I was reading on Reader's Paradise from a long list of writers about the miserably cold winter 2013 has been in many places. It seems the term "global warming" is extremely unsuitable.
There is an explanation for this winter that still conforms to global warming but I'll let others explore that with you...
Indeed, I believe the explanation is that increased winter precipitation is expected in the warming scenario.
Please stop the propaganda. The effects of Globsl Warming is at out doorstop. Blows my mi d that an issue that was not controversial was turned into a political hot potato with decades of preventive measures missed and instead we have extreme acceleration.
The odds of a 'one-in-100 year' storm like Sandy hitting New York will rise to one in 50 by the 2020s Photo: Getty
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent6:19PM BST 14 May 2013
Floods and other “extreme climate events” triggered by rising sea levels are forecast to become a particular problem on America’s east coast, where waters are rising up to four times faster than the global average.
Engineers believe the only way to fully protect the region from surges like the 11ft of water which arrived with Hurricane Sandy would be to erect giant flood barriers ��" but these could cost up to £13 billion.
The only other option could be to relocate people living in low-lying coastal areas over the course of the century as the risk of Sandy-like natural disasters steadily increases, some scientists claim.
The outlook is gloomier than in 2009, when the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) produced a report predicting that local sea levels would rise by 2ft (61cm) by 2100.
More recent analysis of ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica suggests that a rise of 4ft is likely by the 2080s.
Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University, told Scientific American magazine that by 2100: “It will be five feet, plus or minus one foot”.
The rapid rise in sea level means that the odds of a “one-in-100 year” storm like Sandy hitting New York will rise to one in 50 by the 2020s, one in 15 in the 2050s and one in two by the 2080s, he said.
The NPCC will deliver a dossier to Michael Bloomberg, the New York mayor, before the end of this month recommending how best to protect the city.
Reports suggest they may hold back from recommending such an expensive and politically sensitive option as erecting flood barriers but Jeroen Aerts, a former adviser to New York planning authorities, insists the measure is necessary.
He argues that environment and cost-benefit studies should begin imminently, allowing barriers to be in place by 2030.
Flood-proofing buildings, protecting subway, train and road tunnels against torrents of water and protecting key structures like power plants also form part of the solution, he said.
Sandy caused $75 billion in damage and killed 85 people across the US.
Here is a link that might be useful: Link
Scientists have been studying this issue for decades, urging, practically begging, our government to sit up and take notice, make some necessary changes to policy... but it was not in the best interests of special interests, so it was shelved, kept hush-hush by those in the White House who actually had the power to do something about it decades ago...
And now, we're starting to reap what was sown...
"It seems the term "global warming" is extremely unsuitable.
It evolved into "Climate Change" due to the resulting extremes. "Global Weirding" is another blanket description. Number put on hold....
"laa-laa" seems to live in la-la land.
But she could be Sarah Palin under a nom de plume.
The post-Kyoto body set up to investigate in 1988 was named the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, not the IPGW. Scientists, NGOs and policy makers have consistently referred to it as climate change from the start.
laa-laa must be pals with Sarah Palin/
Here is a link that might be useful: It snowed in May in Alaska
Maybe laa-laa and Sarah should check out Moore, OK.
I'm not extremely picky about the name by which it is called, whether Global Warming or Climate Change... though I am a little peeved that something could have been done decades ago to change things for the better... yet, nothing was.
"something could have been done decades ago to change things for the better... yet, nothing was."
I notice the reflexive grammar, there. We were all alive decades ago, yet none of us did anything about GW. Who should have done what? It is so easy to point the finger, but you don't know what you are pointing at.
I did know a lot about GW, but it took me a long time to start to recycle, buy better lightbulbs. Yet I know that the bottom line isn't about what individuals do, but how the larger system actually considers how to preserve this planet. Monsanto doesn't give a flying fig about global warming, only about profits.
Monsanto has developed flying figs?
The collective impact of what individuals do is obviously the total impact of humanity. Which individuals profit most or least doesn't have any effect on the total impact. The situation is relatively simple: human population is much in excess of global carrying capacity, probably between 1.5 and 2 times. That there can be such excess and still have large numbers living in great comfort is of course entirely due to the existence of the fossil fuel reserves.
Wishing that human nature was different so that more of us could reside on Earth serves no purpose. Neither human nature nor the carrying capacity is going to change.
It is called global warming because the GLOBE is getting warmer. You have to be brain damaged to have not heard somewhere from some source that the change in temperature is projected to be two or three degrees-and that is ALL it takes for WEATHER systems to be disrupted and ice masses to melt. When people say-oh I guess global warming is right since we had such a hot dry summer or it is wrong because we never had such a cold wet winter are being either ignorant or disengenuous(this includes all the Hairheads who despense infotainment on 'news shows') how can people not know that by now? Are they living under rocks?
The only issue has ever been what is causing the change, not if it is happening. The expected results have been learning curve. Not everyone predicted major weather disruptions.
Yes, I do, PNBrown... and one finger can be pointed directly at Dick Cheney, according to a handful of scientists, some from NASA's Goddard Institute, who met with White House officials early on to discuss the issues, and hopefully to arrive at some possible solutions... but Cheney put the brakes on, and consequently, here we are...
We could also point a few fingers at those industries and corporations that stood to lose a bundle by a White House backed, public announcement such as the scientists wanted to make.
And we can point fingers all over the place... but the reality is, government officials knew... the involved industries knew... science knew... the public wasn't told... and a campaign was launched to deny the facts, such as they were/are... and today, we still have people trying to deny that Climate Change is a real thing happening right now, and that there is an expiration date on doing something to slow the disaster we're headed toward... a lot faster than some scientists actually thought!
But wait, global warming is a misnomer. If that's really the topic. It should probably be called climate paradigm shift. Then people might get it has nothing to do with "being too warm".
Sure, blame Cheney if it makes you feel better.
I mean, we can't even predict accurate weather two days in advance, I have a hard time with anyone telling this or that is causing temperature fluctuations. Actually, I find this with many areas of specialties - there really are few known answers.
Regardless if there is global warming or not I think we have a responsibility for future generations to take care of this planet. There is so much abuse on resources, whether it be extracting or taking from the earth or consuming and wasting so much - so very much.
This has gone on long enough.........#79
We sure are not good caretakers of the earth ... Cookie I agree with everything you said, the weather guy said strong thunderstorms today ... it was sunny and hot.
Regardless if there is global warming or not I think we have a responsibility for future generations to take care of this planet
Love that cartoon, david. Exactly! Everything we could do is what we should do regardless.
Cookie and others focusing on local weather and temps are missing the larger picture. We are a water planet with less than 1% of the water available as fresh water. A lot of energy is required to heat water. Rising oceanic temperatures are now being reported, not just at the surface but at depth. Most warmer air masses pass over water, picking up water vapor while being heated (or cooled) at the contact areas between water and air. Warmer water will contribute at lot more moisture to an airmass.
Ice and snow caps, especially in winteretimes reflect sunlight back through the atmosphere. Melt the ice and snow and we have much darker surfaces that absorb the solar energy. So those vast northern landmasses are experiences massive and widespread heating and thawing. The southern hemisphere is mostly water; Antarctic continent still mostly is icebound and continues to reflect away lots of solar radiation in its summer time (Nov. to April). We will REALLY be in trouble if the Antarctic region start to heat as reflective snow and ice retreat and dark soils and rocks and waters are exposed.
No, I am not missing the larger picture.
We are pretty fresh to this earth and given that it has been around for millions of years we have no business to say what is causing what - we don't know! I do find it very obvious that we are killing our planet with our wants and greed. The fresh water problem - we are the ones causing massive depletion of it. And any groundwater we have - ugh, pesticides, fracking, fertilizers, we're doing it. That's pretty obvious. I think most (hopefully) are aware of where we are headed and take any steps they can to help out even though I know there aren't many out there who want to give up their green lawns, long, hot showers, kids playing in the sprinklers and the like. And considering our governments want to make money, nothing will be done. So, I will do what I can and that is that. Whether the ocean temperatures are rising, yes, why, don't know because the earth is always changing so I don't know if we are causing it or not. Hey, if saying we are having global warming makes people change then I am all for it but just not sure if it caused by us or if it is the earth being the earth. I mean, look what El Nino and La Nina did.
The G-L-O-B-E is warming up. The change in median GLOBAL temperaure is not something that you are going to be able to feel. Can you for instance tell the difference between 76 and 78 degrees- No you cant. But that change in global temperatures is the difference between weather patterns as we know them and are prepared to deal with and those that we do not. It is impossible to predict what exactly is going to happen. The GLOBE had undergone changes in climate many times. This time around our fooling around is implicated in what will be an abrupt change. Can you denude continents of their climax forests and expect no blow back? Can you change the content of oceans, affect their salinity and temperature and expect nothing will happen? Do you kill entire segment of that ocean with chemical and trash pollution and expect that will not cause us problems? We are not a rash on planet earth, we are a cancer and while we are not going to kill our planet we might have some serious problem living on the planet environment we have created. For those who do not want to believe it is our fault-so frigging what-are we preparing for the change?
Cookie-El nino and La nina are not something new-they are just names for old ocean patterns-the patterns that are going to be replaced by something new.
31 and killing frost a week ago. One week later 93. I'm sure the systems will collide and bring nasty weather to the east coast in a few days. Same system that caused the OK tornadoes.
Here's a relevant question: why didn't the population of China do the rational thing and not trash their own environment? Why didn't all the various leaders and bureaucrats, from minor to major, make all the right decisions for the future?
In answer to your question, Pat...same reason as in USA, Australia, Europe et al.
Short-term financial profits.
To be honest I don't know why I don't concern myself with global warming - I think it is because in such a short period of time we caused such destruction I don't believe we can do anything to fix it, unfortunately. I bust my butt to do the best thing in my home and to teach my children to live the same way. The fact is someone who is out to make a profit will step all over me to get what they want because they have money on the brain. There are few companies/governments interested in doing the right thing, right now at any given moment. Look, if global warming is happening, and yes, most likely it is, my personal belief is "who knows" I don't think people should dismiss it because we have one cold season. Obviously the earth's surface is warming and a season like this is a welcome break, to be honest, for our water resources, farmers, wildlife, everything.
Patriciae, I had to laugh at myself at the El-Nino, La-Nina thing after I posted as they are clearly unrelated to global warming but I was too tired to change it and was just saying how crazy our earth is.
Shax, quite so.
What now appears as short-term thinking is how humans have survived until now. If the near future holds the destruction of civilization then the ability to scramble and be reactive becomes all the more important for individuals, not less so.
This popular idea that somehow we should be able to act as one entity is a strange one and obviously not going to happen. Perhaps it is a hope in a Dues ex Machina.
Better be prepared for the appearance of Mars and not
Just the fact that tundra previously under ice is now open and visible for oil and gold exploration should tell us something... Greenland, northern Alaska, and other areas have land visible that humankind could not have walked upon earlier... it would have been solid ice, very deep in nature.
Sea levels are rising, and some of the oceans' inhabitants are beginning to make the transition from salt water to fresh water... or are mysteriously beaching themselves, and are being found in areas they've previously never been found in. A few are getting more aggressive toward humans.
Our fresh water sources are being depleted at an alarming rate.
Weather occurrences are becoming more unusual and/or severe.
And I would have to look up the actual quotes, but Dr. James Hansen, a scientist that works closely with others in the field of Climate Change has some interesting things to say about meeting with White House officials within the 1970's and 1980's... and now, he and others believe that previous predictions were wrong... we have less time than originally thought to actually do something about dirty energy and the polluting of the only habitable planet we know of... Earth.
The "bigger picture", taking into account all the abnormalities and oddities happening within our natural world, tell me that we have carelessly thrown away the chance we had to leave a decent planet to our progeny. The puzzle pieces are all falling into place, and the picture being exposed is not a pretty one.
We as individuals can try to do our part but the huge companies will trump any efforts we make because the bottom line is all they care about
. After a sweltering 90+ day yesterday and the same for today, I heard in a day or two we can expect scattered frost. Anyone who thinks today's weather and climate hasn't changed belongs to the Sarah Palin school of dumb.
Exactly Lily... and many of us do as much as we can to conserve, to recycle, to try to be more self sustainable... but there's only so much we can do as individuals.
It's where wealth meets power and the influence involved, where we have little to no say... we can vote, and we can let our opinions and ideas be known to our representatives, but what good does that really do against corruption, and industry or business deemed "too big to fail", consistently bailed out of their problems, and the cronyism, or the revolving door constantly twirling between government positions and the upper echelon of business?
Our officials and agencies have been too slow to act, in my opinion... and in other, more professional opinions.
Does it somehow help to blame resource depletion and possible adverse climatic changes in those with more control over wealth than yourself? Then by that same logic those who have no control over or access to any wealth should be quite angry at you.
You keep telling people here not to blame the rich. Why?
Well we definitely can't blame Global Warming on Al Gore. I mean he has worked hard telling people that they need to lessen their carbon footprint, even made millions doing so, as he continues to waste resources on his mansions and flying around in his G5.
Back in the '70's' Global Cooling was predicted........another possible Ice Age. Never happened. I believe it's possible the globe may be warming, but if so I don't believe man caused it or can do anything about it. Our planet has gone through at least one ice age and the warming of same afterward, way before we had factories or cars; so what caused those changes? Just Mother Nature doing her thing. Regardless, I agree that man needs to take better care of our planet.
boy""""You keep telling people here not to blame the rich. Why?"
Not pn, but could it possibly be due to the fact that "ALL" inhabitants of the planet contribute to the damage done by the rich and their corporations by using their products. If we didn't 'USE' there would be no reason for them to rape and plunder the planet. But alas, we are all human and each greedy in our own way.
Lady B, you really should stop parroting these canards such as Al Gore, The Great Ice Age Prediction of the 70's (actually started in the mid-60s by a prof. I TA-ed with for a semester), and these are just Mother Nature doing her natural thing. Hey, that is a relief. We can just sit on the sidelines watching until her Fickleness changes the climate again. I'm sure we can evolve fast enough to compensate for a climate not dominant for 10s of millions of years ago.
- snip - At the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st Century the rate had reached 3 mm/year, a rather reliable rate measured by satellites. This increase in the rate of sea-level rise is a logical consequence of global warming, since ice melts faster and heat penetrates faster into the oceans in a warmer climate.
-snip - “Global sea level is projected to rise 8-23 cm (3-9 in) by 2030, relative to 2000 levels, 18-48 cm (7-19 in) by 2050, and 50 - 140 cm (20-55 in) by 2100.”
Here is a link that might be useful: nothing bad can possibly happen
Well, around 1998 most in this country were on the same page concerning global warming. Now that the issue has become one of the 'litmus tests' of political purity, the issue has become another dividing point for the country.
Don't want to face reality, just make up your own!
Out of the mouth's of kids.
I so remember my, now almost 30 year old daughter, coming home from 6th grade with such a confused look on her face. One of those typical, "I just don't get it" looks that all kids get at some points in their lives.
When I asked her what was going on her response was
"I just don't get it Mom. We were talking about climate change in science today, is it real, is it not.
Some of us believe it isn't, some of us believe it is.
So because of that, no one does anything and things keep going and going and going and nothing changes and what if it is real?"
We talked for a while about various aspects of what she was studying in science class and I asked her what she thought should be done.
Her answer, to this day, was and still is priceless.
"Someone needs to smack these people on both sides up one side and down the other and not some sense into them.
Someone needs to make them understand that one side is right and one side is wrong, but none of us are going to be around long enough to truly prove which side is right and which side is wrong.
So why the heck don't they just do something simple, like make some simple changes to start with and hope it makes a bit of a difference.
What's so terrible about trying something to prevent things from getting worse?
The worst thing that happens is that it doesn't help, it doesn't make a difference, but at the same time it might make a difference.
What is so terrible about better safe than sorry? Adults tell kids that all the time, can't they take their own advise for a change? would it kill them?"
Simple words out of the mouth of a kid. A kid that is now almost 30 and still asking the same questions and still, overall, getting no answers.
The seeming lack of concern is due to the fact that gated communities and country clubs never have bad weather.
Rich people don't eat or fart more than anyone else of a similar size.
It makes not a whit of difference how the pie is split up among the global population. All the recoverable fossil fuels will be converted. It's a certainty. The writing was on the wall when the first human picked up a burning stick. Quit whining like a toddler who doesn't want some other toddler to have more than him and get ready for the unpreparable.
So according to Pat, global warming is a misnomer for using up all fossil fuel by all parts of the human population...
Perhaps I am not understanding his point?
LOL....in the mid seventies they were saying global cooling and now people are still trotting out the East Anglia graphs...to each their own ...we all have a right to make our own choices....its all cool, have a great day
Too bad the teabaggers weren't on the graph. Remember the earth is only 6000 years old and dinosaurs walked the Gettysburg battlefield...lol.
I'm old enough to know what this part of my state used to experience in weather events. I've lived within 50 miles all my life. We have no spring anymore. Maybe two or three spring like days and back in the day, we had a month or more. Warm days , cool nights. Three days this week we had temps in the 90's. One week ago we had a killing frost and tomorrow night the temps will dip in the upper 30's /low 40's. We had a tornado two miles from my house last year and an earthquake. . Strange patterns never seen. We've had no snow to speak of for four years in a row. Just a degree or two can make huge difference in the severity of weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes. There will be floods and drought and weather events like Oklahoma and Sandy and the Jersey shore. How are we as a nation going to pay for them?
Marshall, what I am saying is that the total impact of humanity is zero-sum. If some individuals consume less of the total products others will consume more.
Unless someone has the ability to prevent the conversion of a major resource, then they can have effectively no control over the pace of whatever climate change is happening. No individual or group of individuals have such control. Even governments have proven repeatedly to lack such control.
The ship is unsteered and will remain so.
We ALL on here are very hypocritical.....unless we start living like the AMISH none of us are really serious. Have a great day
Pat, you are correct in that inherent fatalism of human beings as related to future eventualities of civilizations condition people not to act in interests of future civilizations. We might have strong drives to improve our lives and those of our children because we think we can have some control over those futures. In fact, life is more often a crap shoot and in the end we realize few of the original goals of life. Takes just one or few crises to alter the course of personal and familial history.
While many of us have concerns for the future of our countries and the course of civilizations, we are clueless on how to accomplish desired changes in the face of powerful special interests. Your fatalism is the message of those special interests. They taught you well. :)
Marshall, I realize that you want to believe my fatalism about humanity is a result of propaganda. I suggest that a person can be a fatalist without being "brainwashed".
I believe that my fatalism is an acknowledgement of reality, and that I am little swayed by the opinions of others.
Never the less, I'll continue to vote for candidates who see a future energy policy that begins with efficiency and strive to get rid of fossil fuel with a mix of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc.
Versus voting for candidates that either ignore or flat out don't believe in human-caused climate change and see no reason not to continue to burn coal, tar sands, drill everywhere for oil and gas, and so on.
Nuclear, I'm not so sure.
But that's part and parcel of being a combination of our DNA and the environmental stimuli we are exposed to, beginning the day we are born and continuing... one might not even realize he or she has been swayed by the opinions of others...
It remains that those who have the wherewithal to make the biggest impacts toward change that would at least slow the patterns happening are, and have been, doing nothing. (Well, not nothing, really... but not anything of value to humanity as a whole.)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that humankind has used more polluting fossil fuels than is necessary, or that the combined effects of that usage and other things released are harming our atmosphere and stratosphere to the extent that what might have occurred anyway is happening at a greatly increased rate of speed.
And one doesn't require a degree in anything to realize that the world is still operating at peak polluting capacity. It's not like we DON'T know that there are much cleaner energies with which to operate... or that we CAN'T figure out how to use them globally.
I live in relatively the same area I have my entire life, and in the short span of 50 years, weather patterns and climate have changed drastically... and as most of us know, 50 years is a drop in the bucket of time when we're talking about all this.
Even my high school educated brain can decipher that those changes seen within 50 years are way too drastic to be considered natural... additionally, our world DOES have the capacity to make changes. There are specific reasons why it isn't... or won't, more to the point.
Although I had my doubts about how this thread would go when it was initially presented, it has turned out to be one of the better ones, although certainly one that leads me to be grateful that Im an older person than a young child with his whole life in front of him.
What a mess we have made of this world, problems and deprivation the young of today will have to suffer through. We came into a world of such enormous positive possibilities, in a country of such progression and stature which was forged by those who came before us.
What a mess we older adults have made of it.
All I know is I am not going get the nice summer I am hoping for. (Temps below 90 degrees.) Who's to blame for all these over 100 degree days around here?
I tend to believe the scientists are correct. Decades of data and theories about the carbon up there and holes in the ozone layer.
I know , my lab...I feel the same. Glad I'm not young anymore , and I dread what my grandkids will have to experience.
Yesterday and the three days before that , I walked the dogs in a tanktop and shorts. Every block the dogs had to lie down on the grass. It was THAT hot and humid. Today at this very moment I walked the dogs yesterday ,it's 40 degrees cooler!! Another cold record will be broken tonight with light frost. It's insane the extremes anymore.
I would tend to agree with Mylab and Lily, except that I fear greatly for what the world might be like when my grandchildren reach adulthood.
As the once greatest power, globally speaking, we had such a wonderful opportunity to make things better, for the entire world... and we basically peed it away on excess and gluttony.
You say tomato I say don't blame humans for being biological creatures. It's pointless.
"It's insane the extremes anymore."
As little as 15,000 years or so ago, I'd be sitting here under a mile thickness of ice.
A little frost this week? Nah.
Hay, you would have moved to Florida for the duration.
In the last 15 years, we've had two exceptional droughts. It ties in with the thread the other day about water refugees.
There was a fascinating column this past week by T. Friedman who discussed the role of the severe, multi-year drought in Syria and the uprising there.
Mix in massive population growth, land grabs, and an unresponsive gvt, and Boom!
Here is a link that might be useful: link to column
I'm sure that the rest of you ol' pharts like myself recall the mid 20th century "who cares" slogan : The solution to pollution is dilution. Humans tend to live for the moment. We're still fooling ourselves with silly rationalizations.
And we were going to save the planet by recycling, repurposing and resenting the imposition getting in the way of consumerism.
I've said it before - the Planet is going to survive, but it be inhabitable for humans?
At some point, we're going to change building codes, set backs from streams, rivers, and bays, etc. Because.....
"The U.S. has sustained 123 weather-related disasters during the 1980-2012 period in which overall damages and costs reached or exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event. Twelve occurred during 2011 alone - the most for any year on record, with total costs being approximately $52 billion.
Two damage figures are given for events prior to 2002: the first represents actual dollar costs and is not adjusted for inflation. The second (in parentheses) is the dollar cost normalized to 2002 dollars using a GNP inflation/wealth index. The total normalized losses for the 99 events are over $725 billion.
Sources include Storm Data (NCDC publication), the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other U.S. government agencies, individual state emergency management agencies, state and regional climate centers, and insurance industry estimates. "
list at the link
Here is a link that might be useful: link
We had better ask the churches, temples and synagogues to up their aid to the needy to take up the slack in supporting this trillion dollar plus of natural disasters. Can't expect the taxpayers living far far away in other Counties to pay for such damage much less those ever further away in other States.
What I find interesting in relation to that chart I posted is the simple fact that with 15 years more information about climate change/global warming, a certain segment has become less trusting and more disbelieving of the FACT that this is actually occurring. The party of anti-science has become more entrenched in their backwards distrust.
Faith, Ron, (and campaign contributions); faith trumps Godless science. Throw more facts and data sets at the faithful, and they sing hymns of denial.
Potentially and eventually the costs of climate change will outweigh all the wealth created by fossil fuels. Consider the ultimate abandonment of all coastal cities, roads, and bridges.
Dystopian R Us
The three largest countries in the world could stand a boost in temp. Russia Canada and China would love for the next 2000 years to have Floridas climate.
c6, if you knew something about grain baskets, and producing food in florida's actual climate, you would not make such sweepingly ignorant statements.
Canadians love to be in Florida, that much we know. If Canada, Russia, and China had florida's climate the global population would be a tiny fraction of what it is today because grain production would be far smaller.
Or, conversely, the world population would be fed on tropical/subtropical root, rice and fruit crops rather than temporate-region grains.
I've run across an interesting analysis of the economics of climate change by the Harvard economist specializing in environmental economics. The core of his analysis is a bit daunting but well worth the read:
Discounting the Costs of Climate Change in the Future
To add to the complexities and uncertainties, there is the fact that long periods of time are involved. The really high temperatures would likely materialize, if at all, only in the course of centuries. The worse the magnitude of the climate disaster, the more likely is it to occur at a further-off future time.
One premise of modern economics is that we humans discount the future. This simply means that we value something that happens in the here-and-now -- the present -- more than we value it, right now, if we will only get it in the future. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar a year from now, for example. And that means that a dollar a year from now is worth less, in today's money, than the dollar today.
We use a discount rate to compare the two -- which is, in the case of money an interest rate. So if the discount or interest rate were 3 percent a year, a dollar a year from now would be worth 3 percent less -- only 97 cents -- than a dollar today. At a 3 percent discount rate, that is the so-called "present value" of a dollar you wait a year to get and spend. And indeed, 3 percent a year is a commonly used discount rate for rewards in the future compared to rewards today.
It's important to notice that if an ordinary interest rate like 3 percent were used to discount the distant future, the power of compound interest is such that the present value of even very large damages could be made to appear small. A dollar today is worth 3 percent less than a dollar a year from now: 97 cents. Discount that 97 cents by another 3 percent to wait yet another year, and so on, and by the time you repeat the process for about 24 years, a dollar is worth just half what it is today. Wait 50 years and it's worth 22 cents. Wait a hundred years and a 2113 dollar would be worth barely 3 cents to someone living in the present.
There is a vigorous debate among economists about what interest rates should be used to discount the inter-generational damages from climate change. If we value highly the climate-associated welfare of future generations then we should be using low discount rates -- say 1 percent or less -- which would register the present value of their catastrophic damages as if it were equivalent to a very high level of present damages -- something that must be avoided by action now. If we used market interest rates, which are usually much higher, it could still be the case that catastrophic damages should be avoided by action now if the magnitude of the future catastrophic damages were high enough. So time and discounting introduce new wrinkles, but it could still be the case that what is most worrisome about climate damages is not their average or expected or most-likely mid-range value, but the extreme upper-end values associated with various sorts of catastrophe.
Once it is in the atmosphere, CO2 remains there for a very long time. Even if CO2 emissions were cut to zero at some point in the future (a very drastic assumption), about 70 percent of CO2 concentrations over the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm would remain in the atmosphere for the following one hundred years, while about 40 percent would remain in the atmosphere for the following one thousand years. This, along with the possibility of bad outcomes, is the argument for keeping CO2 concentrations from reaching very high levels.
Most people do not realize how difficult it is to stabilize CO2 concentrations. It is not nearly enough to stabilize CO2 emissions, which would cause CO2 concentrations to keep on increasing at the same rate as before. (This is because changes in concentrations are proportional to emissions.) The problem is that if you want to stabilize CO2 concentrations, you have to make drastic cuts in CO2 emissions. This is no easy feat. Yet, unless it is done, we are liable to reach very high levels of CO2 concentrations.
Global warming skeptics would dispute or minimize the link between CO2 concentrations and temperature increases. Here is yet another uncertainty -- are they or the mainstream climate scientists more right than wrong? But can we afford the luxury of assuming that a small minority of climate skeptics are more correct than the vast majority of mainstream climate scientists? What is the probability of that?
Admittedly, almost all of the relevant probabilities in this kind of rough analysis are uncomfortably indeterminate. But that is the nature of the beast here and shouldn't be an excuse for inaction. The bottom line is that if we continue on a business-as-usual trajectory, then there is some non-trivial probability of a catastrophic climate outcome materializing at some future time. Prudence would seem to dictate taking action to cut back greenhouse gas emissions significantly. If we don't start buying into this insurance policy soon, the human race could end up being very sorry should a future climate catastrophe rear its ugly head.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Odds of Disaster: An Economist's Warning on Global Warming
"Or, conversely, the world population would be fed on tropical/subtropical root, rice and fruit crops rather than temporate-region grains."
Right, except unfortunately c6 stipulates that the entire upper latitudes will have precisely the florida climate, which in most of that state includes multiple killing frosts per winter, so the majority of useful perennial tropical food crops are out, especially the tree crops.
A very long humid summer combined with the killing frosts in winter narrows the possibilities. Rice would be a big feature, I agree. We'll all be living on rice, sweet potatoes and cowpeas. Could be worse.
" Prudence would seem to dictate taking action to cut back greenhouse gas emissions significantly."
It certainly would, and if the entire human race was a focus group then most likely that would happen. The minority of individuals who would decide to continue reducing the fossil-fuel resources without any limitation would be ostracized and exiled by the others. That social pressure cannot come to bear when each individual human only interacts with an infinitesimal fraction of all other humans.
Hence our predicament, which is therefor insoluble.
We're having weather catastrophes just the way it is now, a shift so great that we are back to a mostly tropical dinosaur planet could bring a lot of really big bumps with the ride. And what if prehistoric rainfall patterns were not repeated, and instead the existing tropical areas became mostly rainless deserts with most days above 150 degrees F? The Sahara grows ever larger just as things are.
The idea that future weather patterns will in any way duplicate previous patterns just moved elsewhere is to ignore the dependence of weather on topography. Florida is surrounded by water and the temperature of the water on either side being different makes a huge difference-all the variables makes it just about impossible to predict what is actually going to happen to weather. How fast will it happen? When the 'Little Ice Age' happened millions starved.
Patricae, I agree, but want to point out that if Russian average temps become what are now Florida average temps, most of Europe could be under water, so the topography could resemble Fl closely.
Here's something not many people considered as a consequence of global climate change brought on by global warming,picinicking on an iceberg can be far more dangerous.
A cellphone photo of the picnicking American tourist group before they were rescued from an ice slab that broke off from land early this week in Iceland.
Here is a link that might be useful: nbc
A polar bear buffet!
Except global warming has been killing those off.
Another good thread, and we've just had another wildly precipitate winter since.
Have we changed our minds about climate change?
Good question. We just broke the records for snowiest AND coldest winter. The cities in the article are south from my location.
"This Wisconsin winter is one for the record books.
"The cold you have to go out into it and it just stops you," said Sharon Paetzold of Wausau.
The National Weather Service says more than a dozen central and eastern Wisconsin cities, including Rhinelander and Merrill experienced their coldest winter ever.
"The weather goes in cycles and once in awhile we will have a harsh winter," said StormTrack 9 Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Wausau saw its coldest winter in more than a century. Temperatures averaged 7.7 degrees from December through February, which is only 0.4 degrees warmer than the record set 110 years ago.
"It's several generations since we've had a winter this cold so it should be surprising to people how cold and how long it has been cold," said Loew.
But this winter wasn't just one of the coldest, it's also going down as the snowiest. Wausau recorded 64.5 inches of snowfall from December through February, breaking the old record set more than 50 years ago."
I know, "weather" and "climate" and not interchangeable words, but the term "global warming" elicits guffaws around these parts.
Here is a link that might be useful: Coldest & Snowiest
Well, Alaska and Greenland and parts of W.Europe would challenge assertions of coldest winter. The dominance of the Polar Vortex and crazy jet stream pattern that is supposed to be mostly zonal and not so meridional established this weird winter pattern.
Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
Mon, May 20, 13 at 9:53
It evolved into "Climate Change"
...when it got cold.
Evolve is an interesting choice of word.
It's what has been happening for millions of year.
Also referred to as "global warming" and now more conveniently, "climate change."
This post was edited by demifloyd on Sat, May 3, 14 at 0:29
Pretty sure the climate has and will keep on changing. I'm sure human activity has some effect on that, so let's blame someone besides our individual selves. Make sure they are rich, white, and preferable male. Oh what the heck, Republican also.
Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on Mon, May 20, 13 at 9:53
"It seems the term "global warming" is extremely unsuitable.
It evolved into "Climate Change" due to the resulting extremes. "Global Weirding" is another blanket description. Number put on hold....
...that's my quote in full Demi
Logic and common sense would tell us that industrialized civilization has played a decided role in hurrying along the natural evolutionary process of planet Earth's climate change... and that our slow initiative to realize, accept, and do something about it will end up hurting us in the long run.
Unfortunately, parts of our civilization only think in the short term...