I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.
As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
Talk about bollocks. Jez, the Earth's temperature earlier than the end of the last ice age is irrelevant to the discussion, because 1) temperature has been relatively stable since shortly after the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, which is coincidentally the period in which we've built up our civilization to depend on the current conditions, and 2) we are not due for another ice age for several thousand more years (though it's impossible to predict for sure) and no other cause of previous large temperature differences is currently a factor.
The claims about pollution being the main driver of the current warming are firmly established on the evidence and are the best explanation of what we see. Alternative explanations that have been investigated have all come up short. Or since you can't prove there are no gods, I guess that makes you a theist, yes?
Nobody serious suggests that we should all be living in mud huts and subsistence farming, but nice straw man. The models are, in fact, quite sophisticated and inclusive, and have provided reasonably accurate estimates. If you feed them starting conditions drawn from the evidence collected, they work. If you feed them garbage, they don't. That you would use a joke correlation to make your point is itself a joke, since the point of the joke is that correlation does not equal causation.
I thought the only thing left to argue about with climate change is if it's caused by human activity or not.
Interesting, since the debate seems to be two part from what I can see; Those who think it's not happening at all and those who think it is but humans aren't contributing.
To say "Caused by" human activity is part of the problem. Human are the primary contributers but there are other factors involved. One of my favorite analogies is smoking. If you're a smoker no one can say 100% for certain exactly how sick it will make you, how often, exactly what illnesses and when. But we can say 100% for certain that it is way bad for you, certain to cause more illness than if you weren't a smoker, and extremely likely to lead to nasty results A, B, and C.
Same with Climate Change. The climate does indeed change due to non-human causes. In the immediate we can never know precisely to what degree we are contributing, exactly what nastiness it will cause and when, (E.g.; "There will definitely be a cat 5 hurricane in this place at this date"). We are very certain that we get hit by an asteroid or something that major, we are currently the primary cause of climate change. The kinds of changes that normally take thousands of years are now taking decades.
It is this uncertainty-in-the-presence-of-variables that gives deniers doubt. Same way that a Creationist will argue: "You stupid scientists can't even decide to the exact date when Homo Sapiens emerged." No, we can't. We're within a range of tens of thousands of years, which to some means we know jack shit.
I suspect that the people who claim that the current warming cycle is a natural process based on observations of the Earth's long geological past and therefore we shouldn't go out of our way to do anything about it....well. Ok, are they saying that it's something natural and therefore untouchable.....and therefore....an act of God?
Climate denialists = closet theists. :-)
Personally I have beliefs but I don't actually care what's causing the planet to warm up, but I'm in Australia and have seen enough to know that every single extra degree is doing us damage. In desalination plants, in dying crops, in helping with global adhoc disaster management, in earthworks to combat rising sea levels, and in taking in or relocating climate refugees this is going to costs us all. Better to make the hard decisions now and put some big bucks into strategies that will actually fix the planet rather than spend another 15 years getting into pointless arguments over sunspots.
Australia should be winding down its' coal industry, not starting new mines, not employing more people in the mining industry, not planning ways to offset the coal industry's domestic emissions by finding approved offshore CO2 projects to invest in whilst ensuring that our coal industry remains untouched and that development of alternate energy sources remains grossly underfunded and unsupported. I'd like to see us become the world leaders in exporting tidal power technology and parts to the world but no, we're probably going to be the world's biggest exporter of fossil fuels in 20 years. It's pathetic.
I think that global warming is a very serious issue although in some cases it has been blown a little out of proportion.
I agree there are some folks out there who are a bit too crazy with the save-the-planet and unrealistic expectations on how to do that. It took us several decades to become dependent on oil and coal, it will take several more at least to become independent of them.
And the argument that the climate changes anyway whether we're here or not has some merit. The question is, to what extent do we want to hasten those changes - 'changes' being 'no longer able to support life as we know it or human life period.'
I'm going to die someday. Of that I am certain. But does that mean I should take on a KFC and Oreos diet and hasten that death? Not at all. I'll enjoy the occasional KFC and Oreos, but for the most part, I'd like to extend my 'climate' (life) as long as I reasonably can.