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View Diary: Climate Change Reality : 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius? Life or death for Tuvalu? (87 comments)

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  •  The problem with talking about a particular (6+ / 0-)

    temperature increase is in the uncertainties of the models for such projections.

    We could make commitments for certain emissions reductions and even achieve them only to find that the Earth's temperature rises a little more than expected and that this has tragic consequences.

    For example, one of the things that climate models have the highest uncertainty in is feedbacks from cloud formation.  This seemed to be very problematic, and many climate scientists expected that there would be a negative feedback.  this would mean that as temperatures increase, cloud formation would increase to result in more radiation reflected into space so that there would be a lessening of the temperature increases.

    It turns out that there is a way to check this and researchers Clement, Burgman and Norris reported their result in the July 14th, 2009 issue of the journal, Science.

    It turns out that measurements over the Northeast Pacific over a period of decades showed that as temperatures increased, reflections of energy from clouds decreased.  This is then a positive feedback, and only one of the current climate models was consistent with this effect.

    That means that at least over the temperature ranges in which this effect is expected to hold up, the average of current model runs will underpredict the temperature increases.

    We had better not set targets now with confidence.  They must be checked frequently as we learn more about climate sensitivity and tipping points.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:06:01 AM PST

    •  I agree that setting temperature targets is not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      scientifically sound.  We need to regulate the forcings not the response.

      "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

      by captainlaser on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:36:34 AM PST

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    •  Is that how the temperature targets are being (1+ / 0-)
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      used?  Or are they more like guidelines, based on computer models, for emissions?  Or something else?

      •  The targets are (1+ / 0-)
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        part educated guesses and part model dependent.

        We know that past climates hit tipping points that we want to avoid, but we're not sure exactly what the temperatures for the tipping points will be or what will trigger them.  There are some possibly good guesses, but we don't know for sure.

        We know very accurately how much sea level will rise for a given ocean temperature change.  It's not easy to calculate, but it is within current skill of the models.  Expansions of water with temperature increases depend on the particular starting temperatures and pressures that the water is under.  There is enough known about the oceans to make this difficult set of calculations very reliable.

        But we don't know how much ice will melt at a particular temperature, and that makes the total rise in sea level at least moderately uncertain.  Current models don't do well in predicting ice melt.

        We can have high confidence in the trends, but there are still uncertainties in the details.

        "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

        by LookingUp on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:40:20 PM PST

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      •  Regulations wil be pplied to emissions (0+ / 0-)

        Temperature limits are general goals to guide emission standards and a monitoring mechanism to (ultimately) validate or adjust emissions limis.

        Hope that answers the question.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 01:11:53 AM PST

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    •  Great sig line. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, LookingUp

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:55:20 AM PST

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      •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        It's partly short for "Astronomy is looking up," and partly about my hopes for the future.  I've been an amateur astronomer for 54 years and have now and then worked with professional astronomers.

        "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

        by LookingUp on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:43:17 PM PST

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        •  Oops! You said "sig line!" (0+ / 0-)

          Sometimes I'm dense.

          I read this phrase, "Trust only those who doubt" in a book, and it stuck with me.  Eventually, with the help of someone I know from China, I tracked it down to the Chinese author, Lu Xun.

          I have found from experience that those who act certain about their ideas and actions are often well respected leaders, but they're not generally as accurate as they would like us to believe.

          "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

          by LookingUp on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:05:07 PM PST

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          •  See my note (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Attached to Meteor Blades comment, just a bit about Zhōu Shùrén, the real Lǔ Xùn (a nom de plume). Zhōu was actually quite an influnetial writer and one of the leaders of the May 4th Movement, the progressive core of modern Chinese intellectualism.

            I highly recommend his writings, they certianly influanced my own development.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 02:07:39 AM PST

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      •  A a great man. (0+ / 0-)

        Lǔ Xùn (鲁迅) is actualy the nome de plume of Zhōu Shùrén (周樹人), one of the leaders of the May 4th movement in China and the defacto leader of the Chinese League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai, my home.

        His most famous and influential work was 狂人日記 (English title A Madman's Diary) which is a amazing story of social criticizm I think you would enjoy, and one I read every few years to focus myself. I'm certian you can find it in english translation easily, it is one of the classics of modern Chinese literature and was a powerful and influential work. Another of his classics is 阿Q正傳 (English name: The Story of Ah Q)

        If you visit Shanghai sometime, his appartment above the League of Left Wing Writers Press/Bookstore is still in existance and a designated cultural heritage building, and worth a visit since the district is still a writers/publishers enclave of sorts.

        From this location the League published the periodicals 新青年 (New Youth) and 萌芽 (Sprouts) which you might consider the then equivelents of some of the more famous political blogs of today although they were a bit more radical.

        The quote you like is typical of East Asian culture and Confucian ethics; we tend to think doubt is the better part of reason and polite exercise of it a social virture.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 01:59:24 AM PST

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    •  The problem is that (0+ / 0-)

      real, hardcore environmentalism is all about population control.

      Environmentalists tried to take a short cut by latching on to the relatively innocuous issue of global warming (polar bears and all that).

      Global Warming, even if true, pales in comparison to human numbers -- which not coincidentally are driving Global Warming as well.

      The Chinese have a "nuclear option" that will destroy any attempt to curtail their consumption of fossil fuels:

      If pressed, they will simply call upon the West to adopt a One-Child policy for real sustainability.

      The West will back down.

      End of story.

      The sins of 2000 gave us the penance of 2001-2009. Don't repeat them.

      by Paul Goodman on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 12:06:47 PM PST

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      •  Glogg! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, RLMiller

        A recipe for Glogg:


           * 1 bottle of red wine
           * 0.5 Liter inexpensive brandy or vodka
           * 10 cardamom pods
           * 1 cinnamon stick (broken down)
           * 1/2 orange peel (dried or fresh)
           * 1/2 lbs sugar (regular or lumps)
           * Optional additions: 5 cloves, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup almonds, 5 dried figs

        Heat the wine and brandy spices, fruit, and nuts in a pot (and any optional additions you might like.)

        Be careful not to boil the mixture; just let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

        Then, strain through a cloth to remove all additions.

        Serve your Glogg hot over lumped sugar (or with regular granulated sugar).

        Optional: You can also serve the Glogg with raisons or almonds. If you'd like the drink to be stronger, use more brandy.

        Find out the latest in the global warming fight at Wonk Room!

        by The Cunctator on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 12:38:57 PM PST

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      •  "... even if true..." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, koNko

        ...Paul, Paul, Paul.

        Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 02:00:39 PM PST

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      •  You are looking at this backwards (1+ / 0-)
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        And suggesting Chinese are unreasonable; we are not. The One Child Policy was initiated based on the realizaion that the cycle of poverty and famine in China would not be broken unless we lowered our population to a point it would be sustainable given our meagar natural and economic resources. Today, it has, perhaps, even greater relevance given the fact that as we climb the economic ladder, we face other constraints, environmental ones.

        The problem is rather one of population and resource consumption (including the capacity for natural CO2 sequesting); we need to control both, and given the lack of magic solutions, accept contraints on both.

        Politically, this suggests high consuming/low population nations conserve and/or rapidly replace fossil fuels with clean energy resources, and that underveloped and developing nations control their growth and take the clean route to the greatest extent possible.

        For all it suggests some sacrifice for the common good and the terms of that are the pressure point of COP-15.

        China is not going to demand other nations addopt population controls; it might be wise for some high population countries such as India to do a better job of it and for the global community to help them, but China is not in the habit of dictating policy to other countries, if you believe so you fundamentally misunderstand Chinese political doctrine.

        But having raised the issue, let's frame that picture; the attached chart shows some selected percapita emissions data with countries selected for multiple criteria of region, economic status, dominant economic model, power generation mix and geopolitical significance.

        I invite people to read, think and debate.


        Data Source: EIA


        And our own One Child thanks you in advance for your kind & thoughtful consideration. One World, One Atmosphere.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 03:12:46 AM PST

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