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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2013, 6:10 pm 
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I look forward to this, and especially the response of the Harper Government.
With the flooding out west, and another broken gas line.
and Harpers need for something positive, (not those propaganda do nothing commercials)
He may finally forced to have a real policy.
Jeff

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcL3_zzgWeU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2013, 4:23 pm 
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We have to find ways of reducing our impact. However, as an amateur student of paleogeology, I learned that the oceans have been many, many feet higher, and CO2 much higher also, and when that was true, life and evolution went on. Past global warming has not been associated with general death and destruction.

We're hoping to stabilize sea level and climate when neither has ever been stable before. It's better to just try to slow the changes and learn to live with them.

And, it won't take me as long to drive to the ocean anymore!


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2013, 4:09 pm 
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ezwater wrote:
... as an amateur student of paleogeology, I learned that the oceans have been many, many feet higher, and CO2 much higher also...


I'd like to see a source on the higher CO2 levels. Sources are what separate the "amateur" students from the pros!


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PostPosted: June 25th, 2013, 9:16 am 
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News leaks this morning before the actual speech say that the main initiative taken will be to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants further... meaning tighter restrictions, esp on coal-fired generation. Good news for Canadians <cough> breathing smog drifting north. And maybe switching to NG where possible since that's relatively quick and easy to do. Also more renewables, wind, solar, etc.

It seems the Keystone pipeline bringing Alberta oil sands oil south won't be mentioned in the speech. Maybe words like "the nation's energy security", "a return to economic growth", "price at the pump" will be?

When is the actual speech and it it on TV?

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PostPosted: June 25th, 2013, 6:43 pm 
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Mr. canoehead, I've seen much higher CO2 levels cited so often that I don't feel impelled to find you a source. It's not like it would be hard to find.

Our time in the history of earth has been characterized by somewhat unusual stability and moderation. 'Twas not always so. Just watched a show where they dove to get stalagmites from Bermuda "blue hole" caves, and sawed those stalagmites lengthwise to examine the bands and correlate the pattern with other records related to sea level. In the relatively recent past, there were apparently very sudden jumps in earth's average temperature, and in sea level, marked also by iron colored bands probably due to dust storms from Africa. The Sahara is getting very dry again, and dust storms are becoming more frequent. So, while it's hard to apportion causality between past natural cycles and present CO2 buildup from burning fossil fuels, it's possible that sea level rise in the near future could be faster than projections.


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PostPosted: June 25th, 2013, 7:59 pm 
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Now we wait for the dissection of the comments and speech.
Lots of potatoes, no meats.......

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PostPosted: June 25th, 2013, 8:07 pm 
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EZ,

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...it's possible that sea level rise in the near future could be faster than projections.


Acording to some of the-end-is-near news reports out there, about a billion humans live in areas vulnerable to rising sea levels. It may come to pass that a great deal of effort will be put into building sea walls, dikes, shoreworks, etc. Own any stock in cement plants, heavy machinery?

PS... the news leaks were wrong, Obama did talk about Keystone. Have not read any news summaries yet on what the other initiatives will be, besides power plants' CO2 reductions.

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 7:36 am 
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The problem with this entire discussion regarding climate change is that it's heavy on assumptions and weak on evidence. Yes, back when I was doing my graduate work in low temperature and stable isotope geochemistry we were collecting speleothems, grinding up the carbonates, running carbonate geochemistry, Deuterium Oxygen-18 relationships, and tritium analysis. As EZ states, those more intricately involved than I could pontificate on the chemistry of the water, the atmosphere, the relative temperature when the carbonate precipitated to create the speleothem. These data give us a glimpse into what climate was like in the past. The key there is the word GLIMPSE!


The problem is that this is a glimpse not a high-definition video. The system can't be calibrated to perfectly record what the world was like at a specific time in the past. The geologic record indicates that the Earth has had a tumultous past, for a time the Earth had very little atmosphere, the temperature has whip-sawed widely as has the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the oceans, and the groundwater entering karst to leave speleothems. But throughout all those changes, species have evolved, and others have ceased to exist. Stable Isotope Geochemists, palynologists, evolutionary biologists, astrogeologists, theoretical physicists , and many more climate-change scientists can only give us a few snapshots at the past, and can theorize on what may happen in the future. But the reality is that homo sapiens has only existed for about 200,000 years (a mere snapshot of geological history). Of that time we existed in Africa for 75% of that existence. Neaderthals and all other homonids except Homo Sapiens have become extinct without the help of anthropogenic changes to the chemistry of our environment, our oceans. We just plain don't know how any of these changes will impact human existense. I agree that it's impossible to tease out what portion of climate change is related to human impacts and the changes that are occuring due to natural processes. But this ends up being a slippery slope into speculation that soon looses all scientific credibility, in lieu of making science easy to understand for the person who relies on the New York Times, or Toronto Sun, or even National Geographic for their lay person understanding of climate change.

Even after 7 years of studying geology at the university level, and another 23 professionally employed working with environmental chemistry and geology, I can't tell you what the nature of our climate and environment will be in 200 years, or 2000 years, or when humans evolve into a seperate species, or become extinct due to natural or human related causes. But I can tell you that the simple models that nearly every human regardless of which side of this controversial issue they are on ascribe to, are much more likely to be very flawed than have much real value.

Unfortunately, these very flawed assumptions based on small fragements of scientific evidence are what the policy makers in the US, Canada, all the way down to the slash and burn subsistance farmer in the Pantanal are making climate change decisions on.

So whether you think those supporting global warming are Eco-freaks or tree-huggers, or those supporting the continued combustion of cheap hydrocarbon are destroying the world, or that your choice of higher beings will selectively save you and deliver you to another realm not affected by the scientific constraints of the world we live in. The reality is that none of us really know how the Earth will change, and how this will impact humans, or any other living creature on the planet. And the flip comments regarding those on the opposite side of the controversy only indicate our lack of understanding of the issue, and our need to simplify it to a single answer that suits our personal needs, and probably has little to do with the reality of what will happen in the future.

PK


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 9:37 am 
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http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/06/ken_braun_climate-change_heret.html#incart_river_default

Here is an article today from our local news outlet in Michigan, with a bunch of speculative vomit on climate change. While I agree that there is heresy on the part of some of the alarmists, there is equal heresy from those discounting climate change. In this editorial, the author correctly states that alamists may be grossly exagerating the effects of gloabal warming, and states that we just don't know what will happen in the following “The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand,” he said, noting that climate models explain the present but don’t predict the future as well as their designers would like to believe

But then loads the shit wagon up with this series of statements:

Being a skeptic about the threat of climate change makes tons more sense when money is seen thieved away for windmills rather than cooling towers.I'm not opposed to nuclear either, but how about we figure out what to do with all the spent nuclear waste we have before we generate some more? The scientist in me gets creeped out when we jump into another energy extraction method and hope future scientific knowledge will deal with a problem we create.

Lots of corporations make a ton of money from those hallucinatory wind and solar delusions, and most climate alarmism true believers and politicians give them cover. What about all the carbon generating companies that made a ton of money on the little economic experiement that is contributing to changes climate scientists are documenting all over the world

Are these not equally heretical and supported by gossamer spider web fibers with human spittle for glue?

PK


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 11:34 am 
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PK,
I think you your doubt level on the models is a tad high but your position is a rational one. Still, if the models are imperfect it, then it seems to me that the burden of proof and improvement should fall on those that are supporting a massive uncontrolled n=1 experiment in atmospheric (and ocean) chemistry.

Im not sure the heresies are close to balanced. The idea that scientists (who benefit greatly if they can prove a new paradigm and shake the "consensus") are fudging their results for a few measely 10s of thousands in grant money when millions can be made supporting the well funded fossil fuel industry is one of the oddest arguments I have ever heard.

It is a tough policy problem. I just wish both sides could agree to fund more research and "things we ought to do anyway" like push efficieny and diverse energy sourcing.


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 12:36 pm 
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Mike, I'm not sure which side of this issue you think I'm on. Oddly, despite my studying the environment in school and a couple decade career in the field, I'm not convinced that we really know that both sides aren't wrong.

Mike_W wrote:
Still, if the models are imperfect it, then it seems to me that the burden of proof and improvement should fall on those that are supporting a massive uncontrolled n=1 experiment in atmospheric (and ocean) chemistry.


Doesn't that pretty well include all of us? Burning 20 gallons of gas a week to get to work, or drive to the cottage, buring a few thousand cubic feet of natural gas to keep the house a nice comfortable temperature, or several kilowatts of coal generated electricity to power the computer, the refrigerator full of Molson, or buying the newest plastic canoe, or a new tent, or a $8.00 Rubbermaid container at Walmart to store and transport our kit?

Mike_W wrote:
I'm not sure the heresies are close to balanced. The idea that scientists (who benefit greatly if they can prove a new paradigm and shake the "consensus") are fudging their results for a few measely 10s of thousands in grant money when millions can be made supporting the well funded fossil fuel industry is one of the oddest arguments I have ever heard.

It is a tough policy problem. I just wish both sides could agree to fund more research and "things we ought to do anyway" like push efficieny and diverse energy sourcing.


It's not a tough policy problem, it's an impossible policy problem. Society can't have it both ways. Population and energy consumption can't continue to grow and we all claim to be environmental. The general population perpetuates the energy and industrial contaminant generating industries by buying their products at the lowest price possible. Environmentalists need to break the chicken and egg cycle. You really want to stop the contamination? You need to stop supporting all the industries that create the contamination. Not just the ones we choose to believe are bad (coal companies, oil companies, power companies, auto companies, etc. But all the companies that create environmental impacts. We complain that we don't have a choice. The reality is that we have a choice that is more environmental. But we don't like it. We buy a hybrid instead and claim we are "green." Again, that's the heresy.

PK


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 4:44 pm 
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Pknoerr, I'm with you about the massively inferential nature of modeling what has happened in the past, though I think we know enough to say that:

1. There have been protracted warm periods in the past, with high CO2 levels, and when life did just fine, mostly.

2. Superimposed on that, there have been astoundingly rapid warming spikes, and cooling spikes, for which we can only guess the reasons.

The seas have a long way yet that they can rise, and they may do that, and we might be wise to have contingency plans.

If we think that only by standing on the CO2 brakes can we avert the effects of global warming, then we're SOL. People just are not going to do that. So I think we should do what is acceptable and wait until people are ready to do more. Kind of what FDR had to do before WW II.

I saw a woman from the Environmental Defense Council sit in front of a TV camera and say with certainty that Hurricane Sandy was a result of climate change. I was sorry not to be in a live audience, so I could throw a cabbage and hit her in the head.

I had a good time last night, reading Wikipedia and NOAA articles on the Eocene warm period, and also on why there really hasn't been an increase in storm frequency or intensity. Lotsa fun.


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 5:24 pm 
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ezwater wrote:
1. There have been protracted warm periods in the past, with high CO2 levels, and when life did just fine, mostly.


The reality is that higher temps and higher CO2 levels definitely benefit some forms of life. Lower temps and lower CO2 levels benefit others. How either effect humans will remain to be seen, let all the other species on the planet. Humans have obviously impacted the surface of the planet more than any other life form, and we are more possessive of land and natural resources than any other life form. In addition, our numbers continue to increase at a problematic rate.

Much of the problem with the current trend is that high populations of people grew in certain areas of the globe because the conditions supported higher populations. For example you can support alot more people on an acre of land east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio than you can West of the Mississippi or in Saharan Africa. As conditions shift due to the shifting climates getting food to where people live will be problematic. Getting water to where people live may be a problem. So saying "life did just fine" isn't exactly accurate. Due to geopolitical boundaries, struggles for economic power may become more prevalent too.

I too am less than worried about sea level rise, but those living along the costs might not find the impacts of rising sealevel so enjoyable. In addition, much of the infrastructure of international trade is surely in areas likely to be inundated. This too will have huge impacts on those without the means to relocate.

But I do agree with you, that if we didn't generate a single molecule of CO2 going forward levels will continue to rise for atleast another generation. If we kept our fossil fuel use where it is it would rise for hundreds years into the future. So we are bound to deal with the impacts of this for centuries in the future. Might be no big deal, but think about how much more likely it is that there will be some serious conflicts over resources, food, water, etc that result because the distribution of resources isn't located where it's needed most.

PK


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2013, 6:17 pm 
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Again, while the models might be imperfect, they are the best we have and get better every year. It is fine to have healthy skepticism but if the end result is paralysis by cynicism then "thank you for playing". The rest of us need to have a pragmatic discussion about what should or shouldnt be done.

(EDIT: not trying to dismiss anyone here - I just worry when we look at a problem and say "impossible"...let's do nothing).

I am sympathetic to the argument that population + development is ALMOST unsolvable. Barring catastrophe, population is going to keep rising until most of the developing world is developed. Best guess now, 10 Billion or so. Would things be easier at 1 Billion, sure, But you play the hand that is dealt. And, so long as they can afford it, people are going to consume energy. Cars are AWESOME. Short of increasing the cost by an order of magnitude, they are here to stay. As is air travel, home heating, and air conditioning.

I think it is too cynical to say nothing can be done. If the results of this experiment are uncertain, that means we have risk. Best guess by the people that do the research is that the risk is fairly high. That doesnt mean certain, but policy can and should be made based on probabilities. Efficiency plus a policy supported development of carbon neutral energy can take the edge off. It wont stop the increase in Carbon Dioxide, but maybe you slow it until our models get even better and/or our capcity for geo-engineering is good enough to mitigate the downside.

One thing that scares me more than temperature increases and sea level rise in the short term is ocean acidification - life will go on regardless but what life and is any of it good to eat.

Mike


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2013, 7:21 am 
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Mike,

Quote:
Again, while the models might be imperfect, they are the best we have and get better every year. It is fine to have healthy skepticism but if the end result is paralysis by cynicism then "thank you for playing". The rest of us need to have a pragmatic discussion about what should or shouldnt be done.

...

I think it is too cynical to say nothing can be done.


There are good reasons to be cynical given the miserable record of bigger-picture predictions, especially economic predictions as they relate to the future towards which America and Canada are headed. My guess is Obama would be fine with climate warming if the larger net effect resulted in a healthier economy. The IPCC statements however suggest that the risk of negative consequences is high if the current trend in greater anthropogenic CO2 loadings continues.

One thing that science here does not have is absolute certainty about the future. But the bigger-picture world outside wants predictions to be made... since jobs, wealth, health, economic security, living standards, and canoe trips depend on having some stability looking forward. Humans, citizens, families, politicians, and businessmen need to make plans and being human, make predictions on how it will all work out, often relying on experts' predictions.

Even if experts fail repeatedly in their predictions, most people prefer to have seers, prophets, and gurus (aka quacks and crackpots, and that includes economists and politicians) tell them something – anything at all – about the future, so they can make their plans and decisions on what to do next.

Being more positive, my guess is that most people will want to look forward to a better world and will work towards making that a reality, misguided or not.

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