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Projections of sea level are underestimated

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Expect more water to lap at your shores. That's the take-home message from two studies out this week that look at the latest data on sea level rise due to climate change.

The first shows that current projections for the end of the century may seriously underestimate the rise in global sea levels. The other, on the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, looks at just how much of the water stored up there has been moving into the oceans.

Both demonstrate that global warming is a real and imminent threat.

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Edited by questionmark

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What's the matter, not apocalyptic enough were they? Decided they need to be even more dramatic? If all these Climate Change experts were perhaps to direct their talents towards some suggestions as to how to help people adapt to this and how to live with it, rather than just standing and issuing dire prophecies like Old testament prophets, and yelling "it's all your fault" [meaning, of course, everyone but them], and "You wouldn't listen to us", they might perhaps be able to make a useful contribution, and people will be more willing to listen to them. Just shouting at people tends not to be a very good way of getting people to listen to your arguments.

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What's the matter, not apocalyptic enough were they? Decided they need to be even more dramatic? If all these Climate Change experts were perhaps to direct their talents towards some suggestions as to how to help people adapt to this and how to live with it, rather than just standing and issuing dire prophecies like Old testament prophets, and yelling "it's all your fault" [meaning, of course, everyone but them], and "You wouldn't listen to us", they might perhaps be able to make a useful contribution, and people will be more willing to listen to them. Just shouting at people tends not to be a very good way of getting people to listen to your arguments.

When politicians have resolutely set their heart against taking any meaningful action there is little for the scientists to do other than issue dire warnings. Please don't blame the scientists for doing their jobs, look to the politicians to vent your spleen on.

Scientists have precisely no power to effect the changes which are needed - unless we citizens and our political representatives delegate them that power. The fault here is squarely with us as citizens for failing to take the scientists warnings seriously.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius
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Maybe I should start making dates for renting out my place for when it becomes beach front property.

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Huh-oh, here comes another tax hike!

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Huh-oh, here comes another tax hike!

How succinctly you sumerize the failure of us to take the science seriously. Those nasty politicans want another excuse to tax us - how convenient of the scientists to find them climate change.

Meanwhile in the real world - the climate continues to change.

Br Cornelius

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Climate change is real,and we could end going into an Extinction event on a very large scale.If sea temperatures rise and the vast areas of frozen Methane on the sea floor begin to melt you could be looking at a runaway train that you can't stop.

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So we are looking at a Water World. That much of a rise a year isn't that much to panic about. If it was a foot or 2 a year thenh I would worry.

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So we are looking at a Water World. That much of a rise a year isn't that much to panic about. If it was a foot or 2 a year thenh I would worry.

Whether 3.2 mm per year is important depends on where you live and how close to the sea that is. At Acadia National Park (coast of Maine) it's not even noticeable. But in Bangla Desh, that's the loss of not quite eight acres of of farmland for each mile of shoreline (Forty acres can grow a lifetime supply of food for one person in one year.). In other words, that small rise in sea level has wiped out the livlihoods of 72 familes in the last 20 years (and that's just in Bangla Desh). And there's worse to come.

Doug

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So whats the solution?

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So whats the solution?

At present, the preferred solution (in the UK at least) is to pay huge subsidies to inefficient wind factories and other pipe dreams, pile more and more tax on fuel and energy sources, sign up to unrealistic 'treaties' and condemn thousands of UK households to 'fuel poverty' whilst 'emerging economies' such as China and India are pumping tons of poisonous gasses into the atmosphere and discharging gallons of waste into our seas! This country could go back to the carbon footprint of the Bronze Age and still not make the slightest difference to the climate!

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So whats the solution?

In the short term, there probably isn't one. We have already entrained a substantial amount of sea level rise just by allowing the climate to warm as much as it already has.

But in the long run:

1. Quit adding to the problem: limit CO2 emissions and replace current power systems with non-polluting ones.

2, Replace existing cropping systems with tillage methods that increase soil storage of carbon (In the developed world, this could be done in as little as two or three years.).

3. Replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass systems.

4. Lower atmospheric CO2 (In effect, geo-engineering) to no more than 350 ppm - should be lower, but we can probably live with 350 ppm.

5. Low priority, but there are still quite a few acres in naturally-forested areas that are unstocked, or understocked with trees.

6. Most of the world cooks with wood: develop more-efficient wood stoves for cooking and distribute them to third-world families.

That's a short list. There are other things we can do, but they are mostly variants of these.

Doug

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At present, the preferred solution (in the UK at least) is to pay huge subsidies to inefficient wind factories and other pipe dreams, pile more and more tax on fuel and energy sources, sign up to unrealistic 'treaties' and condemn thousands of UK households to 'fuel poverty' whilst 'emerging economies' such as China and India are pumping tons of poisonous gasses into the atmosphere and discharging gallons of waste into our seas! This country could go back to the carbon footprint of the Bronze Age and still not make the slightest difference to the climate!

I don't know how you Brits managed to screw this up. In the US, wind is cheaper than coal, oil or biomass and comparable to natural gas. Far from costing more, conversion will save money.

So how do we handle China? The US can adopt the following strategies:

1. Balance the Federal budget. Then insist that China go along with pollution control if it wants the money back that we've already borrowed from it. A few other incentives, like favorable trade status could also be used.

2. A carbon fee charged at the well-head, mine mouth or port-of-entry (This is where we get China.), including fees for leaked or flared-off gas and/or oil. This should be distributed EQUALLY to every citizen who files an income tax return (Dependent children limited to two per family.). Fees should start low and gradually rise to give the economy a chance to adjust. Let each person decide for himself how to spend his carbon funds (No taxes on carbon money.). Purchasing decisions made by each person at the margin will gradualloy direct spending away from carbon-expensive products.

Doug

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So how do we handle China? The US can adopt the following strategies:

1. Balance the Federal budget. Then insist that China go along with pollution control if it wants the money back that we've already borrowed from it. A few other incentives, like favorable trade status could also be used.

2. A carbon fee charged at the well-head, mine mouth or port-of-entry (This is where we get China.), including fees for leaked or flared-off gas and/or oil. This should be distributed EQUALLY to every citizen who files an income tax return (Dependent children limited to two per family.). Fees should start low and gradually rise to give the economy a chance to adjust. Let each person decide for himself how to spend his carbon funds (No taxes on carbon money.). Purchasing decisions made by each person at the margin will gradualloy direct spending away from carbon-expensive products.

Doug

Hmm. Sounds a little like a 'Treaty of Versailles' to me. I'm not sure the Chinese would take too kindly to it! Like the idea of limits on children though. Overpopulation is probably the main threat to be overcome in the coming decades.

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People have no idea what constitutes petroleum based products and the energy involved in producing them. There is no way they are going to do without the items they use on a daily basis to make any real effect on the environment.

If people are really concerned they should google petroeum based products and stop buying things like toothbrushes and tires for their environmentally friendly bikes and their helmets. I'm constantly amazed, and I'm not talking about you Doug, that people think it is so easy to get away from petroleum based products in this day and age.

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Hmm. Sounds a little like a 'Treaty of Versailles' to me. I'm not sure the Chinese would take too kindly to it! Like the idea of limits on children though. Overpopulation is probably the main threat to be overcome in the coming decades.

'Treaty of Versailles': Economic and diplomatic machinery will have to be part of the solution: that's how we do these things. Conversion is a lot more than just pie-in-the-sky.

China probably wouldn't be too happy about it, but there are ways to sweeten the deal, like applying costs of green technology to the debt (The US pays for the technology and China lowers the debt a corresponding amount.). As for not paying debts: Finland is the only country to pay off its WWII debt - France and England just welched.

Doug

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People have no idea what constitutes petroleum based products and the energy involved in producing them. There is no way they are going to do without the items they use on a daily basis to make any real effect on the environment.

The carbon fee system would not require them to know anything about the carbon footprint of their purchases. All they'd have to do is look at the price tag. Once they get a few carbon checks (Direct deposit or a debit card would actually work better.) they'll get the idea. Again, we don't tell anybody how to spend their dividend - that's their decision.

Doug

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The carbon fee system would not require them to know anything about the carbon footprint of their purchases. All they'd have to do is look at the price tag. Once they get a few carbon checks (Direct deposit or a debit card would actually work better.) they'll get the idea. Again, we don't tell anybody how to spend their dividend - that's their decision.

Doug

And then there is the rub...how far should the powers that be decide on the personal things like soap, toothpaste, shampoo and laudry detergent for the individual consumer? Are we to be condemned because we prefere one brand over the other for whatever reason? I'm sorry, I choose products because they suit my needs, whether it is environmentally correct or not.

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The carbon fee system would not require them to know anything about the carbon footprint of their purchases. All they'd have to do is look at the price tag. Once they get a few carbon checks (Direct deposit or a debit card would actually work better.) they'll get the idea. Again, we don't tell anybody how to spend their dividend - that's their decision.

Doug

But surely alot of these products are required no matter the cost. There will be no reduction in CO2, just less money in my pocket and more in the Govt. coffers.

BTW, the last sea level figures the IPCC released were shown to have come from areas of subsidance, so i am not prepared to take them at their word this time.

Edit to add: i just found this graph showing sea levels since 1880 and it appears that there has been no "run away" increase, but a steady straight line increase in sea levels.

Edited by Professor Buzzkill

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And then there is the rub...how far should the powers that be decide on the personal things like soap, toothpaste, shampoo and laudry detergent for the individual consumer? Are we to be condemned because we prefere one brand over the other for whatever reason? I'm sorry, I choose products because they suit my needs, whether it is environmentally correct or not.

That's the beauty of the carbon fee/dividend system. The fee was charged at the point-of-origin. Any manufacturer who uses that product has to include the fee in his price, or eat the cost. Most will pass it along. That cost gets reflected in the prices. When a purchaser looks at a price, they are looking, in part, at the carbon footprint. It is entirely up to the prospective purchser which product they purchase.

There is little to distinguish one toothpaste from another in terms of their carbon footprints. That means little difference in price. And that means that you can purchase which ever one you prefer. The environmental benefit comes when two products have widely-differing carbon footprints: in that case, the one with the larger footprint will cost more. That's the only market control in the system - price is everything and the only price subject to control is the one charged at the point-of-origin.

And as for laundry detergent: phosphates have been outlawed in laundry products since 1972 to prevent stream eutrification. I'll bet you didn't even know you weren't allowed to buy such products, whether you prefer them or not.

Doug

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But surely alot of these products are required no matter the cost.

Correct. And they will still be available as long as people are willing to pay for them.

There will be no reduction in CO2, just less money in my pocket and more in the Govt. coffers.

The CO2 reduction comes when people decide to purchase the cheaper product rather than the more-expensive one. The more-expensive one is more expensive because it costs more to manufacture because the carbon used to make it costs more.

Except for a small fee to cover overhead costs, all money is returned to the public, untaxed. The agency in charge does not even have to be a government agency - an independent one would probably be less-subject to political meddling, anyway.

BTW, the last sea level figures the IPCC released were shown to have come from areas of subsidance, so i am not prepared to take them at their word this time.

I am not prepared to discuss this. I have heard the same criticism before and there may be something to it. I'd have to spend some time reading up on it, first.

Edit to add: i just found this graphshowing sea levels since 1880 and it appears that there has been no "run away" increase, but a steady straight line increase in sea levels.

The sea is a HUGE thermal mass. It takes a lot of energy to get it moving. Minor fluctuations in atmospheric temperature have little effect. A steady increase is entirely consistent with global warming.

By the same token, once the sea starts to warm up, there is very little that can stop it. Best not to get it moving any faster than it already is.

Doug

P.S.: That graph seems to show a slight logarythmic curve. That would make it a good match for land-based surface temps. It also means that sea temperature rise is accelerating - not good news.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29
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Since we live in a market system we can distort the market in many ways to force out dirty products. We use all manner of subsides to encourage certain behaviours and outcomes. Why is it that we are still subsidizing companies which produce and use dirty fuels like coal ?

Many items out there can be produced with less fuel and raw material use - in the short term it maybe cheaper to produce energy and material rich products - but in the long term it costs society vasts amounts of money to clean up after them. It has to be sensible to penalize such wasteful production methods and reward the efficient producers with the savings which society accrues in using them.

If you focus purely on the unit costs of production you frequently end up with higher life cycle costs - and ultimately that comes out of societies budget and hence everyones pocket.

Br Cornelius

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Correct. And they will still be available as long as people are willing to pay for them.

The CO2 reduction comes when people decide to purchase the cheaper product rather than the more-expensive one. The more-expensive one is more expensive because it costs more to manufacture because the carbon used to make it costs more.

Except for a small fee to cover overhead costs, all money is returned to the public, untaxed. The agency in charge does not even have to be a government agency - an independent one would probably be less-subject to political meddling, anyway.

And if you need the product (i.e. fuel, plastics etc) in which there is no difference in CO2 between brands, who benefits from the increase in price? The product will still be used, CO2 will still be produced and it will make me incur greater costs for nessessary items.

When there is an electric engine driven truck which can deliver my goods (withoutcreating more CO2 in production than a truck uses in its whole life) then i think we can impliment this policy. Until there is a fair ulternative, we are stuck using what we know works.

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Doug is right about wind costing less than fossil fuels. The only thing cheaper is nuclear - but that has unaccounted long term costs which are seldom factored in.

The only reason that wind costs more at the moment is because Governments have chosen to subsidize it in order to encourage private investors to spend the up front capitol costs. They did the same when the national grids were developed and when most of our electricity was coal sourced (hence legacy coal subsidies). Opponents of wind show a remarkable lack of understanding of how capitol intensive infrastructure projects get built.

Br Cornelius

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And if you need the product (i.e. fuel, plastics etc) in which there is no difference in CO2 between brands, who benefits from the increase in price? The product will still be used, CO2 will still be produced and it will make me incur greater costs for nessessary items.

When there is an electric engine driven truck which can deliver my goods (withoutcreating more CO2 in production than a truck uses in its whole life) then i think we can impliment this policy. Until there is a fair ulternative, we are stuck using what we know works.

Almost all products can be built in more resource and energy efficient ways. You are correct that the same things will get built but they will get built for less energy and less raw materials.

The automotive industry developed the technology to produce high efficiency petrol and diesel vehicles back in the 1970's. They only started to put these developments into production cars when the legislation forced them to do so. The problem was that low efficiency high status cars became popular from the 1980's to 2007 and so fuel efficiency actually went down over that period. Since most car manufacturers have oil interests it has always been in the industries interests to maximize fuel consumption rather than efficiency.

Sometimes direct market intervention is essential to ensure the best societal outcomes.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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