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Climate Change Cartoon - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Climate Change Cartoon
This cartoon does a pretty good job of looking at the climate change issue, with attention to the claims made by various sides of the argument.  It runs 18 pages.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
ford_prefect42 From: ford_prefect42 Date: December 19th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
hat is an accurate summation of one side of this issue, with completely inaccurate caricaturization of the other side.

In reality, there is not one single point made in that that is not at a minimum a subject of heated debate in the scientific community.

The problem is essentially that those making statements and forming the "consensus" are almost invariably speaking outside their area of core competency. The glaciation people say "sea level is rising because it is warming, the major ice sheets are not mass balance negative". The ocean temperature studiers say "sea level is rising because the ice sheets are melting, the ocean is not getting meaningfully warmer", and the sea level rise analysts say "I don't know what those guys are talking about, global mean sea level is not meaningfully rising". It's a room-full of people saying "I got nothing, but HE does".

(sea level)
"Based on the few very long tide-gauge records, the average rate of sea-level rise has been larger during the 20th century than the 19th century.
no significant acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise during the 20th century has been detected."

(ice sheets)
"Recent advances in the determination of the mass balance of polar ice sheets show that the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass by near-coastal thinning, and that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with thickening in the west and thinning in the north, is probably thinning overall. The mass imbalance of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to be small, but even its sign cannot yet be determined. Large sectors of ice in southeast Greenland, the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula are changing quite rapidly as a result of processes not yet understood."

(thermal expansion)
"We present new estimates of the variability of ocean heat content based on: a) additional data that extends the record to more recent years; b) additional historical data for earlier years. During 1955-1998 world ocean heat content (0-3000 m) increased 14.5 × 1022 J corresponding to a mean temperature increase of 0.037°C at a rate of 0.20 Wm-2 (per unit area of Earth's total surface area)."

(Note from this one that .037C is enough to account for the minimal sea level rise that has actually taken place).

It goes on like that,
The foremost hurricane researcher resigning from the IPCC over the statements of an IPCC spokesman blaming Katrina on AGW.

Furthermore, much is made of the AOCGM climate models. Models with 1 year timesteps, resolution sufficiently coarse to miss the very existence of everest, that do not include *any* terms for solar output variability, milankovich orbital variation, vegetative response or cloud formation/reduction. Those models are able to "hindcast" only over their calibration years, the years in which the factors have been "fudged" to *force* them to "predict" accurately over those years. 1 year before or after their calibration years, and their projections are not more reliable than outright guessing.

As an example, here is a graph showing actual temperature versus the "predicted" temperature from the IPCC AR1 report (1990)
Rather different aren't they?

Each and every aspect is the subject of similar levels of debate on the most basic science. This is why I remain *unconvinced*, agnostic, not atheistic. The science is simply not there to support the statements that keep getting made. That said, co2 is a radiatively active gas, so there is no doubt that releasing it will have impacts.

ford_prefect42 From: ford_prefect42 Date: December 19th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Now, on to the next problem. Conspiracies exist on *both sides* of this issue. Yes, Exxon funds research in denial of AGW. Al Gore, the UN, greenpeace, and the "green" industry funds science in favor of AGW. *both* produce bad science, when it effects the outcome. This is an issue on which there is a lot of money at stake, so there will be interests on both sides looking to shill for it.

Al gore stands to make *billions* from "carbon offsets", the Koch brothers stand to lose *billions* in carbon taxes. It is no reach to see that either side will be biased to believe that the other side is wrong on their issues. Governments stand to make *trillions* from the taxation and regulation, industries stand to lose those same trillions.

Were the situation as the proponents would have us believe, then there would have been no need for this.

Anyway, I just had to say this, because I *believe* in science, and seeing it so badly disrespected, distorted and abused as the AGW proponents have done over the last 25 years *nauseates* me.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 19th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)


I have been studying the environment across a wide range of perspectives for several decades. I've watched theories come and go. I've also watched some rather dramatic changes in my own region that span those decades.

At the moment, I am no longer very worried about the next ice age arriving and freezing our civilization to death -- although I remain aware that it is somewhat overdue based on past examples, and might become at problem at any time.

I am rather more worried about the warming trend. I find the humanocentric explanation for this to be convincing, although I'm aware that some other explanation might turn out better in light of new data. I HOPE that we are significantly behind the changes, because we can affect our own behavior. If the warming trend is valid, and it is not humanocentric but caused by something outside our reach, that would be bad. Say, if the sun is overheating, we're screwed. We can't go up there and change that lightbulb.

Also, I find that the kind of adaptations which would tend to lessen climate change would also lead to other improvements. Cleaner energy production would mean cleaner air and water, thus healthier people. Maintaining rainforests would protect the air and water cycles, and endangered species, plus we get useful goods out of there -- some of which can be sustainably harvested. I think we'd do better if we thought more like an ecosystem.

Other people's observations may lead them to other conclusions. Mine may shift somewhat over time. For now, this is the way I'm leaning.
ford_prefect42 From: ford_prefect42 Date: December 19th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

A lot of that is a very valid. IGCC coal plants "clean coal" are far more long term cost effective and emit less carbon per kwh (roughly half), and we should reduce the regulatory hurdles involved in the replacement of the older coal plants with them. Even allowing the utilcos to expand electricity production so long as they are doing so by replacing older plants with the newer ones. Windmills are nice, but don't do quite what the enviros wouild like to claim they do. PV is getting there, but for now it's pretty much just a subsidy stealing gig. Suvs are dumb and probably won't be around in significant numbers for more than another few years regardless of ecological impacts.

There isn't much doubt either a) that the environment is changing, it does that all the time, 500 years ago ((give or take 1000 years, during the medaevil warm period whenever that was, I forget), there were grape vines in scotland. The environment is *not* stable. OR that human activity will have some impacts, although we are nowhere near to determining the magnitude or even direction of those net total impacts. All that said, we've seen the results of a wide variety of atmoshperic chemistry, and human activity is not likely to have *too much* impact. It's also unlikely that any natural fluctuations will take the climate into "new territory", so really, I am pretty sanguine about climate related apocalypses (barring comets, novae, and nuclear war). That relaxation is mostly based on history, the earth has seen worse than us. Much worse. And it has changed much more quickly than it is now in the past too. The current warming trend is really only a problem if it continues for around 500 years. A lot can happen in 500 years. In fact, there is significant doubt that it is still "the current warming trend", it gives some appearances of being reversing (or at least platteauing). I worry when things *are* happening, not so much when "if the present exponential curve continues for another 100 years, things *will* happen.

One of the more interesting lessons of my life has been "thou shalt not extrapolate exponential curves". The earth is a complex system, and sometimes one variable will get silly, it will go exponential for a while, but then, some other unknown factor will crop up and the curve will break. Seen it happen dozens of times.

The trick is, as always, finding balance. Usually, I find economics to be a useful "divining rod" to determine environmental friendliness. It's cheaper to hire chinese factory workers than US because they work for 2200 calories worth of rice and live 10 to a room, versus americans who have cars, single family houses etcetera. So the chinese worker is *both* more environmentally friendly AND more economical (even though they are rougher in terms of pollution). The Chevy volt has a pricetag that is larger than the amount of fuel that it will ever save, that's because the batteries involve large quantities of lithium (a rare earth metal) and nanotech assembly methods with highly inconvenient chemicals. The Prius does far better both in overall cost and environmental friendliness. It runs that way in almost (but not quite) all instances that the cheaper thing (total final cost) is usually the more environmentally friendly.
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