Help me refute this guy on climate stuff. (in Off-topic)

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 5 2007 4:11 PM EST

Now, I'm not a climatologist or anything, but I believe that the evidence for climate change (global warming or whatever you call it) seems to weigh heavily on the side of humans contributing heavily to the change of climate as opposed to humans not having any impact on the global climate.

Now, here is where you come in: This guy at my work seems to like proving himself right, which is why I came in this morning to find a number of emails that he seems to believe are proof that humans have no impact on the global climate. I don't know how to refute his claims intelligently because no matter how sensible my critiques of his logic are, he always finds a reason why his point of view is 'correct' and other points of view are wrong on this issue.

Help me refute him on this issue, please! :)

Here is the proof he gave me:
Earth's Climate Changes in Tune with Eccentric Orbital Rhythms

Global warming nothing but a paper tiger

Look to Mars for the truth on global warming

Caedmon [Revenge of the Forgers] February 5 2007 4:26 PM EST

Link 1: Doesn't mention global warming. Of course the earth's climate goes through cycles, so do stock prices. But it doesn't preclude a trend in addition to the cyclical motion.

Link 2: Al Gore is not the end-all-be-all of the scientific community. His movie intentionally presents material for a mass audience, and in a 2 hour time frame to boot. It should never have been expected to hold up to scientific scrutiny by itself. Ad hominem attacks don't impress me, either.

Link 3: Show me Wegman's original papers, and we can talk. Don't wave a third-hand partisan review and claim you've got evidence of anything. That is, same argument as Link 2. Mass media presentations aren't scientific evidence.

If this person wants to disbelieve global warming, or mankind's role in it, or wants to claim the earth is flat, or 6000 years old, or was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster himself, fine by me. But get some real evidence, because I'm a busy guy.

Lochnivar February 5 2007 4:52 PM EST

The standard response I use when dealing with discussions like this is to eliminate the speculation (and yes that includes firm conclusions on what exactly is happening in terms of global warming).

The basic point you should assert is that the activities of man are having a negative affect on the environment. There are many examples of the negative impact of pollution (back as far as good old London Smog). Acid rain, asthma increases, wild life deaths and so have been documented and the connection is clear. Heck, rent 'Erin Brocavich' (sp) if you like as it makes the same point.

Regarding the specific articles:
The argument on natural green-house gas emissions is essentially smoke and mirrors. Claiming that the millions of tons of crap getting pumped into the atmosphere is irrelevent because there is more from natural sources is falacious reasoning. It is akin to pleading not guilty to stabbing someone because they had already stabbed themselves. It is a suitable argument for very young children and very stupid adults.

Furthermore, the notion that the fact we can't eliminate greenhouse gasses entirely means we shouldn't try is obtuse. All manner of human folly fall into the minimize not eliminate catagory (crime, war, pollution, etc).

Meh, people like that irritate me.

Note * the National Post is arguably the least reputable national paper in Canada. The only exception being the Toronto Star insisting that the Leafs are going to win the cup every September.

Adminedyit [Superheros] February 5 2007 5:14 PM EST

It's really simple the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Enjoy the ride.

muon [The Winds Of Fate] February 5 2007 7:35 PM EST

I guess it's an argument of time frames.
The human CO2 output is quite small with respect to, for example, the output of greenhouse gases from volcanoes.

So you might say "well, volcanoes have been around forever, and thus our emissions are negligible in comparison."

But, if you look at the time frame - the CO2 levels have risen by something like 100 ppm in the last 200 years, which is an enormous shift in that timeframe. It is almost 70 ppm in the last 60 years, according to research into CO2/Volume done at Mauna Loa.

And, this is during a period of fairly reduced global volcanism.
I'm not an environmental scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but that is fairly telling data. Of course, the effects of such a sudden and dramatic shift in global CO2 per unit volume will probably not be felt for some time, given that global cycles may be decades/centuries/millenia long.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] February 5 2007 8:26 PM EST


i just had a presentation on this topic last thursday!!!!

Just google Fred Singer, hell tell you everything you ever need to know about global warming!

And my main point was that Al Gore has no idea what hes talking about with all this co2 talk...

Main focus of debate needs to be water vapor, not co2

And the main co2 emission coming into the atmosphere is from fully grown plants and trees, sure they clean the air while growing, but once there at their maximum potential, they release the co2 built up inside.

And they say CFCs need to be rid of in the world because they travel 6-30 miles up into the stratosphere? Well, how can they do that if they are heavier than air? The only things going that high up that are heavier than air are natural, like volcanoes

facts of co2 emissions:

51% of co2 emissions comes from plants and trees (fully grown)
45% from oceans
ONLY 3% from man made fossil fuels

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] February 5 2007 8:33 PM EST

plus, we cant even get the weather right more than 75% of the time, so whose to say the "facts" we have now are 100% accurate, and even so, the tempuratures weve been "experiencing" have been well in the limit of being normal...

Fred Singer

And boo to those people against deforestation, all they're gonna do is cut down fully grown trees to plant grass which never stops growing, so it will only clean the air AND feed cattle

Slashundhack [We Forge Our Own Stuff] February 5 2007 8:34 PM EST

Who's burning the trees though Pauly ?

Hi im Jake February 5 2007 9:05 PM EST


What you need to do is find a website that supports your theory

and make sure that the site is one that is supported by most of the scientific communtity. send it to him as he did to you

but remeber this-- a result of can only be supported never proven so he could be right. even though i dont agree he "might be" right on but the other hand we could be causing it like you think,

or you could go with the alien theory. on how they are slowly killing our planet to take it for them selfs

/me hopes this makes sense

Vaynard [Fees Dirt Cheap] February 5 2007 9:38 PM EST

I'm not going to weigh in on this at all, for fear of argument starting, but has anyone else read Michael Chrichton's book "State of Fear"? Great book, albeit fiction, that goes into a fictional version of our world where radical environmental groups seek to cause major events in order to blame it on global warming. The book raises several good questions that everyone should ask themselves before swearing up and down "Global warming are killing us!"

I am far from intelligent enough to resummarize them effectively, so I must recommend just reading the book. Again, it's fiction, but the questions are enough to make hopefully any of us think twice on global warming. And the brief opinion article at the end comparing the eugenics movement (weeding out the genetically inferior) in the US pre-WWII because of scientists claiming it's for our own good to the environmental movement is enough to raise serious concern.

Happy reading ;)

Shelingar February 6 2007 2:58 AM EST

"51% of co2 emissions comes from plants and trees (fully grown)
45% from oceans
ONLY 3% from man made fossil fuels "

This doesn't necessarily change the debate...

Consider a weigh scale... if we have two sides fairly equally in balance sometimes one side is a little more, and sometimes a little less the scale may tilt a little from side to side, but the overall effect is a reasonable balance.

Now lets say we now continuously add 3% to 1 side and one side only...

It might teeter a little for a while, but eventually the side with the extra is going to come crashing down.

So 3% doesn't seem that much ... but what if it is enough to tip the balance? Do we blame the trees? the ocean?

(A separate aside, I haven't seen your statistics, but would be interested in seeing a reference.)

Shelingar February 6 2007 3:06 AM EST

Sorry not meaning to pick on you specifically ... but...

"And they say CFCs need to be rid of in the world because they travel 6-30 miles up into the stratosphere? Well, how can they do that if they are heavier than air? The only things going that high up that are heavier than air are natural, like volcanoes "

And how do rivers carry stones ... or air carry pollution? Many pollutants are heavier than air ... suspended dust particles for one ... smoke ... ash ... numerous gases, etc.

One of the things that keeps our world living is the wind, rain and currents. Neither the air or oceans are static and moving things tend to drag along other things with them.

From what I've read you aren't talking about some great river in the sky of CFCs, but an increase in concentration that has enough effect to be damaging. The more CFCs that are in the air *anywhere* means it is more likely that some of it will get up higher through air currents.

Try watching some of the high level clouds some time. They move at a pretty rapid pace ... faster than you can drive your car probably and I've seen a lot of cars drag up big dust clouds of much heavier dirt particles than a molecule or two of CFC.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] February 6 2007 6:14 AM EST

Rocks in a stream, yea they may move with the stream, but do they ever hit air? No they never work their way up, just sideways... And i had a presentation on this topic, you think i just made it up? Of course i had a reference, i just dont remember the site. =/ And just because something bothers a cloud of something, that does not mean its going to disturb it enough to force it 30 miles up into anything.

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] February 6 2007 6:39 AM EST

Penn & Teller

I'm on the 'we aren't damaging the environment side. Warning: Video contains strong language although Jon seems to condone their documentaries :)

Shelingar February 6 2007 10:16 AM EST

I wasn't disputing the percentages you gave, as quite honestly they wouldn't surprise me, however they are in a sense in dynamic balance. Carbon is released and absorbed. There is (and was a lot more) carbon stored inside the forests of the world. It is a simple fact that cutting them down for fuel or land causes that stored carbon to be released.

As to the issue of whether "heavier" objects can fly. I'll point you to this:

This is just one example of particles heavier than air that can be flown thousands of miles. Every year in the pacific there are typhoons that typically stir up air right into the upper stratosphere (shearing stratospheric winds can actually halt the formation of a full blown typhoon and leave the storm center as a tropical depression).

And these are simply the most blatant examples of direct natural systems that can shift air, gases and particles across contintental distances or up into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Given the right conditions, pollutants (including dust or for that matter CFCs) can stay suspended in the air for weeks and can easily be taken further up as part of the natural weather cycle tthat occurs.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] February 6 2007 12:04 PM EST

and again, its natural effects that cause that. But that is not going to be enough to cause global warming anyways. And i understand something can be flown places via wind, lets take a feather for example, it flies through the air, but it doesnt make it very high because eventually it will hit the ground, same with anything else, it may get swept up by wind, or typhoons in your case. But even the little bit that even may make it into the stratosphere, does not stay there forever, i read somewhere that it dissipates after a while, dont know 100%.

Ugh, typhoon isn't in spellcheck, lol. Nevermind, the plural isn't in spellcheck, lol

Brakke Bres [Ow man] February 6 2007 6:53 PM EST

Positive proof!

Lochnivar February 6 2007 9:12 PM EST


Best! Argument! Ever!

Vaynard [Fees Dirt Cheap] February 7 2007 11:33 AM EST

Zoglog, thank you for that link! Just about done watching it, and I must say I love it! It's quite ironic how a strong and rational critique of global warming has to come from comedians to be heard at all. Penn & Teller are some pretty smart guys.

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] February 7 2007 12:11 PM EST

I love it and especially with the way that they show up the people who are so against it by showing that they actually don't know much about it at all.
To get hundreds of self-proclaimed environmentalists to sign a petition to ban water was ingenius.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 7 2007 11:04 PM EST

So then it's possible that we are causing global climate change (whatever that may be) to speed up; but that, whatever it is, would have happened anyways?

Duke February 7 2007 11:33 PM EST

Flamey February 7 2007 11:38 PM EST

Fex, the global temperature goes through a cycle, Right now it could be in process of that cycle where the temperature is rising, but no one is sure.

My teacher said 90% (approx.) believe that we are affecting Global Warming in some way and 10% believe it's completely natural.
(If you want proof, I don't have it and you don't have to believe it, because all teachers lie to their students)

Don't forget, it's not just fossil fuel emissions, We are chopping down forests, do you know what Trees do? they produce oxygen, especially rainforests, we're not saving them because they're pretty, we're saving them to keep species alive and the current relevant reason, they produce oxygen.

We are outweighing the balance (that someone was talking about) more carbon dioxide in the air now, regardless of Fossil Fuel emissions .

Duke February 7 2007 11:44 PM EST

Sir Woot February 7 2007 11:45 PM EST

I'm curious, does anyone know how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere when there is a major volcanic eruption? Anyone know what caused the last ice age or what ended it? I really would like to know.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] February 7 2007 11:51 PM EST

i dont think anyone read my posts above... i answered Sir Woots question, and *pointing at flamey*:

Trees fully grown do not emit oxygen, but instead release the co2 thats has been built up inside of them throughout their life growing.

So what they're doing is cutting down fully grown trees to plant grass that will feed cattle and clean the air forever, since grass never stops growing, cuz its either eaten or cut constantly. So gras will never reach its maximum growth potential to even start releasing co2 build-up.

Unappreciated Misnomer February 7 2007 11:55 PM EST

it could very well be that, a cycle , its hotter than it was, but that may or may not change, it would ahve to go the otherway(the cooler end of the cycled) first to prove that we provided little to no impact, but it if walks like a duck, sounds like a duck and looks like a duck...

as cancer attacks its host, are we just not doing the same. a drain, a virus, leach that only takes and never gives back to provide a balance to co-exist. can our hunger not be satisfiable? remember, money is a tool, but it has power to control people and shouldnt.

what ever happenned to the 'paper-less' workplace, if anything at school and work i see more and more use of paper, its easier to sit on my butt and click on the print button, contrary to back in the day i had to walk to the copier and do it manually, what has really changed? some say im pessimisitic, probably i am, i do also think that global warming is our fault, its like cramming too many people into a single house and there isnt enough living space, even to breath, earth is cluttered the same way, now with china and them now testing with nukes, its funny...the americans(no offense) want everyone to stop testin and or use of nukes, but yet who has the most nukes, mostly america. i can go on and on but yea, anyone want to see more there is that movie 'an inconvinient truth' to watch, enjoy

Shelingar February 8 2007 12:25 AM EST

smallpau... The issue I took with your first post was the statement:

"And they say CFCs need to be rid of in the world because they travel 6-30 miles up into the stratosphere? Well, how can they do that if they are heavier than air? The only things going that high up that are heavier than air are natural, like volcanoes "

Which is partly right but mostly wrong. Once particles or gases like CFCs get into the atmosphere they become part of the natural system and get moved around (including up) by winds, storms, etc. Sure they may come down again, but the atmosphere isn't static which means more will go up. If you increase the the concentration of *anything* in the lower atmosphere it will likewise increase the concentration in the upper atmosphere. That is just plain and simple chemistry and physics.

And like I said before it is about affecting the balance. Nearly all natural systems are dynamic. You can tip the balance if you push too far on one side. What is too far? It might be a little and it might be a lot. In some systems a .01% change will have a big impact in others a 5% change in one direction maybe completely counteracted.

CFCs had a measurable impact in studies because they cause a chain reaction breakdown of ozone. One CFC particle can do a lot of damage over time. Does this mean that CFCs are solely responsible? Of course not. Does the ozone layer go through cycles of thinning and thickening? Of course ... it is after all a natural dynamic system. But ... they can and do have an impact.

Consider this. Lets say we have an ocean with 1 type of fish and 1 type of shark. The fish spawn live and die. The sharks do likewise. Lets say the sharks eat 30% of the fish every year, but that the population of both remains stable because the fish breed enough to replace that many. This is dynamic ... fish are born and some live to die of natural causes while many get eaten by sharks. Along comes man and starts to fish. Man only takes 1% of the fish. But after the first year the fish are only at 99% of their original population. Each year from then on the fish population gets smaller and smaller... But how can we have an impact argues man the sharks eat much more fish than we do?

Now this is of course a simplistic example... but the purpose is the show that even small changes can impact a dynamic balance if the change is large enough that the system cannot naturally counter it.

Is man kind responsible for climate change? The answer is pretty much a yes from respectable, political neutral climate scientists. These aren't your environmental militarists or media seekers either.

What is the impact? That is largely up for debate. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issed an updated report last week. The funny thing is that the media has made a circus of it, despite the fact that the panel downscaled some projections.

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth for example talks about sea level rises of 7 meters by 2100. The IPCC consensus is around 40 cm. Not enough to impact most major cities or countries (with the exception of a few pacific coral island nations)

Don't get caught by the fringe movements on either side. If you want to know what the real view of the majority of climate scientists is, get a copy of the IPCC document. Its not as bad as the scaremongerers say, but there is an accepted impact... something that even George Bush Jnr acknowledges these days.

Vaynard [Fees Dirt Cheap] February 8 2007 12:29 AM EST

How can people claim Global Warming is destroying our earth? We know so little about our planet in the here and now that to claim to have figured out what will happen in the next century or two seems ridiculous. We can't predict the weather accurately for more than a few weeks but we can see what the next decade brings? Huh?

As for the argument of temperature increases, how much have they increased? How do we know this was caused by greenhouse gases? Any graphs I've seen show the increase, if there is one, in fractions of a degree. So say the temperature has gone up a degree in the last decade. How much of this is man-made? How do we know? Couldn't it be a natural occurance? Our world does go through natural periods or warming and cooling- see the historical documentary "Ice Age" by Disney for direct proof of this. With all the problems of our world today, should we really be devoting so much time and effort to worrying about unproven claims of us contributing fractions of a degree to the temperature of the world? Let's let the scientists study global warming to increase our understanding, diagnose any problem that may exist, and find solutions for the future. Right now it all just smells of politics.

And so much for me staying out of this lol. This topic has just been sitting here all day begging me to weigh in.

Shelingar February 8 2007 12:49 AM EST

Since someone asked for links:

IPCC Website
Download Summary For Policymakers

I highly doubt many people here want the full report, but if you do it should be on the website.

Shelingar February 8 2007 1:13 AM EST

Vaynard, you've hit a few nails right on the head.

Firstly ... its scaremongering like "destroying the world" which has largely caused the anti-climate change crowd to grow. Unless humanity does something royally stupid like blow the planet up, the Earth will likely be here long after humans die and life will go on or start afresh (assuming you believe Darwin's theories which is a whole other topic that I have no interest in debating).

Humanity is "changing" the world. Perhaps only changing the world faster than it would otherwise change normally, and some might even argue change the world for better. But that is precisely what the debate should be about. Should we justify extinctions we cause because they might have occured naturally? Should we justify fouling oceans and lakes because natural events like tsunamis, volcanoes and hurricanes do it?

The issue that we as a species should be looking at is determining what we do impact, how we impact it and what the likely future impact will be. Once we take personal ownership of our actions only then can we really make decisions about what to do about it *if anything*. Maybe people in Siberia and Mongolia wouldn't mind if the planet was a few degrees warmer. Maybe with some more technology we can artificially grow forests faster than nature can and then who cares about the so called lungs of the earth.

At the moment the attitude is pretty much do what you like and be damned with the consequences. Or worse yet, know that there are consequences but justify it on the grounds that China or some other place does it too. Like we are school kids justifying pulling a girls hair. "But she started it!"

Temperature changes: Even if the temperature changes by only .05 degrees a year that is still 5 degrees a century. Want to be here in 2500 when snow no longer falls anywhere on the planet?

Small amounts do matter... maybe not in our lifetime ... but should that be a justification? Lets leave it for the grandkids to fix eh?

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] February 8 2007 11:41 AM EST

by the way, phytoplankton it the main producer of oxygen as far as trees and such goes
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