Global Warming

George W. Bush is utterly beholden to the robber barons who paid to elect him. These fatcats are largely interested in putting an end to all that pesky environmental protection that have served to give us water to drink and air to breath that doesn't make us sick and/or kill us. I mean, what are a few thousand deaths when there are billions of dollars to be made?

Postby Ferguson Foont » Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:00 pm

I live in Florida, which gets up to what, five feet above sea level? My mother lives on the actual Atlantic Ocean beachfront.

One of the first effects, and one that is already apparent, of global warming will be a rise in sea level. Worldwide sea level used to be very difficult to measure but isn't anymore, and studies by the old TOPEX-Poseidon satellite conclusively demonstrated that sea levels have risen since the late '80s.

The arctic ice cap can melt to its heart's content with very little effect on sea level, because it mostly sits atop the ocean already. As an ice cube melts, the level of liquid in the glass doesn't change.

But the antarctic ice cap and mountain glaciers are very different kettles of frozen fish. They sit atop a land masses, and their runoff adds directly to the volume of liquid water in the ocean

The oceans don't have to rise much to make Florida disappear. Some of you might find that to be a sort of rough justice, but actual people live here.
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:25 pm

I would imagine that would be the case with all coastal areas and islands. That's a lot of real people.

It's also a danger to water supplies. And we're running out of water, a problem we haven't even begun to discuss, and one that will be the number one problem we all face in the coming years. Enron and others have already started trying to take advantage of the problem. Everyone should read Cadillac Desert.
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 16, 2003 5:56 pm

Explorer, in the series of posts I just put under "We're running out of water," under the "Mirage of Big Technology," the author mentions the Tampa desalinization plant.

Desalination is useful chiefly as a source for industrial and municipal water in coastal areas, but the plants are usually too far from farmland to justify the ample pumping expense--and agriculture consumes 70 percent of all water used by humans. Of the 11,000 desalination plants that now exist, 60 percent are in the Middle East, where fuel is cheap and state budgets are relatively flush. The price of desalinated water has dropped in recent years, but it still typically costs $1 to $2 per cubic meter. Tantalizingly, a new desalination plant planned for Tampa, Florida, will sell water at 55 cents per cubic meter, but the Gulf water it treats is less saline than ocean water, and the plant enjoys financing and energy advantages that may make it unique. As it stands, desalination accounts for less than 1 percent of human water needs.


You're right about the cost of water. We've always taken it as a given, especially in this country (except for those of us who have lived on wells that sometimes run dry), but as more and more people are born and compete for it, and as conditions created both by nature and humans change, our most essential, precious natural resource will become more scarce, and as usual the less fortunate will have less access to water. My experience is that people on wells are a lot more careful about water use. You're lucky to have access to an aquifer. Let's hope it's not one of the ones that is being depleted.

Boy, this lawn-watering has got to go!

Meanwhile the cities subsidize lawn watering by permitting dual water meters so the irrigation water doesn't get charged sewage fees.


What does that mean exactly?
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 16, 2003 8:22 pm

Thanks for the explanation, and hey, you're an activist!
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Postby harper pine » Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:27 am

French heatwave death toll put at 13,600

Estimates for the final death toll from France's record-breaking heatwave continued to soar yesterday, with the country's largest undertakers estimating that 13,600 more people may have died this month than usual.

The prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, ordered an official inquiry to establish precisely how many people died in the exceptional temperatures during the first half of August. The health ministry's assessment has put the number of possible casualties at between 3,000 and 5,000.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858, ... 36,00.html
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Postby harper pine » Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:41 am

Grieve.

American pika doomed as 'first mammal victim of climate change'

Paul Brown, environment correspondent
Thursday August 21, 2003
The Guardian

Scientists believe the American pika, a mountain-dwelling relative of the rabbit, is heading for extinction and will be one of the first mammals to fall victim to climate change.

Ochotona princeps, a stocky tail-less animal about the size of a hamster, lives between the tree-line and mountain peaks.

As the climate heats up it is having to go to higher altitudes to find suitable habitats.

In the winter it lives under the snow in tunnels, feeding off piles of hay it has stored inside.

A study reported in the US Journal of Mammalogy found that in pika populations at 25 places nearly 30% of the animals had gone. The locations are so remote that there seemed to be no other factor than climate change.

The study between 1994 and 1999 surveyed the sites in the Great Basin, east of Sierra Nevada and west of the Rocky Mountains, where pikas had been recorded.

Although the habitat had apparently changed little in that time, pikas had vanished from seven of the 25 places during the past 86 years: a period shown by the data to have experienced climate change.

Research shows that American pikas are particularly vulnerable to global warming because they live in areas with a cool, fairly moist climate.

They are active above ground in the early morning and retreat to their nests in rock crevices shortly after sunset.

"Losses of pikas are disturbing because pikas are often locally abundant and scientists had assumed that alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems were relatively undisturbed because of their isolation," said Erik Beever of the US geological survey's forest and rangeland ecosystem science centre, the lead author of the report.

"The responses of pika populations are a signal of the impacts of climate change in alpine and sub-alpine systems."

Many northern hemisphere mountain animals are expected to migrate north or seek higher ground to find suitable habitats as the climate alters. But the American pika appears not as well-equipped as other species to handle this environmental shift.

"American pikas are like the canary in the coal mine," said Caterina Cardoso, head of WWF-UK's climate change programme.

"Their disappearance is a red flag that our heavy reliance on dirty fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, is causing irreparable damage to our environment. We must switch to clean, renewable energy resources before it's too late for us and the pika."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange ... 12,00.html
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Postby harper pine » Sun Aug 31, 2003 10:15 pm

From

'A foretaste of what will happen as global warming takes hold'
Hot Summer Sparks Global Food Crisis


by Geoffrey Lean
The lndependent/UK, Sunday, August 31, 2003

This summer's heatwave has drastically cut harvests across Europe, plunging the world into an unprecedented food crisis, startling new official figures show.

Separate calculations by two leading institutions monitoring the global harvest show that the scorching weather has severely reduced European grain production, ensuring that the world will not produce enough to feed itself for the fourth year in succession, and plunging stocks to the lowest level on record. And experts predict that the damage to crops will be found to be even greater when the full cost of the heat is known.

They say that, as a result, food prices will rise worldwide, and hunger will increase in the world's poorest countries. And they warn that this is just a foretaste of what will happen as global warming takes hold.


It has come at a time when world food supplies were already at their most precarious ever. The world has eaten more grain than it has produced every year so far this century, driving stocks well below the safety margin to their lowest levels in the 40 years that records have been kept. The amount of grain produced for each person on earth is now less than at any time in more than three decades.


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0831-01.htm

This comes at the same time the Bush administration has declared that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and has decided to spend ten more years trying to decide whether global warming is affected by man.
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Postby Ferguson Foont » Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:16 am

You have to try to understand the Bush administration's take on science and the scientific method. It isn't like what you learned in science classes in school.

The Bush administration starts out with a set of positions. When events occur that make those positions seem to be harmful, they seek out any opinion that ascribes the cause of these harmful effects to something else, something irrelevant to the set of positions the Bush administration wishes to take.

In the case of global warming, their position is that human industry is not a contributor to it. They first try then to deny that global warming is actually a real phenomenon, and instead try to explain away the data as misinterpretations ("Global warming is a myth."), or as anomalies of the methods used in measurement ("The measurements are being taken in increasingly urbanized areas, which are hotter because more of these area is paved with asphalt."), or as the result of cyclical natural phenomena (The earth has had warmer and cooler periods throughout its history."), or having been caused by circumstances beyond the control of humankind ("The output of the sun is increasing.").

All of these alternative explanations contain some grain of truth except the first, which can only be supported by denying the data entirely. As has been happening throughout human history, urbanization increases, and cities are hotter than countryside. The earth has had periodic swings in temperature with natural causes. And the sun's output is and will continue to increase for at least four billion years. They use the small truths in these alternative explanations of theirs to deceive the ignorant on whom their political support depends, because only a very small percentage of the American voting (or poll-responding) public understand the irrelevance of the points they're pushing.

But all of this denies the actual science, wherein the rise in the overall temperature of the earth is proven by global sea level measurements, that atmospheric greenhouse gases contribute to this temperature rise, and that atmospheric greenhouse gases have been proven to have a significant man-made component.

Scientists who are not paid to have a predetermined opinion on these matters see through these Bush League deceits, but account for only a couple percentage points at most in an election.

No real, objective scientist would deny that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that human industry contributes to increasing its presence in our atmosphere. But it disagrees with Bush's intended policy, so it will be denied and the denial will be sold like a bar of soap to the people.

Ignorance is a real problem in this country. Bush could not so easily deceive a well-educated public on these matters.
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Postby harper pine » Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:30 am

I've often felt that the decline in our schools has coincided with politicians' not wanting people to be able to think past next Sunday's football game.
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Postby harper pine » Mon Sep 01, 2003 1:07 am

How is the EPA going to reconcile their declaration that carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant with these findings? This is an interesting study because it refutes some of the more popular claims that the earth has been this hot at other times in recorded history.


Not just warmer: it's the hottest for 2,000 years
Widest study yet backs fears over carbon dioxide



The earth is warmer now than it has been at any time in the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive study of climatic history has revealed.

Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to sceptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity.

Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

The study reinforces recent conclusions published by the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC). Scientists on the panel looked at temperature data from up to 1,000 years ago and found that the late 20th century was the warmest period on record.

But the IPCC's report was dismissed by some quarters in the scientific community who claimed that while the planet is undoubtedly warming, it was warmer still more than a thousand years ago. So warm, in fact, that it had spurred the Vikings to set up base in Greenland and led to northern Britain being filled with productive vineyards.

To discover whether there was any truth in the claims, Prof Jones teamed up with Prof Michael Mann, a climate expert at the University of Virginia, and set about reconstructing the world's climate over the past 2,000 years.

Direct measurements of the earth's temperature do not exist from such a long time ago, so the scientists had to rely on other indicators of how warm - or not - the planet was throughout the past two millennia.

To find the answer, the scientists looked at tree trunks, which keep a record of the local climate: the rings spreading out from the centre grow to different thicknesses according to the climate a tree grows in. The scientists looked at sections taken from trees that had lived for hundreds and even thousands of years from different regions and used them to piece together a picture of the planet's climatic history.

The scientists also studied cores of ice drilled from the icy stretches of Greenland and Antarctica. As the ice forms, sometimes over hundreds of thousands of years, it traps air, which holds vital clues to the local climate at the time.

"Drill down far enough and you could use the ice to look at the climate hundreds of thousands of years ago, but we just used the first thousand metres," said Prof Jones.

The scientists found that while there was not enough good data to work out what the climate had been like in the southern hemisphere over that period, they could get a good idea of how warm the northern hemisphere had been.

"What we found was that at no point during those two millennia had it been any warmer than it is now. From 1980 onwards is clearly the warmest period of the last 2,000 years," said Prof Jones.

Some regions may well have been fairly warm, especially during the medieval period, but on average, the planet was a cooler place, the study found.


"The importance of the finding is that it shows there's something going on in the climate system that's certainly unusual in the context of the last 2,000 years, and it's likely that greenhouse gases are playing the major role," said Prof Chris Folland of the Met Office's Hadley Centre. "If you look at the natural ups and downs in temperature, you'll find nothing remotely like what we're seeing now."


Not everyone agrees that climate change is largely driven by human activity. Some believe the warming the planet is experiencing now is part of a natural cycle. Historical anecdotes are sometimes used to support their case, but the new study debunks these claims.

· There were vineyards in the north of Britain

There were indeed vineyards in Britain in the 10th and 11th centuries, but only 50 to 60. There are now more than 350 in this country, with some as far north as Leeds.

· The Vikings went to Greenland

In AD980, Erik the Red and his crew headed from Iceland to Greenland, but it wasn't for the good weather. Erik had been kicked out of Iceland for murder so he took his crew westward where, they were told, they would find land.

· The Thames used to freeze over more often

The river's tendency to freeze over frequently in the 16th and 17th centuries is often cited as evidence that the climate used to be more erratic. But, according to the new study, the major cause was the original London Bridge, completed in the 13th century, which had very small spans between its supports for the Thames to run through. The result was that the river was tidal only as far as the bridge, causing the water to freeze over. When the bridge was rebuilt to a different design in the 1820s, the water flowed more easily and therefore became less prone to ice.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858, ... 70,00.html
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Postby Ferguson Foont » Mon Sep 01, 2003 1:17 am

They don't "reconcile" their policies with scientific facts or data. They "sell" those policies to a public that has been deceived into mistrusting science.
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Postby Kali » Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:49 am

Another tactic that Republicans take when faced with the hard facts about global warming is to COMPLETELY ignore it all and say things like, "Enviornmentalists and <i>liberal</i> Democrats want to take away your backyard barbecue pits!"

Backyard barbecues are under attack, so rally the troops! Yeee-HAAAA!!!

Pick, out of the blue, something which has some significance and value attached to it, that can become a focus of attention, and a pointless rallying point for the ignorant, thus removing the focus from the ACTUAL issue.
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Postby Kali » Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:04 pm

By the way, for those who didn't know, the attack, by liberals, on "your backyard barbecue pit" is one of Limbaugh's favorite themes.
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Only nuclear power can now halt global warming

Postby D.C. » Sun May 23, 2004 9:12 pm

<a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=524313">'Only nuclear power can now halt global warming'</a><br>Leading environmentalist urges radical rethink on climate change<br>By Michael McCarthy Environment Editor

<blockquote>Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

His call will cause huge disquiet for the environmental movement. It has long considered the 84-year-old radical thinker among its greatest heroes, and sees climate change as the most important issue facing the world, but it has always regarded opposition to nuclear power as an article of faith. Last night the leaders of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth rejected his call.

He believes only a massive expansion of nuclear power, which produces almost no CO2, can now check a runaway warming which would raise sea levels disastrously around the world, cause climatic turbulence and make agriculture unviable over large areas. He says fears about the safety of nuclear energy are irrational and exaggerated, and urges the Green movement to drop its opposition.</blockquote>
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Postby Kali » Mon May 24, 2004 10:43 pm

And that's just what Ferg has been saying for years and years.

I read that the Bushies don't want folks to see "The Day After Tomorrow."
(The movie, that is).
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