Skip to comments.Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change
Posted on 01/29/2006 2:30:09 AM PST by neverdem
Some Experts on Global Warming Foresee 'Tipping Point' When It Is Too Late to Act
Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.
This "tipping point" scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.
There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent, although the time frames are a matter of dispute: widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world's fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe.
The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute practically a different planet."
"It's not something you can adapt to," Hansen said in an interview. "We can't let it go on another 10 years like this. We've..."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
"The most striking feature of the Sun's magnetic field is its cyclic behaviour. The number of sunspots, which are dark regions of strong magnetic field on the Sun's surface, varies with a period of about 11 years. Superposed on this cycle are secular changes that occur on timescales of centuries and events like the Maunder minimum in the second half of the seventeenth century, when there were very few sunspots. A part of the Sun's magnetic field reaches out from the surface into interplanetary space, and it was recently discovered that the average strength of this interplanetary field has doubled in the past 100 years. There has hitherto been no clear explanation for this doubling. Here we present a model describing the long-term evolution of the Sun's large-scale magnetic field, which reproduces the doubling of the interplanetary field. The model indicates that there is a direct connection between the length of the sunspot cycle and the secular variations."
More evidence that Ol' Sol is the culprit after satellite measurements, the observed increase in sunspots and global warming on Mars.
Great Post ND. More Junk Journalism on display. While most scientists agree there is some warming, many do NOT agree that it is caused by man. Amazing how sloppy Journalists are in their "facts". This level of incompetence regularly displayed by Editors and Journalist would be ground for termination of employment any where else in life.
Anyone who thinks that humans are destroying the climate should do the decent thing and hang themselves.
As far as I am concerned, *if anything* I am helping to prevent the next Ice Age.
Since nuclear power produces no greenhouse gasses, I think we should just play along with the liberals on this one and insist that the country begin a massive program of nuclear power plant construction.
What happened to Evolution? How is it that life made it 4 billion years on this planet through much more drastic climate changes than this only to be done in by a change in sea level and 1.9 to 5 degrees in temperature change? Why can't Norwegians just start dressing more like Kenyans and maybe Canadians can start wearing sombreros like the Mexicans do?!??
I will take global warming seriously when environmentalists drop their opposition to nuclear power.
Apparently, the Wash Post does not maintain reporters in metropolitan Russia or eastern Europe, where it has been as low as Minus 30 Fahrenheit for a two-week stretch recently.
Starting an article with a provable lie is a sure way to turn off your intended audience.
While most scientists may agree that the earth is in a slight warming trend, they hardly agree that the cause is human activity.
I think you are wrong. We need nuclear power. While electricity may not be able to replace imported oil for all of our energy needs, it could help. For instance, the railroads could (relatively) easily be converted to electricity. Supply creates its own demand and all that. Nuclear power now!
Yes, but that's just another symptom of global warming, you see. No, seriously, I've heard that argument, framed as "dramatic climate variations" that may appear confusing, but that are highly indicative of global warming.
The whole global warming "science" strikes me as being similar to the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?". You're guilty no matter what.
BALONEY!As planets age they cool and the earth is no different.This is no more than(with yearly variants)heat working its way to the surface from earth's molten core.All this environmental nonsense is created to generate uncertainty and fear for the purpose of control over the paranoid masses.
"Apparently, the Wash Post does not maintain reporters in metropolitan Russia or eastern Europe, where it has been as low as Minus 30 Fahrenheit for a two-week stretch recently."
Looks like a good time and place for a Gore "global warming" speech.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and make some wild-eyed predictions for the year 2050:
1. The earth will still be spinning on it's axis.
2. So called "global warming" will not result in our grandchildren surfing on newly formed beaches in Terre Haute, Indiana.
3. Most of the worlds forests will still be, well, forests.
4. Human beings, who have adapted and survived ecological change for thousands if not millions of years will continue to adapt and survive.
The only "tipping point" these "experts" really care about is the one where Mr. Taxpayer shuts off their supply of easy cash. Until then, the "experts" must continue to spread theories of gloom and doom in order to shakedown those firghtened enough to fund such nonsense.
The "tipping point" story is the left's attempt to create public hysteria to achieve what sensible people ordinarily would not agree to -- declaration of a state of environmental emergency and suspension of established legal rights.
Yeah, and most scientists used to think continental drift was bunk when Wegner proposed it.
So the Wash Post starts with a questionable premise and goes downhill from there. Meanwhile, Mars has been getting warmer without SUVs.
Could someone post the idiotic Club of Rome predictions (i.e., the world will be out of oil by 1985, of copper by 1991, etc.) as well as the "futurist" Paul Erdman who made all sorts of bizarre predictions for things that never happened. I can remember the incompetent Robert McNamara ay(wish I could forget him!) when he was head of the World Bank in 1977 stating that overpopulation was as much a threat to the earth as nuclear war!! Most nations are no longer at the population replacement level.
Translation: Stand by to be assaulted by even MORE overheated(!) rhetoric as the increasingly irrelevant Left ratchets up the hysteria on the only topic it still owns.
The enviro-wacks don't want nuclear power.
That's the problem.
I'm all for saying sure, global warmimg is a problem, look at the French... they have nuclear power, so let's develop it ourselves.
Makes it much harder for the left to argue against. ;-)
Turns out Bush's push for clean coal technology has resulted in plans to build a prototype coal-burning power plant that sequesters Co2 in the ground. Four or five companies will each contribute 5 billion to do it. What? No public program or taxpayer boondoggle? Shocking!
We don't need a prototype nuke plant, we just need to build them. The technology is already in place.
ARGUMENTUM AD NUMERAM, ARGUMENTUM AD VERECUNDIAM
"Most scientists" are those that read the Washington Post and believe it! I'm reminded of film critic Pualine Kael's comment that she couldn't understand how Ronald Reagan won the presidency "since no one that I know voted for him". Thank God America is much, much more than the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Stone age cultures adapted to the arctic and to the Saudi desert. What makes this guy think that we cannot adapt to climate change?
Howcome? I've thought about this in raspberry tones.
Ted Danson, in the 1970 - 1990 time period, predicted that the oceans were dying and that man had to do something. If not, within 10 years the oceans would be done in. Somehow, Ted missed his prediction. The oceans didn't pay a bit of attention to him.
We now see all the doomsday scenarios being written in models on every available supercomputer. You may note that almost every dire climate prediction is written in terms of having to do something now or in short order (within the magic twenty years) the planet will be gone. Poof! Hockeysticked into oblivion!
Nevermind the fact that whatever we do, the earth and sun together will interact to choose the future course of the climate. I can predict with utmost confidence that the planet's temperature (note the use of the portentious word PLANET) will either go up or go down or stay steady. It's very, very doubtful that we can do a darned thing to affect which way it goes. And any effective action we might take won't involve reducing "greenhouse" gases. I have no idea what it might involve, but we seem to have a bunch of scientists, MSM journalists and others who can only say "hockeysticked into ruinous temperature rises".
Back to the original question - Howcome? Man's life span is less than 100 years. In order for this generation to get in on the action, the grants, and the power redistribution which might ensue, the action must take place within twenty or thirty years. That's why all the predictions are near term, and hockeystick themselves into crises that only reducing average atmospheric CO2 will save. Well, Captain Marvels, have at it. Here's the puck.......
Just leave our economies alone, forget the idea of a Commissar of Carbon Dioxide, and other such hockeypuck ideas.
Be my guest, but I don't see any indication that enviorwackos will relax any of their dug in positions.
Dunno. They have to pay for gas, too. And their beloved French haven't had any nuclear disasters.