Climate Change: We're Doomed

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:46 am

I said before that "I definitely think" is code for "Last time I looked at the evidence, I concluded". I will add "I just scrutinise every argument I'm presented with and balance it against opposing arguments" to the list, since "opposing arguments" are your existing beliefs.
Thank you for agreeing that you have nothing useful to add to the discussion.

You're not saying anything here either. A=A=A.
Thanks. But he doesn't say that doing nothing in (e.g.) Obama's second term will not improve the outcomes, whether or not Obama showed the leadership he (Hansen) wanted. Your quote therefore does not support your claim.

That's not my claim.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:47 am

Zhen Li wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:Societal collapse would be marvellous.

What makes you say that?

My keyboard. :sage:

Zhen Li has finally run out of credibility.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:49 am

:good: I'm honoured you thought I had credibility. :woohoo:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:52 am

You maintained the illusion for quite some time.

Full credit to Kim for revealing what we already suspected.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sherab » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:42 am

For the few remaining doubters of climate change who still think that the rise in global temperature is due to natural causes:
http://phys.org/news/2014-04-statistica ... rcent.html
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:50 am

Sherab wrote:For the few remaining doubters of climate change who still think that the rise in global temperature is due to natural causes:
http://phys.org/news/2014-04-statistica ... rcent.html

Thanks, Sherab. One more piece of evidence will do no harm and may help.
But it's becoming ever clearer that the "few remaining doubters" fall into three quite distinct groups:
(1) Well-informed people who proclaim that they are sceptics but are actually denialists - often in the pay of the fossil-fuel industry. This is a very small but highly visible and influential group. No conceivable evidence will lead them to change their public stance.
(2) Ill-informed people who have been misled by group 1. This is a far bigger group - perhaps 1000 or 10 000 times as big. The primary evidence we need to put in front of them is evidence of what group 1 have been up to.
(3) Uninformed people, mostly in the developing nations. They won't see the new evidence any more than they saw the older evidence or, indeed, the denialists' disinformation. Unfortunately, they will be among the people who most likely to suffer from climate change.

So what should we be doing if we want to remove the roadblocks stopping a quicker shift to renewable energy? Hammer group 1 and the people funding them, publicly, in every way possible, I reckon. Think Progress does a pretty good job: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/issue/.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:17 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi - four threats to our future:

1. the persistence of warfare
2. poverty and increasing poverty, economic inequality
3. the sense that our democratic system is no longer working for our benefit, ineffective political institutions
4. the accelerating crisis of climate change



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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:47 am

kirtu wrote:Bhikkhu Bodhi - four threats to our future:

1. the persistence of warfare
2. poverty and increasing poverty, economic inequality
3. the sense that our democratic system is no longer working for our benefit, ineffective political institutions
4. the accelerating crisis of climate change


It is pretty idealistic to assume warfare will go away just because we find it disagreeable.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:27 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Certainly isn't.


Given the chaotic nature of climate unfortunately one cannot say that. The melting of glaciers has already started. Its side effects are huge. Whether cutting down our emissions will stop what has started there can be doubted. There are effects with interest, when melting ice sets free methane which is below, and when that methane probably does something else. Such effects are not predictable, we can only observe their drifts.

The only thing we can predict that in the long run the earth is going to cool down (if it's not struck by something non-predictable before).

That does not mean I promote "go on". Contributing to the problem will likely aggravate it. But maybe it will even promote a new balance establishing faster, so the intermediate states don't create as much suffering. Linearizing things sometimes is not as beneficial either. If it can't be avoided, complaining and trying to hold on to what was before probably isn't the best strategy for dealing with that which comes.

As I see it the only source of energy we should use on earth is energy which 1. is input by an outside system or 2. is an effect of the input of an outside system that only takes a short time to develop. Using water energy slows down the rivers, which also has an effect. Using wind energy messes with the air which also has an effect. But they don't take thousands of years to re-grow, since the effects of the sun will recreate winds, so that means interfacing a short term dynamic system, not one with huge cycles. That gives a better chance to be able to adjust.

But look at the explosion of numbers of people on this planet. We're born into a time where population numbers on earth rapidly walk towards the maximum the limited habitat earth can bear. This massive amount of people does not come without side effects. When hitting those limits (many of which may still be obscure, think of the development of resistant viruses or bacteria) then that will kick back. 7 million carbon units with bad energetic balance also contribute to the problem (not only the cows that are raised as food). The symbiosis of plants (which use sunlight to grow on carbon from the air, therefore leaving oxagen behind) and that of oxygen consuming animals, who leave CO2 behind from which plants can grow is out of balance. We're putting CO2 in the air all the while mass-killing the plants.

But hey, that's just another dependently arising cycle. As plants grow, there is O2 and food, so animals can (emerge and) grow. At one point they outgrow that on which they depend, turning against it, which will cause their own decline. That's not more than the usual cycle of things.

With all those dependently arising features you can usually say: What has there been earlier, will be there long after what was dependent on it is gone. So even if mankind decays, some pant life is likely to survive. Or even re-emerge. Whereas there is a semitic story, that viewing Sodom a couple hundred years later you can see only grass that's left on that spot, I guess that applies also on a larger scale.

Wanting things to stay the same will not help it. Expecting that with a massive explosion of human population such things will remain stable is an illusion. You cannot preach people into realization, not of the workings of the mind, let alone the combined effects which they do not see right in front of their noses. Of course it is important that the facts are made public and spread, so knowledge is there which one can act upon. But I doubt its effect will be more than that. Now even if you try to convince people to change, you're probably exchanging one effect for creating fear in many. Do you expect people who are driven into fear to act more rationally?

In earlier times we were limited to a small habitat. Then, at some time, people became nomads. They went, where food was available and the conditions do fit our biology. That's pretty much what animals usually do. As we started to cultivate plants ourselves and live in houses, things changed. We started to invest in a place, and cling to that investment. Of course, the pressure increases the more people there are and the less land is available. So now we're no longer competing about the animals or some trees and bushes, so we're competing about the land where food can be cultivated. The system driving that distribution is a wee bit out of balance, and continuing growth of population doesn't make it easier. Whether we can really stabilize this is to be doubted, as the nature of the phenomenon is complex and thus stability is only observed in certain bubbles within, where change is the only constant that is observable overall (which is good, because that means it need not stay that way, even the ugly part).

Of course it is nuts that in such a situation we're cultivating plants for bio-fuel, whereas the people who originally inhabitated the land are starving next to it because they are not allowed to grow food in the same place. Just because some piece of paper that is offspring of some delusioned minds.

But how could you force-stop delusion?

Life showed us it could emerge once to the state it is in right now. Even if we fold, it happening once gives way to it happening again. And who knows how many times it happened before in a similar way?

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:18 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Certainly isn't [too late to avoid bigger time change in nature].


Given the chaotic nature of climate unfortunately one cannot say that. The melting of glaciers has already started. Its side effects are huge. Whether cutting down our emissions will stop what has started there can be doubted. There are effects with interest, when melting ice sets free methane which is below, and when that methane probably does something else. Such effects are not predictable, we can only observe their drifts.

The only thing we can predict that in the long run the earth is going to cool down (if it's not struck by something non-predictable before).

That does not mean I promote "go on". Contributing to the problem will likely aggravate it.

Gwenn, I don't think there's much real disagreement between us. I just think we can know more about what's happening than this post, or your earlier one, suggests.
Sure, we don't know everything about how each part of the problem will affect each other part but we do have a pretty good idea about most of the major effects, and we know what we need to do to mitigate the worst of them.
As the saying goes, the best time to plant that tree was twenty years ago but the second best time is now. And if we can't do it now, then next month is better than next year - and the same thinking will still apply next year and next decade. Giving up and saying, "It's too late," is never going to be the best option.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:58 pm

Of course it's easy to dismiss a debate or uncertainty if one can just attack the character of the opposing debater. Contrary to Kim, I do not rely on thinktanks and multinational funded pundits for my information, but peer reviewed scientific journals. To get down to the question of action, there are two routes that can be taken, either individually or at the same time. The first is addressing the causes of the problem: of course the evidence regarding these causes leaves important questions unanswered, has inconclusive evidence, can be open to other interpretations, are self-contradictory, and not only have the conclusions all been questioned but the key premises have too. Then the second is the effect of the problem: as for the effect, we can be fairly certain that there will be some degree of climate volatility in the coming century, but nothing cataclysmic, and almost damage free if we prepare to adapt, and do adapt when climate volatility does occur. Now, the question is, which of these should one fund? Certainly under all circumstances one should fund the latter. As for the former, the uncertainty at hand is not at present a basis for long term decisions, there also isn't sufficient information on which to base a valid assessment as to what really is the best course of action to take (i.e. be it the relatively cheap solution of emitting sulphur into the atmosphere to reduce solar radiation to whatever level, or cutting carbon dioxide emissions), and the fact that our own emissions may or may not be negligible compared to natural ones imply that there may be no reason for any fundamental rethink of existing policy, which, rather endorses current practice. The choice of greater preparation for climactic uncertainty not only allows for momentum to be sprung for preparations as regards other issues related to such matters, e.g. bush fires, floods, in general, but also can allow us to develop greater innovation as regards adaptation to the environment, which is fundamentally one of the distinctive traits of the human race.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:38 am

Zhen Li wrote:Of course it's easy to dismiss a debate or uncertainty if one can just attack the character of the opposing debater. Contrary to Kim, I do not rely on thinktanks and multinational funded pundits for my information, but peer reviewed scientific journals. To get down to the question of action, there are two routes that can be taken, either individually or at the same time. The first is addressing the causes of the problem: of course the evidence regarding these causes leaves important questions unanswered, has inconclusive evidence, can be open to other interpretations, are self-contradictory, and not only have the conclusions all been questioned but the key premises have too. Then the second is the effect of the problem: as for the effect, we can be fairly certain that there will be some degree of climate volatility in the coming century, but nothing cataclysmic, and almost damage free if we prepare to adapt, and do adapt when climate volatility does occur. Now, the question is, which of these should one fund? Certainly under all circumstances one should fund the latter. As for the former, the uncertainty at hand is not at present a basis for long term decisions, there also isn't sufficient information on which to base a valid assessment as to what really is the best course of action to take (i.e. be it the relatively cheap solution of emitting sulphur into the atmosphere to reduce solar radiation to whatever level, or cutting carbon dioxide emissions), and the fact that our own emissions may or may not be negligible compared to natural ones imply that there may be no reason for any fundamental rethink of existing policy, which, rather endorses current practice. The choice of greater preparation for climactic uncertainty not only allows for momentum to be sprung for preparations as regards other issues related to such matters, e.g. bush fires, floods, in general, but also can allow us to develop greater innovation as regards adaptation to the environment, which is fundamentally one of the distinctive traits of the human race.

I thought we had agreed that you had nothing to contribute to this discussion, and this post does nothing to change my mind.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:56 am

Interesting poll result today in Sydney that despite a strong recent performance by the Australian PM on overseas trade negotiations, support for the Greens has suddenly shot up by quite a few points.

Worth noting that one of the PM's big promisses was to 'abolish carbon pricing' which he has vowed to do, despite not having a credible alternative plan. I do wonder if the uptick in Green's support has anything to do with that.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:57 am

A credible alternative plan to carbon pricing is market pricing, clearly.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:59 am

Zhen Li wrote:A credible alternative plan to carbon pricing is market pricing, clearly.

I thought we had agreed that you had nothing to contribute to this discussion, and this post does nothing to change my mind.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:15 am

The idea is that the use of carbon-based fuels imposes a cost on the environment which is not covered in the market price of extracting and using the fuel. In other words, for every dollar you spend on carbon fuels, there is some amount that has to be spent to ameliorate the consequences of using that fuel. That is what 'carbon pricing' is about, isn't it? Makes perfect sense to me.

In fact, here in Australia, the current government ought to support that approach. They are a conservative government, and carbon pricing is a 'market based' approach; by increasing the real cost of carbon-based energy, it encourages industry to find alternatives. It is a conservative approach which was supported by the last conservative Government. But the new conservative government here has gone down the unfortunate path of opposing it for purely partisan political motives, and also because it does harbour some hard-core sceptics who believe the whole thing is a vicious green-left plot to overthrow business.

It's such a big problem, that it needs to be bi-partisan, so it simply shows the short-sightedness of the current mob.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:49 am

I don't really care much for politics or political parties, but what I can say is that there is no apolitical justification for taxing or subsidizing a commodity based purely upon it's carbon output because every judgement of cost is an economic judgement, and is therefore a question of buyer subjectivity. Each buyer individually may make a judgement as to whether carbon makes a commodity more or less valuable, politicians are no more or less informed about these matters, and if they are informed they invariably won't bother to act upon that information because of other considerations, such as their own political careers and the question of the willingness of party and civil service. Advisers and report writers of all shades have their own careers to care for, and if they're not working for or being funded by a multinational they're looking to work for or be funded by a multinational. There's nowhere along the line any sensible person can hang their coat. However, if one is looking for credible pricing, only the market can provide credible pricing - if the cost doesn't come up in the market place, it doesn't really exist. Using the logic of non-real or ideological cost, one could prohibit the purchase of anything and everything, all with reasonable arguments.
Kim O'Hara wrote:I thought we had agreed that you had nothing to contribute to this discussion, and this post does nothing to change my mind.

I didn't notice anywhere in the TOS that all my posts must be addressed to Kim. :coffee:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:20 am

Your faith in the Invisible Hand is touching, but I don't share it.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:58 pm

jeeprs wrote:The idea is that the use of carbon-based fuels imposes a cost on the environment which is not covered in the market price of extracting and using the fuel. In other words, for every dollar you spend on carbon fuels, there is some amount that has to be spent to ameliorate the consequences of using that fuel. That is what 'carbon pricing' is about, isn't it? Makes perfect sense to me.

Makes perfect sense to me, too, and to pretty much everyone who knows anything much about the issue.
jeeprs wrote:In fact, here in Australia, the current government ought to support that approach. They are a conservative government, and carbon pricing is a 'market based' approach; by increasing the real cost of carbon-based energy, it encourages industry to find alternatives. It is a conservative approach which was supported by the last conservative Government. But the new conservative government here has gone down the unfortunate path of opposing it for purely partisan political motives, and also because it does harbour some hard-core sceptics who believe the whole thing is a vicious green-left plot to overthrow business.

It's such a big problem, that it needs to be bi-partisan, so it simply shows the short-sightedness of the current mob.

And it doesn't even cost much - see http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/13/3426117/climate-panel-avoiding-catastrophe-cheap/
In fact there's only one group of people who lose significantly from adopting policies which will avoid some climate change and mitigate what can't be avoided, and that's the group who make their money out of fossil fuels.
On the one hand it's perfectly understandable that they will act to avoid losing money. On the other, it's clear that their only morality is greed.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:39 pm

jeeprs wrote:Your faith in the Invisible Hand is touching, but I don't share it.

I never brought it up, I was just talking about costs and prices (which makes me wonder if you know what it is). For the record, I don't believe in the invisible hand. I believe in mercantilism and subsidies for the development of weaker industries. I also believe in anti-trust laws.
Kim O'Hara wrote:In fact there's only one group of people who lose significantly from adopting policies which will avoid some climate change and mitigate what can't be avoided, and that's the group who make their money out of fossil fuels.
On the one hand it's perfectly understandable that they will act to avoid losing money. On the other, it's clear that their only morality is greed.

The exact same can be said for any side of any issue in any situation: it's a standard rhetorical technique, but doesn't prove anything.
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