A bit of a rant

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A bit of a rant

Postby GeordieJedi » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:06 am

Hey, there. Sorry if this is a bit random but its been swilling round in my brain for a little while now, and it needed an outlet.

Has anyone seen a documentry on C4 a little while ago called "The great global warming swindle"?

It was fascinating If you havn't seen it you've got to.

its about disproving the false notion, that humans are responsible for global warming. So greenies banging on about your carbon footprint, the earths global warming and the eventual demise of the human race coz we use cars and so-on is all Bo***cks.

(Now hang on before a flame war starts) - Im NOT denying that we are experiencing a warming up of the earth. Im just saying that humans aren't responsible for it. (However if you look at it, MOST of the planets in the solar system are actually going through a warming period)

It goes on to say, that humans , make something like 0.0002% total carbon emissions to the entire planet, (in actual fact, volcanoes put out more CO2 then we do every year).

The hard science states, that the there are really only 2 major reasons for the heating and cooling of the earth. =
1. The SUN
2. The atmosphere (powerd by the ocean)

Put simply, it goes like this...The sun goes through highs and lows of solar activity. When we get extended periods of high solar activity, years/ decades worth. The Ocean soaks all of this up. As the Ocean releases this heat VERY SLOWWWLY.......we dont really see immediate global warming.
(Apart from the obvious...Oh we've has a rather hot summer this year or whatever). So if for instance 1000yrs ago, if there was an extended period of solar activity, we might be feeling the effects now.

It also disproves the old - carbon in the Ice cores correlates to times when the earth was warmer / warming up. (There is usually HUNDREDS of years difference between the two events).

Im not saying we can just do what we like, and not bother at all.
I think we should recycle, use energy efficient bulbs, cars, products etc, etc. (but I do think we've had the wool pulled over out eyes, and its an awesome way to tax the general public).

Anybody have any thoughts? Anybody else see the program?

Anyway take it easy all.
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RE: A bit of a rant

Postby Dutch_Master » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:28 am

Whether you like it or not, scientists still claim that mankind is having a significant impact on the planets climate. With the figures and data to match their claims. You can't dismiss that simply because someone is fedup with all that 'green talk' and launched a discrediting campain. Just curious, who financed that documentry? The oil companies? Anyway, as you correctly said, the sun (the big bright light in the sky, not the newspaper :P) is the earths main heatsource and we (as humans) should make more use of its energy, and more efficiently too.
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RE: A bit of a rant

Postby M-Saunders » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:37 am

Wow, I can tell this is going to be a hot topic!

(OK, I'll get my coat...)

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Postby MartyBartfast » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:11 am

So choose your bandwagon and climb aboard.

Personally I do think that we're having a significant impact on the current warming, and so does most of the scientific community.

Edit to add:

GeordieJedi wrote:
The hard science states, that the there are really only 2 major reasons for the heating and cooling of the earth. =
1. The SUN
2. The atmosphere (powerd by the ocean)



Several years ago I saw a documentary about a bloke who's life work was studying the effect of aircraft vapour trails on the weather. In the week following 911 when there were no planes in the sky over the USA there was a 2 degree increase in temperature across the whole country due to the abscense of the vapour trails, this was massively more than anyone expected but does go to prove that we're having a HUGE effect on the weather whether you like it or not.

The prognosis in that program was potentially terrifying and goes like this:

Of the pollutants effecting the weather there are those that we can see (smoke, vapour trails etc), and those that we can't see (CO2, methane etc). The first types tend to block out the sun, and keep the temperature down, the second type tend to trap the heat and keep the temperature up. Because we can see the particulate pollution they have tended to be the ones that get targetted first but if we remove all the particulate pollution without addressing the greenhouse gasses, then the greenhouse effect will spiral out of controll much quicker than anyone has so far predicted, and by 2050 we will have reached the point of no return and we (in the UK) will be in the middle of a Sahara like desert, and the tropics will be uninhabitable.
Last edited by MartyBartfast on Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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RE: A bit of a rant

Postby pootman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:24 am

The problem here is scientific proof. You can't prove that human activity is affecting the climate unless you have a control study of an identical planet which has no human activity to see if it would have happened anyway.

In the absence of the Magratheans, scientists just have to make a few assumptions based on observed facts, which they report appropriately in the relevant scientific journal. Then journalists read an extract or summary of the article, treat half of what they read as gospel truth, and ignore the other half because they don't understand it, and assume that it won't sell.

Television executives then read these papers and commission 'documentaries' in order to sell advertising space to the highest bidder. Having no understanding of the science behind the topic, or indeed any science beyond 'switching on the kettle makes the water hot', these executives then pile pressure on to the program makers to make the program as sensationalist as possible, because it will make eye-catching trailers, and the advertising space will be worth more. The program makers, opting to sacrifice journalistic integrity for the cash-cow that is 'selling it to the Yanks too', add in lots of flashy graphics and dramatic shots of dry riverbeds and/or salt-flats so there'll be lots of good material for the trailers.

By the time this process is complete, there's usually not much room left for science, so the makers slap the researcher until he/she finds out who wrote the original journal article. They send a cameraman off with a list of questions to meet the scientist, usually with a brief to 'try and keep it short'. The scientist is delighted that the mainstream media considers his/her work important enough to be included in the program, and happily prattles on to the camera for half-an-hour about their work, which is usually (but not always) incomplete.

This half-hour of scientific gold is taken back to the editing suite, where it is reduced to four 20-second sound-bites. These are usually used to introduce some flashy graphics, created by someone who couldn't spot the difference between a research lab and the Tardis set used in Doctor Who. All references to the fact that the scientist's study will be completed in six years time are deemed superfluous, boring, and likely to undermine the general tone of the program.

At the end of it all you get 45 minutes of glamour and glitz interspersed with less science than advertising (and jarringly disjointed sections where the Yanks will add more advertising), which bears as much resemblance to the journal article that spawned the whole thing as a tadpole does to a frog.


If you want to know about the climate, or the environment in general, start with something like Nature, or New Scientist, and follow the references in there. Don't watch anything that has advertising space to sell - which sadly includes most of the BBC's output these days. Damn that Yankee dollar.

Anyone who gets their facts from television can eat my coat.
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:28 am

As the documentary had so many major facts completely wrong, I can't think why anyone outside the oil lobby has paid it any attention.
For instance, the human contribution to CO2 emissions is about 100 times the average annual production of CO2 from volcanoes.
You might want to look here for the British Antarctic Survey's response to the documentary.
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Postby M-Saunders » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:33 am

Great post, pootman. That sums up pretty much all TV 'documentaries' I've seen recently.

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Postby pootman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:26 pm

From the page linked in Rhakios's post:
The evidence for an unusual recent global warming is unequivocal, and it is very likely that this is due to human activity

That's real science for you.

Following the link from that page to George Monbiot's well-referenced analysis of the program seems to support my opinion on documentary-makers too.
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Postby M-Saunders » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:57 pm

Anyway, I thought we had discovered the real cause of global warming:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:FSM_Pirates.png

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Postby pootman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:25 pm

In which case, the makers of "The Great Global Warming Swindle", are undoubtedly busy churning up 45 minutes of pap about how Ninjas have caused global warming.
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Postby nordle » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:52 pm

The CH4 program has had the same questions about reporting of figures and assumptions levelled at it as it aimed at the report it called into question.

Lies, damn lies and stats.

<slashdotism>
1. Make an answer
2. Find the "facts" to back it up
3. profit
</slashdotism>

Guardian readers loved the report, Daily Mail readers loved the CH4 "documentary".

The main problem is, we won't even begin to have an idea about all the interchangable variables until after the event.

EDIT:

Personnally I blame cows, baked beans and thawing Siberian peat bogs.
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:40 pm

nordle wrote:Personnally I blame cows, baked beans and thawing Siberian peat bogs.


You've forgotten the drained Indonesian bogs.
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Postby guy » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:50 pm

As far as I can tell, scientists agree that the current bout of global warming is being contributed to both by natural things like the sun and by human activity. Where they differ is in which effect is dominant. I'll come back to that later.

Way back ca. 1976 the first crude computer models of human-induced CO2 warming were appearing in research papers (I was a student of Environmental Studies at the time). The one that impressed me was based on a very simple energy-flow model. It followed up the question, if the atmosphere slowly turns into a greenhouse, how will this affect the flow of solar energy onto our planet, and the flow of "earth glow" back out again? And given that the net energy flow (inward as it turned out) will be stored in the air and seawater, how hot will we get and how fast?

Its predictions up until a few years ago were spot-on. The author even speculated about how political reaction would affect our ability to limit the damage. Well, we followed his worst-case scenario equally fanatically. We had twenty years to act and we chose to go deaf. Ten years ago global warming became unstoppable, but we couldn't actually measure the direct effects to prove it was happening until a few years into this century. He even predicted that the trends appearing in the late 'nineties would be argued away as random variation. Now, it is way too late. His interpretation of the result ran out of predictive puff about now, but he hoped that something unforeseen might kick in and come to our rescue, such as a major increase in the ability of sea life to mop up CO2. We have seen a few signs of this, but marine ecologists are not hopeful. Anyway, I'm not going to tell you what the model itself predicted over the centuries to come. it's too depressing, and some **** who doesn't want to believe it would only rant at me. Suffice to say that the title of the Moody Blues' album "To our children's children's children" strikes a sour note with me.

Given the existence of both natural and man-made effects, the power of vested interests, the depth of feeling on all sides and the hysteria of the media, it is almost impossible for the man-in-the-street to make any informed judgement.

The thought I will leave you with is this: natural warming cycles tend to be measured over thousands of years. Human-induced warming is predicted to produce similar effects over hundreds of years - an order of magnitude more powerfully. The current rate of warming is consistent with this prediction. However, there is also strong evidence that the sun is on a "quick-cook" cycle for a few years and this is presently masking the true power of human-induced warming. Best estimates seem to be around a fifty-fifty split today, with human-induced effects set to storm ahead in a few years' time.

Hope I'm dead and gone before the ice caps have finished melting.
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Postby jjmac » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:39 pm

I believe the data that __show__ drew apone only went up to the 1980's some where ...


>>
(However if you look at it, MOST of the planets in the solar system are actually going through a warming period)
>>

Typical of the ___shows___ over all credibility. Seeing as, htf could that be ascertained.

To put it simply:
--------------------
Increased ice melts in northern polar regions ==. drop in salinity,
== results in gulf stream turning south earlier ==
significant drop in fish stocks in northern ocean &&
dramatic climate change in that general reagion.

At those latitudes -=- guess what -=- :wink:

!

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Postby nordle » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:54 pm

I would class myself as pretty ignorant when it comes to Science, ecology etc etc
So forgive me if I sound doubtful as I'm not, more that I just don't know enough.

But part of my Income comes from day trading stocks and derivatives. I can tell you with about 65% accuracy whats going to happen in 24 hours. I can tell you with about 80% what's going to happen in the next 20 minutes and about 95% the next 3 minutes.

All based on models.

The point is that models can be right for certain periods and then very very wrong.
I'm not a scientist, so can't comment on anything with any factual basis, simply that I'm sceptical.

Maybe we are causing global warming, maybe it won't be as bad as they say, maybe it'll be 100 times worse. The problem is, no matter how clever or modern we think we are, were barely out of caves, it wasn't that long ago we drowned witches and cut peoples legs off because of minor infection. We only recently got into space ffs. Can you imagine what a few generations are going to think looking back at us? What a bunch of primeval muppets, who only just figured out the world wasn't flat!

Maybe in 200 years we'll have the ability to predict this stuff as accurately as local weather reports......better hopefully.... maybe it'll be too late

Who knows.
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