Is Climate Change Real? Polling Public Opinion on the Controversial Issue

In summary, the participants in this conversation have varying opinions on the issue of climate change. Some believe that it is a reasonable theory, while others are reserving judgement until there is more evidence. There is also a discussion about the purpose of a poll on this topic and whether it is a waste of time. Some believe that the consensus among experts is that anthropogenic global warming is real and we should act accordingly, while others bring up the issue of special interests and agendas. Ultimately, there is no clear agreement on the cause of global warming, with some pointing to human activity as a likely factor and others questioning its impact.

Do you support the theory that humans are responsible for Global Warming

  • Yes AGW is proven and is based on unimpeachable science

    Votes: 17 25.0%
  • No AGW is unproven and is based on flaky science

    Votes: 22 32.4%
  • Dunno but leaning towards Yes

    Votes: 25 36.8%
  • Dunno but leaning towards No

    Votes: 4 5.9%

  • Total voters
    68
  • #1

Art

Where do folk here currently stand on the issue of climate change?
 
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  • #2
I think there really should be two more choices in there saying something like

"AGW is a reasonable theory, not yet well proven, but likely will be"
"AGW is a reasonable theory, but will likely be disproven"

Anyway, my personal opinion is the first of those, which matches closest to your third choice.
 
  • #3
I would go with ""AGW is a reasonable theory, but too broad to say what parts might have some truth and what parts are just plain wrong"
 
  • #4
I would say that AGW is the most likely cause of the current warming.

But then I am not familiar enough with the complete theory behind what we call AGW to offer a learned opinion.

(If I was I would be tuning climate models. :smile: )

Therefore this poll is a complete waste of time.
 
  • #5
Skyhunter said:
I would say that AGW is the most likely cause of the current warming.

But then I am not familiar enough with the complete theory behind what we call AGW to offer a learned opinion.

(If I was I would be tuning climate models. :smile: )

Therefore this poll is a complete waste of time.

The purpose of the poll is to see where we stand on the issue. Why is that a complete waste of time?
 
  • #6
Mankind may be responsible for some of the GW.

I am reserving judgement pending more evidence and an independent review of various studies.
 
  • #7
Part of mankind is certainly responsible for some of the GW's in the world, of the shrubbery kind at least.
 
  • #8
Although I believe we are responsible for climate change, and I believe it is based on good science. I don't believe we will do anything about it. The only way out will be via some technological breakthrough, or a cataclysmic event, which will absolutely force us to do something.
 
  • #9
drankin said:
The purpose of the poll is to see where we stand on the issue. Why is that a complete waste of time?

What use is it to know where we stand on the issue?
 
  • #10
Theories cannot be proven to be correct but they can be falsified. There are strong clues for at least four cases of flaky science, the CO2 data mining from chemical measurements during the last two centuries (Keeling, Callendar), the hockeystick (Mann et al), the attempted assassination on the medieval warm period (Overpeck) and the unfounded twisting of the tropical storm expectation (Trenberth). Not hard what the most correct answer would have to be.

Better questions would be:

Is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere causing no / little / significant /warming?

Will a continued trend of the use of fossil fuel lead to a climate catstrophe?

Could a fair reduction of emision of CO2 prevent such a catastrophe?

What would it take to falsify anthropogenic global warming?

Perhaps showing with a physical radiation model that the increase of greenhouse effect is logartihmic and that signifant increases of Greenhouse gas have a continued decreasing effect?

Has been done

http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/CO2ghg-effect.GIF [Broken]

As this faint effect is well known, a strong positive feedback mechanisms are required to boost up the effect, perhaps falsifying positive feedback would falsify the alleged warming powers of CO2?

Has been done,
http://www.aai.ee/~olavi/2001JD002024u.pdf
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=162192

So what else would be needed?
 
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  • #11
Skyhunter said:
What use is it to know where we stand on the issue?

You are answering a question with a question.

We are here in the Politics and World Affairs forum to hear each others stand on issues. Might as well ask yourself why you bother to post at all if it is of no use.
 
  • #12
Hey that poll leaves out the obvious.

Since the industrial revolution Man has added billions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. To deny that human activity has any effect on the Earth's temperature is to deny that CO2 itself has any effect on the Earth's temperature.

Mans contribution to atmospheric CO2 has to be in the equation. We can't just deny or ignor it. I feel that there is ample proof that whatever CO2 man adds to the atmosphere will at the minimum cause tempertures to run over and above what has occurred historically.

Edit to add link:
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #13
I don't know, but too much is at stake to wait for everyone - esp amateurs - to agree. The consensus opinion among experts is that AGCC is real, so we need to act accordingly. It is the logical thing to do. Except for the experts, what we each believe about the science really doesn't matter.

We don't expect the average person to understand GR, and we can't take the time to prove it [that the model is accurate] as fact to each and every person, but we do expect them to accept it based on the expertise of those who do understand it.
 
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  • #14
I agree Ivan. But we do have a problem with special interests with an obvious agenda.



NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A think tank partly funded by Exxon Mobil sent letters to scientists offering them up to $10,000 to critique findings in a major global warming study released Friday which found that global warming was real and likely caused by burning fossil fuels.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/02/news/companies/exxon_science/index.htm
 
  • #16
drankin said:
You are answering a question with a question.

We are here in the Politics and World Affairs forum to hear each others stand on issues. Might as well ask yourself why you bother to post at all if it is of no use.

I admit I am here to discuss politics and world affairs. I like PF because the mod's here keep the discussions from descending into flame fests.

I disagree with every choice offered in the poll.

My opinion is global warming is probably caused by human activity generally; by CO2 and other GHGs specifically. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists, qualified to have a respected opinion about GW agree with me.

Even if CO2 does not contribute to warming, it still causes acidification of the oceans, independent of temperature.

That increase in acidity, the scientists determined, occurs regardless of how much of a global warming-related temperature rise takes place as carbon dioxide builds up to that concentration.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070322-10333700-bc-us-oceans.xml

If you find this poll to be valuable to your understanding of climate science as it applies to AGW then it is not a waste of your time.

I however see no point in knowing how people on this forum vote in what I consider to be a poorly constructed poll.

Reading others comments however is enlightening. :smile:
 
  • #17
Skyhunter said:
I would say that AGW is the most likely cause of the current warming.

But then I am not familiar enough with the complete theory behind what we call AGW to offer a learned opinion.

(If I was I would be tuning climate models. :smile: )

Therefore this poll is a complete waste of time.
This poll is posted in the P&WA section as opposed to the Earth Science section for a reason. I am not asking what people know from an expert viewpoint, I am asking what people think based on what they have seen, heard or read.

AGW has become a major political issue and certainly here in Europe it affects people financially already with the imposition of carbon taxes etc. and listening to politicians it will affect them a great deal more in the not too distant future. The Labor party in Britain for example is talking of limiting people to 1 short haul flight a year (not sure how you are supposed to get back home again :biggrin: )

To this end the burden of taxation is moving away from direct taxation such as income taxes to indirect taxation such as environmental levies. Now as there are elections in democracies and taxation policy is always a major factor in determining the people's choice ordinary people are going to have to form opinions on AGW as they are going to have to decide if it is something they are prepared to pay for and so for that reason all opinions no matter how uniformed are relevant.

The above straw poll is intended to give some indication of how the AGW argument is perceived in general and by implication just how prepared people here would be at this time to pay to address AGW and by their strength of committment a rough indication of how much they would be prepared to pay.
 
  • #18
I thought the spectrum of choices was black/white or wishy washy, I would likely have expressed my opinion in a series of statements. first the white.

Burning fossil fuels has added CO2 to the atmosphere and the proponderance of measurements support such. This is unimpeachable.
(In my own lifetime the constant for Henry's law has been changed(mole fraction of CO2))

That CO2 has the potential, exclusive of other variables, to trap heat. Indisputable. relatively simple physics.

That planetary science provides glimpses of what excessive amounts of heat trapping gasses can do the temperature of the planet when other factors are accounted for, ie Venus vs Mars. I'd say indisputeable here as well.

That for whatever reason the planet is in a warming phase with massive losses to the cryosphere. Indisputeable.

That there are powerful political and economic forces that impinge on what otherwise would be a scientific argument, with various agendae. Also indisputeable.

What is obvious that companys that produce, distribute or otherwise reap economic benefit from the burning of fossil fuels ahve a vested interest. I would also say that the pro AGW forces are not without bias, though I would differ with some as to the primary motive. Sometimes just getting funding to stay alive scientifically is not easy, especially when no short term breakthrus or technology can be promised. The surge in interest and funding has likely added a lot of yes men to the number of scientists researching the phenomenon. Fraud is also a possibility. But you either believe in the self-correcting methodology of science, or you don't. So far it has been spectularly successful on many fronts, so to this, I would add that the methodology over the long haul is unassailable. That politicians will exploit whatever data that supports their bigger plan, also beyond doubt. (curious that even GWB has come round--either the evidence has him convinced or he sees it as a political liability)

Now into the gray zone:

The evidence for higher CO2 levels leading to GW, circumstantial. You have a smoking gun, knowledge that bullets can kill, and a corpse, but did the suspect in custody pick up the gun after the victim was dead, or fire it into her heart. Forensic science has ways of addressing this, but with AGW, not so clear cut.

Are there accomplices? Is there some odd propitious combination of factors, which may be indepent of one another, yet add synergistically to account for the shrinkage of the cryosphere. Possibly. Sort of like disputing the existence of god. Yes the sun may be in a bit of a fury.

this may be good news, even in AGW is the problem, who can for sure be that the net effect will be negative? The planet has survived many such tulmultuous periods as has man and all of the species alive today.

Black: Why gamble? Even if the science is misinformed, shaky, or in flux, why not act in the interests of what might be helpful. Maybe others with different backgrounds have strikingly divergent views from mine, but in medicine we often provide remedies in the hopes that they may help. There are compelling arguments from a variety of sources who suggest, including Bush, that we are addicted to oil, and as a consequence, the world is subect to many destabilizing forces. And even if thru some magical alchemical process we could turn complex hydrocarbons into heat, water and CO2, is this the route we want to take? Gambling on the notion that if we see no obvious and immediate harm with the present course, that we should go full tilt ahead. In other words if the Earth is heating up, shouldn't we be concerned with measures that might slow the cooling, even if not a proven cause. Most docs see a fever and prescribe aspirin.
 
  • #19
Skyhunter said:
Reading others comments however is enlightening. :smile:


Thanks Denverdoc, for another enlightening comment. :smile:
 
  • #20
Andre said:
There is also a problem with agendas of warmers: the more scare the more funding, the more in the limelight. it's a way to get rich&famous or to gain a white house.

This is not about the White House it is about the world. GW was an issue with scientists long before Gore even knew about it. Warmers, as you call them, have little to gain compared to what big oil has to lose.

If you choose to believe Exxon's smoke and mirrors that is fine. Personally I want nothing to do with the opinions purchased by Exxon's "tobacco lobbyists."


A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the most comprehensive documentation to date of how ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/exxonmobil-smoke-mirrors-hot.html [Broken]
 
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  • #22
Skyhunter said:
Thanks Denverdoc, for another enlightening comment. :smile:

Not even sure what you mean, i thought it was a good post, fairly well reasoned without vitriol or sarcasm, and a rudimentary attempt to capture the various viewpoints into a coherent essay. Did I miss something?
 
  • #23
denverdoc said:
Not even sure what you mean, i thought it was a good post, fairly well reasoned without vitriol or sarcasm, and a rudimentary attempt to capture the various viewpoints into a coherent essay. Did I miss something?

I thought it was a great post.

I agree with your summary.

I found your perspetive to be enlightening.
 
  • #24
Skyhunter said:
Has anyone here yet considered the Sheep Albedo feedback?


Are you familiar with evolutionary biology? The moth change in coloration happened in a span of less than 50 generations. Whether we can do what corals have done and add appendages capable of symbiosis with a photosynthetic ally in the next 1000 years, doubtful. Whethar we need to eat algea, and turn green as a result, much more likely.:biggrin:
 
  • #25
Skyhunter said:
I thought it was a great post.

I agree with your summary.

I found your perspetive to be enlightening.
"cool" as they say, sorry if I misread anything.
 
  • #26
denverdoc said:
I thought the spectrum of choices was black/white or wishy washy, I would likely have expressed my opinion in a series of statements.
Very good post indeed.

I think circumstantial is a key word, as opposed to diffinitive.

I do modeling of complex systems and rely on integrated experiments, the whole system behaving in its intended environment (nuclear reactors), and on separate affects, which measure specific thermophysical or thermomechanical properties. Two things we need to be concerned about as modelers are: the environment is so hostile to materials that it is impossible to directly observe the materials we model, and secondly, we cannot put enough instruments into the system without affecting or changing the operating environment. Somehow we have to reconcile the measurable quantities (and states) with what we can measure in actual operating systems. The modeling is complicated because some state variables are path dependent, while others are not (they are simply cumulative), and the model and physics are highly non-linear. We actually do a pretty decent job, even when we do predictive analysis, but predicting too far out where we have very limited data and the predictions become very uncertain.

Now, the point I wish to make and ponder - is there a definitive experiment that demonstrates that current levels of CO2 are responsible for some portion of GW? Did someone take identical chambers of air+current levels of CO2 and air with much lower levels and determine that higher CO2 results in increased atmospheric (gas) temperature/enthalpy/stored energy. Does the thermal conductivity change (decrease) with CO2 content. Then, have other gases, water vapor, methane, . . . at current level been considered.


I seem to remember that when all the aircraft in the world were grounded following the WTC attacks (aka 9/11), there was a dramatic change in the air/atmophere due to the lack of jet contrails. Less CO2, but also less moisture, and less heat. I seem to remember some people measuring temperatures in order to understand the impact of aircraft exhaust on regional/global temperatures. Has any study been published? What was the impact of ~3 days without flights of commerical aircraft.


If CO2 is a minor actor compared to others, then CO2 sequestration may be a drop in the bucket. What if the world spends billions or trillions of dollars to reduce CO2 and GW continues? Then what?

The are good reasons to reduce CO2. Added CO2 promotes or encourages faster plant growth, which might be good for the timber industry. On the other hand, faster growing crops (e.g. grains) are less nutritious per unit mass, ostensibly because other important nutrients cannot be absorbed at a faster rate.


Elsewhere I have heard - the Earth is warming - but that is part of an inevitable natural cycle. Is it? What is the proof? Higher solar production, which implies that the radiat heat flux has increased? Certainly that could produce GW. But is that it?


As for natural warming cycles, it would seem from the literature that they take 1000's, or 10k, or 100k, or 1 M years. Isn't the current warming considered in the last century or less. We've seen dramatic changes locally only during the last 10 years, where we've had record peak temperatures (and more of them), record drought, record precipitation. This past winter, we had the latest snowfall on record (we had a snowless December). On the other hand, in the preceding 10 years, we hit some record low temperatures.


Consider something else - much of electricity is generated from steam (Rankine) thermodynamic cycles, which have thermodynamic efficiencies somewhere between 33-38%. The remaining energy is 'dumped' directly into the environment, e.g. air/atmosphere, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, oceans, . . . Based on the increased generating capacity over the last 50-100 years, could that be contributing to GW?
 
  • #27
denverdoc said:
That CO2 has the potential, exclusive of other variables, to trap heat. Indisputable. relatively simple physics.

About one degree per doubling. it's a long way from 380 ppmv now to 760 ppmv to get that degree.

That planetary science provides glimpses of what excessive amounts of heat trapping gasses can do the temperature of the planet when other factors are accounted for, ie Venus vs Mars. I'd say indisputeable here as well.

Earths Blackbody temp is 255K, the average global temp about 288K The difference of 33K is thought to be greenhouse effect although there are many other players in the field

http://www.marsinstitute.info/epo/marsfacts.html

The blackbody temperature of Mars is 210K/ The average Marsian temperature is 210K. So the average greenhouse effect is 0C The amount of CO2 pressure on the surface is about 6 mB. The pressure of the CO2 on Earth at surface level is 0,38mB. So Mars has about 15 times more CO2 but yet no discernible greenhouse effects if the factsheet is right

http://ess.geology.ufl.edu/ess/Notes/030-Solar_System/venusfact.html [Broken]

The blackbody temperature of Venus is 239K/ The average Venus temperature is 737K. So the average greenhouse effect is assumed to be 498K. The amount of CO2 pressure on the surface is about 92,000 mB. The pressure of the CO2 on Earth at surface level is 0,38mB. If we start doubling CO2 on Earth we have to do that some 17 times to get on the pressure of Venus. This has brought Venus about 465K more greenhouse effect than Earth. So those 17 doublings were worth some 27K each versus on Earth one degree. Aren't the parameters getting in the range where one ought to be a tad sceptical about the ideas about the cause of all of this?

Moreover there is a 100K gap between the minimum required surface temperatures considering it's geologic past and the http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~bullock/Homedocs/vclime.pdf that climate modelers provide. But there are many more problems inconsistent with Greenhouse effect.

More fun to follow.
 
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  • #28
Astronuc said:
I seem to remember that when all the aircraft in the world were grounded following the WTC attacks (aka 9/11), there was a dramatic change in the air/atmophere due to the lack of jet contrails. Less CO2, but also less moisture, and less heat. I seem to remember some people measuring temperatures in order to understand the impact of aircraft exhaust on regional/global temperatures. Has any study been published? What was the impact of ~3 days without flights of commerical aircraft.

I think this is what you are referring to.

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/08/07/contrails.climate/

During the three-day commercial flight hiatus, when the artificial clouds known as contrails all but disappeared, the variations in high and low temperatures increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) each day, said meteorological researchers.

Scientists still don't know what the net effect of contrails are.

Although this is a sobering thought.

"Contrails are denser and block sunlight much more than natural cirrus clouds," said Travis, who conducted the study with Andrew Carleton of Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. They reported the findings this week in the journal Nature.

"And contrails are much more prevalent when the sun is out," he said. "When this is factored in, there is a possibility that they offset global warming, and this is what we are trying to determine now."

So maybe Al Gore doing all that flying, while promoting "An Inconvenient Truth" was helping to cool the planet. :rofl:
 
  • #29
Astronuc said:
.


As for natural warming cycles, it would seem from the literature that they take 1000's, or 10k, or 100k, or 1 M years. Isn't the current warming considered in the last century or less.



Consider something else - much of electricity is generated from steam (Rankine) thermodynamic cycles, which have thermodynamic efficiencies somewhere between 33-38%. The remaining energy is 'dumped' directly into the environment, e.g. air/atmosphere, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, oceans, . . . Based on the increased generating capacity over the last 50-100 years, could that be contributing to GW?

In the past few years, climatologists have realized that the record of past climate changes shows shifts in a decade or less. It appears that gradual warming or cooling leads to a point of imbalance. There are a few educated guesses about mechanisms, but in general they're not understood yet.

Efficiency only determines the amount of fuel burned per unit of energy produced. It doesn't affect the amount of heat produced per unit of fuel.
If you want to consider the direct impact of combustion heat, it doesn't matter what portion is lost as heat and what portion is converted to some other form of energy. All the heat of combustion will eventually be dissipated as heat, regardless of the energy pathway it takes. However, climatologists calculate that the amount of heat directly generated doesn't have a measurable effect on climate.
 
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  • #30
Astronuc said:
Consider something else - much of electricity is generated from steam (Rankine) thermodynamic cycles, which have thermodynamic efficiencies somewhere between 33-38%. The remaining energy is 'dumped' directly into the environment, e.g. air/atmosphere, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, oceans, . . . Based on the increased generating capacity over the last 50-100 years, could that be contributing to GW?

Now you could go with gut feelings or perhaps because that would harm the dogma:

BillJx said:
However, climatologists calculate that the amount of heat directly generated doesn't have a measurable effect on climate.

Nope, http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/ [Broken] calculate that the amount of heat directly generated does have a measurable effect on climate:

http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/2006joc1292.pdf [Broken]

In this paper, we verify the robustness of the thresholding technique and confirm our earlier conclusions on the basis of an extended analysis and two additional data sets. We confirm the presence of a temperature change–industrialization correlation by analyzing the data with an additional statistical method and further confirm the absence of the above correlation in climate model simulations of enhanced GHG warming. Our findings thus provide an important test of climate model performance on regional scales.

These findings suggest that over the last two decades non-GHG anthropogenic processes have also contributed significantly to surface temperature changes. We identify one process that potentially could contribute to the observed temperature patterns, although there certainly may be other processes involved.
 
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  • #31
This is a bit off topic but IMHO the worries about GW should be secondary to more immediate health effects of atmospheric pollution. They are both easier to study and much more useful in promoting stricter regulation.
 
  • #32
Yonoz said:
This is a bit off topic but IMHO the worries about GW should be secondary to more immediate health effects of atmospheric pollution. They are both easier to study and much more useful in promoting stricter regulation.

Out of concern for unintended consequences, both need to be addressed at the same time. Air pollution in general has a cooling effect because it blocks solar radiation.

Although it was only for three days after 9/11/2001, when the contrails went away the temperature increased 2 degrees Fahrenheit, per day in the US. Cleaning up the atmosphere may cause temperatures to rise considerably.
 
  • #33
Thanks Andre. I can certainly agree with your source that the science is extremely complicated.

I suppose I should have written "'most climatologists" but de Laat doesn't necessarily think so either. You omitted his list of possible causes of non GHG surface warming: "changes in land use, albedo, soil moisture, groundwater loss, solar absorption by soot or energy consumption". He doesn't say whether the global warming effect of anyone of those, alone, is measurable. The remainder of the paper doesn't mention the heat of combustion at all. It's concerned with the impacts of land use and aerosols on the rate of solar absorption.
If the heat of combustion directly heats the Earth to a measurable extent, it's news to me.
 
  • #34
BillJx said:
If the heat of combustion directly heats the Earth to a measurable extent, it's news to me.

But then again, when will the surprises stop?

http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/2003GL019024.pdf [Broken]

...We speculate that the observed surface temperature changes might be a result of local surface heating processes and not related to radiative greenhouse gas forcing...
 
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  • #35
Skyhunter said:
Air pollution in general has a cooling effect because it blocks solar radiation.

This winter we had unusually strong winds on the northwest Pacific coast. We were told that they were generated by storms in the south Pacific. One explanation in the newspaper (a highly unreliable source) was that the storms were partly caused by particulates from coal-fired plants in China. The explanation was that the particulates allowed more water to accumulate before falling as rain. This, supposedly, increased the energy in the storms. I don't know whether there's anything to it or not; I don't know anything about the energy cycles involved and I don't have a reliable source.

I suppose it depends on whether the pollution is reflective or absorptive, and whether it affects other energy balances.
 

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