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Unforced Variations: May 2013

Filed under: — group @ 3 May 2013

This month’s open thread.


551 Responses to “Unforced Variations: May 2013”

  1. 201
    James Cross says:

    #194

    Hyperbole.

    There are a lot of ways we could destroy ourselves but even 8 or 10 degrees of warming isn’t going to do it, although it could cause plenty of havoc.

    I think a technological singularity, nuclear war, or biological warfare or accident are more likely choices for self-destruction.

  2. 202
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 May 2013 @ 7:27 PM

    More science fiction- What you describe fits into a category named “artificial inanity” by Neal Stephenson in his novel, Anathem. This is described as systems designed for polluting information on the web.

    Steve

  3. 203
    prokaryotes says:

    2 recent studies…

    Video: 3.5 mil years ago, summer temps were ~8°C warmer than today, CO2 was ~400 ppm http://galaxymachine.de/2013/05/10/3-6-3-4-mil-years-ago-summer-temps-were-8c-warmer-than-today-co2-was-400-ppm/

  4. 204
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Chuck Hughes, it’s quite believable that a technologically advanced society could choose to destroy itself. Read the links and papers behind Romm’s pieces.
    Read the footnotes

    “virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization (“Climate Change,” 2010).
    That bold statement may seem like hyperbole, but there is now a very clear pattern in the scientific evidence ….”

    Note this doesn’t mean you personally; if you’re alive today odds are you’re going to miss the worst of it, which will come later.

    “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” — J. Mitchell

  5. 205

    Chuck @194 – I’m inclined to agree with Joe.

    I mean, who would drive a car at breakneck speed in fog with a 10-year delay on the steering wheel and a 100 year delay on brakes that the deniers have wedged bricks under?

    The Arctic canary (or Norwegian Blue) has fallen off its perch already:
    Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes 1979-2012
    We can only watch and hope to try to avoid making it even worse.

  6. 206
    Dikran Marsupial says:

    Edward Greisch, Akasofu’s choice of journal is an indicator of the quality of the paper, if the reasoning were sound, it would be a very high impact paper and would be publishable in a very presitgeous journal. Looking into the publisher of the journal in question does not inspire confidence:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_Research_Publishing

    Apparently one of its other titles accepted a paper for publication that was produced by a random text generator!

    It seems to me to be a fundamental problem of the author-pays-open-access publication model is that it removes all direct pressure on the journal to be worth reading, and there will always be enough researchers that are willing to pay for their paper to be published *somewhere*.

  7. 207
    Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

    Talking about CO2:

    Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark.
    Daily measurements of CO2 at the authoritative “Keeling lab” on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time.
    …The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was about 3-5 million years ago – before modern humans existed.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22486153

  8. 208
  9. 209
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by simon abingdon — 8 May 2013 @ 10:05 AM, 9 May 2013 @ 7:09 AM, @ 1:10 PM, and others.

    Regarding your statements about probability, abiogenesis, and evolution, you might enjoy the calculations in this video by potholer54- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxxolSyWd6Y&list=UUljE1ODdSF7LS9xx9eWq0GQ
    It is the one entitled “Golden Crocoduck nominees ponder improbability.”

    Steve

  10. 210
    Carl says:

    Chuck Hughes, it is hyper-hyperbole. Btw, over at Watts they’re having a 400ppm party..

  11. 211
    simon abingdon says:

    #186 Ray

    “Simon, You are assuming that viable genetic codes constitute disjoint points in the phase space of all possible combinations. It doesn’t work that way.

    Biology–yer doing it worng”

    Ray, I don’t think I am (doing it worng). While competing species may have many characteristics in common subsequent generations may incorporate new characteristics not possessed by their competitors nor (and this is important) by any other species.

    That is because:

    “Evolution branches. Never combines”.

    Is this ever wrong?

    If not it means that any particular biological characteristic (intelligence for example) will be unique to its originator and its progeny.

  12. 212
    David B. Benson says:

    Chuck Hughes @194 — The potential to cause another
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxic_event
    is certainly present.

  13. 213
    Russell says:

    209
    ‘over at Watts’, they’re having a 400 ppm party’

    One of the party favors is The Jewel Of Denial

  14. 214

    What if CO2 is good for us? Wall Street Journal and my commentary: http://ThornHeart.com (RE: 400ppm in post 209 and earlier)

  15. 215

    That is of course not a scientific question, since it cannot in principle be answered by empirical observation.

    Sure it can, we just need better instruments. Theory indicates things that have not yet been detected must indeed exist. Science is the matter of finding them. This has recently been demonstrated by exoplanets, and soon exomoons. Alternative universes shouldn’t be far behind, given what I am reading at the theoretical level. Perhaps the qualifer ‘yet’ would help.

  16. 216

    Chris, you are just referring to ‘biological life’. Already humans are the nuclie of complex mechanical ‘cells’. In the future it will become even more apparent that life will utilize whatever is handy to construct over more eloborate and highly specialized mechanisms of adaptation, growth and propagation, that may or may not involve only biochemistry and the molecular and cellular level. Already we have the written word and digital information in the form of images and videos. Expect to be amazed if civilization lasts.

  17. 217
    Mal Adapted says:

    David Housholder,

    Since “CO2 is good for us” is a genus of popular denier memes that’s been repeatedly debunked (e.g. CO2 is plant food), it appears you may be employing motivated reasoning. Possible motivations for your reasoning are evident on your blog, from the prominence of the words “liberty” and “spirituality”.

  18. 218
    sidd says:

    Nick et al. in Nature: doi:10.1038/nature12068 look at Jacobshawn, Peterman, Kangerdlugssuaq, and Helheim which together drain about 22% of Greenland, argue that current acceleration is temporary and episodic, calculate a cumulative SLR of around 10 cm by 2100 from these.

    I have issues. Their estimate for surface mass balance(SMB) contribution is only 20%, but I think we are already seeing larger ? Also they point out that their models do not include the Grigoire feedback :

    “… the SMB does not include the secondary contributions from enhanced ablation due to surface lowering …”

    I also worry about NEGIS and that saddle at 67N, which the article does not address.

    sidd

  19. 219
    Hank Roberts says:

    > What if CO2 is good for us?

    You link to your blog citing “your grade-school science textbook”
    and a “landmark study” published as a WSJ opinion column
    by astronaut Schmidt and physicist Happer.

    What if it’s not as simple as they tell you?
    What if that’s not actually a landmark study?
    How would you tell if it’s real science, given where you read it?

    “You seen one Earth, you’ve seen them all.” — Harrison Schmidt

  20. 220
  21. 221
    Patrick says:

    @194 Quite accurate. 400 ppm at Mauna Loa is an event that echos the charge of the the light brigade all over again.

    There’s nothing suicidal about Jeremy Grantham (cited per the link you post) and not much hyperbole in him. I like him because no one can say he doesn’t know his capital markets.

    Here’s an extended interview, in which he throws out of the box any number of things that are commonly taught and recited daily like holy writ.

    In this interview he explains, too, why he funded InsideClimate (among others)–though he does not mention it by name. So bone-up, capitalists:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/apr/15/jeremy-grantham-population-china-climate?CMP=twt_fd

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/apr/16/jeremy-grantham-food-oil-capitalism

    What I think is that while markers like 400 ppm at Mauna Loa keep piling up, we need to give more recognition to real and true innovations on the solutions side, feeble though they are by comparison.

    I’m thinking of some right now.

  22. 222
    Paul D. says:

    #17 Simon Abingdon

    Thanks for the comment.

    That has always been my argument regarding SETI. Expecting “intelligence” (specifically beings who build radio transmitters) on other worlds would be just like expecting to find replicas of, say, whitetail deer – seasonal antlers and all – on another world. Would we expect such a thing? Maybe something close in one world out of trillions – or perhaps a couple planets per galaxy at any point in time. Therefore, intelligence is impossibly too thinly spread-out to ever detect. I thought I was the only person think about it this way.

  23. 223
    wili says:

    EFS_Jr at #135 wrote: “observational CO2 global data is today, in 2013, still bouncing around at 2.0 ppmv/yr, NOT 2.5 ppmv/yr.”

    But the official increase for 2012 was 2.67ppm (It’s too early for an official 2013 estimated increase, but seeing that we’ve just blown past 400ppm for daily averages, we are likely in that range of increase again):

    See the new article out on the ESRL official global CO2 reading:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/06/noaa-2012-saw-second-largest-rise-in-climate-emissions-on-record/

    Also see:

    2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years
    By SETH BORENSTEIN 03/05/13 03:45 PM ET EST

    WASHINGTON — The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.

    Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the world’s economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China.

    Carbon dioxide levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million since 2011 to total just under 395 parts per million, says Pieter Tans, who leads the greenhouse gas measurement team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/2012-rise-in-co2-levels_n_2812708.html?utm_hp_ref=green

    (Thanks to A4R at neven’s forum for the links.)

  24. 224
    Dave Peters says:

    I would commend to the thread a discussion on C-SPAN, on Saturday (recorded the prior Tuesday), May 11, on near future development of pilotless drone technology, which may offer the potential for order of magnitude reductions in cost of intense data acquisition. Perhaps in a mere few years, seemingly intractable mysteries of cloud radiation, and aerosol intrusions into natural physics of a variety of air mass behaviors, may yield to ARGO-like unmasking.

  25. 225
    chris says:

    Paul D @ 220

    Not a good analogy I fear, Paul. Whitetail deer as such, don’t have any particular universal quality and so it would be silly to expect these in other worlds outside Star Trek episodes.

    On the other hand, electromagnetic radiation is a fundamental ever-present property of the Universe. If we were to discover beings on another world we wouldn’t be surprised to find they had evolved means of capturing light (or maybe IR) frequencies/photons (and eyes seem rather “easy” to evolve in a multitude of forms). Any technologically advanced world will likely make use of the properties of different forms of EM radiation. It’s not unrealistic to consider that transmission and detection of radiofrequencies might be a generic technology of advanced worlds. White tail deer, and Simon’s giraffes and elephants – nope – those can be safely packaged under “argument from incredulity”!

    Captcha: “life etsdch” (presumably the “et” stands for extra-terrestrial!)

  26. 226
    simon abingdon says:

    #220 “I thought I was the only person think about it this way”.

    So Paul, you’re not of the herd-mentality persuasion then? Asbergers perhaps (like so many of us)?

  27. 227
    chris says:

    Simon @154 re

    “And doesn’t the unexpectedness of homochirality compel a conviction of the uniqueness (at least here) of the original biogenetic event?”

    Homochirality isn’t “unexpected”. Since carbon-based complex molecules have a high likelihood of being chiral the macromolecular structures these produce are asymmetric. If homochirality didn’t exist we couldn’t have alpha-helices or double stranded DNA or transcriptional control. Life as we know it couldn’t exist (perhaps it could exist in other forms).

    The fact of the specific homochilarity we see (L-amino acids; right-handed alpha helices and so on) turns out not to be necessarily so surprising. Amino acids on the Murchison meterorite seemingly have an L-enantiomeric excess apparently as a result of interaction with circularly polarized radiation in space. Very small enantiomeric excesses can catalyze large enantiomeric excesses even if in cases of molecules that don’t specifically participate chemically in a reaction. For example, seeding racemic mixtures of chemicals with amino acids having a small enantiomeric excess results in the synthesis of RNA precursors with high enantiomeric enrichment [1]. If the pool of chemical precursors exisitng on early earth were enantiomerically enriched in this manner then all attempts at evolution of self-replicating species would result in the particular form of homochirality we see today.

    Arguments from incredulity are rather like the Maginot line. The constructor sits and admires their attempt at blocking advance, while those interested in finding stuff out simply bypass them…

    [1] J. E. Hein et al. (2011) A route to enantiopure RNA precursors from nearly racemic starting materials. Nature Chemistry 3, 704-706.

  28. 228
    Jim Callahan says:

    May 10 Comment:
    NOAA has reported 400.03 for May 9, 2013, while Scripps has reported 399.73. The difference partly reflects different reporting periods. NOAA uses UTC, whereas Scripps uses local time in Hawaii to define the 24-hr reporting period. If Scripps were to use same reporting period as NOAA, we would report 400.08 for May 9.

    http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/special-note-on-may-9-2013-reading/

    http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    News coverage in Washington, DC
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/05/10/atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-concentration-400-parts-per-million/

  29. 229
    pete best says:

    Hang on a moment regarding 400 ppmv of CO2 – it may have been detected at some places at some time but it not the yearly average is it ? I mean it was 390-293 in 2012 so it can have jumped to 400 ppmv in 1 year so I am presuming that averages are taken and we will see at the end of 2013 it will be around 394 ppmv?

    its only 400 ppmv in some places at some point in time and not the actual annual average rise.

  30. 230
    pete best says:

    anyone interested in the origin of life might enjoy watching this from Professor David Deamer who appears to have spent his entire professional career (most of it) in this field

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsEAwA_3238

    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520274457 (book)

  31. 231
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    121: Kevin Mackinney. In reference to Keeling’s son saying yes we have surpassed the milestone 400ppm level but as to how high it will eventually reach is ultimately up to us is beginning to sound more and more hollow to me. As you and I can see and foresee irreversible amplifying feedbacks awakening out of their 2 million+ year slumber. Such as the boreal forests etc. These as you said are the secondary anthropogenic feedbacks… tundra thawing, methane hydrates, ice albedo. It’s all very well if we do miraculously curb CO2 emissions in 30-40 years, these sleeping giants will be all wide awake by then and working as a synchronised cohesive team to rapidly force climate like never before. Us humans in greed and ignorance started the ball rolling but gravity(natural forces) and lack of friction(our years passed lack of willingness to do anything about climate change) will very soon be completing the task of pushing our habitable biosphere off the edge of the precipice.

  32. 232
    Ray Ladbury says:

    @212 How did something this stupid not get tossed into the borehole?

    David Housholder, Isn’t it funny that you have to turn to non-experts to find opinions that support your own? In science we have a technical term for this–it’s called “wrong”.

  33. 233
    simon abingdon says:

    #232 Ray Ladbury “@212 How did something this stupid not get tossed into the borehole?”

    Ray, you probably meant my #211 in which I suggested that ““Evolution branches. Never combines.” and ask “Is this ever wrong?”.

    Now I’m aware that HGT (Horizontal Gene Transfer) may be a complicating factor in the early stages of species evolution, but I don’t have a feel for how that might affect my basic working assumption that where organisms of complexity are concerned evolution can still usefully (and without serious consequent error) be visualised as a branching tree.

    Things that get tossed into the borehole cannot (normally) be commented on nor corrected, so I’m hoping that you’ll be able provide me with a helpful layman’s explanation of HGT if this post manages to avoid disappearing down that one-way street into the graveyard.

  34. 234
    Ambulator says:

    simon abingdon says:

    “Evolution branches. Never combines”.

    Is this ever wrong?

    I think it is sometimes. The red wolf, for example, is thought by many to be a cross between a grey wolf and a coyote. On a much larger scale the mitochondria joined with other cells to make eukaryotes. These are exceptions, though.

  35. 235
    Chris Dudley says:

    I commend NASA GISS for compiling the April 2013 global temperature anomaly in a timely manner. NASA’s decision not to use furloughs in response to the sequester probably played a role there, though obviously other things will suffer. I notice that NOAA has not yet compiled the number for the contiguous US yet. NOAA has used furloughs and perhaps there is a connection. Turns out that some triumphalist statements by deniers on the web regrading the NOAA preliminary numbers were a mere mix-up of Fahrenheit and Celsius. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/fresh-analysis-of-the-pace-of-warming-and-sea-level-rise/?comments#permid=15

  36. 236
    Steven Sullivan says:

    “Evolution branches. Never combines”.

    Is this ever wrong?

    Yes, often. Horizontal transfer of genetic material — transfer *across branches* , typically bacterial and viral genes ending up in eukaryotes — falsifies that claim. Consider also symbiogenesis (adoption wholesale of one organism by another — which is almost surely the way mitochondria and chloroplasts came to exist in eukaryotic cells) and the ubiquity of transposable elements: both could be considered just more types of horizontal transfer.

  37. 237
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Yes, often. Horizontal transfer of genetic material *across branches* of phylogenetic trees — is common, typically with bacteria or viruses being the source. It’s so common that it makes reconstructing an accurate historical ‘tree of life’ almost impossible. Symbiogeneiss — wholesale merging of one organism with another — has also occurred at least twice , to generate mitochondria and chloroplasts in eukaryotic cells.

  38. 238
    SecularAnimist says:

    Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote: The question remains, do universes without life exist if they are not observed?”

    I replied: “That is of course not a scientific question, since it cannot in principle be answered by empirical observation.”

    Thomas Lee Elifritz replied: “Sure it can, we just need better instruments.”

    But then you have introduced observers, and life, into your “universe without life that is not observed”, and it becomes a “universe WITH life that IS observed”.

    And in fact, it is no longer “a universe” — it is just another part of THIS universe, which self-evidently does have life and is observed.

  39. 239
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nope Simon, it was Dave Housholder–now at #214.

    What you are ignoring is that we could have had multiple origins of life, but that the observed chirality may have conferred an advantage that allowed possessors to outcompete critters with the opposite chirality. Chris’s allusion to radiation resistance might be pertinent–particularly if the origin came before the geomagnetic field really got churning.

  40. 240

    Generally when one is perusing arxiv papers on quantum cosmology one differentiates between this universe with its finite light cone, this universe beyond our observable light cone, and other universes not accessible via our lightcone but possibly similar in nature to the processes which created this particular instability which we are now enjoying. I’m referring to quantum tunneling between vastly different physical realms. The cosmos, if you will. You are furthermore not parsing my question properly. It still parses even without the addition of the term ‘yet’. Try it again.

  41. 241

    I am unconvinced that our (decreasing US pollution due to market forces) is going to wreck the planet. So convince me. But listen to my comments first: http://wp.me/p2KckS-Is

  42. 242
    Killian says:

    195 Chuck Hughes says: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” So ends Field Notes from a Catastrophe, the terrific 2006 book by Elizabeth Kolbert, one of the country’s most thoughtful climate journalists.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/05/1940521/into-the-valley-of-death-rode-the-600-into-the-valley-of-400-ppm-road-the-7-billion/

    So I must ask…. is this hyperbole or accurate? I keep hearing these dire assessments and have to wonder, not being a scientist, IS this hyperbole?

    The article goes on to say:

    “Certainly as we hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human existence, with not even a plan to avoid 600 ppm, 800 ppm, and then 1000 — not even a national discussion or an outcry by the so-called intelligentsia – it is worth asking, why? Is there something inherent in homo “sapiens” that makes us oblivious to the obvious?” ~ Joe Romm

    Thoughts? Observations? Perspective? Anyone?

    200 Kevin McKinney says: #194–Chuck, in my opinion it is not hyperbole at all. We can’t limit the range of risks well, which means that there is, as far as we can tell, a real risk of social collapse at various spacial scales as a result of climate change. There may even be a real risk of species extinction, though most here would probably assess that as relatively unlikely. (A very sizable global population crash might be another story, though.)

    As to the question, ‘is this a tendency in H. Sap?’ many here have referenced Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” (as I did in my comment @ #195), which does such a good job of dissecting past societal collapses and their relation to ecological degradation. Clearly, it’s often the case that we humans often struggle to create sustainable ways of life–though Diamond also identifies success stories, such as (IIRC) the intensive agriculture practiced over very long timescales in the Papua New

    201 James Cross says: #194 Hyperbole.

    There are a lot of ways we could destroy ourselves

    210 Carl says: Chuck Hughes, it is hyper-hyperbole.

    That was not the statement nor the question. You are answering about extinction, the article and the question were about *society* destroying itself, not extinction of a species.

    In fact, societies have destroyed themselves repeatedly though history. As Tainter and Diamond – far too little read and understood by far too many who suppose to study the issues of climate change, energy and resource decent and the future – make very strong arguments either that 1. societies do reach levels of too great complexity and then generally collapse completely or to a simpler level (Tainter), or 2. fail to choose to adapt to changing conditions and collapse, or realize the problem, or at least respond in situ, and simplify. Both acknowledge climate issues as major impacts in many, if not all, society collapses.

    My take is if you combine the perspectives of Tainter and Diamond, you get the correct process: Society increases in scope and complexity until diminishing returns, resource scarcity and climate changes (all connected causally) reach a point where adaptation must occur via simplification, and societies either keep building bigger moai, or they simplify.

    WRT causality, e.g., the Mayans denuded their landscapes which exacerbated the the drought conditions by removing rain-absorbing and rain-creating forests. Oops.

    204 Hank Roberts says: For Chuck Hughes, it’s quite believable that a technologically advanced society could choose to destroy itself. Read the links and papers behind Romm’s pieces.

    Read the footnotes

    “virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization (“Climate Change,” 2010).

    That bold statement may seem like hyperbole, but there is now a very clear pattern in the scientific evidence ….”

    Note this doesn’t mean you personally; if you’re alive today odds are you’re going to miss the worst of it, which will come later.

    This is a rather dangerous assumption. As I have argued for the last six years, things are moving far faster than people, even many or most scientists, realize. When Maslowski published about Arctic Sea Ice, it fit the observations. It was obvious he was correct and everyone else overly optimistic. (Lots of reasons for this.) Here we are now wondering each year if this is the last year for Arctic Sea Ice, or basically a level so low it’s academic whether it is all literally gone or not.

    Since Maslowski we have learned thermokarst lakes and permafrost melt are proceeding rapidly, that the sub-sea clathrates and not only expressing, but doing so on kilometer-wide scales over very large areas of ocean. We’ve learned the lack of sea ice is creating a feedback with mixing of water, that there are areas where the seabed water is up to 5C, that Greenland Melt might be doubling every ten years, or less… and so much more.

    A sanguine view of climate change speed does not reflect the facts, does not reflect observations, does not reflect proper weighting of the catastrophic in risk assessments.

    And the most important aspect of the new Russian lake core is not the temps or the correlation with today so much as the finding that climate sensitivity (the article isn’t clear whether meaning GHG or Earth System) is potentially much higher than expected because the changes, despite a similar level of CO2, are far beyond what we see today. The quite significant melt of the ice sheets to get to 40M above today means Hansen, et al.’s finding that Greenland can melt out at as low as 400ppm has some validity.

    I said, based on observations vs. academic findings, that sensitivity was higher than thought way back in 2007. Of course, I have always been told I’m wrong. But I’m not. Hansen has consistently also said it’s likely at the high end. I unsurprisingly agree. I put it at the very high end wrt to both GHG and Earth System sensitivity, and it’s beyond clear the latter is a definite.

    It’s simple: systemic assessment beats assumptions based on specific research in any given germane area by a mile, every time. The totality is clear: we will be very lucky to not be facing massive social disorder this century, and that is optimistic. It’s already started and, given BAU, we’ll be lucky to make it more than a decade more without very serious levels of social disruption.

    It’s the food supply, S****d. And, really, I realize new people come to the table all the time so some repetition is needed, but why do I feel that rate of change is still not fully appreciated by some of the regulars around here?

    220 Hank Roberts says: This may help: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2013&q=co2+climate+change+warming+plant+agriculture&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

    Yup, food supply.

    229 pete best says: Hang on a moment regarding 400 ppmv of CO2 – it may have been detected at some places at some time but it not the yearly average is it?

    231 Lawrence Coleman says: 121: Kevin Mackinney. In reference to Keeling’s son saying yes we have surpassed the milestone 400ppm level but as to how high it will eventually reach is ultimately up to us is beginning to sound more and more hollow to me. As you and I can see and foresee irreversible amplifying feedbacks awakening out of their 2 million+ year slumber. Such as the boreal forests etc. These as you said are the secondary anthropogenic feedbacks… tundra thawing, methane hydrates, ice albedo. It’s all very well if we do miraculously curb CO2 emissions in 30-40 years

    There is only one short-term hope, and it is achievable on a scale of ten years for practices and initial reversal in atmospheric CO2: Natural mitigation measures. Each tree carries 40% carbon, dry weight, but forests take decades to reach full maturity (20 years to near-full is close enough for gov’t work) and will be acting as a carbon sink until then with a total possible CO2 pull down of 50 – 100 ppm. Regenerative farming, quickly becoming known and more quickly than I would have imagined becoming a real paradigm shift, will sequester as much as 40% of emissions a year.

    At the very least, this can cause either a pause in growth of atmosph. GHG, or even reverse for at least a while. If we use that time to move into regenerative societal behaviors and structures such that we reduce GHG emissions to 10 – 20% of current, plus the sequestrations methods mentioned, we can go backwards with concentrations all the way back to sub-300.

    If we have done this well, society, globally will be intact and able to then manage the economy to keep at 300 or lower indefinitely. All of which should result in a stabilization of ice caps and clathrates, eventually. Hopefully, regrowth of ice caps.

  43. 243
    sidd says:

    The very institution of a market degrades morality. And moral decay continues, the longer the market is in place.

    Mice, Markets, Morality

    Falk and Szech doi:10.1126/science.1231566

    I am glad to say that 25% of those tested would not kill. The authors quote one of my favourite ethicist

    “Apparently, markets did not erode values of all subjects. We speculate that subjects who refused to exchange money for mouse life at all may have followed a rule-based, e.g., Kantian, ethic: “… everything has either price or dignity. Whatever has price can be replaced by something else which is equivalent; whatever, on the other hand, is above all price, and therefore admits of no equivalent, has a dignity.”

    I have a reproduction of two figures with some brief comments here

    http://membrane.com/sidd/mousemorals/Falk.html

    sidd

  44. 244
    Killian says:

    241 David Housholder says: I am unconvinced that our (decreasing US pollution due to market forces) is going to wreck the planet. So convince me. But listen to my comments first: http://wp.me/p2KckS-Is

    With all due respect, are we to convince you the Easter Bunny is real, the Tooth Fairy really did take your teeth and leave you quarters, and that CO2 is fairy dust, too? You are asking to be disabused of the notion every baby is equally physically beautiful to every eye, that perhaps a god does/does not exist, or that evolution is a fantasy.

    You catching my drift? The article and research you allude to were already addressed and found to not be worth anyone’s time. Why are you asking for it to be analyzed and stated again?

    Your essential problem is in using a lens of ideology to address issues of physics. Me? I try to avoid bringing a knife to a nuclear war.

    YMMV

  45. 245
    Russell says:

    241
    IDavid, there is little on your link that I did not address six years ago

  46. 246
    Patrick says:

    Simon, what I wanted to say about your evolution-branches-never-combines idea is never say never. Horizontal gene transfer early-on, or anytime, is not the sole question.

    Cladistics has thrown a lot of light on what has been called independent evolution of similar traits or character states. Several types are recognized:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homoplasy

    See the common example (not at all exotic) of homoplasy given here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladistics

    I think the key is to be found in the “co” in co-evolution, at least as much as in any rules derived about the genetics side of it. If it’s not the key to diversity, it’s at least half of it.

    But this is not the point. There are larger issues in your observation.

    Diversity is the rule for co-evolution, no doubt about it, so branching is the thing. One might say that all classical evolution is co-evolution.

    But I think classical evolution is ending–not all at once, but along with the dawning of what is called by some the Anthropocene (era, epoch, you-name-it). ‘Reproductive isolation’ is more and more a thing of the past.The invasive species phenomenon is paramount. The pace of these changes is anthropogenetic.

    Certain changes that even some biologists (!) call a ‘speeding up of evolution’ are more like pathologies than instances of classical evolution.

    The distractedness of the human race in this regard is not unlike its distractedness about climate change. A dawning grasp of either process may facilitate some grasp of the other.

    The era presents new depths for human malfeasance and sef-deception, adds new dimensions to human responsibility for the future and for all life now–and adds uncomfortable new weight to the ‘station’ of humans.

    Unique, indeed. (In the pudding.)

  47. 247

    @Russell, so why aren’t you published in WSJ?

  48. 248
    Fred Magyar says:

    Patrick @ 246,

    “The era presents new depths for human malfeasance and sef-deception, adds new dimensions to human responsibility for the future and for all life now–and adds uncomfortable new weight to the ‘station’ of humans.”

    Yeah, 450 ppm or Bust! We should have a celebration when we get there. /sarc

  49. 249
    Phil Scadden says:

    What on earth your basis for thinking the evolution of intelligence is less likely than 80 heads in a row? Why then is intelligence developed on so many evolutionary branches? Not likely to be probability of 1, given that we have clades without any sign of intelligence developing, but I’d say much higher than 1/100 once life gets started. If we are looking for no. of planets in goldilocks zone that have persisted longer than 6B years, then you get a reasonable no. just inside this galaxy alone, never mind the universe

  50. 250
    Patrick says:

    @241 How many times are you going to link to yourself and your (same) stuff? You are full of rights–but empty of responsibilities. This is typical of too many ‘radio hosts.’

    You comment on CO2, but it’s merely a pretext for your homilies.

    Soon enough one hears “…we are regulated by a higher power that we don’t fully understand,” and “…underpopulation is a serious issue.”

    Plus: there’s a lot more in Ike against your rhymeless-and-reasonless-ness than for it. The statement by Ike you cite values “the nation’s scholars” and “intellectual curiosity.” Ike (and speechwriters) did not warn, ever, about basic research–nor about the National Academy of Sciences and the like.

    Your arguments are merely semantic. Don’t make me cite scripture now about that. It’s not pretty.

    And, guess what, there’s no tax exemption when I cite scripture (nor any chance to get one).

    One hears, too, what you remember from grade-school science. And surf gets mention in your self-description.

    Enjoy the surf.

    No more clicks and no more buzz for you. You’ve already exploited climate science, Ike, and me–if not grade school and higher powers.


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