"Arctic warming at twice global rate"...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by TheMusicMan, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Just having an 'Earthy' moment after doing some catching up on NewScientist.com... thought I'd post here to get tMP'ers views.

    Is it time govermnents did a little more to help curb this impending change? Shouldn't all major polluting countries ratify the Kyoto Treaty?

  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yes we should...but the biggest single polluting country, the US needs to get on board too. And I don't see a major rush to do that while old "dubya" is president...:-?

    Still "every little helps" I suppose and maybe the rest of the World ought to take a lead and then try and drag America along with it.

    (well they could try... :rolleyes: )
  3. ComposerAndy

    ComposerAndy Member

    Problem is that no American president who trys to cut CO2 emmisions would ever be re-elected, and that sadly seems to be the chief aim above getting things done. He might do something now it's his second term and he can't be re-elected.
  4. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    The Kyoto treaty does have significant flaws in it, however a bilateral agreement with strict terms is need in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The problem is that the poorest countries will be affected the most as a result of global warming (flooding) and so there is no real incentive for the rich countries to gain momentum on the issue.
  5. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Whilst I agree that we need to do more to help our environment it should be borne in mind that these climatic changes are a naturally occurring cylic event. We are currently in a temparate period getting gradually warmer. Eventually, though probably not in our lifetimes, regardless of what hollywood thinks, we will be faced with another ice age. Don't fancy playing armistice service when that happens.:)
  6. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Unfortunately, it does often appear that if the USA didn't think of the idea first, then they are reticent to sign on*. The World Court also comes to mind, although I think Democrats such as Clinton and Kerry would have signed on to Kyoto. Am I mistaken in thinking the present Republican policy of GWB reflects a somewaht selfish attitude when it comes to world affairs?

    *Why are baseball, American football (grid-iron) and NASCAR the most followed sports in the US?
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah my thoughts exactly Brian. While "dubya" is in residence in the White House there aint gonna be no US signature on that document - last term in office or not.

    There are other problems too...in the UK we are constantly told to get out of our cars and use other forms of transport - but in my experience we have little choice but to use our cars. Public transport in this country is so inefficient, unreliable, dirty - but it will take someone with some big, radical ideas, and a long time to sort out - neither of which fit well into the political system. So I fear we are going to forever be talking around the problem, rather than delving in and coming up with a viable solution.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I don't have the figures to hand, but the only natural events that match the rate of increase we have seen in the last 30 years have occurred when a catastrophic(*) change of state in climate has been underway, such as a shift out of an ice age. These events occur on longer timescales than a human lifetime, so motivating the selfish politicians to take action on them is often difficult... Yes, the Earth will (probably) cool down (and heat up again) at points in the future, but we must take great care that our actions aren't (permanently or temporarily) changing the rules of the game by which the Earth's climate regulates itself.

    (*) To use the word in its technical sense of 'a shift from one stable way of existing to another'.

    Let's see what Google turns up:

    Lots of scary official info here: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/WG1_TAR-FRONT.PDF, including plots of globally averaged temperature year on year for the last 1000 years (for example, the lower plot on page 9).

    Some more long-term plots are here: http://geology.isu.edu/geosciences/G100/Global_Climate_Change_for_web.pdf; starting on page 11 we have plots of the last 800,000 years, the last 150,000 years, the last 18,000 years, the last 1,000 years and the last 140 years. From these, we can see that the next 50 years is a 'make or break' period - if the current rate of increase is sustained, we will have passed beyond any historically precedented average temperature in the last ~1,000,000 years (I have not been able to find data for before this).

    Electricity from fusion power is the answer!
  9. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    In between fending off packs of marauding sabre tooth cats and all they probably didn't have time to keep records.:)

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