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Global Warming - What do you think (and tell kids)?

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Yah, I agree that the scare tactics and the hype aren't quite an honest thing. That's just a creature of the American media and politics, eh? Media only reports on conflict and scare, not on consensus agreement and positive stuff. And politics, well, da only thing that seems to get our dear Congresscritters off their tushes seems to be hype and fear. Voters too, for that matter. 'tis a shame.


I was around and readin' back in da 60s and 70s, though, and I never got the impression that scientists of any stripe really had any fear of an ice age or cooling. Certainly 'twas far from the consensus on global warming. At the time, it was just fun new research on ice age cycles. But da media did their version of hype and dumb reportin' as usual, I suppose. Same as now.


I would like to see some real LNT corporate and national ethic. We should do better voluntarily, because we all do care about the environment. Problem is, I've seen responsible corporations that were good managers raided and bought out by leveraged takeovers, and turned into quick cash and environmentally irresponsible practice overnight. Hurt the environment. Hurt the workers and their families.


I'm with the group. No silly token measures. A real effort at carbon-neutral energy independence, Manhattan-project style. Big research, big deployment. No fear, no hype, just leadership.


Be a great gift to our kids. New industry. Sound infrastructure. Less foreign debt. No money going to villains who happen to have oil reserves under their sands. And maybe a few less storms floods, and droughts. Me, I'll take a calm, slow moving glacier over bigger hurricanes and tornadoes.




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I don't buy the global warming BS. It's politcal scare tactics.


For all of the gajillion years man has inhabited Earth, we have only been keeping weather records for about 150 years. At first, our thermometers weren't very accurate, now we use computers, so there is a difference in measuring instruments.


It's great to be good stewards of what we have, we'd be foolish to not "give a hoot, don't pollute". On the other hand, there is no way on God's earth man can have any influence (short of nuclear holocaust) on the sun, the source of our heat. High temperatures today, cool tomorrow. Temperatures are cyclical, kinda like a wave, high for a while a nd low for a while. Science is based on fact, NOT CONSENSUS.


Now, let's be good stewards, reduce trips, save money, improve fuel economy save money, recylce newspapers, cans, bottles, used motor oil, good. Change light bulbs for the sake of being "green" - nonsense! Reducing your "carbon footprint" by buying "carbon credits"? It's just Al gore's way of making people feel less guilty for driving to the store while he jets off in a private plane.


Think about this - Cheryl Crow ("environment expert") wants people to use ONE SHEET of TP per trip to the can. One sheet? she's nuts!!!!!


In the end, we must be good stewards, shaft mines are better than strip mines. BTW, have you seen the picture of some giant strip mine machine in Germany? it took 10 years to build and has 5 drivers, it ate a bull dozer. The thing is huge, I wonder why the liberal environmentists aren't screaming bloody murder over that.


Do you really know the difference between a developer and an environmentalist? The developer wants to put some houses in the woods, the environmentalist already has his house in the woods.


Now, let's be good stewards, reduce, reuse and reccle, it makes good sense.(This message has been edited by Gonzo1)

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I guess I have an unusual perspective since I teach this stuff. (Trevorum, I also get to dabble with evolution from time to time, great fun BTW!)


But reading this thread presents a reasonably good cross-section of views that I have encountered with the exception of a view that is equivalent to the belief that the sun and all other celestial objects revolve around the earth or that the universe is only a few thousand years old. That extreme equivalent would be that there is no such thing as global climate change. In case someone with that extreme view is out there somewhere, unless you are a young-earther, the global climate has always been in a process of change since the formation of the planet. What's the big problem?

Also, note that the catch-phrase, 'global warming' is erroneous in that it implies that the effect is actually 'warming' of the entire earth. 'Global climate change' more accurately expresses the problem although that catch-phrase also leaves much to be desired, namely the evidence and processes and observations. Here's one link for a reasonable summary:



SMDaveAZ also mentioned ozone depletion as if it was a fad. If he meant it was a fad with the popular press, I think he was correct. But with the ozone 'hole', more accurately 'depletion' problem, a real laboratory chemical reaction was hypothesized to occur in the atmosphere. Field tests and measurements confirmed that the reaction does indeed take place and the 'hole' that develops over the Antarctic and the depletion that occurs elsewhere is clearly a result of chlorofluorocarbon gases that we released...there has never been another source. Even with the decreased release of those gases, the effect will linger for decades because of the 'clearing time' necessary for the removal from the atmosphere. Another round of skin cancer for everyone!


There is no doubt about some objective evidence for CO2 increases and climate change. Loss of glaciers is one (thanks for noting that, Beavah). Another is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The amount of effect is more difficult but the major arguments revolve around the question of what is the cause? It is human or natural? It seems that even the Bush administration has recently learned to read although I doubt that they will ever agree with Kyoto. Not that it matters to me.


I heard one of the nay-sayer views articulated on a talk show today (Boortz, syndicated out of Atlanta). He got part of it right but then flubbed the process.

The biggest and most important 'greenhouse gas' is and always has been...water vapor. It just so happens that we have absolutely no direct control over it whatsoever. Other 'greenhouse gases' include such things as methane, oxides of nitrogen, ozone, etc. Whenever the troop serves up beans on the menu, I comment that it's going to be a little warmer. I don't think they ever get it though.


CO2 is the one we know we contribute to and although we are less certain about all its sources and their relative contributions, we are very certain about its increase. We also have good estimates of what the atmosphere contained going back several hundred thousand years (apologies to the young-earthers).

The second slide in this link shows the results of the Vostoc ice core from the Antarctic ice. It goes back about 400 thousand years:



CO2 concentrations were a lot less over that time than we have now. And what we have now is increasing to levels that we have never measured (this is where the 'hockey stick' graph of the last 1000 years of temperatures often comes into the discussion). Here's a link to a discussion of that plot and how it has been received by the esteemed body of our representatives. The plot itself is at the end of the darkly humorous article:


I just love this stuff.


But I also note that the only limit that we will likely place on carbon emissions will have more to do with the price of fuel, and less with our social conscience (which I personally doubt that anyone would care to rely on). Also, I like to note that we can be energy self-sufficient in a couple of days. All we have to do is stop burning so much fuel (yeah, I know the reality of THAT, too).


Nuclear power, I'm open to that IF the Price-Anderson limits on liablity are eliminated and IF a solution to the waste-storage/management problem can be found.

On the other hand, I'm an optimist. OK, I sunburn easily so I know it's the ozone thing that's going to get me. But in the meantime, we're going to be able to grow palm trees and extend the habitats for so many species by putting more moisture in the air and warming things a little. OK, maybe more tropical diseases will move into temperate zones. OK, maybe some of those species aren't exactly things we WANT to live with. OK, maybe some will go away that we DO want to live with, hey, extinction is a natural process.

OK, maybe Kansas and Oklahoma and Nebraska and other places need to get warm and fuzzy with a lot more tornados. Maybe we want to rethink rebuilding a city that is below sea level? Especially if, as we know quite well, sea level is rising?

But word to the wise...buy property at the right elevation, maybe bracketing the 20-150 foot band, and just wait. Someday your beachfront property will be worth millions. Yeah it'll take a few generations. But then, considering what we've already done with our national debt, we already know we don't really care about the next generations anyway. I sometimes wonder if Omar Khayyam didn't have it right after all?


Edited part: Hey Gonzo1, I think we were writing at the same time. Anyway, I think I can explain the TP factor. It depends a lot on what I like to call, 'pucker factor'. Sometimes, when I read some of the stuff I read, I can nearly bite a chunk out of my chair, if you get my drift. Only one sheet necessary under those conditions....;)

Or as I heard one person claim, nah...I'll get kicked out for repeating that.:)(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Okay...the one piece of toilet paper idea has reared its ugly head. I hesitate to post this, but I have been employing this method for years. Here's how you do it.


1. Get your one aquare of TP.

2. Fold it in half.

3. Fold it in half again.

4. In the corner of the fold (where the folds intersect), tear off a piece from the corner, no bigger than a fingernail. Keep that piece at the ready...you will use it later.

5. Open the square of TP, you should have a hole in the center.

6. Stick your finger through the hole (the longest finger works best).

7. Swipe thoroughly with your finger.

8. At this point, your finger may be a bit messy. As you remove the TP square, use it to clean the finger by gently wiping the finger from its base to its tip.

9. Taking that little corner piece, clean underneath your finger nail.


Sheryl Crow says a Scout is clean and thrify.

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It seems to me that in trying to get a good read on an issue like this, you should ask who is most likely to have an opinion worth listening to. It's probably not a politician or pundit of any stripe. It's probably a scientist who studies the climate. The inescapable fact is that the overwhelming majority of such climate scientists believe that climate change is a serious problem and that human activities are a major cause. There are a few scientists who disagree, as there generally are with any broad scientific consensus. Personally, I don't have any basis for thinking that I know better than the majority of people who study the climate for a living, as much as I'd prefer to believe the small minority. What can and should be done about it is a much more difficult decision, and there the politicians have to get involved, because it's going to cost a lot of money to make a signficant impact, and there are several ways of doing it that place the financial burden on different parts of the economy.

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>>The inescapable fact is that the overwhelming majority of such climate scientists believe that climate change is a serious problem and that human activities are a major cause. There are a few scientists who disagree, as there generally are with any broad scientific consensus.

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Packsaddle came on a backpacking trip with our trip this past weekend. Thanks, it was nice to meet you in person, you're taller than I imagined. Packsaddle was able to show the folks on a couple of occasions some interesting things about the forest. Too bad it was raining, he might have been able to show more, but the guys liked what you had to say.


I know his profession, a biology professor at a major university. I've had many science classes in my profession, chiropractic. As I recall from undergraduate studies, one law is "Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, it is only transformed." Same goes for energey, "Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but transformed." So in about 50 years when the Eastern Hemlock is gone from the eastern United States, it will be due to a bug, not temperature change. But, environmentalists will proclaim that the internal cumbustion engine is to blame. So we should have higher taxes now to offset any future damage, according to them (not Packsaddle), but them. Our lawn mowers do not cause higher temperatures, THE SUN DOES. It gets cold in winter, warm in summer.


It rains more one year, not as much another. Look at the weather guessers about last year's hurricane predictions ----- They were all wrong. They can't tell you what the weather will be 5 days from now and you believe they can tell you what it will be in 20 years??????


BTW, Packsaddle, thanks again for coming along.

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I would tell any scout to do research on the subject and let me know what he thinks. Perhaps have a troop meeting billed as the Great Debate, with both sides presented It doesnt matter much what we think, the question is can the youth think for themselves.


Oh, yeah, for a twist, tell the two presenters that you are not sure which side they will be arguing for until the coin flip starting the debate so they need to research both sides.

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It amazes me how many people believe all science is only strictly fact based. If it isn't proven 100% then it can't be accepted as true. My 20+ years in science tends to work a bit different. Most scientists develop a working hypothesis based on existing data. As long as it holds in prediction power it is accepted by consensus until future research develops that either strengthens the hypothesis, alters it, or disproves it. Even the laws of physics aren't really laws when you get down to the extreme quantum physics. Truth will continue to be whether we learn to recognize it or not.

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The "it's just a theory" or "we want facts not consensus" bit is da game that I personally don't have patience for. It seems to me like it's just playing with definitions in order to justify a previously held political prejudice.


Theories are explanations that fit all currently available facts. Scientific consensus on a theory means that the theory fits all currently available facts AND that the vast majority of people who have spent their lives studying this material agree that the theory has the best predictive power of any explanation currently available.


When my dad had cancer, there was a theory that radiation was likely to be effective for his particular type of cancer. The consensus of the team of oncologists that worked with him was that radiation was the proper treatment. Can you find some folks out there who don't buy the consensus, and would have recommended treating my dad's cancer with diet or crystals or meditation? Sure. We call those "quacks." But they would say "radiation treatment is just a theory", point to cases where it didn't work, talk about how "we want facts, not consensus" and then mention that "scientists 50 years ago would have suggested major surgery instead and they were wrong", all in an effort to convince us to buy into diet and crystals.


My dad did radiation, and lived happily and healthily for many years.


I think when we work with kids, we should keep our personal prejudices in check and refrain from quackery. No radical left environmentalism, but also no misrepresentation of good science as "just a theory" or "consensus not fact." Just ain't Trustworthy.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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