NWR Climate change

As Tom says, no-one but an imbecile could deny that climate change is happening, quite rapidly and with serious effects, often unpredicted. Moreover, it is futile, and probably wrong, to claim that the main cause is anything other than mankind's uncontrolled emissions of carbon over the last 200 years.

But the media hysteria lacks perspective. The last ice age ended only 12,000 years ago, a mere blip in the history of the planet. A significant and long-term cooling occurred as recently as c.1500 AD, when major migrations occurred in consequence. No more than 5,000 years ago, and for almost a millennium, the ambient global temperature was 3 degrees C warmer than today, such that sea levels were much higher, and wheat and fruit were grown in Orkney which is impossible in today's lower temperatures.

Around 6,500 years ago, the peoples of what are now Syria, Lebanon and Israel built a massive wall to try to keep out the rising sea levels at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The remains of that vast structure, now under the sea, have recently been described by marine archaeologists.

One of the fundamental changes over the last 2,000 years has been the exponential rise in the human population. In consequence, low-lying centres of population are now gravely threatened by sea levels which will rise once again. Until recently, these areas were unpopulated. 8,000 years ago, Kiribati, for example, and major parts of Bangladesh, were submerged. This may well happen again.

Of course, we should try to arrest, or at least modify, the changes which global warming will bring about. Since most of the proposed measures will also reduce or even eliminate pollution, they should be warmly welcomed. But it is foolish to expect that the current bout of global warming will be substantially arrested, or even reversed.

But it is equally absurd to predict the extermination of humanity, or the end of the world, resulting from the current warming phase. In each of the very recent warmings, vast amounts of methane will have been released from the tundra in Asia and Canada, yet the planet has been able to cope with it. Major volcanic eruptions have caused large climate disruptions, albeit for only a year or two at a time, and there are likely to be many more. The recent evacuation of Goma in the DRC illustrates the likely consequences.

Yes, there will be major changes in weather patterns. The Gulf Stream may change course, or weaken. UK weather may change significantly, with colder patterns reflecting our latitudinal position less influenced by the warming benefits of the Gulf Stream.

But none of the likely effects could bring about the extinction of humanity. Major population shifts may well occur, as they already have for many millennia. One undiscussed consequence may be that areas of the globe currently uninhabited and uncultivated may become habitable and capable of agriculture as temperatures rise in the north.

Welcome to a planet of constantly shifting influences and climate patterns. Nothing is permanent, indeed everything is transitory. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
 
Of course, we should try to arrest, or at least modify, the changes which global warming will bring about. Since most of the proposed measures will also reduce or even eliminate pollution, they should be warmly welcomed.
With that it is impossible to disagree. Welcome back, Mark, and do tell us what you have been drinking.
 
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To be honest I’m with Musk. The future isn’t on this planet it’s in the stars. I hope all the focus on tech to solve the obvious climate threat we face doesn’t take away from the rapid investment we need in our fledgling space industries.
 
As Tom says, no-one but an imbecile could deny that climate change is happening, quite rapidly and with serious effects, often unpredicted.
Well argued, Mark, but I think you´ve made some false equivalences and leaps that downplay the seriousness of what´s actually happening. It´s easier to break down my reasoning into two parts:

Cause: You´re absolutely right; this is not the first time the world has warmed up. It is, however, the first time the world has warmed up as a result of human activity. That means that unlike before, this isn´t part of the natural cycle of the world. There isn´t an "off" switch, or a point at which it slowly falls back down. At the moment, there isn´t enough remotely enough of a concerted effort to slow down, so the issue becomes compounded. If we were to make a huge effort to stop now, as a global community, we´d still expect for the world to get substantially hotter over the next 100 years. A lot of damage has already been done.

Effect: This is where I think your reasoning takes a few leaps. Comparing two different worlds, for all intents and purposes, is not a good exercise. When you refer to mass migrations over the past 7,000 years, the global population was estimated to be between 10-50 million people. Today we´re practically at 8 billion people, 40% of whom live 100km or less from the coast. That global population is still growing faster than it ever has and has to have access to food, shelter and water in order to survive. Humans, as a general rule, fight incredibly hard to survive.

Have you seen the reaction when a group of 12 war-weary people show up in a dinghy, in the UK? Or the impact that housing 1 million Syrian refugees has had on European politics? Best of luck when Bangladesh goes underwater. Add the technology of modern warfare into the mix and it sends a shudder down my spine.

Simply put - the media isn´t being hysterical. They´re not talking about it nearly enough. As someone mentioned earlier in the thread; by the time even the most ardent of cynics realise the mistake, it will be far too late. Even if you´re living a comfortable life in the West, far removed from those who are already feeling the impact in a far more visceral way, this is going to affect our children and grandchildren in ways we would never have imagined.
 
Is there any such thing as “climate change denial”?

I’ve never seen or heard such a thing.

I would have thought climate change is undeniable, it’s the cause and solution that are subjects of debate.
Climate change is now clearly undeniable, but for the past 30 or more years, there have been numerous cases of people - many of them relatively powerful politicians, including US presidents, and of course the network of fossil-fuel-comany shills - who have outright denied that it exists. To be honest, I find it quite dfficult to believe that you can deny the existence of the denial. If there's no such thing, why is there a very lengthy, well-footnoted Wikipedia entry entitled 'Climate change denial'?

There is also no meaningful debate about the cause - what 'debate' there is only exists because of the seeds of doubt spread by the aforementioned denialists. And in truth, there's no real debate about the solution - we have to de-carbonise our societies as quickly as possible. Of course, that's not a total solution and there's plenty of debate about how we can achieve that and what else we need to do, but it's pretty basic really - the planet is heating up because of the greehouse gases we're pumped into the atmosphere, so to reduce the heating, we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we're pumpng into the atmosphere. Are you really ging to debate that?

Talking as though there's debate about these things is the reason why we're in our current, ever-worsening predicament. If it weren't for, yes, climate change denial and all of this "the science isn't conclusive" tosh, we could have mobilised decades ago and we wouldn't be seeing hundreds of old people die of heat stress in thir homes in Canada, to take just one of so many, many examples.
 
But it is equally absurd to predict the extermination of humanity, or the end of the world, resulting from the current warming phase. In each of the very recent warmings, vast amounts of methane will have been released from the tundra in Asia and Canada, yet the planet has been able to cope with it. Major volcanic eruptions have caused large climate disruptions, albeit for only a year or two at a time, and there are likely to be many more. The recent evacuation of Goma in the DRC illustrates the likely consequences.

I don't think that anyone is seriously predicting the end of humanity, but I for one am certainly predicting the end of numerous ecosystems. When you say "yet the planet has eben able to cope with it", what do you even mean by that? Well of course "the planet" will cope - it's just a big ball of rock and water, it doesn't care what lives on its surfacae - but will the biosphere cope? Yes, it has been through something like this before, but it has emerged in a very different form on the other side. Are you really comforable with idea of losing, say, 50% of the species that are currently on Earth? I'm not saying that's going to happen, but looking at past mass extinctions, it's not outside the bounds of possibility. As a scuba diver, the thought that we could lose the Great Barrier Reef in its present form in my lifetime is beyond horrifying.

And that's before we even start talking about the impact on human societies. No, we won't see the end of humanity but we will see a lot more people dying - from heat, from disease, from starvation, from extreme weather events, or, of course, when the boat they're trying to flee rising sea levels in sinks.
 
I guess once denial becomes impossible the obvious move to prevent doing anything meaningful or change the status quo is to say that nothing we do will move the needle or that the planet will ‘just cope’. I guess there’s little that we rich old guys in the West like more than the status quo, and little we detest more than being lectured about things by schoolgirls or even worse. The BBC. ;)

Anyway.

In terms of doing something meaningful on the individual level (which isn’t a lot really but is something) the last research I saw said that there’s really only options related to transport, fly less or not at all, switch to an EV when practical in your car life cycle) and diet (reduce meat and dairy and replace with sensible alternatives). With switching to solar at home coming next.

Oh and not having children, but not a lot most of us can do about that now. ;)
 
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The problem I have is that on one hand we say the science proves the link between man made CO2 and climate change, but then both correlations and causations are vague, and then we should also accept this vagueness too. That isn't science, but belief fitting. The science and research needs to be improved to join the dots successfully. And I am no climate change denier.
 
But saying the ‘science isn’t proven’ is exactly part of being a denier Steve.

It is not me saying it... see above. But to quote Geordie:

"With regard to your other statements, obviously it's difficult to model what was going on with the climate millions of years ago - the climate is incredibly complex and its behaviour is driven by multiple factors: atmospheric (questions of composition), geological (CO2 uptake and release by rocks), biological (CO2/methane uptake and release by organisms), oceanographic (CO2 uptake by the oceans) and tectonic (CO2 and SO2 release by volcanoes, changes in ocean circulation due to continental drift). And yes, there is obviously a cyclical element as well due to changes in solar activity. But there is broad agreement that periods of high temperature in the past have coincided with and been driven by high levels of atmospheric CO2."

Until we can accurately work out the expected natural baseline of climate change, it will be almost impossible to proactively target reduction in CO2, and then subsequently measure the success.
 
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London
there’s really only options related to transport, fly less or not at all, switch to an EV when practical in your car life cycle) and diet (reduce meat and dairy and replace with sensible alternatives). With switching to solar at home coming next.

Is it not worthwhile switching home energy sources as well? I have 100% renewable electricity supply (or so the supplier tells me!) and assume cutting out coal and gas makes some contribution.

Lots of UK houses could improve their heat efficiency too, I believe. Then there's the question of swapping gas cooking and heating.
 
I'd add "waste less" to your list, Russell. That includes things like excessive consumption of cheap stuff like clothing.
There are a bunch of political things, too.
One thing that was drawn to my attention recently is that the use of biofuels is all very well, but the materials are regularly shipped excessive distances on polluting lorries.
My reason for an EV was much more about lower tailpipe emissions than global CO2 output.
Things like eScooters seem to be the way forward for much of urban transport.
 
Until we can accurately work out the expected natural baseline of climate change, it will be almost impossible to proactively target reduction in CO2, and then subsequently measure the success.
I'm afraid I completely disagree with this. It's blindingly obvious that we're releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. It's also blindlingly obvious that this is having a very, very significant impact on the climate. We don't need to know how significant the effect is to five decimal figures before we start doing something about it. As Russell said, questioning the science and suggesting it "needs to be improved to join the dots successfully" is straight out of the deniers' playbook. It's like creationists pointing to gaps in the palaeontological record and saying that those gaps invalidate the theory of evolution by natural selection.
 
I'm afraid I completely disagree with this. It's blindingly obvious that we're releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. It's also blindlingly obvious that this is having a very, very significant impact on the climate. We don't need to know how significant the effect is to five decimal figures before we start doing something about it. As Russell said, questioning the science and suggesting it "needs to be improved to join the dots successfully" is straight out of the deniers' playbook. It's like creationists pointing to gaps in the palaeontological record and saying that those gaps invalidate the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Yes but unless we are totally carbon neutral, you cannot workout the baseline. What is the leading indicator in terms of reduction of CO2 to reduction in temperature. One month, six years, decades? I am NOT a climate change (or more accurately man made climate change) denier. I am an analyst by nature, and I do not like incomplete data models and assumptions.
 
By far the most effective impact an individual can have is to not have children. It outweighs any other choices we might make. Has anyone taken climate change that seriously here? If not maybe you should consider it. if half the planet did it our emissions would significantly shift in a generation.
 
By far the most effective impact an individual can have is to not have children. It outweighs any other choices we might make. Has anyone taken climate change that seriously here? If not maybe you should consider it. if half the planet did it our emissions would significantly shift in a generation.

It took me an age to workout how everything worked and now I can’t workout how to make it stop!
 
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