CO2 and climate change
I don't have a climate background, but I am a scientist in a different field. I'll go into what I think is the most compelling piece of evidence for a link between CO2 and climate change. But from what I gather, there are difficulties with proving a causal link between CO2 and changing climate. Firstly, we can't do a big lab experiment with the earth. We are doing half of one, but we don't have a "control earth" where we aren't adding CO2 to the atmosphere at the same time. So these things have to be shown through multiple lines of evidence, and identifying causal links along the way.
An important piece of evidence is with regards to the wavelength of infrared radiation that CO2 absorbs. The greenhouse effect works by solar radiation moving through the atmosphere, hitting the earth where it converts to infrared radiation and heads back out. Certain gasses in the atmosphere trap some of this infrared radiation warming the atmosphere and the earth. This is normal, not controversial and is what makes the earth habital for species like us. Without an atmosphere trapping some of the outgoing infrared radiation the earth would be much colder.
Since 1970, NASA has been monitoring the outgoing infrared radiation across wavelengths (think of swell period, some radiation has a longer period, or length, than others). Different gasses in the atmosphere absorb radiation of different wavelengths. Absorbing radiation means they heat up. What they found is that less radiation of the wavelengths absorbed by CO2 is escaping the atmosphere. This means that with the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, less infrared radiation is escaping back out which explains why the earth is warming.
I've just summarised this from a website called skeptical science that goes through a lot of this stuff, if you want to read more about it, it's ">here.
That's just one piece of evidence, but it's an important causal link that CO2 is driving the change.
The big problem for us as surfers is going to be the resultant change in weather patterns...I haven't looked into that fully, although I think I read somehwere that there might be more cyclones in northern Aust so that might be good for us!
No worries. But it seems that your reading is not correct. For starters that earlier link I sent explains how the heat retention of CO2 has not reached a point of saturation. It's still absorbing the outgoing radiation, and therefore heat. But the point of a saturated CO2 effect has been argued in a paper that is full of mathematical errors, apparently. I say apparently because I don't understand it all (I'm not a mathematician) and I have to accept what scientists who have reviewed the paper are saying. Basically, errors in applying the laws of physics resulted in an erroneous conclusion that more CO2 won't increase the temperature. It's not an empirical paper, it's theoretical meaning it doesn't use data (like the wavelength stuff) to back it up. This isn't wrong in itself, theoretical papers are necessary, but if you have errors in your theory and no data to support your conclusions...you're kind of up the proverbial creek.
This link goes into where the errors are in that paper:
What I don't understand though, is if you agree that CO2 has an effect of heat retention and global warming, how can you not see that it is the driver of the change? Since heat retention and global warming is the change we speak of.
The skeptical science page is probably the most on topic discussion page I have come across on this stuff. It does get heated but not nearly as aggressive as other places and generally is heavily moderated so that when someone gets personal (you're such a moron if you believe that, etc) they cut it. It was created to go into the science to explain where and why a lot of the so called skeptical arguments are incorrect. The difficulty being it is very difficult to dispell a simple lie with a complex truth.
The ice core thing is a classic case in point. What you say about the ice core data is true and relevant to your point about CO2 maybe not being the sole driver of all global change. You're right on that point, it's not. The ice core data provides some nice evidence of that. What the ice core data does prove is that they are linked. But that is about it. Sometimes CO2 lags temperature and sometimes it's the other way around. It depends on the mechanism driving the increase in temp at that time. So you are correct there are many mechanisms, including fluctuations in solar output, earth's axis tilts, and atmospheric gases. The challenge is to figure out which was driving each episode of climatic change in the past as well as into the future. The skeptical science page has a good page explaining why CO2 lags temperature in some cases and not others. Basically it relates to coming in and out of ice ages (related to Milankovitch cycles, which move over 20000-40000 years). Given where we are in the Milankovitch cycle, we shouldn't be seeing warming by this mechanism (the same mechanism that would cause temp increase ahead of CO2). That means the mechanism evident in the lag in the ice core data isn't driving the warming now. It's here.
So to answer the question, "If this is the case, can we then make an assumption that the CO2 didn't drive the change?"
They are linked, and in the past CO2 didn't drive those particular changes, but it is driving today's changes. The evidence for which is widespread, the wavelength stuff I mentioned above is one part of it. So CO2 is not the only driver of change, but it is a very important driver of the current change, and one we can do something about. This last part is probably why greenies jumped on it a few years back and now we have the classic adversarial situation of greenies against the big nasty oil companies (or whoever). Sadly, the science has got slightly ignored and most people think it's all based on what Al Gore said and nothing more.
So another long post from me. It is a tricky thing to get your head around, and personally as a scientist I tend to trust the strictly scientific findings (by scientific I mean the method of inquiry) rather than the journalists who put forward simplistic misinterpretations. But when it gets into the mathematical details I have to believe what's written in words from the scientists as I can't necessarily understand physics and the mathematical equations that go with it. In all the reading I've done I've found the arguments that prove climate change is not our fault are incorrect themselves.
Thanks for the discussion benski and smokeweasel. Very civilised and enlightening debate gentlemen.
I ain't no expert either, but I tend to assume we should listen to those who are. Despite assertions to the contrary, it seems that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are convinced that CO2 is the primary culprit and that we're in deep strife if the current trends continue.
I don't understand the mechanism by which cigarette smoke causes lung cancer, but I listen when the relevant experts tell me it'll do me harm. And I don't understand the laws of physics governing load-bearing structures, thats why I get an engineer to look at my house plans.
If we as a society are gonna invest time and money in training cell biologists, engineers and climate scientists the least we can do is to heed their advice. If we need to convince every layman of the science before embarking on policy change, we're not going to get much done.
Well I'm impressed, we've certainly come a long way from the old image of hippy dole-bludging pot smoking lazy good-for-nothings that my parents thought all surfers are destined to be, including me. I actually had to leave Yahoo7's election campaign web pages to come to a surfing site to see some insightful and educated debate on a meaningful topic like climate change, put that in your pipe and smoke it Dad!!
As always its the media that has the last laugh, as the subject of climate change falls out of the spotlight to make way for the new 'flavour of the day' and nothing ever gets done.
And gannet, I think your last paragraph hits home the hardest, never have truer words been said!
aren't you people tired of loading up your heads with this neo-communists-environmentalists-saving planet shit ?
it's not a climate change. its actually speed that kills us all.
and there is more scary stuff coming in few years.
there won't be any speed cameras around in near future but only few satellites watching every step you take. go 3 k's over speed limit- bam!-sell your house to pay the fine.
welcome to farken revolution
gannet and my_opinion, glad you appreciate it.
Gannet has nailed it saying we should be listening to the experts. I think it is pretty unequivocal what the GENUINE climate scientists believe. It is the media (especially the right-wing The Australian and Daily Telegraph) and politicians that fuel this perception that the science on anthropogenic climate change is 'divided'. If you need any more convincing on the experts stance, check out this review in the highly regarded journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html
And as a side note, funny how the media jumped all over the allegations of fraud and corruption during the whole Climategate scandal, but when the independent investigations found the allegations to be incorrect and untrue it barely rates a mention!
It appears the weblink in my above post won't work on the forum. For those interested, the full reference is below. The article is open access, so just google search the title and authors and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding it.
Anderegg, W., Prall, J., Harold, J. and Schneider, S. (2010) Expert credibility in climate change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(27), pp 12107 - 12109.
Good information and as mentioned very civilised.
Now I want to drag it down a notch and make it personal.
Surfers have a lot to say about all this environmental stuff, but dont seem to do much in regard to changing behaviour. We emit soooo much CO2 chasing waves it is quite ridiculous. wether it be driving up the coast or flying to Indo etc. Surfers by their nature travel much more than the average person without thinking much about it.
I believe the surf media and the whole Pro circus has a lot to answer to. We hear all this talk about environment (in surf media) at the same time we see Pros galavanting around the globe in planes, boats even helicopters, and the tow in phenomenom means every second surfer aspires to own a jetski (smelly, fuel hungry things they are)
They are hardly setting an example for sustainability. This has all become a bit ridiculous as Pro surfing has developed especially over the last 2 decades as surf companies have moved their factories to the developing countries increasing profits while prices still increase. Some of the boats off of the Ment look like QE2 with helipads and jetskis etc. Big surf companies (no names) need to look at themselves they have become the capitlaist pigs that surfers used to criticise. Come on companies you exploit all that 3rd world labour paying them pittence so you can improve your already extravagent lifestyles.
way to make it personal roolf.
It's a good point you make though, about how much CO2 we no doubt produce. I read an article in the surfers journal a year or so ago about an old hippy type lady in San Francisco who bodysurfs every day in the frigid waters of the north pacific with nothing on, no matter the season. The article was a bit of a story of her life from one of the guys who lived in her house. He finished by saying that following her influence, he now surfs locally (walking distance) much more and just cops it when it's less than perfect rather than driving around the region looking for better surf.
Here's a link to a pretty long article written by the same guy that has a section about her, Carol Shuldt. Search for her name in the page, she's an interesting character.
Maybe this is all hippy crap though, not everyone will dig it. It's kind of relevant to the other thread going about surfing as a mainstream sport too.
Smokeweazel, I feel you are still sceptical about the effects of CO2 and climate change.
How about a different train of thought. Obviously burning all these fossil fuels and pumping them into the atmosphere isn't great for the environment. And at the rate we are going through them we're likely to run out in the next 50-100 years.
With this in mind why don't we try and move to more sustainable or renewable energies now before these fossil fuels run out and as well as reducing the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere earlier (whether you believe this is linked to climate change or not), we'll have greater technologies available to us when we do run out.
Australia could be a world leader in renewable energy R&D but at the moment both sides of the government seem reluctant to throw any major money towards it. I think it's a shame that we're waiting for other countries to 'go first' regarding a Carbon Tax, and although it's a tricky tax to bring in, I feel we can get a real advantage now over other countries and then sell our technology later down the line.
Some form of tax will make renewable energies more competitive and give incentives for companies to look into other forms of fuel and energy.
Unfortunately I don't have the time and energy at the moment to address the skeptics handbook so I'm going to do the lazy thing and respond to a link with another link. Basically the handbook you're talking about is based on several misunderstandings of climate science. The guys at Skeptical Science have explained them, and outlined why the claims made in the Skeptics Handbook are simply incorrect.
You can start here:
On that page you'll find links to a few more discussion pages as well as their own booklet which explains each point in pretty plain English.
enjoyed reading this thread with my doritos and a coldy, cheers boys...no expert on climate change etc, although i get the gist. a few posts sparked something in my brain about mind control. people get controlled by the media, adds, news etc(well in my opinion) yet people with egos are hard to get too yes? im not a pot head although i dont mind a smoke every now and then, but i believe if it was legal there would be alot more curious open minded people in this world..much more open minded to the environment.
which brigns me too the point of putting more adds up..writing off people in there big v8's and the companys that produce them etc etc. i could go into more detail but i reckon im going to get written off about my views on pot haha..
anyways, cheers for the thread, hope it keeps going
I like your train of thought Craig;
I really think Australia is just about to miss our opportunity to become a world leader in renewable technologies. When the whole world crashed recently and Australia was standing tall, steaming ahead with cash in our pockets, that was our time to really take the lead. Not just with a carbon tax / trading scheme (that will come in time) but by building a foundation of knowledge for this country to grow on. I believe that knowledge is power and we should be throwing a lot of money at our schools and particularly our Universities to conceive, develop and refine a whole range of new technologies. We need this countryâ€™s next generation of political, business and social leaders to be totally focused on changing ALL aspects of the way we live. There are already some countries leaping ahead with renewable technologies and they are leading the world in a few areas (particularly solar). But it only takes money to get these great minds to come over here and teach our kids the right way of thinking for the future.
Just think about it; the world has to change, thereâ€™s no question about that and whichever country has the knowledge has the power. I think the country that changes the world for the better should be Australia.
No matter what you think about climate change or CO2, man made or natural, the fact is the whole world needs to change the way we use the earthâ€™s resources. Taxing the high polluters is a good start, sure itâ€™s going to hurt to pay the electricity bill or fill up the car for a while. But if thatâ€™s what it takes to make new / more sustainable ideas take off in the market then thatâ€™s a good thing in my opinion. I believe that we have yet to hear about the real life changing ideas; electric cars are a start, but they are just a bit of a wank in my opinion. There are much better solutions just around the corner.
If in todayâ€™s society with all of the information out there you still donâ€™t believe that we need to change the way we live, I feel sorry for you. To me you must be like the guys standing in the paddock with their horse drawn cart looking that the first tractor thinking â€œthese noisy, smelly things will never take offâ€. Well they did and they changed everything, now we need to change again and Iâ€™m sure we will. I would just feel better about it if Australia was inventing / producing a lot of what is to come....
Good call craig and pete. There is a lot to be said for international competetive advantage and this is an area we have a golden opportunity to achieve just that. It takes some really long term thinking to set up policies to guide a country for decades and recently our voting population hasn't shown itself to be capable of looking that far ahead. I'm not gonna dish out on the pollies here (although they deserve some), we as a people don't seem to be prepared to think long term.
I remember reading something interesting around the late 90s or early 2000s when Argentina had its massive banking collapse and the economy there basically tanked. Apparently in the early 80s Argentina and Aust had very similar economies, similar basis for economic activity and similar GDP etc. Australia embarked on all those economic reforms (led by Hawke/Keating and supported to a reasonable extent by the opposition) like floating the dollar, reducing import tarrifs etc [edit - add to that, labour market reforms like The Accord]. This killed off certain parts of the Australian economy (like manufacturing) but freed up others. Argentina did none of those things, and went more protectionist. 20 years later with the digital economy in full swing Australia was much better placed to take advantage of it (helped by a China buying shedloads of our raw materials), but Argentina was still stuck in an economy from 1980, and they crashed and burned. It was incredibly forward thinking of Hawke and Keating make those reforms. It's that kind of thinking that should be driving investment in future technologies to set us up for the post carbon economy. It is after all, inevitable that oil and coal will run out. The sun's gonna burn for what, another million years or something?
But we as a population don't seem interested in that degree of forethought. We don't want to pay the full costs of production (including the externalities) to change our behaviour for the better (like reducing carbon). We keep baulking at the pain - we don't want another "recession we had to have." The media probably has a bit of a role with this, but like blaming the pollies it's a bit too convenient to blame the media. I think it's one of those strange triangles, the population, the media and the pollies are all responsible for each other. The media give us what we want to read, the pollies satisfy the media cycle giving us what we want to read. If a politician steps outside the box and suggests a different way of doing things they get hammered by the media and the people alike (eg the independents after the last election). That's only one example that comes to mind just now but I think it's a reasonable one.
So I'm not too optimistic that we as Australians have much hope in achieving what you guys are talking about, because of our own fear of thinking long term as well as the media enjoying the control of the status quo and the pollies grabbing for power. Strewth, lucky the surf's come up these past few days, or it'd be all doom and gloom!
Unfortunately I think Australia has missed the boat when it comes to harnessing Solar energy.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I am pretty certain solar PV panels were developed here first, unfortunately the lack of government support (particularly federal support under the Howard government) meant that most of it moved offshore to places where there was the money and regulatory backing for it to grow.
One of these interesting stories for not just solar but wind as well, has been California as run by the Governator. He recognised that as one of the largest economies in the world, driven largely by "silicon valley" type companies, California could maintain and even increase its status by grabbing first-mover advantages when it came to renewables. Lo-and-behold, this is exactly what they've done (the GFC has put a dampener on things but give it 10 years and they'll be romping it in if we don't lure some of these companies back - and believe me - those with Australian founders WANT to operate in Australia but financially can't)
The same can be said for Germany, China, and to a certain extent Spain as well. These countries recognised the need for renewable energy systems in their countries to supplement and eventually replace non-renewable sources. But, they also saw the benefits in having large(ish), established companies already operating when the rest of the world starts taking the same road. Anybody seen that new advertisement (in Brisbane at least) for that solar company, Coenergy or something, which uses the company's German origins as a selling point? We are being sold back the same products we helped to develop!
The Australian government (and yes, I say government and not the people because the government has entire departments charged with ensuring the Australian economy stays strong) can avoid making the same mistake but ensuring emerging technologies (i.e. the small start-ups that develop them) such as Tidal, Wave, and Geothermal Power (to an extent wind and bio-tech as well) don't go overseas. We stand to make a lot of money by licensing the technology out to other nations. This should be a key part of planning Australia's economic future for when (not if) we run out of stuff to mine/nobody needs it anymore....
Oh, I'm no economist but whilst I think the economic reforms implemented by previous governments in the 80s and 90s worked wonders for us, I have to agree with BobKat and say I think we have gone to far in removing trade barriers and reducing the capacity of our manufacturing sector. I mean, think how much money we make from sending Iron Ore to China to be turned into steel right? We can triple that money by mining it here, processing it here and THEN sending it O.S. (which not only brings in more money but creates more jobs for "Australian working families") The same goes for sending woodchips to Japan to make paper to sell back to us (at a higher price than the woodchips no less!) Any smart country wouldn't do this, so it's a shame our politicians are always so gutless when it comes to standing up to other members of the G20........but thats for another thread! :P
Don,t all forget about deforestation and the relationship it has with climate change.Ever noticed how cool it is under the trees on a hot day? Well thats cause solar radiation is being absorbed by chlorophyl in the plants in an amazing process call photosynthesis ,wich is today still the most efficient form of solar energy conversion known to man.Then consider the loss of the earths major forests that once covered the world.The energy these great forests once used is now reradiated as infa red heat into a much more heat absorbent co2 filled atmosphere. Tranpiration of moisture combined with cooling creats low atmospheric conditions wich encourage lows.Devegitated areas create heat and hence high pressure systems.Hence the fact that highs generally sit over inland Aussie and lows get bumped around into the Tasman. Clearing land has a direct link to weather patterns and is compouned by co2 emissions and also generall air pollution like smoke and dust
The big mystery is why is,nt it worse, why is it so hard to prove? when by rights we should all be boiling! Well the best answer i,ve heard is that due to upper atmoshere micro fine water particle pullution caused by jet engine vapour trails has reduduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earths surface by about 10%!.This is no shit ,you can see the stuff on satellite images and has been scientifically quantified.Not only that but it does,nt go away it accumulates as the particles are to small and to high to form precipitation
What this all means is anybodies guess but at the moment we have complex factors that may be nullifying each other.One things for sure and that is ,there,s too many of us and we sure have,nt learn,t our lesson yet
Let's be realistic.It's all nice to be talking friendly energy such as wind and solar but we are a long way off these being sufficient for most house's,city's and industrial needs.
Nuclear energy is the only way to go until we can find other way's that can meet our demands.
The whole global warming thing is just a scam for goverments to screw more money out of us.Whether you believe in man made global warming or not you can bet no goverment care's less about this but will go down this path so they can bring in these taxes and make us feel all warm and fuzzy for what they are doing cause they care.
Sorry but I'm not going to bother reading that site you're talking about and I'll use an example to explain why.
Recently the Royal Society (which is the oldest and one of the most respected scientific bodies in the world) released a guide to climate change science. It's a 19 page report outlining what we know with great certainty and what we know with less certainty and what we just don't know. From the reporting I've seen in the press it's already become one of the most misquoted documents I've ever seen. You can download it here:
Now last night, 18/10/2010, Jennifer Marohasy (a climate skeptic from the IPA) appeared on Q&A on the ABC. When asked a question about climate change she said this:
"Well, we've had no warming - no significant warming now for 10 years. The Royal Society has just put out a new report and in that report, and I don't agree with a lot of what's in the report, but it's very clear in that report that it says the last period of significant warming was 1975 to the year 2000."
So that's pretty clear, the Royal Society said the warming has stopped. Except that's exactly the opposite of what the Royal Society said. If you download their report from the link I provided above you'll find Point 22 on page 5, under the heading "Aspects of climate change on which there is wide agreement" which reads:
"When these surface temperatures are averaged over periods of a decade, to remove some of the year-to-year variability, each decade since the 1970s has been clearly warmer (given known uncertainties) than the one immediately preceding it. The decade 2000-2009 was, globally, around 0.15oC warmer than the decade 1990-1999."
So that's the exact opposite of what was claimed by Marohassy on national TV. The Royal Soc said the world is still warming (by 0.15oC since 2000) but she claims the Royal Soc says there has been no warming since 2000.
This is the main reason why I'm not interested in reading what a journalist says when they claim to have "debunked the science." I've seen it in this example, I've seen it elsewhere with climate science, I've even seen it with my own research. Journos frequently get it wrong.
So when you've got an entire field of science telling you one thing and a few journalists claiming they know more about it than the scientists themselves and that the scientists are wrong...I know exactly who I will believe. It just comes down to credibility of the sources. If there's an credible evidence against climate change it will stand up to peer review and be published in the scientific literature. You talked about digging deeper in your first post that started this thread. If you really want to dig deep, get into the scientific literature, read through it in detail. Reading a few blogs isn't deep I'm afraid, it's a bit lazy (no disrespect intended), because you're accepting second and third hand information when the primary sources are available. Tough to read but available. If they're too much, get some summary documents written by scientists not journalists. CSIRO have some, the Royal Soc has some and of course the IPCC reports themselves are an excellent source of scientific information. This is where you can find out about the science. Scientists report their findings, that's not propaganda, that's data. If you don't feel you can trust them, then there's not much point in talking about it or you reading about it, but that is where you can find the information you're looking for.
As for skeptical science being based on pseudo science, I'm afraid you've been sold a line there. It only uses the peer reviewed literature (that means the science - the primary sources) to communicate in lay terms the details of climate change. There are no more credible sources than that.
Now last night, 18/10/2010, Jennifer Marohasy (a climate skeptic from the IPA) appeared on Q&A on the ABC.
And wasn't that laughable....
I guess her theory is; if you don't really know what youâ€™re talking about just shout louder and talk over everybody else when they are trying to explain the facts.
She did no favours for the climate sceptics last nightâ€¦
"She did no favours for the climate sceptics last nightâ€¦"
No I agree, generally I thought Tim Flannery handled it pretty well - the look on his face when she was speaking was hilarious. Towards the end though I thought he got a bit condescending about it, "I thought we'd agreed you wouldn't interrupt" like he was talking to a child. Not such a good look. Having said that, I'm not sure what else was going to work!
benski, well-played sir, and now I think I have a man crush on you.
when you've got an entire field of science telling you one thing and a few journalists claiming they know more about it than the scientists themselves and that the scientists are wrong...I know exactly who I will believe
Agreed. This point has been frustrating me for so long. The same can be said for politicians acting as if they know better than the scientists because it suits them. I'd love for somebody to ask one of them on QandA "would you go to a doctor, or several doctors, listen to their diagnosis/advice and then claim they're wrong? no? then why do it regarding climate change scientists? check-mate!"
I thought Flannery brought up an excellent point about how it's alway the skeptics who seem to talk over other people, never the other way around. (also worth mentioning the same thing with God-fearers and Richard Dawkins. He always waited until they had completely finished what they were saying....before absolutely destroying them with logic and reason!)
Why do people think skeptic's don't believe in climate change.They just don't believe that man is the main driving force to the change.I think you will find that the so call skeptic's want to live in a cleaner world.But don't believe that a huge carbon tax is going to achieve anything.
In my life time there has been volcanic eruption's were the dust has lowered the temperature of the world for a couple of years each eruption.So it shows how there are alot of other forces changing climate change.
Mowgli if you believe in god where science goes against such idea's why are you so willing to believe in the so called science to blame man as the driving force to climate change.
Once again us so called skeptic's do believe the climate changes (it alway's has)we just don't believe destroying our economy by a tax which will have no affect to the world scale of carbon in the atmosphere.
You raise two separate issues here.
1. Is the current global warming (current meaning century long) due to our input of CO2 into the atmosphere?
2. If it is what should we do about it (carbon tax, trading scheme etc)?
In addressing the first one you say "So it shows how there are alot of other forces changing climate change." The implied suggestion in what you're saying is that the climate scientists aren't aware of this and that they think the only mechanism that changes climate is atmospheric CO2 concentration. This is of course not true, there are lots of mechanisms that change climate, you know that, I know that, the climate scientists know that. You've only got to read a little way into most documents about the topic to see that. The fact is that the current change cannot be explained by all the "other forces" (including volcanoes). Take my post on page 1 of this thread (31 July 2010 04:40 PM), the Milankovitch cycle is one of those other forces.
So everyone knows that other factors change climate, that the climate has always changed, but there is very high confidence that those other factors are not driving the current change, it is CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted by us. "Very high confidence" is english for "9 out of 10 chance of being correct" - which means it's pretty bloody certain, you can read about that in the uncertainty guidelines for IPCC authors found http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/supporting-material/uncertainty-guidance-note.pdf.
EDIT: You can read about the probabilities of us causing the changes in brief here (the summary for policy makers): http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms2.html
There's an interesting figure at the bottom of that page, called Global and continental temperature changeï»¿, showing projections of climate just driven by the sun and volcanoes (in blue) and projections driven by the sun, volcanoes and our greenhouse gas emissions (in pink). It's clear that volcanoes and solar activity aren't increasing the temperature at the moment.
As for your second point, how best to deal with it, well that's another debate entirely. But suffice to say, there's a lot to competetive advantage and Australia could have some serious competetive advantage in energy production if we had the political will to develop it. A price on carbon would be one way to go about that, but I don't know enough of the detail to discuss it properly I don't think.
Great reply Benski, and on the lines of my previous thinking... I don't know how and what we need to do to convince the governments to start investing in renewable technologies but I hope they do it fast as we'll fall behind fairly quickly.
I think there is some great research going on regarding "Hot Rock" technology out in the middle of the country, but I haven't heard anything lately on this form of energy. I think wave energy could be harnessed successfully as well, it's just trying to come up with a mechanism that will do this efficiently.
I was nearly going to mention Dawkins' appearance on Q&A because the look on his face when Steve Fielding basically admitted he believed the world was 10000 years old was similar to Flannery's. Having said that though, I have seen the odd scientist talk over the other side in frustration.
Yeah I haven't heard much more on the hot rocks stuff either. It did sound promising though. With wave energy though, that'd ruin the surf breaks though wouldn't it? I don't know anything about it but I figured you'd have to have some sort of turbine thing in the surf zone. We can't allow that to happen! I think I'd rather the sea levels rise and surf shark island on a log - I guess we've all got a price.
I can't take any goverment serious(or greenies) about trying to change climate change by stopping the CO2 that we put into the enviroment when they refuse to talk about nuclear energy to replace coal fire power station's.At the moment and the very near future nuclear energy is the only way to address our total demand for energy.
What are the exact figure's of what co2 man put's into the enviroment?
Let's say 8-10% .Now let's say we can change our output by 20% world wide which is a fare bit.That means we will put 1.6 to 2.0% less co2 into the enviroment.
Now how co2 much does Australia put into the enviroment.Cut it by 20% and I will think you will find that the amount is so small that you would have to be the biggest dope to believe this will have any change.
Trying to reach this 20% reduction will have such a detramental effect on our economy and standard of living.We aren't all single and earning a fortune.How much affect will that have on me.I run a small company,have 5 kids and a large mortgage.What affect do you think a carbon tax will have on the average family.What affect will our (Austalia) 20% reduction will have on this world.
You can't tell me that amount is going to change this so called doom and gloom and the end of the world some people would like you to think.
Let's stop the de-forestation of the planet before we talk about carbon tax.
Silly of me to suggest that because that is not away our goverments can justify making a tax up.
A carbon tax will have a filter on effect on just about everything we buy and use.
Now that might not worry people that don't have a family,mortgage,business and living on the limit of there earning capacity.
The reality is this tax is going to hurt a lot of people,our economy and for what benefit.
ok, it's 130 am and I've been typing up assignments all night so please excuse if some of this sounds garbled or has spelling errors in it.
Firstly nick3, you've just pulled the percentage for man's contribution to total global greenhouse emissions (from all sinks including the ocean and terrestrial environments) out of your arse yeah?
Basically carbon (and we'll just use carbon as a generic term for all greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere works this way. It comes out of a sink, for instance the ocean, floats around in the atmosphere for a bit, then gets absorbed by another sink, say peat swamps in Indonesia. Without any human influence, the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere doesn't really change a whole lot from year to year or even century to century. Sure, you might get a little spike here and there thanks to a sudden methane burp. But overall there is little variation in the long term averages.
This means that the baseline carbon levels in the atmosphere can be taken as zero and that any new carbon added to the cycle by man is additional.....actually I can't even be bothered continuing with this.
Yes, you are right, if Australia reduced it's total carbon emissions per annum by 20% this would equate to very little reduction in the global total of human carbon emissions output. But that's not the point. The point is we all created this problem, therefore we all have to do our bit, particularly us industrialised nations who are responsible for the vast majority of emissions.
As for the economy, a, ETS or a carbon tax is actually going to have a beneficial effect on our economy. Yes, some sectors will lose out (particular the non-renewable energy sector), but this will be more than offset by growth in many other sectors, like renewable energy, R&D aimed at increasing energy efficiency (that means everything from the automobile industry to the white goods industry), and agricultural and natural resource industries. The whole point of having an ETS or tax (although an ETS is better)is so that the market where to take this thing, which will mean that the best solutions will be produced. The only other alternative to an ETS or tax is draconian legislation dictating to us when we can use electricity and how much and how far your food is allowed to travel from the farmgate to your dinner table and what days you're allowed to drive your car.
And of course there will be flow on effects, what did you expect? The way we have all been living has been unsustainable so it has to stop some time. Think of it like a bank account. We've been taking out more money than has been going into it. This has been ok for a while since there was so much money in there at the start. But now the money is getting pretty low. So low that we're going to have to start budgeting ourselves and making some sacrifices in order to stop it from going into the red. Yes, its going to be hard, but we have only ourselves to blame.
If you want to know what the benefit of reducing our carbon emissions is, then watch this video (and watch it all the way through)...
Man, I would gladly choose stopping deforestation in the interim because it accounts for more global emissions than the entire global transport sector.
ok did any of that make sense?
In my life time there has been volcanic eruption's were the dust has lowered the temperature of the world for a couple of years each eruption.So it shows how there are alot of other forces changing climate change.
Mowgli if you believe in god where science goes against such idea's why are you so willing to believe in the so called science to blame man as the driving force to climate change.
I think the voclanic event reducing global temperatures you might be referring to wasn't because of dust from the volcano but from sulphur dioxide (or something I cant remember exactly what)....it is this chemical that some idiots are saying we should pump into the atmosphere in vast quantities to reduce the temperature. This is so dumb for various reasons, the most simple being this scenario from Futurama (specifically from the 1 minute mark onwards)&feature=related
I'm not quite sure what your saying about the god and science bit. I'll clarify for you, I don't believe in God, and I do believe in anthropogenically induced climate change....not because I'm a sucker, but because researching and understanding its causes and consequencs has been a big part of the last 4 years spent doing a degree that I'm about to finish in two weeks time.
Here's an article worth reading in today's SMH. It's written by Ross Gittins, who seems to be an alright bloke, for an economist:
Mowgli.The figure I pulled out of my ass was around about what I had read a while back but was not sure about the exact amount.Hence the question mark.But please enlighten us about the exact amount.
For every argument you have for a ETS there will be a just as good one against.Sure lets find other means of energy.We already have a very green energy in nuclear.That will solve our energy needs and slowly replace coal fire energy.
One day you might pull your head out of your books and come to the real world of the average family and feel the pain.
The problem you have is that you have made your mind up about man made global warming and so any arguement against you totaly dismiss.
Let me know how anything we do will have any affect on our enviroment.The rest of the world aren't rushhing in.
Funny how a couple of years ago when we were in the height of the drought the goverment(Kevin Rude) try to blame global warming and that it was only going to get worse if we didn't have a ETS in place.Are they now going to blame the same man made global warming for all the rain we are having.
Let's stop the de-forestation of the planet before we talk about carbon tax.
Good idea Nick, 30%of carbon released into the atmoshere results from tropical forest destruction.The forest fires in Indonesia in 1997-98 released more carbon than came from all man originated activities in the US wich is usually the world champ in such affairs.
deforrestation not only releases corbon but bears a direct relationship weather formation and the direct conversion of solar energy into reradiated heat.
After that we better have a serious look at our population levels, Hell we may not even need a tax after all that.
Nick3 if u read the posts above your last u will see many others are "rushing in" even developing countries like china are setting a good example in terms of solar power, while redneck oz still goes down the why should we? justification.
And in regard to your comment about the heavy rain being a result of climate change, it very well may be, as climate change increases the variability of weather (something kinda important in OZ) rather than temperatures consisitently increasing across the globe.
As to "the pain" of the average family woohoo, mate, everyone complains about electricity prices increasing, the poor things, whilst everyone has a big screen tv connected to a playstation. the average ozzie emits 20 tonnes CO2 a year while developing countries it is about 2-3 tonnes per anum kind of a significant difference. the problem is peoples stupidity keeping up with the Joneses rather that insignificant rises in electricity prices.
Sorry Roolf .Oviously you don't have any of these things.You just keep on living in your tent and please don't drive a car or use public transport.While you at it please don't use use anything created by energy and leave all the global warming to the rest of us.
My rise in electricity has nothing to do with keeping up with the Joneses.You know what it doesn't have anything to do with greening the world.It's just way to justify a tax.
Solarpower will never cover the base load electricity we need.Sure it will make you feel good.
Sorry Nick3 you misinterpreted what I meant (I was not clear), I am not saying dont use this stuff, i like it too. what I meant was people who are skeptical (liberal party) always use the example of increasing electricity prices as an example of why we should not introduce an ETS etc. saying it will affect poor austalians (no such thing!!, except retirees maybe, who I feel for), meanwhile we all have so much stuff we do not need. the family television used to last 20 years now people update their big screen every few years then complain about rising electricity prices like it will make them broke. it is quite pathetic (and selfish) that we believe we cannot afford a minimal tax increase for the good of the planet.
Another Issue i have with the conservative side of politics is even if climate change is not real or undo-able (I am a little skeptical myself to be honest) would'nt it be better to move away from oil as our main fuel source for transport. All the issues we have with 'terrorists' etc. could be overcome if we were not reliant on the middle east and could stay the hell away from there. But conservatives like Bush and co. seem to love meddling in middle east politics, spreading 'democracy' yet when a middle east democratic government is elected legally ie. Palestine, they do not recognise them. One has to question whether there is a conspiracy or whaether there is collusion with Suadi Arabia or whether the real agenga is spreading Judo-christian religons etc. much the same way conservative people claim Islamic people are doing!!
Anyway a little of topic now but it all seems related (to me at least) And while I am it, I agree with the rednecks about immigration and selling farms etc. This is all under the agenda of maitaining economic growth in this so called 'clever' country well real clever countries like germany maintain econmic growth through ingenuity with environmental policies in place, we are just a big dumb resource factory for the world, we have go to smarten up, which kind of relates to what others were saying about solar technology moving offshore, basically because Howard would not support it, too busy licking Georges bum maintaining the Texas Ol companies power!!
We do have another source of power,nuclear.It,s green but the same dumb arse labor/green parties that reckon by taxing the shit out of us to fix the problem refuse to entertain the idea.
Liberal party voter's believe the climate is changing but don't believe a whopping big tax will do anything.
I wish people will wake up to the fact that solar energy isn't the answer to our so called problem.Once again nuclear is the only means to provide enough base load electricity at the moment.
If we want to look for other means that's fine.
Maybe if the labor goverment were so keen to find a better source of power then they probably should have invested the billion's they have wasted on bloody $900 cheques,the pinkbat debarcle,billion's squandered on the building the education revolution,laptop's in school's and now the crazy notion on spending $43 billion plus on national broadband.
To say China is doing it's bit is laughable.
I guess Roolf that you live at home with all your goodies and your parent's pay all the bill's.Then bang on about how only the pensioner's are feeling the cost of living.
A ETS has a cost affect on everything we do and buy not just our electricity bill.The cost of food,clothes,entertainment,water,holidaying,everthing will rise.This will far exceed what we pay now.When you add up the cost of all these increases it's not just the pensioner's that hurt it's the family's that feel this.
So Roolf go up to a father who is working 60 hour's a week to provide .the basic's for his family and go woohoo.
I believe by your comment's that you are a labor/green voter which makes me feel that your not very bright when it come's to the reality of the real world.To be honest a feel most labor voter's aren't very bright.How could any one vote for a goverment that has been so incompetent and showen that everything they promise is just a lie to buy vote's.
Nick, our power bills going up have nothing to do with any ETS tax (which obviously doesn't exist).
It's companies having to replace infrastructure that has been neglected and had insufficient investment.
Electricity costs will rise regardless of any ETS or not (obviously, as that is what is occurring).
It is the uncertainty about a price on carbon which is causing this.
The actual cost of living in Aus is lower now compared to when Howard was in power.
So your argument is fairly flaccid.
Hey nick, ease up on the "you're not very bright" comments eh? This thread has been refreshingly civil for a climate change debate, it'd be good to keep it that way. Particularly if we're gonna talk about the economics and practicalities of dealing with the problem.
I'm very interested to read about what others might think on this (and will post myself when I've got some brain power for it, tho I think I agree with nick on the need to consider nuclear power as an option) since our government is in the process of developing this area of policy. It will be useless and boring if it descends into the usual name calling and abuse of political threads.
So if anyone reading feels the urge to fire up and let fly with "you're so farkin dumb with your head in the sand (or up you're arse) you farken green/hippy/pinko/commie/labor/liberal/redneck/fascist/capitalist arsehole", maybe go and get a few waves, relax a bit and then write a constructive post that will be interesting for everyone to read, rather than giving yourself a boner about how you hammered some dumb arse on some thread.
Nick3, there is a couple of things I need to clear up, at the risk of upsetting benski (sorry mate), I am not a labor voter and could not agree with you more regarding laptops in schools and the wasted opportunity of the $900 dollar checks, I half agree regarding NBN, i believe we need some improvement though labors grandious plan is a little over the top, and i disagree regarding pinkbats, i think it was a good idea though implemented poorly. as a result of these, I refuse to vote labor, in fact they piss me off for other reasons as do the greens, for the record, most of the time i vote democrats, though when Turball was leader i would have voted for him over gillard anyday, but the big business power machine that runs Liberals had to get rid of him cos he was too progressive (and smart)as opposed to backward abbott.
Also I do not live off Mummy and Daddy, I am actually almost 40, and i assure you quite independent, paying for my own rent, food and petrol, and I am not rich, in fact I am a low income earner, but I live a simple life with no big screen tv etc. a modest car and house, and a modest lifestyle, basically because i do not agree with the overconsumption dream both sides of politics sell us. Despite being a low income earner I can still afford the odd trip to indo. which shows me everyone is australia (myself included)are overconsuming rich pigs. if u disagree go beyond bali, to a village near deserts maybe (there are even worse ones than that!)and see how real poor people struggle day to day, this is why i have little sympathy for people screaming poor trying to provide the 'basics'.
You may think anyone who does not think the same as you is not so bright, but mate is a big wide world out there with various pespectives and opinions, and some of these people just may be brighter than you (i know hard to believe, but possible). Even though you criticise others for having made up their mind, you seem to be doing the same. Anyway your obvioisly not listening to me by now so for anyone interested in consumption and CO2 I will move on. I saw some good lectures from economists joseph stiglitz and Tim jackson, regarding how the financial system had changed over the last two decades, basically in the US, efficency had massive increases over this time, due to computers, yet real wages did not. depite wages not increasing standards of living had increased significantly, How did this happen? basically through deregulation of credit markets in an effort to overcome the recessions of the 80s & 90s, which led to everyone buying stuff on credit, and buying cars and stuff on the homeloans, which kind of snowballed. Now we have all seen the outfall of this (the GFC)though OZ seems to be ok due to minerals etc. why am i talking about this, well because we have all been duped into a credit fuelled cosumption craze. So Nick3 if ur still with me, dont feel bad, everyone has been sucked into this high consumption lifestyle fuelled by credit and a booming market, but anyone with a little intelligence knows booms end.
Tim Jackson basically summed it up as , we borrowed money we dont have, to buy stuff we dont need, to impress people we dont care about, and who dont care about us. His lecture is excellent and for anyone who feels a little shallow about the consumption dream (or just any intelligent person who realises they dont know everything) I urge you to check it out, google Tim Jackson Big Ideas ABC. the Stiglitz lecture is good too, though a different topic.
And sorry If i offend anyone using the term redneck, it is just a good descriptive term that includes both sides of politics, and by me stating i agree with them, maybe I am one too. But what I was really talking about was how Howard made a small number of refugees scapegoats for 300 000 rich migrants allowed into our country every year in the name of economic growth (and Labor continued this addiction)I am not racists, I have many asian friends, I am just agaisnt rich chinese and indians buying sham businesses to get OZ residency, running them for 6 months then selling the business and keeping residency.
I apologise for my last post. I just re-read them and I came off as a bit arrogant. That wasn't intentional, it was to due to me running on fumes and not having the patience at the time to articulate myself properly.
nick3, I gotta say, you remind me of one of my uni mates, who is a farmer, who has had it drilled into him (some would say brainwashed) that unless somebody is from a big farm they must be ignorant and don't understand what it's like to be a farmer and are all against farming, and just want to make it harder for farmers without realising how much we need them...and so forth. Sound familiar? As far as acting to mitigate and adapt to climate change goes, we will all be stung. Not just "working families" (anyone else a little annoyed that this is the only demographic that gets paid lip service by the pollies?). Roofl is right, it is our overly-unnecessary consumptive lifestyles which got us to this point. A situation which cannot go on forever. What right do we have to whinge when we have to bite the bullet and restrict ourselves? I go back to the bank balance analogy I wrote in an earlier post...
stunet - great article. sums up the current situation perfectly. Australia is getting left behind, and as somebody else mentioned, we are seen as just a big resource factory. A lot of the developed world do in fact see us as backward.
roolf + nick3, while we're at it, I voted Greens. However, like roolf I also would've voted Liberal had Turnbull been allowed to stay on. Labor appears to be slowly but surely progressing (with much pushing from the Greens it must be said), whereas unfortunately the Liberals had a major setback when Turnbull was stood down.
As far as nuclear goes, it isn't a stretch to say that in some ways it poses a far greater risk than human-induced climate change. Due to the very nature of the material being handled, every single stage of the nuclear energy process is a potential disaster waiting to happen.
Nuclear is purely a base-load source of electricity. The output from a nuclear plant cannot be adjusted in response to fluctuations in electricity demand the way solar, wind, or even coal can.
It is ridiculously expensive to build and maintain, and actually takes a long bloody time to build and become operational.
There are also issues of nuclear proliferation and what to do with the waste? What would you suppose we do with all the nuclear waste nick3?
How do you decommission a nuclear reactor at the end of its operational life?
How do you safely demolish tens of thousands of tons of irradiated concrete & steel?
Were do you safely dispose of it?
The answer is you can't,I guess the plan is to fence it off & wait a few thousand years.
Iâ€™d like to throw out something slightly different for this debate, still on topic, just a different way to look at everything.
I know there are a lot of people out there that are very interested in this debate and they want to understand it all a bit better. There sure are a lot of facts and scientific data to try and absorb. I only studied science subjects in my junior years of high school, so some of the technical details are a bit beyond me, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s all a bit much for most of you too. I would genuinely like to find the time to read all of the info in the links posted on this thread and maybe follow up with some research of my own to understand specific points. But with work and family commitments I struggle to find time for a surf these days, never mind reading through pages of technical and scientific informationâ€¦..
So, if weâ€™re not all scientists how can we really understand what is being debated here???
And how can we comment or make any sort of contribution if we donâ€™t understand what is going on????
I have recently had a moment of clarity and Iâ€™m sure this will help you too.
Here are a couple of easy steps;
1. Turn off the TV and forget about the farcical debate thatâ€™s happening on there.
2. Forget about whatever political persuasions you have or whatever you been told is good for you or good for the economy.
3. Click on the link below and have a look at what this extremely intelligent man has to say about where we are and where we are going.
4. Take some time out; listen to all of what he has to say. I would recommend streaming the audio while checking out the photo galleries on the Swellnet home page, that should get you in the right headspaceâ€¦
5. Finally, have a good hard think about what you are doing with your lifeâ€¦.
There are a few options of how you can watch / listen on the left hand side of the page. I just streamed the audio while I was working; but by half way through I couldn't give a shit about work, I was watching the trees outside the window just thinking about my whole life and lifestyle. I was so touched that I down loaded the mp4 and played it on the telly for the whole family to watch, my wife hadnâ€™t seen any of this guyâ€™s work before and she was absolutely moved by his look on life.
This is not a political motivated speech; this is not some extreme greeny telling us how to live our lives. This is the legacy of an extremely intelligent man who dedicated his life to this planet and has seen many things in his life, he is now trying to pass on his wealth of knowledge and the lessons he has learnt to the next generation..
Please take the time to listen to THIS, youâ€™ll be glad you did.
Great posts everyone. Cheers.
Just quickly, the reason I'm not entirely against nuclear as an option yet is because we have such a stable geological continent to store waste. It has to be said though, I'm not entirely across the pros and cons to have an informed opinion on it.
Off topic I heard a greenie argue that we should store the world's nuclear waste. We are a stable country, politically and geologically, so we could make a tidy profit charging for its storage deep underground in remote SA or WA. He was against us selling uranium but said if we're gonna participate in this industry we might as well make money from every phase of the nuclear cycle we can. Can't see it ever happening, but interesting food for thought.
with the upcoming election there has been more and more talk of emission trading schemes and global warming etc so I thought I would try and dig a bit deeper and edumacate myself somewhat.
The deeper I dig however, I can't find any real evidence that CO2 is driving the change.
I'm not a climate skeptic, nor a denier or whatever else, I'm just a regular surfer who's keen on the environment and trying to get my head around it. There are much smarter people than me on this site, and i'm keen to get some input from you guys, especially those with climate back grounds to help me understand it all