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Is Global Warming hot?

  1. Jul 25, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Is "Global Warming" hot?

    What is your sense of public awareness of and the attitudes towards this subject? It seems to me that in the US we have finally reached critical mass. Since to a large extent TV merely feeds people what they want to watch and what they already believe, and since TV execs spend a great deal of money to know what people want, I keep an eye on television programming as a measure of the public pulse. Based on this and other events in the news, I suspect that we have gone over the edge: Whereas previously, in the public mind [on the average] nothing was caused by global warming, now everything will be blamed on global warming. More and more I see direct references to events like Katrina, the droughts and fires in the SW US this winter, melting bergs, the current temperatures in the Western US, rising sea levels etc, all within the context of GW. They never say it directly yet, but always the strong implication is that this is anthropogenic global warming knocking at your door.

    Have you seen the commercial that flashes from one child to another, with each saying "tick", and with each "tick" a little louder than the last, until finally they are yelling at you? TICK! TICK!! TICK!!!

    I thought that was a very effective commercial.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2006
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  3. Jul 25, 2006 #2

    rcgldr

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    Well if global warming becomes a big issue, they could set off a few hydrogen bombs in the oceans to create a mini nuclear winter.
     
  4. Jul 25, 2006 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Yah thats...a... solution....

    I saw Al Gore on Conan a few days ago. His views on global warming were a bit hysterical though. I love his enthusiasm... but i think its a bit misdirected. Of course, its far less misdirected then your average american. Your average american seems ot htink we're doomed and its all over but he had a very "humans have conquered seemingly impossible odds before" attitude which i really liked. I'm interested to find out his views on nuclear energy. I took exception to him being somewhat negative towards a lot of preventive measures proposed by scientists that, while seemingly insane and impossible to your average person, have real scientific merit. He seems a lot better then your average environmentalist on the issue but still doesn't seem to be up to the level of having a truely scientific approach to things.

    Kudos for a politician.
     
  5. Jul 25, 2006 #4

    russ_watters

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    I agree with your overall point about awareness, but to me "effective" means it causes people to act. That's the goal of that particular commercial, anyway. But people are not acting. They sit on their couch watching that commercial and think 'how terrible, we need to do something,' but don't consider where the power to run their tv comes from (except 'gawd, I hope it isn't nuclear').

    Maybe that's outside the scope of what you were saying, though...
     
  6. Jul 25, 2006 #5

    Pythagorean

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    I work in between IARC (international arctic research center) and the GI (Geophysical Institute) in Alaska, and global warming is more of an academic/research term here, than a pop culture fad. I don't want to start claiming that everything you listed is directly a result of global warming, but there's international teams working on it, and I'm in the heart of one of the centers related to that. I think there's some merit, but it's hard to believe it spells doom, DOOM, DOOOOMMM for us. Awareness is the most important thing about it to me.

    I don't watch much TV though (I can always hear it in the background when my girlfriend is watching it) and I definately try to take the news lightly when I do catch something.

    I had a friend in Bosnia. He claimed news crews would tip off U.S. enemies when the U.S. Soldiers were mobile so that they could get the gunfight on camera. If it's true, it's sick, but I'm not a big fan of news anyway. I like conan o brian and Jay Leno, they do good news clips :biggrin:
     
  7. Jul 25, 2006 #6

    Pengwuino

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    I'm a bit afraid that a lot of people actually get their news from shows like that :yuck:.

    Its ignorance that annoys me the most about people. If i hear one more person claim a solar powered car that runs on water :rolleyes: is being stopped by a GM conspiracy, im going to explode. Then theres the people who demand you turn off fans saying they're causing global warming while standing under a ceiling fan with 4 60W bulbs turned on. It's paranoia with your average person and like russ said, to them its easy to go "man theres a real problem out there, someone (else) needs to fix it!" but far harder to actually study anything even remotely related to energy needs.
     
  8. Jul 25, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    People have to believe it before they will act. The problem has always been that GW was barely more than background noise politically. All politics are local.

    One's choice in vehicles, recycling, and heat and cooling conservation are easy focal points for conservation. For example, during all of this record heat, for both my office and the house we have only run one small A/C unit requiring less than 1500 watts. We could easily use four times as much by being lazy. Then again, I saw last night that you can lease a Hummer for $300 a month.... I also saw a bumper sticker on some big SUV thing recently" "A proud contributor to global warming". That sort of thing will get us nowhere.

    I think the only way people will act is if they are scared. But as part of my point that now "everything" will be blamed on GW [obviously an exaggeration but to make the point], this opens the door to the fanatical elements as well.

    According to Gore, and I haven't seen the movie yet, but in making his movie he allegedly consults with something like 2000 climate experts, and he arrives at the conclusion that we have ten years to the point of no return - where the positive feedback drives the system into a runaway greenhouse mode. Precisely what action must be taken within ten years wasn't clear. Perhaps it was to meet the Kyoto protocol.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2006 #8

    FredGarvin

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    The biggest problem I have with this is not the awareness, but having a reputable source. It seems to me that all of the sources are meant to get your attention and get you thinking about the issue, i.e. Al Gore. That's fine. However, there is no way I am going to take a single word out of Al Gore's mouth as gospel. They got my attention on the topic. Now, if they want action from me, reliable, NON-POLITICAL research data has to be available from a source that is trustworthy. If that source could be established, I would bet most people would act.
     
  10. Jul 25, 2006 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Actually, this ostensibly preposterous idea should give pause for thought.

    How could the people of Earth be supposedly powerless to stop the inevitable GW if we, at the same time, can bring on a nuclear winter with our bombs?

    I'm not suggesting we do it, but it gives us some perspective. Aside from the mess it will cause, it does indicate that global modification of the climate is within the grasp of human resources, and with not a lot of effort.

    I think there's a lot of scare-mongering and hidden agendae powering these pending disasters.
     
  11. Jul 25, 2006 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    It's great to have you here! Welcome.

    Well, for many of those in New Orleans, for example, Katrina did spell doom. If related, the practical effects of we see today are already significant. With rising oceans, hurricanes and large weather events of increasing frequency or strength, regional famine, fires, increased disease problems, drought etc; in the short term at least, the doom comes one person, or one family, or one city, or one species at a time.

    Today, the value of homes along the NE US coast are affected by fears of increased storm activity as per the insurance companies and weather models driving their decisions. Some insurance companies are refusing to renew policies on certain homes, or in certain areas. We also find a significantly large population displaced - affecting Louisiana and Texas to the greatest extent. Katrina in its aftermath was a signficant, or even an unprecidented event by nearly any measure.

    I find it funny that so many people worry about losing a city to terrorism, but they don't seem to get nearly as worked up about losing a city to global warming; but the threat from GW is probably much greater for many cities.

    The notion of a runaway greenhouse effect is another thing altogether.

    Most people do.

    Also, edited above: anthropogenic
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2006
  12. Jul 25, 2006 #11
    More and more people in countries like China and India are getting cars now. It is just the beginning. Do we here in the west have more right to the pie that the earth can take?

    The reality of "stopping the global warming" will be that the western world will go and attempt to stop car ownership and energy consumption in the developing world.

    I know it would be very cynical and ironic but it will be justified as some other "manifest destiny".

    Perhaps sad but true IMHO.
     
  13. Jul 25, 2006 #12

    Pengwuino

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    A lot of "alternative energy" companies are making bookoo bucks off of environmental hysteria because they pull claims from 2 feet up their ass. "Look at this car, it runs on 5 liters of water and can travel for 3,000 miles. Its all in development". The sad thing is people believe it! People are absolutely sold on the idea that theres a magical cure out there... its just in development... or being held back by GM.

    I say go over peoples heads, you can't rationalize with irrational people. Ban certain things, force people to buy certain energy saving products, shut down these wackos who promise miraces and end up taking peoples money and spreading false information.

    Theres too much BS information out there. I can't count how many times i've heard "Every car in its life time will put out 50,000 metric tons of pollutants running on gasoline". Yah maybe if you count all the energy used to produce the vehicle as well and add in a few digits.

    If you want to make a real difference, aim for peoples greed. Every commercial that forces down the BS notion that Hummers (a vehicle very few people can afford to own and don't lumber on for 150,000 miles) are the #1 cause of global warming is one less commercial telling how you can probably save a good hundred bucks a year and 1 mwh by replacing getting a chair and replacing your lightbulbs. I mean come on, who doesn't want money? And seriously... why do they make fuel efficient vehicles look so stupid? Stupidity is not a design feature and surely turns off a fair amount of people to getting fuel efficient cars. And set a timer for your computer to hybernate... thats $100/year right there when you leave it on at night. Look how many stupidly easy things there are to do that can save energy. They don't even cost anything. Do we need to start shoving money down peoples throats in order for them to do things?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2006
  14. Jul 25, 2006 #13

    Pythagorean

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    Thank you! I place a high value on these forums. I wish scientific journals were as open source!



    Yes, I understand the significance of the affects of Katrina, both long term and short term. Whether or not it was a result of global warming I cannot say, I've heard lots of opinions but I also know hurricanes were around before global warming, and I've actually never heard a direct opinion from any of the scientists here connecting the two.

    To opine, I think it's a bit arrogant to think we could destroy the planet. I'm somewhat comfortable with the Gaia theory, and would assume any damage we're doing would be to us in the end, not so much Earth. I would expect it to adapt, even if it means shaking the parasites (us) off of its back.

    In the end though, I think any extremely devistating results (on a global level) are unlikely.
     
  15. Jul 25, 2006 #14

    chroot

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    I don't own an air conditioner. I typically only use a couple of lamps to light my apartment at night. I ride my bicycle to work three days a week, a round trip of 34 miles. I buy local food from farmers' markets. I have an ultra-low-emissions car, which I try to avoid driving. I turn off the water when brushing my teeth, and take five minute showers. I recycle all the normal goodies -- cans, bottles, etc.

    By most standards, I'm a "conservationist." At the same time, I do not believe in athropogenic global warming. At all. Not even in the slightest. Even if global warming is happening -- and I remain unconvinced, even by the anecdotes of people like Al Gore -- I don't believe that it's anthropogenic.

    - Warren
     
  16. Jul 25, 2006 #15

    russ_watters

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    Following warren, just an fyi on my position: I'm a little unsure about global warming, with three basic questiosn (we need not actually discuss them here):

    -Is it caused by people or isn't it?
    -How much will the temperature rise in the next century?
    -How bad will it be for us if it rises, say 3F?

    I'm not at all convinced of the doom-and-gloom standard answers to those questions.

    However, when the citizens of Bejing have to wear masks to be outside and LA is a brown smudge, we definitely have a pollution problem that needs to be addressed. In addition, addressing some of these problems (ie, the energy cost savings of compat fluorescent lights and high efficiency hvac) also makes economic sense.
    Be that as it may, in my job I have literally offered to pay building owners to make upgrades to their HVAC systems in order to save them money and a great many simply will not do it. There are a lot of opportunities out there that people are squandering.

    Also, I don't need to point out the political implications of oil usage and how much it would help if we reduced it.

    So though I don't necessarily buy the hype, I support the movement (for lack of a better term) because it may motivate people toward achieving coincidental goals.
     
  17. Jul 25, 2006 #16

    ShawnD

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    Speaking of air conditioners, everybody stop being a lazy bastard and use water to cool yourself. For the past week Edmonton's electricity company has been doing rolling black-outs to cope with the demand of idiots who run AC all day. The result was city-wide traffic jams because certain traffic lights had no electricity.

    Maybe jack the price of electricity up 10 fold so anybody running AC files for bankruptcy.
     
  18. Jul 25, 2006 #17
    Haha yes hasn't that ever been fun. I've been lucky and avoided any traffic jams but I've heard about a lot of traffic lights being out.
     
  19. Jul 25, 2006 #18

    JasonRox

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    People won't do anything about it, especially those around here (Canada/US).

    People around here can barely cope with being overweight and now you want to lower energy use. Yeah, right. Everyone around here thinks they have the right to pollute and they should take that right every darn second of the day. People expect politicians and companies to take action. For they themselves to take action is just out of the question. I've never heard of the population as a whole changing. The problem with CFC's was just to force companies to change. It didn't affect anyone on a daily basis. The way everyone looked was just give me hairspray and I don't care what's in it. So, now we are just waiting for something to replace oil/gas, but also something that won't force to change. More like, just give me that Hummer and I don't care if it's gas or hydrogen.

    Honestly, I wish I can conserve more energy, but that's hard in a household that doesn't want to. They leave the TV and lights on all day. They set the AC at 24 degree Celsius when 25 degrees is fine and on top of that they leave the windows open for the sun to beam right in. It's me that shuts those damn windows everyday, like how stupid can you be.

    As for myself, I don't drive. I own a car, but I don't drive. I save money like crazy too. I drive a scooter like you all know. Everytime I ride around with my scooter I laugh at all the big trucks and stuff because they think they are cool and stuff, but I know it's hurting their wallet. Jobs aren't high paying here, so essentially they are shooting themselves driving a V6/V8 truck/van for "looks". HAHA! Suckers.

    I pay $2 a week in gas compared to people who spend on average $35-80 a week!!! (Canadian dollars.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2006
  20. Jul 25, 2006 #19
    Speaking of good commercials there is currently a commercial running in Australia where black balloons slowly pop out of TVs and Fans and a voice over said that every balloon reprisents 50grams of Green house gas, and it advises us to cut down on usage of electricity to prevet green house gas emission. Despite the fact that we don't directly produce the gas, and by using less electricity we aren't going to produce less gas it was still a cool ad.
     
  21. Jul 25, 2006 #20

    Pengwuino

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    Not everyone has a swimming pool or can take a 6 hour long shower.I tried... oh boy did i try to take hte biggest shower last night but it didnt work too well.

    And trust me, around here, the people who do have swimming pools are getting good use out of them. If we had one, i'd be the biggest prune you'd ever see at the end of the day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2006
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