Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Heat?!?

   
I was only trying to provide a simplistic argument for why opposing anti-climate-change measures because you don't think it's happening is silly. I wasn't trying to provide an argument against researching the matter. <_<

I know perfectly well that we can't do anything about a problem if we don't study it.

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Originally Posted by Sam Crow View Post
This at least sounds wise, but I don't think anyone questions whether its getting hotter. The only debate is as to why and that, IMO, is a silly debate.
A lot of people do question it. Not many of the people who know what they're talking about do, but my argument wasn't aimed at them.

You can read about it http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL047265.shtml i first came across it several months ago when the company putting this plan into action was looking for electrical engineers with power experience. ultimately however they needed someone with more experience in synchornous generators. Essentially teh system is teh same as steam- heat causes a fluid medium to expand which drives teh engien, but they use CO2 as the fluid medium instead of water and use geothermal energy as the heat source instead of fuel. system ineffeciencies in geothermal energy tend to lend themselves to the fluid medium becoming trapped underground, so there is a net loss of CO2 in teh system which is removed from the environment.

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Originally Posted by Naleh View Post
I still haven't seen any convincing evidence for global warming.

Thing is, I also think that "Is global warming happening?" is the wrong question to ask.

The right question is, "Should we do something about it?" No matter how sure you are about your answer to the first question, you could be wrong, and you have to factor that possibility into your answer to the second question. So consider the matrix of possibilities:
It's not happeningIt's happening
We do somethingWasted money*Averted catastrophe (hopefully)
We do nothingNo problemsGlobal devastation


Yes, I know that oversimplifies things. The weighting on each column isn't necessarily the same, depending on whether you think it's happening or not. But you'll need incredibly strong evidence against global warming before you can ignore that bottom right cell, because its consequences are so grave. It outweighs the other cells entirely.

* Also we have to spend the money sooner or later anyway because fossil fuels are nonrenewable.
Quite interesting matrix, but you know there a few problematic assumptions here (including global warming if true equals doom). That what you presented seems a bit thinking in the box. Let's make a more complicated version:

Is contemporary climate optimal for us? Would we like hotter/colder?
(For example - hotter climate with higher CO2 dose means much higher yields and lower heating costs in winter time. For my country a bit hotter climate would presumably be beneficial)

Let's say that we reached a conclusion that we have a climate that is changing in unfavorable direction. What can be done about it:
- greenhouses gas emission reduction (or increase if we want to heat it up more)
- other forms of geoengineering (like increasing cloud cover by proper sulfur oxides emission), trees planting, fertilizing oceans, etc.
- adaptation

What is cost of future harm, what's the cost of prevention? What's your discount rate? Would investing in preventing climate change count as effective one or another sub prime?

What are alternative approaches? I mean let's say you reached a conclusion that because of the global warming in a century your coastal cities would be below sea level. Immediately there is a question what are alternative solutions. For example big part of Holland is below sea level. Would building similar dams be cheaper or more expensive than combating carbon dioxide emission? What about about an evacuation that would make the most boring disaster film in history - in the areas that are about to be lost you forbid any new constructions and slowly allow the existing ones to depreciate, while you channel the funds to build a new cities more inland?

Also another question is to what extend serious reduction is politically possible. The EU is proud of its reduction, but all numbers merely mean that dirty industries were moved to Asia and instead of emitting on our own we merely import from them. Also for two main economies of next decades - India and China the economic growth would be the priority so world wide agreement is unlikely. So thinking in line of maybe geoengineering and for sure adaptation seems wise.

terraforming isn't a single technology, and realistically it is more of a long term process. For example at our current stage of technology if we wanted to commit the resources to doing it we could dump greenhouse gasses into the martian atmosphere, warm up the planet, seed it with mosses and algae, and over a course of a few thousand years terraform the planet. Most people are simply of the opinion that it just isn't worth the investment.
In fact terraforming is environmental engineering on steroids, so saying we need to terraform the earth to solve global warming is like saying we need to use calculus to solve an algebraic equation.

Another issue- what if say Canada decides it wants a warmer environment while Australia and India prefer to cool it down? Eco-warfare?

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In fact terraforming is environmental engineering on steroids, so saying we need to terraform the earth to solve global warming is like saying we need to use calculus to solve an algebraic equation.
I think that being able to quickly cool the climate by stratospheric sulfate aerosols changes the situation. Having such emergency plan allows to do nothing extraordinary, mostly keep business as usual and patiently wait for the moment when renewable energy sources become more economical than nonrenewable. At that moment the problem would solve itself on its own with no additional expenditures.

In case when the climate change would prove to be an acute problem (don't think so, it seems more as inconvenience from global perspective, comparing to ex. fattening of population in rich countries) - buy time by aerosols and drastically cut down emissions and plant trees quickly.

One more thing - ending anti-nuclear superstitions would also help because if one wanted with contemporary technology reduce CO2 emissions nuclear is a few times cheaper than renewable.

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Another issue- what if say Canada decides it wants a warmer environment while Australia and India prefer to cool it down? Eco-warfare?
Politics as usual, depends who can impose more severe economic sanction to the other side.


EDIT: By occasion, why are we worried about global warming and not about ex. rogue asteroids? Why we don't have summits in which bureaucrats and politicians would debate for taxpayers money how to detect such objects and how to deflect their orbits? Why that subject is not politically interesting? (partially joking, partially wondered about this phenomena)

Because meteors hit the earth on a fairly regular schedule and we believe we can survive just about any hit. Also there is a NEAR (Near Earth Astroid Record0 to help keep track of this threat, it just doesn't make the news like climate change, in lage part because nobody is talking about changing how corporations do business as part of the solution.

Large-scale terraforming projects (like releasing aerosols sufficient to measurably cool the planet) is a terrible idea because it is woefully poorly understood. Releasing GTons of stuff in the atmosphere will invariably cause serious problems that we can't really anticipate (all of), and could very well end up worse than what we're hoping to prevent.

It is really a terrifying idea.

That said, it's is a last-ditch effort that is worth looking into, but no more than that. Planning to do nothing until it's too late to do anything else, and then betting that such a strategy will work perfectly with no significant side effects is insane.

It's as bad as, "I know we're running out of food, but I'm fairly certain that I can make food out of raw sewage, so we shouldn't bother planting anything."

The appropriate adage here is "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

-Kernal

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Because meteors hit the earth on a fairly regular schedule and we believe we can survive just about any hit. Also there is a NEAR (Near Earth Astroid Record0 to help keep track of this threat, it just doesn't make the news like climate change, in lage part because nobody is talking about changing how corporations do business as part of the solution.
Survive? You mean in general as specie or people living near place with direct hit of something of size of Tunguska blast? Concerning climate change - we already survived quite serious heating at the end of ice, right? (as homo sapiens I think that we already survived two cycles of glacial/interglacial periods) So I'm not exactly sure (except our involvement) makes recent heating so unique and not survivable.

Actually solution for rogue asteroid would presumably involve abolishing nuclear test ban in space, so that would work as a hot issue if anyone tried to debate that.

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Originally Posted by Kernal View Post
Large-scale terraforming projects (like releasing aerosols sufficient to measurably cool the planet) is a terrible idea because it is woefully poorly understood. Releasing GTons of stuff in the atmosphere will invariably cause serious problems that we can't really anticipate (all of), and could very well end up worse than what we're hoping to prevent.

It is really a terrifying idea.
Such thing was already happening naturally after bigger volcanic explosions.

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That said, it's is a last-ditch effort that is worth looking into, but no more than that. Planning to do nothing until it's too late to do anything else, and then betting that such a strategy will work perfectly with no significant side effects is insane.

It's as bad as, "I know we're running out of food, but I'm fairly certain that I can make food out of raw sewage, so we shouldn't bother planting anything."

The appropriate adage here is "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

-Kernal
Well, to be honest what you present seems for me more like: that mole on hand theoretically can be cancerous, so better amputate the whole hand.

Have you read quite influential book called "The limits to growth"?




 

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