The question should really be
how many scientists believe it is driven by natural causes?
I would guess that there is a worrying disconnect in those figures.
Fewer Britons than ever support the proposition that global warming is caused by human-driven CO2 emissions, according to the latest survey. Some 48 per cent of Britons now agree with the suggestion that warming could be "mostly natural" and that the idea of it being human-caused has yet to be proven. By comparison only 43 per …
How on earth would you get that information? The press in general frequently misrepresent science (e.g. Faster than light neutrinos mean physics is broken).
There are scientists who are sceptics, but it's a hostile world for them. Any scientist doing something separate isn't going to want to stick their head over the top and upset they're funding. You only have to look at Marcus Brigstock's rhetoric to realise that it's a middle class social faux pas to challenge man made climate change theory and it's consequences.
Challenging theories is the basis of science. It makes it particularly alarming to hear people condemning intelligent and well reasoned challenge against man made global warming.
If there are huge grants for proving a human element in climate change, then there will be many scientists who believe it is man made. If there are huge grants for proving it is natural, then there will be many scientists who believe it is not man made. So aking a scientist if he believes climate change is man made is much like asking a prostitute if she likes you.
"A US government-funded survey has found that Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more sceptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens."
That was covered in a Reg article last month.
The social scientists say real scientist are more skeptical than the general population.
The social scientists figure that is a problem, but that is how we real scientists and engineers are trained to be, that is how real science works.
The scientific process have discovered and improved our understanding of so many things. How can you dismiss this process when the very device you are using to write your message on is as a result of science?
Just because climate change in inconvenient to capitalism and people who want to drive V12 Jags doesn't mean it is all rubbish.
There's been a lot of insane weather in this country and around the world recently. The UK climate is changing, a perfect example of that is the huge rise in ticks (blood sucking parasites) that attack themselves to dogs, horses and even people.
Is it? Or is it retreating to become an increasing noisy but irrelevant minority?
My guess is that a couple of generations ago anyone with strong creationist beliefs would just have kept their mouth shut. Not because they felt oppressed or embarrassed, but simply because it wasn't a matter for public debate.
Since then we've had a number of cases where creationists have tried to force their views into school biology lessons. Their successes are always short-lived. As soon as "normal" people notice what has happened, the creationists find themselves being voted off school boards and losing in court.
"No, some of us are actually highly educated and our view is that science and creationism can coexist. Science increasingly proves the existence of a creative force, but some people choose to draw other, irrational conclusions, but each to his own."
And here you are wrong unfortunately. Believing in a god is not, in it's basis compatible with science.
The biggest and most sacrosanct question in science is: Why? (Or alternatively: "how the bleeping explative does that work?"). A scientist will always keep asking that question. No matter how well we understand the world and the universe we live in, there will be some edge were things are blurry, where we can't explain things. An edge where a scientist comes along and things: Wait, why is that?
Believing in a god means that at some point you feel you no longer need to ask that question. At some point you decide that you don't need to find an explanation, you simply accept (a) God did it. THAT is why science and religion, in their basis are not compatible. Science CANNOT prove a creative force and there is NO evidence to even begin to suggest there could be a "design" to the universe.
As a final note I will say this: I was raised as a Catholic. While I no longer attend a church and I no longer agree with the doctrine or dogma of the Roman Catholic Church I still believe in a god. A belief stemming from the more illogical and feeling based part of my brain, and a believe that I cannot explain rationally. It's probably a remnant of my upbringing.
I support everyone's right to their own religion and their religious freedom, but I believe religion should NOT be involved in schools. Teaching creationism to children is cutting it awful close to religious indoctrination on young and impressionable minds. Religion has no place in education. It doesn't add anything but could arguably get very much in the way
"And here you are wrong unfortunately. Believing in a god is not, in it's basis compatible with science."
Science is the study of the natural (and observable) universe. As the concept of God is supernatural, the two concepts are orthagonal, and so one cannot preclude the other. It is not possible to make any correlations between the two, but they can certainly be studied individually. There are many such "incompatible" fields of study, for example music and painting.
You are wrong that science is limited to the natural universe. Science isn't even a THING the way you seem to think of it. It's not a specific field of research or something. Science is a method to understand the world around us. Science is HOW we study both our universe and any theoretical universe or entity we can think of. It means we obtaining repeatable results, that can be independently verified, or at the very least obtaining some sort of evidence that can be verified as being correct.
All this includes the study and understanding of "the supernatural". (For which by the way there is no evidence of it's existence)
music and painting are not even close to being "incompatible" fields of study. When taking a scientific approach there are so many things that can be studied about their relation, their creation, their impact on us humans, the creative process, the underlying social issues, etc, etc, etc.
God does not fall outside of science. Nothing you can think of can not be approached in a scientific manner. And that's why there can't BE a correlation between science and the concept of God. Because one is a a method, the other is a thing. Things can be studied through science!
Sort of right, but it's simpler than that. If there was a being that was all-powerful and completely detached from our universe then it wouldn't be covered by science. There would be no reason for us to know about it. The real problem is, that as soon as such a being interacts with our universe it becomes measurable. So if there are claims of a god creating our universe, or taking part in miracles, or helping an army win a battle, or listening to prayer, or, say, sending his only son to die for us on a cross and satisfy a rather strange conception of justice (especially for an all-powerful, all-merciful being), then that god is measurable, or, at the very least, his actions are. Up until now, there has been nothing to suggest any divine intervention, so yes, your god may exist, and may be unmeasurable and unexplainable by science, but if he is, he's not the god of any major religion (close to Deism, but even then...).
Science does point to a cause for creation, very much like seeing a fried egg points to some frying event, however, just as I don't attribute a fried breakfast to god (rather to myself or my wife), I see no reason to attribute the creation event to your god, unless you decide to take a religious text as your evidence. In that case, why not just start praising Xenu?
How does science increasingly show there is a creative force?
I do not believe any specific aspect of genuine scientific research either shows this or even has any meaningful way to attempt to.
Belief is seductive, it has to be, it is an emergent property of brain architecture and is necessary for us to operate. If we could not believe and connect up possible cause and effect, we couldn't learn. The flip side is we have the ability to learn and believe harmful or nonsensical ideas. Also, we are influenceable, we have to be, for social cohesion.
Hate the metaphor, but computer design means viruses can exist. Cell biology means viruses can exist. Mental base structures means memes can exist, these can be hooked easily into multiple levels of mental machinery including emotional ones. Making such ideas a potential part of identity, therefore an attack on these can be felt as an attack on the self.
Climate change was pushed as a real scenario, in panic and emotion much more than pure science. As such it has the duel evil of a cult like emotional hook and an apparent scientific reality. Faced with that, it is no wonder that it became a foundation of a scientific religion deep enough to effect politics.
James Lovelock admitted he was alarmist. What he forgot to add is emotion and cult tactics are best sellers.
Non of this disproves any real science here. Though I do believe our own sun will effect us far more deeply than nearly anything we can do. Except maybe nuclear war.
"Creationism is on the rise"
So is hollow earth, 2012 apocalypse and any other nutcase idea that David Icke might be promoting.
Just because the internet has allowed these nut jobs to mutually reinforce their delusions doesn't mean anything to rational sphere living, sun orbiting, 2013 holiday planing normality.
"Also, creationism is on the rise, due to evangelical churches preying on the poorly-educated."
Well how's the "sociology of science", the "sociology of knowledge", post-modernism, and belief in "The Singularity" doing?
There's a suitable kind of ignorance for every social, ethnic, and economic class, educational level, political persuasion, and personality structure, but between creationism vs the belief systems I've mentioned above, which is, in your opinion, more pernicious and has more deleterious social consequences?
On the subject of evolution v creationism, I have a question about evolution for the well-informed reg readership if anyone is reading this.....
If a species by definition cannot reproduce with other species, and it takes 1 male + 1 female of the same species to reproduce, how do new species come into existence and preserve themselves?
I thought evolutionary theory implies that changes in DNA occur due to random mutations, and that very occasionally that random mutation would create a new species that can't reproduce with it's parent species.
Therefore, to create new species, the same very improbable mutation has to occur in both a male and female offspring living in the same vicinity and same lifetime. How likely is that?
If you are genuine, then there are lots of resources on the web that explain how all this works in endless detail. Start with Wikipedia, but I have found Dawkin's books like the Selfish Gene very good, (although he can be a little pit-bullish against Creationist's, he does do a good job of explaining clearly how we know evolution is a fact and how it all works). There is also the rather good book, a little old now but a classic called 'Origin of Species'
To your question:
"If a species by definition cannot reproduce with other species, and it takes 1 male + 1 female of the same species to reproduce, how do new species come into existence and preserve themselves?"
First up species is not a very clear term. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species
1) You may have missed that many species of life are asexual. Virus's for instance reproduce and mutate without sex, so we get new variations of the flu most years.
2) You don't create a new ‘species’ with one mutation overnight.
It is interesting to look an example of a highly visible mutation like that of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphynx_(cat) . These cases are relative rare as in the wild such a radical mutation would normally be expected to kill off the individual animals quickly. It is however possible that the individual animals (like this litter of cats) could have (and in fact did), survive and pass on the mutant gene by breeding with others in the population. A hairless cat breeding with ‘normal’ cats, would still produce some hairless kittens, in the same way that red-heads don’t have to breed with other red-heads to produce more gingers. If there was an advantage (or simply not a disadvantage), then the gene will continue on in the population.
Just needs Dr Evil (Larry?) to take a family of these cats to an isolated bunker for a few thousand generations and they might diverge enough from the main population of cats to become not just a new breed, but a new species of evil cat overlords.
Much more typically, you get tiny amounts of genetic variation that is selected for over time. An artificially accelerated case would be dogs breeds. They come in a range of sizes and skin colours as a result of gene expression, even within breeds. They all carry genes that produce the odd mutation (i.e. dwarf’s, albino’s) but most of the differences between breeds are because environmental factors (mainly dog breeders) _select_ characteristics, so over time you get large and small dog breeds, pure white dogs or red shaggy coats etc.
Domestic dog breeds can still interbreed (though good luck on a male Chihuahua trying to shag a female Great Dane), and can even be interbreed with wolves, but probably have accumulated enough genetic variation over time to be considered as a separate species to foxes, jackals, coyotes with which they share a common ancestor (I assume dogs can’t interbreed with foxes.. not sure about jackals and coyotes).
Point is there is no ‘new species’ of animal like a dog breed that pops up overnight and suddenly can’t interbreed with any of its parent species – as you say, that would die off. But you can and do get separate populations of animals like Chimpanzee’s and humans that share a common ancestor but can’t interbreed. Not that people don’t still try it on of course.. <yeek at that mental thought>
Gets way more complex when you start looking at details.. but there is no chicken and egg problem like your query suggests,
No a single random mutation will not create a new species.
That's the accumulation of a lot of mutations selected by environmental pressure other the course of thousands of generations. If an existing species is separated in two groups with two different environments, they will evolve independently up to the point of being considered different species.
Note that the loss of the interbred capability is not necessarily mandatory and could be retained. A good exemple is the domestic and savage animals like boar/pigs or wolves/dogs who even with more than several thousands generations of selective pressure for traits not existing in the wild are still capable of breeding together.
A good example of this is so-called Ring species. For example, in the Eastern Atlantic region there are two types of gulls, from memory these may be Black Backed and Herring gulls. Here they are two species that cannot interbreed.
However, as the species changes with longitudinal distribution, by the time we get to the Bering Sea/North Pacific, they have become a single species again.
The problem with your question is that you are considering 'species' as an immutable division in time and space.
(Note, I'm not a biologist, the following is my understanding of the biology of evolution)
You are correct that the basic definition of one species turning into a new one "requires" that the new species can't reproduce with the parent species.
Your confusion stems from how fast this process happens (or rather how slowly). No single mutation is going to produce an entirely new species.
I'll give an example to explain a bit: I have a colony of lizards living on a very large island, currently connected to the mainland via a land bridge. At some point, due to an earthquacke, rising sea-level, asteroid of doom, whatever, this landbridge disappears. The lizards on the island can no longer visit the mainland to reproduce with their species their and can now only reproduce amongst themselves.
Due to the island now being an actual island, the conditions gradually change. Some mutations amongst the lizards mean those adapted to the new conditions thrive, while the "old design" dies out. At this point the lizards from the mainland and the island can still reproduce but fertility would already be affected. This mutation and adoption to the environment then goes on. Over time the Island Lizard has changed so much it can no longer mate with the species on the mainland. They have thus become a new species. When that cut-off for "now it's a new species" is, is a bit of a gray area and hard to define, although I'm sure the biologists have a proper definition on paper somewhere.
So the basic premise is not that a single mutation creates a new species. Its a whole series of beneficial mutations in a mostly separated community adapting to a changing or different environment.
Natural selection acts on *populations*, not on individuals.
Keep that in mind and everything falls into place. Please also disregard the stupidly named "Darwin Awards" when trying to understand how evolution works, because that is about individual misadventure. Genetics have very little to do with that.
The idea of a species is, as you note, a matter of definition. If two populations of living things cannot interbreed, then by definition, they belong to different species. But reality is not so clear cut - there can be considerable variety even within a species. The scenario you present where an individual of an entirely new species suddeny appears (and cannot find a viable mate to continue the line) is very unlikely.
Speciation is a gradual process. Populations diverge over time, accumulating differences through mutation or selection until a point is crossed where they cannot interbreed any more due to those differences. Even then there can be a fuzzy borderline where organisms from divergent populations can, in principle, mate and conceive and produce offspring, though this offspring may be unviable, or unable to produce further offspring itself.
"It would seem that the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them."
I really doubt that the average person has studied anything.
It all just seems like two hideously biased entrenched positions hurling predictions of economic / social / environmental doom around and trying to grab followers wherever and however they can.
Just because the majority of the (uninformed and unqualified) public believe something to be true, doesn't make it so. The real world doesn't work like that - although I wouldn't be surprised to hear that most people think it should, and thus it shall be.
Just like we can't hold a referendum and vote away inflation, recession or other economic woes (and denying evolution doesn't make it stop - except among the deniers).
So it doesn't really matter what the majority of people think, hope or wish for. Science will still go on according to the Laws of Thermodynamics. The world will continue in its orbit as described by the Laws of Kepler and Einstein and politicians will still appeal to peoples' vanity by telling them that who they vote for will make a difference. All we can do is work out what the hell is ACTUALLY happening and use the best judgement of the small number of independent, yet qualified, souls to consider if anything can or should be done about it.
Que cera cera
What people think matters. Perception is almost everything. They vote, they buy stuff, they pay tax. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. Jews were not wrecking the German economy between WW1 & WW2, but someone managed to convince the German population that they were, and look where that got us.
If you look at the survey http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012.06.27_Climate.pdf
43% think "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities"
27% think "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by natural changes"
21% think "Global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven"
You really can't add the last 2 percentages together to make your article look better.
I noticed the suspiciously specific phrasing in the article too.
Presumably "You can download the PDF, with results and methodology, here" is short for "You can download the PDF, with results and methodology, here, but we assume you won't bother, and we will get away with misrepresenting the results"
That only -
"21% of Americans (+1), 22% of Britons (+1) and 14% of Canadians (=) think global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven"
So reality seems at least to have impinged on the general herd to some extent, in that only around a fifth of people in the US and the UK flat out deny it's happening.
I'm also amused that you think it's meaningful that a large proportion of people don't want to hamper the economy right now. You know, in the midst of the global financial clusterf*** we're currently sitting in. Frankly if 43% of Brits say they would be willing to hamper economic growth for the environment it's something of a miracle.
Also please note that they said they were willing to hamper growth, not get poorer. Your agenda is showing again, might want to pull those trousers back up a touch.
Maybe they don't question that it's taking place *any more*. That is amazing progress, IMHO.
Maybe now we can move on one stage in the discussions about what might be causing this, and what (if anything) is the appropriate action to take. One tiny step away from the morons/paid shills bellowing about how it's all a lie is one positive move in my book.
Of course I don't believe for a second that humanity thinks long-term enough to void making life on this planet very difficult for itself in coming years. I think we'd rather bicker than deal with even clear and present danger, let alone nuanced evidence about our current polluting activities having a downside for future generations.
Still, no sense worrying really, because you can't change people.
But I'm mainly sceptical about 'climate change' scientists, most of whom seemed to have made their mind up about the cause and effects of warming, and do their research to find the 'right' results.
The sceptic position is harder to inhabit given the actions of some sections, who are not sceptics at all - they firmly believe there is no such thing as climate change. That's not a sceptic, that is a believer.
Do you know any climate scientists? I do, they haven't "made up their minds" any more than evidence suggests is appropriate, and don't carry out research to prove their case. You wouldn't be able to get a research proposal accepted, were it not open to every reasonable eventuality.
The problem is for the people commissioning research, monitoring researchers at places like the CRU, political parties, green activists, "every reasonable eventuality" covers anything from "its all our fault, this is going to be a problem in 200 years" and "humans did it, this is going to be a problem in 10 years".
Every year there is a re-design of the models, as modelling a system as complex as the Earth based upon 100 years of data is nonsensical, and their models are shown to be equally incomplete and inaccurate. "But don't worry, a little change to the model and everything now fits again" - it's statistical wankery.
15 years ago, people doing this research were doing "global warming research", but that gave their pre-determined position away, so they went to "climate change research", and now they just say "climate research". A leopard doesn't change his spots, a researcher doesn't go into climate research with an open attitude - they already know what they are looking for.
So, this is why I don't trust them. I don't trust the sceptics either, but they aren't trying to sell me anything.
"15 years ago, people doing this research were doing "global warming research", but that gave their pre-determined position away, so they went to "climate change research", and now they just say "climate research"."
You've derived what happened through fantasy story telling. My question is have you really fooled yourself into believing your own constructed fantasies? Because it sounds very much like you are trying to tell us what you describe actually happened.
I've already told you my position, I'm sceptical. This means I don't believe the accuracy of the currently presented theories, on either side.
As I see it, the main argument for AGW is that humans have caused CO₂ levels to rise to levels that cause global warming, and therefore the only solution to decrease the amount of CO₂. What makes me distrust them is that they are not lobbying for massive numbers of nuclear power stations to be built.
Instead, they want us to subsidise the upper middle class's electricity bills with ineffective solar, build massive arrays of (again) subsidized ineffective windmills. All this does is enrich Dale Vince, it's not saving the environment, and it's making the UK a less efficient and more costly place to live or run a company.
"A leopard doesn't change his spots, a researcher doesn't go into climate research with an open attitude - they already know what they are looking for"
That would be either tenure or the next round of funding.
Very true on the sceptics as well, though I would say some of them are trying to sell you something, just it will be a little cheaper than the frothinggreenies solutions.
Yes we need to cut down on fossil fuel use - it's more valuable as feedstock for plastics etc than as an energy source.
Yes we need alternative forms of energy - something always on though, like say nuclear.
Stopping food waste wouldn't hurt either, but no need to stop eating meat.
Yes we are overpopulated - lets move some of the excess out into the solar system.
Ignore Nom Nom Nom, he argues red is green so often he must be colourblind.
""15 years ago, people doing this research were doing "global warming research", but that gave their pre-determined position away, so they went to "climate change research", and now they just say "climate research".""
Maybe I wasn't clear enough. The above is complete BS.
There wasn't any period where anyone renamed anything from "global warming research" to "climate change research" or then renamed it again to "climate research". Tom38 not only makes this up he even fabricates motives for this mythical event.
There was no time when the Climate Research Unit in the UK was called the Global Warming Research Unit for example. I would point out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed over 15 years ago, a time when according to Tom38's fantasy to make sense it should really have been called the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming.
So now it's Tom38's turn to defend his claims and give specific examples of what he claimed happened.
Otherwise the question becomes why is he making stuff like this up and presenting it as historical fact? Is it some kind of delusion, or does he know it's a lie?
maybe it's time to stop digging ?
I suggest you google up the IPCC Assessment Report 2 "AR2" (circa 1995) and run a word count on "global warming" then compare it to the much smaller number in IPCC AR5
But, you'll like this one, there's some really interesting "scientific" papers that made it into AR4 that had "global warming" in their titles
... AR4 was at the height of the thermogeddon scare (pre-climategate)
- Tulu, A.N., 1996: Determinants of malaria transmission in the highlands of Ethiopia: the impact of GLOBAL WARMING on morbidity and mortality ascribed to malaria. PhD thesis, University of London, London, 301 pp.
***(yep a student doing his masters made the cut)
Malcolm, J.R., C. Liu, L. Miller, T. Allnut and L. Hansen, Eds., 2002a: Habitats at Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Globally Significant Terrestrial Ecosystems. WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Gland, 40 pp.
***(this is interesting, the WWF - World Wrestling Federation gets a gig)
Malcolm, J.R. and A. Markham, 2000: Global Warming and Terrestrial Biodiversity Decline. World Wildlife Fund, Gland, Switzerland, 34 pp
***(again .. those wrestlers must be clever)
Bernow, S., K. Cory, W. Dougherty, M. Duckworth, S. Kartha, and M. Ruth, 1999: America’s Global Warming Solutions. Worldwildlife Fund, Washington, DC.
***(whey hey move over Gore, give those wrestlers a nobel prize as well)
"I suggest you google up the IPCC Assessment Report 2 "AR2" (circa 1995) and run a word count on "global warming" then compare it to the much smaller number in IPCC AR5"
Here's Tom38's conspiracy theory which you are clearly defending:
"15 years ago, people doing this research were doing "global warming research", but that gave their pre-determined position away, so they went to "climate change research", and now they just say "climate research"."
I didn't ask for word counts on google. That's irrelevant. I asked for evidence of Tom38s conspiracy theory. What researchers switched to "climate change research"? Give specific examples. If the UK climate research unit was once called the global warming research unit (it wasn't) that would be a good example. Something like this please.
Not lists of papers with "global warming" in the title. I can do that too:
"Trace gas trends and their potential role in CLIMATE CHANGE"
V Ramanathan et al. Journal of Geophysical Research 1985
"Global Warming" refers to overall _global_ temperatures, not local weather, which leads to more extremes. The weather we are experiencing in the UK exactly fits with what is expected. The confusion between weather and climate is one reason why it is normally now referred to as "climate change."
Yes, climate change is a global not local thing, but most people live locally and in their experience it's bollocks. You can produce lots of tedious reports proving whatever you want but the average person on the street doesn't care, all they know is that they're being taxed more for no obvious advantage in the name of preventing climate change. Considering how most taxes seem to get pissed up the wall you can see how they might be a bit sceptical that it's all a scam to get more money out of them.
You don't just have to prove to people that climate change is real, you have to prove that any extra misery you inflict on them is worth it because most of them would rather just be left alone.
These aren't really the same things. For example I am skeptical about AGW (please don't mod me up OR down just because you've found someone who you think falls into your ally / enemy camp - very few of us actually know enough about the climate to legtimiately claim to have an informed opinion). And yet even though I'm a skeptic of AGW, I am still believe we need to get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible. I still think we need to stop mass-deforestation. I still think better energy-efficiency through technology are good things. Why? Because there are reasons that have nothing to do with CO2 for supporting these. The best thing we could do for ourselves right now is a major shift to nuclear power. Cheap (at least compared to e.g. wind-power), long-term reserves are available, safe and doesn't lead us to prop up nasty little Middle Eastern dictators or bomb Lybians.
Basically, just a plea not to equate skeptic with someone who wants to burn the world. A lot of us care very much about the environment, we're just not convinced we should be peppering Britain with Wind Farms or fully persuaded that we now understand the complexities of Climate.
Actually nuclear power is quite costly with subsidies excluded - wind is actually marginally cheaper* . HOWEVER one of the reasons for this is lack of investment in new nuclear technology. Older reactors are more costly to run, and less nuclear power in the last 20 years means losing out on economies of scale. And wind is probably more expensive than the study suggests** . But even discounting the 'cheap' advantage, I think it's worth it to pay a bit more for power when considering the other advantages (limited supply of fossil fuels, political instability in fossil fuel producers, less direct pollution or particulate pollution, reliability of supply etc)
*US-based study of historical costs per kW of installed power
** Since the study is looking at historic costs it will take into account existing wind farms that naturally get built in the best locations both in terms of power produced and required cost (including transmission costs). So large-scale wind would be more expensive
Yes, Nuclear power. In terms of lives lost one of the safest power sources we know.
Fukushima is no big deal. It's our generations Three Mile Island. It's not going to have a lasting impact on the environment. (ie. Core meltdown, some fast decaying nuclear materials released posing very little to no danger to the environment, no actual impact on the environment anywhere but hyped by media to be the next Armageddon)
Chernobyl was a while different incident and has nothing to do with nuclear power per sé. It was a bodged experiment by unqualified personnel unaware of the reactors peculiarities performed outside the parameters set in advance for said experiment and then executed very poorly, leading to the core boiling dry and melting down then causing a hydrogen explosion, spreading radioactive graphite and fission-byproducts for miles around. After which the cleanup was slow and ineffective due to a lack of central control. But even then the actual impact on the populace in terms of radiation exposure is often overstated to say the least.
Also, I don't see what Tepco losing money has to do with anything. They just lost 4 very expensive nuclear reactors, incured massive damage at other plants (including Fukushima Dainii) and had to import a shit-ton of extra fuel to power their conventional power stations to keep up with power demands. So is it really all that surprising they ran a loss? The cleanup costs mentioned there are NOT JUST for cleaning up "radioactive fallout". (Which is negligible to begin with, the Japanese government is pulling a NRC, being as paranoid as they can be, forcing Tepco to clean up "hotspots" that can't really even be classified as a bit radioactive and for which the source is probably not even their reactor) Those cleanup costs also include the thousands of tons of mud and debris washed ashore and the damage done by the tsunami. Which, you might have chosen to ignore, did a LOT more damage than the whole Fukushima meltdown will ever do.
... without asking nicely, we spit it back out.
It's the extra costs under the guise of being green that get me - being green is surely nothing more than being more efficient, which should inherently cost LESS. Nowhere in green thinking should we have to spend MORE for less, it makes no sense at all.
100% Agree with you..
I personally pay a disgusting amount of tax anyway, I wasn't completely against some "green" taxes, but after several years of seeing absolutely no visible benefit to myself, I can't help but feel they are purely revenue generators being disguised.
And yes, I am skeptical about man-made climate change.. I don't doubt things are changing and humans have had some impact, but I'm yet to see anything to convince me humans are the primary cause or that anything "green initiative" will have any real impact!
But for those saying "sceptics" are uneducated - Take a look in the mirror...
"or that anything 'green initiaive' will have any real impact!"
Hole in ozone layer over Antartica was huge.
CFC's were banned.
Hole in ozone layer significantly reduced.
Just one example, but a pretty good one.
Climate change is slow, and you might not see any effect in several years directly. Also, consider that HAD we not been doing all the "green" stuff, things might have been even worse.
"Yet to see anything to convince me that humans are the primary cause"
I despair. You've read and understood the science on which 99% of climate scientists agree, but you're not convinced?
Ok, I'll try. Imagine going for a walk 20,000 years ago. Do you think things would have looked a bit different? Think a little bit about those differences. Then ask yourself, is it really so hard to believe that we might be affecting the Weather? We don't struggle with the idea that cities create microclimates. We don't struggle with the idea that agriculture can alter rainfall patterns. So add it all up, and ask yourself, is it really so implausible that burning fossil fuels laid down over millennia in a few hundred years and radically disrupting the way soils fix carbon through cultivation on a massive Scale?
Politicians seems to have lost any ability to make themselves believed at all. Don'y know if it's just my impression but it seems to me that they are held in greater general contempt than ever before. The coincidence of recession, fiddling MPs, an ongoing state of security panic and giving lots of tax money to bankers may have something to do with this.
If you want to recruit someone to your point of view you best not get too many politicians on board.
Perhaps it's not the science and media coverage that is causing the scepticism. Whether or not they believe in AGW, I think many people are sceptical of the so-called solutions being put forward to combat it. There's a whiff of governments simply using it as an excuse for more tax revenue, and companies using it as an excuse for higher prices.
Although I am convinced that global warming is occuring and it seems likely that it is at least partially man-made, I remain utterly unconvinced that any of the government taxation strategies brought in on the back of this are at all related to resolving it.
In particular, the escalation of fuel duty over the last 10 years (and the carbon output related car tax rises) is in no way related to government spending on any measures to reduce or mitigate any causes of AGW.
I would be more convinced if all the fuel tax supposedly brought in to combat this were put into a separate fund which could only be spent on strategies to reduce CO2 production (e.g. research into alternative energies, rolling out chraging infrastructure or hydrogen fuel stations etc.).
I suspect that many others share this opinion and it is this, rather than any revolutionary new evidence to prove/disprove AGW, that drives this shift of opinion.
If we accept the premises of:
1) Climate change due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is true
2) Said climate change will have disastrous results.
3) We must do everything in our power to change this
(which seems to be the assumptions "they" want us to hold)
Then logically, it seems to me that we should see "them" out there chanting
WHAT DO WE WANT? NUKES!
WHEN DO WE WANT THEM? NOW!
But since I don't see the (for want of a less emotionally charged term) "pro-global-warming" crowd doing that, it causes me to question the validity of the premises (or at least question if the "pro-global-warming" crowd truly holds those premises to be true).
It's another stock market where traders and middle men line their pockets. Zero change in carbon produced.
Even had some ass come to my house trying to get me to buy carbon offsets to make my home "carbon neutral". I told them to piss off, I'd be better off spending the money on weather stripping or some new windows. Something that might actually reduce energy use.
For sake of being pedantic MrPatrick, The system you mentioned would be a representative republic or a constitutional republic depending on how basic law works, not a Democracy. The closest anyone comes to having a direct democracy would be the Swiss electoral system, but the government is a representative republic there too.
Scientists have reached complete consensus that the world is warming, and near complete (about 99%) consensus that it's at least partly due to human activity. It amazes me that so many people chose to ignore them, but what amazes me even more is the selective ignorance of readers of science-based websites, like the Reg. Ah well, there's good company on that side of the fence (right-wing US anti-science, religious bigots for a start).
tldr; you can't chose which bits of science to believe (evolution etc) and which to merrily ignore (climate change etc).
Of course, this will be voted to oblivion, hence AC.
"The issue is how responsible is "man", the problem is most people are sick of being told we are 100% responsible."
No that's not nearly as relevant as "Is what is happening bad for us and can we do anything about it?"
Answering those questions might also provide the answer to how responsible we are but it doesn't matter.
I'm not sure people are being told we are 100% responsible [ for the problem if there is one ] but regardless, people might be sick of it but that does not make it any more or less true.
"you can't chose which bits of science to believe (evolution etc) and which to merrily ignore (climate change etc)."
Yes you can. Science is not "the truth", it is a series of approximate models. Some are very very accurate and some are little better than random guesses. You can easily accept Quantum Theory at low energies while rejecting the idea of the big bang, for instance, since one has mountains of supporting evidence while the other is a historical extrapolation based on circumstantial evidence and an incomplete physical theory. AGW might be considered similar to the latter example, if we're honest about it.
So rejection of AGW is a perfectly valid intellectual position, if done for the right reasons, and it does the science no good to pretend otherwise.
You don't see it done for the right reasons very often, though, IMO.
I have to bite.
1) It is very hard to argue that the climate is not changing. It has change throughout history. Both geological and recent history.
2) It is very hard to argue that humans have no effect on the climate. Even basic things like the heat island effect of conurbations is a climate effect and trivially easy to measure.
Neither point (1) or (2) is interesting. What matters are some slightly more useful questions:
1) Does climate change have a solid medium to long term trend. Are we going to end up significantly hotter or colder in the next 100 years.
2) Is the human effect on climate change significant.
3) Is there anything we can do about it.
4) Do we want to intervene or is it actually, on balance, better to let things run as is.
Answering each of these in turn, we find there is no clear consensus amongst scientists.
Firstly, the "hockey stick" graph was used to show that the trend was significant. However, once professional statisticians reviewed the work and found it was based on a flawed application of principal component analysis that would generate a hockey stick shape with any auto-correlated random data things haven't been so clear. We have appeared to have some short term trends. Even those aren't completely clear - especially over the last decade or so. The only thing that has a solid trend are model prediction. As a statistical modeller by profession, and having done reviews of a number of the major climate models, I can honestly say that the modelling side of this debate is the one that makes me the most skeptical.
The second one, the jury is out on. Even the BBC which tries it's hardest to be totally biased on this subject keeps publishing articles every few months that claim in the headline or first paragraph that scientists have finally proven that climate change is man-made. Then you read into it and you find quotes from the scientists involved who say something far softer. The jury is definitely still out on whether any apparent trend is largely man-made or largely natural.
The third one is interesting. If CO2 is the culprit, there may well be some things we can do about it. Reducing fossil fuel usage is not going to fly in the short term without significant economic downsides. But CO2 capture and storage could be feasible in some scientific or partly natural form. Personally, for totally separate reasons, I would love us to get back into nuclear. It would definitely help the CO2 brigade out as well.
The final one is also interesting. People like Bjorn Lomberg make very compelling arguments that a certain amount of global temperature increase would be good. In much of the densely populated world, more people die each year from cold than heat. With some increase in global temperature, global food production would go up (down in some areas for sure due to desertification, but overall it would go up). Some cities would have to deal with rising sea levels, but the nice thing there is that the cities that have to deal with rising sea levels are largely in rich countries. The effect of capping how much we use hydrocarbons will tend to disproportionately affect the poorer countries. For example, for CO2 to be controlled we would need countries like China and India to use much less fossil fuel. That either means limiting their economic growth, or promoting massive expansion of nuclear. Lomberg describes things far better than I can though, and he is quite compelling.
If you look at the wider scientific community, there is definitely not 99% consensus on any real subject matter here. Given that the science involved includes physics, geology, statistics, etc.; you have to look to the wider community. A great example is with the hockey stick graph, where only when real statisticians saw the research did they discover it's flaws.
Hey look AC, you're getting up-votes simply because people can't read what you have written. I wonder whether you actually wrote that yourself given your obvious position on the subject.
"and near complete (about 99%) consensus that it's at least partly due to human activity", so just to re-phrase that for the sake of clarity: "scientists agree that some part (maybe only a small part but might be a big part, nobody knows), of climate change is caused by human activity".
Hardly a resounding statement of support for AGW.
(And who are these scientists who have contributed to this census, is there a list and results published somewhere?)
but the problem is where as evolution and flat earth etc have heavy evidence to show right/wrong global warming doesn't (or at least doesn't have anywhere as clear)
yet instead of science having a slapping fight amongst itself the "think of the children" brigade and focus group following polictico's have weighed in. this has lead to some really bad/biased studys. then the deniers/oil companies whoever choose to fight the argument using the same method.
this leaves many people wondering who the hell is being truthful as both sides are fudging figures to suit the arguments at a time (even flat earthers will say sat photo's are faked). you also then have the idea that has been planted that continues to grow and grow until completely disproved (and even then refuses to die) see the birther movement in america.
so its not left vs right, ignorant vs educated because both sides have fudged the figures and generated so much hyperbole its hard to find out what is the truth especially as they won't admit some things might be greener then the current situation i.e nuclear power produces far less co2 but the greenies will never accept that. instead they run round saying we need to live in mud huts and sing kumbai ya because the only solution is an extreme solution
"... the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them."
Sure, because everyone in that survey has actually paid attention to the arguments and studied the policies and made a rational and sensible decision based on logic and facts.
Or maybe they've just seen so many "Tis!", "Tisn't!", "Tis so!" arguments (not to mention articles in various publications cherry picking data and skewing facts to fit the author's personal bias" that they really don't have a *clue* about the subject now.
When you survey the populus as a whole on their opinion on something that most of their knowledge of comes from soundbites. All this proves is that, on the whole, those who have a vested interest in preserving the status quo are able to persuade people of their viewpoint.
In short, it doesn't really matter what people believe if they are not in full possession of the facts, and where the facts that they are given are often hopelessly selective and biased.
Not to mention that, as pointed out above, you have added together the figures for those who think that global warming is naturally caused and those who think it isn't happening. The survey itself introduces further bias by having these two categories for people to choose against a single one which represents the scientific consensus (which is far and away the most likley to be the one actually representing reality).
If you doubt that such surveys can be horribly biased, I invite you to watch the Yes Minister clip which so eloquently demonstrates the priciple:
Of course, if you surveyed people who have a firm understanding of atmospheric chemistry, physics, or thermodynamics in general, I would expect that the results would be very different.
How would that help? My first degree was in a relevant area, including specific areas of study in climatology, and I think that all this AGW is a load of ill founded pants, the underlying science is often poor, selective, incomplete, and even the better bits of it largely reflect funding asymmetry. On the other hand almost every politician in Europe doesn't just believe, they KNOW that AGW is real, is urgent, and that funding of projects to look for, find, and fight AGW are important. They've got to be right, haven't they?
I am sure climategate played its part for some. But I am inclined to this the ever moving of the goalposts int he alarmist arguments have also tired people of it.
We had a spate of cold winters we have not seen for years which caused the term 'global warming' to be renamed it to "climate change" so they don't look quite so silly when the temperatures buck the trend. The fact that climate change gets blamed for every surprise rainstorm in this country is also getting old fast when we have always had unpredictable weather as a nation, which is why it was always a topic of conversation.
People are slowly starting to accept that climate like weather is chaotic as predictions made in models turn out to be incorrect.
"The UK is only one of three countries in the world to pass legislation [...] It would seem that the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them."
So, that's just one "population that has experienced such legislation" and the survey was conducted (as another comment notes) during a financial crisis and then compared with results from previous years.
So a sample size of one with no control. What would Ben Goldacre do?
Sadly, it's human nature to decide where you stand first, and analyze the facts later, picking the ones that seem to confirm your chosen position. Policy impact can easily lead to a change of position, and more/less belief is then a simple consequence of post-hoc rationalization. If policy said "thanks to global warming, everyone can have £200 per month of extra income," belief would sky-rocket.
Meanwhile, the truth or otherwise of a scientific hyptothesis is, of course, not a function of people's beliefs.
Wait a minute, skeptics outnumber believers? [Reads PDF] Really?
43% - accept AGW as fact
27% - accept global warming, but think it is mostly *not* anthropogenic
21% - AGW is a theory which has not been proven
9% - don't know
Only 21% are the actual skeptics. 27% have made up their mind one way; 43% have made up their mind the other; 9% don't care enough to have an opinion at all.
Of those that have made up their mind, a 3:2 majority believe in AGW.
Ergo, this article's main conclusion is not backed up by the actual facts. You have to group together all those who do not specifically believe in AGW as "skeptics" in order to support the proposition. If you group the opposite way it's also larger than 50%. The headline could easily read "AGW denial skeptics outnumber AGW deniers".
Anecdotal evidence point to no global warming since we're freezing our asses off in June.
the prospect of doing nothing and things getting a bit warmer isn't unappealing.
People at large have now tired of the shrill cries of disaster and think that anyone shouting that much must be a bullshitter.
We've had so much money nicked off us in the name of GW that many people don't care about it they just don't want to pay any more. Plus they can see that if the population of the UK moved back to mud huts using carbon neutral twigs for heating it still wouldn't much much of a dent in things unless China and India join in too.
Why should we beggar ourselves to meet an EU target whilst China keeps building coal fired power stations at a rate of knots.
An interesting aspect of China & India's centrally controlled growth programmes is that they clearly don't accept the view that the risks of AGW are real, urgent and proven. If they did, then they'd forgo the development to avoid raising carbon emissions. Certainly they're happy to mouth the words, but as there are no reduction obligations on them they are delighted with European pol's carbon obsession. So the EU are busy with emissions controls, taxes and regulation killing off European manufacturing. In turn that means we treat China as the workshop of the world, and they build up huge foreign trade surpluses, as well as having lots of jobs to keep the proletariat busy (rather than having the proletariat decide they maybe don't want a corrupt one party state)
So Europe's climate change policies are transferring wealth from the people of Europe to Asia, and are moving emissions from Europe to China (where the emissions are greater per $ of GDP, and less regulated). The jobs exported to China aren't doing a lot for Europe and the US at the moment either, but the pols don't care about that.
Some might think that a global treaty to limit emissions is the answer, but as OPEC have established, there's always the incentive to break the rules for individual countries. And as much of the developing world clearly doesn't subscribe to European politicians' views on carbon now, why would they sign up to a scheme intended to keep them impoverished?
For those who subscribe to the whole 4x4s are eating the planet belief set, the answer is not local emissions reduction treaties, wind farms & subsidies, carbon trading, or any other eco-wank. The only answer is to consume a whole lot less, not to make it locally, and particularly not to get it from China.
So go on hippies, give everything up - warmth, modern housing, TV, recorded music, healthcare, advanced education, dependable food supplies, anything made from plastic, all synthetic fabrics, all meat products, all forms of motorised transport etc. You can be my personal carbon offset.
"Some might think that a global treaty to limit emissions is the answer, but as OPEC have established, there's always the incentive to break the rules for individual countries."
A global treaty is the answer. It would significantly reduce emissions even if there was some rule breaking. It's just a matter of setting the "allowances" low enough such that it's hard to hide such rule breaking that could cancel out the bulk of reductions.
You recognize that single countries reducing emissions alone won't work if China and India don't, but you conclude by arguing that single people going it alone while others don't is "the answer". Seems to me the answer you wanted and reached was predetermined. You wanted a stick to beat "hippies" with.
I don't know how much or if man's efforts are affecting the climate. I do think (note: personal opinion) that so long as the government's approach to solving 'the problem' consists of higher taxes, vast subsidies to their mates for producing giant whirlygigs, ditto for producing floatie nodding donkeys and constant finger-wagging and tut-tutting from people who live in huge houses and who burn more carbon for travel in a year than I will in a lifetime then I'll remain skeptical (and more than a tad annoyed) about their true motives.
From an earlier response:
43% think "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities"
27% think "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by natural changes"
21% think "Global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven"
It seems to me they're conflating several things with their responses. Ideally, a survey would have more options:
Global warming is a fact and:
a) Caused entirely by human emissions (none from natural changes)
b) Caused mainly by human emissions (with some from natural changes)
c) Caused by both human emissions and natural changes in roughly equal amounts
d) Caused mainly by natural changes (with some from human emissions)
e) Caused entirely by natural changes (with none from human emissions)
f) Global warming is a myth - the earth isn't warming up at all.
And possibly even for good measure:
g) Global warming is a myth - it's global cooling we should all be worried about!
Mixing your metaphors, there.
Galileo was said to have said "And yet it moves" after his recanting his theory that the Earth moves around the sun. Nothing to do with it being flat.
And the majority never believed the world was flat. That's a modern idea floated that makes light of the intelligence of our forefathers. The Greeks calculated the Earth's diameter with some accuracy, and the idea that the Earth is round has been around for thousands of years. It's an observable truth.
Ok if we're quoting from that era:
"The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow of the earth on the moon and I have more faith in the Shadow than in the Church. " attributed to Ferdinand Magellan (but no source).
CO2 is causing climate change! No you cannot see the data!
Yes, I am drawing a comparison between the Catholic Church of that time and the HADCRU watermelons/frothinggreenies.
I myself am a sceptic.
Climate change is a fact, always has been always will be, and of course mankind affects the climate, same as any life would. But the doomsday scenarios making us either Venus or Waterworld...nope. To be fair its mostly the media and politics twisting things.
The process of building climate models and then waiting and testing them against the data is the way science works, the problem comes when you use the computer models to shape all policy and call it fact. The annoying thing about the argument is that the money would be much better spent on dealing with the effects rather than trying to stop them happening, which wont be as bad as made out anyway, A runaway greenhouse effect is nearly impossible according to the IPCC and all the ice could melt and we would still have plenty of land. Life will evolve and continue.
Is the climate getting warmer?
Is the climate getting cooler?
Just like every other living thing on this planet.
Historical & current fact for me please, not models & hyopthesis. Reading this article & all the responses, it seems to me that all the mis-spent emotional turmoil, politicking, ill informed head banging & general jobbery has become the subject. I think a lot of people labelled 'sceptics' are simply fed up with the constant global guilt-tripping rhetoric, & resent paying (mostly financially) for a theory (AGW) that has yet to be factually, thoroughly & authentically substantiated. Present are too many vested interests, conjecture, confusion & cynicism, financial graft - & not nearly enough unbiased enquiry.
So for me - if it gets colder, I'll continue to throw more wood on the wetback fireplace, if it gets warmer, I'll open a window. IF all the Pro's & Anti's can get together & present a unified, measured & factually significant case (after all, we're in this together, right?), then I will be engaged.
If they continue to be their own respective worst enemies on this subject, I'm uninterested in feeding the "monster" - my life, as many others, has it's own pressing demands, with real, factual proven daily events to contend with. I have little practical time for muddled & emotionally fraught theory.
Authenticity, not Authority - Facts, not Farce.
Until then, I'll follow Natures lead - Adaptation.
Unfortunately, here in Canada most people get their science news from state broadcaster, the CBC.
The CBC is a sort of "Fox News of the North", but with Canada being a "left-wing" country, a country whose "natural governing party" is "left-wing", a more mild slant than Fox News, but only just.
The CBC's editorial slant is left-wing, anti-technology. They do the Fox News things of changing favoured-wing people's political affiliations to hated-wing when they are in scandals, it seems they must pass an ideology test to work there, and like Fox News they insist they produce "fair and balanced reporting".
The CBC predates Fox News, and I don't doubt Rupert Murdoch stole some of his best ideas from it.
It would be a monumental catastrophe if we acted on man made CO2 and that wasn't the problem.
Reducing CO2 emissions by any means other than human population reduction is a trade-off of one kind of pollution for another.
If we abandon hydro electric power and fossil fuel power because they both boost CO2 emissions, the first by reducing CO2 absorption, the second by direct emissions, what do we replace it with?
- Wind power causes pollution by stilling winds, by noise, and by killing wildlife.
- Nuclear power, while modern reactors are the safest form of energy, the uranium still has to be minded, and waste products still have to be disposed of.
If we use electric vehicles instead of fossil fuel vehicles, we're causing considerable toxic pollution in the mining, refining, and re-cycling of the heavy metal and rare earth batteries.
If the change is natural, and if it is extreme, then we should be planning how to best neutralize it, for all the same reasons we'd stop man-made climate change -- except the problem would like be more difficult and require more resources.
We really should be putting large scale resources into understanding the climate and what really changes it.
Only after we have some sort of clue what is happening should we invest huge sums of money in tinkering with it to moderate climate change, because the only method of moderating climate change that we know for certain doesn't have negative side effects is zero population growth and strict immigration control.