• jorndoe
    1.4k
    I sometimes can't help but wonder why climate change attributable to human activities remain discussed as if controversial.

    The scientific consensus is that the Earth's climate system is unequivocally warming, and that it is extremely likely (meaning 95% probability or higher) that this warming is predominantly caused by humans. — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
    While it’s possible to find one or two flawed papers arguing to the contrary, the balance of evidence is tilted heavily to the side of human-caused global warming.
    It’s about as settled as science gets. In fact, it’s about as settled as the fact that smoking causes cancer, chlorofluorocarbons cause ozone depletion, sulfur dioxide causes acid rain, and DDT is toxic.
    — https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/sep/15/97-vs-3-how-much-global-warming-are-humans-causing
    97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming. — https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm

    Of course there are interests for whom such findings can get in the way.
    Like economic or political or whatever.

    There are also some, whose presuppositions appears to dictate their stance on the topic beforehand.
    In such cases it seems the findings are more like a threat to their presuppositions instead.
    Are passages like these (below), or upbringing in such environments, impacting peoples' thinking?
    If yes, then ought there not be better education (and informing), due to potentially larger things at stake (e.g. well-being of future generations)?

    And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. — Genesis 1:28
    And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. — Genesis 9:7
    1. Do you think there has been and is climate change attributable to human activities? (13 votes)
        Yes
        92%
        No
        8%
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Indeed. Not only is it very likely that human activity has been responsible for more than 50% of the warming that occurred since 1950, the central estimate for the human contribution is actually around 110% percent of the observed warming. That figure is higher than 100% because the net effect from the natural contributions to global warming over that period likely has been a cooling effect. So, were it not for the natural contributors to climate change, the warming that we have experienced up until now would be even larger. Here is a good post by Gavin Schmidt over at RealClimate that explains how we know that.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    I don't doubt the climate issue, but I wonder about the effectiveness of any international treaty of this sort. Sure there will be countries that will comply with the rules, but others will not comply, some have no intention of complying, hoping to take advantage of whatever low cost benefit they can derive from such a treaty. These countries can significantly undercut the efforts of the treaty. The free rider problem is real and it is problematic.

    ...the free-rider problem occurs when those who benefit from resources, goods, or services do not pay for them, which results in an underprovision of those goods or services For example, a free-rider may frequently ask for available parking lots (public goods) from the ones who have already paid for them, in order to benefit from free parking. At the end of the day, one may see that the free-rider have used the parking even more than the others without paying a single penny. The free-rider problem is the question of how to limit free riding and its negative effects in these situations. The free-rider problem may occur when property rights are not clearly defined and imposed.
    Wikipedia
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    Yes, but you would say that wouldn't you Jorn?

    You are from Denmark, and everybody knows that the Danes, with their ridiculous bicycle-based transport systems and infestations of windmills are at the forefront of the green-communist-islamist conspiracy to usurp the sanctity of the free market and the sovereignty of free nations so that we can all be made slaves to a World Government that controls our every thought and word, and saps and impurifies all of our precious bodily fluids to boot.

    The only people that are more culpable than the Danes in this fiasco are the scientists.
  • noAxioms
    890
    I think the most important question is how to stop it.Pollywalls
    I've never seen a viable suggestion. All the treaties seem to attempt to slow it, but none will admit to what needs to be done to reverse it. The Holocene extinction event is predicted to eliminate over 90% of all species, including us. Delaying that is not a plan. Humans by nature do not plan for long term.

    The current plan to go out in spectacular fashion is arguably a better one than what is proposed in international treaties. I think there are few humans left that know how to live without the infrastructure. I certainly am not one of them.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    none will admit to what needs to be done to reverse it.noAxioms

    Because damage done is damage done. The best we can do is stop future failures from occurring. We can't bring back extinct species or make a glacier in the laboratory, which is why no one talks about doing such things.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.8k
    Humans by nature do not plan for long term.noAxioms

    And that is the crux of the matter. We just don't know how to deal with very long-term problems that are inconvenient in the short run, no matter how destructive they will be in the long run.

    Despite that, we have a chance: If we can't embark on 200 year solutions, we certainly can manage 10 year projects. (I first said "20 year projects" then decided that was probably beyond our imaginative range). And, in fact, we are doing that. There are a lot of multi-year projects that do not extend far into the future. Things like increasing the output of wind power in the midwest from 3% of energy consumed to 20%. That's doable. Will that save the planet? No, but it's manageable. Increasing efficiency of motors (all kinds) is a 10 year type project. Maybe it will reduce the consumption of energy 12%-19%. Planet saving? Not by itself, no.

    There isn't one single fix that we can carry out and then we'll be all done with the global warming problem.

    There will be new and fresh good reasons to undertake more ambitious plans that we can actually manage in the decades ahead: resource shortages, problems of too much very hot weather, food supply instability, water shortages, severe storms, physical discomfort, etc. are going to be an on-going goad in our hindquarters. We won't forget about climate warming, because climate warming will regularly remind us of its facticity.
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    sometimes can't help but wonder why climate change attributable to human activities remain discussed as if controversial.jorndoe

    It's very simple: because of the deliberate obfuscation on the part of the fossil-fuel industry and their lackeys in democratic political systems throughout the world.

    However, I wouldn't like to think that this is attributable to Christian Biblicism. Certainly there is a strong cadre of conservative Christians in US politics, that is pro-business and anti-environment, but there is also a Christian left, not to mention the existence of conservatives who support climate action.

    Incidentally if you want to read a really scary article on climate change, have a read of this essay in NY Magazine. Not for the faint of heart, I warn you.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    The CO2 emission targets recommended by the IPCC, and aimed at by the Paris Agreement, aren't unrealistic. Reasonable policy efforts (aided by technological progress), versus little of no efforts, can mean the difference between a stable 550ppm concentration of CO2 by 2100 or 800ppm and growing. This might translate into either a 2°C global average warming, or 4°C and growing, respectively. This is a huge difference in terms of impacts on human populations and ecosystems. It may also translate into a difference of several meters in sea-level rise. Whatever we do from now on, the Greenland ice-sheet likely is doomed over the long run, but the fate of the much larger Antarctic ice-sheet still depends on us. And there also is the issue of ocean acidification which is a very grave concern.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I don't know, you guys will have to do better than this to convince me. Human reason generally tends to hubristically assume that it can know with certainty (and it devises clever formulas and mechanisms by which it quantifies that certainty)

    I do think there is "climate change" in the general sense of the term attributable to human activity - things like pollution of seas/oceans, etc. are quite clear. But I'm not convinced with the whole temperature rise stuff. And I'm certainly not convinced by the apocalyptic scenarios some people paint.

    So I voted "No" in the poll, even though I think there probably is some human caused climate change and we ought to be cautious, simply because I think we're overemphasising its effects and importance.

    Incidentally if you want to read a really scary article on climate change, have a read of this essay in NY Magazine. Not for the faint of heart, I warn you.Wayfarer
    >:O Oh yeah, time to grab the pony! Incidentally, someone sent me this article about last week, and I couldn't understand what's so "great" about it. It's a journalist who already is pretty settled about his opinion trying to shove it down our throats and create sensationalism and fear.

    You can read for example this counter article from awhile back:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/11/does-co2-correlate-with-temperature-history-a-look-at-multiple-timescales-in-the-context-of-the-shakun-et-al-paper/
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    Are passages like these (below), or upbringing in such environments, impacting peoples' thinking? If yes, then ought there not be better education (and informing), due to potentially larger things at stake (e.g. well-being of future generations)?jorndoe
    A great deal of scientific analysis has clearly attributed climate change to human activity, but there are a plethora of competing literature funded to analyse the subject from a negative or positive view due to the economic and political challenges of admitting to this global phenomenon. It is hard to filter through all of that, and to ascertain any religious influence that would enable people to become susceptible in believing either for or against such as whether it is apocalyptic in nature or whether it is simply impossible unless deterministically willed otherwise is really hard to tell. I would assume that the large masses of religiously devout who also tend to have conservative leanings fall into a trap of climate change denial because of the political rather than the religious.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    You can read for example this counter article from awhile back:Agustino

    This paper from WUWT is fairly bad. It simply ignores two fairly well understood and uncontested principles of climate science.

    First, it fails to mention that in the past, before mankind started to release vast amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, the atmospheric CO2 concentration could act as a positive feedback to global surface warming or cooling. If orbital variations (e.g. Milankovitch cycles) would cause some amount of warming, for instance, then consequent warming of the oceans would trigger the release of even more CO2. But that is not what is mainly causing the CO2 increase now.

    Secondly, it asserts that climate sensitivity must be low because the positive feedback due to water vapor is "hypothetical". But this positive feedback is just about the least contested part of climates science and atmospheric physics. Even the very few climate scientists (e.g. Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen or Roy Spencer) who believe that climate sensitivity likely is lower than the central estimate reported by the IPCC believe this because they think the cloud feedback might be negative. Those who question the value of the water vapor feedback don't understand the science at all. They don't even represent the views of the 3% of AGW-skeptical scientists.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    First, it fails to mention that in the past, before mankind started to release vast amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, the atmospheric CO2 concentration could act as a positive feedback to global surface warming or cooling. If orbital variations (e.g. Milankovitch cycles) would cause some amount of warming, for instance, then consequent warming of the oceans would trigger the release of even more CO2. But that is not what is mainly causing the CO2 increase now.Pierre-Normand
    Okay but how can we know for certain that CO2 increase (which is undeniable) will cause warming? We notice a correlation so far between CO2 and temperature, in the long term. How do we know that this correlation indicates causation at the level of the entire earth? And if it does how do we know that the earth does not have some mechanisms to counter-act the warming effects? It seems to me that we're being quite arrogant to think we fully understand what the earth is capable to do.
  • jorndoe
    1.4k
    , dang, got me. :)

    (Let me just add, Danish cities don't have anything on Amsterdam when it comes to bicycle-rule.)
  • jorndoe
    1.4k
    , yeah, effective regulation is a problem.
    That said, you'd hope the ethics is informed by the science, and the politics informed by both.
    Worst case could resort to sanctions I suppose, it's been done before anyway albeit with mixed success.


    Free-rider problem (Wikipedia article)
    Tragedy of the commons (Wikipedia article)
  • jorndoe
    1.4k
    It is hard to filter through all of that, and to ascertain any religious influence that would enable people to become susceptible in believing either for or against such as whether it is apocalyptic in nature or whether it is simply impossible unless deterministically willed otherwise is really hard to tell. I would assume that the large masses of religiously devout who also tend to have conservative leanings fall into a trap of climate change denial because of the political rather than the religious.TimeLine

    Yep.

    Though, one of the reasons for posting the poll was that a climate-change-denier elsewhere wrote (paraphrased) "God is in control", "There's nothing we can do", and some others seemingly agreed.
    Made me think if such sentiments can have unfortunate consequences, hence the bottom part of the opening post (education, informing).
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Okay but how can we know for certain that CO2 increase (which is undeniable) will cause warming? We notice a correlation so far between CO2 and temperature, in the long term. How do we know that this correlation indicates causation at the level of the entire earth?Agustino

    We know that because the radiative-convective mechanism underlying this effect is well understood and, indeed, measurable. We can measure the change in the infrared spectra of the radiation emitted to space, and the radiation downwelling back to the surface, and how those spectra have changed over the last few decades. Furthermore, quite independently from our understanding of the mechanism, the warming that has occurred in recent decades in response to the enhanced greenhouse effect hasn't been enough to keep up with this increased forcing. We know that because the oceans still are accumulating heat at a fast rate and this proves that there remains a large positive imbalance between the energy entering the system and the energy leaving it. This is sufficient to show that the cause of the warming can't be some internal circulation cycle since such a cause would lead to an imbalance in the opposite direction and would thus have caused the oceans to lose rather than gain heat.

    And if it does how do we know that the earth does not have some mechanisms to counter-act the warming effects? It seems to me that we're being quite arrogant to think we fully understand what the earth is capable to do.

    The most plausible such effect would be a negative cloud feedback. But there might equally be a positive cloud feedback. We don't know for sure, and this is precisely why the IPCC estimates that the climate sensitivity to CO2 forcing likely belongs somewhere in the range between 1.5°C and 4.5°C per CO2 doubling. It is, on the contrary, the skeptics who seem quite certain that the high values for climate sensitivity can be discounted. Since they don't offer good arguments for thus narrowing down the IPCC uncertainty range, we are well advised to question their certainties.
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