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  1. #21
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    Somewhat related to the whole disaster scenario.. why are all climate changes considered to be bad? An increase of disruptive weather, a decrease of workable land, etc.
    Change carries frictional costs.

    Think of it like a house. If you are sitting in room temperature room and the temperature rises or falls, it's going to be less ideal. In a similar way, if the change is small and reaches a new equilibrium, then you can add more insulation, change windows, open windows... whatever. But that carries a cost to you.

    Are we (or were we) at a perceived peak of environmental stability and productivity?
    We are at the human-stable peak of stability and production, so to speak.

    Anyway, the changes in global warming take so long that the real issues aren't with the temperatures - least, not in the next few decades. Tying global warming to catastrophic political issues has a lot more to do with economic issues, like barriers and restrictions and political issues, like industrializing the rest of the world (poverty, etc.)

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Change carries frictional costs.

    Think of it like a house. If you are sitting in room temperature room and the temperature rises or falls, it's going to be less ideal. In a similar way, if the change is small and reaches a new equilibrium, then you can add more insulation, change windows, open windows... whatever. But that carries a cost to you.



    We are at the human-stable peak of stability and production, so to speak.

    Anyway, the changes in global warming take so long that the real issues aren't with the temperatures - least, not in the next few decades. Tying global warming to catastrophic political issues has a lot more to do with economic issues, like barriers and restrictions and political issues, like industrializing the rest of the world (poverty, etc.)
    So why do you often argue that we need to decrease our CO2 emissions and even go so far as to remove it from the atmosphere, when you yourself say the threat from catastrophic temperature change is not there and is nothing more than a political issue? CO2 levels are going up and the temperatures are going down, so I don't see the logic. I'm trying hard not to derail this thread, but I have to ask.

  3. #23
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    Think of it like a house. If you are sitting in room temperature room and the temperature rises or falls, it's going to be less ideal. In a similar way, if the change is small and reaches a new equilibrium, then you can add more insulation, change windows, open windows... whatever. But that carries a cost to you.
    Not always. Someone living in a very cold climate might welcome a slight increase in temperature - cheaper heating bills/costs, longer growing season etc. For example...

    We are at the human-stable peak of stability and production, so to speak.
    What do you mean by this? (I'm not being assy - genuinely asking)
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  4. #24
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    So why do you often argue that we need to decrease our CO2 emissions and even go so far as to remove it from the atmosphere, when you yourself say the threat from catastrophic temperature change is not there and is nothing more than a political issue? CO2 levels are going up and the temperatures are going down, so I don't see the logic. I'm trying hard not to derail this thread, but I have to ask.
    Without derailing the thread, suffice it to say that Greenhouse emissions are generally attributed to fluctuations in temperature (as I'm certain you already know.)

    Greenhouse gases are compounds like Carbon Dioxide, Aerosol-based Nitrous oxides and Ammonium. (Many more exist, these are just a few examples.) Greenhouse gases absorb light and, in turn, help to increase variations in temperature by emitting harmful residual radiation.

    Things like deforestation; unfiltered industrial waste and irresponsible vehicle emission standards contribute to the increase of these noxious agents into our atmosphere. As heavily-populated nations industrialize (think China, India, Brazil) as a means to compete economically, so too does their reliance increase on inexpensive means to produce energy (Chinese dependence on coal is a good example of this -- chemical emissions alongside erosion of valuable topsoil has degraded vast amounts of farmland and has placed China alongside the world's top Greenhouse gas producers).

    Obviously, economics and environmental sensitivity make uncomfortable bedfellows. What is economically viable isn't always environmentally friendly. This is where politics and science become commingled.

    As an aside, there is some degree of probability that climate change is connected to natural variability -- patterns in solar energy/natural distributions in historical temperature change across climate zones -- yet, the empirical likelihood that human influence contributes to erratic temperature change cannot be responsibly ignored.

  5. #25
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    So why do you often argue that we need to decrease our CO2 emissions and even go so far as to remove it from the atmosphere, when you yourself say the threat from catastrophic temperature change is not there and is nothing more than a political issue? CO2 levels are going up and the temperatures are going down, so I don't see the logic. I'm trying hard not to derail this thread, but I have to ask.
    Dealing with the second point, your reference to removing from the atmosphere would be my tongue in cheek comment regarding the idea that humans are not influencing the environment. If you truly believe that the human production of CO2 is having no influence, then scrubbing it should be no big deal. In reality, we produce an astronomical amount and the CO2 ppm is steadily rising.

    Climate change is inherent - climate is in constant flux. Normally the world bounces around within its buffer zone, warming and cooling. What we are doing is loading those buffer zones up, such as with CO2, and gradually changing the range and volatility of the swings.

    The reason why I am for reducing CO2 emissions isn't unique to CO2, I make the same comments to sustainability. The economic question here is if by burning up and having a large scale influence in the present, we will be wealthy enough to deal with the problems of the future. In reality, this is like ignoring or over-working the body when young so that you have enough money to fix it in the future.

    Of course, this can work... but change is a requirement. Exponential growth forces that issue. And just like with people, for it is a people problem, it is better to get them to start exercising now - or conserving now. This causes behavior and patterns to emerge - technology and societies - to support the change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    Not always. Someone living in a very cold climate might welcome a slight increase in temperature - cheaper heating bills/costs, longer growing season etc. For example...
    No, it would be of very little gain to them. They have already insulated their house to be at the temperature they desired. By having the temperature increase, their sunk cost into their home is larger, making it less efficient. The same goes in reverse (notably for those in a hotter climate that must now make large scale changes to return to norm).

    You can replace "home" here with agriculture or similar. A warmer climate isn't going to have agricultural grounds that have been developed, both in terms of land and in terms of (human) capital. While we lose some land to heat, we do not gain a proportional amount except in the long run; further, to develop that land, we need to do a massive capital change.

    What do you mean by this? (I'm not being assy - genuinely asking)
    I tried to describe it above. I mean, essentially, that change carries an inherent cost, and that if there was a more productive way of distributing resources in our current situation, we would of done it. Therefore, we are at (approximately anyway) the ideal production configuration.

    Any change will cause us to move away from this, forcing resources away from production.

    The examples above may seem small. Replay that scenario with fresh water... yes, we can survive it. Desalination plants, for instance. But it carries a very large cost.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    ptgatsby: I can agree that change can be painful and costly. However, that in itself does not validate the current state of the environment as the ideal possible state. Certain environmental changes could increase farmable land, reduce soil erosion, etc., even if such changes create localized hardships for certain peoples.

    My point is that pretty much every environmental change is considered to be bad, and this rubs me the wrong way, as one might expect there to be tradeoffs at the very least.

    I also have to disagree on your counterpoint to colder climates. You can only insulate your house so well, and after a point it's propped up by heating which costs money. Longer, colder winters carry a substantially higher cost in energy consumption. Not only energy consumption, but cold winters are harder on one's health. Longer growing seasons are of benefit to farmers (early frosts or late thaws are harmful).

  7. #27
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    No, it would be of very little gain to them. They have already insulated their house to be at the temperature they desired. By having the temperature increase, their sunk cost into their home is larger, making it less efficient. The same goes in reverse (notably for those in a hotter climate that must now make large scale changes to return to norm).

    You can replace "home" here with agriculture or similar. A warmer climate isn't going to have agricultural grounds that have been developed, both in terms of land and in terms of (human) capital. While we lose some land to heat, we do not gain a proportional amount except in the long run; further, to develop that land, we need to do a massive capital change.
    I don't think I agree with this. First of all, 'sunk cost' is sunk cost - if you rip out your insulation, you've still paid the same amount for it that you would have if you hadn't ripped it out, for example.

    Related to what Feops has said, a longer growing season is definitely desirable. There are a lot of places on earth that are only inhabitable because everything/most things are shipped in - basics - food, fuel etc. Take Nunavut for an example - a friend of mine is living up there right now working on his PhD, and they ship *everything* in at huge cost. Wouldn't it be a clearly preferable situation to be able to grow some food and materials (I'm thinking trees here - building materials + fuel) up there than the current situation?

    My point is that pretty much every environmental change is considered to be bad, and this rubs me the wrong way, as one might expect there to be tradeoffs at the very least.
    This is basically my feeling, too. Assuming I buy into manmade global warming (which I don't) but assuming I do, I've often thought that a few degrees warmer might actually, in some ways, be of benefit to northern countries like Canada, Scandinavia and Russia etc. So much of our (Canadian) land is basically uninhabitable right now - warm all that Arctic up a little and we might be sitting pretty. More arable land, more/easier access to fuel sources and transport lanes (I'm thinking waterways here), cheaper living costs in terms of fuel consumption to heat abodes etc.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    ptgatsby: I can agree that change can be painful and costly. However, that in itself does not validate the current state of the environment as the ideal possible state. Certain environmental changes could increase farmable land, reduce soil erosion, etc., even if such changes create localized hardships for certain peoples.

    My point is that pretty much every environmental change is considered to be bad, and this rubs me the wrong way, as one might expect there to be tradeoffs at the very least.

    I also have to disagree on your counterpoint to colder climates. You can only insulate your house so well, and after a point it's propped up by heating which costs money. Longer, colder winters carry a substantially higher cost in energy consumption. Not only energy consumption, but cold winters are harder on one's health. Longer growing seasons are of benefit to farmers (early frosts or late thaws are harmful).
    Exactly. Plus, it is doesn't strike me as being intelligent to try and modify our environment (remove CO2 from the atmosphere) and harm our productive capacity and the development of poorer nations (capping CO2 emissions) when policy makers are not scientists, and do not know exactly what part CO2 plays in the atmosphere in relation to ALL of its effects (temperature, climate, environment, effects on plants, animals, etc. etc.). ALL of the implications have to be considered before you go around and consider it a good idea to essentially ban and remove a compound that is as natural as... the air I breathe and exhale. There is just no intelligence behind it. Yea, you might argue that we should remove the CO2 we produce to try and leave the environment untouched, but hell, for all you know increasing the amount of CO2 in the air might increase agricultural production, or increase plant growth and thereby support the growth of everything up the food chain. Or perhaps removing CO2 from the atmosphere would have adverse effects on the climate and temperature? Even the scientists don't have a full grasp of all the effects and how these different variables behave, and policy makers have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE OR ABILITY TO SEE BEYOND 1/2 A STEP AHEAD OF THEM. The entirety of the global warming movement has been unfathomable ignorance piled upon heaps of dinosaur excrement.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    My point is that pretty much every environmental change is considered to be bad, and this rubs me the wrong way, as one might expect there to be tradeoffs at the very least.
    It's always considered costly. The trade offs have been explored by economists, FWIW. They are also negative, on balance, but as I said earlier, the change is slow and not considered a large problem. However, I'm only talking about the costs of change, as far as this thread goes - the talk about collapse from global warming is generally ridiculous. It's too slow, and we will adapt. It will, however, be a costly change, and grow exponentially more costly. The reduction must happen eventually. You mention small changes, which we can absorb, adapt and so forth. But the influence is exponential. Eventually the environment will push back. Due to the abruptness and exponential curve line, nevermind the danger of overunning any buffers we are unaware of, the longer it goes, the higher the costs - for change, and the eventual equilibrium we reach. In the worst case, extinction level events are possible, if for example the ocean buffer was overrun. Not likely, and it'd take well more than the century that is being talked about for global warming, but puts the scale of our influence in perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    I don't think I agree with this. First of all, 'sunk cost' is sunk cost - if you rip out your insulation, you've still paid the same amount for it that you would have if you hadn't ripped it out, for example.
    This is an open ended situation. Any change in temperature carries an absolute cost to one end. An increase to the cold simply nullifies the payments (the capital) that they sunk into surviving the status quo: now the cost is transferred to those that need to make changes. You cannot focus only on one side.

    In aggregate, someone loses, no one gains - directly, I mean. The cost of change is always negative sum effect. The end effect may or may not be positive on the balance, but it is always costly to get there.

    Related to what Feops has said, a longer growing season is definitely desirable.
    The seasons do not change, the range of temperatures in which we can grow does not change, only the band around the planet where temperatures are suitable would change.

    You use northern Canada as an example. It wouldn't matter if it did warm up by 5-10 degrees. The land would remain rocky and unsuitable, most of the topsoil was eroded during the last ice age. The sun would still only be available half the year. The land would still freeze during the other half. Because the territory is not suitable for growing in the present, it does not have an ecosystem that would support agriculture. On the other hand, the temperate zones do, as they have churned their own land due the the growth and animal life there. Due to the stable effect of the climate, and the relatively slow progress that climate change has, these lands are settled and dense, and produce the majority of our crops. That land would be affected as well.

    If you increase the temperature to regain land in the north, you lose land already suitable for farming. That's a hard and fast rule of a system that encompasses the whole range of temperatures. You simply take a band of land around the world, and redo where the band would be. Then migrate humans, capital and so forth to those locations.

    It may help with mining, given that the advantages in the north tend to be related. And it will likely hurt the major oil producers in the middle east. Make India less hospitable... and so on, and so on.

    Again, this has been studied, and on balance is considered negative. But only over a long period of time, which is why it is irrelevant to the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Exactly. Plus, it is doesn't strike me as being intelligent to try and modify our environment (remove CO2 from the atmosphere) and harm our productive capacity and the development of poorer nations (capping CO2 emissions) when policy makers are not scientists, and do not know exactly what part CO2 plays in the atmosphere in relation to ALL of its effects (temperature, climate, environment, effects on plants, animals, etc. etc.).
    We are already modifying our environment - that's the point of my tongue in cheek comment. Conceptually, you cannot be against massive geo-engineering to remove carbon if you do not think that the carbon is having an influence. Outside of cost, obviously.

    Even the scientists don't have a full grasp of all the effects and how these different variables behave, and policy makers have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE OR ABILITY TO SEE BEYOND 1/2 A STEP AHEAD OF THEM. The entirety of the global warming movement has been unfathomable ignorance piled upon heaps of dinosaur excrement.
    And so it is ok to pump the carbon into the atmosphere, but not ok to remove it. Why? If you follow your train of thought, it is logical to prevent co2 buildup because we do not know the effect. We are already geo-engineering. We extract over 4 billion tons of oil a year and burn it. 104 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, burnt. 8 million tons of coal.

    That's so massive that the concept of holding back because we don't know the influence is not relevant. We are engaged in geo engineering on a scale that is utterly impossible to duplicate except in a global free market environment. To counteract this, even at an efficiency level a magnitude better than the consumption side, would be impossible.

    That's the tongue in cheek part - the immensity of what we are doing makes it infeasible to actually do anything about it. Yet, that gets turned around saying we shouldn't do anything because it would disrupt our environment in unknown ways. The gap between these two should be about cost: energy is important to have, cleaning up may be less so. But at its heart, the argument itself is ridiculous.

    It's about economics, not climate change. I strongly dislike the politics of global warming. But it goes both ways - those that think it is only politics and is a joke, and those that embrace it as a political tool.

  10. #30
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    only the band around the planet where temperatures are suitable would change.

    You use northern Canada as an example. It wouldn't matter if it did warm up by 5-10 degrees. The land would remain rocky and unsuitable, most of the topsoil was eroded during the last ice age. The sun would still only be available half the year. The land would still freeze during the other half. Because the territory is not suitable for growing in the present, it does not have an ecosystem that would support agriculture. On the other hand, the temperate zones do, as they have churned their own land due the the growth and animal life there. Due to the stable effect of the climate, and the relatively slow progress that climate change has, these lands are settled and dense, and produce the majority of our crops. That land would be affected as well.

    If you increase the temperature to regain land in the north, you lose land already suitable for farming. That's a hard and fast rule of a system that encompasses the whole range of temperatures. You simply take a band of land around the world, and redo where the band would be. Then migrate humans, capital and so forth to those locations.
    Is this a fact? Anyone can answer and again, I'm genuinely asking - I don't know. Is there a finite amount of warm vs cool temps on earth and they only change places but never increase or decrease in total?

    The cost of change is always negative sum effect.
    Hmmmm. Don't like the word "always" in here. Again - fact? Truth?

    Any change in temperature carries an absolute cost to one end. An increase to the cold simply nullifies the payments (the capital) that they sunk into surviving the status quo: now the cost is transferred to those that need to make changes. You cannot focus only on one side.
    I was talking about a nation state - couldn't something that benefits Canada hurt a country that...isn't Canada? And no, I am *not* advocating this! Or am I? Look out, world!
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