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Global warming

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GCG
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« on: January 17, 2011, 17:28:21 PM »

there is a new buzzword, and its global warming.
but, how much of this, is just natural fluctuations in global climate, and how much is us pumping carbon into the atmosphere.
yes, we are killing off trees and decimating natural resources daily.  yes, we are polluting everything we touch.
but, on a global scale, how much difference could we make?
i have read, and heard, we are still coming out of the last ice age.  and i think, to me anyway, that seems viable.
maybe, we are helping the natural way of things along with out evil ways.

but i found some info which makes me think, this is just nature going through her thousand year motions.

these graph shows the rise of sea levels since the 1800's, from data gotten from tidal stations.



i think, in general, climates rise and fall, and the dynamics around it, is bigger and more intensive than we would like to think.
maybe it's a sign of modern times, we are rushed, so nature must allso be rushed.  accurate global accounts of floods and temperatures isnt there, so we cant make educated estimates, and have to rely on varying levels of accuracy of the last 200 odd years of science and observation.

i think too, that rivers and water-prone areas are more likely to have more poplution, so when the paw-paw hits the fan, then more people are affected, as, say, a hectic sand storm in the stix, or an earthquake in the bush somewhere.  and the more people are pressing in on cities.  the cities are reaching up as quickly as out, and where hundreds might have been affected by a flood in 1920, thousands are displaced now.

i dont believe climate change will be catastrophic within our lifetime, and the change will be slow and gradual, the way it allways was.  and people and plant and animal will adapt as they allways did.

different story if you destroy the natural resources though.  if water is ruined, its ruined.  whether its in a flood, or sitting quietly in its river.

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Benjammin
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2011, 22:33:02 PM »

Global warming is not a new buzzword, it has been around for a while, and the term really should be global climate change. However leave that aside. You are presenting this as a fair and balanced argument between two sides of contradictory conclusions, it isn't. The argument is over, humans are affecting the planet. On one side you have an ever increasing mountain of evidence and almost all the scientists (especially the ones who's field is specifically climate) and on the other side, a small percentage of deniers. Graphically it looks something like this (from information is beautiful):
Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists 2

If you want some evidence, here is a good start http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/ .

The final point is one of game theory. There are two possibilities and two possible courses of actions, giving us four possible outcomes:

1. 99% of scientists are wrong, climate change isn't happening and we do nothing.   Result: nothing happens.
2. 99% of scientists are wrong, climate change isn't happening and we do something. Result: we waste some money on programs cleaning up our energy consumption.
3. 99% of scientists are right, climate change is happening and we do something. Result: we might turn the Titanic around, and avoid the worst of climate change.
4. 99% of scientists are right, climate change is happening and we do nothing. Result: we destroy the earth as a human habitable planet, mass death.

Not sure about you, but I am willing to risk a little economic hardship to avoid the real possibility of mass death.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2011, 23:04:01 PM »

1. 99% of scientists are wrong, climate change isn't happening and we do nothing.   Result: nothing happens.
2. 99% of scientists are wrong, climate change isn't happening and we do something. Result: we waste some money on programs cleaning up our energy consumption.
3. 99% of scientists are right, climate change is happening and we do something. Result: we might turn the Titanic around, and avoid the worst of climate change.
4. 99% of scientists are right, climate change is happening and we do nothing. Result: we destroy the earth as a human habitable planet, mass death.
Man, this looks familiar.... where the blaises have I seen it before? Oh, never mind, I wager it'll come to me eventually, no pressure. Roll Eyes
To me, the question is not so much whether or not to embark on cleaner living, which is a good idea in itself, but rather if our cleaner living could turn the Titanic around at all. If man’s impact is merely the tip of the naturally defrosting iceberg (to torture the Titanic metaphor even further), then there is little we can do except to wait out yet another global cycle. Just like our ancestors did a couple of times.

Mintaka
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st0nes
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 06:51:29 AM »

Climate change is not a problem--it is a symptom of a problem, i.e. overpopulation.  If we don't fix the underlying problem, we have no chance of reversing climate change.
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cyghost
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 07:17:17 AM »

Man, this looks familiar.... where the blaises have I seen it before? Oh, never mind, I wager it'll come to me eventually, no pressure. Roll Eyes
I'll wager you have!
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Benjammin
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 07:44:05 AM »

I first saw the game theory argument in a youtube video, produced by a science teacher. Lots of people have made similar arguments.

My main point is the graphical one of % scientists. I am not an expert on climate, I trust the scientists who have spent their life studying this. They say we should be get below 350 ppm, the idea behind Bill Mckibben's 350.org project.
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Brian
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 08:04:34 AM »

Is it true that cattle fart produces more methane and CO2 than all the vehicles on the planet?

http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/short/73/8/2483
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772&CR1=warning

http://www.fao.org/WAIRDOCS/LEAD/X6116E/x6116e02.htm#b6-2.6%20Total%20Methane%20Emissions%20from%20Livestock
says inter alia:

Quote
Exhibit 26 summarizes the estimates of total methane emissions from livestock by region and production system. Total emissions are estimated at about 78.5 million tons. The pattern of emissions across regions and production systems is very similar to the pattern for enteric fermentation emissions because manure facility emissions are relatively small. As shown in the exhibit, Asia, OECD, and Central and South America have the largest emissions, accounting for about 58 million tons of emissions, or nearly 75 percent of the total. As a group, the mixed farming, rainfed production systems have the largest emissions, accounting for about 40 million tons, or 50 percent of total emissions.


The reports contradict each other depending who's done the research (vested interests). Has this been confirmed/rejected?
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 16:52:29 PM »

Livestock farming is a human invention, and we do breed them en-masse for our consumption, hence we are still the source of that CO2 (I realize you probably didn't imply that we were not responsible, but being clear) and methane.

And just as luck would have it, I recently encountered on the webs a means of lowering that output while still producing the same amount of protein: Eating insects.   Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?

I believe in human-induced climate change. You can't burn the amount of fossil-fuel we have in the last century, without having some effect on the atmosphere. And as we now realise, it has effects greater than our own input: We create X CO2, that increases temperature by Y, that melts a bit of ice, which releases Z amount of methane, which feeds back into front of equation...

However to address it we're not going for the easy wins: http://demopedia.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x88996

Thus fixing a relatively small number of ships could solve more problems than fixing all of the world's cars.

But if you love the environment, really love it: Don't have kids, you will save the earth from an entire lifetime of rampant pollution.
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Hermes
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 15:00:11 PM »

Quote
Ocean-going vessels now belch out more of the major air pollutant sulfur dioxide than all of the world's cars, trucks and buses combined, according to a study released Thursday.
Ocean-going vessels move more tonnage than the world's cars, trucks and buses combined.  They are the most fuel-efficient form of transport, followed by electric trains.   Sulfur dioxide is a pollutant, but not a greenhouse gas and actually causes climatic cooling.

Though not a climate issue, it appears that marine diesel contains an exceptional amount of sulfur dioxide and should be improved.
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st0nes
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 15:13:24 PM »

Ocean-going vessels move more tonnage than the world's cars, trucks and buses combined.  They are the most fuel-efficient form of transport, followed by electric trains.
This is possibly true.  The last ship I served in before swallowing the anchor carried 50,000 tonnes of containers fully-laden and burned 120 tonnes of heavy fuel oil per day.  It took 12 days to get from Cape Town to Southampton (~6500NM), burning a total of 1440 tonnes fuel.  Say a small car weighs about 1 tonne, then 50,000 small cars drove from Cape Town to Southhampton on 1,440,000 litres of fuel, or 28.8 litres each.  6500NM = 12,038km giving a fuel consumption for each car of 0.24l/100km.  Not too shabby.
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Hermes
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 16:29:48 PM »

To me, the question is not so much whether or not to embark on cleaner living, which is a good idea in itself, but rather if our cleaner living could turn the Titanic around at all. If man’s impact is merely the tip of the naturally defrosting iceberg (to torture the Titanic metaphor even further), then there is little we can do except to wait out yet another global cycle. Just like our ancestors did a couple of times.
Mintaka

Our pale blue dot goes through ice ages spanning millions of years, superimposed on glacial and interglacial periods of 40 000 to 100 000 years.[1]  No amount of clean living is going to stop these cycles and in the long run all species will indeed have to face whatever is in store: adapt or die.   The IPCC is not concerning itself with trying to stop these cycles, but with an acceleration in surface warming on a timescale of decades and centuries.   The major concern is not the long term survival of the species, but shorter term devastation caused by rapid climatic change.

Evidence extracted from the Vostok ice core indicates a very distinct correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and surface temperature over the last 450 000 years.  This leaves little doubt about the existence of a relationship between carbon dioxide and climatic temperature.  The data further indicate that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had never risen by a rate exceeding 30ppm over 1000 years.   Now it has risen by 30ppm in 17 years!  At 390ppm[2] it is also higher than it has ever been in the last 800 000 years, as is evident from the Dome C ice core.
Quote
The findings corroborate the analysis of air from the Vostok ice, and show that current levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, presently standing at 380 ppm and 1,700 ppbv respectively, are unprecedented in terms of levels reached and rate of increase, over that entire timespan.
  If this is not of anthropogenic origin, then how else do we explain it?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 00:21:51 AM by Hermes » Logged
BoogieMonster
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 11:25:12 AM »

Ocean-going vessels move more tonnage than the world's cars, trucks and buses combined.  They are the most fuel-efficient form of transport, followed by electric trains.
This is possibly true.  The last ship I served in before swallowing the anchor carried 50,000 tonnes of containers fully-laden and burned 120 tonnes of heavy fuel oil per day.  It took 12 days to get from Cape Town to Southampton (~6500NM), burning a total of 1440 tonnes fuel.  Say a small car weighs about 1 tonne, then 50,000 small cars drove from Cape Town to Southhampton on 1,440,000 litres of fuel, or 28.8 litres each.  6500NM = 12,038km giving a fuel consumption for each car of 0.24l/100km.  Not too shabby.

My comment wasn't about them being efficient at carrying X amount of cargo Y miles. It is about relative gross output, and ease of prevention. It was about them being an easy win (in my non-informed on ship retrofitting opinion). The POINT is if they burn so much fuel that the world's cars pale in comparison, and the fuel is of such horrible quality, and NOTHING has been done about making them better (whereas cars are pushing the boundaries of better fuel-consumption numbers every day). It surely is a no-brainer that doing likewise for ships will make things substantially better, just imagine what their l/ton-mile would look like then!
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GCG
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 11:47:48 AM »

i cant help getting the feeling, that carbon dioxide is the key factor here.

my friend dave, once said something which made sense.

back in the day, when the world was dark, plants came along, used used up the carban dioxide, converted it onto their cellular system, and gave off oxygen.   thus, over thousands/millions of years, the air was 'cleared' of gasses that would kill off life as we know it.
the trees died off, and became fossils in the form of coal and oil.  locking away that carbon dioxide.

now we come along, dig up those fossils.  burn it up, release all that carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

i get the idea, that by the time we are done, we would have reversed the earth back to prehistoric times, but a helluva lot faster than any animal can adapt to. 
and hey presto!!  back to square one.

a pretty efficient way to curb evolution.  you get clever enough to use up resources, you vrek.  start over again. untill a sentient species comes along that does not freck things up as they go along.

ofcourse,this is based on no scientific research or theorems, but it makes damn good sense to me.

you go mother earth!!
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st0nes
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2011, 11:51:01 AM »

Ocean-going vessels move more tonnage than the world's cars, trucks and buses combined.  They are the most fuel-efficient form of transport, followed by electric trains.
This is possibly true.  The last ship I served in before swallowing the anchor carried 50,000 tonnes of containers fully-laden and burned 120 tonnes of heavy fuel oil per day.  It took 12 days to get from Cape Town to Southampton (~6500NM), burning a total of 1440 tonnes fuel.  Say a small car weighs about 1 tonne, then 50,000 small cars drove from Cape Town to Southhampton on 1,440,000 litres of fuel, or 28.8 litres each.  6500NM = 12,038km giving a fuel consumption for each car of 0.24l/100km.  Not too shabby.

My comment wasn't about them being efficient at carrying X amount of cargo Y miles. It is about relative gross output, and ease of prevention. It was about them being an easy win (in my non-informed on ship retrofitting opinion). The POINT is if they burn so much fuel that the world's cars pale in comparison, and the fuel is of such horrible quality, and NOTHING has been done about making them better (whereas cars are pushing the boundaries of better fuel-consumption numbers every day). It surely is a no-brainer that doing likewise for ships will make things substantially better, just imagine what their l/ton-mile would look like then!
I understand your comment (in fact I agreed with it).  We must be careful not to confuse pollutants with greenhouse emissions.  Ships are a dirty, but very efficient means of moving goods about the planet, and the pollutants they pump into the atmosphere are far from human populations.  As far as 'fixing' the ships is concerned, I think the slow-speed marine diesel is about as efficient as it can get;  to say that 'nothing' has been done about making them more fuel-efficient is ludicrous.  Shipping companies are businesses and fuel is near the top of their cost structure, so they put enourmous pressure on shipbuilders to produce fuel-efficient ships.  In fact one company I worked for were seriously considering installing sails on some of their bulk carriers to augment their diesel engines.

Probably the best solution (from a pollution point of view) would be to have a nuclear powered merchant fleet, but that is impossible for political reasons.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2011, 14:23:29 PM »

Am I the only one here that thinks burning thousands of tons of hydro-carbons creates a lot of CO2?

It calculates that annual emissions from the world's merchant fleet have already reached 1.12bn tonnes of CO₂, or nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the main greenhouse gas.

The report suggests that shipping emissions - which are not taken into account by European targets for cutting global warming - will become one of the largest single sources of manmade CO₂ after cars, housing, agriculture and industry. By comparison, the aviation industry, which has been under heavy pressure to clean up, is responsible for about 650m tonnes of CO₂emissions a year, just over half that from shipping.


Yes, bigger than cars on sulphur, smaller than cars on CO2... but still significant enough to warrant attention.

Quote from: st0nes
...and the pollutants they pump into the atmosphere are far from human populations.


The health implications of shipping emissions are most acute for Britain and other countries bordering the English Channel, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. A recent peer-reviewed study of shipping emissions found world shipping led directly to 60,000 deaths a year.


Quote
Shipping companies are businesses and fuel is near the top of their cost structure


I won't imagine I know what they have and haven't done, but my observation indicates fuel prices doesn't seem to have anywhere near as much of an effect on car manufacturer's fuel efficiency as government regulation, even though most motorists would love to pay less on fuel. I suspect it's because the manufacturer perhaps doesn't exactly please the customer with superior efficiency, but they also don't incur the cost of that efficiency, having to pass onto the consumer, making less competitive in the market.
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