Global Warming and UK, Europe Travelers

Jul 27th, 2007, 05:28 AM
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<On a less serious note, does anyone else remember back in the early 70's when leading scientists declared that we would run out of petroleum in 35 years>

a canard
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 05:34 AM
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I did not make that up.

Good lord, there are still people predicting that we will run out of oil by 2012.

ira is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 05:43 AM
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We will never run out of oil, because the price of it will rise as it becomes scarcer, and fields that were uneconomic will become worthwhile as the price of oil goes up. Most serious estimates suggest we're not far from peak production. Even if there is a likelihood of large amounts of extra oil being found, it seems stupid to assume that we have this option. It's a finite resource and anyone who thinks we should ignore that fact is being short-sighted, to put it mildly.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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Flyfish, the upwelling that's happening off the coast of Oregon is new and deadly. The ocean off the coast is a huge and spreading dead zone. There's another one in the Northeast, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

"Nutrients" aren't much use when there's no oxygen in the water; in fact, they contribute to die-offs. Look at the effect of fertilizer and septic runoff just about everywhere. Everyone knows what's happened in the Gulf of Mexico; but also Hood Canal in my state is dead, though the state seems to be slow to acknowledging this fact, since the law would then require them to force a thousand wealthy homeowners to do something about their failing septic tanks, which is politically impossible.

See also Tim Flannery's work on Australian salinization. What happens when the Margaret River can no longer support any crops? When the Great Barrier Reef dies (well underway)? Ditto the reef off of Mexico and Belize? What happens to the US economy when the Oglalla reservoir dries up? 20 million acres of our most productive farmland disappear, that's what.

All of these things are connected to each other.

These are new and deadly patterns. Ignore them if you want. It doesn't meant they're not happening. "Fundamentals of Ecology" was published in 1953. And, smueller, your "well, it's hardly unprecedented" defense whistles pretty blithely past that "90% species die-off", don't you think? If that happens again a lot more than a mere billion humans will die.
fnarf999 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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fnarf -

I've made my living for the last 40 years as an environmental scientist, the first half of that time as a marine/estuarine ecologist, and I'm afraid you really don't understand what you're talking about, which I know won't stop you from continuing to talk about it. Knock yourself out, but do try to read some of the basic literature in the field, even if it was written over 50 years ago. The basic concepts of science don't change quite as much as one might think.
FlyFish is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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So now a "90% species die-off" is being added to the Malthusian predictions. The hyperbole continues.

Even the worse-case scenarios for the impending warming episode are relatively mild compared to the extreme climate episodes in Earth history, and yet, in this thread, it is being alluded to as comparable to the end-of-Permian extinction - the greatest known life-extinguishing event in Earth history.

This type of doom-and-gloom rhetoric may serve ones political agenda, but it does little to promote a rational discussion of this issue.

I, too, am concerned about climate change, but my concern is constrained by fact and reason, not inflated by overzealous exaggeration.
smueller is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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I did not make that up.

Good lord, there are still people predicting that we will run out of oil by 2012.>

no i know you did not and i'm old enough to remember that theory as well. It's just a canard because in the 70s the science wasn't nearly as advanced as now - in climatology i think and i'm sure in nuclear engineering much has changed now too so that theories formulated may be a bit better than before.

and i haven't heard too many scientists who say we will run out of oil by 2012 - if it were true the stockmarket would tank tomorrow.

More nuclear is what we need - sincerely.

You obviously have a grasp of the real science more than i, getting my info from son, who i do put a lot of credibility in. But who knows? the only sure thing is that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

If oil is running out in 2012 then governments should now do like Iran and ration gas severely, or else the economic world as we know if will collapse in 2012 when the oil runs out.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Hi PQ,

We will not run out of oil in 2012, or any time in the predictable future.

Back in the 70's proven reserves were about half (30 year's supply) what they are today (about 40 years supply at current consumption rates), and those who predicted that we would run out of oil in 30 years didn't expect to see an increase in proven reserves.

There are more proven reserves because the price of oil has gone up.

ira is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 03:07 AM
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All of this discussion proves my point about scientists and other human beings—I don't see anyone saying "we don't know," even though that is just about the only correct statement that anyone can make.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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<I don't see anyone saying "we don't know," even though that is just about the only correct statement that anyone can make.>

Wow! you don't seen the overwheling of experts studying this field who largely say it is due to human activity wrong? Of course they would not say 'we don't know' when in fact all studies indicate they do know

What the Hell do you base your statement on? It's common knowledge amongst those who have studied the data they 'we don't know' is not the case at all - they do in fact know.

Never let the facts get in the way of foolish statements like this!
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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To Smueller and ira's remarks let me add the following:

First, the problem with trying to motivate people to do this or that by using ever more dire scenarios is that people don't always react in the way you'd expect. In other words, faced with admonishments to reduce consumption, people actually increase their rate of consumption. Their rationale is that they should "do it now, while we still can."

This reaction to a shortage explains why, for example, the Grand Banks got fished out of cod, notwithstanding that warnings were out for years about declining stocks. Or why people in disaster areas buy more batteries or water or whatever than the limits requested by authorities. (This has been noted as happening once again, in those flooded areas of the UK). And it is why people will decide to take those vacations abroad - while they still can.

In contrast, cautious hope for the future, coupled with prudent measures to have us all prepared when the inevitable happens, may keep people calm enough that they at least don't increase their present rate of consumption. This can only be to the good, no matter what position one holds on climate change.

Secondly: If there is genuine concern about people dying, then one should accept that people are just as dead if they die in an un-air conditioned apartment during a heat wave, say, as during a flood or a hurricane. They also may die just as effectively if they contract malaria or encephalitis or other insect-born disease, as by being poisoned by pesticides. In other words, people may well die not despite environmental measures being taken, but because environmental measures are taken.

No doubt many will claim the people dying in un-airconditioned apartments (as happened to many elderly in Paris during one recent hot summer) as 'acceptable losses' since AC is now viewed as the luxury of Satan, and besides, their sacrifice was necessary that others might live. But human emotion does not easily accomodate playing strictly by the numbers. We might theoretically sacrifice one person to save 100, but not if the person being sacrificed is our only child. In any case, should one start talking acceptable losses from the lack of AC or pesticides or whatever, ,be prepared for people to claim that deaths from hurricane and flood are acceptable losses, as well. I'm not making an argument that either scenario is acceptable, I only wish to point out that when it comes to making dire predictions about death statistics, that such arguments have arisen and will arise.
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