Either global warming is real, or the volumes of scientific evidence supporting climate change have been created as a cruel hoax.
Since I’m not one who puts much stock in conspiracy theories, and because thousands of scientists, including many NASA scientists, have loudly proclaimed that global warming is real, I have never believed the arguments that environmentalists were fabricating the supporting evidence. But I wanted to stay informed, and I wanted to understand the magnitude of the problem, so I spent several weeks sifting through the information that had been made available to the public, and my research convinced me that not only is climate change real, the scope of the problem is staggering.
From Physicist Neela Banerjee, PhysOrg:
Emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide reached an all-time high last year, further reducing the chances that the world could avoid a dangerous rise in global average temperature by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, the energy analysis group for the world's most industrialized states.That statement is unequivocal, and there is a mountain of evidence to support the IEA's claim. It's even more alarming when you consider that some scientists are predicting the planet's temperature will rise 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
According to the vast majority of climatologists, the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of industrialization over the last 150 years has led to an increase in global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius. Scientists and the IEA contend that countries need to keep the global average temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to avoid profound damage to life on Earth, from water and food scarcity to rising sea levels to greater incidence and severity of disease. (all emphasis in this diary mine)
Read more at: http://phys.org/...
And the Keystone XL Pipeline will contribute significantly to the rise in temperatures (remember after the planet heats 2 degrees Celsius, then we are in perilous territory):
Consider this: It takes two tons of tar sand just to produce one barrel of oil.
Tar sand has the consistency of molasses when it has been warmed to room temperature, which makes it more toxic to refine than crude oil:
Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates a higher amount of greenhouse gases for the same quantity of final product than the "production" of conventional oil.... WikipediaTar sand also has to be diluted with water and lye (a caustic substance) before it can be pushed through the Keystone XL Pipeline.
*Roughly, 19.9 gallons of gasoline are produced from one barrel of oil -- depending on what grade of gasoline you want.
A large sized SUV normally holds 20 gallons of gasoline, which means a 2010 Lexus RX 450h will require almost two tons of tar sand just to fill the tank.
The average service station sells between 500 to 600 gallons of gasoline per day. That requires about 25 to 30 barrels of oil to produce, or in the case of tar sand, it means 50 to 60 tons of tar sand will have to be refined to keep an average gas station operating for one day.
The current plan is to pipe 62,500 tons of tar sand (500,000 barrels) through the XL Keystone pipeline each day.
In CO2 emissions, 1 ton of CO2 is produced by 3.15 barrels of crude oil, and tar sand produces more CO2 than regular crude. So that means the oil coming through the pipeline will eventually dump more than 158,370 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day.
There are many ways tar sand can have a negative impact on our ecosystem. Here are just four: 1) a pipeline spill could occur along the 2000 mile XL Pipeline corridor, 2) sulfuric dioxide will be released into the atmosphere during the refining process, 3) CO2 emissions generated from automobile engines will add to CO2 levels, and 4) CO2 will deplete oxygen from the atmosphere (which is already having a profound effect on nature).
The more CO2 that is produced, the less oxygen there will be. This won’t be so immediately noticable in the atmosphere as it is and will be in the world’s oceans, where the mix of dissolved CO2 competes to a certain extent with the quantity of dissolved oxygen. Anoxia in extreme cases produces dead zones where no aquatic life can survive.
What I would say is that there may be factors that could result in a far greater depletion of oxygen in the air and oceans. Deforestation, for example, is a direct assault on one of the primary mechanisms for producing atmospheric oxygen. And there’s apparently a concern now that Climate Change could spark a huge collapse in forest eco-systems, accelerating the process we began.
Also, the increase of CO2 in the air is contributing to a rise in marine acidity, which may in turn inhibit both plankton and algae growth. This will result in less oxygen all round as well as creating those “dead zones” you mentioned.
March 12, 2012 – New York TimesThe destruction of our planet will favor no political party (except perhaps the wealthy Republicans who are preparing for the coming disaster by building an underground city in Kansas). Eventually it will effect every living organism on earth. Right now, we are on a collision course that is pitting big money interests against the survival of our children and grandchildren. Taking action to reverse apocalyptic consequences of global warming seems like an easy choice, but unfortunately, too many of our nation's leaders have been compromised by greed or by the quest for power, so they no longer act in our nation's best interests.
RIPLEY, Okla. — President Obama stood in a red-dirt field before acres of stacked pipeline pieces on Thursday to illustrate his support for expedited construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But his public declaration for the project pleased neither the industry and its Republican allies nor environmentalists.
“But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years, including one from Canada,” Mr. Obama added. “And as long as I’m president, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure, and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.”
It is an unfortunate truth that we are unwilling to acknowledge.
Finding a solution will require voters to face down the political leaders from their respective parties. And the first demons we must unite against are the big energy companies that are steering the runaway train over the cliff.
“If oil provided 100 per cent of global energy, and we used twice as much as we do today, [we would have] a 59-year supply of oil based on known reserves.”
Ripudaman Malhotra - senior energy analyst at SRI (Stanford Research Institute) International
Numbers like that translate into big money.
And if you think only in terms of money, it is easy to understand why politicians aren't too worried about the impending collapse of the polar ice caps:
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 412 billion barrels (of oil-equivalent energy) are waiting to be discovered north of the Arctic Circle.
Global warming is real.
So is the looming collapse of our ecosystem.
We have no other choice but to face the problem head on. Unfortunately, some politicians are pushing the meme that we must learn to adapt. Forget that option. Unless we act now, in ten years, there will be no options left for helping our grandchildren. Just do the research and you will understand what I am saying.
*Edited to reflect clarifications by 0112358 and Quicklund:
Crude oil is fractionally distilled (IIR the term correctly) which results in a spectrum of products from that one barrel of oil. (As O112358's link shows.) The non-gasoline portion of the spectrum taken together amounts to more than the gasoline portion.