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Is a warmer world a worse world?

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  • #237117
    edensgateedensgate
    Member

    Thought this might stimulate some interesting discussion…

    from http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/archives/cat_environment.php

    Is a warmer world a worse world?

    By Dr Madsen Pirie 13 June 2005 Permalink

    Will global warming, natural or otherwise, make life worse for humans? We have heard stories of fertile plains reduced to baking deserts, and of coastal and island communities submerged by rising sea levels.

    Now Robert Matthews (Telegraph) reports on some scientists who are beginning to question those bleak prophecies, including some who think the changes may be beneficial. They suggest that a warmer earth brings benefits, and that humans can readily adapt to the changes.

    Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London, points out that

    “Cold is nearly always worse for everything – the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity”. According to Prof Stott, times of historical prosperity have often been tied to unusually warm periods, such as the so-called Mediaeval Warm Period between 1100 and 1300. In contrast, the Little Ice Age between 1450 to 1890 was characterized by famines, pandemics and social upheaval.

    Some cite the recent heat-waves as evidence of the lethal effects of global warming,

    Yet a review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year – but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000.

    The UK has been warned it faces a return of malaria, but analysis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concludes that changes in land use and socio-economic trends make the risk “highly unlikely”.

    Similarly, the dire warnings about world crop levels are now being countered by analysis which factors in human adaptability. Alternative crops can be planted.

    Ironically, some of the benefits come from the growth-promoting effect of the very greenhouse gas now causing so much alarm: carbon dioxide. Global yields of wheat and rice are expected to rise by 18 per cent, while yields of clover – a key foodstuff for grazing animals – looks set to rise by 36 per cent. Global vegetation density seems to be benefiting already, with net gains in growth across the whole planet since the early 1980s. Even tropical forests and the Amazon are reported to be growing more luxuriant as CO2 levels rise.

    Alarming predictions of 5 ft rises in sea levels have also been scaled back. The International Quaternary Association last year put the figure somewhere between 8in and zero, which could be adapted to. Millions downed or made homeless by flooding does not seem to be on the agenda, as the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change now concedes. Human adaptability and inventiveness have hitherto often been left out of the equation.

    Change and adaptation seem more likely than disaster if this is correct, but we must ensure that we generate sufficient economic growth and wealth to cope with the changes.

    #264469
    SpriteSprite
    Member

    I think one of the main concerns with global warming is the loss of biodiversity. For example the author hasn’t mentioned what will happen once the world’s oceans warm up. This I consider to be serious because CaCO3 (what all shelled marine animals depend on) will dissolve back into its elemental components, and we will lose a massive amount of marine life, which in turn will severely impact on ecological food chains, and ultimately ourselves.

    The oceans are a major factor in the world’s climate; they act as a “buffer” for climatic extremes, so any change to oceanic currents, temperatures, or chemical composition will have a marked effect on rainfall patterns, storm intensities, winds and maximum and minimum temperatures right across the planet.

    As for CO2 levels, the photosynthetic chemical interaction is more complicated than the author outlines. There is a finite amount of CO2 that a plant can exchange because of the number of stomates in the leaves; no plants presently in the world have “stunted” growth due to lack of CO2 in the atmosphere; rather any “stunted” growth is due to a lack of essential minerals or a lack of water. Greater levels of CO2 will not mean greater levels of either of minerals or water.

    I could go on and on but maybe its best to sum up that no matter what so-called scientists postulate, we don’t really know what will happen in the future; all we can do is make educated guesses. Life on this planet is far more complicated and finely balanced than we give it credit for.

    #264470
    DennisDennis
    Member

    Just maybe if the world got warmer and the oxygen and pressure rises a bit the dino’s might grow back, I always wanted a T-Rex for a guard dog just to keep the unwanted people out. hmmm Interesting idea. :ohmy:

    #264471
    Anonymous
    Guest

    look for cause and effect – effects being made cause, as is the want of humans who have vested interests.

    just as an example is a person being and alcoholic and effect or a cause? an effect of course. and fixing effects will never give more than bandaide cures. find the real cause(that answer is within the person).

    loss of bio-diversity: is that teh effect or the cause, as stated people see it as teh effect of something otehr.

    but in reality it is the destruction of bio-diversity that causes the warming so theire in lays the cure, but alas no money or glory in it.

    qld’s recent spell of summer heat (called heat wave) which has all occured before over the past 100 years or so but getting somewaht worse in length of period, week instead of day.

    in qld now we are going through teh final throws of removing our barrier scrub oour brigalow the vic’s and sa’ers did that yonks ago even invented a stump jump plow so teh could plow over the mulga stumps, created and extended desert increased their local heat waves which they use to have when i was 20 40 or so years ago.

    our biggest cause here in aus’ is habitat destruction, instead of windmills and solar farms replant the habitat my figuring is global warming will all but return to its natural state, best left alone. after all when teh vkings discovered iceland they could grow all summer small crops and graze food animals, then the cycle went round through freezing now back to what the vikings found buy now clouded by earth warming worshiipers clouding the facts.

    also not common stated fact the artic is only 10% of the earths ice cap. just like aussie CO2 less than 2%, china over 20%.

    take care

    len

    #264472
    casalentacasalenta
    Member

    Sprite post=6695 wrote:

    I could go on and on but maybe its best to sum up that no matter what so-called scientists postulate, we don’t really know what will happen in the future; all we can do is make educated guesses. Life on this planet is far more complicated and finely balanced than we give it credit for.

    Exactly! I really get depressed when people (especially scientists) over-simplify complex issues and percolate it down to black-and-white simplistic answers. Such as, there’s global warming, oh dear it’s human activities generating carbon emissions. Well, yes, but it’s just not that simple and in fact is so complicated that nobody can perfectly model it. The models are improving but we just don’t fully understand the climate. We also have the weird idea that the climate has been normal and is now going wrong, which is silly because the climate is always changing, always has been, and always will be.

    Three things are certain IMHO. One is that we need to shift to sustainable technologies, not just because they reduce carbon emissions but because they’re sustainable. We need to stop using up precious non-renewable resources.

    The second is that the planet has survived wild swings in climate before, from Snowball Earth to temperatures much, much hotter than today. The geologists tell us we are currently in an interglacial warm period, which is characterised by low CO2 levels and cool temperatures (see http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/climatechange for example). Another good site is http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/general/causes.html

    Life will survive regardless (although mass extinctions have been associated with rapid shifts in climate before). And of course these previous rapid shifts had nothing to do with humans.

    The third thing that is certain is the underlying cause of increasing anthropogenic emissions is increasing numbers of people and an increasing proportion of them living (or trying to live) the same wasteful, unsustainable lives as we live.

    As for whether warming is better than cooling; I think this is a no-brainer. In the last glaciation the entire British Isles was under ice sheets over a kilometre thick. Most of Europe and North America was uninhabitable. There were ice sheets across southern Australia. Imagine the entire population of Britain trying to migrate somewhere warmer!

    There are swings and roundabouts – biodiversity is lost in one place and increases elsewhere – tropical fish are now being found off Tasmania for examle (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-17/climate-change-sees-tropical-fish-head-south/4203830). Deserts expand, but currently cold places become more fertile, such as northern Canada, which is having bumper wheat crops lately. Greenland was so named because it was green. The Danes thought it would be a great place for dairy farming, and it was – until the climate cooled. Maybe it will be a dairy farming region again in the future.

    We can also adapt. For example, they are growing grapes in Northern Denmark now (http://denmark.dk/en/lifestyle/food-drink/winegrowing-at-the-northern-limit/), which is because they’ve developed new varieties suited to their climate.

    Personally, I’ll taking global warming over cooling any day (even though I hate hot weather).

    #264473
    SnagsSnags
    Member

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Exactly! I really get depressed when people (especially scientists) over-simplify complex issues and percolate it down to black-and-white simplistic answers.

    I get more depressed when non scientist over simplify complex issues and percolate it down to black-and-white simplistic answers.

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Such as, there’s global warming, oh dear it’s human activities generating carbon emissions. Well, yes, but it’s just not that simple and in fact is so complicated that nobody can perfectly model it. The models are improving but we just don’t fully understand the climate. We also have the weird idea that the climate has been normal and is now going wrong, which is silly because the climate is always changing, always has been, and always will be.

    But at what pace?

    Has there ever been 7 billion people burning fossil fuels that took millions of years to make or tearing down all the forests in less than a century before?

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Three things are certain IMHO. One is that we need to shift to sustainable technologies, not just because they reduce carbon emissions but because they’re sustainable. We need to stop using up precious non-renewable resources.

    Agree it makes economic as well as environmental sense.

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    The second is that the planet has survived wild swings in climate before, from Snowball Earth to temperatures much, much hotter than today. The geologists tell us we are currently in an interglacial warm period, which is characterised by low CO2 levels and cool temperatures (see http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/climatechange for example). Another good site is http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/general/causes.html

    But at what pace?

    Has there ever been 7 billion people burning fossil fuels that took millions of years to make or tearing down all the forests in less than a century before?

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Life will survive regardless (although mass extinctions have been associated with rapid shifts in climate before). And of course these previous rapid shifts had nothing to do with humans.

    But this one does and there is absolutely no proof life will survive regardless.

    In fact there is plenty of evidence to suggest it wont.

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    The third thing that is certain is the underlying cause of increasing anthropogenic emissions is increasing numbers of people and an increasing proportion of them living (or trying to live) the same wasteful, unsustainable lives as we live.

    Agree

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    As for whether warming is better than cooling; I think this is a no-brainer. In the last glaciation the entire British Isles was under ice sheets over a kilometre thick. Most of Europe and North America was uninhabitable. There were ice sheets across southern Australia. Imagine the entire population of Britain trying to migrate somewhere warmer!

    What about people from hotter places trying to go somwhere cooler ?

    What about rainfall and water that is reliant on icemelt and ocean currents that relate to hot and cold ocean temperatures?

    What about economic and social uncertainty and infrastructure that has been in place for centuries ?

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    There are swings and roundabouts – biodiversity is lost in one place and increases elsewhere – tropical fish are now being found off Tasmania for examle (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-17/climate-change-sees-tropical-fish-head-south/4203830). Deserts expand, but currently cold places become more fertile, such as northern Canada, which is having bumper wheat crops lately.

    For me exported wheat is a major part of the problem it allowed populations to massively expand live in unsustainable ways.

    And what about Russia’s wheat crop or the price of wheat that is directly dependant on the price of oil, that will eventually rise and cause economic and political unrest in the cheap wheat dependant countries.

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Greenland was so named because it was green. The Danes thought it would be a great place for dairy farming, and it was – until the climate cooled. Maybe it will be a dairy farming region again in the future.

    Its disputed as to wether it was a marketing ploy, a misspelling or it actually had some more green.

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    We can also adapt. For example, they are growing grapes in Northern Denmark now (http://denmark.dk/en/lifestyle/food-drink/winegrowing-at-the-northern-limit/), which is because they’ve developed new varieties suited to their climate.

    What about the centuries of traditional grape growing in France.

    Does the Champagne district pack up and move to Scotland?

    casalenta post=351524 wrote:

    Personally, I’ll taking global warming over cooling any day (even though I hate hot weather).

    I dont think we have a choice there are too many of us,living beyond our means, doing too much damage in a very short period of time and it would take a massive united effort to make it slow down.

    Its way too politically and economically damaging to try and slow it down even though it will be even more environmentally, politically and economically damaging in the future, but that will be our grand children’s problem.

    #264474
    Anonymous
    Guest

    dunno snags,

    you could be percolating falsities?

    anyway so you live beyond your means do you? you seem to know what the mean standard is(one is to deprive lower classes to prop up the middle and top).

    i can assure you i came into this world in sipmple times (you have critisised), all through my life i was a mid to low wage earner, we bought simply what we could afford very much like now.

    we have only ever used what we simply need.

    so whomever is high resource using (not teh poor and downtrodden) you tell them about your theory of climate crash and how disposing of those humble poor will turn things around.

    start copy of lyrics from a song sung in the 1930’s:

    It’s the same the whole world over

    It’s the poor what gets the blame

    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure

    Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?

    end copy.

    says it all hey?

    take care

    len

    #264475
    DennisDennis
    Member

    Yep the climate has changed many times over the last few thousand years and with the CC so has the CO2. More species were lost due to the cold than the heat and what we have today has happened before. History has shown that entire forests were cut or naturaly destroyed in the past and as a wise man once said there is nothing new under the sun. I would also prefer the warmer weather as I have a thing about sitting on ice blocks.

    #264476
    BlueWrenBlueWren
    Member

    SE QLD today is pushing 40C and it’s HORRIBLE!!

    #264477
    DennisDennis
    Member

    Yes 40+ is getting hot but its nothing new, Some times we have had a few years of mild summers then it comes back hot just to let us know we forgot the hot stuff. The human race has had to cope with the differences for thousands of years. We just adjust to it and plan our day to suit, Don’t go running around crazy in the hot part of the day.

    #264478
    Anonymous
    Guest

    with you there blue wren,

    gympie got 38 and where we are around 32, few more trees around up here, you are good area to see teh land degredation from habitat desruction. every hill and slope should be treed at least. hills out gatton way covered in lantana instead of trees.

    len

    #264479
    SnagsSnags
    Member

    gardenlen post=351530 wrote: dunno snags,

    you could be percolating falsities?

    Which ones?

    You seem to want to blame only tree clearing and the rich and yet have an excuse for the poor and the fossil fuel industry.

    gardenlen post=351530 wrote:

    anyway so you live beyond your means do you?

    The average Australian is one of the worst polluters in the world so yes I do.

    gardenlen post=351530 wrote:

    you seem to know what the mean standard is(one is to deprive lower classes to prop up the middle and top).

    i can assure you i came into this world in sipmple times (you have critisised), all through my life i was a mid to low wage earner, we bought simply what we could afford very much like now.

    we have only ever used what we simply need.

    so whomever is high resource using (not teh poor and downtrodden) you tell them about your theory of climate crash and how disposing of those humble poor will turn things around.

    start copy of lyrics from a song sung in the 1930’s:

    It’s the same the whole world over

    It’s the poor what gets the blame

    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure

    Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?

    end copy.

    says it all hey?

    take care

    len

    If the whole world lived as frugally as even the poor of Australia it would be a catastrophe.

    We would need many planets to support us all.

    Try this

    http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/people_and_the_environment/human_footprint/footprint_calculator/

    It would take 1.9 planets to support me

    And I think Im doing virtually everything I can.

    #264480
    BullseyeBullseye
    Member

    This article below, interesting, thought provoking? Not in the least! Nonsense and inaccurate, most certainly.

    I’ll point out one thing, because it’s late and that I’m not all that motivated to poke holes through the entire article…

    Wheat and Rice is mentioned, high yields in these crops have been achieved through selective breeding for a long long long time. Dwarf varieties have been selected for, in part, where less stem length, leaf length etc, etc are produced and where more robust and shorter stems and larger grain (seed) are produced. This is so for wheat and rice. Energy used in larger varieties was more available to produce larger grains in dwarf varieties. Many of these high yielding dwarf varieties have been around since the 1950’d and 60’s. It’s been observed yields from a highly productive rice variety have been continuously declining as atmospheric CO2 has increased. So much so, this variety is no longer used.

    It turns out higher carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere causes an unblocking of the capacity of dwarf plant to form the hormone gibberellic acid. Gibberellic acid promotes plant growth, cell elongation, i.e. taller plants. The higher concentrations of CO2 causes the dwarf varieties to grow taller, losing their advantage where larger grains were previously produced. These high yielding dwarf varieties are common and essential in the production of food world wide.

    All plants use the hormone gibberellic acid mechanism.

    We’re losing grain crop yield from increased atmospheric CO2, not gaining.

    edensgate post=6688 wrote: Thought this might stimulate some interesting discussion…

    from http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/archives/cat_environment.php

    Is a warmer world a worse world?

    By Dr Madsen Pirie 13 June 2005 Permalink

    Will global warming, natural or otherwise, make life worse for humans? We have heard stories of fertile plains reduced to baking deserts, and of coastal and island communities submerged by rising sea levels.

    Now Robert Matthews (Telegraph) reports on some scientists who are beginning to question those bleak prophecies, including some who think the changes may be beneficial. They suggest that a warmer earth brings benefits, and that humans can readily adapt to the changes.

    Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London, points out that

    “Cold is nearly always worse for everything – the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity”. According to Prof Stott, times of historical prosperity have often been tied to unusually warm periods, such as the so-called Mediaeval Warm Period between 1100 and 1300. In contrast, the Little Ice Age between 1450 to 1890 was characterized by famines, pandemics and social upheaval.

    Some cite the recent heat-waves as evidence of the lethal effects of global warming,

    Yet a review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year – but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000.

    The UK has been warned it faces a return of malaria, but analysis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concludes that changes in land use and socio-economic trends make the risk “highly unlikely”.

    Similarly, the dire warnings about world crop levels are now being countered by analysis which factors in human adaptability. Alternative crops can be planted.

    Ironically, some of the benefits come from the growth-promoting effect of the very greenhouse gas now causing so much alarm: carbon dioxide. Global yields of wheat and rice are expected to rise by 18 per cent, while yields of clover – a key foodstuff for grazing animals – looks set to rise by 36 per cent. Global vegetation density seems to be benefiting already, with net gains in growth across the whole planet since the early 1980s. Even tropical forests and the Amazon are reported to be growing more luxuriant as CO2 levels rise.

    Alarming predictions of 5 ft rises in sea levels have also been scaled back. The International Quaternary Association last year put the figure somewhere between 8in and zero, which could be adapted to. Millions downed or made homeless by flooding does not seem to be on the agenda, as the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change now concedes. Human adaptability and inventiveness have hitherto often been left out of the equation.

    Change and adaptation seem more likely than disaster if this is correct, but we must ensure that we generate sufficient economic growth and wealth to cope with the changes.

    #264481
    BullseyeBullseye
    Member

    How relevant is this “the planet has survived wild swings in climate before, from Snowball Earth to temperatures much, much hotter than today”?

    Life forms that survived snowball earth were of the most basic! Terrestrial vascular plants and fauna didn’t evolve until more than 100 million years later.

    What life survived snowball earth were microscopic organisms, archea, bacteria, cyanobacteria, other algae, amoebae etc.

    I need not go on about high atmospheric temperatures following a tipping point caused by anthropomorphic atmospheric CO2 increases, other than massive species extension, and a reverting to survival of basic life forms…

    #264482
    casalentacasalenta
    Member

    Bullseye post=351563 wrote: How relevant is this “the planet has survived wild swings in climate before, from Snowball Earth to temperatures much, much hotter than today”?

    The point I was trying to make is that climate change is the norm and there have been massive swings before. The climate is always changing and always will be changing. That does NOT mean that I’m saying the current warming isn’t at least partly anthropogenic, or that we aren’t contributing to warming, or that it isn’t a problem for many people; what I was trying to do was counter the argument I’ve heard that it will be the end of life on the planet if the temperature rises by a mere two degrees.

    Life (yes, simple life forms of course) survived even something as unbelievably extreme as snowball earth, which shows that life is much more adaptable than people give it credit for. And so are humans, which is how we came to be so successful and numerous of course. Being in a warmer world is easier to adapt to than being in an extremely cold world. You can grow plants in a desert but you cannot grow plants under a mile of ice.

    What would be really good would be for the whole ‘global warming debate’ to become a real discussion instead of people saying “that’s rubbish” every time they hear or read something that challenges their beliefs. I’m not getting at you here, BTW, what I’m saying is this is the level of debate from both ‘sides’ right through the media and Internet and even among scientists. As a former scientist myself I think we should keep to a scientific level of discussion, which means there are no ‘sides’. Science is never ‘settled’ and beliefs have no place in it. A scientific statement is: ‘these are the facts, and from these I have formulated my hypthesis’ but instead of that what we have at the moment from every quarter is the anti-science ‘this is the theory (ie. truth) upon which I select my facts’, and ‘anyone who disagrees with me or presents facts unsupported by my theory is an idiot’.

    Unfortunately, it’s the norm and I suppose that’s human nature.

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