Climate change Global warming, where are we heading to ?

Maciamo

Veteran member
Admin
Messages
9,884
Reaction score
3,140
Points
113
Location
Lothier
Ethnic group
Italo-celto-germanic
Cherry trees have been blossoming in several southern and northern European countries as well as in New York in early or mid January.

Temperatures have been much higher than the seasonal averages at least since last July, with almost every month beating all historical records of heat in many parts of Europe.

Bears and other animals have waken up from their hibernation. Fish have stopped to reproduce, and migratory birds have not migrated as they should.

Devastating European windstorms (the European equivalent of typhoons or hurricanes) have become more common than ever this winter, with already five major windstorms in the last 3.5 months, inclduing 10-11, 14 and 18 January 2007. This is as much as between 1999 and mid 2006, in just 3 months, and it might not be over...

The ice in the Canadian North have been regressing enough to open a new way for ships between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, for the first time in history. Global warming is twice faster in the North Pole region than elsewhere on Earth. It is estimated that many polar mamals, such as polar bears or seals, might have disappeared in a few decades.

In Siberia, the permafrost is not permanent anymore; it has been melting for the first time in 40,000 years ! The BBC warned that this might be the greatest threat humanity is facing in the fight against climate change. The problem is that the melting of this land (the size of Canada) is causing various gases trapped under the ice for millenia to evaporate in the atmosphere, accelerating global warming much more than any human activity. It starts a vicious cycle : the more gas is freed, the warmer the air gets, and the more permafrost melts, liberating more gas...

Note that this is new information since the release of Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.

The warming up of our planet is advancing at a much faster pace than anyone predicted. Scientists thought that ocean levels would only reach dangerously high levels around the end of the century. However, all now let to believe that this will happen much sooner, maybe in just a few years.

Where are we heading to ?
 
I sometimes think that there is too much hype and not enough proper science when it comes to global warming, or rather any reports that show we are not heading for mass global catastrophe are quietly only get a brief or non-existant mention, except in science magazines or articles. Maybe I am being a bit of a cynic, but this planet is still coming out of a cold phase from the last iceage, so it was getting warmer anyway, we might have just helped it along. Remember 80 million years ago there were dinosaurs living in a jungle at the south pole, and carbon dioxide levels were higher then than they are now, and life somehow surivived that. It seem that humans must need some kind of worry to get by nowadays, or just the papers to sell there rubbish.:eek:kashii:
 
I sometimes think that there is too much hype and not enough proper science when it comes to global warming, or rather any reports that show we are not heading for mass global catastrophe are quietly only get a brief or non-existant mention, except in science magazines or articles. Maybe I am being a bit of a cynic, but this planet is still coming out of a cold phase from the last iceage, so it was getting warmer anyway, we might have just helped it along. Remember 80 million years ago there were dinosaurs living in a jungle at the south pole, and carbon dioxide levels were higher then than they are now, and life somehow surivived that. It seem that humans must need some kind of worry to get by nowadays, or just the papers to sell there rubbish.:eek:kashii:

You do not seem to realise that climate change as we are starting to experience it will mean the extinction of thousands of species due to the upset of the ecosystem.

For instance, swallows in Northern Europe have already become endangered over the last decade because the insect larvae from which they feed their youngs are developping a few weeks earlier than was usual, while baby swallows are still born at the same time of the year. Thus when the baby swallows are born the larvae have already become insects and the parents cannot find food for their youngs.

It has been reported that many species of fish in the Mediterranean have not reproduced this year due to the too warm temperatures, which make them think that the mating season hasn't come yet.

Here in Belgium, there hasn't really been any frost this year yet. Without it oaks cannot reproduce, as the acorn need frost to grow in spring. There may be other species like this too. If winter become too mild, the vegetation will change radically in the future.

If we see major climatic change, such as winters being mild, or even warm, in the Eastern USA, and cold and snowy in the Western USA, instead of the opposite, animal and plant species will suffer, and some may disappear as a result (the soil and relief being so different between the East and the West).

It is especially in tropical areas, particualrily Africa and the Amazon, that climatic changes could have the most devastating effects on the environment. Changes in the rain cycles, monsoon dates and regions, or wet regions becoming dry or vice versa, would wreak havoc the delicate eco-balance that has developed over the past millenia. Nature can adapt if the changes are not too sudden and brutal. Animals can migrate and discover new territories to fill their needs, but only if they are given enough time to assimilate the change. Plants are the most vulnerable as they cannot migrate of their own will. A progressive rise or fall in temperatures over thousands of years isn't a problem. One over one or two decades (less than the life span of most trees and bushes) means mass extinctions of plants, the animals that feed from them, and the animals that feed from these animals...

As for humans, major climatic changes will cause mass migrations, starvations, and all the political and economic problems that go with it.

Just rubbish, huh ?
 
Maciamo said:
It is especially in tropical areas, particualrily Africa and the Amazon, that climatic changes could have the most devastating effects on the environment.
During the past 40 years, close to 20% of the Amazon rain forest has been cut down; this figure does not include selective logging, which is not as obviouse as clear cuts and would have raised the figure. Brazil holds about 30% of Earth's remaining tropical rainforest, which produces roughly 20% of Earth's oxygen, and it has lost more than 50,000 square miles of rain forest between 2000 and 2005. They have built soy fields and highways right through the Amazon by illegally logging valuable trees such as mahogany and other hardwoods.

I'm concerned when people say that "it's helping business.", when I meet people who don't believe that global warming is really happening or don't think that humans are causing the problem, because there will be nothing left.
Take a look at this site.
http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/index.html
 
I know. I posted about the destruction of the Amazon Forest 3.5 years ago (wow, time flies !).

I am also very concerned about the reserves of drinking water (water tables, fresh water lakes...) shrinking at a much higher pace than acceptable, so that in a few decades the world will be fighting first and foremost for potable water.

Just look at the Aral Sea, one of the largest frsh water lakes in the world, which has passed from 68,000 km² in 1960 to a mere 17,160 km² in 2004 (and heavily polluted with that).

The main problem with water tables, especially in dryer areas, is that it takes from decades to hundreds of years to fill them, but overpumping can exhaust more quickly than that. Overcrowded places like (Eastern) China and India, and arid ones (Middle East, Central Asia, Africa) will definitely have serious problems if their populations and economies keep growing so fast. Climate change could help or worsen (depending whether each region gets more or less rain) this phenomenon.
 
For someone who is level headed you seem to follow the "we're all doomed" prospect on global warming. The rubbish comment was on newspapers in general, not the articles. What I think is that we need to sit back and not rush headlong into crisis after crisis. Suddenly carbon offsetting is the latest thing. Plant a tree for using your car. Sounds good, but some people have pointed out that isn't really doing anything, we still pollute and the tree still produces carbon. But hey, that isn't what politicians want to hear, so items like this are not reported on much or disappear amoung the panic and hysteria.
Another good example is the rainforset and there destruction. We're doomed if they go, ignoring the fact that there is a very large forest that spans all the way from Norway to Canada and produces a damn sight more oxygen than the rainforset in South America, or the actual "lungs of the Earth" are the seas and Oceans, a point once made on a programme I saw about global warming, but that isn't as in your face or easy to sort out as the rainforests.
A lot of of problems with the environmental lobby is that we are dealing with a large, chaotic system that we do not fully understand. Yes we are screwing it around, and yes, pumpinng large amounts of sh1t into the atmosphere is not good, but the point I am trying to make is that we seem to be jumping from little fire to little fire and putting them out meanwhile we are still ignoring the bushfire because it is too complex for us to know what to really do.
 
For someone who is level headed you seem to follow the "we're all doomed" prospect on global warming.
On the contrary, I find that very few people realise the imminent danger. Whenever I hear people worry about global warming, I hear of rising sea levels and the economic cost (e.g. destruction by hurricanes), but that's nothing compared to what the problem really is. You can rebuild broken roofs, but you can't bring back extinct species. You can build damn along the coast line to prevent floods, but you can't make it rain where it suddenly stops raining, nor refill the water tables. The lack of food or water will cause much serious damages (wars much worse than WWI or WWII) than floods or strong wind.

Another good example is the rainforset and there destruction. We're doomed if they go, ignoring the fact that there is a very large forest that spans all the way from Norway to Canada and produces a damn sight more oxygen than the rainforset in South America, or the actual "lungs of the Earth" are the seas and Oceans, a point once made on a programme I saw about global warming, but that isn't as in your face or easy to sort out as the rainforests.
Most of the trees from Norway to Canada are coniferous, which do not recycle CO2 into O2 like trees with leaves. Even compared with deciduous trees in temperate regions, the advantage of tropical forest is that trees are much taller, have much bigger leaves, and keep their leaves all year round. Hence the expression that the Amazon is the "lungs of the Earth". As for the ocean, aquatic plants also do not recycle well enough the CO2, and the O2 produced is partly used by aquatic animals.

Anyway, my concern about the Amazon is far less related to CO2 than to the mass extinction of tens of thousands of species, something that doesn't seem to concern you at all.
 
Talking about coniferous trees, climate change is effecting on the trees in the mountains. The warm temperatures are pushing the alpine zones higher up towards the summit; as the tempratures continue to raise, the alpine plants and animals will have nowhere to go.

In the Adirondack high peaks where I live, you could expect to have the cold breeze on a bald summit in the mid August at 4,000 ft in elevation, but last summer instead, I was surrounded by the balckflies and very still hot air on a viewless summit.
 
Anyway, my concern about the Amazon is far less related to CO2 than to the mass extinction of tens of thousands of species, something that doesn't seem to concern you at all.
Seems is the word here. You started a thread about Global warming and its immediate effects and then seemed shocked when someone doesn't show as much "concern" as you. If everyone had the same views then you wouldn't need forums.
What I am saying is that the ideas of mass extinctions, global warming, human pollution and its effects on the environment are not fully understood and peoples ideas of what to do about it change, what appears to be, every week. You are assuming what I am and not concerned with. Just because I seem to have a better ability than you to remove myself emotionally from the subject doesn't mean I have a lack of concern, I just don't show it. Maybe it is the cynical part of me, or the realist part, I'm not sure:)
 
Seems is the word here. You started a thread about Global warming and its immediate effects and then seemed shocked when someone doesn't show as much "concern" as you. If everyone had the same views then you wouldn't need forums.
What I am saying is that the ideas of mass extinctions, global warming, human pollution and its effects on the environment are not fully understood and peoples ideas of what to do about it change, what appears to be, every week. You are assuming what I am and not concerned with. Just because I seem to have a better ability than you to remove myself emotionally from the subject doesn't mean I have a lack of concern, I just don't show it. Maybe it is the cynical part of me, or the realist part, I'm not sure:)
You misunderstood me. If you felt the same way about the Amazon problem as I do, you wouldn't try to ridicule claims that the deforestation of the Amazon is a grave issue by saying that there is plenty of trees between Norway and Canada (via Russia). That is NOT the main reason people like me are concerned about deforestation. I am not saddened by the trees that fall, nor exceedingly concerned by CO2. It is impossible for me not to mention the mass extinction of species when referring to the Amazon. As you did make fun of people's concern for the Amazon, I am very much entitled to say that the mass extinction of species doesn't seem to concern you at all. I don't see anything cynical or realistic about your stance. It is a proven fact that tens thousands of animal and plant species have already disappeared due to human activities in the Amazon.

As for the problem of global warming, how can you say things like :
Mycernius said:
For someone who is level headed you seem to follow the "we're all doomed" prospect on global warming

then claim that you are just being emotionally detached and realistic, when global warming is already much worse than what scientists expected.

What I criticise you for is this kind of point of view :

Mycernius said:
Remember 80 million years ago there were dinosaurs living in a jungle at the south pole, and carbon dioxide levels were higher then than they are now, and life somehow surivived that.

"Life" did survive, but an incommensurate number of species were wiped out of the surface of the planet forever. You are basically saying that as long as some form of life survives, then we shouldn't be worried. What if humans disappear and other species survive ? What if humans survive but 90% of other species disappear ? One way or the other, it would be a huge catastrophe to me. So global warming is fine because some species have always survived climate changes ?
 
A Belgian university professor explained tonight on TV that if we stop all CO2 emission today, the Earth will continue to warm up for the next 200 or 300 years, because of the CO2 already accumulated in the atmosphere.

With the emergence of China, India and other developing economies, it is obvious that greenhouse-effect gases will only increase, and not diminish, at least for the next few decades, whatever is done in developed countries.

At the current rate, I certainly expect winters in England, Belgium or Germany to be warm enough to be in tshirt within 10 years, probably even within 5 years. This winter temperatures have already reached over 20'C (enough to be in tshirt) in the south of France or in Washington DC, which is absolutely abnormal. It didn't come very slowly and progressively; this autumn and winter saw a sharp rise in temperatures compared to all the previous years.
 
wikipedia said:
On longer timescales, various proxy measurements have been used to attempt to determine atmospheric carbon dioxide levels millions of years in the past. These include boron and carbon isotope ratios in certain types of marine sediments, and the number of stomata observed on fossil plant leaves. While these measurements give much less precise estimates of carbon dioxide concentration than ice cores, there is evidence for very high CO2 concentrations (>3,000 µL/L) between 600 and 400 Myr BP and between 200 and 150 Myr BP.[14] On long timescales, atmospheric CO2 content is determined by the balance among geochemical processes including organic carbon burial in sediments, silicate rock weathering, and vulcanism. The net effect of slight imbalances in the carbon cycle over tens to hundreds of millions of years has been to reduce atmospheric CO2. The rates of these processes are extremely slow; hence they are of limited relevance to the atmospheric CO2 response to emissions over the next hundred years. In more recent times, atmospheric CO2 concentration continued to fall after about 60 Myr BP, and there is geochemical evidence that concentrations were <300 µL/L by about 20 Myr BP. Low CO2 concentrations may have been the stimulus that favored the evolution of C4 plants, which increased greatly in abundance between 7 and 5 Myr BP. Although contemporary CO2 concentrations were exceeded during earlier geological epochs, present carbon dioxide levels are likely higher now than at any time during the past 20 million years[15] and at the same time lower than at any time in history if we look at time scales longer than 50 million years. NOAA research estimates that 97% of atmospheric CO2 created each year is from natural sources and approximately 3% is from human activities.[16]
A brief look on CO2 in the atmosphere over millions of years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_global_warming_consensus
Opposing current theories on Global warming from various scientists. You'll notice that a lot of these studies or remarks are not widely reported because it is against what the masses want to hear. The jist of most of them is that we do not really know what is and isn't causing global warming. I admit some of them are strange, but overall they say we are not sure.
As to the extinction of species, man has been doing that for the past 10 000 years. Climate change has nothing to do with how humans treat the rest of life on earth. After all in your own words
It is a proven fact that tens thousands of animal and plant species have already disappeared due to human activities in the Amazon.
Our own ignorance of the world around us is the major effect on that. I don't think the likes of the Dodo, Passenger pigeon, European lion, Tarpan went extinct through cliamte change. more humans ignorance and callousness. Especially the Passenger Pigeon. It's last flock was hunted down and shot in the US. What makes it more shocking is the fact that is was known to be the last flock and knew they were essentially wiping out an entire species.
Where exactly did I "make fun" of the deforestation of the amazon? Unless your idea of fun is different to mine.
 
A brief look on CO2 in the atmosphere over millions of years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_global_warming_consensus
Opposing current theories on Global warming from various scientists. You'll notice that a lot of these studies or remarks are not widely reported because it is against what the masses want to hear.
My opinion is that they aren't reported because they are all wrong. These scientists are only a tiny minority, and frankly I do not see anything in their arguments that correspond to reality. Some even claim that the Earth is not warming at all !
As to the extinction of species, man has been doing that for the past 10 000 years.
Less species have died in the 10,000 years before the 20th century than in a single of the last 20 years.
Climate change has nothing to do with how humans treat the rest of life on earth.
Of course. Why even need to say so ? I think you are grossly confusing the structure of my arguments. I said 2 things :

1) what concerns me most about global warming is that it will cause the extinction of many species (e.g. polar or alpine species if the climate gets too warm and the ice melts, or animals that stop breeding because of confusion in the seasons).

For the record, my second biggest concern bout global warming is the wars and mass migrations caused by famines, drought, floods, etc. (especially in developing countries, as others have better means to cope with it). At a local level (in Belgium), I see global warming as a positive thing because it makes the temperatures more pleasant most of the year (already now). The only issue is the rise of oceans, but building 10m-high dykes will surely be enough to solve that problem.

2) My main concern about the deforestation of the Amazon is that it causes mass extinctions of thousands of species (the Amazon is home to at least 30% of the Earth's biodiversity), not that we are destroying the "lungs of the Earth". This only comes second, because I do not think it is the main causes of global warming that will affect point 1).


For some reason you mixed up all the things I said and believed that I thought that animal extinctions caused climate change.

Btw, what is it that makes you so impervious to worries about global warming and ecology ? Is it because your job involves polluting the environment and emitting greenhouse-effect gases more than the average ?
 
IMO, people should be concerned about global warming and do what we can to slow down and offset it where possible - individuals, companies, businesses, industries, whatever. It does also need an all-around approach taking into account the various different factors that contribute to global warming and all the different possible solutions as well as a creative approach to new solutions.

However, I also think that newspapers are indeed often guilty of scaremongering and feeding public fears by shock-factor headlines and dramatic photos. I'm not saying that global warming isn't a problem or that it shouldn't be tackled, but what's needed is the scientific and considered approach based on the facts. :)
 
Btw, what is it that makes you so impervious to worries about global warming and ecology ? Is it because your job involves polluting the environment and emitting greenhouse-effect gases more than the average ?
I've always been a sceptic when it comes to global warming and humans effect on it. I remember when this started to make headway into the media and there were several programmes both for and against it. One such programme showed what a computer prediction of how the world should look like if there was no global warming. It showed that the UK should be as hot as the Sahara. The climate is a chaotic system and we cannot say that we are soley responsible for global warming. In fact water vapour is the greenhouse gas in the highest concentration in the atmosphere, something we have little control over. What also makes me a sceptic was that during the 1970s all these scientists were saying that because of humans pollution that we were about to enter a second ice age and the world was getting cooler. My job has nothing to do with it.
May I inquire what your job is that make it morally superior to mine?
 
I've always been a sceptic when it comes to global warming and humans effect on it. I remember when this started to make headway into the media and there were several programmes both for and against it. One such programme showed what a computer prediction of how the world should look like if there was no global warming. It showed that the UK should be as hot as the Sahara. The climate is a chaotic system and we cannot say that we are soley responsible for global warming.

Please check the various graphs about global warming here and tell me if you do not see any correlation between the increase in temperatures and the beginning of the industrial revolution, the world population boom, and especially the economic boom in Asia since the late 20th century.

Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png


On a bigger scale, when you see the historic concentration of CO2 over 400,000 years, do you really believe that the sudden rise in the late 20th century has not been caused by humans ?

Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr-2.png


If you can admit that humans are the cause in the dramatic rise in CO2 in the atmosphere, then I don't see how you could negate that humans are causing global warming.
 
I have heard new estimates that deforestation causes more CO2 rise than the whole transport industry worldwide. The report didn't mention it, but the whole human economic activity, and especially factories and the energy sector (gas and electricity), certainly exceeds the effect of deforestation.

A new article from the Economist explains that China required 4.3 times as much energy as America in 2005 to produce one unit of GDP. With the rapid growth of China's GDP (over 10% yearly), and a trend toward wasting more energy per unit of GDP, China is becoming one of the world's highest risk factor for global warming. In comparison, India consumes only 61% as much energy as China per unit of GDP. As the Chinese economy is about 1/5 the size of the USA's, its energy consumption is almost as important as the US, and will soon exceed them. The USA already produces more CO2 than the EU, despite a population 50% inferior. It means that China will soon become the main country to cause global warming, and this with a tremendous growth of some 10% a year. The USA would need to reduce its emission by 10% per year to counter-balance China only. All emerging economies taken into account, even if all developed countries massively reduce their CO2 emission, it will be impossible to reduce global CO2 emission for the next few decades.

This is worrying because even if all countries stop emitting CO2 from now on and forever (e.g. if humanity suddenly disappeared from the Earth), global warming will continue for a few hundred years due to the accumulated greenhouse-effect gases. In other words, whatever we do we can't stop global warming. All we can do is slow it down, but even that would mean a serious strain on the world economy. What we should do is work on a way to cool down the earth. Planting trees everywhere on the planet where there is space for it would help a bit. This won't solve the problem of the heat created by the heating of buildings in winter or by human and (farm) animal bodies. The solution would be to force a decrease in the world's population, and to develop much better thermic isolation for houses, so that heating and air-conditoning becomes almost redundant.
 
Maciamo said:
What we should do is work on a way to cool down the earth. Planting trees everywhere on the planet where there is space for it would help a bit.
Or, completely switch to renewable energy sources, wind power, solar energy, water, biomass, etc. from fossile fuel. I mean, pretty much everthing on earth relies on solar, so why not use its energy which is so powerful that you don't even need a heater in the room where the sunlight hits.

I know there are automakers who have been trying to produce more plug-in hybrid cars, that are energy efficient and creates low emissions, but isn't about time that we have cars solely solar-powered available in not those stupid designs?
 
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that climatic changes have a greater than 90% probability to be caused by humans. The predictions remain quite conservative :

IPCC projections for 2100 said:
- Probable temperature rise between 1.8C-4C
- Possible temperature rise between 1.1C-6.4C
- Sea level most likely to rise by 28-43cm
- Arctic sea ice disappears in second half of century
- Increase in heatwaves very likely
- Increase in tropical storm intensity likely
Sources : BBC News : Blame for warming pinned on man

How can they say that an increase in heatwaves is very likely by 2100, when it has already happened ? As for their margin for temperature rise between 1.8C-4C, I think that this is by 2025, not by 2100. Here in Belgium I have been monitoring the monthly temperatures, and 5 of the last 7 months have beaten all historic records of temperatures since 1838. Some months were several degrees warmer than last year. For instance the averages for January 2007 was 6 degree warmer than in 2006. If such dramatic changes can be observed over only a year, how do they know what the world will be in 5 or 10 years ? I think they have badly underestimated their forecast. Many kinds of trees and flowers (e.g. daisies) that do not normally bloom until late April in Belgium were already in full bloom in January. Look at the facts.

It is also surprising that if the whole Arctic ice melts, as they say it will, oceans will only rise by 28-43cm. What would it take for sea levels to rise by several meters then ? I think they are just trying to reassure the population to avoid a mass hysteria and a drop in real estate prices in low-lying coastal areas. The government probably know and were told to prepare dykes, so that this kind of hysteric migration doesn't happen. Once it's ready, they will announce that there had been a typing "mistake" in the report and they meant 2010, not 2100.

UPDATE : Here is the Economist article on the IPCC report.
 
Last edited:
Another very worrying thing is fresh water reserves running out. Global warming affects it in the way that rain is being redistributed all over the world, and less rain falls in densily populated areas that rely most on it.

But water issues may not be due as much by global warming as by overpumping, a more direct way human activity. Water tables take thousands of years to fill up, but can be emptied in just a few decades with modern technology.

The UN estimates that 2/3 of all humans will not have enough water by 2025, in only 18 years' time.

The Danube River is at its lowest level in the last 100 years (and possibly much longer).

Water is increasingly being called the "blue gold".
 

This thread has been viewed 42820 times.

Back
Top