- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Some replies

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on July 12, 1999 at 11:35:25:

In Reply to: links posted by Gee on July 07, 1999 at 15:11:54:

: I am not saying that such things are *not* happenig, but that it isnt all corporate nonsense

: The recent debacle over deformed frogs and salamanders (blamed on pollution, knee jerk laws suggested then discovered to be a common bacterial agent) shows why caution is necessary.

: These sites are also of the sort that offer counter views (and yes most are 1998/99)

Well, SDF beat me to the punch; I've only a couple of things to add to his reply...

: http://www.nhes.com/current_issue/feature.html

Firstly, it deals with 1995 data. Secondly, it fails to address what we have actually observed; that the global mean temperature has increased demonstrably in the last 30 years. How do you reconcile a model that predicts global cooling (as two of the data sets in Santer's recent paper do) with the observed evidence? The vast majority of climate models do predict a rise in global mean surface temperature of between 1 and 3 K over the next century.

Furthermore, there are contributory factors that Santer has not budgeted for; such as carbon outgassing from peat bogs; because data does not exist over the time period he covers; however, as has been realised in the last year, peat bogs could augment global warming.

(Basically, peat bogs act as carbon reservoirs. As they heat up, they start to dry out, which results in them releasing more carbon into the atmosphere, which accelerates the warming process.)

: http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/climate/v4n20/hot.htm

This is frankly personal abuse; unscientific in tone. It's aimed at Joe Schmo. Does the author cite any references or journals apart from the Hadley Research Centre paper they're attacking? Not a reasoned argument, rather a polemic.

: http://www.nationalcenter.org/TP38.html

Pre summer-of-98 and sketchy. All it really says "hey, there's a difference of opinion over global warming". Which we knew already; it's part of the scientific process. Doesn't actually give any facts or figures about warming.

: http://www.sepp.org//scirsrch/scirsrch.html

All but one of the articles here come from one guy; Fred Singer; a notable opponent of the greenhouse effect from day 1; his academic post is funded by the oil companies and his famous satellite data showing no global warming has been proven to be due to satellite instrumentation rather than a genuine experimental phenomenon. Despite his experimental method being ripped apart, he continues to preach free-market consuming as the way forward for American science; not the most impersonal of scientists is Fred...

: http://www.globalwarming.org/science/alter.html

Firstly, this idea that temperature rise => increased CO2 ain't new; it was the original objection to the greenhouse effect; I remember hearing it aired in 1988 when the issue first became mainstream.

Secondly, the team's claim that increased temperature leads to increased carbon-sink action by the biomass isn't borne out by the majority of the experimental evidence; check what happened to Borneo's temperature in 1998 after the smoke from the burning peat-bogs cleared.

(The very best carbon sinks are wet tropical forests and peat bogs; if you destroy these you reduce the capacity of the biomass to absorb carbon. Guess which two habitats are more under threat than any other?
It doesn't really make much difference that glacial retreat turns more tundra to grassland (as the team point out); this gain in grassland is outweighed by the loss of forest. It's like knocking down a tenement building to put up quality high-rent housing; the storage capacity is reduced vastly.)

: There is no room for assumptions and 'well, it seems right' on either 'side' of the issue when it regards somethign of such importance.

That's not what's happening, though. The oil industries are trying their hardest to promote research that will allow them to continue operating the system as per the current conditions. In fact, they're trying to increase yearly output of oil to maintain profits.

We are now consuming four barrels of oil for every barrel we produce, according to this week's New Scientist .

Including stocks yet to be discovered, the experts are predicting oil will run out in about 40 years. Actual production will peak within the next two years.

According to the article, the big 5 Arabic oil countries will control 35% of total oil production in the year 2001; at which point they will be in a similar position to their position in the early '70s. It doesn't take a genius to realize that oil prices may well rise at that point; at which point the current boom in the US will fail (if it hasn't already).

Fun, no?


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