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Global Warming Questions - What’s the metric?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pat Sajak (yes, that Pat Sajak) asks 10 questions about global warming. These aren't questions that are necessarily pointed at one side of the argument or another, they're fairly general questions. You can read them all here.

Of course he's interested in how we measure global temperature (and are so sure it is different now than last year) and whether there might be possible benefits to a warmer, world, etc., but then he gets to what I consider the most interesting questions.
7. Should such drastic changes in public policy be based on a “what if?” proposition?
That's the primary question most AGW "deniers" are asking. And anyone who argues the science is settled is simply asserting that, as it appears to be anything but settled. Yet here we go, rushing headlong into trying to solve something we may have absolutely no power to solve. And at this point, we don't have enough information to know whether that's true or not.

And that leads us to probably the most important question of the bunch:
9. How will we measure our successes?

Is the measuring stick going to be temperature, sea level, number of annual hurricanes, rainfall, or a combination of all those things? Again, do we have a goal in mind? What happens when we get there?
That is a fantastic question. What is our metric for success?

We demand it for Iraq. We demand it for just about everything we do. Why in the world aren't we demanding it for this?

When will we know we've "fixed" the problem? And is there a chance, assuming we actually can fix it, that we could go too far and make this an ice ball? I mean you have to consider that to be a possibility if you truthfully believe we can reverse the warming trend, right?

Where does this end?

And how?

Inquiring "deniers" want to know.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
When will we know we’ve "fixed" the problem? And is there a chance, assuming we actually can fix it, that we could go too far and make this an ice ball?

This is an extraordinarily important question that far, far too few people are asking.

Global warming is a civilization-scale inconvenience. Mind you, "civilization-scale inconveniences" can still amount to millions of deaths and trillions of dollars in damage of various kinds, but still, to civilization, an inconvenience.

Global cooling and another ice age is the end of human civilization. No joke. Civilization falls, and even if humans as a species survive the ice age until it warms again, the next civilization gets to try to start up with all the easy resources gone. Good luck.

Global warming doesn’t really scare me. (Civilizational-scale inconveniences, alas, are a certainty.) Global cooling terrifies me.

Personally, I think I have the rational end of this argument here, and I challenge anybody who says otherwise to demonstrate exactly how living with global warming is worse than living under a mile of ice. (Or on top of a mile of ice. Either way.)

Absolutely, positively anything we do, and that fully includes even "dumping less CO2 into the air", needs to be carefully examined for whether it will work too well and bring on an ice age.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
The measures of success are numerous: global equity, a living wage for all, the end of capitalism, the dethroning of Bush, etc.. Altruistic experts will generously decide for us all when these measures have been achieved.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I wonder where Erb is with his fallacious arguments...
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Pat Sajak: How will we know when we fixed the problem?

Al Gore: When carbon emmissions arer cut by X % within X amount of years determined by the IPCC. Next Question.

Pat Sajak
: But shouldn’t we n.....

Al Gore: PSSSSTT!!!!...Next question.

 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
To put an end to all this stuff, we need to declare "War on Global Warming".

This war will be on two fronts .. the first is to reduce emissions that may affect "global warming" that would be good to reduce no matter .. the second is to tax the hell out of anyone involved in war profiteering, like Al Gore.

I expect that once this is declared a war, the Left will turn on the whole idea.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
If the War on Global Warming goes as well as the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs, it’s gonna get mighty hot here over the years.

BTW, I remember when Pat Sajak was the weatherman for the NBC affiliate station in Los Angeles.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Before I read any of the links, I’ll just note that you are a tool of the "warming" industry.

/oliver
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
9. How will we measure our successes?

Is the measuring stick going to be temperature, sea level, number of annual hurricanes, rainfall, or a combination of all those things? Again, do we have a goal in mind? What happens when we get there?
You can be sure that the "metric" will be political, and not scientific, quantatative, or in any way verifiable.
 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
Sajak’s questions read like they come from Rip van Winkle. Climate change has been a concern for more than 20 years, yet he thinks this issue has materialized only recently. He asks questions that were answered long ago. They are reasonable questions, but he asks them like he is treading fresh ground. In fact, an hour or so on the Internet would yield detailed answers to most of his questions.

"How do we measure our success?" Simple. We look at emissions. All sorts of emissions goals have been proposed and discussed, and the two Princeton professors, Bacala and Socolow have established a general framework they call "carbon stabilization wedges" for assessing different approaches to the problem.

This notion that we could overcorrect and turn the planet into an ice ball is patently ridiculous.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
This notion that we could overcorrect and turn the planet into an ice ball is patently ridiculous.
No more ridiculous than the idea that this time when we drive up the CO2 it’s going to result in a never ending heatwave when it’s been demonstrated the CO2 has already been historically higher before.

tipping point! Woooo hoooo.
So if it can tip beyond saving one way, it can tip beyond saving the other. That’s how balance works.

It’s silly, but it’s a silly notion in either direction.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
This notion that we could overcorrect and turn the planet into an ice ball is patently ridiculous.
Really? So if humans can not affect climate cooling, how then can we affect climate warming?

You cant have it only one way. Either we are, or we are not, a significant contributor to the global climate.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
"How do we measure our success?" Simple. We look at emissions. All sorts of emissions goals have been proposed and discussed, and the two Princeton professors, Bacala and Socolow have established a general framework they call "carbon stabilization wedges" for assessing different approaches to the problem.

Which just goes to show how thoroughly politicized the problem is. That’s a stupid metric. If the problem is global warming, the appropriate metric is global temperature.

Using emissions as a metric just shows that you don’t really care about global warming. It shows you care about "curbing emissions", and it’s not a long leap from there to being essentially a Luddite, trying to curb technology in general.

If you don’t like that characterization, I suggest changing your metric. It’s a fundamentally unserious metric, so it shouldn’t feel to bad.

(For further evidence that people monomaniacally focusing on "emissions" rather than the true metric, look how offended people are when you suggest fixing the problem through some other engineering technique. They are offended precisely because if we actually fix global warming, they’ll lose the cover for their anti-technology pogrom. Ignoring this is just being blind to who is most excited about global warming, and the miracle that the exact solutions for global warming happen to fit their pre-existing ideology. What a coincidence.)
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
"How do we measure our success?" Simple. We look at emissions.
That’s an odd measurement. If the goal is to prevent the earth from warming, then what we should be looking at is rate of change of temperature. Unless you can perfectly guage emissions with temperature change, measuring emissions doesn’t tell you anything about the earth’s warming or cooling.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Unless you can perfectly guage emissions with temperature change, measuring emissions doesn’t tell you anything about the earth’s warming or cooling.
Details, schmetails steverino... it’s for the CHILDREN!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
This notion that we could overcorrect and turn the planet into an ice ball is patently ridiculous
How so? It is obvious that a goodly portion of us think we can stop it from warming (although no one can explain quite exactly how and how much is enough).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"How do we measure our success?" Simple. We look at emissions. All sorts of emissions goals have been proposed and discussed, and the two Princeton professors, Bacala and Socolow have established a general framework they call "carbon stabilization wedges" for assessing different approaches to the problem.
Or we could sign on to Kyoto, or Kyoto II and join the other signatories with successes like this:
The Kyoto treaty was agreed upon in late 1997 and countries started signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data and compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following.

* Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
* Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
* Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
* Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.
Yep, seems forced emissions regulations work really well. /snark
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
That’s a stupid metric. If the problem is global warming, the appropriate metric is global temperature
I’d like to thank you all for so plainly demonstrating how little you understand about climate change. The problem is not warming; it is emissions. We did not notice a warming trend and then go, "Ahh! Why is this happening? It must be the SUVs!"

What actually happened is we noticed levels of gases like CO2 and methane rising in our atmosphere and asked, "What effect might this have?" We looked for trace evidence of past atmospheric compositions and found, contrary to looker’s incorrect statement, that CO2 levels fluctuated between 200 and 300ppm over the past half-million years or more, yet currently CO2 is at around 380ppm. This observation has always been the central problem. After studying cooling effects due to reflected sunlight and warming effects due to trapped heat, scientists realized the warming factor is stronger, so they predicted the excess CO2 would trigger a warming trend.

For many years, the status-quo dullards said it was all a myth, but as the century came to a close with year after year being warmer than any in recorded history, this position lost credibility. Instead of admitting they were wrong, however, the petulant babies just said, "OK, it’s getting warmer, but it’s not our fault." Now we’ve got a bunch of fools who don’t even realize that the core issue is emissions jumping in to the discussion.
Either we are, or we are not, a significant contributor to the global climate
That’s a great point, but it argues in my favor. It is the deniers who say we can not affect global climate, yet now they are saying we could plunge the Earth into an ice age if we try to stop the warming trend. They are the ones who want it both ways.

In any case, if we did everything possible to reduce our emissions, it wouldn’t trigger cooling. It would just mean that nature would return to being fully in charge of the climate, rather than mostly in charge with us doing a little tweaking. The next ice age would come thousands of years from now for the same reason ice ages always come: the Earth’s trajectory deviates slightly farther from the Sun than usual.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
but as the century came to a close with year after year being warmer than any in recorded history, this position lost credibility.
It was warmer in the past, and correlations aren’t causations.
It is the deniers who say we can not affect global climate, yet now they are saying we could plunge the Earth into an ice age if we try to stop the warming trend. They are the ones who want it both ways.
How can you say that with a straight face? If you can push it one way, then you can probably push it the other. Using broken models to level out levels of one thing based on incomplete histories is a recipe for disaster in nature or in the economy. The thing I keep seeing governments do is management of issues they can’t possibly understand to achieve results that weren’t optimal in the first place in order to mitigate imaginary, catastrophic risk.
 
Written By: Raw Toast
URL: http://
Addendum to last post before somebody claims I don’t know what the "plan" is: one example of pushing it the wrong way would be to sequester CO2 when it’s needed because of artificial benchmarks
 
Written By: Raw Toast
URL: http://
That’s a great point, but it argues in my favor. It is the deniers who say we can not affect global climate...
That’s a straw man of the worst order pal. Almost without exception, the "deniers" are merely those who are unconvinced that we have as impactful an influence upon global climate as the AGW acolytes demand we accept. We’d be a bit more convinced if the models that you rely upon for predictions of catastrophic global warming could re-create weather patterns two weeks ago.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The straw man is this notion that we could plunge the world into an ice age. It’s the kind of pointless argumentation you get from people whose political bias makes them determined to destroy an idea before they bother to understand it. Likewise, your desire to have climate models "re-create weather patterns" just displays your fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. Climate models don’t deal with weather patterns. They deal with carbon cycles, heat exchange and the basic chemistry and thermodynamics of the oceans and atmosphere. Weather happens at smaller spatial and temporal scales than those needed for climate modeling. Nonetheless, one of the ways they calibrate climate models is by starting them 30 years ago and seeing how well they predict current conditions.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
The straw man is this notion that we could plunge the world into an ice age.
Nonsense. The contention of those who claim that controlling emissions of CO2 is that by doing so, we (humans) can effect the global climate to the extent that we can prevent it from warming.

So why, given that claim, is it too much to say we could overshoot that target, given you own premise, and go too far with our "temperature adjustment"?

It’s your claim. Are you further claiming it has no possible down side?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I already answered that question. By reducing emissions, all we are doing is scaling back our small impact on the climate so that nature is back in full control. Nature won’t be delivering another ice age for thousands of years. To do what nature does not want, we would have to do far more than just reduce emissions. We would have to build a giant reflector in outer space, or something ridiculous.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
By reducing emissions, all we are doing is scaling back our small impact on the climate so that nature is back in full control.
You’ve got to be kidding.

You are going to help nature take back "full control" by deciding what is the proper amount of emission of one gas in an incredibly complex system which includes solar radiation, cloud albedo and thousands of other important variables?

I mean look at your contention - you’re contending we can effect global climate and weather to some optimum point by "tweaking" the emissions of one gas while ignoring all the other components of the global climate.

Do you really find that to be a persuasive argument? Do you even find that to be a common sense argument?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Now you are making things up. I haven’t said a thing about any "optimum point" or ignoring components or anything like that. All I’m saying is that your contention about plunging the planet into an ice age is utter nonsense. If a plague hit Earth next year and wiped out 99% of humans, our emissions would drop pretty much as far as they could drop, much farther than anyone is proposing, and there would still be no danger of an ice age. Ice ages come when the astronomical cycles say so.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
Now you are making things up. I haven’t said a thing about any "optimum point" or ignoring components or anything like that. All I’m saying is that your contention about plunging the planet into an ice age is utter nonsense.
LOL!

You really aren’t getting this are you?
Ice ages come when the astronomical cycles say so.
But not warming trends, huh?

Geez.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Obviously you are uninterested in defending your claim that "we could go too far and make this an ice ball." You seem to be missing the point that emissions are the core issue. We may or may not be experiencing a warming trend, though it increasingly looks that way. What there is no uncertainty about is that CO2 levels are at an unprecedented high.

The goal is not to adjust the average temperature of the planet; it is to bring CO2 levels down to natural levels.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
Obviously you are uninterested in defending your claim that "we could go too far and make this an ice ball."
Obviously you don’t understand the irony of that statement.

Sorry, not interested in playing with someone who doesn’t understand the game.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Obviously you don’t understand the irony of that statement.
Such is the case with weather truthers.

But I cant stop there.

persimmon, just what is the "natural level" of airborne CO2? I’d like scientific documentation that supports why that level is natural, as well as preferable.

One last request... Your whole theory is predicated upon the belief that nature can deal with natural sources, but not the anthropogenic; Please reveal the mechanism that allows our climate to differentiate between natural and man made CO2 sources?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The natural level of CO2 over the past half-million to one million years has varied between 200ppm and 300ppm, depending primarily on how far the Earth was from the Sun (see Milankovitch cycles). All the documentation you could ever want can be found here. The current level is around 380ppm.

The climate does not differentiate between natural and anthropogenic sources of CO2. If CO2 concentration rose to current levels for some reason other than us pumping 7 billion tons of the stuff into the atmosphere each year, it would still be worrisome, but there would probably be nothing we could do about it. That’s the difference between natural and anthropogenic sources: we can do something about the waste we produce.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
You seem to be missing the point that emissions are the core issue.
Then this is not a Global Warming or Climate Change issue?
The natural level of CO2 over the past half-million to one million years has varied between 200ppm and 300ppm, depending primarily on how far the Earth was from the Sun
So the "natural" CO2 level is "primarily" dependent upon our distance from the sun? Or is it dependent upon the amount of the sun’s radiation received by the earth? Regardless of CO2 level? Which is the chicken and which is the egg here? How do you account for the disappearance of the polar icecaps on Mars? Global warming, obviously. But what is the cause? No man-made impacts up there. Could it be the radiant effects of the sun have changed?
The goal is not to adjust the average temperature of the planet; it is to bring CO2 levels down to natural levels.
Somebody has left you off the AGW distribution list. You know, "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" folks have stopped communicating with you. UN Climatologists are in tears in Bali over the plight of the planet and they seem to think it is temperatures that are at issue. I do not mind at all supporting actions that reduce air emissions and result in cleaner air for all. If that is the issue, let’s tackle it. But if that is the case, I do have problem with scaremongering people over a fallacious "Global Warming" scare just to clean up the air.

So, which is it persimmon? Is it a global warming issue or a clean air issue? Because if it is a clean air issue, your comments mean nothing in this particular discussion.

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The starting point for all inquiry on this subject is the fact that our emissions have driven CO2 concentrations to unprecedented levels. The predicted impact of this is that the Earth will retain more heat from the Sun, causing more extreme weather and altered climate patterns. So global warming is an emissions issue, and climate change is an emissions issue. Whatever you want to call the problem, what you are ultimately talking about is greenhouse gas emissions and what impact they might have on our planet.

The reason for the "scaremongering" is that we have known about this threat for more than 20 years, but little has been done. The longer we wait to address the problem, the harder it gets. The issue is also getting more attention because it has expanded beyond the world of scientists and policy wonks into general discussion. Most people now understand the nature of the problem and the threat, including many Republicans, businessmen and evangelicals, and they want to be good stewards of our planet.

As to your questions about Mars and the Sun, you really should go to the website I linked to or this one to find the answers. In brief, we have extremely precise measurements of the Sun’s output going back about 50 years, and the fluctuations are small and trending downward. Further, the correlation between variations in Earth’s orbit (ie, distance from the Sun) and glacial advances and retreats strongly suggests that the Sun’s output has been effectively constant for a long time.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
The starting point for all inquiry on this subject is the fact that our emissions have driven CO2 concentrations to unprecedented levels.
Nonsense.

A little history will show you that the levels now aren’t anywhere near "unprecedented levels".
During most of the Mesozoic era (the period from 65 to 259 million years ago), CO2 levels were between 1,000 and 2,000 ppm, with occasional peaks that reached levels higher than 2,000 ppm.
Why should anyone take anything you say seriously when you begin with a false statement?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
There must be at least three posts by me in this thread where I specified the historical frame in which "unprecendented" is a valid term: a half-million to one million years.

If you go back far enough, there was no oxygen and no liquid water right here on Earth. If you are going to go back 65 to 259 million years, you might as well just argue that anthropogenic global warming can not be true because humans don’t exist.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
The starting point for all inquiry on this subject is the fact that our emissions have driven CO2 concentrations to unprecedented levels.
No, the starting point for all of this discussion is global warming and the causes of same. You assume this is a single issue problem. CO2 increase equals global warming, therefore emissions decrease is the only possible response. I simply do not believe there is a simple answer nor that there is a simple response.

Example: The polar ice caps of Mars have virtually disappeared. Global Warming seems to be the culprit. Increased CO2 emissions the cause? Apparently not, manmade or otherwise. What then is the causation? And if there is warming going on with Mars does it not seem likely that our own warming trend might be caused partially by the same factor/factors?

As I stated before, if you want to discuss cleaner air then that is a different proposition. I am all for a decrease in man-made emissions to achieve cleaner air. But if you want to approach a global warming issue with such a simplistic approach, you better have more ammunition with you than just your mantra of "our emissions have driven CO2 concentrations to unprecedented levels." That kind of pseudo-science does not float with even the simplest of scutiny.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
There must be at least three posts by me in this thread where I specified the historical frame in which "unprecendented" is a valid term: a half-million to one million years.
The framing of this isn’t up to your exclusion of valid scientific data. There is nothing "unprecedented" about this particular amount of CO2.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Global warming on Mars" is pseudoscience. Direct observations of the Sun’s activity show changes in solar activity are not to blame for the melting on Mars, so whatever is causing it has nothing to do with what is happening on Earth. There are discussions of what might be causing Martian ice to melt at the links I provided, which you obviously ignored.

Global warming is a prediction, or it was a few decades ago when it was proposed. Now it is becoming a prediction-come-true. The real, here-and-now, observable fact on which the prediction is based is the sharp rise in CO2 in the atmosphere since industrialization. We wouldn’t even be talking about global warming if we hadn’t first noticed that our emissions were altering the composition of the atmosphere. How the atmosphere is responding to our emissions is a complex matter, but the core issue is simple: our emissions have driven CO2 levels well above the highest levels seen in almost a million years.

McQ, the fact that you are fixating on a single word and refusing to respect the context in which it was used says a lot about your ability to deal rationally with this subject.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
McQ, the fact that you are fixating on a single word and refusing to respect the context in which it was used says a lot about your ability to deal rationally with this subject.
Any "argument" which proceeds from a false premise is a false argument. Elementary stuff.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"We wouldn’t even be talking about global warming if we hadn’t first noticed that our emissions were altering the composition of the atmosphere"

So the fact that temperatures were rising would have gone unnoticed? Nobody would have said something like "Gee, the Earth’s temperature has risen x degrees over the last Y years; I wonder why?"? Seems kind of backassward to me.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Any "argument" which proceeds from a false premise is a false argument
It’s not a false premise. Over more than a half-dozen full cycles of glaciation and retreat in the immediate past, CO2 levels never rose above 300ppm. They are currently near 380ppm. That level is unprecedented in recent geologic history.

The first two times I stated my premise, I specified the time period. The third time I figured I didn’t need to belabor the point, and that’s when you jumped in with your irrelevant objection. Having clarified my point, you still refuse to acknowledge that, yes, within the relevant window of time in Earth’s 5 billion-year history, my premise is valid. I’ve provided specific numbers so there is no ambiguity, yet you ignore those numbers to try to create the illusion that I am wrong. Your tactic is dishonest.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
Your tactic is dishonest.
Because your premise is BS. Emissions are the problem say you. BS. Warming is the problem. And you insist that the single casue of this warming is CO2 levels above 300ppm. Well, bucko, there have been ice ages with CO2 above 300ppm. So what?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
It’s not a false premise.
Of course its a false premise. You are arguing that CO2 is at "unprecedented levels" and that is why we must do something immediately to limit further emissions (and this doesn’t even begin to address the lunacy of a "single-source" cause for global warming).

I’ve pointed out, by link, that these levels aren’t at all unprecedented, and, in fact, are quite minor in comparison to other levels of CO2 in our past.

Hence your attempt to qualify the present situation as "unprecedented" is false, misleading and even dishonest. And your premise that it requires immediate action on our part is equally false.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You all are desperate. This started with me challenging McQ’s absurd claim that we might overcorrect on global warming and plunge the world into an ice age. At no point has McQ made any attempt to support that assertion. Instead, he and others have tried to saddle me with positions they presume I must believe, take my words out of context, and throw simple contradictions at me, like I might care what you think when you have nothing to support yourself but ignorant disbelief.

I know full well that CO2 levels have been much higher than present levels in the distant past. Once the Earth had an anaerobic atmosphere that supported nothing but cellular life. Once it had an oxygen-rich atmosphere that supported huge lizards and dragonflies the size of seagulls. The only relevance of any of this is that it proves our atmosphere is not very stable. We toy with it at our own risk, and we are doing just that by spewing 7 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the air each year.

It is simple to attack another person’s position, as you’ve shown. It is not so simple to defend your own premises, which is surely why McQ has abandoned his lame premise. I have no doubt you guys can nitpick me until I’m exhausted, but I am even more certain that you are hopeless defending your own positions. You are mostly bark, but you are so toothless, there’s a good bit of spittle and slobber too. Your gums tickle a little.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
You all are desperate.
Desperate about what?

You’ve based your argument on a falsehood. I’ve pointed it out. Your reaction has been to deny it.

Who’s desperate?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
we are doing just that by spewing 7 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the air each year.
That’s a lot of gas, you know. Even I have to admit it is a lot. But then I take another look at the number and you know what I find?
Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
Only 6 out of 186 Billion tons from human activity.
At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere - less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2-impoverished.
Less than 4/100ths of 1 per cent. Now that is a pretty small number.
CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life - plants and animals alike - benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.
Seems at odds with your statements, there pers.
CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans - the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.
And the final kicker:
If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions would have a negligible effect on global climate!
Reference: http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

Now to be honest, this particular site does not state there is no global warming. It just looks at all of the relevent factors regarding the current warming trend and puts CO2 into context. You do not like it, persimmon? Refute it.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell, there is nothing there I need to rebut. It looks like good information to me, and it just underscores my point. Our impact on the climate is small relative to natural forces, and McQ’s claim that we could overcorrect and plunge the world into an ice age is absurd. Thanks for helping me make my case.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
Your case was as you stated:
"How do we measure our success?" Simple. We look at emissions.
My position is that it is not that simple.
Our impact on the climate is small relative to natural forces
I didn’t need your help for making my case, but thanks anyway!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SSheill, there are a few different discussions going on here at the same time and not much good-faith effort to communicate. You want very much to disagree with me, but really you are not. I know full well that the climate is far from simple, no disagreement there. The human impact on the climate, however, is based only on our emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane. Any meaningful metric of our successes or failures with regard to climate change will be an emissions measure. Temperature is a secondary effect and therefore not a useful metric.

The other discussion which you are not really part of relates to McQ’s initial claim that action on climate change could throw the world into an ice age. This is absurd and based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. You have helped demonstrate why our ability to affect the climate is too minor to result in anything so drastic.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
Wake up persimmon - it was a question, not a ’claim’ ...
And is there a chance, assuming we actually can fix it, that we could go too far and make this an ice ball?
... and you’ve provided nothing but your baseless claims that it can’t happen in answer.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
it was a question, not a ’claim’
Fine. The answer is "No, there is no chance." I’ve explained why in detail. Your resistance to understanding does not equate to my argument being baseless.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
I’ve explained why in detail.
No, you haven’t. You’ve asserted. You’ve claimed.
You’ve dissembled. You’ve ignored. And you’ve proven to be completely dishonest through all of it. You can’t even explain why CO2 is the "sole-source" of the warming trend and how taking our little tiny bit out will have an effect, but you certainly claim that to be the case. And here you are claiming the opposite can’t possibly be true (granting the former is).

How can anyone take anything you say seriously?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I haven’t been dishonest about anything. You are the one taking my words out of context and trying to make me explain things that you think I must believe, for example:
CO2 is the "sole-source" of the warming trend

Who are you quoting here? Not me. I’m not even talking about a warming trend. In fact, I’m trying to make the point that the actual trend is in CO2 concentration. Warming is the predicted impact of that CO2 trend. I know too much about the science to claim there is a sole source for anything as complex as a trend in global climate. It is, however, obvious that human emissions are the reason CO2 levels have risen to levels not known in almost a million years.

how taking our little tiny bit out will have an effect
You are simultaneously arguing that 1) our tiny bit can’t cause any warming and 2) removing it could turn the planet to an ice ball. It is your second point that can’t be taken seriously. Asking that question shows your understanding of this issue is lacking. I’m trying to point out that you put the cart before the horse. CO2 is the horse. Warming is the cart. If you believe that we are trying to cool off the planet, your question makes sense, but what we are trying to do is reduce our output of CO2. Whether that has a cooling effect is up to the planet, but it will not cool it any lower than the temperature we’d be at if we had never invented the internal combustion engine and grown to a population of six billion.

The goal is not to cool the planet. Temperature is not the metric.
 
Written By: persimmon
URL: http://
I haven’t been dishonest about anything. You are the one taking my words out of context ...
Oh, you mean context like my supposed "claim" that we’d turn the earth into an iceball?

Physician, heal thyself.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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