Anticipations on IPCC 4th assessment report
January 29, 2007 7:29 AM   Subscribe

The Independent has some anticipations on the soon to be released first volume of IPCC's 4Th Assesment Report , concerning matters such as climate change and global warming. Quoting the article : It is virtually certain (there is more than a 99 per cent probability) that carbon dioxide levels and global warming is far above the range of natural variability over the past 650,000 years. It is virtually certain that human activity has played the dominant role in causing the increase of greenhouse gases over the past 250 years.
posted by elpapacito (74 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Posts tagged with : globalwarming or Global & Warming
posted by elpapacito at 7:33 AM on January 29, 2007


I bet they don't mind the free advertisement :)
posted by elpapacito at 7:33 AM on January 29, 2007


SLNF
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's only four days until the real thing is published — why not wait and post it then?
posted by matthewr at 7:51 AM on January 29, 2007


[fixed fpp spelling]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:03 AM on January 29, 2007


To promote orgs that push information forward instead of waiting for oh-so-boring press releases and media kits ? Sometime it is interesting, sometime it is "leaked" to raise attention that wouldn't otherwise be paid...hard to know which is which without being inside, but still ..just making the PDF avaible on ipcc would have , imho, made the conference more interesting.

On preview: thanks jessa !
posted by elpapacito at 8:04 AM on January 29, 2007


The site to monitor over the next few days is the official IPCC web address.

Interestingly, The Independent relays findings from Working Group I aka "The scientific basis" which have more or less been known due to separate press releases of science groups and studies over the last 2 years. Working Groups II and III (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Mitigation of Climate Change, respectively) are the emerging hot topics, at least I think. No word on those.

That said, I realize, I am too optimistic about how even the science basis is received. Recently, at Davos.
posted by carmina at 8:32 AM on January 29, 2007


IANA climatologist but this:
Sea levels will rise significantly even if levels of CO2 are stabilised. By 2100 sea levels could be 0.43 metres higher on average than present, and by 2300 they could be up to 0.8 metres higher.
Seems much milder than the dire predictions of 8 foot increases in sea level, and so forth, that I have heard bandied about. Still much cause for concern in this report, but maybe not so much outright hysteria.

Thanks elpapacito!
posted by Mister_A at 8:34 AM on January 29, 2007


It's only four days until the real thing is published — why not wait and post it then?

Well, this way we get it ahead of time!

But yeah, the global warming deniers are out of their minds, or paid liars.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 AM on January 29, 2007


Later, I ran into Vinod Khosla, the longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist now focusing on energy-related startups. I related Brabeck-Letmathe's onstage comments to him and asked what he thought. "You should tell him to see his proctologist so he can find his head," said Khosla, "and you can quote me."

As an interesting aside, I wonder if his disagreement is about the science, or about the interest in making profits from global warming-related technologies in which he is presumably investing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2007


No spoilers until the actual report is out, please. In anticipation, I shall start hyperventilating forthwith. Or clenching. Maybe both.

Full lather by Thursday at the latest when area man interviewed in (city in the midst of snowstorm) says "well, it sure don't look like global warmin' ta me!"
posted by hal9k at 8:47 AM on January 29, 2007


The report adds that global warming over the past 50 years would have been worse had it not been for the counterbalancing influence of man-made emissions of aerosol pollutants, tiny airborne particles that reflect sunlight to cause atmospheric cooling. "Without the cooling effect of atmospheric aerosols, it is likely that greenhouse gases alone would have caused more global mean temperature rise than that observed during the last 50 years," the draft report says.
Wow, thanks aerosols.
posted by Mister_A at 8:47 AM on January 29, 2007


And without snow anywhere, we won't have to make all those plastic snow shovels or heat our homes. Things even out, right?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:55 AM on January 29, 2007


Here's a thought I've seen thrown around: flooding the atmosphere with dust in order to reduce the amount of sunlight that actually gets to the surface. It might be something we need to do, even if we do stabalize human carbon levels. In the future, we may have complete control over the global temprature levels.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2007


Mister_A, I am personally very happy to see that this estimate made it in the report. It is a very recent result from the GRACE satellite system that went up just recently (cause we have other things to spend our money on -- obligatory wink --) and contradicts previous findings which showed little or no change. By the way, ~5milimeters/decade is a global average and it is really large because the sea level will not rise the same amount at all places.

Blazecock Pileon, Khosla is obviously smart enough to realize the latter. That as an answer to those who think that taking measures will cause a major economic crash. Morons.

delmoi, tell me you are kidding (because I've heard people talk similar solutions for reals)...
posted by carmina at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2007


Judging from the increasing attention that the topic has received in recent times, memory runs to State of Union and to Chancellor Merkel, and the Inconvenient Truth hybrid between a documentary and a campaign slogan, one would think something started boiling in the political pot.

Or at least it is now more visible to the not-well informed (99% of us).
posted by elpapacito at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2007


Also, why a .ch domain? Wouldn't .int make more sense?
posted by delmoi at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2007


Ops forgot a lil potkettling : monju : SLOF
posted by elpapacito at 9:11 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The way I see it is we can invest all our resources in trying to control earth's climate or in seeking interstellar space travel. I vote for the latter.
posted by notreally at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2007


I vote for hookers and blow.
posted by keswick at 9:17 AM on January 29, 2007


delmoi, tell me you are kidding (because I've heard people talk similar solutions for reals)...

Obviously I would prefer reducing carbon emissions, but would that really be possible? Koyoto certainly wouldn't be enough. How are China and India going to feel about being caped so strongly?

Really, the way it should work (or the way I would do it) would be to give every person in the world a certain amount of carbon credits, which they could sell. First-worlders would then buy carbon credits from poorer people. We should also grant credits to land owners or countries with jungles or other greenhouse sinks. That would create a true economic incentive to preserve rain forests, like the Amazon, and other greenery.

But even then the report said that simply stabilizing greenhouse gas emission wouldn't be enough. So maybe something more radical will be required. But who knows, it's not like I'll have much say.
posted by delmoi at 9:17 AM on January 29, 2007


The way I see it is we can invest all our resources in trying to control earth's climate or in seeking interstellar space travel. I vote for the latter.

I doubt that greenhouse gas emission caps would really hamper our ability to do intersteller travel, which, obviously, is going to require nuclear capability.
posted by delmoi at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2007


I think we should do something to cool off the sun, that seems like the most reasonable course of action. We should send an exploratory team to the sun at night when it is cool.
posted by Mister_A at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


So maybe something more radical will be required.
But dust in the atmosphere, or iron fertilization or cloud seeding, ain't it. Example, more dust in the atmosphere means more condensation particles present which means more water vapor trapped in the system which means more greenhouse effect. Bummer.
posted by carmina at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2007




"SLNF"

Sun Light Needs Filtering?
Sun Light Nearly Fatal?
So, Like... Nature's Fucked?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The 4AR's largest contribution, IMO, will be the increased confidence with which it links observed warming to man-made sources. Further, the IPCC's predictions with respect to 2100 may not have shifted too much since 2001 and the publication of its last report, but the certainty linked to the 2-4.5 degree increase in temperature should attract a fair bit of attention as well.
posted by swillis at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2007


This did not appear to be the case following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, Carmina. Global temperatures were lower, and this temporary cooling was ascribed to the eruption and its many particles of dust.
posted by Mister_A at 9:26 AM on January 29, 2007


Flooding the atmosphere with dust is commonly known as "pollution", delmoi. We stopped emitting those aerosols because of the overwhelming health problems they caused. Problems like this.
posted by freedryk at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2007


Oh yes, it did mister_A. There was globally an increase in the evaporation rates which is attributed to Pinatubo. Persistent Pinatubos (to address global warming) will have feedbacks that will probably counteract our initial intentions.
posted by carmina at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2007


And one more thing about global warming mitigation: watch who's doing it, pretty please? Lowell Wood is a scientist who proposes big sunscreens to reflect sunlight away from earth. Can Dr Evil save the World?

In scientific circles, Wood is a dark star, the protege of Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb and architect of the Reagan-era Star Wars missile-defense system. As a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California for more than four decades, Wood has long been one of the Pentagon's top weaponeers, the agency's go-to guru for threat assessment and weapons development. Wood is infamous for championing fringe science, from X-ray lasers to cold-fusion nuclear reactors, as well as for his long affiliation with the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank on the Stanford campus. Everyone at Snowmass knew Wood's reputation. To some, he was a brilliant outside-the-box thinker; to others, he was the embodiment of Big Science gone awry.
posted by carmina at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2007


I'd love to see the data, Carmina. Pinatubo erupted, 30 million tons of sulfur dioxide aerosol entered the atmosphere, temperatures went down. I was incorrect to state that dust caused the global cooling associated with the volcano, but the larger point is that aerosol emissions from Pinatubo lowered the average global temperature. Is there some "shoulder" where increased heat trapping from water vapor overtakes increased heat dispersal from aerosols? Please explain.

FYI, I am not pro-aerosol, just pro-science.
posted by Mister_A at 9:51 AM on January 29, 2007


If you want to know what we all need to do, George Monbiot has the tough answers.
posted by imperium at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2007


flooding the atmosphere with dust in order to reduce the amount of sunlight that actually gets to the surface

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2007


check out the "State of the Planet Address" - Warming Island video posted on TERRA this week for some, how shall I say, extremely graphic evidence of climate change. Hard not to believe the truth when it is staring you straight in the face.
posted by huckhound at 10:09 AM on January 29, 2007


matt drudge posted a picture of ice-covered oranges the other day. i don't need to know any more than that to know this whole "global warming" thing is a myth.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2007


SWEET JESUS WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE UNLESS WE . . . WE . . . WELL, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE NO MATTER WHAT WE DO. It's silly, really. Just forget I mentioned it. I mean, not that the future of the planet isn't important or anything. I'm going back to bed..
posted by tkolar at 10:17 AM on January 29, 2007


Metafilter: Flooding the atmosphere with dust.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:22 AM on January 29, 2007


Cut! Print it. That's a wrap people.
posted by Mister_A at 10:27 AM on January 29, 2007


Mister_A, but I did not disagree with you that Pinatubo had indeed a cooling effect which lasted for 2 years (1991-1192) in the global mean and then the temperature jumped back to its pre-Pinatubo levels. So, in order to address global warming, you must erupt Pinatubos every 2 years. For ever.

Volcanic aerosols are released in the troposphere (lower atmosphere were we live and breathe) but only last there for a few days because they help condense clouds and subsequently rain down (cloud-aerosol feedback). The bulk of the aerosol load goes quickly to the stratosphere (upper atmosphere) but as I said the effect lasts 1-2 years. Another colateral damage is of course ozone (linked article above).
posted by carmina at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2007


1991-1992, obviously.
posted by carmina at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2007


Computer models are rubbish - it is not possible to encompass the totality of chaotic systems such as those that give us climate. All manner of foolish statements are being made that are only partially true.
Currently the globe is warming - more than likely due to natural forcing and it would be helpful if a more level-headed approach was adopted.
Governments can't wait to start shuffling carbon credits as additional taxes but there seems to be little evidence they are prepared to put in place schemes that will provide food and water for people displaced by desertification.
posted by Cennad at 10:30 AM on January 29, 2007


And then, there was Cennad. Sigh.
posted by carmina at 10:34 AM on January 29, 2007


Cennad: what? Puff, puff, pass, motherfucker.

Carmina - We're on the same side of this one, but the theory behind the (ill-advised & probably awful) better living through aerosols idea is kind of interesting to me. It reminds me of the diabetic who takes extra insulin so that (s)he can keep eating twinkies, you know? Rather than not eating so many damn twinkies...

The best way to get people up in arms about climate change is to tell them how it affects them right now, not about catastrophic worst-case-scenario events that may or may not happen at some point in the indefinite future. Tell them about the droughts, the storms, the heat waves, the crop failures of today. That is scary enough; I think some concerned people do harm to this cause by focusing on major, end-of-the-world cataclysms.

*descends from soapbox*
posted by Mister_A at 10:41 AM on January 29, 2007


You all are SO easily fooled.

All this Global Warming nonsense is hooey perpetrated by those killer hippy ninjas Michael Crichton told me about. HE'S A DOCTOR!

Seriously. Who should I listen to? A buncha grant hungry librul pervert Doom-sayers? OR the MAN WHO WROTE "SPHERE!"
posted by tkchrist at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cennad: It doesn't sound like you'd be convinced, but computer climate models are routinely verified by giving them ancient initial conditions, and comparing their predictions to the past. The models have proven very reliable, despite your hand-waving.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:27 AM on January 29, 2007


(You would have an easier time saying it's too late to do anything significant, and we'd be wiser to spend our money adapting to a warmer climate, rather than force ineffectual regulations. I wouldn't agree with you, but it's a stronger argument.)
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:29 AM on January 29, 2007


"... we'd be wiser to spend our money adapting to a warmer climate..."

No, I've already done that by moving to Las Vegas. You can't all move here too, it's already crowded enough and traffic is horrible in the morning, what with all the Californian drivers. Get your own desert, this ones mine.


Ineffectual regulations? Well, let's let the market decide by consuming every available resource in a mad dash for profits, instead of sustainability. That sounds reasonable. After all, we're talking about something important, you know; Money. And money is so much more important that food, water, and shelter, yes sirree bob, boy howdy. Money is a false argument, and anyone who argues about global warming citing money as a "strong" argument needs to be PUNCHED IN THE JUNK.

No, seriously, punch them in the junk and take their money. Then when they come whining that they don't have any money you can say "at least you've got your health." Make sure you lock them in a garage with a locked, running car. You know, because maybe then they'll understand the PANIC a lot of people feel about the enviornment, because they have no money, they are choking on poisonous fumes, have nothing to eat, no way to get water, and are trapped. Then tell them you don't want to spend money to unlock the car, turn off the engine, and find a way to unlock the garage.

That probably made about as much sense as arguing about global warming from the perspective of money.
posted by daq at 11:40 AM on January 29, 2007


Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Not anymore, anyway. It's drying up.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:43 AM on January 29, 2007


And of course, the other-end-of-the-spectrum criticism of the IPCC report has already started. New climate report too rosy, experts say.
posted by carmina at 11:44 AM on January 29, 2007


Popular Ethics wrote...
Cennad: It doesn't sound like you'd be convinced, but computer climate models are routinely verified by giving them ancient initial conditions, and comparing their predictions to the past.

Oh please. How were the computer climate models generated? By studying historical weather patterns. And believe it or not, when we plugged the exact same data into the climate models, they gave the exact same results!

There's a lot to be said for the science around global climate change, but "computers can predict the future!" is not it.
posted by tkolar at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2007


From the DAVOS link - Does anybody have any information on "villages now emerging from underneath the shrinking glaciers"? It would be interesting to know what he's referring to.
posted by speug at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2007


By the way, ~5milimeters/decade is a global average and it is really large because the sea level will not rise the same amount at all places.

Um. You do realize that 'sea level' means the same thing everywhere, right? The world's oceans are one large body of water, and their surfaces are all at precisely the same distance from the Earth's center of gravity... stirred up, of course, by wind and tides, but at the same level overall, sea level. There's just one. If it goes up 5mm in California, it doesn't magically go up 7mm in Japan and 12mm in the North Sea. (and yes, it obviously will take a bit of time, perhaps a few days, to propagate as it changes, but that time is hardly significant in this context.)

Fairly minor, but if you want to argue with people who don't believe in this stuff, you'd better get the things they DO know about precisely correct. Arguing that the situation is much more serious than the numbers would indicate because physics is all wrong isn't very convincing.
posted by Malor at 12:00 PM on January 29, 2007


daq: It's not all that nonsensical. Remember money=ability. We, as a world, have a limited ability to combat climate change. There is no way in hell we could eliminate carbon dioxide emissions any time soon. The Kyoto protocol aims for a tiny redection in emissions, and look at the success it has had. Think of it personally - nearly everything you do involves burning fossil fuels, how would you stop?

Even if we could eliminate or offset all greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow, there is some evidence that we're we're already past the point of no return. All that effort won't preserve a single polar bear.

The counterpoint is that we don't know for sure if it's hopeless yet, so we should do everything we can think of to stop it. Also a sustainable economy (I use the term to describe all aspects of life, not just money) would bring enormous rewards, even if it won't prevent Manhatten and Vancouver from flooding.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:01 PM on January 29, 2007


"...even if it won't prevent Manhatten and Vancouver from flooding"

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:13 PM on January 29, 2007


Here's a thought I've seen thrown around: flooding the atmosphere with dust in order to reduce the amount of sunlight that actually gets to the surface. It might be something we need to do, even if we do stabalize human carbon levels. In the future, we may have complete control over the global temprature levels.

Right. File this one under robot butlers and personalized jetpacks.

prevent Manhatten and Vancouver from floodinga

Phew! Fortunately I live up the hill from the water, and global warming won't get me! I might even end up with a beachfront apartment-- and with property values the way they are in town now, I'll be rolling in the dough!
posted by jokeefe at 12:22 PM on January 29, 2007


Malor, you do realize that "sea level change" does not mean the same thing everywhere, right? I do not mean to snark, but change is the key, not sea level (which is geoid). Both thermal expansion that causes sea level change as well as the introduction of melted land-ice or the collapse of large ice-shelves are regionally dependent. Of course the ocean sea level will try to adjust to the geoid, through ocean circulation but that will take much longer than 2 days: the fastest modes of propagation of sea level changes, the Kelvin waves, have speeds of about 2m/sec. That gives 170km/day. On Earth that will not take you far in 2 days. If the local changes are subtle then you will not notice much but if you have large amounts of melting released into the ocean you will. Furthermore, changes in the ocean circulation (currents) due to global warming will change pressure gradients and local sea levels in coastal regions.
posted by carmina at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


carmina, disclaimer: tsunamis are the fastest waves in the ocean but they are caused by instantaneous impulses (like earthquakes).
posted by carmina at 12:51 PM on January 29, 2007


tkolar: "There's a lot to be said for the science around global climate change, but "computers can predict the future!" is not it."

I'm not a climatologist, so I won't argue over the accuracy of specific climate change models, but we use computers to predict the future all the time! Models predict if an airplane will crash in a cross wind. Models predict if a building will collapse under its own weight. Models predict if a Nuclear Reactor will run out of control. If we understand the underlying physics, we can use models to predict things we don't want (or can't) test. How do we know we understand the physics? By testing the predictions with existing data.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:22 PM on January 29, 2007


I run my air conditioning all the time. That helps, right?

The "anthropogenic signal" - the visible signs of human influence on the climate - has now emerged not just in global average surface temperatures, but in global ocean temperatures and ocean heat content, temperature extremes on the land and the rapidly diminishing Arctic sea ice.

Interesting contrast with the (since rejected) Ron Bailey position that because several of these different predicted increases did not agree closely enough, there was still room for doubt, even though he did not actually dispute that they were all increases.

The wait-and-seers just guarantee higher costs for mitigation, paid by our grandchildren.
posted by dhartung at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2007




Popular Ethics wrote...
Models predict if an airplane will crash in a cross wind.

This is a particularly good example of what I'm talking about.

There is no aerospace engineer in the world who would design a plane chassis, test it with computer modelling, and go straight to production with it.

There are just too many things that differ between an airflow model and the real world. So they use modelling to come up with a good guess, and comprehensive wind tunnel tests to find out what really happens.

Here's a situation where there is a fairly tight feedback loop: there's lots of people modelling and lots of people testing the model results in the wind tunnels. And still, after many many years of this, no one has arrived at a computer model that they're willing to bet their life (or even someone else's) on.

That's just for one small fighter plane, an item that is about one quintillionth the size of the earth's climate.

That isn't to say that models don't have their place. But at best they can be rough indicators, and at worst they can give people a sense of certainty where none exists.
posted by tkolar at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2007 [2 favorites]



From the DAVOS link - Does anybody have any information on "villages now emerging from underneath the shrinking glaciers"? It would be interesting to know what he's referring to.-speug

Do the words "hideous plateau of Leng" mean anything to you? THAT's what is emerging from 'neath these hoary and unhallowed glaciers.
posted by Mister_A at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2007




Now THAT's a positive feedback loop.
posted by Mister_A at 2:05 PM on January 29, 2007


That isn't to say that models don't have their place. But at best they can be rough indicators, and at worst they can give people a sense of certainty where none exists.

Okay, I do not entirely disagree with this statement, although I trust model results a little (or a lot) more than you do.

In climate modeling we do not have the benefit of laboratory experiments. We have the verification benefit though: all climate models that went in IPCC-AR4 and which give predictions for the upcoming centuries were run for the "test case" which is the 20th Century climate. That means all models were forced with year 1880 conditions and run till year 2000. Then they were evaluated against 20th Century measurements of a very great number of parameters. It is a rigorous and painstaking procedure that established each model's performance. Well, you would be surprised. The models did very good to capture reality. Did they do perfect? No, of course. There are still deficiencies. But based on the 20th Century evaluation we can be fairly sure that the predictions for the future are reasonable. Are they correct to the nth degree? Probably not. That is why modelers will always give you a range of uncertainty for every prediction.
posted by carmina at 2:24 PM on January 29, 2007


Computer models are rubbish

Please see: "Phaeton's Reins: The human hand in climate change", January/February 2007 issue of Boston Review. A lucid and poignant survey of the science and politics of global warming and how we know what we know for a lay audience. It discusses and illuminates your concerns about computers and modeling complex systems.
posted by stbalbach at 3:23 PM on January 29, 2007


Thanks for the sneak preview. I was kind of wondering which way they would come down on the whole global warming issue.
posted by Slap Factory at 4:05 PM on January 29, 2007


carmina:

> those who think that taking measures will cause a major economic crash. Morons.

You've got your happy glasses on. Doing what's necessary to stop the warming (and reverse it, stabilizing at present levels isn't remotely enough) will be brutally painful. The point is that it should be tried no matter who it hurts, because the alternative is worse (or at least, that's the Qualified Authorities' best guess, as embodied in reports like the IPCC's.) However, even a successful effort will be ugly and will almost certainly involve some people or groups of people being forced to make choices that result in great suffering for other groups. I will not be at all surprised to see wars start over who has to sacrifice what.
posted by jfuller at 4:14 PM on January 29, 2007


jfuller: how painful it would be depends how quickly we need to change direction. James Hansen suggests that relatively modest changes would be sufficient to reduce global warming to a manageable level (2 degrees F by by 2100, instead of 5 degrees F).
A good energy policy, economists agree, is not difficult to define. Fuel taxes should encourage conservation, but with rebates to taxpayers so that the government revenue from the tax does not increase. The taxpayer can use his rebate to fill his gas-guzzler if he likes, but most people will eventually reduce their use of fuel in order to save money, and will spend the rebate on something else. With slow and continual increases of fuel cost, energy consumption will decline. The economy will not be harmed. Indeed, it will be improved since the trade deficit will be reduced; so will the need to protect US access to energy abroad by means of diplomatic and military action. US manufacturers would be forced to emphasize energy efficiency in order to make their products competitive internationally. Our automakers need not go bankrupt.

Would this approach result in fewer ultraheavy SUVs on the road? Probably. Would it slow the trend toward bigger houses with higher ceilings? Possibly. But experts say that because technology has sufficient potential to become more efficient, our quality of life need not decline. In order for this to happen, the price of energy should reflect its true cost to society.
In Canada, for example, a group at SFU has proposed a policy package that would cut CO2 emissions significantly (90 Mt), with minimal economic impact.
... The industrial sector (excluding electricity) experiences an annual cost of production increase reaching $100 million in 2010 (some of this is caused by electricity price increases). However, the costs of producing non-energy goods do not increase by more than 1 percent, which should have a negligible effect on international competitiveness.

From the electricity sector, the combined effect of its inclusion in the large industrial ECTP and a RPS provides more than half of the country’s GHG abatement— 51.6 Mt in 2010. Most reductions are due to switching to more efficient natural gas and coal burners, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, switching to renewable electricity, and demand reductions. The RPS causes about 6.2 Mt of reduction in addition to the 2.4 Mt triggered by the large industry ECTP. Together, these actions increase the average price of electricity by 3 percent.

The carbon sequestration requirement in the oil and gas production sector reduces GHG emissions by 6.5 Mt by 2010, increasing the production cost of oil and natural gas by less than 1 percent each.

The building and equipment standards cause GHG reduction of 6 Mt by 2010 by forcing equipment manufacturers and building developers to phase out sales of the least efficient 10 percent of new buildings and equipment throughout the residential and commercial sectors.
posted by russilwvong at 4:53 PM on January 29, 2007


There is no aerospace engineer in the world who would design a plane chassis, test it with computer modelling, and go straight to production with it.

Actually I read about some hobbyists who designed a plane in the X-plane simulator (a toy simulator, written by dedicated enthusiasts), built based on their model, and it flew perfectly.

Anyway, the fact that one thing can't be simulated perfectly doesn't mean another thing can't be simulated well. And since we only have one earth, computer modeling is the only thing we have to go on.
posted by delmoi at 7:47 PM on January 29, 2007


There is no aerospace engineer in the world who would design a plane chassis, test it with computer modelling, and go straight to production with it.

There are plenty. Do you think Boeing tests every beam and bracket to failure before building an aircraft? Even if they did, where do you think they get the load estimates - computer simulations. Real world testing is expensive. Tests are only done on a very few data points. If the data agrees with the (much more extensive) computer simulations, the engineers go home satisfied.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:38 PM on January 29, 2007


What if every Chinaman was to fly a kite? Would that create enough shade?

What? You look skeptical? Oh. Not enough string... or was it the use of the word "Chinaman?"
posted by tkchrist at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2007


'Chinaman' is not the preferred nomenclature.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:04 AM on January 30, 2007


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