Over the weekend President Obama and other world leaders broke the news: No legally binding international climate-change treaty this year.
In the past few weeks it had become clear that sorting through the many unresolved issues (the level of greenhouse-gas cuts that each nation would commit to, the amount of aid that rich nations would give the developing world to ease their transition into a clean-energy economy) would take longer than a matter of weeks.
Then there's the fact that the United States has yet to pass climate-change legislation of its own, which could be the biggest obstacle of all. The rest of the world is waiting to see what the US brings to the table before committing to cuts, and with health care and the financial crisis tying up Congress, there is now no chance of the Senate passing cap-and-trade legislation before the end of the year.
The new plan is to use the Copenhagen meeting as a stepping-stone to serious treaty talks either in Mexico City or Germany in mid-2010, but what the delay means for the treaty's eventual chances is hard to say. Having attended the Climate Change Congress in Copenhagen last March—where we watched scientists from around the world gather to make formal recommendations for policymakers and listened to speeches from leading researchers that were by turns apocalyptic and cautiously optimistic that we can still turn this thing around—it's hard not to be disappointed by the news.
But according to Joe Romm, one of the sharpest climate-politics observers around, this delay is "very good news" in that it actually increases the likelihood of an eventual deal. This could be full-on delusional wishful thinking. But it's the least depressing analysis we've seen so far, so we'll leave you with his take: "The new plan for Copenhagen makes the prospects for a successful international deal far more likely — and at the same time increases the chance for Senate passage of the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill that Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen Lieberman (I-CT) are negotiating with the White House."
Climate change is unavoidable so stop trying. Not only that but it will be beneficial. Convection works well and most of the effects of climate change go to where they are needed most. Alaska and Canada will be warm enough for real people to live in soon.
Here's the thing that has me so fired up about Climate Change and our IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDE towards it.
Science has proven that the Earth is hotter than it has ever been right now. We have less ice at the poles than we've ever had right now. The level of the ocean is higher than it has ever been right now.
It is clear from the evidence that the reason the Earth has this incredible fever is because of carbon emissions by man in the last 100 years.
Um, that IS what the Global Warming Alarmists would have us believe, is it not?
As an exercise of logic, if the Earth has ever been hotter than it is today, despite the lack of man's input, then it would follow that 1) Earth can survive higher temperatures and 2) it is impossible to tell if we are the cause of the most recent increase. To claim that man is the cause simply because we are here "this time" is the worst kind of post-hoc argument.
Next, consider this. What was so special about the Earth's temperature in 1900 that any significant increase from that level would be "catastrophic"? As glaciers have melted and retreated, they have found the fossilized remains of farms where the ice once was. In other words, the ice wasn't always there - the Earth WAS warmer.
Step back and look people. The whole Man-made Global Warming Myth doesn't even pass the laugh test.
Its true that the earth has been far hotter than it has now. In fact we are just coming out of an ice age and are still vastly colder than that of a couple hundred million years ago. The main problem with global warming is the fact that the biosphere is heating up faster than ever before and not allowing many of are current species to adapt to the heat. thus causing large gaps in the ecosystem, which could devastate the way of life for every animal on earth.
The problem with trying to reduce CO2 is that it is very hard to do. Our renewable options are very expensive and far from being ready to take over a large portion of our energy production. Nuclear might work, but only if we figure out what to do with the radioactive waste, and the reactors still will take a long time to build, and be expensive, and use a lot of water that may not be available.
Right now, the only reliable way to reduce CO2 is to use less energy. Everyone knows this, and nobody wants to do it, and that is why the negotiations are going so badly. Any legislation coming out of Congress is likely to be watered down in order to reduce the effects on consumers. But without some kind of pressure, consumers won't change their behavior and use less energy. And I don't think anywhere near enough of our legislators would be willing to commit political suicide in order to force people to conserve energy.
CO2 is a lot like government debt: Everyone wants it to go down, but nobody wants to do the work required to make it go down. Nothing is likely to change until we hit a brick wall. When the melting permafrost starts releasing methane on a serious scale, then we're really going to feel the heat.
"The main problem with global warming is the fact that the biosphere is heating up faster than ever before and not allowing many of are current species to adapt to the heat. thus causing large gaps in the ecosystem, which could devastate the way of life for every animal on earth."
This is a rather bold assertion. The very hallmark of life on earth is its ability to adapt. Loss of habitat is a far greater threat to biodiversity than climate change. Life is quite resilient and adaptable.
We *have* figured out what to do with our nuclear waste. We spent 13 billion dollars and 27 years doing so. Unfortunately, that effort was largely wasted by the current administration when it canceled the nearly complete Yucca Mountain Repository, sending the whole project back to square one. Thirteen billion dollars in tax money taken from Americans, squandered in a moment by our president.
There are technologies that can be used to reprocess the waste to draw even more energy from it, but the present administration is not interested in nuclear, largely for political reasons. Environmentalists are *huge* contributors to the Democratic party, and with few exceptions, they are strongly against nuclear energy.
I'm very thankful to hear that there will be no chance of any agreement sacrificing American interests to the will of the global leftist socio-environmentalist movement. Thankfully, either cooler heads have prevailed, or it has become clear enough to the heads of the respective world governments that there is no imminent threat of catastrophe. Here's hoping that another year of cooling in the books, to go along with the previous eleven, will be enough to fend off the insanity of destroying American sovereignty in the name of some leftist redistribution of wealth.
Stuart, if you're reading this, is it too early to start dancing yet?
you know the earth will warm then go into a ice age so im gonna buy a house in latin america to stay warm while you move to alaska and freeze
Actually Kstauff the real opposition to nukes is coming from legislators bought and paid for by Big Coal/Oil. These odious industries know nuclear power would save the country a bundle with a $2.5 trillion nominal investment in nuclear power brought in over a few years and paid for by weaning itself off the $1 trillion spent annually on fossil fuels. A payback period of less than three years is a damn good investment in anybody's book
Fortunately for Canada and Mexico, our political system is hopelessly grid locked and corrupted by Big Oil and our energy structure like our medical system is run almost 100% by grossly inefficient private companies. That structure along with the "renewable" biased Nuclear Rejection Commission and corrupt and litigious legal system, will likely quadruple American nuclear costs compared to our neighbors.
Instead of just the 150 or so highly sophisticated Atomic Energy Canada Ltd Candu ACR-1000 nukes, Canada would need to wean itself of fossils, it could supply America's needs as well. It could rim the border with an additional massive Canadian employment boosting 2500 mass produced reactors and make $trillions selling the US nuke power at premium rates, making publicly owned AECL, the world leader in nuclear power, and generating a huge high paying job producing Canadian industry.
Canadians and Mexicans must love this American new age "renewable" religion.
You don't have to convince me on nuclear, and I don't dispute your position on Big Oil's hands in this. I am speaking more to the failed science of AGW and the scare tactics its proponents use to persuade the public to buy into their insane Cap and Tax schemes. I remain unconvinced of the supposed threat of CO2. That said, I fully support diversification of our energy sources and elimination of purchases of fuels from foreign sources. Here's hoping we don't find ourselves buy uranium from unfriendly suppliers.
Well, when you've got rhetoric like "global leftist socio-environmentalist movement" in your post, you can pretty much count your credibility out with anyone that isn't a diehard fan of Glenn "Crybaby" Beck or Rush "Pill-Popping" Limbaugh. Also unhelpful are these knee-jerk generalizations of virtually all environmentalists as anti-nuclear, when the originator of the Gai Hypothesis, James Lovelock, is himself a major proponent of nuclear energy as a way of reducing the carbon output of industrialized nations. I realize that the hosts of this website aren't going to take this kind of misinformation to task, but some of us out here are a little tired of having a major source of public information on scientific matters being used as a source of unchallenged anti-science propaganda. There's a reason the editors of Popular Science, Scientific American, Discover, New Scientist, The Journal Nature, and darn near every other reputable scientific publication have not been publicizing much work from the skeptics of human-influenced climate change -- most of them are wingnuts or are in the pockets of major industries that fear short-term loss of profits from having to comply with reduction in greenhouse gas production, and the majority of their work does not pass peer review or meet the professional standards of scientific inquiry. There are certainly those that point out needed modifications to the understanding of climate change, but on the whole, the basic science of climate change as a result of human activity is well established. I now await the inevitable angry response from the anti-global warming crowd, but at least I feel I've spoken up for the quiet majority (I hope) of Popsci readers.
@Mike_R I totally believe we are the driving force behind global climate change. All that coal and oil comes out of the ground and into the air and there's such a freeken lot of it too. But I like it. I want to coat Greenland in soot so we can get the land I want the northwest passage. And for ever 1° increase in temp at the equator there is like 10° degrees at the polar ares, that is what convection dose and it will work better when its hotter. We will gain more useful land from Canada Siberia Greenland and who knows perhaps Antarctica than we will loose due to sea level rise. Things will change but over all for the better. What we need to do is engineer earth like you might a garden. Lets make huge inland seas to moderate temperature and increase precipitation in the deserts. Lets build barriers to direct ocean currents. Yes we need to take good care of the earth but that doesn't mean we embalm it and place it behind glass in a museum.
I'm sorry you don't like the attributions I make to those behind the global warming scam, but if you take just moment to look at where they stand and how hypocritical they are with regards to the prevention of CO2, I think an honest person would find that they support socialist, environmentally protectionist policies, and they are of a primarily leftist political stripe. Deny that if you wish, but it seems obvious to me.
You seem to be making the same mistake that most do with me by lumping me into the political right. That speaks more to your own prejudices than mine. I reject a great deal of drivel from the political right as well. Call me independent if you need a label.
I don't consider Dr. Lindzen at MIT or Dr. Spencer at the University of Alabama to be wingnuts. They have provided reasonable and strong skepticism of the research that attempts to support global warming theory. The problem with AGW is that it has become highly politicized by people like Al Gore who stand to makes hundreds of millions of dollars by creating legislation favorable to their business. As such, the media, which is generally left leaning, has also capitalized on the hype, selling all manner of fear to the average consumer who is woefully ill-educated in matters of science.
During this same period, observation of the climate has shown a leveling off of temperature DESPITE an increases in CO2. While the theory is failing, the left and their media accomplices are pulling out all the stops to create new taxes and regulations which I believe will seriously affect our economy and standard of living, all either in support of a failed theory or in a malign scheme to tax the public for a non-existent threat.
If kstauff's comment of a"global leftist socio-environmentalist movement" destroys his credibility wouldn't your comments of diehard fan of Glenn "Crybaby" Beck or Rush "Pill-Popping" Limbaugh and the not so subtle call for the editors of PopSci to quell speech you don't agree with, destroy your credibility?
I think like kstauff, the growing opposition to this type of legislation is among the people who view themselves as independent, of both political party and in the way they think. They are the actual silent majority, who wish proof that makes sense. With answers that are reasonable and don't produce a cure that is worse than the disease.
There is a conspiracy as he said, in the sense that a conspiracy is a group of people working toward a common goal together and aren't 100% honest about their purpose or what that goal will be if it's realized.
The only question that remains for people is how much do you know about it and do you think that solution will be better or worse, knowing that much of what you know about the problem has been defined by the same people who wish a certain specific "solution". And most importantly how are you coming to that decision? Examining the facts on both sides with an open mind or blind belief in "our" team and blind hatred for "that other" team?
So what you're saying is, Canadians aren't real?
This is very flattering -- 3 personal responses to my post, including 2 from the Anti-AGW Rapid Response Team.
Thanks animemaster, for the attempt at putting a cheerful face on global warming, but while the Northwest Passage might be useful, I don't think thawing out Northern Canada, Siberia, or Greenland will help us much. For starters, at those high northern lattitudes, even if the soil were fertile, croplands would not get sufficient sunlight to make them productive enough to replace land lost in the more temperate climes to drought and more severe weather caused by rising temperatures. But that's a moot point, since the soil in most of these places is often thin (as in the Canadian shield, where it was scoured by the last ice age)or non-existent (as in Greenland, where the ice sheet sits on bedrock and would wash away any good topsoil the process of melting). Also, areas of land that are currently permafrost won't be very usable for some time, as we can see in parts of Canada and Alaska, where the thaw has resulted in crumbling buildings, roads, and other infrastructure when formerly solid ice becomes boggy ground. To top things off, this melting permafrost will release billions of tons of methane, and even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, adding another positive feedback to the cycle of global warming.
On to kstauff... You mean this Dr. Lindzen? -- Ross Gelbspan reported in 1995 that Lindzen "charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled 'Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,' was underwritten by OPEC." ("The Heat is On: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial," Harper's magazine, December 1995.) Lindzen signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration. Certainly he has scientific credentials, but I'm just a tad skeptical of his motives. But of course, he wouldn't be politicized by fossil fuel funding the way that evil Al Gore is, right? Honestly, though, I've seen enough of your posts on other topics to know that while you may be independent of Republican dogma, your overall leanings on topics such as healthcare, the military, and of course climate change all lean to the right side of the political spectrum. That's fine, as I readily admit most of my positions (with the exception of the need for space exploration and the utility of nuclear energy) are centrist or left of center. But don't claim to be entirely unbiased yourself, when you prolifically employ the vocabulary of the right to describe anyone disagreeing with your views.
Regarding my own view of global warming, I'll say this one, and only one, time. I wasn't a believer in it at the time Kyoto was signed, but before Gore came out with the sensationalistic "An Inconvenient Truth," I'd already decided (yes, independently and for myself), that the preponderance of scientifice evidence from the myriad studies and papers on the topic did indeed support the concept of human industrial activity as a major factor in the warming of average global temperatures. No particular scientist, politiician, or celebrity made me exclaim "Eureka!" at any specific time, but my own judgment led me to conclude by the end of the 1990s that the theory was indeed sound. You can label me as a "sheep" for having an opinion that coincides with the scientific and mainstream media consensus, while patting yourselves on the back for being "independent" when latching on to the pronouncements of one or two of the relative handful of contrarians out there, but it doesn't make your view any more valid than mine when we both consider our thoughts to be our own.
Mycellium, it's nice you have kstauff's back, but I you seriously misconstrue my comments if you think I want to censor him. Challenging someone's views, and encouraging others to do so (the staff at this website have from time to time issued their own statements on various topics, as is their right), does not constitute an attempt to limit their freedom of speech. It simply is my own exercise of the same right. Also, it is not damaging to anyone's credibility to point out that Limbaugh and Beck are outside the mainstream of political discourse in this country, and are not worth taking very seriously. After all, Limbaugh's racial views are offensive enough to the majority of African Americans that he can't find an NFL team that would accept him as a co-owner, and Beck was once referred to by Stephen King as "Satan's mentally challenged little brother" for his incendiary rants. If it's any consolation, I don't see much need for following the commentary on MSNBC either, in reaching a sensible opinion on any topic. As I described above, I do prefer to keep an open mind, get as much information as possible, and then reach a conclusion most consistent with the facts. In this case, that conclusion just doesn't agree with your own.
Feel free to vent on this posting all you want, but I think I've fulfilled my duty of conscience regarding the discussion of this topic, and anyone else who might be concerned about the threat of global warming can pick up from here. I do have a life, and intend to get back to it now.
wow you have a lot of time first of all. I don't understand it you seem to be very smart but you haven't looked at all the facts and have blinders on telling you that man-made global warming is real. Sorry it is not true.
You're of course welcome to your opinions and your privilege to express them here. I'm sure you're content in your position as I am in mine. Have a nice day.
@everyone responding to Mike_R you are lame or bored or both or just patrol the forums looking for things like this at least i keep my cooments short
Does an increased percentage of Carbon Dioxide cause air to be naturally warmer, colder, or stay the same temperature wise?
Answer it. Then ask your self if humans have ever put extra Co2 in the air? Yes or No?
You have now answered your own question.
great article , and great info