thus far all real outcomes have fallen within the projected ranges. More information has simply narrowed the breadth of computable possibilities. The media loves to pick up on and report the worst case scenarios, to be sure, but all models find that the _best_ case scenarios still point to human generated emissions leading to significant changes.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
, the history in this field is almost overwhelmingly one of false predictions
No it's not. The history of the field, within the past three decades at least, is broad predictions with increasing accuracy that have yet to turn out to be false. Not as extreme as the cases that get the most media attention? Sure, but that's the media betting on the wrong horse to hype, not the actual claims of the science.
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Fenring
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:

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We know that climate is a chaotic system.
Do we? Or do we suspect it, but can't confirm it? I'm reminded of descriptions of advanced technology appearing as magic to those without the ability to understand them.
I think you are looking at this from a completely probabalistic view.
Chaotic systems are probabilistic, did you mean a random system? We don't currently have the technology to determine if the climate is probabilistic or not.

As Pyrtolin mentioned, only a quantum system can be probabilistic ontologically. Or did you mean that the only way we can analyse them is with probability tools? If you mean by it that we can determine trends but not exact specifics then chaotic will do. Also the system can't be random; nothing we know about fluids suggests there is any random input into the system.

As a quibble, 'chaotic systems analysis' and 'fluid dynamics' are essentially interchangeable terms. If a system involves fluids then it is chaotic by definition, as previous mathematical tools cannot deal with them.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
You do get, Choas theory essentially says that things are predictable, but that even tiny differences between two things that appear substantively identical can be enough to cause dramatic divergences in end results. If you understand it you ought to feel less confident here, not more.
Except that, even though there can be dramaic divergences in the end results, they can still be within a range of possibilites. Which is why supercomputers are used to try to test as many possibilites as they can, so that they can get a sense of the range.

And, AFAIK, none of these tests show that temperature can fall over the long term if there is a forcing like increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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Which really is all I've been pointing out, other things are not equal and we don't know - just suspect - what is going to happen as changes build. In fact, the history in this field is almost overwhelmingly one of false predictions and explaining why our certainties of yesterday are wrong tomorrow.
Of course. Refinement is what advancement in science is all about. But even with all other things not being equal, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a forcing--it is an input that doesn't decrease by itself. Sure, something else can counteract that forcing, but for how long? Will the counteracting factor increase along with the forcing, or will it one day be overwhelmed by the forcing? Until we can identify that counteracting factor, we can't count on it being there. So it is only prudent (from a scientific, not mention practical, viewpoint) to assume there is no such factor until we find it.

Sure, something could be there. But let's find it first before we count on it.

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You worry about N=1 and how we don't have any other Earths to experiment with. And with a complex system that climate is, there are doubtlessly factors that we aren't taking into account, or may not be taking into account correctly. But those things do not change the system fundamentally.
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Eeeck, how can you cite Chaos theory and make this statement in the same post.

You seem to believe that choas theory means we can't know anything about a system, either short term or long term, if we don't know all the factors and conditions. But that's not true. There are limits to how a choatic system can react.

Remember, even though climate is a choatic system, it is still basically a pot on a stove. If you add heat to the system, that heat has to go somewhere. There are only certain avenues by which it can be released. As you understand each of these avenues, you get a better picture of how the system works. But the heat is still being input (or captured, in this case) by part of the system. That is the fundamental part that doesn't change. And as more heat is captured by part of the system, the more the system has to expell the heat some other way, or temperature rises. We should be seeing how the system is expelling this heat. And we're not.

Chaos theory explains why temperature rise is not linear. But you don't need chaos theory to understand the basic system. More heat is being trapped by higher levels of greenhouse gases. We don't see how this heat is being dissapated. And we do see temperatures rising, in the atmosphere and the oceans.

Those are the fundamentals. If we expect that this is not going to affect climate, we better know why. Because the fundamentals say it must affect climate sooner or later.

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Seriati
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No I meant what I said. Unless I just used the wrong word. Chaotic systems are not random, it's a fundamental requirement of the theory that the ultimate consequences flow specifically from the inputs in predetermined ways.
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