What's wrong with a bit of global warming?

  • Thread starter esbo
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  • #1
esbo
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It's seems to be the accepted thing that global warming is bad, but is it such a bad thing? The dinosaurs certaintly preferred a more warmer climate.

Look at the facts:-

1. The ice caps are melting - so what?
What we lose on the south pole we gain on the north pole, we might lose a few tiny islands in the pacific, but whole swathes of frozen land around the northern tundra will will become habitable and farmable, not to mention more oil which wil become accessable.

2. The Earth will become warmer.

Is that a bad thing? Let's face it, 90% of people when they get a chance to go on holiday, chose to do so in a warmer climate, you don't see too many flocking to the poles do you?

People are just frightened of change, and always think it will be a bad thing, but there is not a great of evidence that the good aspects of change will outweigh the bad aspects of change.

One major aspect of global warming is that we will need to burn less of our precious and limited resourse of fossil fuels, you would think people would be jumping for joy at the prospect of global warming yet we seem to be dreading it like the plague.

A futher huge bonus, I would imagine, is that the extra CO2 would aid crop growth to feed our population, much of which is on the brink of starvation. Yes you might expect some climate change, some of which would be 'good' and some of which would be 'bad', but it is just a question of adapting to the new enviroment.
For every drought there is a flood, that has always been the case.

There may well be evidence for global warming (and quite a few people question that anyway), but I am not sure if there is scientific evidence that that is a bad thing.

You rarely hear people complain it is too warm do you? It's usually the cold people complain about.

Yes there may be a few regions that become like the Sahara, but a lot of other regions would be able to plant two crops a year, and the most likely region to become like the Sahara, is, well the Sahara, so no great loss there then.

I remember when I was at school the big fear was the next ice age, you would think people would be jumping for joy now!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Algr
693
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Yea, we didn't really need all those costal cities anyway.
 
  • #4
Mech_Engineer
Science Advisor
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Well the question has been raised in the past-

Who are we to decide the climate we currently live in is the ideal climate for all humans and animals (present and future) and it should be kept this way at all costs?
 
  • #5
esbo
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I have no idea if the planet is going to warm up or cool down, but this video shows what
(could) happen if the Earth warms by 4 to 6 degrees

http://video.aol.com/video-detail/six-degrees-could-change-the-world-part-2/3861060568

Let it load for a minute or two.

Quite frankly that is just being alarmist.
Some of the claims made laughable.
The Ganges drying up? The Ganges is dependant of the shape of the planet, it is not
going to disappear fact.

There is no scientific balance in the video, no comparisons of lands lost and lands gained.

It's alarmist rubbish quite frankly it is a hollywood type production with a man with an incredibly deep voice to try and make it sound authentic.

Man has constantly coped admirably with climate change, with a lot less knowledge and
knowhow than we have now.

Guess what? I used to live inside a Glacier? So how is Glaciers melting a bad thing??

Do you miss the lost city of Atlantis? I don't.

And just think of the billion of tonnes of fossil fuels we would save?

We would not even have to have wars over oil. We would halve our energy consumption
at a stroke.

Notice it immediately jumps into it's sales pitch at the end, selling magazines seems to take
priority over scientific balance, and like newspapers, they know alarmist nonsense sells very well.
 
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  • #6
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
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(Breaking my rule of never getting involved in environment arguements.)
It's better to think of it as climate change. Even though on average the planet will warm some areas will get colder - like western Europe if the gulf stream turns off, some places will get a lot wetter, some a lot drier.

For the planet it's really not a big deal - it's just a bit inconvenient for people who have chosen to build cities in certain locations.

And of course it's not all doom and gloom - a local housing development here in Vancouver is claiming it will be necessary to cope with the massive influx of refugees when sea levels rise 2m. An imaginative reason to build some more high-rise condos!
 
  • #7
esbo
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The odd flooded city is no problem, we have plenty of time to build new ones, and plenty of
unemployed people to build them, it really is no big deal, cities come and go.
I lot of our cities would benefit enourmously from being demolished and rebuilt.

Also underwater cities are fantastic for marine life.
 
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  • #8
NerfMonkey
36
1
Your comment about Atlantis is one of the most ignorant things I've ever heard. Anyway, ignoring that...

To be honest, I'd rather not have my house destroyed and be forced to move elsewhere. I'd also like to still be able to go on vacation in South Carolina.

In case you didn't know, rebuilding cities costs MONEY. The government can't just pull money out of its ass and use it for whatever it wants to; otherwise my parents wouldn't have just lost $20k out of my college fund, would they?
 
  • #9
esbo
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Modern building are not expensive to construct and the process can be done on a gradual
phased basis, allowing no new building in threatened area. Cities are constantly being reconstructed anyway, there is little in my city over 100 years old, and what there is of such an age is inapppropiate for modern life. It is actually much cheaper to build on a green
field site. If you are taling of costs then the cost of preventing global warming will be enormous when compared to the cost of the gradual migration of a few threatened cities.
Only a tiny fraction of the worlds cites would be affected anyway, it's not worth loosing sleep over. look how many cites WWII leveled.

I don't see how your parents losing you college fund money comes into this, how did they
manage that? Are you blaming the loss on global warming or something?
 
  • #10
russ_watters
Mentor
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People are just frightened of change, and always think it will be a bad thing, but there is not a great of evidence that the good aspects of change will outweigh the bad aspects of change.
As far as the overall habitability of Earth goes, it may well be an open question, but 'fear' of change is close, but not quite right. Change really is painful in some cases, as implied in the sarcastic post #2.
 
  • #11
esbo
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As far as the overall habitability of Earth goes, it may well be an open question, but 'fear' of change is close, but not quite right. Change really is painful in some cases, as implied in the sarcastic post #2.

You are forgetting that accepting change can be a lot less painful than trying to
prevent it. If CO2 causes global warming there is nothing we can do to stop it anyway,
just slow the rate down.
 
  • #12
NerfMonkey
36
1
I don't see how your parents losing you college fund money comes into this, how did they manage that? Are you blaming the loss on global warming or something?

Read my post. I made no connection between that and global warming.

I don't know which would be more expensive: moving a few dozen million people and rebuilding their homes and businesses somewhere else, or trying to slow down or prevent the effects of global warming. I just think it would be really impractical to try to make all those people move to a new area and build new cities, and it doesn't seem like something the government or people would be ready to do.
 
  • #13
DaveC426913
Gold Member
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Who are we to decide the climate we currently live in is the ideal climate for all humans and animals (present and future) and it should be kept this way at all costs?

Here is a two-parter take on this.

1] There is a growing belief that
a] the world's wildlife will ultimately depend on mankind's treatment of it. Climate is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. (A more obvious way of seeing our effect is in how we pave, pollute or otherwise erode - their habitats physically).

b] we will have the power - and that cause us to believe we should be responsible for what happens to it. However it end up, it will be because we either actively made it or passively let it become that way. Species will go extinct unless we act. ()

Now, so far I've only established how we will be affecting it, not why we should affect it any particluar direction.

2] And the why is simply that we make the decision that we want to preserve it.

There is an elegant term for it that escapes me, but we effectively decide to be Conscientious Sheperds of the Earth.
 
  • #14
W3pcq
94
0
I agree on the standpoint of someone not involved in world crisis. It does seam, that global warming wouldn't be a big deal. Before their were borders and such things, people would just move, or farm somewhere else. The real problems are partly due to the globalization, domestication, and overpopulation of planet earth.

The planet in real time, now, is experiencing challenges because of climate change. Farmers own their land, and cannot just move north, or south and plant. All the available land is owned, and changes in the weather patterns offset the balance of power, mess up projected production, and cause starvation. Also, places like australia aren't getting enough rain.

From a naturalist perspective, this is natures way of working, this is how evolution takes place. From the perspective of others, there are statistics that show many people suffering and many to suffer in the future. What's new, nothing; just you daily struggle to survive.

On the other hand, I have somewhat of a problem with the idea of unnaturally changing the composition of our atmosphere to this kind of level. What are you going to do about it though?
 
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  • #15
DaveC426913
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From a naturalist perspective, this is natures way of working, this is how evolution takes place.
It is.

But of people are deciding they don't want to win the evolutionary race at the cost of much of the rest of the planet losing.
 
  • #16
esbo
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Read my post. I made no connection between that and global warming.

I don't know which would be more expensive: moving a few dozen million people and rebuilding their homes and businesses somewhere else, or trying to slow down or prevent the effects of global warming. I just think it would be really impractical to try to make all those people move to a new area and build new cities, and it doesn't seem like something the government or people would be ready to do.

Getting people to move would not be much of a problem, most of them do not have the
correct breathing apperatus to breathe underwater.
The areas affected would be relatively small and the changes very gradual, it really could
be done with the minimum of cost and disruption. Also there would be great savings to be
made from these new well planned cities, in terms of transportation etc...
You would simply gradually stop maintaining the lowest lying areas and use the money
saved to begin the building of new cities. I have seen great swathes of my city
rebuilt over the years so only a small percentage of the new bluilding would be be at
an extra cost, and indeed it is *much* more expensive to reuild then to start from
a greenfield site.
Indeed I expect that China alone is building cites at a much faster rate than would be
required to keep up with sea level rises. Indeed it is bulding two power stations every
week, that's 100 a year. Now if that is 1 power station per city that's 100 new cities
a year I would imagine. Or in 100 years 10,000 new cities.
Those figures may be inaccurate but clearly rebuilding a few cities is 'no big deal'.

Given the astronomical, and futile cost of trying to stop global warming it is the sensible
thing to do.

This is a little out of date
http://english.people.com.cn/english/200008/14/eng20000814_48177.html
but china plans to build 400 cities in 20 years.
 
  • #17
Algr
693
251
Man has constantly coped admirably with climate change,

For example, look how well the Roman Empire dealt with it. Or Easter Island.

If you are taling of costs then the cost of preventing global warming will be enormous when compared to the cost of the gradual migration of a few threatened cities.

So we'd just put New York in Quebec, Havana in Mississippi, and Jerusalem in Ukraine. Do you really think this would be easier then building a bunch of solar cells and windmills? We are not talking about "a few threatened areas", it's every city in the world that has a sea port.

Name one time in history that you had massive migrations of population without resulting wars.
 
  • #18
Mk
2,037
4
For example, look how well the Roman Empire dealt with it. Or Easter Island.
How was climate change responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire and destruction of Easter Island's society?
 
  • #19
esbo
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For example, look how well the Roman Empire dealt with it. Or Easter Island.



So we'd just put New York in Quebec, Havana in Mississippi, and Jerusalem in Ukraine. Do you really think this would be easier then building a bunch of solar cells and windmills? We are not talking about "a few threatened areas", it's every city in the world that has a sea port.

Name one time in history that you had massive migrations of population without resulting wars.

You don't need to put New York in Quebec, you can put in in Ohio or whatever, so no
need for a war, people emigrate/migrate all the time.
 
  • #20
Algr
693
251
Colder temperatures in the Roman empire had three results:

1) Reduced crop harvests. This made food expensive, forced more people to work the land, and reduced tax yields that had maintained the empire. (Solders, roads, education, ect.)

2) Germanic barbarians migrated into the south, seeking food and less harsh lands. The Romans attempted to integrate them into their society, (often replacing the lost solders, at lower pay.) but this was unstable, and the barbarians often revolted or became raiders. This activity inhibited long distance trade within the empire, further lowering living standards and tax yields.

3) Plague. Crops, animals, and people were all weakened by the colder climate, making them more susceptible to disease. Cities routinely had to close their ports to resist plague, and the remaining soldiers who might have protected the trade routes were themselves feared as plague carriers.

Without trade or military control, the empire became meaningless - there was no reason for cities to support it, and thus (western) Rome collapsed.

Of course whole books have been written about the fall of Rome, and their are a thousand factors and theories I've left out, but climate clearly set the stage for all else.

===========

Easter Island is much simpler. They cut down all the trees on the island, turning it from forest to grassland. Without wood, they were stranded on the island (no more boats) and their society collapsed.


people emigrate/migrate all the time.

Not whole cities worth of people! Look at Israel. Look at the US reaction to Mexican immigrants. Even if sea levels rise slowly, cities will not just give up and move - they will try to fight the water until things suddenly collapse as happened in New Orleans. Then there will be shockwaves of refugees fleeing one city after another. Even if the US avoids war, the rest of the world won't, and we will get dragged into it because we depend on the rest of the world for so much.
 
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  • #21
russ_watters
Mentor
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You are forgetting that accepting change can be a lot less painful than trying to
prevent it. If CO2 causes global warming there is nothing we can do to stop it anyway,
just slow the rate down.
The difference in severity if we slow it vs doing nothing is a big difference and makes your first point there invalid.

Ie, accepting a 10 F rise in temp and planning for it might be less painful than not doing anything now and having to deal with it later, but fighting it and getting a 5F rise would be less painful than either.

And, of course, there is nothing to say that we can't fight it and plan for it at the same time.
 
  • #22
Algr
693
251
but fighting it and getting a 5F rise would be less painful than either.

And don't forget this isn't just about cities. We would have to redesign every ecosystem in the world and face massive ecological catastrophe for every one we get wrong. Look what a few missing bees could do to our ability to feed ourselves.
 
  • #23
vanesch
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Of course whole books have been written about the fall of Rome, and their are a thousand factors and theories I've left out, but climate clearly set the stage for all else.

That said, what was wrong with the fall of the Roman Empire ?
 
  • #24
Phy6explorer
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The Ganges drying up? The Ganges is dependant of the shape of the planet, it is not going to disappear fact.

The Ganges is perrineal and is watered by the Gangotri Glacier and if the glacier dries up why wouldn't it dry up? Moreover global warming is due to extreme emission of greenhouse gases and this leads to extreme increase af CO2.There is already a thread in PF mentioning that rise in the CO2 levels leads to decrease in the O2 level.Moreover it is we who are going to get most affected due to global warming.The USA and many other highly developing countries already have a huge hole in the ozone layer hovering over it, and this let's the most harmful radiations emitted from the sun, including the Infra -Red rays which upon research has been found to cause skin cancer upon contact with the human skin. Global warming will also lead to the extinction of a huge number of species in the South Pole whose homes are in ice and it must be remembered that the oceans are the ultimate controllers of the temperature of the globe.Imagine the condition if the ocean itself gets heated up.It has already been confirmed that the minimum rise in global temperature every year is by 1 degree celsius.Then, imagine the temperature after 50 years.We are not realising the seriousness of global warming right now,but we will, only after we experience the wrath of global warming and climate change.
 
  • #25
latecommer
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It is very egocentric to even think that we can stop a climate change. It really doesn't matter what people decide to do. The only thing we can do about climate change is adapt to it.
The entire idea of AGW and the tiny impact of human produced CO2 relative to the natural production of this benificial gas by nature is not science.
One can make a better case for CO2 causing a cooling of the atmosphere based on absorbtion/emission gas laws. Since each molecule attempts to achieve balance, the absorbtion of energy will be equally emitted and in a 360 degree manner. Thus slightly more than half of the energy will be directed upward and eventually radiated out of the atmosphere.
I admit that this is unproven by empirical evidence, but so is the idea of warming in the real world atmosphere.
We are however acting as if it is a proven law of science when we move to change the worlds industrial/economic status based on this.
In this case, in my opinion, the cure is much worse than the problem.
It IS a fact that worldwide , 10 times as many people die from the cold as from the heat. In all ways it is far easier to adapt to heat than to cold.
Our time and money should be spent preparing for either evcentuallity not chasing geese as per AGW.
As a Paleo-geologist I know of no timer in Earths history, save in the recovery from a glaciation when water levels have risen at uncontrolable rates. We have had a very small steady rise in sea level for thousands of years, and there is no reason outside of alarmism to suggest that this balance will change.
With many astro-physicists and solar scientists now suggesting that the sun is entering a quiet period, the odds of a climate minimum are much better than runaway heating. Let's do the prudent thing and prepare for colder temperatures. With carbon based fuel resources being finite, we need to move on to better forms of heating, and we are doing little in that direction.
 
  • #26
latecommer
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phy6
Can you site the proof for me that warming is caused by extreme emission of greenhouse gas? Of course GHG is a necessary factor in life on Earth...without it we would live on a very harsh world, but in our geological past we have had much higher greenhouse gas levels even during the heart of major glaciation periods.
I fear you are buying an unproven and unprovable hypothesis, and rejecting the primary source of energy that has always been the source of all our heating and cooling.
The Sun is known to have been in a very energetic state for the last couple of hundred years, and is now showing signs of cycling back to a quieter stage. This is not hypothesis this is empirical observation. As the sun goes so goes the climate. This is the way it always has worked, in high and low levels of GHG.
We are living in a time where CO2 levels are near all time lows in the atmosphere when the entire record of the Earth is taken into account. Why the fear? I suggest it is because of ulterior motives by those pushing the non-science of AGW. Some are seeking power, Some have gone to far down the road reputation wise to turn around, and yet others, perhaps the majority, seek to stop the burning of fossile fuels and will makeup and exort any reason in the spirit of "the ends justifying the means". None of that is science...its politics.
Nature has very efficient ways of coping with changes in green house gases, ie. more heat creates more water vapor, more water vapor creates more precipitation, more precipitatiopn creates more cooling...and more CO2 creates more terrestrial plant and plankton growth which absorbs more CO2.

We have and will continue to cope with the millimeter scale of ocean level change. Any talk of sudden changes is alarmism and unworthy of a scientist.
 
  • #27
Phrak
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Name one time in history that you had massive migrations of population without resulting wars.

Two. Baku, and the ongoing invasion of the United States by mexico.
 
  • #28
DaveC426913
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Name one time in history that you had massive migrations of population without resulting wars.
Every year here in Toronto before the Gay Pride Parade...
 
  • #29
latecommer
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phy6explorer
So you have any science background? Your last post makes me doubt it. I try to never be disrespectful but some of the things in your last post are so wrong I wonder at your level of expertice. for instance you speak of the numbers of species in the Antarctic as hugh. I am sorry but there just isn't a lorge number on that continent.
You speak of conformation of 1 degree C heat rise per year, and there is not nor has their ever been anything of the sort. The ozone "hole" you speak of is a natural loss of a percentage of polar ozone during the times of 24 hour Sun. It is not a hole but a small thinning. There is to my knowledge no hole over North America. UV rays are what destroy Ozone.
The Ganges is fed primarily by seasonal rains, and only parially, and the smaller part by glaciers which grow and shrink on a cyclical basis.
I'm sorry but I, for one, can't take anything you say seriously.
 
  • #30
DaveC426913
Gold Member
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...I try to never be disrespectful but some of the things in your last post are so wrong I wonder at your level of expertice
...
UV rays are what destroy Ozone...

Are you suggesting that UV is the only factor? That rising global temperatures and greenhouse gases have no significant effect on the ozone layer?

...cuz I get the feeling you're the pot and he's the kettle.
 
  • #31
Andre
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Is there a reason to get things in the personal attack sphere? Indeed most of the claims of phy6explorers last post are extravagant. But also, he has not substantiated them, which -I believe- is a definite no-no in this forum. Why was this not challenged/corrected and why is the poster who observes this under attack?
 
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  • #32
DaveC426913
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...and why is the poster who observes this under attack?
Ad hominem. He chose to attack the arguer not the argument.
 
  • #33
vanesch
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Andre is right here on the account that several statements by phy6explorer are obviously wrong (1 degree per year etc...).
However latecommer's statements are also rather strong and not backed up. So I propose that both of you cool down, refrain from being on the verge of ad hominem attacks and bring the discussion back to reasonable statements and discussions.
 
  • #34
Phy6explorer
109
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You speak of conformation of 1 degree C heat rise per year, and there is not nor has their ever been anything of the sort. The ozone "hole" you speak of is a natural loss of a percentage of polar ozone during the times of 24 hour Sun. It is not a hole but a small thinning. There is to my knowledge no hole over North America. UV rays are what destroy Ozone.
The Ganges is fed primarily by seasonal rains, and only parially, and the smaller part by glaciers which grow and shrink on a cyclical basis.

Hey Guys, first of all I would like to make it clear that I was in not offended nor was I insulted in anyawy by latecommer. So please do not report or anything.I would like this healthy discussion to continue.

I would like you(Latecommer) to read the stuff in the following links.

To prove rise in global surface temperature:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

To prove that there ARE ozone holes:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_layer#Ozone_depletion

A UN Climate Report issued in 2007 indicates that the Himalayan glaciers that feed the Ganges may disappear by 2030, after which the river's flow would be a seasonal occurrence resulting from monsoons.- Source Wikipedia and of course, UN

Of course, after reading more I found that I am wrong about the 1 degree thing. I apologise to suggest something like that but I assure all of you that I did not make it up, but I have obviously come to know about it in an un-reliable source and I shall not repport any information which I read there.But there is a considerable rise in global surface temperature.
 
  • #35
Andre
4,509
74
Well, I think that it would be wise, not to question anybodies intentions when discussing these things other than to get at the truth. Wikipedia should not be considered as a reliable authoritive source as it is the -not peer reviewed- opinion of the author.

About ozone, it's supposed to emerge under UV light, and is dependent on the temperature. it is unstable therefore it's genesis and decay is in dynamic equilibrium depending on the circumstances There is no "hole" over industrial counties but over the poles, especially during the winter, simply due to the lack of sun shine and hence UV light. As the stratosphere is currently cooling, the production of ozone is decreasing.

The cause of this cooling is not fully clear, it is attributed to greenhouse effect but the calculations don't add up.

Furthermore, melting glaciers, stronger hurricanes or not, droughts or floodings, rising sea levels and what have you are not proof of global warming, it's proof of chaotically changing conditions. Moreover if the temperature changes, it's not proof of an anthropogenic cause, since global temperature has changed for about 3.56 billion years.

See for the lastest temperatures against the main prediction of the IPCC: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=1715538#post1715538
 
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