“Global Warming” is really regional warming, as high density areas warm up much faster than low population areas. I have long championed ZPG [since the 60s]. If the current world population and all that comes with the industrial age were held to 60s levels, global warming would not be an issue.
I think that other factors [the sun's variables being one] are greater than mankind’s contributions. The countries of the World can throw all their money at the problem and not make a dent. But that’s not the goal of those pushing global warming, the goal is profiteering from the monies that will be spent. Those promoting global warming could have just as well have said global cooling and an impending ice age. In fact that is what they said many years before the warming frenzy. In the last 10 years the planet has been cooling so if warming doesn’t grind forth monies for the super rich I’m sure that the next round of hysteria will be a planet cooling where mankind is charged with causing it.
I have yet to see a model that explains the current warming that leaves out effects caused by humans, John.
Apart from that, I don’t really care who caused the problem or if the problem is a hoax in the first place. It’s a good time anyway to step away from the old kinds of energy and start transforming into a sustainable world.
The earth’s path around the sun, the tilt of the axis, the precession (wobbling of the axis), and eccentricity of the orbit (shifting of the plane of orbit around the sun) have influenced climate for eons. So has the makeup of our atmosphere, given that the gases it is composed of transmit or retain heat differently. The properties of those substances are quite well understood and we have a pretty good record of their historical fluctuations in the air that spans a very long period of time. Carbon and other substances have circulated through the earth’s systems forever, as living creatures incorporate it into their bodies, releasing that back into the atmosphere as their dead bodies decay. Some of that is submerged into the earth’s crust before it decays and stays there an incredibly long time before being released back into the air through volcanic activity. Natural sources have always released carbon to our atmosphere and some of those events can be sudden and large. With today’s technology and satellite observations, we would know if that were happening.
What is different today is that one species (ours) has been very busy unearthing the fossilized carbon–the carbon Nature had put away for a very long time–and releasing that into the atmosphere at what Nature would consider an alarming rate. All the natural sources and cycles mentioned above continue as they always have and influence climate as you rightly state. We are adding to it, and in a big way. What makes it worse is that the natural cycle was already taking us into a warming period and we are making it worse. The natural cycle works very slowly but humans are pumping fossilized carbon into the atmosphere on a massive scale and, as compared to the historical natural cycles, at a rapid rate. You see, the climate change we observe and predict is clearly driven by natural processes. That is a baseline. The difference is the extent to which we are upsetting the balance as industries and citizens pump fossilized carbon into the air, exacerbating the natural trend.
What scientists generally and overwhelmingly agree on is that the human influence on climate change is a serious concern. The details of how bad things will get where and when are still on the table, but unlike the global cooling discussion of the 1970s, we see a broad acceptance among scientists of the human influence on climate change. Some believe the cooling that was observed resulted from pollution that reflected solar radiation until we passed environmental laws that cleaned much of that up, taking the lid off of the warming trend that was “bottled up”. Others see some evidence that human-influenced climate change began before the industrial age as human societies began to deforest and cultivate on a large scale. Neither of these discussions is widely accepted nor should the fact that scientists talk about them taint the whole of scientific discovery. That is what scientists do. In fact they tend to be competitive and challenge one another all the time. When scientists generally get together on something we need to listen. That is a phenomenon unto itself.
Even if you don’t believe the climate cycle can be influenced in either direction by humans, keep in mind that population is increasing as is our collective ability to use up the land and things around us. Conservation and efficiency are good and important ideals regardless of where you stand on the climate change debate. What we call “Green Technologies” are the wave of the future. Those who catch it now will succeed in the future. That is where the money is.
“It’s a good time anyway to step away from the old kinds of energy and start transforming into a sustainable world.”
I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t think anyone can predict the climate at this time. Our models are crude at best and we are dealing with a vast complex system. Any prediction on the climate in 20 years will be just as accurate as a weather forecast 20 years into the future. Ie, not.
But it should be obvious to every thinking being that we must curb pollution and find ways to do more with less energy.
[...] Passend dazu bin ich gestern Nacht nochmal raus, um das Schneetreiben zu fotografieren. Um 4 Uhr ist nicht viel los – auch in Berlin nicht.. Wer weiß, wie oft wir solchen Schnee noch sehen werden?! – (siehe auch hier) [...]
We better believe it. It is happening, right now. Artesian wells, dams, water reservoirs are slowly drying up here in the Philippines. One of these days, drinking water is gonna be very, very expensive here…