Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

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Re: Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

Unread postby James » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:10 pm

Ted Cruz Takes Space And Marco Rubio Takes Earth: How The Senate Flip Could Undermine Science
"The reversal of the U.S. Senate’s majority party is falling into place, and there is reason for concern over how new committee chairs will influence the agencies they oversee. Right now two big reasons are garnering the most attention: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will chair the subcommittee that oversees NASA, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will chair to the subcommittee that oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Both have gone on record denying human-caused climate change."

“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” — Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio's campaign received $307,108 in contributions from interests in oil and gas (individuals and PACs). Mercifully (?) not a top contributor unlike Ted Cruz (second behind party interests).
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Re: Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

Unread postby Kayzr » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:33 am

'Climate change' has taken place since the Precambrian Era. I don't think that there were any humans around 4+ billion years ago to pollute the world. :roll:
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Re: Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

Unread postby James » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:23 pm

Kayzr wrote:'Climate change' has taken place since the Precambrian Era. I don't think that there were any humans around 4+ billion years ago to pollute the world. :roll:

To see how climate change occurs naturally have a read below:
Glacial-Interglacial cycles

There, for example, you can learn how the earth's position, tilt, and sun surface activity combine to impact our climate over time. It includes a chart which goes back 350,000 years, with multiple influences along with CO2 levels, to serve as an example. You can read here to see CO2 levels extended 800,000 years with another chart showing how CO2 is increasing year-to-year. The 800,000 year chart shows how the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 breaks dramatically from historic trend. The natural cycle has CO2 dipping as low as 175 ppm and getting close to 300 ppm on a timescale of some 100,000 years. We are now at approximately 400 ppm and increasing rapidly. There is absolutely nothing natural about that. To serve as a scientific example, here you can see the context of all climate models which understand natural phenomena would have the climate doing naturally—see the blue chart, it should actually be slightly cooling if not remaining rather steady, and in the red/orange chart you can see what happens when anthropogenic factors are taken into account (i.e. our contributions, such as the CO2 we're releasing into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels), represented in the red chart.

The only comparable example of CO2 in the atmosphere relative to what we have today, in an atmosphere sustaining life similar to what exists today, is in the Pliocene period, some 2.5 to 5 million years ago. At this time CO2 levels reached some 415 ppm (just over 15 ppm higher than today), but there it was a far more gradual increase and decline ('far' barely does justice here—the increase we know today is but a half blink in relative history) and we are on track to far exceed that increase.

Other catastrophic events such as a meteor or volcanic activity can also influence the CO2 composition of our atmosphere. Even today we can see how volcanic activity makes a contribution, and some scientists now believe they've underestimated it, but the volcanic activity today is meddling by comparison to the example linked above. And if we had such a catastrophic circumstance making contributions today I expect we would have noticed.

Climate change is a complicated subject but it is definitely worth spending some time to understand where scientists—the unified independent scientific position of scientists across the world—stand on the issue (not just where they stand, but the evidence and information informing their concerns) relative to the positions we're hearing from political leaders who are receiving significant campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry (or individual players), representing constituents in districts which depend on fossil fuel production for their economies, or otherwise must be careful not to speak out against their party's core beliefs and position lest they lose their seat to someone more radical in position, unable to compete with their national campaign funding through only local means.

- - -

Edit: I glossed over any relationship between CO2 and historic global temperature. Here is a chart which compares CO2/temperature data from sources (CO2 from ice core sampling correlated with temperature, read some more here and here). CO2 is a greenhouse gas, one which has played a prominent natural role through natural cycles (as described above). The relationship is complex but you can see the correlation.

Historically, though, the CO2 levels lag behind temperature levels. CO2 is a part of the process that contributes to climate change but the primary factors mentioned in the first paragraph are among the natural factors we can view on a timeline that set changes into motion. CO2 is released and captured through the warming and cooling process (outside special cases such as volcanic activity making direct contributions). Today we are making our direct contribution, and we're making a massive one. CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas we release into the atmosphere but it is the most prominent (by quantity and its lifetime in the atmosphere, as compared to other factors which impact global temperature). And whether concentration of a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere increase naturally or anthropogenically (by us), it does its job as a greenhouse gas to increase global temperature.
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Re: Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:38 am

Nothing really to add to the above; it's a really good summary of the broad-strokes consensus on the issue. Couldn't have said it better myself.

James wrote:Climate change is a complicated subject but it is definitely worth spending some time to understand where scientists stands on the issue (not just where they stand, but the evidence and information informing their concerns) relative to the positions we're hearing from political leaders who are receiving significant campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry


Agreed.

It's also worth spending some time researching where some of the 'scientific dissent' gets its funding. For example, I was just reading this story in the New York Times. Of note:

New York Times wrote:Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding.

Fossil-fuel interests have followed this approach for years, but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden.


Looks like at least some of that mechanism is coming to light, though.
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Re: Climate Change (a.k.a. Global Warming)

Unread postby James » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:50 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:It's also worth spending some time researching where some of the 'scientific dissent' gets its funding. For example, I was just reading this story in the New York Times. Of note:

New York Times wrote:Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding.

Fossil-fuel interests have followed this approach for years, but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden.

Looks like at least some of that mechanism is coming to light, though.

I saw that this morning—and it's depressing. On one hand you suspect it because it's a common tactic employed across a wide range of industries and through history, but on the other hand it's sad to see it happen. Not only is he doing an incredible disservice to his fellow scientists and life on the planet, he's legitimizing the process of activists sending FOIA requests to publicly associated scientists, a tool which worked out very well here but which is used in other cases to harass and misrepresent scientists doing good work at great expense to the taxpayers and the profession. :(

Normally I hate all the fancy little infographics that float around on Facebook summarizing a given cause, but this one seems to have really struck the mark...

whatismorelikely.png
whatismorelikely.png (81.17 KiB) Viewed 803 times
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