Surprise CO2 rise may speed up global warming

Barclay (Dark Angel) Oct 11, 2004

  1. Barclay (Dark Angel)

    Barclay (Dark Angel) Ninja Hippy

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    From the Independent...

    Worried? Damn right I am...

    Hugs,

    Barclay

    11 October 2004


    The rate at which global warming gases are accumulating in the atmosphere has taken a sharp leap upwards, leading to fears that the devastating effects of climate change may hit the world even sooner than has been predicted.

    Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), the principal greenhouse gas, have made a sudden jump that cannot be explained by any corresponding jump in terrestrial emissions of CO2 from power stations and motor vehicles - because there has been none.

    Some scientists think instead that the abrupt speed-up may be evidence of the long-feared climate change "feedback" mechanism, by which global warming causes alterations to the earth's natural systems and then, in turn, causes the warming to increase even more rapidly than before.

    Such a development would mean the worldwide droughts, agricultural failure, sea-level rise, increased weather turbulence and flooding all predicted as consequences of climate change would arrive on much shorter time-scales than present scenarios suggest, and the world would have much less time to co-ordinate its response.

    Only last month, Tony Blair expressed anxiety that global warming's dire effects would arrive not just in his children's lifetime, but in his own, and would "radically alter human existence".

    The feedback phenomenon has already been predicted in the supercomputer models of the global climate on which the current forecasts of warming are based. A key aspect is the weakening, caused by the warming itself, of the earth's ability to remove huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere by absorbing it annually in its forests and oceans, in the so-called carbon cycle. (The forests and oceans are referred to as carbon "sinks".)

    Hitherto, however, that weakening has been put decades into the future.

    The possibility that it may be occurring now is suggested in the long run of atmospheric CO2 measurements that have been made since 1958 at the observatory on the top of Mauna Loa, an 11,000ft volcano in Hawaii, by the American physicist Charles Keeling, from the University of California at San Diego.

    When he began, Dr Keeling, who is still in charge of the project and who might be said to be the Grand Old Man of CO2 , found the amount of the gas present in the atmosphere to be 315 parts per million by volume (ppm); today, after the remorseless increase in emissions from power stations and motor vehicles over the past four and a half decades, the figure stands at 376ppm.

    This growth is what most scientists believe is causing the earth's atmosphere to warm up, as the increasing CO2 retains more and more of the sun's heat in the atmosphere, like the panes of a greenhouse.

    But the worry now is not merely the swelling volume of CO2 but the sudden leap in its increase rate. Across all 46 years of Dr Keeling's measurements, the average annual CO2 rise has been 1.3ppm, although in recent decades it has gone up to about 1.6ppm.

    There have been several peaks, all associated with El Niño, the disruption of the atmosphere-ocean system in the tropical Pacific Ocean that causes changes to global weather patterns. In 1988, for example, the annual increase was 2.45ppm; in 1998, 2.74ppm; both were El Niño years.

    Throughout the series those peaks have been followed by troughs, and there has been no annual increase in CO2 above 2ppm that has been sustained for more than a year. Until now.

    From 2001 to 2002, the increase was 2.08ppm (from 371.02 to 373.10); and from 2002 to 2003 the increase was 2.54ppm (from 373.10 to 375.64). Neither of these were El Niño years, and there has been no sudden leap in emissions.

    The greater-than-two rise is also visible in two separate sets of CO2 measurements made by America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at Mauna Loa and other stations around the world.

    At the weekend, Dr Keeling told The Independent the rise was real and worrying as it might indeed represent the beginnings of a feedback.

    He said it might be associated with the Southern Oscillation, a pattern of high and low atmospheric pressure previously always associated with El Niños, or it might be something new.

    "The rise in the annual rate of CO2 increase to above two parts per million for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon," Dr Keeling said.

    "It is possible this is merely a reflection of the Southern Oscillation, like previous peaks in the rate, but it is possible it is the beginning of a natural process unprecedented in records.

    "This could be a decoupling of the Southern Oscillation from El Niño events, which itself could be caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere; or it could be a weakening of the earth's carbon sinks. It is a cause for concern."

    Leading British scientists and environmentalists agree. "If this is a rate change [in the CO2 rise], of course it will be very significant," said Dr Piers Forster of the meteorology department of the University of Reading. "It will be of enormous concern, because it will imply that all our global warming predictions for the next 100 years or so will have to be redone. If the higher rate of increase continues, things will get very much worse. It will makes our predicament even more catastrophic."

    Tom Burke, a former government adviser on green issues who is now an academic and environmental adviser to business, said: "This series of CO2 measurements is the world's climate clock, and it looks as if it may be ticking faster,"

    "That means we are running out of time to stabilise the climate. Governments and business will both have to invest dramatically more if we are to avoid the global warming catastrophe that Tony Blair has warned against."
     
  2. martin_e

    martin_e Pantheistic Cyberneticist

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    Actually I'm completely unsuprised by this. The original investigations into the phenomena of global warming involved a lot of exponential effects like the reabsorbtion levels of CO2 collapsing. However, what with the oil companies and suchlike investing huge amounts in Global Warming studies specifically designed to demonstrate that the problem isn't as bad as thought; the original theories have been denigrated to "scaremongering".
    This is what was known beforehand. Now everyone throws their hands up with a "but the scientists paid for by Esso told us it'd all be ok ..."
     
  3. Ben3rdEye

    Ben3rdEye toe-jamm

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    My Chinese colleague reckons we may have 10 years till collapse!
    :cool: :partysmi:
     
  4. Taika-Kim

    Taika-Kim Junior Members

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    Mm, nothing will "collapse" as the sequences of atmospheric change except for some local ecosystems maybe.

    We will see radical changes in ecosystems, but the fabric of life is far too strong to be torn completely by the acts of man.
    Yes, much will be lost. Yes, we will see a serious degradation in the quality of life for most of the people in the world. But no, things like this will only change the ecosystem in the short run. Remember, some 60 millions (whatever? the dinosaur business anyway) of years ago almost all the life on earth was basically wiped out by a meteor, and look at the planet now, blooming with life, even with the acts of man.

    Atmospheric change has more to do with the life of man than the eoosystem. Much more serious hazards for nature is the rising standard of life all around the world, and the subsequent overuse of natural resources. There just won't be much "nature" left in a few centuries at this pace.

    I think the seriousness of climatic change is being highlighted too much. All the scientific community is going wild over climate prediction, system models and what ever, but nobody is really talking about stopping the rise of consumerism.

    Of course that's understandable, demanding people to lower their material welfare and level the differences in income in a global sense would be a political suicide.

    Ineffective jokes like the Kyoto agreement are of course good for the mental hygiene of the industrialized world, but in effect they won't change anything. (I'm not saying that all trans-national agreements are bad, the CFC ban is IMO an good example of a agreement that really works!)

    I hoped people got over all the millennarian "collapse of the global ecosystem" thing in the 80s when the wild visions of the Club of Rome etc were shown to be mostly imagination... I hope people would wake up to the reality that the world isn't going to end, there's just going to be a lot more suffering and hard times ahead if we are not able to cope with the catastroph that modernisation is. For now. For us. (that us means the plants & animals living now, too)

    In a distant future man will be gone, there will be no sign left that we ever existed, and life will go on just as it always has.
     
  5. Ben3rdEye

    Ben3rdEye toe-jamm

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    collapse not prolapse

    It can occur

    You have been warned'
    :Wink3:

    "The fabric of life is too strong to be torn by man" is a bull$hit argument,excuse the language, and half the reason this shit's happening. We are in an age of severe rates of extinction 4X greater than the previous drops. Man is causing it there is no doubt. This Biosphere is not that "strong" actually and it can be destroyed mate so think again or go and name an undiscovered taxon before it's gone.


    Living in London won't be so large when it's underwater, a polar flip is instantaneous my dear. :Smile3:
     
  6. dave arc-i

    dave arc-i Guest

    Try Immanuel Velikovsky 'World's in Collision' First Published UK 1950 ISBN 0 349 13573 8

    Scientific heresay in it's day but scarily frightening today. proven existence of data to support at least 6 poleshifts since the earth was formed. Poleshift = mass extinction event and would make a 2km asteriod impact look like an average hailstone!
     
  7. Taika-Kim

    Taika-Kim Junior Members

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    What I said isn't some B$ misinformation, it's a fact.
    I think I placed my words quite badly when I said "nothing will collapse". Local ecosystems have been, and will most certainly be destroyed, but life on earth will go on, none the less. The world of humans is just an another state of the planet, just like the world without us would be. It's us who make the value judgement about if that's a good or a bad thing.

    "Nature" (in the way that many people see it detached from humans) isn't an equilibrium system, and the "balance of nature" concept that we can often read about even in newspapers is badly misguided.
    The perspective we humans have of the world is limited by our own life span and body size. Even though the course life is cyclic in nature, the direction is linear (and chaotic). Take two photographs of the same place with a time span of a million years, and they will probably look quite different. And if you went back the same million years, waited again and took the picture, it would probably be something completely different.

    The rate of extinction now is fast, of course, but nothing that hasn't happened before. Many species are unable to cope with it, and have been and will be lost. But not ALL, and that's my point.

    I also wasn't saying that we should accept what's happening, just that I hope people would get their facts straight.

    Back in the 60s many people were saying things like "oh, we will most certainly see a total collapse of the global ecosystem by the year 2000 if things go on like this". Oops, Jesus didn't come, let's just fix the date with a few decades...
    I'm a student of environmental sciences myself, and even in many university level books this same kind of predictions pop up here and there.

    I think people are severely understating the self-sustaining quality of life in general.

    What's B$ is the "sustainable development"-crap that everybody's so excited about these days, but I'll go into that some other time. (hint: these days it's mostly used as an argument in defense of the idea of continuous economical growth, which, I hope, is just a passing trend along with capitalism in the course of human cultural development...)

    I think my whole point here was:
    We shouldn't act because we need to protect life, but because we need to conserve the quality of it! (For all living things!)


    And about the pole shift:

    The world is full of misguided lone gunmen like the pole shift believers. I don't claim to be the ultimate judge on any issue, and I'm definitely not familiar with this particular story, but I think this particular risk is mostly imaginary since in all my years of studying these environmental issues I haven't ONCE heard of the whole thing.

    Just because you read a book about something and there might even be a bunch of people with a degree in some science that believe in it, doesn't make it real. Think Von Daniken & his insane UFOs-in-history ideas for example... Or the intelligent design-BS that's spreading around the world. (intelligent design=creationism clad in a scientific disguise)
     
  8. Technognome

    Technognome Professor of Ecognomics

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    Interesting discussion :Smile3:

    Could I ask both Subbie and Taika-Kim to provide internet sources for the current and previous rates of extinction so that I can become more informed. Yes I could google it but you two are the experts and I'd rather avoid the siffting the wheat from the chaff process. :Smile3:

    PHLUR :sun:
     
  9. Goz

    Goz Psy-Richard Staff Member

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    Not that i can provide any evidence to support either argument but is it not human arrogance to say that our actions will destroy all life on earth? This is patently untrue, as Taika says. Look at past extinction events ... the K-T event, for example, was said to be a time of massive pain and issue but life went on. Look where they find life now (in the water's of the dead sea or in the rocks of antarctica) ... life is very hardy. In the end we may well wipe out many thousands of species but as long as this includes us the planet will recover. Of course, if we blow the planet up with a very big bomb that is a slightly different problem ...

    A friend recently explained to me why it is that ozone levels elevate on hot days. Where does that ozone (an unstable molecule) come from? The answer is the trees. As the weather gets hotter the trees generate more ozone. In the end, it is thought, if the planet warms up too much the trees will release so much ozone as to poison all mammilian life on the planet (many types of insect will survive, however, as ozone is not posionous to them).

    The risk is real ... it will definately happen (F**k knows the reason but from what i've always heard this is fact not theory). The risk comes from the fact that during a poleshift there has to be a point at which the magnetic field collapses (opening us to lethal amounts of radiation and atmospheric loss from the sun). If this timed with a strong solar flare hitting the planet we would be kinda f**ked. However, noone knows how long a poleshift takes. It could take seconds (which would leave us very unlucky to get hit by a flare in the gap) or it could take centuries ...

    Anyway just my, admittedly somewhat uniformed, tuppence worth :Smile3:
     
  10. Technognome

    Technognome Professor of Ecognomics

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    Which would be OK if they were caused by the same effect...

    Maybe they were :smoke:

    I could make a case for such... but if we are going on standard theory they wern't so looking at them doesn't nessasarily prove things one way or the other.

    Since life is very hardy and we have the dubious advantage of intelligence, rellying on us leaving the building before everything else might not be prudent...

    PHLUR :sun:
     
  11. SkizZ

    SkizZ ChemicallyModifiedMammal

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    Eh? trees generating ozone? volatile organic compounds combine with nitrogen oxides on hot days producing ozone! these voc's come from the usual suspects i.e. cars, power stations etc.
    ground level ozone is a nasty pollutant that could kill plants but it doesn't hang around very long [being so unstable] and won't contribute to the Ozone layer 25km up. If the ozone layer is dramatically reduced pretty much all oxygen using lifeforms will be affected adversely - as plants either die or have their growth stunted thus leaving less food and oxygen for the higher lifeforms that are left [i.e. the ones with the lead coats on [or some insects]] some people also believe that the higher the earths temperature [the more greenhouse gases present] the more active the core hence volcanoes become more active and the sulphurs etc they produce could conceivably help reduce the ozone further - thus contributing to an increasingly vicious cycle - plus with sea temperatures rising the resulting super storms could also adversely affect the make up of the upper atmosphere plus decreases in oxygen levels in the deep oceans would also further exacerbate things by greatly reducing the earths ability to convert Co2... personally I'm into me mammals - I don't really give a shit about life forms that can survive 2kms down living off nothing but sulphur and salt water [as interesting as they might be] please correct me if I'm wrong with me facts but thats how I understand things i.e. we are fukt !!
     
  12. Goz

    Goz Psy-Richard Staff Member

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  13. Goz

    Goz Psy-Richard Staff Member

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    I'm not saying it does ...

    That may be true ... but considering they've found organisms living on/in lava i feel we are going to have to go a HELL of a long way to kill all life on this planet ... I'm not sure we even can ... bacteria adapts way too quickly ...
     
  14. SkizZ

    SkizZ ChemicallyModifiedMammal

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  15. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Member

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    Source www.newscientist.com

    "The recent surge in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which made front-page headlines around the world last month, may have been caused in part by smouldering peat bogs in Borneo.

    This is the claim of a UK expert on the bogs, who says that further fires will accelerate global warming. “Burning peat could be a major contributor to the as yet unexplained accelerating build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1998,†says Jack Rieley of the University of Nottingham in the UK. His warning comes as peat bogs in Indonesia began burning again last month.

    Atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the gas primarily responsible for climate change, have been rising since records began in 1958. The rate of increase has risen from around 0.8 parts per million (ppm) per year in the 1960s to around 1.5 ppm per year in the 1990s.

    Since 2000 the pace has accelerated further, with year-on-year rises of 2.1 and 2.5 ppm peaking with an increase of 3.01 ppm in the 12 months ending in August 2003 (New Scientist print edition, 9 October).

    There have been surges before. There were increases of 2.2 ppm in 1973, 2.5 ppm in 1987 and 2.9 ppm in 1998. But they have been restricted to single years and all coincided with the climate anomaly El Niño. The most recent is puzzling both because of its length and because it occurred in the absence of a strong El Niño.

    Rieley’s theory offers a possible explanation. He points out that the surge coincides with peat fires burning in Borneo since late 2002, and says this renewed burning is at least partly responsible for the new CO2 record. “Tropical peatlands are rapidly being converted from carbon sinks to carbon sources,†he says.

    The peat bogs of Borneo and the neighbouring territories of Sumatra and Irian Jaya are up to 20 metres deep and cover more than 200,000 square kilometres. They contain 50 billion tonnes or more of carbon – far more than the forests above. As farmers clear the forests by burning, the bogs catch fire and release carbon for months afterwards.

    In 2002, Rieley and his colleagues estimated that during 1997 and 1998 smouldering peat beneath the Borneo forests released between 0.8 and 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. That is equivalent to 13 to 40 per cent of all emissions from burning fossil fuels, and contributed to the CO2 peak in 1998.

    A biologist from Borneo told New Scientist this week that the fires have now returned. “During October, the atmosphere around Palangka Raya has been covered in thick smoke, with visibility down to 100 metres. The schools have been shut and flights cancelled,†says Suwido Limin from the University of Palangka Raya in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan.
    "



    Source: http://www.acia.uaf.edu/

    "New Scientific Consensus: Arctic Is Warming Rapidly
    REYKJAVIK -- The Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously known, at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to make it warmer still, according to an unprecedented four-year scientific study of the region conducted by an international team of 300 scientists.

    At least half the summer sea ice in the Arctic is projected to melt by the end of this century, along with a significant portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as the region is projected to warm an additional 4-7 C (7 to 13 F) by 2100. These changes will have major global impacts, such as contributing to global sea-level rise and intensifying global warming, according to the final report of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA).

    The assessment was commissioned by the Arctic Council (a ministerial intergovernmental forum comprised of the eight Arctic countries and six Indigenous Peoples organizations) and the International Arctic Science Committee (an international scientific organization appointed by 18 national academies of science).

    The assessment’s findings and projections are being released today and will be presented in detail at a scientific symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland, November 9-12, 2004.

    The assessment’s projections are based on a moderate estimate of future emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and incorporate results from five major global climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    “The impacts of global warming are affecting people now in the Arctic,†says Robert Corell, chair of the ACIA. “The Arctic is experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on earth. The impacts of climate change on the region and the globe are projected to increase substantially in the years to come.â€

    A Few Selected Findings

    • In Alaska, Western Canada, and Eastern Russia average winter temperatures have increased as much as 3-4 C (4 to 7 F) in the past 50 years, and are projected to rise 4-7 C (7-13 F) over the next 100 years.

    • Arctic summer sea ice is projected to decline by at least 50 percent by the end of this century with some models showing near-complete disappearance of summer sea ice. This is very likely to have devastating consequences for some arctic animal species such as ice-living seals and for local people for whom these animals are a primary food source. At the same time, reduced sea ice extent is likely to increase marine access to some of the region’s resources.

    • Warming over Greenland is projected to lead to substantial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, contributing to global sea-level rise at increasing rates. Over the long term, Greenland contains enough melt water to eventually raise sea level by about 7 meters (about 23 feet).

    • Should the Arctic Ocean become ice-free in summer, it is likely that polar bears and some seal species would be driven toward extinction.

    • Arctic climate change presents serious challenges to the health and food security of some Indigenous Peoples, challenging the survival of some cultures.

    • Many coastal towns and facilities around the Arctic face increasing risks from erosion and flooding due to rising sea levels, decreased sea ice, and thawing coastal permafrost.

    • Over the next 100 years, climate change is expected to accelerate, contributing to major physical, ecological, social, and economic changes, and the Assessment has documented that many of these changes have already begun.

    The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment was formally initiated in 2000 at the Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council at Point Barrow, Alaska as a joint project implemented by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Groups, and the International Arctic Science Committee. As specified in the Barrow Declaration, the goal of the ACIA is to “evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability and change and increased ultraviolet radiation, and support policy-making processes and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).†The Arctic Council directed ACIA to address “environmental, human health, social, cultural, and economc impacts and consequences, including policy recommendations.â€

    "
     
  16. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Member

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    People need to get it in their head that global warming isn't a "The Earth is going to die" problem. It is a "Humanity is going to die" problem.

    The Earth will be fine if CO2 rises. Life will be fine. We won't. Neither will many of the other species on Earth. However, lots of forms of life will thrive in an Earth with more UV radiation.
     
  17. Taika-Kim

    Taika-Kim Junior Members

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    That's so very well put!

    All plant life thrives under more co2, now the problem is that the climate is warming so much that the plants can't move fast enough polewards to survive... Trees especially will have problems since their lifespan is so long. (in the lifetime of one tree, the climate might have warmed by several degrees)

    And of course the +-4 celsius degrees that the climate is now believed to get warmer in the next 100 years is only an average. Local changes will be much more rough.

    And about the waves of extinction (I had to check this from a book...)
    There have been five previous times of great extinction, 440, 365, 245, 210 and 66 million years ago progressively. The biggest was 245 million years ago, when it's believed that almost all life on earth was destroyed due to some reasons not yet completely understood.
    Despite all the past extinctions (during of which, maybe 10-20% of all species of life was destroyed) the level of biodiversity is now the highest it has ever been in the history of the world.

    And some misc numbers:
    I about 600 million years, about 99% of species have disappeared and been replaced by new ones.
    It takes anything from 10 to 100 million years for the earth to recover from a big wave of extinction and new species evolve and take the place of the disappeared ones. So it's a long time to wait...

    Actually extinctions in the natural state speed up evolution when new niches (places & ways to live) are opened up... A bit like empty houses attract squatters, emtpy niches attract forms of life to take them :Smile3:

    The problem now is that in the case of human-induced extinction no new "space" is freed, but the old one is taken by us for ourselves.

    And yes, this is an emotional issue.
    Even though I know that even in the worst case everything will be fine in a thousand millennia, I damn well want to do everything I can to protect the life on earth NOW!
    The whole idea of earth recovering is more like a reassuring thought that I can embrace in all those moments when I see some new space cleared for some useless building project, forests fell or whatever...

    I think the Underwater Overground festival in Croatia this summer was a prime example: the old holiday resort had only been abandoned for 10 years and the forest was already taking over it. In 100 or 200 years time there won't be much left of the buildings... And that's very beautiful in my opinion.

    And remember, it's not only about biodiversity. If for some reason man disappeared now, a "natural" cycle of life would be evident everywhere on earth in a 1000 years time at most (just my own guess, don't quote me on that...)
    And what THAT means is that it's still possible for us to achieve that kind of cultural change that would allow for other species to live their own life on the earth, too.

    What we'll have to comromise is the "lebensraum". There's so many people now already, that we'll just have to accept SOME loss of natural habitats... And we'll also have to take man-made habitats for natural animals into account. Think of the restoration of forests for example: since there's so little old forests left that we'll have to speed up the accumulation of old decaying wood etc in the ones we have to conserve some species.
    So either we like it or not, mankind has to take a kind of gardener aspect in the future to manage this planet...

    And it's always important to think in long term.

    At least I believe that some beautiful day in the future mankind has progressed to the level when we don't have to worship technology anymore and we'll once again live more close to the nature (because that's what we've been genetically programmed to do, I believe ALL men have the call of the nature in their hearts) with more space for everybody... I think the planet wouldn't have a big problem with, say, only 500 million people. Turning the population down will take time, but the first signs can be already seen:
    A few years ago it was realised that the growth of population growth has stopped. So it's still growing, but at least it's not happening faster than before.

    The bad thing is, that considering the current world politics, the fucked-upness of western culture and the abysmal situation in the poor countries, it'll get a lot worse before it gets better :Sad:

    Sorry long post, dunno if anybody read this far, but I DO get carried away with these things...
     
  18. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Member

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    It is going to take a drastic and complete change in modern cultures entire way of thinking to save global warming from having some serious effects. Just planting trees isn't enough. This, by it self, is worthy of a 400 page essay and I am about to take an exam so I'll just throw that out there.
     
  19. dave arc-i

    dave arc-i Guest

    Details of the 'Lone Gunman'

    Immanuel Velikovsky b Vitelisk Russia 1895. Studied universities of Moscow, Berlin, Vienna and Edinburgh. From 1921 - 1924, he edited, with Albert Einstein, the Scripita Universitatae atque Biblotheque Hierosolymitarum, from which the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was to grow. In 1939 he emigrated to the USA.

    The mentioned reference was published in 1950 prior to the day's of new age thinking and aliens!

    A potential for causing a poleshift would be an action described as 'crust-fold.' The current thinking on crust fold (Charles Hapgood 'Earths Shrinking Crust' published 1958 - later republished as (?) 'The Route to the Pole') is to imagine an orange and if the fruit inside was to dry out (and shrink in the process) a loose skin would left with a space between the fruit (earths core) and the peel (the earths crust). If rotation is applied to the orange centrifugal forces would cause the peel to fold back around the remaining fruit inside. Just scale up your orange to the size of the earth and there you have it (shrinkage of the earths iron core would come from a reduction in temperature - cooling). Quite simplistic really. This theory would go a long way to explaining why the land mass at the south pole is rich in oil, gas and coal as at some time in the past (circa 300 million years) it would have been at tropical latitudes.

    Just because most people had never really heard of Osama Bin Laden on the 10th September that didnt prevent the events of the following day - harsh analogy maybe but just as valid as a counter to your never having come across this before. I do think theorys, presented by scientists (not 'out there' authors like von dunkin donuts) and that have stood up for 54 and 46 years respectively whilst not being conclusive certainly deserve at least consideration.
    I for one would not bet my life on this theory but until somebody comes along with something to disprove it (geology shows us the magnetic poles of rocks have changed as many as 6 times) I think it fits the bill!
     
  20. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Member

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    I've seen way too much evidence supporting it in classes I've taken to doubt that global warming caused by humans is happening.

    The problem is when people use this information to suggest that doomsday is upon us and the Earth is going to shrink up into a black ball. The fact is, we really don't have any idea what the results of global warming could do to both humanity and the Earths stasis. It is much too complex a system to give any definative projections as of right now. It is entirely possible there are factors that were have completely overlooked and others we have overestimated or underestimated.

    However, that is absolutely no excuse to keep burning fossil fuels at an atrocious rate and cutting down the rainforest. I look at it from two perspectives.
    1) Scientifically, we better not risk it and just hope that global warming isn't going to be a huge, dangerous wild card. There are so many ways humanity can clean up its act in reference to contributing to global warming.
    2) From the view of a dirty hippy, I don't think we can just spew out our garbage into the ecosystem and egotistically believe that there aren't going to be reprecussions. If research and resources in the past several decades had been focused on moving towards a more sustainable living, more efficient fuel sources and better waste management techniques instead of blowing eachother up... we might not be having this discussion. Plus, nature is pretty cool, maaan.
     
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