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I realize I'm about to open a huge can of worms but...
Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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In your opinion, does man-made global warming exist or do the natural processes of the Earth contribute more? And what makes you believe that?

I used to say no when I was a follow-the-leader-conservative. And then I found out all the evidence. And then I find out from more and more reliable appearing sources that it's not really happening (as opposed to just the right-wing nuts screaming about regulation.)

Please don't get into any of the other affects of pollution such as health issues, lead poisoning, acid rain, and the benefits of cleaning our air supply anyway. Those are all well and dandy discussions, but those are better reserved for other threads.

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Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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In your opinion, does man-made global warming exist or do the natural processes of the Earth contribute more? And what makes you believe that?

That sentence was rather poorly worded, as asking if "natural processes" contribute more presupposes that man-made global warming exists.

Of course our activities warm the planet to some degree (perhaps to an immeasurably small degree) but I think the natural processes contribute more than that. I believe global warming is occurring due to seeing (on the internet) how the Arctic ice masses are decreasing and the lowest winter temperatures of my home state in winter seem rather mild nowadays.

They all watch too much MSNBC... they get ideas.

Karadoc ~~
Member #2,749
September 2002
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In your opinion, does man-made global warming exist or do the natural processes of the Earth contribute more? And what makes you believe that?

In addition to what Arthur said, one might hold the view that natural processes contribute much more than man-made global warming and yet man-made global warming is still of great importance. The thing is, man-made global warming happens in addition to the natural processes - and it's the man-made stuff that we have some control over, not the natural stuff. So it doesn't really matter if solar flares (say) have a bigger impact than driving cars - driving cars is something we can change and solar flares are not.

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OnlineCop
Member #7,919
October 2006
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does man-made global warming exist

Yes

Quote:

do the natural processes of the Earth contribute

Yes

Quote:

it's not really happening

Yes

I have looked out amongst the smog-filled mornings and have thought to myself, yup, that's all man-made. I doubt that many dinosaur farts could have put that much pollution in the air.

Then a volcano erupts and lights all of those dinosaur farts. That a lot o' pollution.

Then loggers cut down forests (yeah, rain forests too) and we have fewer natural CO2 scrubbers. Then responsible loggers plant new trees.

Then an oil tanker leaks (gets blown up, rubs against an iceburg) and kills mermaids and ocean-based oxygen-producing plants.

Then someone turns off their computer instead of allowing it to run all night, so less coal needs to be burned, so less mining has to take place, so people are out of jobs, so there is more stress, so people light up a cigarette to calm themselves, which contributes to the smog. And landfills. Those butts gotta go somewhere.

I think global warming is happening, but I'm more confident that some nut-o is going to go all "Fire the nukes!" at all the other countries and start ourselves in a huge fireball of a world war. Then who cares if the earth is a degree or two warmer overall? It'll be all Wall-E all over again. ;)

Dustin Dettmer
Member #3,935
October 2003
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It is very hard to prove that the world is getting warmer when the average temperature is not raising.

Vanneto
Member #8,643
May 2007

I blame it on the cows farting and burping...

In capitalist America bank robs you.

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

No one dares to speak about global warming at the present in Finland. We have had a long cold period, -18 degrees for weeks, with lots of snow. We might have more snow than in any winter for 60 years. Some 70 cm in my garden right now. And more coming. My snow shovel broke and I tried to get a new one, but they are all sold out in Southern Finland.

Though this might have to do with global warming. Maybe the warmer climate puts more water in rotation, which can be seen in more snow falling. Winter is still winter, even if the global temperatures rise.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

Dustin Dettmer
Member #3,935
October 2003
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Though this might have to do with global warming. Maybe the warmer climate puts more water in rotation, which can be seen in more snow falling. Winter is still winter, even if the global temperatures rise.

Ah right. Just like how when my code bugs out it proves that it's working. Bugs are still bugs, even if the code is getting better.

.. more sarcastic post ..
Also how I know my wife is committed to me. Her marrying me is part of a rotation which can be seen by hormones rising. Sex is still sex, even if she's married to me.

ixilom
Member #7,167
April 2006
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Don't really care, when and if some shit happens, I'm most likely 6 feet under already.

___________________________________________
Democracy in Sweden? Not since 2008-Jun-18.
<someone> The lesbians next door bought me a rolex for my birthday.
<someone> I think they misunderstood when I said I wanna watch...

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

6 feet under the shit?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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6 feet under the weather?

They all watch too much MSNBC... they get ideas.

ixilom
Member #7,167
April 2006
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___________________________________________
Democracy in Sweden? Not since 2008-Jun-18.
<someone> The lesbians next door bought me a rolex for my birthday.
<someone> I think they misunderstood when I said I wanna watch...

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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I thought my mixing of metaphors was rather humorous.

They all watch too much MSNBC... they get ideas.

LennyLen
Member #5,313
December 2004
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I thought my mixing of metaphors was rather humorous.

Except that neither "six feet under" or "under the weather" is a metaphor.

axilmar
Member #1,204
April 2001

I do not think that there is a global warming. I do think there is a change in how the weather works, and I also do believe that man is partially responsible for these changes.

One great problem for US/UK is the Gulf Stream. It seems that the tiniest variation in it causes great weather changes.

Evert
Member #794
November 2000
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In your opinion, does man-made global warming exist or do the natural processes of the Earth contribute more? And what makes you believe that?

Climate change is a better phrase than global warming. Yes, natural processes on the Earth (and in the sun or in space) contribute significantly to climate change. And yes, I think humanity is contributing to the current change in climate.
The reason, mainly, is the rate at which the climate is changing. The rate at which icesheets are melting. It is happening much more quickly than can be attributed to natural causes alone.
I guess part of that belief comes from listening to other scientists working in related fields and seeing movies of glaciers melting.

Of course, a second question then becomes what to do about it. The climate has changed considerably in the past. There is a mass extinction, life on Earth recovers and the cycle continues. It will be no different this time, if it gets that far. The question (for our sake) is whether we'll be among the species to go extinct if it should come to that.

Part of the problem in presenting a field like this to the general public is, first of all, the data is often scarce (because we've only been recording directly for so long) or indirect (tree rings, ice cores, each of which requires intermediate steps to interpret what they say about the climate). Year-to-year variations are huge (larger than any systematic trend, which only shows up in 5-year averages). The general public doesn't "get" a difficult concept like "rate of change", they like to hear "the temperature will increase by so-and-so much", and when they hear that the temperature will increase "so many degrees" they think "well, that's not too bad" because you get larger variations during a single day. People think that a few hundred years (not even a geological blink of an eye) is a long time. There's the climate models, which are still somewhat crude and imprecise and therefore not always reliable. And finally there's the fact that weather systems are chaotic systems and it's hard (not to say impossible) to predict what a small change today will do for the climate on a longer timescale (note the need to upscale "weather" to "climate", which is again not trivial).
Usually it's easier to predict the climate than the weather because the climate is less chaotic, but it is chaotic on some level (non-chaotic systems are never stable because they can't damp out small perturbations) and pushing it out of quasi-equilibrium too hard will trigger a phase where the climate changes rapidly and significantly before stabilising again.
People will tend to rely on our technology and innovation to counter any problems that may arise. But there are things our technology will be powerless to prevent. Natural disasters is an obvious example and I suspect climate change is another. Of course, people argue over whether that just reflects our current technology or whether at some point we'll have technology that will help (I think we won't ever have the kind of technology that can protect us from everything). Even if we did though, it's not obvious what the long-term effect of using such technology would be.

That's before you factor in political pressure that tries to confuse the issue one way or the other.

It is very hard to prove that the world is getting warmer when the average temperature is not raising.

Were that the case then yes, you'd have a point.
You know, sometimes I'd wish we could split the world up. Let the nay-sayers do to their part whatever the hell they like and let those of us who are a bit more responsible do unto their part what they want, then compare in a few hundred, a few thousand years. See who's laughing then. Unfortunately, we have to share the same world and choices made by a small group of people affect us all.

Though this might have to do with global warming. Maybe the warmer climate puts more water in rotation, which can be seen in more snow falling. Winter is still winter, even if the global temperatures rise.

The efficiency of the Gulf-stream is what matters. I don't know what the leading cause for the current winter is (it may be as simple as a year-to-year fluctuation), but if global temperatures rise the efficiency of the Gulf-stream decreases and Northern Europe gets colder (it'll get more similar to the climate on the other side of the Atlantic). Anyway, as I said, "global warming" is a confusing term.

gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
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I can recommend this guy's climate change videos (7 so far): http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54#p/u/18/52KLGqDSAjo
They're the best intro to the subject I've seen (yes, despite being made for Youtube!). They're well presented, they don't presuppose any knowledge, they stay factual instead of devolving into polemic, and they give references.

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Move to the Democratic People's Republic of Vivendi Universal (formerly known as Sweden) - officially democracy- and privacy-free since 2008-06-18!

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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I don't like when people ignorant of my field (Neuroscience) hold "opinions" about it, so being uninformed of the field of Climatology, I don't hold uninformed opinions about it. If I did wish to become more informed about it, I'd read the literature (scientific papers), and not listen Internet wise men that have "solved it all" or interpret the data myself without knowing what to look for.

Wonder how many of you for/against it have ever read a scientific paper from a reputable journal about the subject? I'll wager the number is rather low.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
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imaxcs
Member #4,036
November 2003

SiegeLord said:

Wonder how many of you for/against it have ever read a scientific paper from a reputable journal about the subject? I'll wager the number is rather low.

So you are also holding an uninformed opinion? ;)

Dustin Dettmer
Member #3,935
October 2003
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Evert said:

Unfortunately, we have to share the same world and choices made by a small group of people affect us all.

Oh I agree. I wish all these environmentalists would sit in a corner and leave the rest of us alone. Instead however, the choices made by this small group begin taxes and polices that affect us all.

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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imaxcs said:

So you are also holding an uninformed opinion? ;)

Hehe, touché. Wager removed :P.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

Dustin Dettmer
Member #3,935
October 2003
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Hold the press, there's another armageddon theory. This new one uses graphs :o.

In a hundred years society will look back on this as embarrassing. I can only hope the evangelists find some way to make it sound better and save face. Maybe make it more generic like say, calling it climate change... oh wait.

BAF
Member #2,981
December 2002
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I don't know. My view is that climatology and atmospheric science is still in its infancy, so we really don't know anything. Looking at our prior track record, it always takes us a few passes to get it right (hell, we used to think the earth was square and that it was at the center of the universe). Maybe it is happening, maybe it isn't. Maybe it is man caused, maybe it is natural. There is too much that we don't know.

I do not believe it is as simple as is claimed now. I don't believe carbon dioxide is causing any warming there may be.

But yeah, we shouldn't be acting on these half-baked, most likely incorrect theories to the extreme amount we are. Whether or not it should be done, imposing taxes on pollution is not something you do during a recession, unless you're a collective group of dumbasses (hey, kind of like our current government). Of course, the same goes for healthcare (though I wouldn't trust the government to take over the manufacture of bandaids, let alone the whole health system), but that's a whole different discussion.

Evert
Member #794
November 2000
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BAF said:

Whether or not it should be done, imposing taxes on pollution is not something you do during a recession

That's right, if you have to make a choice between saving the world and saving the economy, you save the economy. ::)
Ok, it's not that extreme, but that proposition is still preposterous and summarises everything I dislike about the US's general attitude to this situation. So maybe it'll turn the world doesn't need saving and it's wasted effort. But what if it does need saving? Can we afford to be wrong? Could you look future generations in the eye and say "yeah sorry, we weren't sure and we thought our economy was more important than maybe destroying your future"? I couldn't.

Anyway, pollution and the current pressure on natural resources are beside the point of the discussion as laid out in the original post, but there are other reasons beside climate change why reducing a lot, and soon would be a very good thing to do.

Goalie Ca
Member #2,579
July 2002
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Here is a simplified model that I would use to explain to high school students.

1) X amount of Co2 is injected from human activity each year.
2) Y amount of Co2 is injected from natural processes (volcanoes etc)
3) A amount of Co2 is removed from biomass
4) B amount of Co2 is absorbed in the ocean

Overall we have a net effect of increasing the acidity of the ocean by a measurable amount and increasing the concentration of Co2 in the atmosphere.

The earths climate is largely affected by the ocean. The temperature and the currents drive everything. By increasing the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere by 33% since 1960 (and a whole lot more since 1800s) we have also increased the amount of trapped "heat" from the sun. This warms the oceans and changes the currents causing "global climate change". Global warming is a term used to describe the global "average" temperature.

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