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The Great Global Warming Swindle


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1. Burning fossil fuels produces a hell of a lot of other stuff which probably isn't wanted in that atmosphere, not just CO2.

2. Surely the pollution of the planet is a bigger issue than some countries' economies? If we want to help the third world develop we could start actually helping them, rather than screwing them over with debts, forced free markets, "intellectual property" licencing and other crap.

I agree with you on both accounts. I'm justing saying it's annoying that we say to third-world countries "I'm sorry, but we've already used up the Earth's capacity for pollution, so you can't release any." If we care about the impact of pollution on the Earth, we should be trying to undo our own damage, rather than tell others they're not allowed to follow in our footsteps. (lead by example and all that)

 

By the way, on the "it's unfair that we don't let poor countries use their coal like we did" argument, like the other guys said, burning coal is dirty and ultimately unproductive (costing more money, e.g., in ineffecient energy production and pollution externalities, for fewer widgets). We have good reasons to upgrade them to more effecient, cleaner burning plants even without global warming.
I'd be all for a tax to produce solar-panels for third-world countries... But I'm under the impression that coal produces more energy per resources spent than solar power, so if they have to spend their own money, they'd likely want to choose coal. The externalities may be costly, but if you're a starving nation where every bit of energy is extremely valuable, the benefits of the extra energy from coal-plants may outweigh the costs (to your own country) of the amount that you pollute.

 

In the end, I think it all boils down to finding the correct level of pollution that gives the greatest increases in quality of life per the harm it does to people and the environment. Unfortunately, I'm no expert on where that balance lies. I'm just skeptical of anybody who says it lies at one extreme or another. Without a doubt, a landscape covered in coal power plants would be terrible, but to a poor nation, having a single coal power plant is almost certainly more beneficial than having none at all.

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Without a doubt, a landscape covered in coal power plants would be terrible, but to a poor nation, having a single coal power plant is almost certainly more beneficial than having none at all.

It just so happens that the coal mines in Wales are now re-opening after 15 years, because the price of coal has risen 300% after China's boom. I've talked to a few of the pit owners and they claim that because of scientific advances coal is now much cleaner than it was; they call it 'green coal'. If so it'll certainly be a good thing for the poor Welsh valleys areas, and the economic benifit probably outweighs the environmental harm.

 

Coal covered smiley - :ph34r:

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Well, to be fair, every country's situation is a little different, so it's not good to generalize too much.

 

First, I didn't mean to suggest that it was a such a stark choice between coal versus something else. Solar panels, so far as I know, aren't really a viable option. Things like natural gas, ethanol, and clean coal are becoming competitive because the price of oil is so high, and are also cleaner. And as Macsen just said, there is technology to burn coal relatively cleanly. So there are lots of options opening up as petroleum stays expensive (perhaps a great irony of the Iraq War that it's indirectly greasing the wheels of climate change reform by keeping oil prices high).

 

As for the different situations of different States...

If we are talking about Eastern European countries and other "transition economies", the big issue is diffusion of technology to refurbish their soviet era power plants, which are really dirty, and as an added bonus they'll be more effecient power supplies as well. (Of course, an open secret is that Western Europe got off easy in the Kyoto Protocol by counting the whole EU as one unit. They are going to get under their mark just by giving the former East Germany new power plants that they were going to build anyway. If each country had to cut individually they'd have been a lot less receptive to Kyoto probably).

 

If we are talking about developing countries, though, well, first of all they aren't even in the Kyoto protocol as relevant States because they just aren't emitting enough (China and India being the only two real problem states). So we don't need to be too worried what they are doing for the time being. Let them burn away and it's still just a drop in the bucket as far as climate change goes, given their tiny economies (although there are serious quality of life issues as they industrialize that we should pay attention to, but that's a different thing). The only semi-relevant question as far as their relationship to climate change is concerned (aside from the fact that they will be hit hardest by its impact) is one of infrastructure investment. It's not just whether we let them burn coal, but whether we should invest in helping them build them cleaner plants to burn it. Anyway, the Kyoto Protocol has a section that allows Western donars to get emission credits for investing in these sorts of projects. I think it's a good provision ideally, just as long as they have a good system for computing the amount of credit the investing State should get so it can't cheat (not as easy as it may sound).

 

Actually, the by far biggest issue with developing countries (aside from China and India), much bigger than their miniscule power plants and industry, is deforestation to make farm land. Burning forests is a double whammy because it not only releases all the carbon in the trees into the air, but it also lessens the number of trees that are taking carbon back out of the atmosphere. (This is on top of the problems with lost biodiversity, future cures for cancer, etc). But it's also a problem for farming in the long run because the soil is so poor; it leads to inefficient agriculture. Everybody would be better off (them included) if ways were found to make the soil more productive, rather than just cutting down more trees.

Edited by demagogue

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Oooooh I have a good idea. Lets stop debating something neither side can prove any more than religion can prove there's a god. We wait 50 years. If we are all dead due to global warming then Oddity owes us all a round. If not, then we'll all be alive and it will be cool.

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So we have absolutely nothing to do with global warming ? The fact that Earth was getting increasingly warmer in the last 100 years is just a coincidence ?

 

I'm SO relieved. Now we can poison that stupid planet even more !

 

I recommend to ged educated about the Paleocene:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene#Climate

 

"... with subtropical vegetation growing in Greenland and Patagonia ..."

 

Now I wonder, which humans were responsible for that. In the following epoch, the epocene, the weather was still quite warm for a very long time, until about at the end of it started to cool down.

 

I don't say that humans don't have an influence on the climate. Given the amount of energy that we are constantly producing, it would be surprising, but the question is wether this really has such an impact as goverments wants as to believe. And furthermore, this was already known 20 years ago, and nobody cared, and all of a sudden, since a few months, goverments suddenly start to cry that we are doomed, if we don't stop smoking and using cars. Somehow I smell more of a political agenda, rather then environmental health care.

Gerhard

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It just so happens that the coal mines in Wales are now re-opening after 15 years, because the price of coal has risen 300% after China's boom. I've talked to a few of the pit owners and they claim that because of scientific advances coal is now much cleaner than it was; they call it 'green coal'. If so it'll certainly be a good thing for the poor Welsh valleys areas, and the economic benifit probably outweighs the environmental harm.

 

Coal covered smiley - :ph34r:

 

You can put filters to trap the smoke from fire and then have it travel where it heats up your water. Thus basically you get a free water heater. Saw it on discovery times channel about a pizza place that does this. They're saving $$$$$$.

Edited by Unstoppable
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Very very interesting video. I too have always been a skeptic of global warming, and I have always been disgusted at how people put the climate before people in developing countries with the idea that they could just stop using fossil fuels. It is frustrating to me that it is never addressed, even in my college geography classes. I was happy to see that at the end of this documentary they address this.

 

Even if global warming was unstoppable and created by humans, we will get through it fine, we've evolved over billions of years and suddenly we will die off in the span of a couple thousand years due to 2 degree rise in temperatures every 100 years? Just crank up the air conditioning if you ask me. ;)

 

A quick question: Has any animal, insect, or reptile ever died out without the intervention of humans killing them one by one?

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HE probably means since humans existed.

We have helped the extinction of quite a few species since then, whether though direct hunting of them, or competing with them for food or territory, but that's not a fair question, since humans are such a successful species they cannot be blamed for the extinction of others.

That's simply how nature works, the fittest survive.

IT quite probable that many of the ice age species such as mammoths, sabre-tooth cats etc would have died out anyway due to the massive and rapid climate changes.

You can't blame humans because they were so adaptable and did what they needed to for survival.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Oh, I see. So destroying vast tracts of forest instead of making do with what land we have and pouring oil and sewage into the sea isn't a waste of resources, it's adaptive and necessary for survival. Thankyou for opening my eyes, that makes everything much clearer. :rolleyes:

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We've been 'destroying' forests for thousands of years. If by 'destroying' you mean making land available for herds and crops, rather than us all living in treehuts and eating acorns.

Grow up. You're quite happy to revel in all the benefits of that with all your mod cons and comfy life, so stop whining about it to us.

It's all do easy for you little kids to be fucking armchair environmentalists.

Try living in a mudhut in africa for a while with only an open fire for all your heat, light and cooking, and see how much you complain about your modern life then.

If you don't like the modern world, then fuck off out of it and go and live in the forest while there still is one.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Typical oddity, take what I say and blow it out to extremes. :rolleyes:

 

Sure, land clearing to a certain extent is justifiable. In modern developed countries, though, there's no need to clear as much forest as we do. Talking from my experience in Aussie here, specifically old growth forest in Tasmania that's being razed and woodchipped - and most of the woodchips aren't even used, it's insane. I'm not sure why it's even happening, though it's probably something to do with generating jobs - i.e. giving people something (anything!) to do, even if it's completely pointlessly destroying native habitat that took hundreds of years to grow.

 

The oil and sewage comments stand regardless.

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Typical oddity, take what I say and blow it out to extremes. :rolleyes:

Ha, that's rich, seeing as how I never said 'destroying vast tracts of forest instead of making do with what land we have and pouring oil and sewage into the sea isn't a waste of resources, it's adaptive and necessary for survival' or anything lie it in the first place.

If you can't take it, then don't give it.

 

Sure, land clearing to a certain extent is justifiable. In modern developed countries, though, there's no need to clear as much forest as we do. Talking from my experience in Aussie here, specifically old growth forest in Tasmania that's being razed and woodchipped - and most of the woodchips aren't even used, it's insane. I'm not sure why it's even happening, though it's probably something to do with generating jobs - i.e. giving people something (anything!) to do, even if it's completely pointlessly destroying native habitat that took hundreds of years to grow.

Who cares though. Don't believe all that crap about the ozone layer collapsing if all the trees are cut down, it's all bollocks. We've already deforested most of the planet as it is. The whole of Europe was almost entirely covered in forest at one point.

There are plenty of other plants around, grasses, etc to keep the ecosystem balanced.

People in a few hundred years time will be having a great life with all the marvellous technology and easy lifestyle that'll be around then, they won't give a fuck about a few less forests, so don't waste your time worrying on their behalf. If they want to know what a tree looks like, they can download a hologram of one from the internet.

How may people think about visiting a forest anyway. What's so great about a collection of trees.

And again, replanting of trees is already an established practice in many places, so it's all scaremongering as usual.

 

The oil and sewage comments stand regardless.

They don't. Our sewage output to the seas is dwarfed in comparison to the sewage being produced by all the creatures that live in the sea.

They don't have toilets, they just piss and crap in the water. Billions of them every day for billions of years. . Hasn't done the oceans any harm.

You overestimate how fragile nature is. In reality it can handle almost anything, even giant meteor hits.

It's certainly not going to be brought to its knees by a few extra turds.

Anyway, the sewage where I come from goes to sewage recycling plants, it's not dumped straight into the sea.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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You overestimate how fragile nature is. In reality it can handle almost anything, even giant meteor hits.

It's certainly not going to be brought to its knees by a few extra turds.

 

I think the concern is not that nature will be wiped out so much as the possible impact on human society, for example if melting ice causes the sea level to rise and swamp inhabited coastal areas.

 

I don't care much myself though, I'll be dead (or at least senile) by the time any of this has a serious effect. If it could be proven that the human race will be extinct in 100 years, I certainly won't shed any tears for it.

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Floating ice that melts doesn't change the water level at all. It's exactly the same, because the whole reason ice floats a certain amount (say 9/10 below the water) is because it's exactly 9/10 as dense, so when it melts, the parts above and below the water exactly equal the amount that was previously under water as ice.

 

But ice that is on land and melts and runs down into the water would raise the water level.

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Who cares though. [...]

How may people think about visiting a forest anyway. What's so great about a collection of trees.

Clearly you have never visited one of the forests in question. It's not "just a bunch of trees". They're unique and beautiful places. As an artist you should appreciate that.

 

And again, replanting of trees is already an established practice in many places, so it's all scaremongering as usual.

Some places, and you can't replace a hundreds-of-years-old forest with a bunch of saplings. Especially not if it's a monoculture, which is very common practice with tree-replanting; cut down a diverse old growth forest and replace it with hundreds of identical saplings. It's no real substitute.

 

They don't. Our sewage output to the seas is dwarfed in comparison to the sewage being produced by all the creatures that live in the sea.

They don't have toilets, they just piss and crap in the water. Billions of them every day for billions of years. . Hasn't done the oceans any harm.

There's a balance though. Sewage outflows create concentrated areas of nutrients, causing large poisonous algal blooms which kill off or drive away most of the other life. Water choked with blue-green algae is bad news for everyone - animals can't compete, and humans can't swim or sail in it. Getting usable drinking water from the area becomes much harder - you've got the sewage and the algae to deal with. Much better to just recycle the sewage in the first place.

 

There is a lot of evidence that some of the balances in nature are being upset. Example: Polar bears are under pressure because the arctic sea ice is melting faster than it used to. They can't hunt without ice to stand on, so more and more of them are dying because they can't find enough food. Without a predator, the prey (many of whom fish in the sea, so they're not affected as much by the ice melt) will thrive, potentially overfishing their food supplies and causing their own food problem. It sends disruptive ripples through the ecosystem. You can argue whether or not it's due to human activities until you're blue in the face, but it's undeniable that these balances can be shifted. Ecosystems can be fragile.

 

Anyway, the sewage where I come from goes to sewage recycling plants, it's not dumped straight into the sea.

Good for you. Not all governments are so enlightened.

 

The comment about the oil still stands. :P

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So polar bears will become extinct, we never needed them much anyways. The balance of fish will change, does it matter which fish predominates? I prefer monoculture forests when buying a summer cottage, old ones of course, so the saplings will be ready to sell for cottages in a few decades. Europe was all deforested, and nobody mourns it. The only thing that worries me is the massive reduction of oxygen producing "factories" on the planet, but even if the oxygen level shifts from 21 to 17% we won't notice it much.

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There was some big news a few months ago about how the ocean life was all but wiped out some thousands of years ago, and this paved the way for the new more diverse life that developed since.

 

I guarantee you that if a bunch of greenies were around back then they'd have weeped and wailed and moaned for the great sorrow of the all the loss, little knowing it was for the best.

 

We can't always see how things will develop, how the world will adapt. What if the earth warms up a lot? Some places will become more dry and uninhabitable. But what about the new places that will now be warm enough to be habitable?!?! Why are they never mentioned? All of Siberia is like half the world's land mass (exaggerating of course) and if could all be farmed more due to global warming then we should try to hurry up the warming, eh? I'm just saying there is always another perspective.

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Farming Siberia again? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Lands_Campaign

It surprisingly mentions it in a relatively positive light. This version of the same page describes it more accurately: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maagdelijke_gronden_campagne

Or, does anyone remember the starvation following Mao's great leap forward?

Wait a minute, why the hell am I ranting about the dangers of new farming initiatives? Oh, and another one, the American Dust Bowls.

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Evidently I'm in the minority when I say that I'd like my children to be able to appreciate the beauty of nature, so I'm not even going to bother. I'm going to go experience some more beautiful rainforests before you guys destroy them all. Have fun playing in your sewage-filled oil-slicked mudbaths.

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Random Fact: During the Cold War, Americans and Russians were testing nuclear weapons, trying to make them more and more powerful. Thousands of nuclear weapons were tested, and apart from the smaller impact of higher levels of radiation in the air (which, to a planet, is quite small) and apart from the damaged land which is unuseable for the next thousand years, the global temperature was raised by 2C. That is a bloody big difference and is only due to human intervention, you don't get several thousand tonnes of Uranium suddenly reaching critical mass, causing a chain reaction which raises the planet's temperature.

 

Not to mention that the sun will not stay at the same average temperature until it changes into a red giant, it will slowly keep getting warmer and warmer, brighter and brighter, which will result in the average ocean temperature being 80C in 60000 years. Of course, none of us will care about that then.

 

Quite frankly, even if the recent global warming has not been caused by human intervention (even though waaaay too much evidence credits humans with this feat), it will still affect humans anyway. You may not care now, and you may not care that we might be extinct in 100 years (unlikely but whatever), but do realise that in the future, the humans WILL care. If someone points a gun at you you get a strong shot of adrenaline as your body is trying to help you survive. Likewise if you are in a burning building - you want to survive and get out. Now imagine that you are in a burning building with no hope of survival because some fuckwitt forgot to add fire exits...would you like it? Hell no, and it's exactly the same for the future generations. If we forget about global warming and let them solve it, then we are lowering their chance of survival. If you don't care whether or not they survive, then just think about all the luxuries you are enjoying because of generations before you. Safety - hell, you're lucky the seatbelt was invented, or you may have normally ended up in the other driver's lap via your windscreen. You, as a human being belonging to this society, have a duty to assure the survival of the species, or you may as well die now. Noone like's the thought of dying, and not caring about others is as bad as not throwing them a rope when they are hanging off a cliff.

 

Whatever...you get the point

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