Welcome to Atheist Discussion, a new community created by former members of The Thinking Atheist forum.

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Climate Change Reality Check Thread
#1

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
Since we claim to be rationalists, it's time to face the reality that climate change may very well lead to human extinction and discuss what we're going to do about it, or how we're going to cope with this situation.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguar...-of-nature

Quote: The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.
Reply
#2

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
Thoreauvian has a thread going, a continuation of what he had going at that other forum.
http://atheistdiscussion.org/forums/show...ate+change
The following 2 users Like skyking's post:
  • GenesisNemesis, Smercury44
Reply
#3

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-11-2019, 06:16 PM)skyking Wrote: Thouruvean has a thread going, a continuation of what he had going at that other forum.
http://atheistdiscussion.org/forums/show...ate+change

Oh huh. Then I'll just post there.
Reply
#4

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
"Extinction" is probably too alarmist a word.  Humans have survived significant climatic changes over the last two million years or so including cyclic ice ages and warming periods.

Nonetheless, the shit will hit the fan and "civilization" as we know it may not survive.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply
#5

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-11-2019, 06:41 PM)Minimalist Wrote: "Extinction" is probably too alarmist a word.  Humans have survived significant climatic changes over the last two million years or so including cyclic ice ages and warming periods.

Nonetheless, the shit will hit the fan and "civilization" as we know it may not survive.

Insects are going extinct. You're saying it's alarmist to bring up extinction when insects, the bottom of the food chain, are going extinct? Which would lead to a massive collapse of ecosystems. And by the way, I said humanity "may" go extinct due to climate change, not that we will go extinct. It's a very real possibility that shouldn't just be shrugged off.
Reply
#6

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
I imagine the Ice Ages had a hell of an impact on them too.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply
#7

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
We're not entering a new Ice Age. We're in a warming period which for all we know could result in a runaway greenhouse effect. Huge difference. It makes no sense to think that because they survived an Ice Age, they can survive a warming period. Also, maybe look at the actual numbers that were provided in the paper.
Reply
#8

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
There is a real chance that we could damage our planet's environments through climate change so much that it leads to the sixth major extinction of life on the earth. However, many people are working to prevent that from happening.

We have already overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. I wrote this in post #160 of the Climate Change discussion:

Scientists estimate that at present, our human populations consume 1.5 times what the earth can sustainably produce, since it takes approximately 54 acres to support an average human. If everyone lived like Americans, that number would be 5 times what the earth can produce. In other words, we are consuming the planet’s resources at rates which cannot go on indefinitely. We have pulled off this feat by mining our resources, which means we are decreasing the amounts of resources available for future people. We are not only doing this with fossil fuels and other carbon sinks; we have been mining our water tables, ocean fisheries, mineral wealth, and other resources, and at increasing rates. That pattern of consumption has already overshot the carrying capacity of the earth and may lead to the collapse of populations through the lack of energy, water, and food for future generations, not to mention potential conflicts over such diminishing resources. This is how our present successes can lead to future failures.

The concept of overshooting the limits of a given environment is not just a scholarly speculation. Scientists have observed it in animal populations as well as in isolated human communities, like the historical Easter Islanders. Even at present, some third-world countries are already collapsing and more will likely follow. But rather than human extinction or some apocalyptic collapse of industrial civilization, we are more likely faced with lowered living standards and the rapid increase of our day-to-day difficulties. Climate change makes more environments fragile and marginal, and thus prone to more frequent problems.
The following 2 users Like Alan V's post:
  • GenesisNemesis, jerry mcmasters
Reply
#9

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
I wrote this in post #121 of the Climate Change discussion:

Extinctions

Such intensified climate change could significantly reduce the earth’s ability to support life, including human life. While it’s unlikely that climate change could lead to human extinction, the extinction of other species upon which human lives depend could ultimately lower our own viability on the planet, making it a far less hospitable place for those who live in the future.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, competition with human populations, widespread pollution, over-harvesting of species, invasive species, and disruption of natural ecological processes currently threaten multiple species even before the greater looming threat of climate change. But climate change is already shifting ranges of plants and animals around the world and altering water cycles in big ways. The rate of change is overwhelming ecosystems even now.

With habitat destruction will come the extinction of more and more species. Global warming will disrupt normal seasonal ecological relationships. Invasive species will encroach deeper into once-intact ecosystems.

So we also run the risk of hitting a tipping point of extinctions. 20 to 30% of reptiles and amphibians are already imperiled. 95% of coral reefs may be dead by 2050 if current trends continue, and they are where a quarter of all marine species live. Such species are already suffering from multiple stresses, with ocean warming and ocean acidification caused by increased CO₂ in the atmosphere being two of the biggest. Of course, some species benefit from global warming. Among the species whose range is extending are mosquitoes, which carry Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and malaria; fire ants; and mountain pine beetles, which destroy pine forests.

Loss of biodiversity with ecosystem destruction, especially of coral reefs and the rainforests, could result in mass extinctions. Species can only migrate so fast because of natural barriers. Trees, for instance, can migrate 200 to 300 meters per year, which is 5 times too slow to follow anticipated climate change. Polar and mountain species will be pushed off the planet. Fragmentation and human-made obstacles also stand in the way of such migrations.

Above 4̊C, major extinctions will occur around the globe. Even with 1.5̊C of warming, the lowest possible increase at this point, 10 to 15% of species will be committed to extinction.

According to the fossil record, the earth has seen five major extinction events in the last 500 million years, when more than half of all species disappeared. Although multiple causes were likely involved in each case, the steady increase or decrease in CO₂ in the atmosphere has played a major role in such extinctions. Present climate change may push the earth into its sixth major extinction event. We are already seeing extinctions at a rate of at least a thousand times faster than the natural background rate. It will take evolution hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of years to build diversity back up again if we allow this to happen.
The following 1 user Likes Alan V's post:
  • GenesisNemesis
Reply
#10

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-11-2019, 06:11 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: Since we claim to be rationalists, it's time to face the reality that climate change may very well lead to human extinction and discuss what we're going to do about it, or how we're going to cope with this situation.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguar...-of-nature

Quote: The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.
The following 1 user Likes Squalorpalooza's post:
  • GenesisNemesis
Reply
#11

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-11-2019, 06:54 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: We're not entering a new Ice Age. We're in a warming period which for all we know could result in a runaway greenhouse effect. Huge difference. It makes no sense to think that because they survived an Ice Age, they can survive a warming period. Also, maybe look at the actual numbers that were provided in the paper.

You don't know that.  No one does.  In fact, bees evolved well before the KT extinction and then survived cyclical ice ages in more current times so they are hardy little buggers.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6084974.stm

Quote: Bee fossil, DNA generate a buzz
undefined
Melittosphex is the oldest known fossil bee

But the bigger question is how long does the interglacial period last?  And geology is notoriously unpunctual.

https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-long-can-w...e_products

Quote:How long can we expect the present Interglacial period to last?

No one knows for sure. In the Devils Hole, Nevada, paleoclimate record, the last four interglacials lasted over ~20,000 years with the warmest portion being a relatively stable period of 10,000 to 15,000 years duration. This is consistent with what is seen in the Vostok ice core from Antarctica and several records of sea level high stands. These data suggest that an equally long duration should be inferred for the current interglacial period as well. Work in progress on Devils Hole data for the period 60,000 to 5,000 years ago indicates that current interglacial temperature conditions may have already persisted for 17,000 years. Other workers have suggested that the current interglacial might last tens of thousands of years.

Of course, who knows what impact man is having on the whole process.


As far as we are concerned long before people start dying of thirst they will be killing each other for fresh water.  Keep an eye on the Indian sub-continent for that.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 1 user Likes Minimalist's post:
  • Fireball
Reply
#12

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 03:11 AM)Minimalist Wrote: But the bigger question is how long does the interglacial period last?  And geology is notoriously unpunctual.

https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-long-can-w...e_products

Quote:How long can we expect the present Interglacial period to last?

No one knows for sure. In the Devils Hole, Nevada, paleoclimate record, the last four interglacials lasted over ~20,000 years with the warmest portion being a relatively stable period of 10,000 to 15,000 years duration. This is consistent with what is seen in the Vostok ice core from Antarctica and several records of sea level high stands. These data suggest that an equally long duration should be inferred for the current interglacial period as well. Work in progress on Devils Hole data for the period 60,000 to 5,000 years ago indicates that current interglacial temperature conditions may have already persisted for 17,000 years. Other workers have suggested that the current interglacial might last tens of thousands of years.

Of course, who knows what impact man is having on the whole process.

We will never have another ice age as long as humans inhabit the planet.

From my post #84 in the Climate Change discussion:

Natural climate change

In the last 2.7 million years or so, there have been dozens of glacial-interglacial cycles. So the natural pattern of climate change over that period has been one of long ice ages separated by shorter warm periods. It takes tens of thousands of years for the earth to cool down, but only a few thousand to warm again. We are presently living in such a warm period called the Holocene, which started after the last ice age ended around 12,000 years ago.

Scientists are convinced that these natural climate changes can be explained by small shifts in the earth’s orbit, the Milankovitch cycles, which increase or decrease the solar energy it receives. The earth’s axis, the precession of the equinoxes, wobbles on a 23,000 year cycle. The earth’s tilt shifts on a 41,000 year cycle. And the earth’s eccentricity, how elliptical its orbit is, oscillates on a 100,000 year cycle. The 100,000 year cycle has the greatest impact on global average temperatures. Presently, the first two cycles are out-of-phase by about 10,000 years and the orbital eccentricity is small, so the length of our interglacial period would normally be extended beyond the typical. The last time the earth was in this configuration 400,000 years ago, the interglacial was 50,000 years long.

...

This is the natural climate change we could expect if no other factors came into play. Nevertheless, present climate change will likely delay the onset of the next ice age for over 130,000 years.

And from post #100:

However, as climate scientist James Hansen pointed out, “Forces instigating ice ages ... are so small and slow that a single chlorofluorocarbon factory would be more than sufficient to overcome any natural tendency toward an ice age.”
Reply
#13

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
I'll just leave this little nugget. The earth, up until the sun starts turning into a red giant and crispyfing it, will have whatever life it has that evolves to tolerate the current climate. And maybe even then, some "organism" will evolve in time to survive that. Humans aren't "all that" in the universe. That is an artifact of our found religion(?). Open to discussion on that. If humans aren't part of that particular set of biota, well too bad, so sad, better luck next time. It isn't like humans are all that great. We just think we are great because we invented a god to make us look like "top of the food chain", pretty much as a pat on the back for surviving. That's some pretty petty self-patting-on-the-back, right there. It used to be that beings adapted to the environment. Once "Man" started to force the environment into "his" wants, as far as I am concerned that was the beginning of the end.
Reply
#14

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 02:13 AM)Squalorpalooza Wrote: What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.

Sure there is: stop emitting accumulating greenhouse gases, especially CO2, into the atmosphere as soon as humanly possible.  Any concentration of CO2 above 450 ppm and 2C of total warming above the preindustrial runs a huge risk of tripping positive feedback loops which will result in climate change beyond our abilities to stop.  With present business-as-usual emissions rates, we would likely hit 560 ppm of CO2 by 2050, so we only have a few decades left -- unless we very quickly build up a very large capacity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it underground again.
The following 1 user Likes Alan V's post:
  • Chas
Reply
#15

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 02:13 AM)Squalorpalooza Wrote: What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.

There's definitely a scientific consensus here in Australia:  That is: A reduction in the emission of harmful, anthropogenic
pollutants into the atmosphere—although we produce only 1.3% of the world's greenhouse gases,  (compared with the
US at 14.5% in 2017).

Australia's working towards reducing its emissions to 26% - 28% on 2005 levels by 2030.  This target represents a
50% - 52% reduction in emissions per capita and a 64% - 65% reduction in the emissions intensity of the economy
between 2005 and 2030.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
The following 2 users Like SYZ's post:
  • Alan V, GenesisNemesis
Reply
#16

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 03:43 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(02-20-2019, 02:13 AM)Squalorpalooza Wrote: What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.

Sure there is: stop emitting accumulating greenhouse gases, especially CO2, into the atmosphere as soon as humanly possible.  Any concentration of CO2 above 450 ppm and 2C of total warming above the preindustrial runs a huge risk of tripping positive feedback loops which will result in climate change beyond our abilities to stop.  With present business-as-usual emissions rates, we would likely hit 560 ppm of CO2 by 2050, so we only have a few decades left -- unless we very quickly build up a very large capacity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it underground again.

Perpetuating the conditions optimal for the survival of the organism that is driving the environmental change is not scientific, it's human-centric politics (and bad politics in my opinion).

My point is not that there isn't any suggestions out there, my point is that they are not scientific.
Reply
#17

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 07:56 AM)SYZ Wrote:
(02-20-2019, 02:13 AM)Squalorpalooza Wrote: What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.

There's definitely a scientific consensus here in Australia:  That is: A reduction in the emission of harmful, anthropogenic
pollutants into the atmosphere—although we produce only 1.3% of the world's greenhouse gases,  (compared with the
US at 14.5% in 2017).

Australia's working towards reducing its emissions to 26% - 28% on 2005 levels by 2030.  This target represents a
50% - 52% reduction in emissions per capita and a 64% - 65% reduction in the emissions intensity of the economy
between 2005 and 2030.

It's not scientific.

I accept it is a proposal to attempt to reverse emissions and the mechanics of it all may well be based on some good statistics, but there is no evidence that this will work or what might happen if this is attempted and succeeds.

But perhaps what is more worrying is that the premise for these proposals is the perpetuation of the human race, which is certainly not scientific and in the long run may not be the best solution for the planet.

If this is the case then we have to accept that science is not the disinterested pursuit of truth but a means to justify anthropocentrism, which as an agnostic I find deeply disturbing and a bit too similar to religion.
Reply
#18

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
Quote:We will never have another ice age as long as humans inhabit the planet.


Ha!  You're very impressed with yourself, I see!

We've had several glacial periods while humans inhabited the planet.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply
#19

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 10:14 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote:We will never have another ice age as long as humans inhabit the planet.


Ha!  You're very impressed with yourself, I see!

We've had several glacial periods while humans inhabited the planet.

Context is always important.  I provided a good reason.
Reply
#20

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
(02-20-2019, 09:52 PM)Squalorpalooza Wrote:
(02-20-2019, 03:43 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(02-20-2019, 02:13 AM)Squalorpalooza Wrote: What's really interesting is that while there does seem to be a general scientific consensus on the fact human activity is contributing to climate change, there is no scientific consensus whatsoever on what to do about it.

Sure there is: stop emitting accumulating greenhouse gases, especially CO2, into the atmosphere as soon as humanly possible.  Any concentration of CO2 above 450 ppm and 2C of total warming above the preindustrial runs a huge risk of tripping positive feedback loops which will result in climate change beyond our abilities to stop.  With present business-as-usual emissions rates, we would likely hit 560 ppm of CO2 by 2050, so we only have a few decades left -- unless we very quickly build up a very large capacity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it underground again.

Perpetuating the conditions optimal for the survival of the organism that is driving the environmental change is not scientific, it's human-centric politics (and bad politics in my opinion).

My point is not that there isn't any suggestions out there, my point is that they are not scientific.

I always find it strange when non-scientists judge what real scientists say as "not scientific."  Scientists answer questions scientifically, whether the questions are "scientific" or not.
Reply
#21

Climate Change Reality Check Thread
I don't know for certain that there's no life on Venus' surface, but I know how I'd bet.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
The following 1 user Likes Gawdzilla Sama's post:
  • Alan V
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)