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Beyond Extreme Warming

  1. Feb 1, 2017 #1
    It seems Chip Knappenberger of the Cato Institute, who is considered something of a global warming skeptic, has made an interesting statement.

    “Natural variability is itself is becoming increasingly ‘non-natural’ as it includes influences which themselves are shaped by anthropogenic activities,” he said.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...natural-arctic-warmth/?utm_term=.23d08f787793
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2017 #2

    Evo

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    Geeze, we have 7.4 billion humans, with that comes the amount of cars, trucks, trains, planes, boats, homes and businesses to heat and cool, animals to care for, farming and ranching to be done, sanitation, water purification, and on and on. Destroying wetlands, rainforests, paving huge amounts of land. How could we NOT be affecting the climate?

    What I have always been against is faking data to push an agenda. I think it's bad enough without cherry picking and "tweaking" things. I have zero tolerance for dishonesty in science. You lose your credibility and once lost it's hard to regain. That happened and now good scientists are having to re-establish the credibility they lost due to the over-zealous few. I am glad that episode is over.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  4. Feb 2, 2017 #3

    Borek

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    Optimistic.
     
  5. Feb 2, 2017 #4
    Just a thought.
    I wonder how many animals, plants, fish, insects, birds people have been displaced from if we humans had never been here.
    ie the theoretical difference in biomass of the planet earth with or without humans.
     
  6. Feb 2, 2017 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    @256bits A concept in Population Biology is the carrying capacity of a given environment. Sort of an energy budget. It is the amount of primary productivity (photosynthesis minus respiration) left over for all of the consumers - herbivores and carnivores, for example. We have usurped a lot of that productivity.

    Ranchers use the Animal Unit Month concept - how many acres of pasture per month is required to raise one animal from birth to market. In a natural setting with no irrigation or added feed brought in this gives you an approximate idea of primary productivity. Where I am in New Mexico USA, this number usually given as 30AUM. So, 30 * 12 = 360 acres of grazing land for one animal. This is more than a half square mile. If land becomes overgrazed because of running too many head of cattle, AUM increases.

    Dairy cattle and beef cattle production exceeds AUM's available. So the deficit is made up by expending fossil fuel energy - pumped irrigation, hay trucks. The estimates of fuel I've seen indicate one pound of meat animal requires one gallon of fuel. For one cwt of milk it is more than that.

    So, the amount of displacement is not what you may think. We change the energy budget with fossil fuel. Which allows us to have lots of forests and national parks and urban sprawl, on the "free" AUM's.
     
  7. Feb 2, 2017 #6
    How do urban areas effect carrying capacity? i.e. the fact that if I have 1000 people sprawled out, they will tend to use more resources than 1000 people concentrated in a city that are sharing resources.

    -Dave K
     
  8. Feb 2, 2017 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    Paved land has much lower primary productivity than grasslands, usually close to zero. So urban sprawl requires lots of additional energy to support the dense populations.
     
  9. Feb 2, 2017 #8
    I am perhaps thinking of a different concept. Something I heard about from this person's research about scaling.
     
  10. Feb 2, 2017 #9

    jim mcnamara

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    Cities are more efficient - from our perspective - as they increase in size. His argument is based on infrastructure energy expenditure, what I mentioned is simply a basic ecological model of the food chain. Or, if you prefer, me==food, West==roads, sewers, stores, warehouses, housing. The city planners for Albuquerque here use his concept of increasing density of living spaces to cut the cost of infrastructure. They opt for multi-family dwellings. One house is torn down and replaced by two 4-plex dwellings, for example

    Home builders do this as well. All the new single family housing developments have way fewer feet of roads, sidewalks, pipelines and an increased number of homes per acre. Saves on energy in both building and maintaining things.
     
  11. Feb 2, 2017 #10
    Thanks Jim.
     
  12. Feb 2, 2017 #11
    the world wildlife federation estimates a seventy percent decrease in wildlife populations over the past 50 years
     
  13. Feb 2, 2017 #12
    One of the most important things to look at is where the things people consume come from. One hundred years ago, most of the food people ate come from close to where they lived. It was common for many to people to both make and repair the objects they used in daily life. A state of nearly total local self sufficiency has been the norm for most of human history.
    WIthin capitalist social organization, technology tends to develop in directions which maximize the expanded accumulation of capital, mostly by economies of scale via machines. Because the impacts of long distance transportation (climate change)
    , industrial agriculture (soil degredation, species loss, climate change, rural depopulation, concentration in land ownership), use of mechanical labour to replace human labour (energy consumption, net job loss, trades and craft techniques unable to compete),etc, are all externalized, this mode of production is described as being more efficient. However, it would be more accurate to describe it as allowing a greater portion of wealth produced to accumulate to a smaller portion of people.
     
  14. Feb 2, 2017 #13

    Evo

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    My fault, I just realized that this thread doesn't meet the new rules for discussion, but has been very orderly and I want to thank all for participating, but I must close it.
     
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