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Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

After the first 5 discussions about AGW and now the thread about "ClimateGate", I wanted to start another thread about Climate Change.

What I want to discuss are:
1) What are the impacts of higher temperatures?  Let's run the what-if scenario - what if the IPCC guys are right and temperatures will climb by 1.1-6.4°C in the next century?
2) Are these impacts "bad" (this is the opinion part of the thread)?
3) What can be done to mitigate these impacts?  We're engineers, after all, and this is what we do.

I would very much like that any discussion about whether or not warming is occurring, or if its causation is anthropogenic be kept to the other discussions.  I would also appreciate it if there would be no discussion about mitigation by reducing emissions or taxing consumption, or any variation thereof.  Can we just debate the consequences and the "badness" of them.

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

3. What can be done to mitigate these impacts, with no discussion about mitigation by reducing emissions or taxing consumption, or any variation thereof.

I think in the other threads there were plenty of ideas presented.

However, there was one mentioned about adding iron to sea water to create a algie bloom (If I recall correctly).
Which brings up a question: does anyone know the rough iron content of magma?
Would this naturaly reduce the CO2 levels by creating smaller algie blooms?

And what are the apperent natural reduction rates of CO2 from other sources?

So how fast can nature reduce CO2 levels, or at what capacity?

Is there a corellation in increased CO2 levels and natural reduction levels?

If the stistics are correct on recycleing, an increase in recyled materials should reduce energy demand, but have we seen this?


RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

The last time that the earth warmed a few degrees is the time generally called "The Renaissance".  The warmer temperatures allowed for easier crop growth, abundant wildlife, the population had a bit more leisure time, and a tiny subset of the population created works of science and art that are still seen as master works.

Did the seas rise and kill off millions of people who had lived along shorelines?  I've looked and can't find any major upset in the records of those communities, but that could be that I'm not very talented in searching for the records of people without a written language.  When we look at the existing records of that time the discussion is about the bounty provided by the earth.

If the earth is actually warming today (and I don't think that we will be certain of that for several decades), then I don't see any evidence that it will be a globally bad thing.


RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Here's a few of the potential impacts:

- reduction in glaciers.  There are many major rivers that start from glaciers (Ganges in India, Rhine in Germany, the Saskatchewan River system in Western Canada).  What if the source of these rivers completely melted?

- as David mentioned sea level rise.  What would a rise of 1m mean to major cities such as NY, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Rio, Seattle, Vancouver, etc?  Could the mitigation that is currently being done in Amsterdam and London be used effectively in these other cities?

- increased arable land in northern North America and Eurasia and southern South America.

- increased drought in places that are already experiencing drought.  In places that have seen extensive drought in the last 20 years, I have to ask the question - why is there anyone left there?  At what cost are they being kept alive there?

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Al Gore is talking about "Rising tree mortality" when in fact the University of Wisconsin reports that Aspen growth is 50% higher with the increased CO2.




RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

- reduction in glaciers.
The ultimate source of the rivers won't disappear, just the buffer between snowfall and river flow may disappear.
This could lead to increased spring flow and reduced summer flow, depending on precipitation characteristics.

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

JMW, not to mention the Brazilian Rainforest with 42% of the world's increase in tree growth.  Goes to show that plant life would flourish.  There might be more glacial melting but that doesn't necessarily mean a huge increase in sea levels.  It just means that there is more fresh water in the cycle.  Some of that would lead to increased sea levels but humidity of the tropics would increase and so would humidity overall.  Not a bad thing for lakes, rivers and streams with more rainfall.

China scientists published a paper a few years ago about increased plant growth with increased CO2 levels.  I'm curious though if that study increased nutrients as well because they experienced decreased nutrition in the plants.

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

IMVHO, i think the direction of this thread is misguided.  

climate going to change, and most things will change with it ... some hotter, some colder, some stormier, etc.

i don't think harking back to the renaissance is particularly relevant ... there are a bunch more people living in the world today, the people living on the coastal fringes are more visible (do you think the renaissance europeans cared if some islands in the pacific with under (literally) ?

but, positively, what are we going to do about it ?

1) carbon sequestration ?  if carbon is the mother (and father) of the biggest disaster to happen is it rational to burn it and in fact burn more of it, in order to bury it in the ground ??
2) Nukes for the short term, fusion power for the long term ?
3) reserve petroleum feedstocks for the chemical industry ?
4) jack the price og gas/petrol at the pump by $1/gallon ... everywhere
5) enoourage developing countries to leap-frog our fossil fuel economy, and more directly to the "next" electricity based economy ?
6) SPS (solar power satellites), a medium to long term solution maybe
7) grow more trees ??

i guess, being practical, we're stuck with our fossil fuel economy.  i think we should be able to help the developing economies avoid this potential "mistake".  we're got more efficient IC engines, but "joe public" isn't particularly intereted (prefers faster, bigger, ...)

i saw some research about safer nukes ("pebble" reactors ??, that operate without high pressure).  how much are we investing in fusion research today ? (less than we invest in how to build a cheaper Mac burger i'd bet).

maybe planting trees, algae (insert vegeation of your choice, hops?) is an effective way to scrub the atmosphere.

increasing the price of gas/petrol is economically (and politically) unacceptable.

where's the CO2 coming from ? are cars the great evil ?? industry, power stations ??  i'm not slamming anyone, but we need to know in order to address the biggest contributor to the problem.


RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

The discussion notes that increased CO2 results in increased plant growth.  However, all plant growth is not equal.  Research at the University of Georgia has shown that the growth rate of certain plants increases significantly with CO2 concentrations,(such as Kudzu, an extremely invasive weed) while less so in other crops cultivated primarily for edible seed production (such as corn and soy bean).  We may increase production of leafy food crops like spinach, lettuce, or cabbage, but may also have more trouble with invasive weed species.

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

rb1957 has provided a thoughful list of actions. However -
1)Carbon sequestration may use so much energy that it does not help.
4)"Encourage..." Not if it means giving our tax money to tinpot dictators. How de we monitor spending in the "developing countries" without interfering with their sovereignty?
Obama has just called for "trust". That is not the way to go in a major financial transaction. I think he means faith.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Has anyone read the Stanislau Lem book, "The Futurological Congress". It was written about 30 years ago and addresses overpopulation, loss of resources, and pollution very well. In the book, the best scientists working together solved all the problems by figuring a way to continually pump hallucinogenics into the air and water. Everyone lived like a king, or at least thought they did.  

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

i tried to make the list inclusive ...
i too think sequestration is a waste of time and resources.

"encourage" means help them develop an alternative power basis (and not bloody windmills).  i'm thinking more along the lines of going directly to hybrids; spreading nukes around (like so much convettie) probably isn't a good idea, but maybe "clean coal" solutions are ?
just giving them money to "offset" the CO2 we're producing is plain nuts.  they need power, what if we help them to develop (give them) clean power stations ?

part of me, the really wierd part, is similing, 'cause the world is calling the west's kuyoto bluff.  kuyoto set targets, and 'cause the politicians didn't trust themselves/the others/the next guys they added penalities for not meeting the targets.  now i think they're saying, "crap, we can't meet the targets (without completely skrewing ourselves)" and the developing countries are saying "show me the money" ...

it's a funny old world ...

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

rb1957 - not misguided, just a different take on the subject.  Judging by the submissions thus far, I don't see anyone claiming that the world, as we know it, is going to come to an end.  However, if you believe the hype from many on the AGW side of the argument, that's what they would have you believe.

My premise is - who cares if it's warming!  We'll deal with it - humanity is a very flexible and adaptive species.

Did we cause the warming - who cares - we'll just deal with the consequences.  Will all life on earth cease - that's not even a consequence that was listed in the IPCC report - so I'm going to go with "Not Gonna Happen".  Some of the radicals advocating dramatic changes (David Suzuki, you know you fall in this category) would have you believe that, in fact, all life on earth will cease if the temperature increases a few °C.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not advocating the unlimited burning of finite fossil fuel resources - that's dumb, but for completely OTHER reasons.

I find it almost comical that people get so wrapped up in either the:
A) "Is it warming or is it not" debate, or
B) "Did human action cause this warming" debate.

I, for one, would be much more concerned if the planet were going into another ice age.  During the last ice age, there was an ice layer almost 1km thick over where I live.  That would seriously cramp my style!

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

People may be interested in this paper from some Chinese scientists published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists:


Note that it was edited by that noted doomster Paul Ehrlich.

Fundamentally, they have found that the warmer periods in the past have been better, and that the cold 14th and 17th centuries were absolutely calamitous for both Europe and China.

There is a lot of evidence -- I would say a preponderance -- to suggest that a warmer world is generally a better one.


RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

ok, let's take a vote ... would you rather stand around outside when it's -20 or +20 ?  (for you yanks, that's degC, 'cause 0 or 80 doesn't look as nice !)

heard much the same about europe, too ... that the better growing climate gave a bigger surplus that allowed for more "un-productive" members of society ... musicians, artists, explorers, administrators, lawyers?, executioners, ...  

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Let me see, Humm. If you have a reduction in glaciers, then would you not have more ground on which to grow trees? And would those trees not absorb CO2?

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

I'm quite looking forward to global warming.  After a weekend of nearly 20 inches of snow and bitter wind, let the warming begin!

I tried giving Al Gore a ring to come shovel the walks, but couldn't get ahold of him.  I think he might have been busy inventing an improvement to his original "internet" :>)

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

One thing I read is that although generally cold places will get warmer, the equatorial temperatures won't change very much. The downside there is that this will accentuate the melting of the permafrost.

The consequent release of stored methane does actually sound credible (although, again, we are still left wondering whether any of these trace gases in the atmosphere are important contributors). I doubt the methane will emerge from a few conveniently located vents, and I also doubt that extracting trace amounts of methane from the atmosphere will be practical, so we are left with sheets (I wonder what they are made of) spread across bogs with collectors every km or so. Anyone know how big the steppes are?

Alternatively we could seed the bogs with acid tolerant methane digesting bacteria, which will produce heat, CO2 and water.

Alternative 3 would be some sort of catalytic reaction in the atmosphere.



Greg Locock

I rarely exceed 1.79 x 10^12 furlongs per fortnight

RE: Educated Opinions on Climate Change - Is Warming Bad?

Check out these two scientists discussing climate change.
Toward the end they conclude that most of the weathermen will be laid off. Consider the panic among climatologists if the outlook was "pretty much the same for the next few hundred years".

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

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