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Author Topic: Would you consider watching "An Inconvenient Truth" and giving an opinion?  (Read 30658 times)

Offline davidjuliowang

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Sorry to start a new post for such a simple subject.

My abasement aside, I'd like to propose, encourage anyone who reads to watch, or consider watching Al Gore's film <b>An Inconvenient Truth</b>.

Yes, it's Al Gore, that almost president fellow who actually cares about the environment.

Why watch the movie?
Well...because he really does care (Al Gore that is).
and, he will explain Global Warming to you with all the clarity and import he can muster.

It's our planet.
our home.
our responsibility.

Thanks! :)

"When Given A Choice Between Two Paths, Take The Third Path." (Talaxian Saying)

Please see Al Gore's Movie "An Inconvenient Truth". The earth is our home, our responsibility.
« Last Edit: 25/03/2008 05:55:53 by Karen W. »


 

Offline moonfire

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Yes, Al's degree is in horticulture...I am sure he does care.  I am sure it is a good movie.

"Lo" Loretta
 

another_someone

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7037671.stm
Quote
A High Court judge who ruled on whether climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, could be shown in schools said it contains "nine scientific errors".

Mr Justice Burton said the government could still send Al Gore's film to schools - if accompanied by guidance giving the other side of the argument.

A Kent school governor wanted the film banned from secondary schools.

The judge said nine statements in the film were not supported by current mainstream scientific consensus.

The Oscar-winning film was made by former US Vice-President Al Gore.

In his final verdict, the judge said the film could be shown as long as updated guidelines were followed.

These say teachers should point out controversial or disputed sections.

Without the guidance, updated after the case was launched, the government would have been breaking the law, the judge said.

The government has sent the film to all secondary schools in England, and the administrations in Wales and Scotland have done the same.

'Landmark victory'

Mr Justice Burton told London's High Court that distributing the film without the guidance to counter its "one-sided" views would breach education laws.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families was not under a duty to forbid the film, provided it was accompanied by the guidance, he said.

"I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act", he said.

The nine errors stated by the judge included:

# Mr Gore's assertion that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland "in the near future". The judge said this was "distinctly alarmist" and it was common ground that if Greenland's ice melted it would release this amount of water - "but only after, and over, millennia".

# Mr Gore's assertion that the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to global warming - the court heard the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established the snow recession is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.

# Mr Gore reference to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears had actually drowned "swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice". The judge said: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."

The case was brought by Stewart Dimmock, from Dover, a father of two.

His lawyers described the ruling as a "landmark victory".

Mr Dimmock said: "I am elated with today's result, but still disappointed that the film is able to be shown in schools.

"If it was not for the case brought by myself, our young people would still be being indoctrinated with this political spin."

The judge awarded Mr Dimmock two-thirds of his estimated legal costs of more than £200,000, against the government.

Children's Minister Kevin Brennan had earlier said: "It is important to be clear that the central arguments put forward in An Inconvenient Truth, that climate change is mainly caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and will have serious adverse consequences, are supported by the vast weight of scientific opinion.

"Nothing in the judge's comments today detract from that."
 

Offline Karen W.

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Seany said we should watch it. he said it was good too!
 

Offline Alandriel

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It's definitley a good one to watch ~ even if not everything is totally accurate (what is??) and it's a bit one-sided and 'spinned'.

 

paul.fr

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7037671.stm
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A High Court judge who ruled on whether climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, could be shown in schools said it contains "nine scientific errors".

Mr Justice Burton said the government could still send Al Gore's film to schools - if accompanied by guidance giving the other side of the argument
The 9 error's have been known for a long time, and ofcourse it's one sided. Anyone who thought otherwise is clearly mad, yet the message of the film is still relevant. Can we now expect our kids to receive "guidance" in RE classes?
« Last Edit: 10/10/2007 23:10:59 by paul.fr »
 

another_someone

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Can we now expect our kids to receive "guidance" in RE classes?

But RE is not science.  Are we simply accepting the global warming debate as a religion, and Al Gore's polemic being one of the books of the Bible, and if it says the universe was created in 7 days, that should be taught as science?

If you allow bad science into the argument is merely to discredit any good science that might be done.

OK - this is not science, but many members of the public don't know the difference, and school kids were going to be given this information unchallenged (the court now has said it must have some balancing of the debate - but I suspect when applied in practice, the amount of time given to highlighting the errors in the film will be minimal, and kids will still be left with the impression that the film is a definitive truth).

Some years ago I had a friend of mine mention that she had believed that dinosaurs and humans coexisted because she had seen the film 1 million BC.  While nobody expects that one can address this kind of erroneous interpretation of pure fiction, but this film was going to be distributed to schools as factual information, not as pure fiction.
 

Offline Karen W.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7037671.stm
Quote
A High Court judge who ruled on whether climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, could be shown in schools said it contains "nine scientific errors".

Mr Justice Burton said the government could still send Al Gore's film to schools - if accompanied by guidance giving the other side of the argument.

A Kent school governor wanted the film banned from secondary schools.

The judge said nine statements in the film were not supported by current mainstream scientific consensus.

The Oscar-winning film was made by former US Vice-President Al Gore.

In his final verdict, the judge said the film could be shown as long as updated guidelines were followed.

These say teachers should point out controversial or disputed sections.

Without the guidance, updated after the case was launched, the government would have been breaking the law, the judge said.

The government has sent the film to all secondary schools in England, and the administrations in Wales and Scotland have done the same.

'Landmark victory'

Mr Justice Burton told London's High Court that distributing the film without the guidance to counter its "one-sided" views would breach education laws.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families was not under a duty to forbid the film, provided it was accompanied by the guidance, he said.

"I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act", he said.

The nine errors stated by the judge included:

# Mr Gore's assertion that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland "in the near future". The judge said this was "distinctly alarmist" and it was common ground that if Greenland's ice melted it would release this amount of water - "but only after, and over, millennia".

# Mr Gore's assertion that the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to global warming - the court heard the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established the snow recession is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.

# Mr Gore reference to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears had actually drowned "swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice". The judge said: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."

The case was brought by Stewart Dimmock, from Dover, a father of two.

His lawyers described the ruling as a "landmark victory".

Mr Dimmock said: "I am elated with today's result, but still disappointed that the film is able to be shown in schools.

"If it was not for the case brought by myself, our young people would still be being indoctrinated with this political spin."

The judge awarded Mr Dimmock two-thirds of his estimated legal costs of more than £200,000, against the government.

Children's Minister Kevin Brennan had earlier said: "It is important to be clear that the central arguments put forward in An Inconvenient Truth, that climate change is mainly caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and will have serious adverse consequences, are supported by the vast weight of scientific opinion.

"Nothing in the judge's comments today detract from that."

I just watched the BBC news about Al gore for his inaccuracies toward the science aspect of the whole program. Pretty much exactly what George has posted here! I was glad to have read it here as well as having watched the news feed!
 

paul.fr

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I just watched the BBC news about Al gore for his inaccuracies toward the science aspect of the whole program.

It is not the whole "programme", just a small part of the film.
 

paul.fr

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George, there is bad science on both sides, I suspect. With one side trying to out do and discredit the other. I am not saying we should support bad science, because I believe the message of climate change. I just shudder at the thought of our schools turning in to mad cap American style schools where this sort of thing goes on.

we are already seeing it now, schools are refusing to teach or watering down evolution. Where will it end? We have kids who will receive a lesser education because of the nonsense creeping in to schools, another American export that we can do without.

Just look at the teenagers of today, especially the girls, they talk and act like they are living in a substandard American teen drama. They don't know the difference between the word me and I, or me and my. This really annoys me.

As for "...I had a friend of mine mention that she had believed that dinosaurs and humans coexisted because she had seen the film 1 million BC..." This is true of many things, personally I think people watch too much TV. It turns in to reality for them, and they can not tell the difference between fact, fiction or drama.

How many times do you hear that a TV soap opera "star", has been verbally assaulted in the street because people think they "are" the character off the TV? Madness, get a life is what I say.

Perhaps this should be in a different topic? Sorry for deviating from the original post.
« Last Edit: 11/10/2007 08:03:15 by paul.fr »
 

another_someone

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George, there is bad science on both sides, I suspect. With one side trying to out do and discredit the other.

Agreed - that is a natural and inevitable consequence of the politicisation of science.  OK - there always is bad science, in all science; but where politics is not a major factor, there are better processes for filtering out the bad science, or at least not regarding it on an equal footing with good science.  The problem is that political involvement will always distort the filtration process, and certainly in much of the world the political bias is towards the climate change argument, so that is the direction in which the greater distortion is allowed to go unchecked (that is not to say that equal distortions do not happen on the other side, but the external checks tend to be applied more rigidly on the arguments on the other side, at least in Europe, and probably slowly turning around to that in the USA as well).

I am not saying we should support bad science, because I believe the message of climate change.

But that is what the distribution of Al Gore's film to our schools is doing (the irony is that the effect of the court judgement might have the exactly opposite effect to that which was desired by the distribution of the film).

The problem is that the government is treating the climate change issue in the same way it treated the WMD issue in Iraq before the gulf war.  It is to some extent in the nature of all politicians to distort reality to fit their agenda (and this includes Al Gore), but that is the reason why we should try and resist the politicisation of science in schools, just as we should resist the dilution of science by religion.  Politics and religion have their place, but not in science.
 

Offline Alandriel

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The problem with this, as with so many environmental things these days is balance.

Where IS the balance? What exactly does one believe nowadays? It's really hard.
So I tend to watch / read as much as I can, both/all sides if at all possible and then
make up my own mind ~ which sometimes can result in some very interesting conclusions
 ;D

but that's why I'm here. To discuss my loopsided notions with you lot
 ;D ;D
 

Offline Karen W.

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I just watched the BBC news about Al gore for his inaccuracies toward the science aspect of the whole program.

It is not the whole "programme", just a small part of the film.

Yes I understand that and they still feel that event hose 6 or 9 points of contention with educating behind them  on the points that were wrong, and re acknowledgement of the real facts could make it acceptable.. am I mistaken on that?
 

Offline JimBob

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I do not believe there is any doubt that the present industrial revolution based culture does upset the carbon cycle. How can it not with more carbon being produced than is being sequestered?

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/interviews/interview/518/

By banning anything that has scientific inaccuratcies from schools, then there would be no science text books. All of them were written at least two to three years ago and ipso facto are out of date and contain inaccurate statements. What schools teach (or should teach) is the scientific method along with the mostly accurate science in the textbooks. Until lately, teaching people to think has been the main purpose of education. (I agree it has not been very well done for a while.) When politics is injected into the discussion, the it can no longer be called education, it would be indoctrination.

Using the argument "it contains inaccuracies" I guess we should also ban courses on hygiene, philosophy, history (which is written by the winner) and many other subjects. It just is totally unreasonable.

By the way, today, it was announced that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for Peace along with the environmental arm of the United Nations. I guess they thought the whole was more important than the small inaccurate parts.

 
 

another_someone

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I do not believe there is any doubt that the present industrial revolution based culture does upset the carbon cycle. How can it not with more carbon being produced than is being sequestered?

Do we know how much CO2 is being sequestered?  Do we know that other sources of production of CO2 have remained constant over that time - I would doubt they have?  Do we actually know how much impact CO2 has on global climate (yes, it is a greenhouse gas, but so are so many other gasses, not least being water vapour - and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere still remains a minuscule fraction of the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere).  So far, no climate model has demonstrated sufficient accuracy to be regarded as proving any particular assumption, either for or against, any of the greenhouse theories.

By banning anything that has scientific inaccuratcies from schools, then there would be no science text books. All of them were written at least two to three years ago and ipso facto are out of date and contain inaccurate statements.

There is a difference between being out of date, and being known to be wrong at the time the statements were made.  The kind of statements that Al Gore made, if made in a research paper, would have been tantamount to fraud.

What schools teach (or should teach) is the scientific method along with the mostly accurate science in the textbooks. Until lately, teaching people to think has been the main purpose of education. (I agree it has not been very well done for a while.) When politics is injected into the discussion, the it can no longer be called education, it would be indoctrination.

I don't disagree with this.

Using the argument "it contains inaccuracies" I guess we should also ban courses on hygiene, philosophy, history (which is written by the winner) and many other subjects. It just is totally unreasonable.

Hygiene, medicine, and even engineering, are practical implementations of knowledge, and so you have to go with the best you have, and accept that it will change.

Science, history, and philosophy, and forms of enquiry, and none of them have to accept any fact as given, but should teach the ability to question everything.  I do agree that history has always been written by the victors, but a good historian should be able to challenge accepted historical doctrine.

By the way, today, it was announced that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for Peace along with the environmental arm of the United Nations. I guess they thought the whole was more important than the small inaccurate parts.

Well, it wasn't the Nobel prize for a science - but it may as well have been a Nobel prize for literature.  It is highly dubious as to how Al Gore's contribution to world peace compares to those who have genuinely tried to resolve conflicts around the world.  Then again, I suppose the Nobel peace prize always has had some controversy surrounding it, since it often ended up rewarding people for making peace, the same people who were previously responsible for making war.
 

Offline JimBob

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George, I know you don't believe in global warming and I will not debate you on this issue. You can disagree, but I said mostly thing tings about education, that are my opinion, there is no tutor system.

But about carbon sequestration - the research has been done. It is not good for the future unless the issues is addressed. This conclusion is held by well over 90% of the people who have done the peer review work. The deck is stacked against what you are trying to argue and that is the LAST thing I will say in this thread.
 
P.S. Many better minds than yours had to agree to the Nobel Prize. I doubt that I have the intelligence to doubt their collective wisdom.
« Last Edit: 13/10/2007 02:53:12 by JimBob »
 

another_someone

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George, I know you don't believe in global warming and I will not debate you on this issue.

No, it is not the case that I do not believe in global warming - it is just that I am not convinced about the causal arguments regarding global warming (global warming started before the industrial revolution, and I believe is also happening on Mars).

But, as you say, we can go around in loops over this.

P.S. Many better minds than yours had to agree to the Nobel Prize. I doubt that I have the intelligence to doubt their collective wisdom.

Many better minds than mine genuinely believed there were WMD's in Iraq - I never did.
« Last Edit: 13/10/2007 14:28:54 by another_someone »
 

paul.fr

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George, how can the case for global warming be a "casual argument"? The evidence is there, even the US now admits we are causing the problem.

Yes, there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process.
 

another_someone

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George, how can the case for global warming be a "casual argument"?

Sorry, but you have corrected a spelling mistake I did not make - I spelt "causal" bacause that is what I meant, not "casual".  Not saying I don't make spelling mistakes, except that on this occasion it was not (maybe my grammar was ambiguous).

The evidence is there, even the US now admits we are causing the problem.

As I said before, there were many, including the US government, who also earnestly believed that Iraq had WMD's.  I prefer to look at hard facts rather than look at the list of proponents and opponents who believe one religion or the other.

Yes, there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process.

Again, this shows the ambiguities that are used.  Earlier you said "we are causing the problem", whereas no all you are saying is that you believe we are exacerbating the problem - they are very different issues.

The fact is that none of the climate models is accurate, and nothing has been proven on any basis.  Even if humans have had an impact (and it may well be argued that humans must have some impact on the environment we live in, since we are a major part of that environment, and so our impact upon it is unavoidable), but I have yet to be convinced that any of it is as simple as saying that human CO2 production is the primary impact we have on our environment, or that reductions in CO2 production will have any major impact on the wider environment.

As I said, it is inconceivable that human activity would not have an impact upon the environment is many different ways, but what is different is that this is only the second time that humans have suggested that they could deliberately redirected the impact humans are having on the environment in a global way (the first such case was the Montreal Protocol, in 1989, which although far simpler in its projected impact, and in its policing, nonetheless has yet to prove that it works - the ozone hole is has not responded - although this may be explained, it nonetheless means the experiment, which is less adventurous than the CO2 experiment, has yet to prove itself).  I think in such circumstances, whatever the effect of anthropogenic CO2, it is a massive and unprecedented gamble to believe we can somehow deliberately direct global climate simply by reducing CO2.

The problem is, even after 100 years, and even if we not only reduced our CO2 output, but actually started removing CO2 from the atmosphere in an attempt to cool the planet, we will still be in a position where we probably would not be able to tell how the climate we are experiencing then had been influenced by our actions.  We have no baseline climate model that is provably accurate (to date, they are all provably inaccurate), so we could still have people who would be saying "well, it would have been a lot worse if we had not done as we had", while others will say "it had no effect because we did not do enough of it, and if we only redouble our efforts we could yet have the desired effect", while a third group might be saying "it has not only not had the desired effect, it has had many perverse effects", and a fourth group will be saying "it has had no significant effect at all" - and I suspect none will be able to prove their position.

As for why politicians may increasingly support the greenhouse theory (apart from the fact that politicians are salesmen, and by nature, the most gullible people to sell to tend to be salesmen), is that it is a useful tool to reduce our dependence on imported oil.  The problem is that by using a false pretext to do this, we will have many secondary adverse impacts.  We could as well reduce our dependence on oil by increasing our usage of coal, of which most of the Europe and America has ample supplies of (South Africa, during the apartheid era, developed a very successful oil synthesis from coal program, because it had to overcome the oil embargo imposed upon it, which it continues to use today).  Ofcourse, we don't by any means need to become totally dependent on coal, as we were 100 years ago; but we could at least include coal in the mix, which at present is not an option if we regard all carbon as an environmental poison.

 

paul.fr

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George, i did not intend to correct your spelling. I read your reply too fast and obviously read it wrong.

You can not use the WMD issue as a good analogy, that was a politically motivated decision. Not one based on scientific facts. You may argue that the issues surrounding climate change are politically motivated, and to some degree they are. Vote for me and i will do this or that about climate change.

But the truth is, this was an issue before the politicians got involved. For years politicians refused to listen, and personally i don't much care who promises what, as long as they act. What action should they take? Well i am not in a position to know all the facts, so i will be happy to leave that up to the chief scientist advising the government.

You said that you "prefer to look at hard facts", which facts are you looking at that so persuade you that global warming is not the consequences of man?

You are correct that i have said "there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process." and "we are causing the problem". Why do you think these are two different things?

The process of global warming is a natural one, hence my statement "there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process." We are causing the problem, we have changed the fine balance that nature has to regulate. Too much carbon and other products have been released in to the atmosphere and altered the balance.

Why has the hole in the ozone layer not reduced? you ask. Well it is not getting any bigger, the reason it has not reduced is because the CFC's have a life span (in the atmosphere) of up to 100 years. How long is it since we stopped using CFC's? Only a matter of a few years, countries such as china still continue to produce CFC's...can you see the problem? There is not quick fix, you can not discount the evidence because the hole has not shrunk.

I don't think anyone is saying that we can reverse climate change, simply by reducing our carbon emissions. But we can go some way to prolong the effects until we have a better idea of what needs to be done.

What is the harm in wanting or encouraging us to live a greener lifestyle? Walk the kids to school instead of driving them. less emissions and possibly healthier slimmer kids.
Recycle those aluminium cans and plastic bottles, why waste landfill when you can recycle?
There are many things we can do as an individual that do not cost you one penny, why not do it?
 

another_someone

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George, i did not intend to correct your spelling. I read your reply too fast and obviously read it wrong.

No problem :)

You can not use the WMD issue as a good analogy, that was a politically motivated decision. Not one based on scientific facts. You may argue that the issues surrounding climate change are politically motivated, and to some degree they are. Vote for me and i will do this or that about climate change.


I was merely using that as a counter to your statement that "even the US now admits we are causing the problem" - I assume you are referring to American politicians, since the academics tended to have the same spectrum of views that exist on this side of the pond.

What action should they take? Well i am not in a position to know all the facts, so i will be happy to leave that up to the chief scientist advising the government.

You mean like the chief medical officer in the 1990 (and for half a decade thereafter) insisted that BSE was not a threat to human health (then, when they were shown to be wrong, went from the extreme of saying that it would effect nobody, to speculating about an epidemic that could affect thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of victims).

I am not trying to say that these guys are the devil incarnate, only that they are as human as the rest of us, and get it wrong as often as they get it right (although, to be fair, since there are always far more possible wrong answers than right ones, so a 50% success rate is still beating the odds, but it is not enough to simply accept whatever they have to say as gospel).

You are correct that i have said "there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process." and "we are causing the problem". Why do you think these are two different things?

Because, if one assumes global warming to be a problem, then if global warming exists despite human activity, then we are not the initial cause of the problem, but merely (apparently in your view) a contributory factor.  It is therefore a contradiction to say we are the cause of global warming, only (by your argument) one of the causes of global warming.

The process of global warming is a natural one, hence my statement "there was global warming prior to the industrial revolution, but we have accelerated the process." We are causing the problem, we have changed the fine balance that nature has to regulate. Too much carbon and other products have been released in to the atmosphere and altered the balance.

I would argue there never has been a 'fine balance' in nature.  Nature has always been robust and fluid, constantly changing - furthermore, we are a part of that changing nature, not separate from it.

Why has the hole in the ozone layer not reduced? you ask. Well it is not getting any bigger, the reason it has not reduced is because the CFC's have a life span (in the atmosphere) of up to 100 years. How long is it since we stopped using CFC's? Only a matter of a few years, countries such as china still continue to produce CFC's...can you see the problem? There is not quick fix, you can not discount the evidence because the hole has not shrunk.

The Montreal Protocol is rapidly approaching the end of its second decade - so a bit more than a few years; but yes, I do know the arguments as to why it has not yet had an effect.  I was not saying that the efficacy of that experiment had been disproved, only that it had yet to be proven, which is a different matter; and that the CO2 experiment is considerably  more complex, and considerably more uncertain, yet we are rushing into this second experiment without having yet had time to learn from the first experiment in global environment control.

I don't think anyone is saying that we can reverse climate change, simply by reducing our carbon emissions. But we can go some way to prolong the effects until we have a better idea of what needs to be done.

Firstly, the propaganda suggests that all the ill effects of climate change are horrendous, and by inference, if we do all the things asked, we can avoid all these ill effects.

If we are now saying that climate change will happen no matter what, then the argument moves away from simply saying we must pay whatever price it takes to avoid theses horrendous consequences to saying that we must balance the amount we pay with the likely different our actions will make.  To make such an assessment, we have to have a realistic assessment of exactly how much difference we can make.  My own belief is that we can in fact make very little practical difference, and that we will have to pay an enormous cost even in attempting to make that difference, and that effort would be better spent in trying to mitigate that which we have no control over than in concentrate on trying to play at being King Canute.

What is the harm in wanting or encouraging us to live a greener lifestyle? Walk the kids to school instead of driving them. less emissions and possibly healthier slimmer kids.

While I am not trying to say every green policy is bad, but one has to be realistic about the policies, and I certainly would not regard a policy as good simply because it is green.

Yes, having kids walk to school is good - but then we live in a society where parents can be prosecuted for leaving their kids alone for only a few hours, and where we are constantly reminded (again, excessive panic, but just another side of the same panic that is driving the concerns over CO2) about the risks our children are placed under, and that they should be constantly supervised.  Beyond that, children (and I would sometimes do this myself, although not habitually) will play truant, and in the modern world parents can be imprisoned if their child plays truant - so another reason why parents may be reluctant to let their children go unaccompanied to school.

Ofcourse, in the old days, mothers did not work, and if they felt it was necessary to spend time walking their kids from one place to the other, then they would have the time to do so.  We no longer live in that era.

The biggest driving force in increased road use is a combination of greater distances that need to be travelled (big out of town supermarkets, large but remote hospitals, large and remote schools, and generally long commuting distances) combined with ever less time to do things in, so the only effective option is to use motor transport.  Ofcourse, one could say that the old small local hospitals, small local shops, and small local schools, were all less demanding of transport; but the reason we have them is because the people who run our shops, schools, and hospitals, think it is more efficient (economies of scale) to have large centralised facilities that lots of small local facilities.  This is not the fault of the people who use these facilities, but the fault of those who provide them (whether, in the end, these economies of scale do offset the increased transport burden they place on society is a decision society has to make).

I am all for efficiency (including efficiency of energy usage), but I am simply not convinced by the scare stories.

Recycle those aluminium cans and plastic bottles, why waste landfill when you can recycle?
There are many things we can do as an individual that do not cost you one penny, why not do it?

Landfill usage is a very different argument from the arguments about CO2.  I am not saying that I agree with all the recycling issues, nor do I disagree with them (although from a purely emotional perspective, I must admit I react very negatively to what I perceive as emotional blackmail - which is how I perceive most of the green propaganda - so it sometimes takes me quite an effort to try and get over my revulsion at being emotionally blackmailed and try and look, as well as I humanly can, dispassionately at the facts behind them - and yes, I too am human).
« Last Edit: 14/10/2007 03:59:03 by another_someone »
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Oh my god, i will have to have a sleep before i attemp to read, let alone reply to that one George.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
I think we are getting slightly off track (that and i lost the reply i was going to post), i think we should get back to the actual topic, that being the film and the data it presented.

Well, i think most of us know that the film contained a few errors, but that should not distract us from the overall messsage. What about those errors, how wrong was Gore?

I don't have much time during the week for long responces so i will try and add something daily.

One or the errors was: global warming "shutting down the ocean conveyor" - the  process by which the gulf stream is carried over the north Atlantic to  western Europe. The judge said that, according to the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change, it was "very unlikely" that the conveyor would  shut down in the future, though it might slow down.

So lets start with that one.

According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (the largest non-profit oceanographic institution in the world.)

Does Earth's climate system have an 'Achilles' heel'?
Here is a simplified description of some basic ocean-atmosphere dynamics that regulate Earth’s climate:

The equatorial sun warms the ocean surface and enhances evaporation in the tropics. This leaves the tropical ocean saltier. The Gulf Stream, a limb of the Ocean Conveyor, carries an enormous volume of heat-laden, salty water up the East Coast of the United States, and then northeast toward Europe.

This oceanic heat pump is an important mechanism for reducing equator-to-pole temperature differences. It moderates Earth’s climate, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Conveyor circulation increases the northward transport of warmer waters in the Gulf Stream by about 50 percent. At colder northern latitudes, the ocean releases this heat to the atmosphere—especially in winter when the atmosphere is colder than the ocean and ocean-atmosphere temperature gradients increase. The Conveyor warms North Atlantic regions by as much as 5° Celsius and significantly tempers average winter temperatures.

But records of past climates—from a variety of sources such as deep-sea sediments and ice-sheet cores—show that the Conveyor has slowed and shut down several times in the past. This shutdown curtailed heat delivery to the North Atlantic and caused substantial cooling throughout the region. One earth scientist has called the Conveyor “the Achilles’ heel of our climate system.”3


What can disrupt the Ocean Conveyor?
Solving this puzzle requires an understanding of what launches and drives the Conveyor in the first place. The answer, to a large degree, is salt.

For a variety of reasons, North Atlantic waters are relatively salty compared with other parts of the world ocean. Salty water is denser than fresh water. Cold water is denser than warm water. When the warm, salty waters of the North Atlantic release heat to the atmosphere, they become colder and begin to sink.

In the seas that ring the northern fringe of the Atlantic—the Labrador, Irminger, and Greenland Seas—the ocean releases large amounts of heat to the atmosphere and then a great volume of cold, salty water sinks to the abyss. This water flows slowly at great depths into the South Atlantic and eventually throughout the world’s oceans.

Thus, the North Atlantic is the source of the deep limb of the Ocean Conveyor. The plunge of this great mass of cold, salty water propels the global ocean’s conveyor-like circulation system. It also helps draw warm, salty tropical surface waters northward to replace the sinking waters. This process is called “thermohaline circulation,” from the Greek words “thermos” (heat) and “halos” (salt).

If cold, salty North Atlantic waters did not sink, a primary force driving global ocean circulation could slacken and cease. Existing currents could weaken or be redirected. The resulting reorganization of the ocean’s circulation would reconfigure Earth’s climate patterns.

Computer models simulating ocean-atmosphere climate dynamics indicate that the North Atlantic region would cool 3° to 5° Celsius if Conveyor circulation were totally disrupted. It would produce winters twice as cold as the worst winters on record in the eastern United States in the past century. In addition, previous Conveyor shutdowns have been linked with widespread droughts throughout the globe.

It is crucial to remember two points: 1) If thermohaline circulation shuts down and induces a climate transition, severe winters in the North Atlantic region would likely persist for decades to centuries—until conditions reached another threshold at which thermohaline circulation might resume. 2) Abrupt regional cooling may occur even as the earth, on average, continues to warm.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Are worrisome signals developing in the ocean?
If the climate system’s Achilles’ heel is the Conveyor, the Conveyor’s Achilles’ heel is the North Atlantic. An influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic’s surface could create a lid of more buoyant fresh water, lying atop denser, saltier water. This fresh water would effectively cap and insulate the surface of the North Atlantic, curtailing the ocean’s transfer of heat to the atmosphere.

An influx of fresh water would also dilute the North Atlantic’s salinity. At a critical but unknown threshold, when North Atlantic waters are no longer sufficiently salty and dense, they may stop sinking. An important force driving the Conveyor could quickly diminish, with climate impacts resulting within a decade.

In an important paper published in 2002 in Nature, oceanographers monitoring and analyzing conditions in the North Atlantic concluded that the North Atlantic has been freshening dramatically—continuously for the past 40 years but especially in the past decade.4 The new data show that since the mid-1960s, the subpolar seas feeding the North Atlantic have steadily and noticeably become less salty to depths of 1,000 to 4,000 meters. This is the largest and most dramatic oceanic change ever measured in the era of modern instruments.

At present the influx of fresher water has been distributed throughout the water column. But at some point, fresh water may begin to pile up at the surface of the North Atlantic. When that occurs, the Conveyor could slow down or cease operating.

Signs of a possible slowdown already exist. A 2001 report in Nature indicates that the flow of cold, dense water from the Norwegian and Greenland Seas into the North Atlantic has diminished by at least 20 percent since 1950.5


At what threshold will the Conveyor cease?
The short answer is: We do not know. Nor have scientists determined the relative contributions of a variety of sources that may be adding fresh water to the North Atlantic. Among the suspects are melting glaciers or Arctic sea ice, or increased precipitation falling directly into the ocean or entering via the great rivers that discharge into the Arctic Ocean.6 Global warming may be an exacerbating factor.

Though we have invested in, and now rely on, a global network of meteorological stations to monitor fast-changing atmospheric conditions, at present we do not have a system in place for monitoring slower-developing, but critical, ocean circulation changes.

The great majority of oceanographic measurements was taken throughout the years by research ships and ships of opportunity—especially during the Cold War era for anti-submarine warfare purposes. Many were taken incidentally by Ocean Weather Stations—a network of ships stationed in the ocean after World War II, whose primary duty was to guide transoceanic airplane flights. Starting in the 1970s, satellite technology superseded these weather ships. The demise of the OWS network and the end of the Cold War have left oceanographers with access to far fewer data in recent years.

Initial efforts to remedy this deficit are under way,7 but these efforts are nascent and time is of the essence. Satellites can measure wind stress and ocean circulation globally, but only at the ocean surface. Also recently launched (but not nearly fully funded) is the Argo program—an international program to seed the global ocean with an armada of some 3,000 free-floating buoys that measure upper ocean temperature and salinity. Measuring deep ocean currents is critical for observing Conveyor behavior, but it is more difficult. Efforts have just begun to measure deep ocean water properties and currents at strategic locations with long-term moored buoy arrays, but vast ocean voids remain unmonitored.

New ocean-based instruments also offer the potential to reveal the ocean’s essential, but poorly understood, role in the hydrological cycle—which establishes global rainfall and snowfall patterns. Global warming affects the hydrological cycle because a warmer atmosphere carries more water. This, in turn, has implications for greenhouse warming, since water vapor itself is the most abundant, and often overlooked, greenhouse gas.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
What can the past teach us about the future?
Revealing the past behavior of Earth’s climate system provides powerful insight into what it may do in the future. Geological records confirm the potential for abrupt thermohaline-induced climate transitions that would generate severe winters in the North Atlantic region. A bad winter or two brings inconvenience that societies can adapt to with small, temporary adjustments. But a persistent string of severe winters, lasting decades to a century, can cause glaciers to advance, rivers to freeze, and sea ice to grow and spread. It can render prime agricultural lands unfarmable.

About 12,700 years ago, as Earth emerged from the most recent ice age and began to warm, the Conveyor was disrupted. Within a decade, average temperatures in the North Atlantic region plummeted nearly 5° Celsius.

This cold period, known as the Younger Dryas, lasted 1,300 years. It is named after an Arctic wildflower. Scientists have found substantial evidence that cold-loving dryas plants thrived during this era in European and US regions that today are too warm. Deep-sea sediment cores show that icebergs extended as far south as the coast of Portugal. The Younger Dryas ended as abruptly as it began. Within a decade, North Atlantic waters and the regional climate warmed again to pre-Younger Dryas levels.

A similar cooling occurred 8,200 years ago. It lasted only about a century—a blip in geological time, but a catastrophe if such a cooling occurred today.


Are 'little ice ages' and 'megadroughts' possible?
Scientists are investigating whether changes in ocean circulation may have played a role in causing or amplifying the “Little Ice Age” between 1300 and 1850. This period of abruptly shifting climate regimes and more severe winters had profound agricultural, economic, and political impacts in Europe and North America and changed the course of history.

During this era, the Norse abruptly abandoned their settlements in Greenland. The era is captured in the frozen landscapes of Pieter Bruegel’s 16th-century paintings and in the famous painting of George Washington’s 1776 crossing of an icebound Delaware River, which rarely freezes today. But the era is also marked by persistent crop failures, famine, disease, and mass migrations. “The Little Ice Age,” wrote one historian, “is a chronicle of human vulnerability in the face of sudden climate change.”8

Societies are similarly vulnerable to abrupt climate changes that can turn a year or two of diminished rainfall into prolonged, severe, widespread droughts. A growing body of evidence from joint archaeological and paleoclimatological studies is demonstrating linkages among ocean-related climate shifts, “megadroughts,” and precipitous collapses of civilizations, including the Akkadian empire in Mesopotamia 4,200 years ago, the Mayan empire in central America 1,500 years ago, and the Anasazi in the American Southwest in the late 13th century.9

Rapid changes in ocean circulation associated with the abrupt North Atlantic cooling event 8,200 years ago have been linked with simultaneous, widespread drying in the American West, Africa, and Asia.10 Regional cooling events also have been linked with changes in the Southwest Asian monsoon, whose rains are probably the most critical factor supporting civilizations from Africa to India to China.11


What future climate scenarios should we consider?
The debate on global change has largely failed to factor in the inherently chaotic, sensitively balanced, and threshold-laden nature of Earth’s climate system and the increased likelihood of abrupt climate change. Our current speculations about future climate and its impacts have focused on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has forecast gradual global warming of 1.4° to 5.8° Celsius over the next century.

It is prudent to superimpose on this forecast the potential for abrupt climate change induced by thermohaline shutdown. Such a change could cool down selective areas of the globe by 3° to 5° Celsius, while simultaneously causing drought in many parts of the world. These climate changes would occur quickly, even as other regions continue to warm slowly. It is critical to consider the economic and political ramifications of this geographically selective climate change. Specifically, the region most affected by a shutdown—the countries bordering the North Atlantic—is also one of the world’s most developed.

The key component of this analysis is when a shutdown of the Conveyor occurs. Two scenarios are useful to contemplate:
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

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