...Are we already fucked?

Kevin R Brown
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...Are we already fucked?

...As far as global warming is concerned, have we already done the damage & created a now more or less irreversible heating trend?

 

I've been reading-up on the information, and as far as I understand, the current model predicts the following:

Given a sufficient propagation of CO2 throughout the atmosphere, a positive feedback loop will be triggered on the Earth as ice sheets melt and marshlands thraw-out, resulting in increasingly less sunlight reflection and further release of carbon gas into the air. Once started, this system essentially feeds itself without any further mechanism necessary; the initial catalyst is just that, a catalyst. Reducing manmade emissions after the feedback loop has started will do nothing.

 

...Uh. So, has the feedback loop started already? If it hasn't, do we know roughly how much CO2 in the atmosphere can increase before it does start?

If it has started... do we know roughly how hot the Earth could get? Presumably it wouldn't get up to, say, Venus's level of heat, given it's proximity to the sun?

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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Another factor to speed up

Another factor to speed up the warming, the melting artic ice has enabled oil companies to get at previously untapped oil and gas fields. So we'll have a new supply of fossil fuels to burn.

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The models suggest that we

The models suggest that we are uncomfortably close, but not there yet, I think.

But I think the necessary drastic reductions in all greenhouse gases we are contributing to (CO2 and methane in particular) are way beyond what we could summon up the collective will to do, even if we could get enough peopla in enough places to accept the reality of what is happening.

The Arctic ice reduction is a real worry, since it suggests that at least some of the processes predicted by the IPCC are actually happening quite a bit faster than the mean of the predictions.

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 Coming from a behaviorist

 Coming from a behaviorist approach, I think the inevitable is... well... inevitable.  I see no reason to believe humanity will do anything other than delay the worst.  I think it's remotely possible (1:100) that we'll make enough of a change in the next 100 years to delay the worst for a couple hundred years.  So, technically, I think if human nature underwent a complete overhaul, Bob is correct.  We're not past the point of no return.  The data I've seen seems to suggest that even a graduated reduction of carbon emissions would do a lot of good.  I just don't believe we'll do it to any reasonable degree.

 

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[sarcasm]I blame the

[sarcasm]

I blame the vegans/vegetarians. Hear me out.

Two sources of CO2 and CH4 are cows and pigs. We must keep their numbers under control if our species is to survive. Since we do not advocate abstinence only education for our cattle then our only recourse is to kill and eat them.

Meanwhile, vegans/vegetarians are consuming vast amounts of plantlife which filter CO2 and produce life-sustaining O2 as a byproduct of their lifecycle.

I think global warming was caused by the rise of veganism in the '60s.

In addition, many of the vegans I know are also advocates of marijuana use. Not only do they want to eat our plant life, but they also want to burn it too. This speaks to the very depths of their evil designs.

I think it is time we take back our world from the planteaters that are seeking to destroy us.

To save human life, we must take a vegan out to a steak dinner as soon as possible. I propose an economic stimulus plan to the meateaters of the world. Give me $100 a day to fight global warming and we can drive up the demand on steaks in middle Tennessee and fight global warming.

Eat the fauna. Save the flora. That is the way we shall defeat this threat.

This message brought to you by the U.S. Dairy in conjunction with the National Dairy Council and the Cattleman's Association

[/sarcasm]

 

Sorry. Had to. lol.

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[CapitalistPig]Only thing we

[CapitalistPig]

Only thing we can do now, buy up property in Greenland and start drilling. Stop global cooling!

[/CapitalistPig]

 

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?

...Are we already fucked?

yes

yes we are

unless............

no that would never happen, forget about it

seriously, doesn't look to me like humanity is on its way to being cool

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


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All my poking around

All my poking around climatology blogs leads me to this answer: No one knows.

Where the globe is clearly warming, and the evidence pointing to human's CO2 emissions is nigh irrefutable - the planet's weather system itself is to damn complex to get quick answers to questions like yours, Kevin. It's also too early to even guess on what the "end result" of this climate change really will be, though I gather a front-runner is that once the "Pacific Conveyer" craps out due to the desalination of the northern pacific from melting polar ice we'll see a sudden big drop in temperatures over the northern hemisphere.. Climatology is strange stuff.

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Coming

Hambydammit wrote:

 Coming from a behaviorist approach, I think the inevitable is... well... inevitable.  I see no reason to believe humanity will do anything other than delay the worst.  I think it's remotely possible (1:100) that we'll make enough of a change in the next 100 years to delay the worst for a couple hundred years.

Personally, my hope is that we're just stupid enough to save ourselves. I think we'll make oil so expensive that we won't be able to complete the damage. The funny thing about that is we'd be saving ourselves the environmental damage by accident. I don't believe any human plan will help us, but we'll get a big lesson in humility when we can't buy cheap gasoline and that  brings down our "carbon footprint" for us.

What blows my mind (only because I'm a cyclist) is that people in the US can't get their minds around the idea that riding a bike is the combination of saving the world and going to the gym all in one activity. I've seen more people winter biking this year than ever before. If Californians figured that shit out, they wouldn't even have to whine about everyone else's footprint. They would win hands down! (Of course, not in LA, which is designed for cars and nothing else.)

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I've been doing a

I've been doing a considerable amount of research into the over all global climate in geologic history and I'm starting to doubt whether global warming that is caused, in part, by humans is actually something that we can avoid, that is even worth avoiding or something that should be avoided.

Hear me out.  I'm not saying that our current trend is particularly good for our environment since it's harmful to it and even to ourselves and, admittedly, the warming is not caused by the wholly by the environment or its usual 'trends'.

Consider.  We are still in an Ice Age.  This ice age has lasted for the past 2.5 million years.  It is called the quaternary glaciation.  Currently we are in what is known as an interglacial period.  It started some ten thousand years ago.  It's marked by warmer temperatures and less glaciation in the North.  During the last glacial period, prior to some ten thousand years ago, what is erroneously referred to as the ice age (since the last 2.5 million years have been an ice age), was a glacial period marked by a colder global climate and much more glaciation in the North and South.

Now, our current trend has been rapid loss of 'permanent' glaciers in the North and, more importantly, a decline in ice in the Antarctic, the ice which justifies the last 2.5 million years as an ice age, the prior ice age being form 350 million years ago to 250 million years ago.  The interglacial period that we've entered would have tended to last between 10 and 15 thousand years, with marked cold and warm trends, like the Medieval Warm Period (~800CE-~1300CE) and the 'Little Ice Age' (~1300CE-1900CE).  The current global climate isn't particularly different form that of the Medieval Warm Period.  The Sargossa Sea, for instance, was 1 degree warmer than it is today.  Now, we would be, based on historic data, nearing the end of the interglacial current interglacial period.

Now, that's where my doubts about the effect of the current climate change being.  Glaciation is bad for most life.  It's pretty bad for humans.  Warm weather, however, is not so bad, so long as it's not too warm.

Consider what happens to marine life in shallow waters when the temperature increases to what it has today, during the Medieval Warm Period, the temperature in the Sargossa Sea was 1 degree warmer than it is presently.  That would have been very bad for shallow marine life.  Apparently, however, it wasn't bad enough.  The Medieval Warm Period last only about 500 years.  The warm period we are experiencing has only lasted about 100 years.

Now, if we're past the 'tipping point' (which may not be apparent for a while), it may not be possible to stagnate and maintain the climate change such that we can live within an extended warm period and stave off glaciation and it would cause 'unnatural' warming that would undoubtedly be bad for many kinds of life and for particular regions.  It would also put off the next glaciation for some 40 thousand years.  On the other hand, glaciation is pretty damned bad.

So, I'm at an impasse.  Neither do I want humans to be as wasteful and interfering as we are with the environment, but neither do I want to dip into another glaciation within our current ice age.  But, I don't want the current ice age to end (this would happen if the antarctic ice sheet melted away), because it would be undoubtedly bad if temperatures spiraled upward and if CO2 concentrations went above 750ppm (currently ~380ppm and ~280ppm in the Medieval Warm Period).

A happy medium might be achieved if we stop now and if we haven't gone past the 'tipping point'.  I'm not crazy, am I?

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Kevin R Brown wrote:Given a

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Given a sufficient propagation of CO2 throughout the atmosphere, a positive feedback loop will be triggered on the Earth as ice sheets melt and marshlands thraw-out, resulting in increasingly less sunlight reflection and further release of carbon gas into the air.

Taken from http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

 

 

Someone needs to explain to me how this C02 cycle is a positive feedback loop that will never end. It does sound frightening when they say that C02 levels are at a 650,000 year high at 380-400 ppm, but when you look at the geological record, that doesn't seem that bad. Shouldn't the Paleozoic period have been locked into the unstoppable positive feedback loop?

Isn't all this carbon we are releasing into the atmosphere now originally atmospheric C02 hundreds of millions of years ago (before being turned into plant matter and then oil)?

I'm not a environmental scientist, but something is missing from the doomsday stories you read in newspapers. Anyone able to fill in the gaps and explain how this is different than what global temperature and atmospheric C02 levels were hundreds of millions of years ago?

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That's kind of what my hold

That's kind of what my hold up is.  Yes, what we're doing is bad for the environment we currently live in, but it's not wholly bad from a number of other perspectives.  It's certainly not unstoppable and it's certainly not going to end the world as we know it.  It's true, large, sharp rises or dips in temperature could be devasting, but I can't really complain if the average global temperature still isn't warmer than it was only 1000 years ago.  Things aren't past the 'tipping point' and like Hamby and Bob and Will, I somehow think it we won't be in the situation predicted.

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HisWillness wrote:What blows

HisWillness wrote:

What blows my mind (only because I'm a cyclist) is that people in the US can't get their minds around the idea that riding a bike is the combination of saving the world and going to the gym all in one activity. I've seen more people winter biking this year than ever before. If Californians figured that shit out, they wouldn't even have to whine about everyone else's footprint. They would win hands down! (Of course, not in LA, which is designed for cars and nothing else.)

Too damn dangerous for biking anywhere but off road. Other problem is there is never affordable housing near where where the jobs are. Better to go nuclear/solar with hydrogen/electric cars.

 

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EXC wrote:HisWillness

EXC wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

What blows my mind (only because I'm a cyclist) is that people in the US can't get their minds around the idea that riding a bike is the combination of saving the world and going to the gym all in one activity. I've seen more people winter biking this year than ever before. If Californians figured that shit out, they wouldn't even have to whine about everyone else's footprint. They would win hands down! (Of course, not in LA, which is designed for cars and nothing else.)

Too damn dangerous for biking anywhere but off road. Other problem is there is never affordable housing near where where the jobs are. Better to go nuclear/solar with hydrogen/electric cars.

 

They could make a seperate bikes only lane on the side of the road.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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 Quote:What blows my mind

 

Quote:
What blows my mind (only because I'm a cyclist) is that people in the US can't get their minds around the idea that riding a bike is the combination of saving the world and going to the gym all in one activity. I've seen more people winter biking this year than ever before. If Californians figured that shit out, they wouldn't even have to whine about everyone else's footprint. They would win hands down! (Of course, not in LA, which is designed for cars and nothing else.)

I think the one valid argument we fat fucks have is that America was clearly designed to be as hostile to cyclists as possible.  First, unless you live in a big city, you're talking about an hour bike ride to most places, compared to a fifteen minute drive.  It's not the worst thing ever, but it causes problems.  I'm lucky because I live within biking distance of the grocery store, so I can go three or four times a week and just get one or two bags of food.  If I lived an hour and a half bike ride away, as many Americans do, I couldn't possibly get enough onto my bike to feed a family of four.  (Damn glad I don't have to do that, but you get my point.)

Most rural areas and small cities make no provision for bikers at all.  I, for one, don't enjoy taking my own life in my hands for shits and giggles, and in many places, that's what you're doing.  Share the road?  Really?  I'm supposed to put on my little helmet and share the same lane with SUVs driven by college girls who are texting their boyfriends the whole time they're driving?  Fuck off no.

 

 

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 Quote:Someone needs to

 

Quote:
Someone needs to explain to me how this C02 cycle is a positive feedback loop that will never end. It does sound frightening when they say that C02 levels are at a 650,000 year high at 380-400 ppm, but when you look at the geological record, that doesn't seem that bad. Shouldn't the Paleozoic period have been locked into the unstoppable positive feedback loop?

Isn't all this carbon we are releasing into the atmosphere now originally atmospheric C02 hundreds of millions of years ago (before being turned into plant matter and then oil)?

I'm not a environmental scientist, but something is missing from the doomsday stories you read in newspapers. Anyone able to fill in the gaps and explain how this is different than what global temperature and atmospheric C02 levels were hundreds of millions of years ago?

The way I understand it, it's not that earth has never been this hot before.  Obviously it has.  Our environment has changed quite a few times, from "Snowball Earth" to temperate poles.  The point made by environmentalists is not that all life on earth will end if the polar caps melt.  It's that human life will either end or become much much worse.

 

 

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You've missed the obvious.

You've missed the obvious. The great danger of global warming is mass extinction, including possibly humans. Even if we don't go extinct, we certainly might have a massive die-off. Such global instability would easily lead to wars and other global chaos. Nukes are not out of the question, obviously.

The current phase of global warming is not gradual, as most transitions have been in the past. 100 years is nothing in geological time, and certainly not enough time for evolution to adapt life gradually. We are currently seeing an extremely rapid extinction event caused by human population and climate change. It has been estimated that in 100 years, 50% of species could be extinct, depending on how the trend goes.

From http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/02/the-6th-great-m.html

Quote:
There is little doubt left in the minds of professional biologists that Earth is currently faced with a mounting loss of species that threatens to rival the five great mass extinctions of the geological past, the most devasting being the Third major Extinction (c. 245 mya), the Permian, where 54% of the planet's species families lost. As long ago as 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year -- which breaks down to the even more daunting statistic of some three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that this biodiversity crisis -- this "Sixth Extinction" -- is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had supposed.

With the human population expected to reach 9-10 billion by the end of the century and the planet in the middle of its sixth mass extinction — this time due to human activity — the next few years are critical in conserving Earth’s precious biodiversity. The cause of the Sixth Extinction, Homo sapiens, means we can continue on the path to our own extinction, or, preferably, we modify our behavior toward the global ecosystem of which we are still very much a part.

What happens when mass extinctions happen? The ecology gets so disrupted that basically only the lowest complexity forms of life survive. Predators, and other top-level organisms like trees/rainforests, are the most affected. If you imagine food chains as vertical buildings with the predators at the top, and then imagine a massive earthquake, you get the idea. Sure, there may be some low-level structures surviving among the rubble, but the taller and more delicate buildings fall hard.

The worst possible thing that could happen for humans is a massive die-off of the oceans' algae. No algae, no oxygen. No oxygen, no people.

Thankfully, that's not likely with mere global warming. But it *is* likely with nuclear winter!

Could you imagine 200 years of the fastest global warming the planet's ever seen, followed by 10,000 years of darkness and cold? First, all the cold-adapted life dies off in the global warming period. Then all the warm-adapted life dies off in the following ice age, not to mention the massive loss of vegetation.

Global warming means big die-offs of our food. Current massive over-population plus continued Malthusian population growth leads to famine, drought, and disease. Starvation and desperation lead to war. War with nukes could easily cause our extinction. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter

Quote:
A minor nuclear war (such as between India and Pakistan or in the Middle East), with each country using 50 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs as airbursts on urban areas, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history. This is only 0.03% of the explosive power of the current global arsenal.

All it takes is two idiots in theocracies to destroy everyone.

We *don't* want to 'wait and see'. Even without the final blow of nuclear war, this current mass extinction event could easily kill 90% of humans.

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Sooooo, we need to get rid

Sooooo, we need to get rid of veganism and random drivers/strip cruisers.

I'm cool with that.

I'm just wondering if we can incorporate this into the Pickens Plan.

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Just thought I should

Just thought I should mention a fact which often gets missed, especially by those denying warming itself, or down-playing the effects or how quickly they may occur.

They assume that the ice-sheets in Antarctica and Greenland have to actually melt to cause sea-level rise.

Actually, they only have to slide into the ocean as icebergs to cause essentially as much sea-level rise as they ever will.

And there is a lot of evidence that many ice-sheets and glaciers in both places are moving faster, typically because higher temperatures have lead to more melt-water getting down between the ice and the rock it is sitting on, and 'lubricating' it.

Also, where the base of the glacier is significantly below sea level where it meets the ocean, warmer surface water can penetrate into that space as well.

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Unfortunatly in order to get

Unfortunatly in order to get rid of all the harmful gas guzzling Hummers and SUVs, men would have to evolve bigger penises, but that's rather unlikey to happen before it's too late.

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Unfortunatly in order to get rid of all the harmful gas guzzling Hummers and SUVs, men would have to evolve bigger penises, but that's rather unlikey to happen before it's too late.
According to an unfortunately large percentage of the e-mail I get, no man need wait on evolution.


 

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Quote:It's true, large,

Quote:
It's true, large, sharp rises or dips in temperature could be devasting, but I can't really complain if the average global temperature still isn't warmer than it was only 1000 years ago.  Things aren't past the 'tipping point' and like Hamby and Bob and Will, I somehow think it we won't be in the situation predicted.

This is sort-of what the last part of my question was meant to ask. So, the global temperature will sharply rise... but by how much? And what would that likely do?

I'm not asking rhetorically; I literally haven't the faintest idea of what the negative ramifications would be. I mean, in general, isn't warmer weather generally associated with favorable conditions for doing things like growing crops?

 

Natural: Could you please be more specific? How would a rapid warming trend cause mass extinction / reduced food yield? I'm well aware of the problem of our exponential, unchecked population growth (which I consider to be the greatest hazard to the future of the species at present), but that (seems to be) a seperate problem from a warming trend.

As has already been pointed-out, I just can't see any reason to think that the Earth would get any warmer than it was in some of it's earlier life-bearing periods, where much of it was swamp & jungle... and I can't see why that would be a bad thing (I may jus not have the correct depth of perspective, however. Feel free to educate me).

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
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Kevin R Brown wrote:Natural:

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Natural: Could you please be more specific? How would a rapid warming trend cause mass extinction / reduced food yield? I'm well aware of the problem of our exponential, unchecked population growth (which I consider to be the greatest hazard to the future of the species at present), but that (seems to be) a seperate problem from a warming trend.

As has already been pointed-out, I just can't see any reason to think that the Earth would get any warmer than it was in some of it's earlier life-bearing periods, where much of it was swamp & jungle... and I can't see why that would be a bad thing (I may jus not have the correct depth of perspective, however. Feel free to educate me).

It's not a question of how warm it gets. Given enough time, life could (and has) adapted to widely varying temperatures and climates. Life lives in hot savannahs, and cold tundras.

The real question is how fast does the change happen, and are the ecological systems able to withstand the rapid change. The real *danger* is what's called ecological collapse, which basically means when the last straw breaks the camel's back.

Ecological systems are fairly resilient. If you've studied highschool science, you should have heard about homeostasis, right? It basically means that a system (such as a chemical solution) can maintain a certain balance, even as conditions change. Well, basic biological life is like one big complicated homeostatic system. When the environment gets too acidic, a bacterial cell might shut some ion channels, for example. When you get an infection, your immune system kicks into gear to fight it off and return you to normal health. Etc.

An ecological system is like homeostasis on steriods. As the deer get overpopulated, the wolves increase in number, killing more deer. As the deer decrease in number, the wolves get hungry and have fewer offspring, or simply die of starvation, and the wolf population decreases. However, there's also the effect of the plants the deer eat. As the plants become scarcer in a drought, the deer die off, etc. etc. Imagine 10,000 species all interconnected in their various relationships with each other. Yet somehow, they maintain a balance with the overall environment, such that you find pretty stable ecological systems that maintain themselves over millenia. Forests, swamps, wetlands, plains, lakes, rivers, etc.

When ecologists have investigated various systems, they find that the balance is maintained by a somewhat limited number of fundamental species. These species are like the skeleton of the ecological system. For example, in the ocean algae is pretty much the foundation, upon which a few species of zooplankton may be crucial for the survival of larger predators, and some of these larger fish are crucial for the bigger fish, etc.

There may be 100,000 species in the system, but a lot of their roles overlap and there is a lot of redundancy, so that really only 20,000 or maybe even 1000 species are fundamentally necessary to keep the system running. The rest of the species provide a buffer against change, and much needed biodiversity. Without biodiversity, the ecosystem is much more fragile.

In software there's a thing called the Bus Number. When you're working in a big team, the Bus Number is the lowest number of people, such that if these people all somehow got hit by a bus on the same day, the project would fail because these few people held crucial knowledge to complete the project. For instance, if your project is heavily dependent on the database, and you only have one database expert on the team, then your bus number is 1, because if that DB guy gets hit by a bus tomorrow, the project goes kaput.

It's a similar idea with ecology. If there is too much damage to the system, if too many crucial species go extinct, then the whole ecological system collapses like a house of cards.

Imagine that deer and wolf scenario. If one day all the trees and bushes and grass die, then all the deer will soon die, and then all the wolves will die as well.

There are different ways that global warming can cause ecological collapses. The first is the obvious change in temperature. If a grassland is susceptible to temperature and the soil starts to dry up, and all the grasses die, then all the creatures that depend on the grass will die.

The second is invasive species. We are already seeing this happen in many parts of Canada. Some species are limited to certain areas due to temperature. For instance there's a certain insect (can't remember) that was limited to lower latitudes of North America, because it couldn't survive very well in colder climates. Also, it was limited to one side of the Canadian Rockies, because it couldn't get over the mountains (it gets cold up the mountains). As the climate has warmed, just slightly, this insect, which loves to eat and kill trees, has invaded further inland in Western Canada. Lots of trees that had never experienced this pest suddenly became food for it. The populations of this insect got so out of control, that they even got past the mountains, carried by the wind, and now they infest the other side of the Rockies, too. They are causing great damage to the trees, and hence to those forests.

Those are just two major ways off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more.

Essentially, it is rapid ecological change that threatens the 'homeostatic' balance of ecological systems. A little damage can be survived and recovered. Too much, and the whole thing can suddenly collapse.

When you get sick, the infection causes damage to your body. A little damage can be recovered. Too much, and your whole body dies. If it happens to be an exotic infection (invasive species) from Africa or something, which you have not acquired immunity to, it can kill you quick, when someone from Africa would not have a problem with it.

50% extinction of species will collapse many ecologies. We are headed down that road right now. They don't call it 'mass extinction' for nothing.

What will be left will be the simplest, crudest, and most virulent of species. Plenty of insects will survive. Plenty of weeds. Plenty of mice. Stuff like that. Lots of previously arable land will turn to desert (it already is, at an alarming rate).

Whether humans can survive this? I'm optimistic that we can survive mere global warming, with our advanced culture and agriculture and technology. We'll have our greenhouses to keep the moisture in. We'll bioengineer foods to survive in tough environments.

But we won't be able to sustain 6 billion people. There will be massive death. Gigadeath. Survival, yes. But at what cost?

And that's just the mere-global-warming scenario. Can we maintain our culture and technology with such massive chaos in society? Can we hold off wars and other conflicts? Will our 'cultural ecology', our delicate balance of ideas, politics, and organizations, collapse as well? Can democracy, for example, survive? Civilizations have collapsed in the past. It would be incredible hubris to assume that ours cannot. What will be left in the aftermath? The simplest, crudest, most virulent cultures? Remember the Dark Ages, my friends.

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 I don't feel like looking

 I don't feel like looking it up right now, but I recently read an article about how parts of the Sea of Japan are being overrun by jellyfish.  The thing is, the jellyfish mating cycle is highly dependent on temperature, and a slight rise in water temperature has enabled them to reproduce much more prolifically.  At first glance, this kind of thing might not seem like much, but when you realize that in some areas, most of the fish brought in by fishermen are covered in tentacles and unfit for sale, you start to get an idea of what this kind of imbalance can do.

Realize that this is a single animal, and yet it has an impact on literally every other animal in its habitat, and on every predator, including humans, and you get an idea of just how bad a little warming can be.

Consider also that in much of the far east, the most fertile and arable soil is on the coast, and you get an idea of just how bad a slight rise in sea level would be.  Imagine the food crisis if 40% of the arable land in India was underwater.  With a five or six foot rise in sea level, New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Florida, and maybe a dozen other cities would be pretty much underwater.  Not an insurmountable loss, but nothing short of the biggest disaster in human history.

 

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JillSwift

JillSwift wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Unfortunatly in order to get rid of all the harmful gas guzzling Hummers and SUVs, men would have to evolve bigger penises, but that's rather unlikey to happen before it's too late.
According to an unfortunately large percentage of the e-mail I get, no man need wait on evolution.

 

One wonders why you would get such an inordinate amount of said e-mails. Perhaps your computer has picked up some cookies from sites you have visited?

And why is it that men have to get bigger? Why can't women get smaller?

I think Jill and I should trade e-mails since I get updates on science materials and solicitations from theists. That would offer a reprieve from thinking about penises for a little while. lol.

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Quote:For instance there's a

Quote:
For instance there's a certain insect (can't remember) that was limited to lower latitudes of North America, because it couldn't survive very well in colder climates. Also, it was limited to one side of the Canadian Rockies, because it couldn't get over the mountains (it gets cold up the mountains). As the climate has warmed, just slightly, this insect, which loves to eat and kill trees, has invaded further inland in Western Canada. Lots of trees that had never experienced this pest suddenly became food for it. The populations of this insect got so out of control, that they even got past the mountains, carried by the wind, and now they infest the other side of the Rockies, too. They are causing great damage to the trees, and hence to those forests.

The damn pine beetles. Yeah, I know what you're talking about... though I thought we'd curbed that problem?

 

Regardless, I see what you mean. Also, I'd never thought of Hamby's point regarding arable land vs rising seawater (...time to switch to rice harvesting instead? Sticking out tongue)

Quote:
But we won't be able to sustain 6 billion people.

Well, for fuck's sake, the Earth can't sustain that many of us. There's just no damn way. We have finite space and resources, and they aren't sufficient for that many big, hungry, wasteful mammals. 2 billion, 3 billion tops is a sustainable population base. So, yeah, I imagine there will be a big die-off, since we appear to be unwilling to accept birth control and a combination of voluntary/mandatory euthanizing to keep population levels under control (Hell, we won't even give-up our damn cars!)

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
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EXC wrote:Too damn dangerous

EXC wrote:
Too damn dangerous for biking anywhere but off road.

Cars are definitely dangerous. I'll give you that. Have you tried wearing a helmet? I think I've been hurt worse playing rugby than riding my bike. But if you mean in your area, it may be - I've been to places (like Nashville) where they get upset that you're even ON a bicycle.

"Whut're doin' THAT for?"

"I don't know, fatass. I guess it's the same thing that made me want to learn to read. What a weirdo, eh? Suck my balls."

EXC wrote:
Other problem is there is never affordable housing near where where the jobs are.

Oh North America. When will we learn to make towns that aren't poorly designed? If cars weren't the dominant form of transportation, we might stand a chance of organizing things properly. Suburbia is such a monumentally stupid idea.

EXC wrote:
Better to go nuclear/solar with hydrogen/electric cars.

Better? Well, lazier. I know nobody's going to take the cyclist's side, since North America just isn't set up for bicycles. But shit, people. I see guys wanting to do extreme sports and jumping out of planes and shit, and the idea of biking downtown is "too dangerous". It just seems monumentally sissy to me.

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Hambydammit wrote:I think

Hambydammit wrote:

I think the one valid argument we fat fucks have is that America was clearly designed to be as hostile to cyclists as possible.

No kidding. But you definitely don't have the monopoly on fat fucks. Anywhere there is McDonald's, there are fat fucking people.

Hambydammit wrote:
First, unless you live in a big city, you're talking about an hour bike ride to most places, compared to a fifteen minute drive.

Now, I'm pretty fast, since I like bikes a lot, but a fifteen minute drive at an average of 60km/h is 15km. I used to do that to school. That takes about 25 minutes. You'd have to be going fairly slowly for it to take an hour.

Hambydammit wrote:
Most rural areas and small cities make no provision for bikers at all.  I, for one, don't enjoy taking my own life in my hands for shits and giggles, and in many places, that's what you're doing.  Share the road?  Really?  I'm supposed to put on my little helmet and share the same lane with SUVs driven by college girls who are texting their boyfriends the whole time they're driving?  Fuck off no.

So what you're saying is that I have giant, swinging brass balls. Okay, I'll take that.

Have you not tried hooking your bike up to a trailer? You can get a ton of groceries in one of those things.

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HisWillness wrote:Oh North

HisWillness wrote:

Oh North America. When will we learn to make towns that aren't poorly designed? If cars weren't the dominant form of transportation, we might stand a chance of organizing things properly. Suburbia is such a monumentally stupid idea.

I don't think cities are planned at all. They just kind of happen as a consequence of population growth. Since we don't plan our population growth, we end up with the mess. And who would pay for the planned well organized society? If you try to tax the people who use the services everyone complains about the burden on the poor/middle class. If you tax the rich, they take their money elsewhere.

Everyone wants a safe, roomy place for their families away from industry, traffic, crime. Suburbia has it's advantages and disadvantages.

HisWillness wrote:

Better? Well, lazier. I know nobody's going to take the cyclist's side, since North America just isn't set up for bicycles. But shit, people. I see guys wanting to do extreme sports and jumping out of planes and shit, and the idea of biking downtown is "too dangerous". It just seems monumentally sissy to me.

I do extreme sports, the difference is that I'm in control. I'll mountain bike down a steep cliff with no guardrail. On the roads, I don't know what shit other people are going to do or if they can even see me. They let any half blind idiot drive a car. I was hit by an old woman that couldn't see shit. I wouldn't do extreme sports if my life was in the hands of an unqualified idiot.

There is nothing "sissy" about a rational assessment of risk. There are things every person decides not to do because the risk is too high.

There not going to build many bike lanes because bikes don't pay taxes.

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Yes, we are fucked.

Yes, we are fucked. Lead will flow like water on the surface of the earth within one week The whole earth will be a liquid in a month and will evaporate into gas a year from now. There is nothing that anyone can do to prevent this. Deal with it.

 

Either that or question the sources that you hold dear.

 

If you do not want to live in a theocracy, then don't try to live in one that conforms to what feels comfortable to you.

 

Man/bear/pig (Al Gore) is not going to save you from the scourge of evil republicans who want to liquefy the planet so that they can get millions of bucks while the whole shit hole lasts.

 

Take some time to look up the actual science of the matter. There are lots of people who do the real work who have asked to have their names removed from the papers on the grounds that this is far more political than it is scientific.

 

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Whether or not we are fucked

Whether or not we are fucked depends on a few things. It may first help to elucidate precisely what occurs. The understanding that most people have of the concept of Greenhouse effect is incorrect and simplistic. As they understand it, light form the sun reaches Earth where some of it is reflected and the greenhouse gases trap it, causing the Earth to heat. This is not correct, and is not what is understood by the Greenhouse effect by those who actually know it.

The principle we must understand here is that the energy carried by a photon is proportional to its frequency (E=hf). The quantization of light energy was an important initial step, by the way, in the formulation of modern physics. One of the most important discoveries of the last 200 years is that all bodies of greater than 0 Kelvin emit electromagnetic radiation. A body which is a perfect emitter and absorber (emits all frequencies and absorbs all light that falls on it) is referred to as a black body. What makes this important is the fact that the energy of the photons emitted by bodies will depend on their temperature. More precisely, a perfect black body has an emissivity of 1, where the emissivity is the ratio of power emitted by a black body to that emitted by the object in question.

What makes this important is the fact that although bodies can emit all wavelengths, their peak wavelength (the most common wavelength emitted) will be determined by their temperature. This is called the Wein displacement law, which states that λT=k, where k is a constant (2.9E-3mK). This is best illustrated graphically, with the black body curve:

 

 

Stars are hot enough that they emit visible light. Our star emits mostly orange/yellow light. Hotter stars will appear blue, or violet. The objects that we experience on a day-to-day basis (the Earth, people, etc.) emit infra-red radiation.

What makes this important is the fact that the bond angles in certain molecules in the atmosphere have certain degrees of freedom in terms of their translational, vibrational and rotational motion. The strength of this bond will determine the natural frequency (because the bonds will oscillate with a natural frequency). In the cases of greenhouse gases, the natural frequencies will correspond to the peak wavelengths emitted by the Earth. As a result, the molecules radiate their electromagnetic radiation in random directions (this is called scattering). This decreases the net flux of power out of the Earth. The flux is defined as the surface integral over the vector field denoting the propagation of electromagnetic radiation. So the increased presence of these gases will decrease the net power flux out of the Earth. This is good, because if it were not the case the surface temperature of the Earth would be -50 Celsius, but if it is too high, then it is quite problematic.

So, whether or not we are fucked depends on something called the albedo. The albedo is a property of a surface. Some of the radiation that a surface receives will be reflected straight back into space. The ratio of power reflected/power absorbed is called the albedo. Snow has a significantly higher albedo than liquid water does. So, if the Earth heats (because of the increased presence of greenhouse gases) then there will be more liquid water and less ice. This will decrease the albedo and result in the rate of heating increasing, which in turn will result in the rate of decrease of albedo increasing, etc.

To stop this from happening, we would have to decrease our emission rate so that the Carbon cycle can cope with it. Carbon injected into the atmosphere does not stay there. It is removed by fixation processes in the cycle. Unfortunately, the rate of injection of greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere due to our industrial processes exceeds the natural capacity to remove it. The problem is that so many of these factors mutually reinforce each other, such as the albedo and the heating, and the fact that our industries which increase greenhouse gas emissions also decrease the fixation rate by removing trees, etc. and because heating not only increases the volume of liquid water by melting ice, it also directly increases the volume of water and decreases the solubility of carbon dioxide in the oceans (as any chemist will tell you) unfortunately, decreases.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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