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    Posted: August 06 2018 at 2:37pm

Climate change: 'Hothouse Earth' risks even if CO₂ emissions slashed

By Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent
warmingImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

It may sound like the title of a low budget sci-fi movie, but for planetary scientists, "Hothouse Earth" is a deadly serious concept.

Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.

Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO₂ targets, we could still lurch on to this "irreversible pathway".

Their study shows it could happen if global temperatures rise by 2 deg C.

An international team of climate researchers, writing in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says the warming expected in the next few decades could turn some of the Earth's natural forces - that currently protect us - into our enemies.

Each year the Earth's forests, oceans and land soak up about 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere adding to temperatures.

climate changeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionMany parts of the world would be significantly disrupted in a Hothouse Earth scenario

But as the world experiences warming, these carbon sinks could become sources of carbon and make the problems of climate change significantly worse.

So whether it is the permafrost in northern latitudes that now holds millions of tonnes of warming gases, or the Amazon rainforest, the fear is that the closer we get to 2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, the greater the chances that these natural allies will spew out more carbon than they currently now take in.

Back in 2015, governments of the world committed themselves to keeping temperature rises well below 2 degrees, and to strive to keep them under 1.5. According to the authors, the current plans to cut carbon may not be enough if their analysis is correct.

"What we are saying is that when we reach 2 degrees of warming, we may be at a point where we hand over the control mechanism to Planet Earth herself," co-author Prof Johan Rockström, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, told BBC News.

"We are the ones in control right now, but once we go past 2 degrees, we see that the Earth system tips over from being a friend to a foe. We totally hand over our fate to an Earth system that starts rolling out of equilibrium."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionMelting ice in the Arctic will reduce the amount of sunlight reflected back into space

Currently, global temperatures have risen about 1 degree above pre-industrial levels and they are rising by around 0.17C per decade.

In their new study the authors looked at 10 natural systems, which they term "feedback processes".

Right now, these help humanity to avoid the worst impacts of carbon and temperature rises, and include forests, Arctic sea-ice, and methane hydrates on the ocean floor.

The worry is that if one of these systems tips over and starts pushing large amounts of CO₂ into the atmosphere, the rest could follow like a row of dominoes.

What exactly is a Hothouse Earth scenario?

In short, it's not good.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionFlooding and coastal erosion may be a major problem in a warmer world

According to the research paper, crossing into a Hothouse Earth period would see a higher global temperature than at any time in the past 1.2 million years.

The climate might stabilise with 4-5 degrees C of warming above the pre-industrial age. Thanks to the melting of ice sheets, the seas could be 10-60 metres higher than now.

Essentially, this would mean that some parts of the Earth would become uninhabitable.

The impacts would be "massive, sometimes abrupt and undoubtedly disruptive," say the authors.

The only upside, if you can call it that, is that the worst impacts may not be felt for a century or two. The downside is that we wouldn't really be able to do anything about it, once it starts.

Are the current heatwaves in the UK and Europe evidence of a Hothouse Earth?

The authors say the extreme weather events we are seeing right now around the world cannot be immediately associated with the risk of passing 2 degrees C.

However, they argue that it may be evidence that the Earth is more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

"One should learn from these extreme events and take these as a piece of evidence that we should be even more cautious," said Prof Rockström.

"It may support the conclusion that if this can happen at one degree, then we should at least not be surprised or too dismissive of conclusions that things can happen more abruptly than we previously thought."

Surely we've known about these risks before?

What these authors are saying is that up to now, we've underestimated the power and sensitivity of natural systems.

People have been thinking that climate change would be a global emergency for everyone if temperatures rose 3-4 degrees by the end of this century.

But this paper argues that beyond 2 degrees, there is a significant risk of turning natural systems - that presently help keep temperatures down - into massive sources of carbon that would put us on an "irreversible pathway" to a world that is 4-5 degrees warmer than before the industrial revolution.

Any good news here at all?

Surprisingly, yes!

We can avoid the hothouse scenario but it's going to take a fundamental re-adjustment of our relationship with the planet.

"Climate and other global changes show us that we humans are impacting the Earth system at the global level. This means that we as a global community can also manage our relationship with the system to influence future planetary conditions.

"This study identifies some of the levers that can be used to do so," says co-author Katherine Richardson from the University of Copenhagen.

So not only are we going to have to stop burning fossil fuels by the middle of this century, we are going to have to get very busy with planting trees, protecting forests, working out how to block the Sun's rays and developing machines to suck carbon out of the air.

Image copyrightCARBON ENGINEERINGImage captionRemoving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as in this model, will be necessary, say the authors

The authors say a total re-orientation of human values, equity, behaviour and technologies is required. We must all become stewards of the Earth.

What do other scientists say?

Some say the authors of this paper are too extreme. Many others say their conclusions are sound.

"As a result of human impacts on climate, the new paper argues that we've gone beyond any chance of the Earth cooling 'of its own accord'," said Dr Phil Williamson from the University of East Anglia, UK.

"Together these effects could add an extra half a degree Celsius by the end of the century to the warming that we are directly responsible for ‒ thereby crossing thresholds and tipping points that seem likely to occur around 2 degrees C, and committing the planet to irreversible further change, as Hothouse Earth."

Others are concerned that the authors' faith in humanity to grasp the serious nature of the problem is misplaced.

"Given the evidence of human history, this would seem a naive hope," said Prof Chris Rapley, from University College London.

"At a time of the widespread rise of right-wing populism, with its associated rejection of the messages of those perceived as 'cosmopolitan elites' and specific denial of climate change as an issue, the likelihood that the combination of factors necessary to allow humanity to navigate the planet to an acceptable 'intermediate state' must surely be close to zero."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 4:08pm
"A total re-orientation of human values, equity, behaviour and technology is required".

So we're screwed then Confused


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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 4:21pm
Oh yeah!

Here I am in NE Scotland, where a few years ago winter temperatures could make -24*C and summer temps sometimes failed to make double figures.  I have been wondering if I should move further north..................................................
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 10:14pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECOeAUVc2H4 Paul Beckwith:

Yes, humans are mammals. Animals. We tend to forget. Out of all the mammals, our human body core temperature average of about 37 C (98.6 F) is almost the lowest, only beating out Elephants. Cats and Dogs have core body temperatures about 39 C, while Chickens are in the range of 40.6 C to 43 C. This means that other mammals are able to withstand wetbulb temperatures higher that the 35 C (95 F) limit for humans. As for the Elephants, things are not looking so good for humans as these wetbulb temperatures are likely to be exceeded in more and more places around the planet in the near future, mostly near the equator, as abrupt climate change proceeds.
Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdYCgM8-ptw Robert Scribler: 

The typically more resilient ice north of Greenland is lifting away from the coastline even as it exhibits features indicative of melt and thinning. This following warm wind invasions over the Barents from Europe and over the Laptev from Siberia.
Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 10:50pm
Some other news: 





DJ-The idea that climate change would bring a bit longer nice summer weather-as presented by some-is-at best-romantic. There may not be a "new normal" but increasing absurd extreme weather. 

Some scenario's do expect the Arctic to get below 1million km2 sea-ice. That "blue-ocean-event" could happen even this year and become a global disaster the world has never seen before. We need permanent ice to keep the planet between certain temperatures. When the Arctic sea ice is gone we managed to destroy the climate control of this planet....!
Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2018 at 6:10am

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/humans-cause-growing-heat-wave-danger/ and

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/uoha-byf110717.php

With meticulous attention to clinical detail, US climate scientists have identified 27 different ways to die during a heat wave.

And a second study, from Australia, confirms once again that human-induced climate change has doubled the probability of record-breaking hot years in the last half century.

Extremes of heat can be lethal: in 2003, a long and unprecedentedly hot spell is thought to have claimed 70,000 lives in Europe. In 2010, 10,000 are known to have died in Russia, in 2015 the heat killed 2,000 in India. Since 1980, researchers have recorded more than 800 instances in which heat extremes claimed lives.

And now, Camilo Mora, a geographer at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, has looked more closely at the pathology of death during a hot season.


Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2018 at 11:56am
"Currently, global temperatures have risen about 1 degree above pre-industrial levels and they are rising by around 0.17C per decade."

O you mean the earth has warmed 1* since the last little ice age?   Wow what a big surprise.   Instead of comparing temps a couple hundred years why don't they tell us about temps 1000 years ago or 2000 years ago?   O yea the world was significantly warmer then!

All I see is fear mongering bull*****!  These predictions NEVER come to fruition.   Show me *any* predictions made by global experts that have come true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2018 at 12:00pm
Originally posted by Dutch Josh Dutch Josh wrote:

Some other news: 




Some scenario's do expect the Arctic to get below 1million km2 sea-ice. That "blue-ocean-event" could happen even this year and become a global disaster the world has never seen before. We need permanent ice to keep the planet between certain temperatures. When the Arctic sea ice is gone we managed to destroy the climate control of this planet....!


You do know that the arctic has had  below normal temps all summer till just recently.   It has been the coolest arctic summer in decades.   Also ice currently is well above multi-decade averages. <sigh>
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Yep that looks like a blue ocean *this* year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2018 at 3:33pm
Don't know what happened here lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2018 at 4:13pm
Originally posted by carbon20 carbon20 wrote:

 Deepthinker,do you not not think that adding 6 + billion people in the last 170 years to the earth has had no effect,2000 years ago the population of the planet was roughly 200 million ,now pushing 8 billion,we are now at the highest carbon levels not seen for a million years ,you have to think in millions of years not thousands, unless you think the earth was made 6 thousand years ago by a "God" which we know is pure fantasy.


No cars ,planes ,ships......no tons of human waste pouring into the once clean Oceans and Air ,2 thousand years ago, 

No intensive pig/cattle  farms with all the methane they produce, 

No millions of people flying all over the planet,

No tones of plastic polluting the earth,creating havoc  with human and animal reproduction,(LGBTQI)


do you not think digging up all the carbon sequestrated over billions of years  and burning it into the atmosphere over night , has had no effect on the chemistry of the planet, that had been Ph neutral for millions of years before Man started this ,

i hope you right , thousands of scientists  think you are wrong as do i ,

we have stuffed up this once unique world ,and it's too late to stop it,unless we lose 75% of the world population,

bring on the slate wiper,

if we were elephants in a game park we would have been Culled a long time ago,

Soylent Green awaits...............
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2018 at 1:35am
I don't think the graph and picture DeepThinker posted are specifically indicative of his disbelief in climate change.  Although I do admit there is insufficent explanation of the science involved.  That makes interpretation by us laymen difficult.  I would rather distrust the specific interpretation of the data collected on that site.

This is the polar portal where the images came from:   http://polarportal.dk/en/sea-ice-and-icebergs/sea-ice-extent0/ and its specific page for said images:   http://polarportal.dk/en/sea-ice-and-icebergs/sea-ice-thickness-and-volume/#c23629

The former of those two links gives the maximum/minimum graph with the line for historical thickness included (well above the current trends) and the second page includes an explanation.  Neither is particularily clear and I tried to find out about the HYCOM-CICE model used, but to no avail.  Even the link to the Original scientific paper written on it is unaccessable.   Hmmm.   
(Explanation of the difficulties encountered in monitoring sea ice can be found here: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/dyk/arctic-ice  that also casts a little doubt on their methods of data collection

The site in general is also rather hard to draw conclusions from.  That too made me mistrust its data a bit.  There is plenty of clearer evidence around.  So I looked up "Polar Portal" and lo and behold,  they are funded by an energy company 'GEUS' although they tried to obscure that- enough said!  (Explanation of the difficulties encountered in monitoring sea ice can be found here:

Personally, I prefer Noaah.  Internationally respected, afiliated to Nasa and publishers of far clearer data.  Similar science is used, but they stop to explain it and you can research their methodology.  You can find their most current data here:    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/     AND A SUPER SIMPLIFIED BUT TERIFYING HERE:   https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/happennowarcticseaice/  or just ask the older merchant seamen, who will tell you that the Bearing strait was only open for a few days, with an icebreaker ship, in summer,  in a hot year when they were boys, but now is open and passable all year long.

When some of the scientists, using flashy websites and obscure data modelling methods muddy the waters, what hope for re rest of us?
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2018 at 1:52am
I will argue the 1* warming DeepThinker quoted though.  Yes, 1* in warmer latitudes, but 5* in cooler ones and who knows about the deepest waters?  The best scientists are making estimated guesses.  Those guesses are scary.

There is a further point to argue, The Earth is really big!  Really, really, really big!!!  It hosts many complex and interlocking systems all of which affect its temperature.  Because of its size, the small amount of temperature change so far is only the beginning as it takes time to warm up something that big.  Because of the complex systems hosted, this increase in heat is profoundly delicately ballanced.  The tipping point, so often reffered to, is when a subtle change in the interaction of those complex systems unleashes a cascade. (heat releases methane and reduces sea ice.  Sea ice reflects heat away from the planet and methane is a STRONG GREENOUSE GAS for instance.  But that is only two of the many sstems.)

So, not just 1*, DeepThinker and even 1* can be apocalyptic!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 1:02am
I feel I should clarify myself a bit...   Climate change IS real.    However I am very skeptical as to CO2's influence.    I am also not sure  that we are still in a warming phase.   Yes for 40 years or so we  have been in a warming period, AND the last 300 years have seen a warming planet.  So since most of the data we use has only been collected in the last 300 years of course global warming appears real.

The climate we have experienced in our life's is very unique by long term standards.   The last few hundred years have been the most stable couple hundred years the planet has seen in a LONG LONG time.  Also the last 10,000 years have been warmer and more stable for longer than any time on our planet for several hundred thousand years.  We are actually in the middle of an ice age but for some reason we live in this wonderful temperate window.  The world has been much warmer than today and much colder.   CO2 levels have been much higher and much lower today with no human influence.

The Equinox is precessing   The Sun is going quiet.  We are overdue for the next glacial period.   What I think we are seeing in the climate today is akin to what you see in financial markets.  At the end of bull markets you get a huge parabolic blow up just before it crashes.   That is what we are seeing in the climate today.   Things are erratic and unstable and we are getting one last blast of heat before it goes cold.

Lastly I want to mention that I don't like most of the articles such as this on global warming.   It is hysterical bull*****.    Too many times I have seen some study that says we are doomed... then latter other researchers find that they greatly overstated things.    It ALWAYS happens.    For example 10 years ago they where talking about 10s of feet of sea level rise... now most reputable scientists would only claim a tiny amount of it.    Also what is the point of writing this article , if we are doomed anyways? Just let us live out our days in peaceful ignorance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 1:06am
Techmophobe my point was much simpler than that...   I was just arguing that what ever they are claiming as global warming can be explained by us coming out of the min ice age.   The glaciers started to retreat 150 years before industrial greenhouse production ever became a problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 2:29am
You are right that climate change is not all us, DT.  I was something of a skeptic myself until a couple of years ago.  There is a natural cycle involved as well.  That is why there was also warming on Mars.  But Mars is back to normal and we are not.  By comparison, Earth's temperatures are rising faster.

Tiny ampunts of gas can wreak huge amounts of atmospheric damage.  Just look at the CFC/ozone hole of a few years ago.  Carbon dioxide levels have doubled in recent decades.  Atmospheric CO2 is measured in parts per million and yet CFCs are measured in parts per billion because the quantities are so small.  There was probably even a slight warming from early human's campfires.  Deforestation is also a warmer of climate.  There is even a correlation between the drop in human numbers from the black death and the mini ice age in early Victorian times when the trees we did not cut down reached maturity.  Then the use of coal balanced out the reforrestation and temperatures began to rise again.

For decades the climate science was open for debate.  When dealing with the complex, scientists without an agenda can take a very long time to gather enough data to be certain of anything.  That meant those who were paid to deny man's influence in climate change spoke with apparent certainty and those who were unafiliated procrastinated.  Not any more.  Enough results are in.  There is a natural cycle.  It is on the backswing now and we should be getting colder again like Mars!  We are the reason it is not.  90+% of scientists agree we are now the main cause.  Some sources put that figure at 98%, but like the scientists, I want more proof before quoting that.

'And the other 2+% of scientists?  They mostly work for fossil fuel exploiting companies.  They are smart people; they know which side their bread is buttered.  Obviously there are a few nutcases on the fringe who deny the figures, but then again, some people still think the world is flat.

Scepticism is part of scientific thinking, and laudable.  Sadly now the results are in.  Not only are we the main cause, but it may now be too late to stop this snowball rolling melting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 10:22am
So 98% of Scientists believe in global warming? I would argue that only a tiny percentage of them are alarmists.   Probably only about 2% however they are the only ones who get any press.

"The results are in".   The modern warm period seems like it peaked in 1998.   There is some evidence that the 1930s were warmer. The medieval warm period was probably warmer still and the post glacial optimum was probably even warmer still.   I know it is just a tiny sample size but the earth has seen a dramatic unprecedented cooling episode over the last couple years wiping out half of all global warming. While it could be a statistical anomaly... it is quite interesting that it lines up perfectly with the solar cycle changing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DeepThinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 10:57am
If you want to talk about human caused climate change... you have to look at deforestation and desertification of the planet. We need to bring back the large herds of grazing animals that our grass lands desperately need to survive. We also need to look at our agricultural practices.   We need to farm in ways that builds and develops the land, not usury and exploitation we so often see. We also need to manage our forests much better and in more natural ways.
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