Sunday, April 02, 2006

Some options on global warming

Here's a decent roundup on global warming -- what scientific consensus is regarding what will happen, what might happen, and what we can do about it.

The upshot: It's too late to stop global warming, but not too late to avoid the worst-case scenarios.

Scientists say it's too late to stop people from feeling the heat. Nearly two dozen computer models now agree that by 2100, the average yearly global temperature will be 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than now, according to Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Even if today the world suddenly stops producing greenhouse gases, temperatures will rise 1 degree by 2050, according to NCAR.

A British conference on "avoiding dangerous climate change" last year concluded that a rise of just 3 degrees would likely lead to some catastrophic events, especially the melting of the Greenland's polar ice. A study in the journal Science last month said the melting, which is happening faster than originally thought, could trigger a 1- to 3-foot rise in global ocean levels.

So the idea now is to accept that we'll have at least a century of global warming, but take immediate steps to avoid the extreme cases while taking long-term steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Even naysayers are coming around, sort of:

Many of the scientists who have long been vocal skeptics of global warming now acknowledge that the Earth is getting hotter and that some of it is caused by people. Even so, this minority of scientists, such as John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, contend that the warming is "not on this dangerous trajectory."

Okay. Forgive me if your credibility on this isn't the highest at the moment.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post! Check out TheWeAct, www.theweact.com.

4/03/2006 3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people, when hearing the words "take immediate steps" or "reduce greenhouse gas emissions," automatically assume that to mean undermining the economy. I suspect there is much more hype to this feeling than reality. In fact, I recall hearing a Senator (McCain, I believe) talking about a Congressional report which predicted that the US economy would suffer little impact with mandatory fossil-fuel reduction measures. Apparently this report was buried in the Bush-rubber-stamp Congress. (not to mention the spin machine of talk radio and ExxonMobil-funded "advocacy" groups)

In my view, global warming is just another reason to reduce fossil fuel consumption (along with pollution, national security, etc.). Even though we don't know exactly how much humans are contributing, there's no reason NOT to make a change. While there will always be need for fossil fuel products, we could replace much of our dependence with an array of renewable energy sectors...over a long period of time, of course. And embracing the development of a new energy paradigm will provide for huge economic opportunities, rather than doomsday scenarios imagined by status quo proponents.
- Caracarn

P.S. Here's an encouraging set of poll results.
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2006/2006-03-15-04.asp

4/03/2006 3:28 PM  

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