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An Inconvenient Truth

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Jeff Gluck, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. D.Sanchez

    D.Sanchez Member

    There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

    The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

    To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

    A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

    To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

    Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”

    Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.

    Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

    Newsweek, April 28, 1975

    Thank god political leaders didn't take any "positive action" or imagine the warming problem we would have today.
  2. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    "Well, I just saw the movie and I have one thing to say: Al Gore is a Godless person who is guilty of Slander and Treason and should be shot."

  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Count me in as interested to see it, too. Will discuss when I do. :)
  4. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    But it's all bunk of course because Gore may fly in a private jet.

    I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    And when in doubt about matters of science, you can never go wrong checking out what Dr. David Suzuki has to say.


    One of the reasons why the skeptics have achieved prominence completely out of proportion to their small numbers is that they have exploited the media’s drive for balance in reporting. Journalists are trained to identify one position on any issue, and then seek out a conflicting position, providing both sides with roughly equal attention. Unfortunately, the “balance” of the different views within the media does not always correspond with the actual prevalence of each view within society, and can result in unintended bias. This has been the case with reporting on climate change, and as a result, many people believe that climate change is still being debated when in fact it is not.
  5. Let's play some more.
    In 1972, Republican president Richard Nixon signed into law the creation of the EPA. Twenty-odd years later, Republican congressman Tom Delay compared the EPA to Nazis. Republican president Teddy Roosevelt fought for and won passage of the Estate Tax that the modern Republican party wants to kill, their most recent attempt being this week. History has sharp edges and can hurt the inexperienced and the unwary. The Clinton point is so far off the topic it's orbiting Neptune, and what Larry David's wife has to do with anything is beyond me as well. Scooping up whatever's on the blogs, I guess.
    HH -- The "cyclical" theory gets pretty well demolished in the peer-reviewed literature and in the movie.
  6. Just answer the question - does Gore fly in a private jet? Yes or no.
  7. Jeff Gluck

    Jeff Gluck Member

    Not in the movie he doesn't. He goes through airport security like everyone else.

    And I'm surprised to hear about Ebert and Roper's reaction, because Gore directly addresses the "cyclical" theory.
  8. Kevlar

    Kevlar Member

    The cyclical question is far too complicated to be addressed then dismissed in a movie. Or by the "peer literature."

    That said, I'm on Gore's side. Something has to be done.

    Why does the phenomenon of global warming have to be caused by one or the other, cyclical or greenhouse gasses? Who says it can't be both?
  9. Actually, HH, not only can you not find peer-reviewed literature on one side of the srgument but, as the movie makes quite clear, the "science" on the other side of the argument is largely produced and financed by the industries with the most to lose and is aimed directly at creating a political climate in which the whole thing is dismissed as "too complex," or "Unclear." There is a very compelling comparison with the "tobacco science" that kept the Feds at bay for three decades.
  10. Kevlar

    Kevlar Member

    I hate to further politicize an already political issue, and I'm not about the Democrat vs. Republican b.s., but the truth is that nothing is going to change on the environment until a Democrat gets into office. The Executive Branch is too indoctrinated, if that's the right word, with the mentality of ignoring the environment in favor of issues Republicans feel are more pressing. Whether they are right or wrong, change isn't going to come until there's a change in party. Sometimes I hate that our 2-party system makes it such, but that's the way it works in this country.

    Ditto other issues like stem cell research.
  11. D.Sanchez

    D.Sanchez Member

    Discover Dialogue:
    Meteorologist William GrayBy Kathy A. Svitil
    DISCOVER Vol. 26 No. 09 | September 2005 | Environment

    Photograph by Jeff Wilson
    Meteorologist William Gray may be the world’s most famous hurricane expert. More than two decades ago, as professor of atmospheric science and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, he pioneered the science of hurricane forecasting. Each December, six months before the start of hurricane season, the now 75-year-old Gray and his team issue a long-range prediction of the number of major tropical storms that will arise in the Atlantic Ocean basin, as well as the number of hurricanes (with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more) and intense hurricanes (with winds of at least 111 mph). This year, Gray expects more activity, with 15 named storms, including 8 hurricanes. Four of them, he says, will be intense.

    You don’t believe global warming is causing climate change?

    G: No. If it is, it is causing such a small part that it is negligible. I’m not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and ’40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle ’40s to the early ’70s. And there has been warming since the middle ’70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.

    That must be a controversial position among hurricane researchers.

    G: Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don’t know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, “Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related.” Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn’t mean that one is causing the other.

    With last year’s hurricane season so active, and this year’s looking like it will be, won’t people say it’s evidence of global warming?

    G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

    Why is there scientific support for the idea?

    G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing—all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

    Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

    G: I can’t be sure, but I think that’s a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.
  12. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    A lot of these so-called "skeptics" could probably be hired to question evolution which as we all know, is just a "theory".
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