Climate Change: are we screwed?


#1

I feel I have to speak out here as an important question has been raised:

Is Climate change real, Is it fundamentally harmful to the planet and all life on it, Are humans fundamentally responsible?

My answer here is an obvious Yes, Yes and Hell Yes!

I’m unsure where to start here: but I will start by asking a few questions to see where any disagreement lies and we can then go on to explore the evidence as required.

  • Do we believe that quantities of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane are increasing in the the atmosphere?

  • If yes are these due to human or other causes?

  • Do we believe that increased greenhouse gasses inevitably lead to an average increase in global temperatures?

  • Do we accept that an average increase in global temperatures leads to sea level rise and increased likelihood of extreme weather events such as storms?

  • Do we believe that the vast majority of climate scientists would agree that catastrophic climate changes are inevitable unless we have a major turn around in political attitudes.

  • Do we believe that those expressing scepticism either have no relevant scientific knowledge or are in the pay of organisations who make it difficult to express contrary opinions: “If your pension relies on you saying it’s a non-issue you are unlikely to blow a whistle”?

  • Do we accept there is a track record of big industry trying to con us?. Tobacco companies telling us cigarettes are OK, leaded fuel is unharmful, etc.?

  • Do we believe that the results of climate change will lead to: the displacement of millions, water conflicts and ultimately wars?

  • Does anyone have any other salient questions to raise?

As you can probably tell, my confidence is low here but I do think we are expletive deleted
unless we deal with these issues. Let me know your thoughts and we can explore the data and science where we disagree.

Please convince me I am wrong about this or encourage me it is not too late to make a meaningful change to mitigate the effects to an acceptable level.

I know this is a heavy topic for us but we have risen to such discussions before: “Does god exist?” I don’t want to re-open that one but we have shown we can discuss sensitive subjects maturely.


2x49: Social Missiles
#2

Warren, I see that you have a certain level of anxiety on this matter. I fear that, in comments I made in another thread, I must have heightened that anxiety to some extent. If so, I am sorry. I let something that was said on the show irritate me to the point of expressing that irritation.

I do want to clarify something. I have to do so repeatedly because when I express my irritation of matters concerning climate change, people think that I am a ‘denier’. I am a skeptic. Well, more of a cynic. But, can I manage to get my thoughts across about this? That I have some serious issues with the subject? Maybe.

First, cynicism. A half century ago, we were all going to die because of the Population Bomb. Life was going to end in a matter of a few decades. There were attempts to get political traction with that and it failed. And we’re still here. A decade or so later, we were all going to die because of an ice age that was coming. There were attempts to gain political traction with that, and that failed. Still waiting for that ice age (actually, have heard whispers from some climate scientists that are insisting on the matter.) Then, lets see. Oh, power plants were going to shut down, planes will fall out of the sky, life will be in disorder, thousands will die because of Y2K. About the only thing that happened was some books on the matter were sold. So, when I hear that we are all going to die because of climate change, I mostly think “here we go again.”

Science: It seems that just a few days ago, I was this little boy that wanted to be a scientist. A physicist mostly. I was to make observations according to the scientific method, as I understood it. I would form theorys about my observations. A critic would come with a hammer and destroy my theory and I would make a new one and have it destroyed by said hammer until one would stand up. Then the critic would come with a torch and go through it all over again. When it comes to climate change, no critics allowed. This position should not be challenged. Those who challenge are attacked personally so as to discredit them. That is bad science. And the cynic in me sees manipulation again. Red flags are raised. And then there is the manipulation of data to support the position. Policies are made based on predictions made by software that has factors in it to make results that are desired. These models have been shown to predict that the environment should be warmer today than it actually is. That is bad science. It has been admitted by proponents of said models that they purposely excluded factors that would minimize the results that they are wanting. When I read that admission in an interview with them, this whole situation of climate change as a “science” lost all credibility. Would someone please explain how, with fraud and dishonesty, I am suppose to take this seriously? That little boy who wants to be a scientist is asking why is it that the scientific method is thrown out the window when it comes to the climate?

Media: When I see that the majority of the media is all in on a subject, something fishy is up. Not only is the majority of the media all in on climate change, they are increasingly not allowing any dissenting voice on the matter. And when the memes such as “99 percent of scientist agree”, which is patently false, are spewed out, well, yes, something dishonest is at root here. And being that these media outlets that are all in lean towards a particular political direction, well then it is easy to see why because of…

Greed: The argument that those that are opposed to climate change are manipulated by big money interests, of which they probably are, is easily applied to those that are supporting the issue. That manipulation is obvious when one stands back from it and takes a look. There is big, big money to be made in a climate based economy. That kind of money can pay for “scientific” results.

Now these previous things I usually try to ignore and just get on with it. But what really gets me with the climate issue is…child abuse. Young children are being taught that they are going to die because of climate change, something that is, at best, a wild speculation. Some young ones believe they will literally catch on fire. Kids getting out of school and college are “climate stressed”. This is abuse plain and simple. It is despicable. It is immoral. It is reprehensible. And it is being done because of political motivations. I am sure that the thought is that kids with heightened emotions and fear are likely to vote a certain way. That is just wrong and it is child abuse no matter how it is tried to be explained away.

Now, does this all mean that I deny climate change? Not at all. It would have been so much better if the subject would have been approached scientifically and leave all other interests, political and monetary, out. As it is, the “science” of climate change has been compromised and that makes that little boy in me sad. It makes me, an old man, irritated and just further strengthens my cynicism.

There you have just a glimpse of my thoughts on the matter of climate change. If it has caused further anxiety on anyone, I’m sorry. You may be surprised to find that skeptics of climate change think that I’m all in with climate change because I’m skeptical with the “science” they support. Isn’t that what a scientific mind should do?


#3

Greg,

I won’t pick you up on everything here but I would like to raise a few points.

There are several parts of the world today where over population is an issue with people starving due to the lack of food or displaced due to fights over food. This problem has not totally gone away.

Several factors have mitigated the problem however which explains why the problem is no as bad as it claimed but these are all the result of deliberate action.

We took steps to limit population growth. China introduced a one child per family rule, many of the poorest countries of the world were given additional aid in the form of medical services, education and access to contraceptives - In many of these countries a large family was seen as your only insurance in later life, as the more kids you had the more were around to look after you. In richer companies financial benefits offered for smaller families: In the UK you used to get child allowance for each child this changed to only the first child and takes the form of a tax reduction if you earn enough - at least it did when my daughter was young - though this may not be the case today.

Diet many in the west have drastically reduced their meat intake: growing plants to feed animals who then feeds us is inefficient in terms of food production and land usage. If we just eat the plants more people can be fed and we leave more land for people to live on. My daughter is vegetarian, as are many, I still eat meat but not with every meal as I once did.

We are overdue an ice age. if the sun is less active its cooler so the Earth should be cooling. The angle of the Earth to the Sun and the distance of our orbit is telling us the Earth should be cooling. It isn’t why? These are cyclical effects which change over thousands of years.

I know many companies that were effected by Y2K: my brother did not get paid on time because the accounting software they used had a problem and for one week thought he had worked negative hours, The hours he worked the rest of moth were not enough to cancel this out. The company had to employ accountants temporarily to manually sort out the first months pay checks. The software the company used had already been patched, and all users written to to explain this was a critical patch, but they had not installed it. By the next month they were using the updated software, each employees records had been fixed and there were no further issues but a lot of small companies had similar problems.

If this had happened in the general banking system we would have had chaos but the banks were made aware of the potential problem years before and required to test there systems and fix it. I think planes falling out of the sky was just scaremongering as the only thing I can think that is time critical is GPS and therefore navigation but GPS is a new enough technology that it was never going to be an issue.

I am not yet saying we are all doomed but the evidence of climate change is incontrovertible, we are already seeing the effects, but we need to recognise this and take action now.

Unlike many I understand how climate works and have come to all the conclusions in my first post for my self based on the evidence presented in several research papers and not just because somebody told me so

The evidence that it is a non-issue just does not stand up to scrutiny.


#4

And yet scrutiny is not only unwelcome, but aggressively opposed. Scientific papers are dismissed by boards because they are skeptical. That is clear evidence that what has become climate science is compromised. Any data, and papers based on such data, should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

Edit: removed some wording because of feeling I was being unfair. Was wanting to just put a strike through it, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Feel free to look at the unedited version and chastise me for my unfairness.


#5

I am not convinced this is true, at least in scientific journals, but it may be true in main stream media because most people are not scientifically trained and not taught the scientific approach of critical thought.

If you can cite a paper, expressing climate change is a non-issue, you think is valid I wil happy to critique it for you,

You may recall “An Inconvenient Truth” a video by Al Gore, released in 2008 and presented by Al Gore.

Al Gore is no scientist but he does produce a ‘pony and trap’ view of the science as it was understood at the time. In it he shows a graph of both CO2 and temperature against time.

About 5 years later this was challenged because, it was argued, that while there was a correlation between CO2 and temperature. Temperature caused a rise in CO2 Not the other way round. This does not fit the raw data. I have checked this personally.

We should note that a correlation and cause are not the same but making false claims about the data is bad science.


#6

I think we might be at cross connections here. I don’t care about pros vs cons, for vs against, I care about the scientific method. I have listened (unfortunately not read) to climate scientists, that are skeptical of what is being posed as climate science, complaining that it is common that papers submitted by these skeptical professionals are being rejected out of hand by review boards just because they are skeptical and the members of the review boards are all in on climate change. And as such, gives an artificial view that ‘all scientists agree’. That is bad science.

When the scientific method is ignored, and it becomes obvious as to the motivations for it being ignored, that is bad science.

What I want is for a fair field of scrutiny on all that is presented on the subject. Get that hammer I was envisioning and go after these theories and remove what is invalid and keep what remains. And then go from there. That is simply not happening now and brings the whole field under suspicion.

From what I have seen and heard, my voice stands alone on this matter. I have not heard one word of concern expressed as to how and why the scientific method is ignored. All I do hear is the political aspects of what should be a scientific endeavor. That disturbs me.


#7

Greg,

I couldn’t care more about scientific method but from where I stand I am only seeing bad science from one side much of the data provided by the “climate change is not an issue group” is fake news (I hate to quote the Trump-miester here).

But as I have said before if you can provide information I shuld be happy to happy to critique it.


#8

I guess my wife is correct in telling me that I explain things badly. I swear she and I are saying the same thing, but she says not. So I’ll try one more time and if my concerns are not clear, I’ll give up and apologize for wasting your time.

My concern is that the scientific method is being disregarded in that I understand (and I realize that what I’ve heard could be in error) that peer review boards are unfairly rejecting papers that are critical of climate change because of the bias of the peer review boards. That is dishonest. If it turns out that, after proper scrutiny in the scientific method, that it is shown that the climate has been adversely affected by mans activities and abuse, then I will accept that.

I do not have a bias for or against climate change. I don’t have a dog in this hunt. However, until it can be demonstrated that this issue is properly handled according to the scientific method, I see no reason to do further investigation on my part. I will just bite my tongue when I hear theory, that has not been properly tested, stated as fact.

I hope this time I have expressed myself clearly. If not, I apologize.


#9

Greg,

Don’t feel you need to respond to this.

I think the problem here is the sources we are reading. I agree you don’t see much in the popular media contradicting climate change but this maybe because it is not seen as credible or there maybe other reasons. I believe the scientific method is being followed, as best it can be, in serious scientific journals.

Experimental Science:

Aims to explore the world and test any conclusions for validity.

For example a drug company claims a miracle cure for the cold: illness not low temperature. To verify this we take a large sample of people from around the world with all the common cold variants and tell them all about this wonder drug. At random we split these into three groups. The first group are told they are not getting the new drug because they are the control group, the second group don’t get the drug either but are made to believe they are, only the third group actually get the drug. Monitoring everyone over the next six months we not only who recovers fastest but if there are any subsequent medical effects and can make our conclusions.

Theoretical or Observational science:

Here we are limited to what is and can only measure.

I might argue, for example, that owning a computer extends your life. It may because people who own a computer, world wide, on average live longer than people who don’t: there is an obvious statistical correlation. I doubt this is good science however as not owning a computer is often a sign of poverty. I believe poverty and the lack of access to sanitation, decent food etc. does limit your lifespan. Computer ownership is probably not relevant.

Climate Change

We can only take an observational approach here since we only have one planet of relevance,ours the Earth.

What do we know:

  • In recent history the planet has been getting hotter, on average, and we have more extreme weather events such as storms or floods.

  • The presence of CO2 has increased and we have shown this is largely as the result of human activity through the burning of fossil fuel.

Does this mean that we are responsible for destroying the planet? Possibly or possibly not. We first have to establish if more CO2 leads to increased temperatures. We have tested this, in small scale in both London and Bangkok, it does and we think we understand why.

On a planet wide scale however we can’t test it as we only have one planet. My view here is as follows:

We are responsible for ruining the planet: Make steps to reduce emissions, reuse and repair. We live longer.

We are not responsible for ruining the planet: Make steps to reduce emissions, reuse and repair. We don’t live longer, because it has made no difference, but we have not lost anything either.


#10

Well, just one thought. IF it is true that there is censorship going on in peer review boards, can one be confident of what is published in scientific journals, that one is getting an objective view of all research? IF these allegations are true, then journals are less scientific and more Ministry of Truth.

Enough of that. Poor horse has been beaten too much!

Now, my very unscientific gut feeling? Trying to burn 500 years worth of cut firewood in one fireplace in one week is like the releasing of 1000’s of millennia of captured solar energy in a couple of centuries. I just can’t see that being a good thing.

Also, being an equal opportunity cynic, skeptics of global warming by mans means will point that the frequency and intensity of hurricanes has steadily dropped in the last century (which is no doubt a great comfort to one who is seeing the rubble of his home in the aftermath!). I cannot help to think of these massive storms as some kind of atmosphere safety valve as incredible amounts of energy are released. What’s will be the effect of that over time as the number of these storms decrease? Not a question that deserves an answer here, just musings of my mind, for what it’s worth.

A point I did hear which may have some validity. As people are raised out of poverty, they seem to have more concern for the environment. That would be a good thing.


#11

I hope this is true. It makes sense but too many buy more crap. Buy a quality shirt or, if you are a girl: a fantastic dress, you are no more beautiful if you only wear new clothes.

I know the two most beautiful girls on the planet are my wife and daughter. You should disagree with me here. For you, your own wife and kids should rule. I will never agree but nor should I.


#12

If you didn’t feel that way, it would be both sad and disappointing.


#13

I hope you realize that this line reads like a slightly more educated version of “teach the controversy”.

I understand your concern, but before you whip out the censorship argument, you must be 200% certain that such censorship is being applied towards actual and credible members of the scientific community. I have not seen anything like that around (to be fair, I don’t particularly follow the subject).

My ex-wife, a PhD, was often skeptical of the scientific community at large. Its mechanisms are simply bad, publishing is valued over all else and there are tons of bad papers out there. But even she did not have any problem whatsoever with climate change being accepted scientific reality.

One last thing: from your original list of “scares”, you forgot the ozone-layer hole. Big political controversy at the time, now solved - because we actually trusted scientists over industrial interests.


#14

Thanks. I knew I forgot something! :joy:


#15
  1. Thanks for the flattery. I am not well educated. I do not have a degree.Except for my doctorate of how to really annoy my wife! I know just enough to show my ignorance. But then, maybe it’s not flattery, you are simply being gracious to an old fart. I do appreciate the patience shown to me here. :slight_smile:
  2. I’m confused. I thought my expressed desire was reasonable.

#16

I have just one question:

Why, of all possible things, is climate change the one thing normal people get so fussed about? I mean:

  1. You already entrust every other aspect of your life to experts and scientists without asking, even in areas where stuff actually IS controversial (e.g. medicine or the economy) and wrong decisions can actuall directly ruin your lives. But when it comes to the climate of a planet you’re suddenly an expert and care?

  2. Everything we are being asked to do to fight climate change is also a good idea for many other reasons. Not burning precious stuff which pollutes the planet is a good idea. Not wasting resources is a good idea. Recycling is a good idea. Not having to depend on some large corporation or even a foreign nation for raw materials gives us more freedom. Decentralising energy production makes the grid more resilient and gives us more freedom. Not having to commute for hours on blocked highways gives us more time with our families. Not hopping on a plane for hours so we can all flood that Instagram spot in New Zealand is a good idea. Less smog makes our cities better. Not having to depend on a factory in China and then shipping stuff across the seas for weeks strengthens our own economy and gives us more freedom and flexibility. Et cetera, et cetera. If climate change is a reason to do something, there are at least three other good reasons for the same thing which are simply in your own interest.

I get that some of the stuff we are being asked to do can lead to temporary unemployment for some people or temporarily raise expenses, and that especially in the US lots of people don’t have the necessary skills to find a new job immediately and money is already too tight. But that has nothing to do with climate change. Politicians and lobbyists are just leveraging it for their own gain so they can avoid questions like “why is our education system so bad”, “why do we depend on some violent regime in a desert”, “why does the tap water literally burn when I hold a match to it” and “why are the wages so low when all those companies have record earnings all the time”.

If it turns out climate change wasn’t what we thought it was, but everything we did was still in our own interest for many other reasons - why don’t focus on those other reasons?

I will happily grant you the right to mock me with a “told you so” 50 years down the road if climate change didn’t happen. But please let’s do that while we’re having a beer together because we turned the world into a nicer place anyways.


#17

For clarity: I refer to “teach the controversy” as the rhetorical argument employed by creationists to spread propaganda criticizing evolution-based theories on the origins of the world. They basically argue equal weight should be given to faith-based theories of how the world was created and to scientific theories, “letting the person decide by himself”.

On the surface, this approach does look reasonable - which is precisely why “teach the controversy” works as a device: it appeals to the natural instinct of critically-minded people. When in doubt, consider both and pick the one you think fits better.

However, when it is applied to long-settled points of science, it is actively dangerous. It promotes long-discredited theories that the reader cannot evaluate in detail as scientists did. It results in people making decisions about science based on “gut feelings” and “what sounds reasonable” rather than on hard data, observations, and experiments, that would take too long for the individual to reproduce. Do you evaluate whether Newtonian physics are superior to Aristotle’s explanations, every time you want to talk about building a rocket? Of course not. If somebody started clamouring that Aristotle was right and you ignored him or forced him to leave the room, would you be censoring him?

Climate change is long-settled science by now, having been around in one way or another for almost 40 years and having reached acceptance by the overwhelming majority of the scientific community - maybe not 99%, but the margin is pretty large. By claiming that debate is being stifled (when it isn’t, in practice), we would be simply carving a space for long-discredited theories. That’s definitely not good science. By all means let’s keep refining models and challenge the most extreme positions, but let’s not deny that some real action is necessary to deal with the consequences of this process.

I don’t either. My ex-wife used to say I have more faith in the scientific world than she has, because I did not see “how the sausage is made”. That might well be the case. Still, I’d rather put my chips on Newton than St. Augustine or Dick Cheney.


#18

This makes me think of a time when all scientists were in agreement. Yet “E pur si muove” was heard on such an occasion. :smiley:


#19

This makes me think of a time when all scientists were in agreement. Yet “E pur si muove” was heard on such an occasion. :smiley:

Literally every logical fallacy known to man has now been committed in this thread, turning it into a textbook example for why climate sceptics are being ignored. If this is supposed to be sarcasm, I honestly cannot tell anymore.


#20

That’s a very uninformed and mistifying legend, of course. Read the relevant wikipedia page. Galileo was not a lone voice in the wilderness; he was part of a strong scientific debate, and was even supported by the same pope who eventually, years later, convicted him on doctrinal matters. He was not convicted because his theory did not match Brahe’s or Kepler’s, but because it did not match religious belief in what was still a theocracy, and because he had ridiculed the undisputed head of such theocracy. Unless you are arguing that climate change is a religious belief, Galileo has nothing to do with this.


Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.