GMOs and Global Warming

The big PR/science battle ten years ago was “Franken foods”, as a recent article reminded me. The revolution morphed from “what if” to “what is” w/o us noticing. Today almost all soybeans and 70% of the corn grown in America is genetically modified and 7% of the total acreage in the world is planted with GMO crops. The victory of science over superstition in this earlier crisis may well help us address the current crisis: global warming.

The world will get warmer. This is also quickly quickly morphing from a "what if" into a "what is" scenario. At this stage we can hope only to mitigate, not prevent this change. All change brings both opportunity and risk and the successful adapters will be those who can most nimbly switch from complaining about the problem to exploiting the opportunities created.

People on all sides of the global warming debate tend to underestimate the power of human intelligence in addressing challenges. The good news is that the real cost of dealing with global warming may be much lower than earlier estimates, amounting to a slowing of U.S. gains in prosperity which may mean that our grandchildren will have to wait until 2110 to achieve the standard of living they would have achieved in 2100. A small price to pay.

On the other hand, if scientific models are correct, the world in 2100 will be warmer and significantly different from the one we enjoy today no matter what we do now. Some parts will be better, others worse but it will be different. Adapting to this will not present much of a problem if we begin to do it now. Most investments have projected lives measured only in years or decades. When we make plans to replace facilities, we may want to move farther north or up hill. We also have to consider changes in the types of crops we plant. Here is where GMOs will be a blessing.

Global warming will cause shifts in climate and may well create some sorts of climates the like of which we do not currently have on the earth. In an extreme example, during some periods of earth history, the poles were completely ice free and temperate forests thrived above the Arctic Circle. These forests were adapted to very different sunlight pattern, it being completely dark for part of the year, always light at another and sunlight coming from the side, i.e. never overhead. Various types of grasses, sedges, lichens and dwarf trees do well in this situation, but developing larger varieties of plants that can take advantage of that once & future environment could take a very long time. GMOs could make that time much shorter.

GMOs came along at just the right time. If I was not so firmly rooted in the evolution camp, I might even suspect it was an intelligent design.

In any case, I have complete confidence that human intelligence will allow us to adapt to the warmer world our grandchildren will inherit. After all, civilization advanced during the little ice age, and scientists have speculate that the need to adapt to the rapid environmental cooling and warming was one of the factors that caused us to develop our intelligence in the first place.

For my own part, I am considering a trip up to the UP of Michigan or the arrowhead region of Minnesota to look at some property on the shores of Lake Superior. I used to go up there a lot and I always liked, but it gets so abysmally cold that it sometimes cracks the bark right off trees and minus 25+ is generally uncomfortable for humans. With global warming, however, I am figuring that a place like Duluth will be the Malibu of Minnesota. Given the height of those bluffs, a lake water rise of a couple of feet will cause no serious discomfort and a fall in water levels will reveal a nice beach, a little more clay than sand, but tolerable. In other words all the bases are covered. I suggest you all get in now, before the property up there gets too hot.

Posted by Jack at December 12, 2007 5:34 AM
Comments
Comment #240573

Jack, a “warm” welcome from all climate emigrants.
You will far from be alone, don’t worry.

While people may underestimate the power of human intelligence in addressing challenges, they also underestimate the power of human behavior in creating new issues.

History is full of proofs for both.

PS: Isn’t Monsanto scientists who claimed during the 60s that their agent orange were posing no human health threat? Isn’t Roundup, a falsely-advertised biodegradable herbicide a product of Monsanto? Hum, okay, their science and behavior have all my trust.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 12, 2007 6:49 AM
Comment #240575

Jack

On this issue you and I are in agreement. I do think sudden and extreme measures perpetuated globally could have some effect on forestalling climate change. But the reality is that there simply are too many opposing forces and complications to reasonably believe that we could effect any significant change in the short time necessary to do so. While many people are making a half hearted attempt at going green most probably are not. It is that procrastination and an unwillingness to deal with the necessary measures that will leave most in the cold, or warm, eventually. I am not so sure that we will be able to deal with the situation quickly enough to eliminate human disaster and suffering as a result. It will eventually be a new world, with new world orders and new rules. You and I will probably experience some of this change. But most likely our children will be the ones to deal with the most severe consequences.

The upper peninsula is wonderful during the warm months. But those winters can lead one to suicide. I used to camp once a year at Wilderness St. Park just a few miles south of the Straits. There is a beach there that is so Bahamas like one could easily imagine that is where they are in warm weather. I have not been up there for a few years now, but last I knew the water levels were unusually low on Lake Michigan. I still visit a friends cabin on Lake Pokegama in Flambeau Wi. which is not far from the lower shore of Lake Superior. I can tell you that lake property in that area has increased in value dramatically over the last decade. Good luck in your northern exposure Hawaii. I am anxiously awaiting my Arizona weather as it has been unusually cold, icy and snowy here in Northern Il for this time of year.

Posted by: RickIL at December 12, 2007 9:37 AM
Comment #240576

RickIL, I share the same pessimism.
It’s too little too late. Not a reason to not try our best, still, but the next generations will have to face the consequences of our over spoiled lifestyle.

And, contrary to Jack, I includes GMOs in the *issue* they will have to face, not the solutions.

Biodiversity survived so far due to diversity, not by its biological state. We’ve voluntary reduce this diversity all over the planet in order to industrialize farming. And to lock-in farmers with monopolistic supply chain, obviously.

Doing this, we’ve remove many biological borders which will amplified the scale of any biological disaster that we could have to face in the future, as our dependency on a less diverse biology has greatly increases.

We play with fire. We deserve what will comes. We ask it.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 12, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #240580

Jack, I have no lack of faith in human intelligence when well educated in the empirical academics. My lack of faith lies in the gross incapacity of our current political system to achieve consensus and consistent application of solution over decades to resolve a challenge like global warming, whose mitigation and opportunities shall require decades of consistent application of effort to meet successfully.

In America, we cannot even agree on universal education in empirical academics to permit political consensus to address an issue as complex and costly as global warming.

When you have so many arguing that successful wealthy persons achieved their success and wealth individually, and without the need or benefit of the society in which that wealth was created and underwritten, it is hard to imagine where the consistent revenue stream is to come from which will fund global warming solutions over decades. Especially when one faces the reality that global warming is challenge to be met side by side with entitlement deficits and emerging markets which are attracting wealth away from the U.S., one of the primary contributors to global warming emissions.

The time to invest in quality universal empirical academic education was 30 years ago. Even if we embarked on repairing that cornerstone to America’s greatness today, consensus on global warming strategy would not be achieved until the window of opportunity to maximize efforts had long closed.

America and the world are on a path of accelerating milestones, beyond which there is no turning back for course correction. Failure to make timely course corrections will result in catastrophic consequences to be paid for lack of preparedness and consistent focus on the course ahead.

Republicans, to varying degrees, say everyone doing their own thing will take care of the future. Democrats, to varying degrees, say everyone must be on the same page reading from the same instruction manual and paying dues according to their ability, is the only way future challenges can be met successfully.

You and I both know that global warming consequences can only be mitigated by maximizing the benefits of both of those schools of thought applied and proscribed in application where they will do the most good. Try getting our Congress to agree, let alone all the major nations of the world.

There are some making the gruesome but seductive argument that the natural world will rectify imbalances created by over successful or over abundant elements within it, and that the human species has become far too successful and abundant for natural balance to ignore.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #240603

David

There are some making the gruesome but seductive argument that the natural world will rectify imbalances created by over successful or over abundant elements within it, and that the human species has become far too successful and abundant for natural balance to ignore.

Well said. In your statement lies the irony of arrogant and careless denial. While we choose to spend years arguing over the specifics of climate change it is likely rapidly approaching the point of no return. Those who would rather argue than respond may very well be insuring a faster perpetuation of the problem than necessary.

Posted by: RickIL at December 12, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #240604

Philip

We play with fire. We deserve what will comes. We ask it.

I understand your caution Philip. I live in very fertile farm country and have worked in the past for the fertilizer and pest control industry. Almost each year changes have to be made to the various insecticides and pesticides due to continuously evolving tolerance to the chemicals. I have often wondered to what end this increased tolerance will eventually come. Are we creating a super species of pests that will eventually be immune to all chemicals? And if so what effect will this have on our ability to control the production of crops.

Posted by: RickIL at December 12, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #240607

RickIL

Life is just a race of adaptation. That is the whole nature of evolution Of course the bugs adapt and so do we It never ends. That is not a problem. It is a misunderstanding of the system to think that there is ever an end state goal that can be reached. Nature is red in tooth and claw and always will be. If that is the way it always is, why worry about it? You should worry only about the things you can change.

As I wrote in another post, just because you ate food yesterday doesn’t mean you do not have to do it again today and it does not mean yesterday’s meal was a failure.

Re the end of the world - not likely. Life thrived on an earth that was very much warmer than today’s. For most of earth history, there was no permanent ice anywhere on our planet. These cold periods are relatively new.

Of course, the question is whether our civilizations can endure. I am betting they can. Of course, they will adapt. I am confident humans can adapt even if it gets so warm that we have a Jurassic climate.

You know that there is no morality in nature. The only measure of whether or not something is good is a human measurement. If the entire earth blew up tomorrow it would have no significant effect on the universe. It really only matters to us.

Posted by: Jack at December 12, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #240609

RickIL, one of your last comments made me think of this. What is it we say about hindsight??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green

Posted by: Jane Doe at December 12, 2007 4:45 PM
Comment #240617

Thanks Jack
No worries now. All we have to do is move the entire population of the ,Micronesea,most of Indonesia, the Philippines,and Bangledesh to Alberta.The Canadians won’t mind as they will be up jet skiing the Northwaest Passage.

Posted by: BillS at December 12, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #240618
Of course the bugs adapt and so do we It never ends

Erm, I don’t see the human race actually adapting, we are stagnating. Only a relatively few are being tasked with taking care of the ones that should be moving forward, ensuring that they will stay where they are. It won’t be much longer now…

Have you checked out the movie Idiocracy? That’s the most accurate future for the human race than anything the global warming pessimists have cooked up.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 12, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #240619

Jack

I am not worried about climate change. I am merely concerned and a bit miffed that some can so recklessly abandon responsibility. I have faith in the resiliency of nature. It is the resiliency of billions of humans to successfully adapt to rapid change that I think will be a problem. I have no doubt that man will survive. What I find intriguing is that such a scenario of change could drastically alter the order of world dominance. It is not too far out there to believe that a very large percentage of world population could perish in short order under a scenario of sudden catastrophic change. Thus a scenario of global war is quite likely. The real concern for man is how rapidly our climates actually change.

Perhaps this is all just mother natures way of correcting the imbalances of the destructive nature of billions of human pests. A sort of global cleansing if you will.

Posted by: RickIL at December 12, 2007 11:00 PM
Comment #240628

Jack said: “Life is just a race of adaptation. That is the whole nature of evolution Of course the bugs adapt and so do we It never ends.”

Evolution, Jack, is not a conscious process with conscience. Conscious process with conscience is what lays the responsibility for action or inaction upon the human species, which cannot be laid upon any other species. Bugs adapt by a few surviving conditions which eradicate the rest of their species. Those survivors bear no guilt or responsibility for the loss of the rest of their species incapable of adapting. Hardly an adequate metaphor for moral or ethical human adaptation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2007 5:37 AM
Comment #240630

Genetically modified seed carries with it several “evils”…it has to be bought from the “company” each and every planting season (this often means having to buy specific chemicals to make it grow)…a farmer can’t “save” the seed to plant the following year, which economically harms small farmers, especially those in other countries, wreaking economic havoc and upheaval.

Also, native seeds have genetically modified themselves, without chemical interference, for local conditions and provide good yield without all the additional chemicals…they have attuned themselves to water and temperature conditions for small differences in planting location.

Chemically modified seeds are good only for the company which sells them…their chemical needs ruin the land they are grown on.

Posted by: Rachel at December 13, 2007 8:32 AM
Comment #240645

I read your post as saying, basically, that we shouldn’t worry too much about global warming, that the bad parts will be equaled out with good parts, and that later generations can deal with the problems. The truth is the consequences of global warming will take trillions of dollars to solve and hundreds of thousands of lives. We need to act now and do whatever is necessary to help mitigate this disaster as much as possible. Republicans simply don’t take this issue seriously.

Posted by: Max at December 13, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #240649

Btw, I thought what McCain said last night was great. If we deal with the problem of global warming - we get a cleaner earth, and stop being dependent on foreign oil. What’s the problem? Don’t we need to do all that anyway?

Posted by: Max at December 13, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #240660
The truth is the consequences of global warming will take trillions of dollars to solve and hundreds of thousands of lives.

Your supporting documentation on this that isn’t a guess? You seem to be stating facts here, so you must have this documentation readily available to support those facts…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2007 1:23 PM
Comment #240661
If we deal with the problem of global warming - we get a cleaner earth, and stop being dependent on foreign oil. What’s the problem? Don’t we need to do all that anyway?

I’m all for doing all of this, I’ve been an environmentalist for decades (before it was ‘chic’) and think that our very security depends upon us getting off of foreign oil. However, why not just sell it that way instead of telling outrageous scenarios that aren’t provable, scaring people into giving up perhaps more of their freedoms than necessary to get the job done so that the politicians can have another wedge issue for the next several elections?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2007 1:25 PM
Comment #240674

Jane

I saw the movie too. You may have taken the wrong lesson. The message of that movie was that in the near future (i.e. the movie takes place in 2022,) we would be in the situation portrayed. That was when we still believed in the population bomb, an earlier crisis. We took care of that one nicely and instead of the starving vision of the film, we have obesity as the biggest health threat to the poor.

I grew up with that kind of crap and was influenced by it as a young man. According to the doomsayers back then, we should have run out of most resources by NOW. In fact, better technologies have given us access to more resources.

BillS

We have challenges. I am recognizing that. Global warming WILL happen. If the climate models are correct, some of those places are already doomed to be underwater. Nothing we can do now will prevent that. The greenhouse gases are already in the air. The question is how to adapt, not if we have to.

RickIl

Mother Nature is not an intelligent force. It is a giant statistical system. One of my complaints against some environmentalists is that they have made it into a religion.

You know that in the real world, retribution for such things doesn’t usually happen. When the fecal matter approaches the cooling devices, the smart people adapt or move.

David

On what do you base this morality? We talked on the other side about the lack of transcendent morality. If we manage to adapt and the world remains a place hospitable to the forms of life we need, what is the objection. Perhaps are we talking about God here?

Rachel

You do not farm, right? Do you have a garden? Have you perhaps noticed that some plants are better adapted than others? And perhaps have you noticed that horticultural varieties (i.e. those developed by humans) usually yield more, have nicer flowers, grow faster than the “natural” varieties? If you are interested in sticking to what random chance has distributed to you, stick with whatever you find. If you are interested in increased yields, maybe you should consider a better way.

Max

I think we should act now. That will NOT stop the world from getting warmer. We will have to adapt to the change. There is already enough greenhouse gas in the air to warm the earth, if the projections are correct. You do not have a choice anymore.

I am not sure what you point is supposed to be. I agree we should take action. The price of carbon based fuels should rise; we should use less. Much of that talk in Kyoto would not have done anything to help.

This issue is slipping away from the activists who have enjoyed it so long. They like to tell us how bad it is. We agree. Now we are in the mode of figuring out how to address the problem. Some environmentalist just want to wallow in the trouble. I want to address the problem where we can and adapt where we cannot.

You are right re McCain. Let’s get the carbon tax up and working and stop all this globe trotting to talk about what we are gonna do.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2007 4:09 PM
Comment #240678

Jack said: “If we manage to adapt and the world remains a place hospitable to the forms of life we need, what is the objection.”

Following the evolutionary model, if we adapt with only several million of our species surviving the consequences of the species’ actions, there is not a single major religion or ethical treatise that would call such actions moral or ethical. Global warming which strips the world of billions in human population for lack of action on the issue, cannot by any accepted standard be termed moral or ethical. It can rightfully be termed natural in its indictment of human intellect and false sense of dominion, however, should that come to pass.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #240680

Rhinehold, the probability and statistics NASA uses to justify space missions in the face of micro meteor showers and solar storms, cannot prove that such a mission will fail as a result of these scenarios. Does that mean NASA should not expend the funds and enormous effort to protect against such eventualities of only a probable, but, not provable nature? Of course not. And the probability of man’s contributions to global warming causing enormous harm to both planet and human populations, is dramatically higher than a micro-meteor or solar storm in the path of a NASA expedition across space.

The Global Warming science is actionable and justifiable, until we learn more or better of it. Billions of lives and the livability of the earth hang in the balance by our best empirical estimations. By your logic, because no individual can be proven to cause an accident in the future, we should abandon the entire concept of auto insurance. The same probability and statistical science however, that says x number of individuals will cause accidents in the future and in their lifetimes, is the very same probability and statistical science that says mankind’s activities are contributing to, exacerbating the extremes of, and hastening the pace of global warming.

It is prudent to act on such science and mitigate the probabilities by every definition of reason.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2007 5:32 PM
Comment #240690
And the probability of man’s contributions to global warming causing enormous harm to both planet and human populations, is dramatically higher than a micro-meteor or solar storm in the path of a NASA expedition across space.

David,

I’m not talking about the probability that we adding to he cause of the current global warming trend, I’m talking about the results of that gw trend, whether it will continue, if there is anything that CAN be done about it and, most importantly, what the impact to society is going to be. I hear all kinds of doomsday scenarios but when I read the science I get a much different picture to be honest. Al Gore has been debunked in most of his dire predictions yet they keep getting trotted out, even on here I hear how millions will die and it will cost billions of dollars, with nothing, at all, to back that up. One person has even gone to say that scientists have been worried about a global warming trend for the past century when just 30 years ago we were being told that we were entering an ice age and had to do something about it. Ted Dansen told us that by 1990 we would all be dead, live as we knew it would be over.

I would just like a rational discussion, not the usual frantic, we’re all going to die, OMG think of the children emotive slugfest.

And, as I’ve said, I’m for doing thing about it, rational things, things that have some sort of risk/reward based on solid science, but I’m not about to hand over the keys to the US treasury to every special interest group that thinks it has a right to it and have it mean nothing in the end.

Even Kyoto admitted that there was no way that they could do anything to stop global warming, so what was the point? The people who did join in on Kyoto never met most, if any, of their stated goals. The largest and third largest polluters were given a pass at what cost? It was designed as a way to siphon money out of the US into developing nations, it had no intention of stopping global warming in any way, shape or form. And do you think what is going on in Bali is any different?

If we stifle the economic landscape of one of the nations, if not the nation, with the best chance for actually DOING something about the problem, how do people think they are ever going to resolve it? The answer is, they don’t really want to do something about it, they just want to blame someone for it.

I get tired of blamers and doomsdayers. I thought this country was founded on achievers and doers. And to that end I will work to accomplish something, something other than using a warming trend in our environment as a way to enact facist policies that wouldn’t be enacted otherwise. If I did than I would be no better than the fearmongers of the right who use terrorism as a way to keep the citizens in place with their own version of facism.

When we start talking cost/benefit analysis, I’ll join back in. If we want to keep beating our chests, attacking capitalism and working to enact a facist state, I’ll speak out against it. If there is just going to be religous fervor, much like the kind we see on DailyKOS or FreeRepublic comment boards, I’ll just keep giving it all a pass…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #240696

David

So then we are relying on religous faith?

Nature has no morality. That is my point. All measures are human or, in the case above, devine. In absence of our species, there have been several worldwide die offs of species. The “tragedy” at the end of the Paleolithic resulted in the age of dinosaurs and the “tragedy” that finished them off resulted in the age of mammals. In the long run, it doesn’t make any difference to nature.

We also do not know the consequence of global warming. Even in the most extreme case scenarios, the world gets about as warm as it was for most of the history of life on our planet. The poles were often ice free. Forest existed above the arctic circle. It was warm before. Maybe global warming will just restore it. A warm earth is the once and future climate.

It also really does not matter in the long run. Our near term actions are the same and John McCain said it best. We should immediately work on that carbon tax.

What bothers me re the global warming issue is that proponents really do not seek solutions. They just like to talk about the problem.

They advocate big government, UN based solutions that have not worked for anything else.

Trust the UN to do the job. Now THAT is really the triumph of faith over exerience.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2007 11:51 PM
Comment #240699

I remember some years ago when the fear of the day was the coming of another ice age. Now it is a warming.

Jack was correct in calling it a religion. Those who scream the loudest about separation of church and state are the first to embrace the latest religion and incorporate it into their political beliefs. I believe it is all crap.

Posted by: Geezer at December 14, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #240704

Jack,

What bothers me re the global warming issue is that proponents really do not seek solutions. They just like to talk about the problem.

When I see how many problem deniers are still posting here, I can understand why we’re still locked in the “Houston, we’ve a problem” step.

Anyway, and contrary to your belief, some nations have not sit on their lazy ass meanwhile, and some solutions are actually already at work. Look at UK, Sweden, Germany or Island.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 14, 2007 4:32 AM
Comment #240708

Rhinehold, Kyoto was proposed before even GW Bush had come to accept that global warming is a reality and we are contributing to its unfolding. Thanks to Al Gore, millions and millions of previous naysayers who knew NOTHING of the science, have been educated and become informed, including our own President.

Al Gore’s data were not manipulated by Al Gore. A few of the projections he made in the movie were not well supported, but, the overall thrust and import of the subject was sound and reinforced by the probability and statistical modeling of our best science today.

30 years ago, Rhinehold, prehistoric geological climate science was still in its infancy. We hadn’t yet begun to compile the data from deep core Ice sampling in the Arctic and Anarctic, or sea floor bed core drillings. The science of climatology has grown immensely since the dawn of the space age, which predates those predictions of an Ice Age by only a decade and a half.

It is illogical to critique Big Bang evidence of an exploding universe by stating Tycho or Copernicus didn’t have the evidence scientists do today. It is just as illogical to negate modern science on global warming based on the state of the science 30 years ago before oceanic floor and polar cap ice drilling cores had been compiled into an evidenced history of earth climatology and the relationship between atmospheric gases and global temperatures.

Lastly, if you’ve been drinking and raise your head and see a Mack Truck bearing down on you in the middle of the street, it is prudent to move out of the way quickly, rather than stand there pondering the possibility that it might be an alcohol induced illusion.

Green house gases elevate global average annual temperatures. Fact now evidenced by ice core samples evidence. Global warming melts ice caps. Fact. Geological record now shows periods of enormous oceanic rise and fall correlating with the ice ages and vast glacial meltings. Fact. Close to a billion people live in coastal areas and will lose their current way of life as the oceans rise, and the economic costs of moving a billion people and their infrastructure will be enormous.

Oceanic temperatures fuel storms. The higher those seasonal temperatures, the more energetic those storms can become. This is now evidenced scientific fact. Scientists are recording overall oceanic average temperature increases. It is logical and prudent that governments charged with the responsibility for safeguarding their peoples and economies, attend to this information as accurate and mitigate the consequences, which of course, will require effort, legislation, and spending for the general welfare of the nation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2007 6:17 AM
Comment #240709

Phillipe, your comment which used a word beginning with F which is not permitted by our Rules for Participation, was removed from this blog. Observe our rules for participation or lose the privilege to participate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2007 6:20 AM
Comment #240710

Jack said: “Nature has no morality.”

Thank you for agreeing with me. I went to some length to establish that point. Perhaps a more appropriate reply to my comment would be forthcoming after a re-read of what I had to say.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2007 6:22 AM
Comment #240711

Jack said: “We also do not know the consequence of global warming. “

Maybe you don’t, Jack, but the rest of us don’t seem to have any problem recognizing that global warming will mean average atmospheric temperatures will rise and that has very direct consequences such as melting ice caps, oceanic rise, more energy for storms born over oceans, as well as modest increases in oceanic temperatures which are huge engines for our weather patterns over land.

Not sure who ‘we’ is, in your comment, but it certainly doesn’t include most of us who can put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4: the right answer.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2007 6:27 AM
Comment #240715

“Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.

Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin’s Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.

Warns Hare: “I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row.”“

Global warming is based on forensic studies that use circular reasoning to come to their conclusions.
Science = Hypothesis , experiments and observable conclusions to remove reasonable doubt.
Climatology = unobservable assumptions of the past, manipulated to conform to man made models, to predict chaotic future events.
We live in a country that revels in it’s predictions: be it war outcomes, societal changes, economics, even elections. To most Americans they are all inaccurate and to be ignored. (almost a joke)
When you question climatologist’s accuracy they say in the past their science wasn’t as advanced or that they aren’t related to those inaccurate weather men. I just don’t see the difference between now and then. They cannot predict hurricanes by these models. How can they predict anything?
I don’t see them using reliable data to establish a base line for carbon levels through out history. We have no idea what the static level is and any catastrophe (volcanoes and such) could have caused elevated levels of carbon with little changes to the climate. The globe has cooled since 98’by the way…
The circular reasoning: Date core samples by carbon dating and then claiming to determine the ratios of carbon at that period.
I agree to their present slightly elevated readings but disagree with the application to weather. Man has been breathing and burning things (thus producing carbon dioxide)as has the earth from the very beginning.

Posted by: Kruser at December 14, 2007 9:36 AM
Comment #240719

As a creationist, I believe God is in full control of the elements. God provided carbon-based fuels to be used at this point in history, long before man ever walked upon the face of the earth.

We can worry and fret all we want about our emissions, but one eruption of a volcano can do more damage than auto’s or factories.

If we listen to the great minds of science, we would live in a constant state of doom. Looking for meteors or glaciers or rising oceans to cover us up.

I have no faith in mankind, but I do believe God knows what He is doing.

Posted by: Geezer at December 14, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #240721

Mother Nature is not an intelligent force. It is a giant statistical system. One of my complaints against some environmentalists is that they have made it into a religion. /em>

I am well aware that mother nature is not a sentient force. I am also well aware of the nuances of the results of past climate changes. Yes man has adapted and moved with changes in weather patterns to new more inhabitable areas. But never in the past has there been a population of over 6,000,000,000 individuals all relying on nature to provide sustenance for them. Six billion people relying on energy sources born of nature to provide necessary and personal comforts. It is the exponential accumulated waste of those used sources that are serving to exacerbate global warming. Why should the recognition of an obvious reality be considered a religion? Is there something inherently wrong with voicing an opinion and acting on that opinion if it is with good intent? While I am pessimistic about the likely hood of a world consensus and workable solutions, I still have hope that sooner or later we sentient beings may actually use some of our intelligence to tackle this issue as opposed to just arguing about it.

I consider the potential consequences of rapid change with respect to billions of lives as a probable catastrophic event. If man is truly concerned about the survival of most of humanity then it probably is prudent that we react soon. But since we tend to be selfish in nature my guess is that the trend to procrastinate will continue until it is too late, if it is not already. I do not consider myself an alarmist or fearmonger. Simply a concerned realist frustrated with the ability of so called intelligent beings to collectively deal with a serious issue.

Posted by: RickIL at December 14, 2007 10:38 AM
Comment #240723
A few of the projections he made in the movie were not well supported, but, the overall thrust and import of the subject was sound

The devil is in the details, David. For example, how many inches will the oceans likely rise? 2 inches? 36 inches? The difference between those two is a difference between whether or not we make a few alterations to coastal areas or we have catastrophic land loss. And in a system like our climate where a few degrees here or there really matter, it does matter if there are exaggerations or not.

Gore, and the many others of his kind, who are passionate about a topic and think that they have to use exaggerated claims in order to scare people into accepting what they say without question are just as bad as those who refuse to believe that climate change is even possible. They are just as bad as the people who think they need to love you with an iron fist (republicans protecting us by taking away our liberties).

The problem is, most people will not get ‘riled up’ by a few inches rise in ocean level because it really is not that big of a deal. The destruction of the converyor is much more serious. But people want to scare others, they think that is the only way to get a consensus. And if it is, then there’s a problem with the stance they are taking, IMO.

30 years ago, Rhinehold, prehistoric geological climate science was still in its infancy

And it hasn’t matured much beyond that compared to what we do NOT know about climate science. We may have started to crawl, but we aren’t running marathons yet. Assuming that we know everything now is the same problem we had then.

It reminds me of a PSA done by Red Vs Blue. In it, they are debating whether someone should get a tattoo. The one guy’s argument goes as this:

“You’re an idiot. Think about it, look back at how you were 10 years ago, you were an idiot! Then project out 10 years from now and look at how you are now, you’ll think that you are an idiot.”

It’s kind of the same thing here. We ‘THINK’ we know what is going on, but when we can readily admit that there are countless volumes of information we don’t know and can’t put into the models, how can we say we know, to that degree, what is going on? It’s a best guess, and I am not against those, but when we have swings like ‘rise in 2 inches or 36 inches’ that’s a big swing.

It is just as illogical to negate modern science on global warming based on the state of the science 30 years ago

Funny thing is, I never did that…

Green house gases elevate global average annual temperatures. Fact now evidenced by ice core samples evidence.

That is what we belive now, yes. I don’t think I’ve disputed that…

Global warming melts ice caps. Fact.Well, one of them anyway. It seems that the Southern polar ice cap is increasing in size during the global warming, so it’s hard to say for sure on this one or if something else is causing the increase, or decrease in the north…
Geological record now shows periods of enormous oceanic rise and fall correlating with the ice ages and vast glacial meltings. Fact.

How enormous and with what temperature change? It has been much warming AND much colder on the earth than it is now or will be in the next 200 years, what kind of ocean rises are we talking about?

Close to a billion people live in coastal areas and will lose their current way of life as the oceans rise, and the economic costs of moving a billion people and their infrastructure will be enormous.

Again, this depends doesn’t it? A 2 inch increase is nominal, a 36 inch increase is not. And, not to sound flippant, but it’s not like one day these people are going to wake up and find tsunami like conditions, the water will rise very very slowly, giving everyone enough time to adapt and continue on. The same if it were happening entirely naturally and not aided by humans, it would still be an issue, wouldn’t it? Only, we would have no one to blame, we would just deal with it as we do as humans and move on with our lives, not use it as an excuse to enact facist policies.

You think that Kyoto was a good idea? Please tell me in what way Kyoto would have 1) stopped the effects of global warming and 2) dealt with the effects that were not already stopped? It would have and has done nothing of the sort. It was a way for rich countries to feel ok about polluting by giving some money to poorer countries when what they should have been doing is taking that same money and pouring it into FIXING the perceived problems, not ignoring them as the treaty did.

And Bali is the same issue, nothing but a hand out by every special interest group in the world, looking to capitalize on the guilty rich.

Come up with a way to address and solve the issue, and you might find me on board. Enact a treaty that just funnels money from one country to another and does *0* to stop emissions and I will say no. (and no, I’m not against increasing CAFE standards, as long as we stop exempting ‘developing nations’, it is either a problem or it isn’t…)

Oceanic temperatures fuel storms. The higher those seasonal temperatures, the more energetic those storms can become. This is now evidenced scientific fact. Scientists are recording overall oceanic average temperature increases. It is logical and prudent that governments charged with the responsibility for safeguarding their peoples and economies, attend to this information as accurate and mitigate the consequences, which of course, will require effort, legislation, and spending for the general welfare of the nation.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #240724
A few of the projections he made in the movie were not well supported, but, the overall thrust and import of the subject was sound

The devil is in the details, David. For example, how many inches will the oceans likely rise? 2 inches? 36 inches? The difference between those two is a difference between whether or not we make a few alterations to coastal areas or we have catastrophic land loss. And in a system like our climate where a few degrees here or there really matter, it does matter if there are exaggerations or not.

Gore, and the many others of his kind, who are passionate about a topic and think that they have to use exaggerated claims in order to scare people into accepting what they say without question are just as bad as those who refuse to believe that climate change is even possible. They are just as bad as the people who think they need to love you with an iron fist (republicans protecting us by taking away our liberties).

The problem is, most people will not get ‘riled up’ by a few inches rise in ocean level because it really is not that big of a deal. The destruction of the converyor is much more serious. But people want to scare others, they think that is the only way to get a consensus. And if it is, then there’s a problem with the stance they are taking, IMO.

30 years ago, Rhinehold, prehistoric geological climate science was still in its infancy

And it hasn’t matured much beyond that compared to what we do NOT know about climate science. We may have started to crawl, but we aren’t running marathons yet. Assuming that we know everything now is the same problem we had then.

It reminds me of a PSA done by Red Vs Blue. In it, they are debating whether someone should get a tattoo. The one guy’s argument goes as this:

“You’re an idiot. Think about it, look back at how you were 10 years ago, you were an idiot! Then project out 10 years from now and look at how you are now, you’ll think that you are an idiot.”

It’s kind of the same thing here. We ‘THINK’ we know what is going on, but when we can readily admit that there are countless volumes of information we don’t know and can’t put into the models, how can we say we know, to that degree, what is going on? It’s a best guess, and I am not against those, but when we have swings like ‘rise in 2 inches or 36 inches’ that’s a big swing.

It is just as illogical to negate modern science on global warming based on the state of the science 30 years ago

Funny thing is, I never did that…

Green house gases elevate global average annual temperatures. Fact now evidenced by ice core samples evidence.

That is what we belive now, yes. I don’t think I’ve disputed that…

Global warming melts ice caps. Fact.

Well, one of them anyway. It seems that the Southern polar ice cap is increasing in size during the global warming, so it’s hard to say for sure on this one or if something else is causing the increase, or decrease in the north…

Geological record now shows periods of enormous oceanic rise and fall correlating with the ice ages and vast glacial meltings. Fact.

How enormous and with what temperature change? It has been much warming AND much colder on the earth than it is now or will be in the next 200 years, what kind of ocean rises are we talking about?

Close to a billion people live in coastal areas and will lose their current way of life as the oceans rise, and the economic costs of moving a billion people and their infrastructure will be enormous.

Again, this depends doesn’t it? A 2 inch increase is nominal, a 36 inch increase is not. And, not to sound flippant, but it’s not like one day these people are going to wake up and find tsunami like conditions, the water will rise very very slowly, giving everyone enough time to adapt and continue on. The same if it were happening entirely naturally and not aided by humans, it would still be an issue, wouldn’t it? Only, we would have no one to blame, we would just deal with it as we do as humans and move on with our lives, not use it as an excuse to enact facist policies.

You think that Kyoto was a good idea? Please tell me in what way Kyoto would have 1) stopped the effects of global warming and 2) dealt with the effects that were not already stopped? It would have and has done nothing of the sort. It was a way for rich countries to feel ok about polluting by giving some money to poorer countries when what they should have been doing is taking that same money and pouring it into FIXING the perceived problems, not ignoring them as the treaty did.

And Bali is the same issue, nothing but a hand out by every special interest group in the world, looking to capitalize on the guilty rich.

Come up with a way to address and solve the issue, and you might find me on board. Enact a treaty that just funnels money from one country to another and does *0* to stop emissions and I will say no. (and no, I’m not against increasing CAFE standards, as long as we stop exempting ‘developing nations’, it is either a problem or it isn’t…)

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2007 11:16 AM
Comment #240741

The proactive approach would be for global warmists to move to Canada and wait for their property values to increase.
You can leave us “deniers” burning in the US. Is that adaptation?

Posted by: Kruser at December 14, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #240745

I think this guy has a handle on the problem.

The Global Warming issue is really an overpopulation problem. Let’s get to the root of the problem.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 14, 2007 4:08 PM
Comment #240750

Philippe

If you recall from my article a couple days ago, the U.S. actually REDUCED its CO2 emissions last year.

Since 2000, U.S. emissions of CO2 have increased at a lower rate than those in the EU. You can point to particular European countries, as I am sure you could point of particular U.S. states or regions of similar population, that have done better. But if you are talking about averages, if some countries have done much better, others must have done much worse because total EU emissions rose faster since 2000 than they have in the U.S.

We agree that CO2 is a problem. We just do not agree about the solution. The experience of the last six years (I choose that time because Bush was president and supposedly bad for the environment) is that the U.S. emissions grew slower. Beyond that, since 2004 U.S. investment in alternative energy technologies have far exceeded those in Europe. Maybe that path was not the best one in the real world. If we assume that the U.S. was not doing the right thing, what does it mean that Europe was doing worse?

The single best way to reduce emissions is through price. I advocate a carbon tax. I do not oppose high energy prices. High prices are responsible for the reduction of U.S. emissions and the remarkable investment in alternative technologies. The problem is that oil is too cheap, even today. When we change that (I hope through carbon taxes) we will change the whole game.

David

I read what you wrote. You used a moral/ethical argument. You even used those words. If nature has no morality, no morality can be applied to it outside human morality or divine morality. The human morality is just practical. I suppose we could vote on it every four years, but it is not a very strong reed to lean on. Divine morality, I just do not know about. But if you start using it, that is religion.

Who knows, perhaps the divine plan is for humans to restore the earth to the warmth it enjoyed during the Jurassic Period. Such things are beyond my understanding.

From the pragmatic point of view, we should reduce CO2 AND adapt to the warmer earth that WILL (cannot be avoided) come. I just cannot get to hysterical about it. I figure we can adapt. All that talk in Bali and elsewhere will do little to help with either of these things. Just like Kyoto.

I guess the UN will be as successful in countering climate change as it has been establishing world peace. Ask the people of Rwanda, Darfur or Congo about these sorts of world efforts

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2007 4:40 PM
Comment #240754

Jack, said: “I read what you wrote. You used a moral/ethical argument.”

Yes. And I clearly distinguished it from evolutionary processes which are NOT moral or ethical. How is it that you missed this most obviously stated distinction in my previous comment:?

Evolution, Jack, is not a conscious process with conscience. Conscious process with conscience is what lays the responsibility for action or inaction upon the human species, which cannot be laid upon any other species. Bugs adapt by a few surviving conditions which eradicate the rest of their species. Those survivors bear no guilt or responsibility for the loss of the rest of their species incapable of adapting. Hardly an adequate metaphor for moral or ethical human adaptation.

Yet, you replied to my comment above with: “Nature has no morality.” Quite right, I clearly made that distinction. And I also clearly distinguished between moral and ethical responses to global warming. Moral having basis in religion, and ethical having its basis in rational thought and philosophy without religious foundation.

And my argument was, it would be BOTH immoral AND unethical if the human species has the opportunity to mitigate the consequences of global warming including massive relocations of peoples from flooding coast lines, and from new arid areas to places with more arable resources, and rising death tolls from more violent storms and the wars that mass relocation will engender, not to mention deaths caused by dehydration and starvation resulting from inadequate food and water delivery processes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #240909
If you recall from my article a couple days ago, the U.S. actually REDUCED its CO2 emissions last year.

Since 2000, U.S. emissions of CO2 have increased at a lower rate than those in the EU.

Yep. But it’s too early to say what the general trend will be, yet. I really hope US will soon make a shame of EU about pollution reduction. That will force EU to do better.

ATM, having +16% vs -0.8% since Kyoto Protocol (dis)agreement is nothing both sides should brag about, right?

I guess the UN will be as successful in countering climate change as it has been establishing world peace. Ask the people of Rwanda, Darfur or Congo about these sorts of world efforts

First, even UN is not aiming at “countering” climate change but slowing it.

Second, I know bashing UN is the American sport now (I wonder why you don’t ask to resign from it, though), but, as yourself often say, we tend to remember failures and discount success, and this apply to UN history too : no third world despite the titanic struggle between the free world and the Communist bloc, state-to-state conflicts cut in half since UN, successful peacekeeping missions in El Salvador, Mozambique, Nambia, Cyprus (at peace since 1964), Kashmir (Pakistan vs India nuclear powers, at peace since 1949) and the just around 18 missions currently pending, and the delayed ones (why this demand, if they’re so much a failure?!?)
What about UNICEF vibrant success since 60 years? What about UNAIDS, WHO? What will be the free market worldwide without theIMF, World Bank, and WTO? What will be the web without the ITA normalization body?

When the most criticized UN program recently, Oil for Food, actually succeed in preventing Saddam Hussein from rearming his military forces; developing weapons of mass destruction and providing significant assistance to terrorists, as since discovering by US soldiers and contrary to the belief at White House, one could continue blaming UN for everything, while other, will find that UN may be one the worst international body except all the others that have been tried.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 8:03 AM
Comment #243719

dear jack

hats off to your ignorance. global warming does have slightly stronger consequences than turning your duluth into the malibu of minnesota. i suppose you won’t mind if a few bangladeshi’s come and park their asses at your new property once half their country is underwater?

Posted by: ryan at January 24, 2008 2:07 PM
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