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September 28, 2005 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Ice Cap on the Verge...... This is a very disturbing development. Is it any wonder we are experiencing such horrific natural calamities. First Katrina, then Rita, and now it looks like we are kissing goodbye to the Polar Ice Cap??? Is there anyone left in this country, besides the president, that still thinks Global Warming needs further Study???
posted by MetaJohn (69 comments total)

 
Will extra question marks make my post seem more urgent???
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2005


To answer your question, yes, there are plenty of people. Go outside and ask 10 people. Guaranteed 5 of them will say there is no such thing as global warming. However, ask them if they think the weather has gotten weirder in their lifetimes, they'll probably say yes.
posted by spicynuts at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2005


The role of feedback in climate change is scary. Hell in a handbasket.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2005


Our national pimp - ExxonMobil - thinks global warming needs further study and last I remember they are the only voice that counts. We could all sacrifice our own lives for the lives of our progeny by consuming less, thereby putting our pimp out of business and forcing those that can to come up with more ecological solutions but hey, why take matters into our own hands when we can just blame our politicians?
posted by any major dude at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2005


Spicynuts Are you trying to tell me something??????????
posted by MetaJohn at 12:50 PM on September 28, 2005


Feedback mechanisms in climate?????
posted by eddydamascene at 12:50 PM on September 28, 2005


Even if the ice was 1 meter thick on average that is 1.294 trillion kilograms of ice. That is a signifigant change!
posted by Rubbstone at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2005


"Further study" is bureaucratese for "I don't want to deal with this right now." Unfortunately, we're running short on time to deal with it at all, if we're not already out.

I'm continually amazed by what I see coming out of DC these days. It's like Bizarro World, except it's real.
posted by staresbynight at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2005


I'm playing a small roll by refusing to patronize Exxon/Mobil at all (They are routinely the most expensive station in town). I also bike to work as much as possible in the summer. But an energy bill with some teeth would have helped.
posted by MetaJohn at 12:52 PM on September 28, 2005


The stupidest people tell me "There's no such thing as global warming. It was so cold and snowy last winter!"
posted by wakko at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2005


!?!?!?!?!?????
posted by nile_red at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2005


Michael Crichton says it's all tree-hugging nonsense, so it must be.

After all, he was right about the whole dinosaurs-come-back-to-life-and-eat-us thing.
posted by ToasT at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2005


I recall some years ago the Reader's Digest ran a little article on Global Warming about how foolish the worry was - after all, it's going to get warmer! How nice for the older folks who feel a chill!

Now, they publish a little PDF sheet about Kyoto (but notice how the notice of U.S. non-participation is shoved into a little sidebox)
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:03 PM on September 28, 2005



Spicynuts Are you trying to tell me something??????????


Yes...I am trying to tell you that people are stupid. !!!!!!!!!
posted by spicynuts at 1:03 PM on September 28, 2005


Saying global warming isn't a problem because it was so cold last winter is fundamentally just as backwards as saying global warming is obviously a problem because of Katrina and Rita. Isolated weather events are not evidence, either for or against global warming.

The article was decent, but it needed a much better FPP. You know, something with multiple links and not so much ill informed alarmism.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:08 PM on September 28, 2005


Guaranteed 5 of them will say there is no such thing as global warming. However, ask them if they think the weather has gotten weirder in their lifetimes, they'll probably say yes.

Note that the the above two things are in fact quite different. There is a common but patently false belief held implicitly by a lot of us environmentally-concerned people that without human interference, major changes and catastrophes would not occur.

It is an entirely valid hypothesis that there is massive global climate change happening but that it has nothing to do with human actions. I do not tend to think this is the case, but it's important to understand that scientifically there is a big difference between the questions of whether the climate is changing, whether it's our fault, and whether we can do anything about it.

The confusion of these issues by all sides really interferes with the discussion of this issue, in my view.
posted by freebird at 1:09 PM on September 28, 2005


Where will we get our icecubes from now????
posted by palinode at 1:11 PM on September 28, 2005


Here's the money link.
posted by Gyan at 1:12 PM on September 28, 2005


Metafilter: ??????????????
posted by ToasT at 1:13 PM on September 28, 2005


If you incorporate more question marks into your blog posts, you may experience a corresponding increase in reader comments, which appear to be somewhat lacking. But it could simply be that they are bored, in which case more question marks probably will not help.
posted by MetaJohn at 1:13 PM on September 28, 2005


You know what kills me about all of this?

It's so easy to get frustrated when you are trying to do what YOU can to make a difference (be it biking to work, or other methods of cutting back on direct and indirect greenhouse gasses) and you are surrounded by people who truly don't either acknowledge that it could be a problem, or who even remotely care. Combine that with administrative apathy...

All of this makes me think back to the Futurama episode in which Global Warming was being dealt with by dropping a chunk of ice from a comet into the ocean. "It solves the problem FOREVER!"
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2005


Meanwhile, the libertarian Reason magazine, takes on "climate alarmists"
posted by goethean at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2005


Mystic, you hit a nerve there. I was out with a few friends the other night who are so self-involved that they are literally clueless on what is going on in the world. When I expressed my frustration about government corruption, cronyism and incompetence, they looked at me with dumb looks and asked me where I was getting all my information. But I'm sure they knew who won the Giants game on Sunday. Merrily we roll along.
posted by MetaJohn at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2005


Naval Operations in an Ice Free Arctic Symposium [noaa.gov]. How can you go wrong with exciting sections such as "On the Road to an Ice Free Arctic"?
posted by zek at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2005


If you're able to tie Katrina and Rita to global warming in any real way, you need to immediately go to the Royal Society, and share your work. You will be rewarded.

For the rest of us, the necessary physics and math are hard enough in a controlled enviroment, let alone a world climate model.

I'm not saying the theories about global warming's effects on global climate are unlikely, or that they aren't interesting, but they aren't based on sufficient data, and they're far from being recognized as strong, even in the scientific community, though they have some appeal on the street, as it were.
posted by rush at 1:43 PM on September 28, 2005


Feedback mechanisms in climate?????
posted by eddydamascene at 3:50 PM EST on September 28 [!]


Interesting. At the bottom of this page it says:

"nonetheless it is just as possible we are underestimating future temperature rises as overestimating them."

You're not one of them evil global warming deniers, are you, eddydamascene?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:46 PM on September 28, 2005


If you're able to tie Katrina and Rita to global warming in any real way, you need to immediately go to the Royal Society, and share your work. You will be rewarded.
  1. Global warming
  2. Less arctic ice cover
  3. Odden ice shelf never forms last winter
  4. Odden ice shelf isn't there to melt in the spring
  5. Weaker Gulf Stream
  6. Hotter Gulf of Mexico
  7. Any two-bit cat. I that enters the Gulf becomes a giant cat. V over all that searing hot water.
No part of that is under any serious debate. Seems incredibly straightforward to me....
posted by jefgodesky at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2005


Rush, how do you arrive at the conclusion that global climate change theories and models are based on insufficient data and not recognized as strong? In the science communities I hang out in (admitedly its Ecology and not Meteorology) there seems to be a pretty clear consensus. We've got data from decades of measurement and there are some suprisingly good models out there considering how complex the subject is.

As an example, I live in the Northwest US and El Nino's are a big thing here. Our fire forecasts, farming, winter toursim, etc depend on these global scale weather phenomena. In the last 10 years, those forecasts have gotten much much better. The summer before last I would have swore that we were in for a hell of a bad fire season. The winter snow packs were terrible. But the models predicted a mild fire season because of unusually high summer humidity. And damn if they weren't right. We had some drought, but a very mild fire season.

And freebird, I think you are conflating two issues. There is some doubt about the relative contributions of human caused warming and agents outside of human caused warming, I'll grant you that. But global warming is bad for humans. We know that there are things we can do to not make it worse and we may even be able to help reverse the trend. To me, it doesn't matter if its "our fault" or not. Enlightened self interest tells me that we should do everything we can to keep the planet more habitable for us and that includes tempering the greenhouse effect.
posted by afflatus at 2:10 PM on September 28, 2005


Would leaving the door of my refridgerator open longer help to cool the planet some? What if we all window shopped our fridges with the door open for an extra ten minutes a day?

Actually, this is bad news and it should be a wakeup call to our leaders to get off their oil-soaked asses and do something. The only problem is everytime they "do something" it makes the problem worse so it makes me want to not ask them for help anymore, which is exactly what ShrubCo would love.

afflatus, yeah, blame game playing here means it'll be done post mortem because this really does threaten the entire planet. Cure the disease and then figure out how we got it in the first place, dithering on who's fault it is solves nothing and compounds the problem.
posted by fenriq at 2:26 PM on September 28, 2005


I help. I always drive my H2 with the windows down and the A/C roaring full blast. What? Why are you looking at me like that?
posted by keswick at 2:29 PM on September 28, 2005


South America via google maps: 1 (note the scale of that one!), 2.
posted by tomplus2 at 2:31 PM on September 28, 2005


Sorry, This one is better.
posted by tomplus2 at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2005


Global warming can actualy make winters worse, here is how. Warm air holds more moisture, so for people like me that live in the north east, our often very cold winters are now almost as very cold but more humid winters. cold humid air = more snow. For instance the Blizzard we had last year, one of the worst on record. was mostly due to warmer air holding more water.
posted by stilgar at 2:39 PM on September 28, 2005


I'm a climate grad student in my day job; I do ocean modelling of the North Pacific, looking at how heat moves around normally over the course of 20-50 years. I see a lot of the debate that goes on about warming in the scientific community firsthand. This I believe the general scientific consensus on the subject is.

It appears that the world is warming up slowly. We are currently about .5 deg warmer than in 1800. The most likely explanation for this is extra CO2 in the atmosphere. There are several reasons to believe this. First, we know that CO2 traps heat more effectively than oxygen or nitrogen through spectrography studies of the gases, so simply from a common sense perspective it makes sense that more CO2 would trap more heat.

Second, when you take a computer simulation of the atmosphere and you start adding CO2 to it, the planet gets warmer. This is remarkably damning evidence. The computer simulations we work with are basically based on Newton's laws of motion and some thermodynamics. You figure out how dense air is through PV = nRT, you figure out how the air is pushed around by calculating F=ma. You add CO2 by specifying how much a given concentration of CO2 absorbs solar radiation; this is a number you can get by just shining a light on some CO2 and measuring how fast it warms up. The main arbitrary descision in the simulations is how much CO2 to add, since we don't really know how much greenhouse gas we will make in the future, but a first guess would be "The same amount we are making right now"--though this is certainly wrong, since our oil consumption is constantly going up. Almost every other number and equation in the simulation is given by physical laws we have known for 200 years. The main thing controlling the amount of warming is how much CO2 we add to the simulation. There are at least 3 major climate models right now that don't share any codebase, and they all reproduce this behavior. They disagree about the rate of warming, but they all get warmer.

The best guess as to the warming trends is this: the planet will get warmer along an exponential curve. We won't really see the effects of warming on a large scale until 2050. At that point we will be about 1-2 degress about pre-industrial levels. The further into the future we predict, the wider the uncertainty in the models; by 2100, they predict anywhere between 2 and 7 degrees of warming. That's right, 7. The warming is preferentially directed at the poles, meaning 2 things. First, the warming will be seen there first. Second, if the world warms up an average of 2 degress, the arctic will warm up by about 5 degrees.

Hurricanes like Katrina are most likely not connected to global warming yet. We won't see a serious increase in hurricane activity due to global warming until 2050ish. Most of the ferocity of modern hurricanes is simply that there are more people on the Gulf Coast than ever before. Storm that would have hit wilderness 50 years ago now tear through subdivisions. There are actually fewer hurricanes now than in past decades, but many, many more targets for them to hit. Note that, in the same way that no-one can prove that global warming is happening, no-one can prove that hurricanes aren't getting stronger because of global warming; but the evidence suggests that other factors are more important.

Is any of this certain? No. But, from a scientific point of view, there is no certainty that gravity will work tomorrow. Just because it always has before is no guarantee it will again; correlation is not causality. But this is the most likely scenario, according to hundreds of men and women who have, quite literally, spent 20 years of their life studying the subject. I have read a few papers which suggest that we may just be on the upswing of a cycle, but they present this simply as an option; by and large they agree that it appears the planet is warming. And they all agree that if the planet is warming, greenhouse gas emissions are overwhelmingly the most likely reason.

I can tell you I have never met a climate scientist who believes with certainty that global warming is not happening, and I have been to 4,000 attendee global conferences several times. Amongst the scientific community, gloabal warming is accepted as the default hypotesis. Now, what you do with that info is up to you.
posted by freedryk at 2:49 PM on September 28, 2005


We know that there are things we can do to not make it worse and we may even be able to help reverse the trend.

We can limit greenhouse gas emissions. And Peak Oil will certainly do that. But... how do we actively "reverse" the trend? I think it will have to work itself out, so to speak. And it may take hundreds of years, no?
posted by tkchrist at 2:50 PM on September 28, 2005


Global warming is one thing; what's causing it is another; and whether it makes sense to attempt to reverse it is, a third.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:01 PM on September 28, 2005


If I had a guess to make, I'd say that Co2 emissions will be on the decrease (or at least leveled out) sooner rather than later.

I've been reading up on what is known of Saudi's oil fields and it would appear that peak production has already been achieved in the great "Ghawar" field. There is no other field ever discovered as prolific as that one single field, and the chances of finding another (that the population and politicians will let us explore), are slim at best.

New technology is allowing for more efficient recovery of oil & gas reserves, but it still can't keep up with the rate of demand. Which increases each year, as supplies are dwindled further.

I'm not an alarmist, and I don't have any internet links handy. I'm not saying we're out of oil, I'm just saying that by the time we get all geared up with new clean power, we'll be out of hydrocarbons anyway... or close to it...
posted by DuffStone at 3:11 PM on September 28, 2005


we'll be out of cheap hydrocarbons anyway

Sorry, we'll never be completely out of hydrocarbons, but cheap petro will become rare soon I predict.
posted by DuffStone at 3:13 PM on September 28, 2005


Is there anyone left in this country, besides the president, that still thinks Global Warming needs further Study?

I realize "further study" here means "doing nothing". But taken literally, the answer to the question must surely be Yes. Of course it needs further study.

That climate change exists should be pretty much evident to all but flat-earthers. The controversy is how much of this change is caused by human activity.

The problem is that the issue has become so politicized that it's hard to examine it without one's politics getting in the way. The fact that some people are going to deny any amount of evidence linking human activity to climate change, simply because they've decided they don't like lefty environmentalists, doesn't mean that there's no place for reasonable scepticism. Science isn't about proving things so much as developing plausable explanations.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything. There's enough evidence to warrant significant efforts to cut back our output of CO2. However, we shouldn't let ourselves become so adamant in our beliefs that we refuse to recognize the possibility that non-human forces have a greater impact on climate change than currently recognized. Science should influence your political beliefs, but never the reverse.
posted by Loudmax at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2005


You're not one of them evil global warming deniers, are you, eddydamascene?

Of COURSE not. I'm one of the GOOD global warming deniers. It's important that we carefully examine the inherent uncertainty in climate prediction models, and use that as an excuse for inaction (2 degrees? 3 degrees? GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT PEOPLE). If there is one thing I know about uncertainty, it's that the things that have it are UNCERTAIN. And one thing is for certain -- the polar ice cap lauches hundreds of deadly icebergs into the Atlantic ocean every spring. ANYONE SEE THE MOVIE TITANIC?????????
posted by eddydamascene at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2005


Is any of this certain? No. But, from a scientific point of view, there is no certainty that gravity will work tomorrow.

You really have as much confidence in this as in gravity?
posted by smackfu at 3:22 PM on September 28, 2005


Question: would it be in the oil industry's interest (or that of OPEC) to coverup that peak oil has already been reached? I'm tempted to believe so.

I look forward to oil so expensive that it declines as the world's fuel. More bicycles! Less odious suburbs! BRING IT ON!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2005


The problem is SO BAD that we're melting the ICE CAPS on MARS TOO!!!!!!!
posted by techgnollogic at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2005



You really have as much confidence in this as in gravity?


Of course not. I was just pointing out that absolutely nothing is certain. The continuted existence of gravity is probably the most certain thing in the world, but even that is not totally certain. Science is always about playing odds; which possibility is the most likely? An argument like "you cannot be certain that the world is warming" is a tautology, since you cannot be certain of anything.

I'd put my confidence level at above 90%. Let's say 93%, because I don't think I'd go as high as 95%. That's 15:1 odds, which is a pretty good bet.
posted by freedryk at 3:35 PM on September 28, 2005


and the chances of finding another (that the population and politicians will let us explore), are slim at best.

The Hubbert's Peak folks introduced me to one of the smartest observations I've seen: with random searching we're more likely to find the LARGE fields first, since they are larger in geographic extent. All the major oil provinces (industry speak for areas) follow this law, and the graphs of wildcatting production follow pretty asymptotic/log natural/whatever curves as predicted by the underlying math exactly:



So unless there's a whole PROVINCE the oil companies have missed, we're pretty much tapped out as far as bubbly oil goes, at least with current technologies.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:47 PM on September 28, 2005


freebird, I think you are conflating two issues. [...] To me, it doesn't matter if its "our fault" or not. Enlightened self interest tells me that we should do everything we can

Absolutely, and I don't mean to conflate the two at all. You'll note I list three seperate issues: whether there's warning, whether it's our fault, and whether we can do anything about it. I completely agree, and I think the environmental movement would be much better off if it would drop some of the obsession with blame. If there is warming, it may well be that it's natural - I'm not sure I care, honestly. If keeping my city and my favorite wilderness habitable is actually a violation of a natural process - fine. I don't like global warming whatever reason it may have for existing.
posted by freebird at 3:51 PM on September 28, 2005


I think the current plan is to delay on answering questions one and two until the answer to question three is "no".
posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on September 28, 2005


freedryk: Thanks for that information. I nearly skipped your post after I read "spectrography" as opposed to spectroscopy, but I am glad I did not. Forgive me for being a picky optics nerd, but hey I study aurora for a living so there you go.

I live in the high arctic (Svalbard), but I have not been here long enough to witness climate change effects on a time scale sufficient to indicate any trend, other than something like: "Oh, well last winter I could drive my snowmachine across the fjord and this year I can't". Naturally, I don't immediately think of global warming after considering that idea.

It is nice to hear some reasoned discussion in this thread, although I do enjoy the occasional wisecrack. But for a topic as serious as this (I'll get to that in a minute), I'm glad this thread is not all wisecracks.

The archapelago of Svalbard (my home in Longyearbyen is at 78N -- 1000 mi. from the pole) is possibly inhabited only because of one thing: the gulfstream. Once a sufficient amount of Greenland icecap melts, it is generally agreed in the literature that the gulfstream will, more or less, shut off like a switch. I won't get into the details here, but it involved releasing a buttload of fresh water into the briny sea. There is historical evidence of this from centuries past, including woodcutings of young English childeren iceskating on the Thames.

Suffice it to say that this would make this northernmost city in the world where I have chose to live fairly uninhabitable (READ: "cold as a welldiggers ass" OR insert your own euphamism) not to mention the climatic effects of coastal Europe as a whole. Yes, global warming turning off the gulstream will make northern Europe cold as hell, at least in the short term. Remember that Montreal is at the same latitude as southern France, which to me resembles my ancestral home of west Texas.

I have been tangentially involved with mesospheric research applied to climate change. The mesosphere is the coldest part of the atmosphere, and it has been postulated that any surface temperature trend will be magnified tenfold in the mesopause region (85-95km). Most of the evidence that I have seen (which is arctic only) points to no statistically significant trend. But again that is just for the arctic. I do believe that climatologists don't really take the upper atmosphere into account accurately when they put together their models, just as we as upper atmospheric scientists don't really give a flip what happens between 0 and 70 km.

I am interested in finding out from climatologists (armchair or professional) what they estimate as the relative importance of athropogenically-induced global warming to naturally occurring cyclic variations. Any takers?
posted by septentrion at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2005


I bet the Global Warming is barely noticable up there is Svalbard, what with the rift between the worlds and all!
posted by freebird at 5:49 PM on September 28, 2005


We are so fucked. Once the frozen methane on the ocean's bottom starts melting, we are all going to die.

I was out with a few friends the other night who are so self-involved that they are literally clueless on what is going on in the world. When I expressed my frustration about government corruption, cronyism and incompetence, they looked at me with dumb looks and asked me where I was getting all my information. But I'm sure they knew who won the Giants game on Sunday. Merrily we roll along.
posted by MetaJohn at 1:26 PM PST on September 28 [!]


Ignorance is, they say, bliss. Much of the time, I'm inclined to agree.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2005


Now, what you do with that info is up to you.

Note to self: buy houseboat.
posted by deborah at 6:05 PM on September 28, 2005


Fantastic post, freedryk.
posted by 31d1 at 6:14 PM on September 28, 2005


Parse the whole thing. First of all, yep, I guess it's global warming time. Second of all, nope, we're not all gonna die.

Right now, the US Navy is trying to plan a navigational system for the arctic ocean, and in summer, you should be able to take a boat to northern Russia from Canada and back.

Britain is predicted to get cold as hell, because of a complex change in ocean currents. Other places will get colder or hotter.

Nope, these hurricanes were not caused by global warming. They may have been severely strengthened by the fact that the Gulf was warm as pee for some time now -- mostly caused by plankton blooms.

The bottom line is that things will change. Most likely, places like New Orleans, Amsterdam and a bunch of islands are no longer sustainable. Nothing can be done for them. Droughts and floods can and will be mitigated by human effort or the lack thereof.

On the plus side, the hole in the ozone layer is slowly healing. But that won't matter much one way or another.

Meh. Natural or not, it's happening. Adapt or don't. Kyoto was nonsense.
posted by kablam at 6:33 PM on September 28, 2005


Sin.
Cursed.
World.
posted by darukaru at 8:43 PM on September 28, 2005


Here's a graph of the trend since 1978.
posted by neuron at 9:39 PM on September 28, 2005


I meant to post this earlier but the site was down...

Um, running short on cheap oil will not make us create less CO2, because we will switch back to coal, which is much, much dirtier, and at current rate of consumption there's over 200 years worth. With expanding consumption, perhaps 100.

Also, reading a post by someone named Stilgar that talks about water and moisture in the air... well, that just warms my nerdy little heart. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 10:16 PM on September 28, 2005


Meh. Natural or not, it's happening. Adapt or don't. Kyoto was nonsense.

Perfect. I'd been looking around for awhile for something glib enough to put on a sampler for the wall of the ole den. You know, so when my grandkids come around to ask why everything's such an irredeemable mess, I've got a reference point for them as to the twisted mix of apathy, selfishness, ignorance and smug self-satisfaction that characterized the status quo that inexplicably refused to change.

Nice work, kablam. You're a real inspiration.
posted by gompa at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2005


Second of all, nope, we're not all gonna die.

No chance of a collapsed world economy due to climate change, food supply shocks, mass starvation, migrations, weakened populations susceptible to disease, right?

A country boy will survive, riight? Just live off the land. Make your own food, water and medicine. Yee ha.
posted by surplus at 12:18 AM on September 29, 2005


I highly doubt Amsterdam, even in the face of rising tides, is "no longer sustainable." The Dutch are a lot more ingenius and industrious than you give them credit for... look at what they've done already...
posted by muppetboy at 12:32 AM on September 29, 2005


"Weaker Gulf Stream"

Bye, bye, northern Scandinavia.
It's cold there now, I don't want to consider what it will be like with no Gulf Stream.
posted by spazzm at 6:08 AM on September 29, 2005


I'd like to point out that though Kyoto may very well be a joke, at least it doesn't just throw in the towel on behalf of Shanghai, Tokyo, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Mobile, Gulfport, New Orleans, Galveston, Houston, Washington D.C., Dhaka, Taipei, Guangzhou, Kuwait City, Umm Qasr, Marseille, Tel-Aviv, Stockholm, Oslo, Cape Town, and hundreds, thousands of others. Who will rule your brave new world? The newly-costal metropolis of Memphis? Or will the South rise again, this time from the bottom of the sea?

You know what? I'm sure Dubai will escape unscathed, perhaps atop a concrete turtle or some such nonsense. Is that the future you see for us? The United Colonies of the Arab Emirates?

P.S. - Why spend billions of dollars protecting our cities from terrorist attacks when you're going to hand them over to some bad weather?
posted by Ptrin at 7:35 AM on September 29, 2005


Poor Polar Bear.
posted by MetaJohn at 7:51 AM on September 29, 2005


Converting Coal into a liquid petroleum product capable of powering our current motor vehicle technology is much more expensive than you might think. Sure, Industry will always default to the cheapest energy source, this is capitalism at it's finest. But not all fuel needs can be met by coal and heavy crudes.

The question(s) remain: How do we make coal (& heavy crudes) unattractive to industry? How do we resolve the transportation issue?

People should really start concentrating on THESE issues rather than Global warming. Cheap fuel as we know it is in a critical state world wide and alternative fuels are still inadequate to handle industry's needs.

If you want to stop global warming, you should pray for expensive hydrocarbons, un-economic Gas / diesel engines, and a democrat to tax the hell out of coal (200% at least). That's the only way you'll move away from Co2 and into clean fuels.

Personally, I predict that it will be much more painfully than that. 10 dollar gas, shortages, double / triple energy bills for each citizen, Rampant inflation / Interest rates (standard for such a situation), and investment banks becoming bearish causing the markets to stall, the dollar to fall further, and eventually lead into what could be termed a "Superior Depression". Imagine that in the 1930's, most people had no clue how to play the markets, that percentage now is quite high. A crash today would be devastating to big business and the little guy as well.

Still, I say that all in theory. I hate being an alarmist, but being in the O&G industry, It's quite clear that 20, 30 years is pushing our proved reserves into depletion. All that being said, i'd rather live in a warm and volatile world, than run out of cheap energy (whether that energy be renewable, Hydrocarbons, alternative, whatever...) Expensive energy should scare the shit out of each and every one of you, and yet nobody ever gives it more than lip service...
posted by DuffStone at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2005


DuffStone: It's really nice to see such an honest assessment of the current situation from someone, as you say, in the O&G business... This is exactly the kind of frank, civil discourse we need more of if we're going to be able to make the best of our current historical predicament.

I guess where my view on global climate change may differ a bit from kablam's and others espousing the "let's not play the blame game" position is that I think it's vitally important that we (meaning, humans) assume collective responsibility for the historical choices that have led us to this point, and that we make a good faith effort to learn from our past mistakes. Some here have suggested that it doesn't really matter if we caused global climate change or not. As kablam put it, all that matters is whether or not we can "adapt." But our ability to adapt is contingent on our ability to recognize behaviors that don't work and to develop ways to curtail those behaviors in the future (in other words, to learn from our mistakes). In that light, it's essential that we understand just what role human activity has played/is playing in global change, and admit, as hard as it may be to do, that we're responsible for our own past and future, and that we're far from perfect.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:37 AM on September 29, 2005


Bye, bye, northern Scandinavia.
It's cold there now, I don't want to consider what it will be like with no Gulf Stream.


About 50 degrees colder?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:46 AM on September 29, 2005


I think it's vitally important that we (meaning, humans) assume collective responsibility for the historical choices that have led us to this point

Personally, I blame it all on the baby boomer generation. They pretty much fucked everything up. Everything.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:30 PM on September 29, 2005


My favorite part about this whole thing is that nobody in this country is going to make any significant change, so if the global warming theory is real (which I believe it is), there will be no argument when the shit hits the fan. THEN perhaps, there will be some change in behavior.

Perhaps.
posted by eener at 3:27 PM on September 29, 2005


BWAHAHAHA !!
posted by troutfishing at 9:01 PM on September 29, 2005


I'm gonna have to buy myself an SUV if I'm gonna make it through the kinds of winters they're predicting!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:21 PM on September 29, 2005


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