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Old 2019-01-17, 07:41   #1
The Carnivore
 
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Jun 2010

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Default Former global warming believers: what made you change your mind?

As a child, I was told/taught that humans caused global warming and that the only way to prevent it was to stop using fossil fuels. As I grew older, I began to challenge that narrative.

It all began when I was nearing voting age and began paying more attention to politics. The Democrats' and Republicans' positions on immigration, gun control, healthcare, abortion, taxes, and foreign policy were almost always at odds with each other. However, they all involved differing values, opinions, and morals. There is arguably no right or wrong position on any of those issues.

Global warming, though, should have been straightforward. Do humans cause global warming or not? This should be a basic fact that is agreed upon by both parties, not a moral issue that is open to interpretation and differing opinions. After all, people and political parties don't disagree that McDonald's exists, even though they may disagree on whether McDonald's food is good or on how much McDonald's workers should be paid.

The more I dug into it, the more complex the issue became. It soon became clear that the "humans cause global warming" belief that I grew up with did not represent the true story. There is significant uncertainty on the following:

Claim #1: The world is warming
Is it really warming? The urban heat island effect is well known to have nudged temperatures upward in recent times, but what is not often mentioned is the inaccuracy of old thermometers. How accurate were measurements taken in the early 1900s? A temperature reading of 58C in Libya in September 1922 used to be the world's hottest recorded temperature, but that was disqualified a few years ago. A 56.7 degree reading from Death Valley on July 1913 then became the world's hottest temperature, but that was disqualified as well.

Glaciers are melting
Yes, some are melting. Others, such as those on Mt. Shasta, CA, are growing. Some others have had no significant change one way or another. In any case, melting glaciers don't mean anything in regards to warming. During Washington DC's "Snowmaggedon" and "Snowpocalypse", some people were saying that more intense snowstorms were caused by warmer weather since the warmer weather would result in more evaporation and more precipitation. If that were the case, wouldn't glaciers be growing since more snow would be falling on them?

Claim #2: Humans emit CO2, which warms the climate.
CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases, and water vapor is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. But more importantly, the effect of CO2 on the climate is not linear, and each additional molecule of CO2 contributes less to the greenhouse effect than the molecule before it. Raising the CO2 concentration from the current ~410 ppm to 550 ppm will have much less of an effect than raising it from the pre-industrial ~270 ppm to the current ~410 ppm, even though both involve an increase of 140 ppm. If CO2 does indeed cause almost all of the supposed warming we see, we have already experienced the most dramatic changes.

In Earth's history, an increase in CO2 has come after an increase in temperature, not the other way around.

Scale:
As a sanity check, consider this: there are 1.33 billion cubic kilometers of water in the world's oceans. Since the world's population is less than 8 billion, this would mean that the carbon emitted by a random family of 6 would be enough to raise the temperature of an entire cubic kilometer of water by a degree. This would require more energy than that contained in most nuclear bombs! And there would be a tremendous amount of power needed to keep that water warm after it has been heated.

Global Warming Effects
Hurricanes are causing more property damage because of global warming
Inflation aside, hurricanes are causing more property damage because the population is increasing. There are more homes and property everywhere, including places that may be hit by hurricanes.

Part B: Hurricanes are more numerous and intense, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures that were caused by global warming
Fact: From 1851-2004, there has been no noticeable increase in either hurricane strikes or hurricane intensity:
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

Global warming caused more wildfire damages, such as those in California and other western states
California's wildfire damages had nothing to do with warming. They were caused by people building in fire-prone areas, over-suppression of smaller fires that would have reduced the amount of flammable vegetation, a lack of roads and escape routes out of towns like Paradise, and possibly the utility companies' improper construction and/or insufficient maintenance of their power lines. There's no way to "win" on the weather issue. If it doesn't rain, people will say that the fire danger is high since everything has dried out. If it does rain, people will say that the fire danger is high since there's plenty of fuel from all of the vegetation growth.

Feedbacks
Much is said about the ice-albedo effect, where melting ice means that the sun will hit water instead of sea ice. The water is darker and will absorb more heat than the ice, which melts more ice, and so on. But what is rarely mentioned is the magnitude of that feedback and the negative feedbacks that counteract that. Warmer temperatures mean that water evaporates more quickly, which generates more clouds that block out the sun. The polar ice-albedo feedback is insignificant for almost the entire year since the sun is either below the horizon or is at such a low angle that it barely peeks over the horizon at the North Pole.

Global Warming Motives
It is often said that the fossil fuel industry has more to lose by denying global warming than the scientists who need alarmist predictions in order to have a greater chance at obtaining grant money and advancing their careers. However, accepting global warming doesn't mean that the fossil fuel companies would go out of business. Can't they get into the renewable energy business as well? Besides, the world still needs fossil fuels for steel, plastics, asphalt, petrochemicals, and a wide variety of non-energy uses.

It is also disturbing at how many global warming believers have ulterior motives. Go browse any peak oil forum or even a mainstream environmental site, and you'll see comments of people looking forward to having others being forced to become vegan and to not use fossil fuels. Why? It's not because of global warming, it's because they don't like capitalism, the consumer culture, the car culture, population growth, and/or factory farming.

On a related note, the Audubon Society opposes drilling on Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, they did allow drilling on their own refuge, the Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary, which seems pretty hypocritical.

Global Warming Solutions
Suppose that all of this were wrong and that global warming was a serious issue. If that's the case, why isn't anyone talking about building seawalls or relocating cities due to rising sea levels? There hasn't been any discussion of evacuating Boston, New York, Amsterdam, or any one of the dozens of major coastal cities. And if sea level rise caused by global warming will make coastal areas underwater and/or uninhabitable, why is beachfront property becoming more and more expensive?

Renewable energy and electric cars
If the solution to global warming is to transition to renewables, why do so many environmentalists and/or global warming believers oppose wind farms? The most infamous example is probably Cape Wind, which was ultimately abandoned after being opposed by Ed Kennedy and other environmentalists. As for electric cars, Chevron and the oil industry is often blamed by global warming believers since they bought up GM's EV1 electric car battery patent. However, the patent has expired, and the cost to build an EV1 is much cheaper than the cost to build a Tesla. So why aren't they being built?

Keeping warming below 1.5C
For argument's sake, let's suppose that the "consensus" IPCC global warming view is correct. In that case, it would already be too late to keep warming below 1.5C, so there is no point in discussing that goal at climate conferences. According to their data, the first few months of 2016 were already 1.3 C above pre-industrial averages, and stopping all fossil fuel burning today would reduce the aerosol-cooling effect and bring the temperature up about half a degree or so. Add in the thermal lag from the oceans, and you're now at +2 degrees C of warming even if we stopped burning fossil fuels now. We should currently be experiencing dire effects, but billions of people have not noticed anything and are still going about their lives as usual. Perhaps global warming isn't really a big deal after all.

So, my fellow skeptics, what changed your mind? Speak up!
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Old 2019-01-17, 11:23   #2
bgbeuning
 
Dec 2014

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The vast majority of scientific papers support that man is causing global warming.
These papers go through a rigorous peer review process to catch mistakes.

I trust scientists to deal in facts and not opinions.

Brian
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Old 2019-01-17, 11:28   #3
SELROC
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Carnivore View Post
As a child, I was told/taught that humans caused global warming and that the only way to prevent it was to stop using fossil fuels. As I grew older, I began to challenge that narrative.

It all began when I was nearing voting age and began paying more attention to politics. The Democrats' and Republicans' positions on immigration, gun control, healthcare, abortion, taxes, and foreign policy were almost always at odds with each other. However, they all involved differing values, opinions, and morals. There is arguably no right or wrong position on any of those issues.

Global warming, though, should have been straightforward. Do humans cause global warming or not? This should be a basic fact that is agreed upon by both parties, not a moral issue that is open to interpretation and differing opinions. After all, people and political parties don't disagree that McDonald's exists, even though they may disagree on whether McDonald's food is good or on how much McDonald's workers should be paid.

The more I dug into it, the more complex the issue became. It soon became clear that the "humans cause global warming" belief that I grew up with did not represent the true story. There is significant uncertainty on the following:

Claim #1: The world is warming
Is it really warming? The urban heat island effect is well known to have nudged temperatures upward in recent times, but what is not often mentioned is the inaccuracy of old thermometers. How accurate were measurements taken in the early 1900s? A temperature reading of 58C in Libya in September 1922 used to be the world's hottest recorded temperature, but that was disqualified a few years ago. A 56.7 degree reading from Death Valley on July 1913 then became the world's hottest temperature, but that was disqualified as well.

Glaciers are melting
Yes, some are melting. Others, such as those on Mt. Shasta, CA, are growing. Some others have had no significant change one way or another. In any case, melting glaciers don't mean anything in regards to warming. During Washington DC's "Snowmaggedon" and "Snowpocalypse", some people were saying that more intense snowstorms were caused by warmer weather since the warmer weather would result in more evaporation and more precipitation. If that were the case, wouldn't glaciers be growing since more snow would be falling on them?

Claim #2: Humans emit CO2, which warms the climate.
CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases, and water vapor is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. But more importantly, the effect of CO2 on the climate is not linear, and each additional molecule of CO2 contributes less to the greenhouse effect than the molecule before it. Raising the CO2 concentration from the current ~410 ppm to 550 ppm will have much less of an effect than raising it from the pre-industrial ~270 ppm to the current ~410 ppm, even though both involve an increase of 140 ppm. If CO2 does indeed cause almost all of the supposed warming we see, we have already experienced the most dramatic changes.

In Earth's history, an increase in CO2 has come after an increase in temperature, not the other way around.

Scale:
As a sanity check, consider this: there are 1.33 billion cubic kilometers of water in the world's oceans. Since the world's population is less than 8 billion, this would mean that the carbon emitted by a random family of 6 would be enough to raise the temperature of an entire cubic kilometer of water by a degree. This would require more energy than that contained in most nuclear bombs! And there would be a tremendous amount of power needed to keep that water warm after it has been heated.

Global Warming Effects
Hurricanes are causing more property damage because of global warming
Inflation aside, hurricanes are causing more property damage because the population is increasing. There are more homes and property everywhere, including places that may be hit by hurricanes.

Part B: Hurricanes are more numerous and intense, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures that were caused by global warming
Fact: From 1851-2004, there has been no noticeable increase in either hurricane strikes or hurricane intensity:
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

Global warming caused more wildfire damages, such as those in California and other western states
California's wildfire damages had nothing to do with warming. They were caused by people building in fire-prone areas, over-suppression of smaller fires that would have reduced the amount of flammable vegetation, a lack of roads and escape routes out of towns like Paradise, and possibly the utility companies' improper construction and/or insufficient maintenance of their power lines. There's no way to "win" on the weather issue. If it doesn't rain, people will say that the fire danger is high since everything has dried out. If it does rain, people will say that the fire danger is high since there's plenty of fuel from all of the vegetation growth.

Feedbacks
Much is said about the ice-albedo effect, where melting ice means that the sun will hit water instead of sea ice. The water is darker and will absorb more heat than the ice, which melts more ice, and so on. But what is rarely mentioned is the magnitude of that feedback and the negative feedbacks that counteract that. Warmer temperatures mean that water evaporates more quickly, which generates more clouds that block out the sun. The polar ice-albedo feedback is insignificant for almost the entire year since the sun is either below the horizon or is at such a low angle that it barely peeks over the horizon at the North Pole.

Global Warming Motives
It is often said that the fossil fuel industry has more to lose by denying global warming than the scientists who need alarmist predictions in order to have a greater chance at obtaining grant money and advancing their careers. However, accepting global warming doesn't mean that the fossil fuel companies would go out of business. Can't they get into the renewable energy business as well? Besides, the world still needs fossil fuels for steel, plastics, asphalt, petrochemicals, and a wide variety of non-energy uses.

It is also disturbing at how many global warming believers have ulterior motives. Go browse any peak oil forum or even a mainstream environmental site, and you'll see comments of people looking forward to having others being forced to become vegan and to not use fossil fuels. Why? It's not because of global warming, it's because they don't like capitalism, the consumer culture, the car culture, population growth, and/or factory farming.

On a related note, the Audubon Society opposes drilling on Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, they did allow drilling on their own refuge, the Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary, which seems pretty hypocritical.

Global Warming Solutions
Suppose that all of this were wrong and that global warming was a serious issue. If that's the case, why isn't anyone talking about building seawalls or relocating cities due to rising sea levels? There hasn't been any discussion of evacuating Boston, New York, Amsterdam, or any one of the dozens of major coastal cities. And if sea level rise caused by global warming will make coastal areas underwater and/or uninhabitable, why is beachfront property becoming more and more expensive?

Renewable energy and electric cars
If the solution to global warming is to transition to renewables, why do so many environmentalists and/or global warming believers oppose wind farms? The most infamous example is probably Cape Wind, which was ultimately abandoned after being opposed by Ed Kennedy and other environmentalists. As for electric cars, Chevron and the oil industry is often blamed by global warming believers since they bought up GM's EV1 electric car battery patent. However, the patent has expired, and the cost to build an EV1 is much cheaper than the cost to build a Tesla. So why aren't they being built?

Keeping warming below 1.5C
For argument's sake, let's suppose that the "consensus" IPCC global warming view is correct. In that case, it would already be too late to keep warming below 1.5C, so there is no point in discussing that goal at climate conferences. According to their data, the first few months of 2016 were already 1.3 C above pre-industrial averages, and stopping all fossil fuel burning today would reduce the aerosol-cooling effect and bring the temperature up about half a degree or so. Add in the thermal lag from the oceans, and you're now at +2 degrees C of warming even if we stopped burning fossil fuels now. We should currently be experiencing dire effects, but billions of people have not noticed anything and are still going about their lives as usual. Perhaps global warming isn't really a big deal after all.

So, my fellow skeptics, what changed your mind? Speak up!



The reason for which we don't see yet the full effect of global warming is that Oceans have absorbed the majority of excess temperature.


So no skeptics here.
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Old 2019-01-17, 12:29   #4
pinhodecarlos
 
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I’m still awaiting for the global warning since I’m tired of this chilled weather here in London. I prefer between 20-25 degC, not below freezing point.

Also my wife do fart a lot so I’m expecting a raise of temperature due to raise of greenhouse effect.
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Old 2019-01-17, 13:51   #5
Dr Sardonicus
 
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In the first place, just after you got done saying
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Carnivore View Post
The urban heat island effect is well known to have nudged temperatures upward in recent times, but what is not often mentioned is the inaccuracy of old thermometers. How accurate were measurements taken in the early 1900s? A temperature reading of 58C in Libya in September 1922 used to be the world's hottest recorded temperature, but that was disqualified a few years ago. A 56.7 degree reading from Death Valley on July 1913 then became the world's hottest temperature, but that was disqualified as well.
that temperature measurements, even in recent history, are unreliable, you rely on statements of temperature (and CO2 concentrations also) from times before our species even existed:
Quote:
In Earth's history, an increase in CO2 has come after an increase in temperature, not the other way around.
Your yardstick of reliability is logically inconsistent.

Second, your "sanity check" is based on a false premise; namely, that the temperature of the entire volume of water in Earth's oceans is being raised by the same amount. I haven't seen this being claimed by anyone. I believe this is what is called a "straw man."

Also, just after you get done explaining to us
Quote:
CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases, and water vapor is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect.
You say that more water vapor in the atmosphere will cool things off:
Quote:
Much is said about the ice-albedo effect, where melting ice means that the sun will hit water instead of sea ice. The water is darker and will absorb more heat than the ice, which melts more ice, and so on. But what is rarely mentioned is the magnitude of that feedback and the negative feedbacks that counteract that. Warmer temperatures mean that water evaporates more quickly, which generates more clouds that block out the sun.
Again, your arguments are logically inconsistent.

I'm afraid that, if I continue with this analysis, I'll get whiplash...
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Old 2019-01-17, 15:56   #6
GP2
 
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2.45 billion years ago, the inhabitants of the Earth became obsessed with solar energy. To harness it, they released toxic gas into the atmosphere.

This greatly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases like methane in the atmosphere, leading to catastrophic global cooling lasting for hundreds of millions of years.

The oceans became saturated with this toxic "oxygen" gas, leading to mass extinction of nearly all extant lifeforms.

Today's eukaryotes are taking small steps to reverse these evil deeds. But much more needs to be done.
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Old 2019-01-17, 17:13   #7
Mysticial
 
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Long ago, I used to have doubts about global warming. I mean like, the planet is huge. How can we humans possibly have an effect? And it wasn't conclusive to me that one directional long term trends were caused by civilization as opposed to a normal geological or astronomical cycle. (correlation doesn't imply causation)

But what convinced me it was plausible was the movie Inconvenient Truth.

I don't remember the details of it, but there was a section where Al Gore mentioned that something weather-related had entered a clear and measurable 7-day cycle. The only thing with a 7-day cycle is the 7-day week calendar - which is man made. I don't remember what it was, but it might have been acid rain or something.

From that point on, it was much easier to believe a lot of the global warming claims. Stuff like warmer water causes stronger tropical storms - while out of my area of expertise, they can be simulated. Being a scientist myself, I trust other scientists to know what they are doing and to do the right thing - provided they aren't compromised for reasons such as politics or money.

Last fiddled with by Mysticial on 2019-01-17 at 17:17
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Old 2019-01-17, 17:30   #8
kladner
 
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Quote:
Former global warming believers: what made you change your mind?
My mind changed when I started getting all my news from Alex Jones, Rush Limpblob, and the Cheeto in Chief.
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Old 2019-01-17, 17:33   #9
wombatman
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Kinda impressive to read such a wholesale denial of climate change given the overwhelming scientific literature providing an array of evidence in favor of it both occurring and being driven beyond natural scales by our contributions.

Also, you sure as shit need to provide actual citations for claims such as this: "CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases, and water vapor is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. But more importantly, the effect of CO2 on the climate is not linear, and each additional molecule of CO2 contributes less to the greenhouse effect than the molecule before it. Raising the CO2 concentration from the current ~410 ppm to 550 ppm will have much less of an effect than raising it from the pre-industrial ~270 ppm to the current ~410 ppm, even though both involve an increase of 140 ppm. If CO2 does indeed cause almost all of the supposed warming we see, we have already experienced the most dramatic changes."

Start reading here: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/im...limate-change/

It includes a lengthy discussion about common claims against climate change and links to actual peer-reviewed work that refutes those claims and discusses other less-commonly known mechanisms of feedback loops affected by man-made factors.


Edit: And this right here "It is often said that the fossil fuel industry has more to lose by denying global warming than the scientists who need alarmist predictions in order to have a greater chance at obtaining grant money and advancing their careers. However, accepting global warming doesn't mean that the fossil fuel companies would go out of business. Can't they get into the renewable energy business as well? Besides, the world still needs fossil fuels for steel, plastics, asphalt, petrochemicals, and a wide variety of non-energy uses.

It is also disturbing at how many global warming believers have ulterior motives. Go browse any peak oil forum or even a mainstream environmental site, and you'll see comments of people looking forward to having others being forced to become vegan and to not use fossil fuels. Why? It's not because of global warming, it's because they don't like capitalism, the consumer culture, the car culture, population growth, and/or factory farming."

That's just asinine. As a researcher (not of climate change but in solar energy) who has to seek grant funding, let me tell you a couple of things you are clearly not remotely aware of. A great way to guarantee you won't get funding grants is to make grandiose claims in your proposals without any evidence to back them up. A second one to not get funded is to submit a proposal that is basically "I'm gonna show what that guy did". Alarmist predictions do not advance your career or get you funding. Conducting research that can be reproduced by someone else in another lab to confirm you're right? That's what moves you forward.

It's also odd to me that you assign ulterior motives to people pushing for action on climate change (stop calling it global warming--that alone belies your ignorance) while somehow having trouble imaging why fossil fuel companies might want to deny climate change. Fun fact--Exxon's scientists generated a report confirming that climate change was real, happening, and driven by us 40+ years ago: https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...-40-years-ago/

But for some strange reason, they sat on that report. I can't imagine why---OH WAIT: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=4233697&page=1

Last fiddled with by wombatman on 2019-01-17 at 17:47
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Old 2019-01-17, 17:37   #10
kladner
 
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Let's not forget the vast amounts of methane release by extraction and transport. Also, don't forget that the above-mentioned orange critter is determined to abolish business-killing regulation of such trivia.
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Old 2019-01-17, 17:37   #11
henryzz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinhodecarlos View Post
Also my wife do fart a lot so I’m expecting a raise of temperature due to raise of greenhouse effect.
I am sure she would love the fact that you said that.
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