Tuesday, 26 March 2013
A no-brainer? Apparently not.
Yesterday we had a guest to lunch, a smart lady, mid seventies and we talked about a range of issues after family histories had been updated. Then, out of the blue, with unmistakable incredulity: “You don’t really believe climate change is real!?”
I was silent for a moment waiting for the smile and when that did not come, I recognised this as an opportunity to try out the argument I had been nurturing for a while, that I considered a no-brainer, but I was wrong.
My argument goes as follows: “OK, let’s leave aside differences of opinion and consider this one question: ‘Is CO2 a greenhouse gas or not?’
My strategy was to follow the expected agreement with: ‘whatever other factors are operating, rising CO2 levels are lifting the basic temperature floor, so all other variables are being lifted with it. Then I had planned to say that CO2 rise is the one factor that is man-made, and is the only one we can, and therefore must fix.
But I didn’t get that far. I was totally blindsided by: “CO2 is plant food!”, followed by: “Anyway the planet is cooling. Haven’t you read Ian Plimer?”
I have read Ian Plimer, geologist, who makes a good case for climate change having natural causes and it does, but as I wrote in a previous post, that does not in any way detract from the argument that CO2 is causing climate change in a fundamental and dangerous way.
My friend Jo realised there was potential for a real argument and steered the conversation to the other big human issue, that of overpopulation, so we chatted about that for a while until I could graciously leave to contemplate what had happened.
Of course, once again, I was snookered by the unfortunate human habit of deciding an issue by intuition, then casting about for evidence in support, while avoiding evidence to the contrary. So for anyone who wants to see why Plimer is very wrong, here is a convincing rebuttal of Plimer’s arguments from none other than the Australian Government’s Dept of Climate Change.
But, as they say; ‘You can lead a horse to drink but you can’t make him water!’
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I trust your luncheon guest doesn't look at your blog? I dare say, her image doesn't do her justice.ReplyDelete
The donkey follows the line of least resistence, Woonie. Actually she is a smart and decent person, but as Gabe said about her mother; adverse evidence will not be considered. XXDelete
I changed the pic because I was concerned it was intended to suggest the guest was a donkey which she is not. See comment by 'anonymous' below. XXDelete
hahaha oh dear! been there, done that - my Mum was one of those people whose mind could not be shifted on some issues (not climate change - just religious stuff etc.,) - best left to their own devices ;) Let's focus on the yoof of the world - the young people at school!ReplyDelete
Never mind, Stafford. We are here, and many silent readers too, who appreciate the research and updates you put up here. And Gabrielle is right, we have to get the young to appreciate the fact. They will be decision makers soon enough.ReplyDelete
Re plant food. CO2 is of course the stuff converted by photosynthesis to C and O, C to grow the plant body and O released to the atmosphere. However, CO2 is also toxic in high concentrations, so at what point does CO2 as 'plant food' start to inhibit plant growth? When it does, our days are truly numbered.Delete
What a smart arse you are. Do you ever get bored by looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you are always right ? My guess is that you have no trouble clearing your table of invited guests when you insult their point of view. My second guess is that your "humor" covers up a narsistic personality.Delete
Oh...I believe the climate is changing but p...s like you are not helpiing. You should delete the picture.
Ouch indeed! But I left it up because the picture could have been misinterpreted and that was fair enough so I removed it, but also to show how a sensible debate on climate change seems to degenerate into personal abuse. I don`t think I was insulting our guest, but I did need to point out that man made climate change is no longer a question, so to deny it simply reveals ignorance. Of course we all suffer from that, but climate change denial is now untenable and dangerous so we need to oppose it at every opportunity.Delete
Hello, thanks for sharing. Interesting...you never know, do you.ReplyDelete
Read about climate change. Understand what transpired but not quite. Heavy stuff! Al Gore came by to butt in for some related issues and even claimed credit. You've provided the rebuttals of Prof Plimer I've just seen but not digested. Quite some stuff that merits a second reading - it's educational. An official version against an opinion should be interesting. Thanks for sharing Stafford!ReplyDelete
Thanks Hank, for informing yourself. We need zero greenhose emissions and quick but that conversation has not even begun. Nor has the over-population question. As I see it, our instincts to breed and to fight for what we need served our species well but are now a liabiity in the nuclar age. But how do the warring tribes of Africa and the Middle East get to change when even the wealthiest of us still charge ahead with economic growth, knowiing it is unsustainable and wwe still talk about military solutions? Our best scientists agree almost unanimously that climate change is here, is accelerating and has begun to wreak havoc, but we seem unable to even talk sensibly about it. Poll driven politics lets the ignorant dictate policy and that is disastrous. We are all responsible for this mess and must do all we can to fix it, despite the misinformation drive by big business that wants to keep digging it up and burning it to profit no matter what. We need leadership and we need to suppport those who are brave enough to tell the truth and act on it despite the economic pain and threats from Murdock and his ilk. We live in an age of entertainment but reality is fast aproaching.Delete
Excellent post StaffordReplyDelete
Over population is alarming as it goes hand in hand with global climate change....the former having a huge impact .....and since we cannot send all those already here back from whence they came.... the only solution is to have zero greenhouse emissions. Now as you have so succinctly put it "the conversation has not even begun". I have a notion that the only way that the planet will survive is if we don't. We're the plague. I am rather pessimistic and saddened.
I remember a remark Regan made in response to a question about over use of resources and pollution. He said 'There is always Mars."Delete
He probably regretted it later, and as far as I know it did not come back to haunt him. But it does show how far Conservatives will go to avoid facing the fact that 'business as usual' is untenable.
Talk of 'saving the planet' is arrogance. Of course the planet will survive, but some of its creatures will not and top of that list is Man.Delete
I must say, despite the angst it will cause, that evidence shows that Man does not hold any special place in the 'mind of creation' and is just as likely to suffer extinction as the millions of extinct species that precede us.
Coal is Nature's Hazardous Waste Dump and we continue to exhume it at our peril.
China's One Child Policy might have been draconian in our eyes, but to me it is preferable to killing each other in wars and acts of genocide, as we have always done when we clash over space and resources.
Gday Stafford you old Commie'. The science is unanimous and incontrovertible , even conservative institutions like the world bank and imf , as well as international energy agency are advocating urgent action . True the earth has triggered runaway green house gas cycles in ages past due to volcanic eruption and asteroid impacts- ( Permian age), but not this time . In the inaugural anthropocene , we are the culprits. Why the elites are using their global media networks to maintain the charade for a little longer is anyones guess ; probably they need to buy time to move all their assets and investments into the ground floor of green industries , while encouraging the rest to plough their hard earned into doomed fossil fuel assets . We are by no means assured of adapting as a species to the now locked in 4 deg rise . Seriously , what is your guest using for brains ? . By the way , nice troll - had him long ? Grrrrrrr . Cheers mateReplyDelete
Actually I welcome dissenting opinions because that forces me to examine my evidence and either change my mind or am more able to defend my position.Delete
The picture of the ass was capable of being attached to the guest rather than the idea, so that was fair enough, but the rest of the rave had me looking in the mirror. All I saw was wrinkle.
Anyway, anyone who needs to hide such comments behind 'anonymous' on a blog that is clearly owned by a real person says it all.
As for the rest of your comment, spot on Young Ned!
My understanding is that our discovery and utilisation of plentiful coal and oil has facilitated ( through mass mechanized agriculture and associated technologies) our rapid population expansion , and accompanying co2 emmision rises . Like the permian age , this has overwhelmed the planets ability to process said co2, which is done through photosynthesis ( affected by deforestation ) , and the oceans absorbing as much heat as possible . Like the permian age ( where 95% of marine life was destroyed) the oceans are quickly turnung acidic and the reefs bleaching and dying . We are in the onset of a gigantic planetary ecosystem reset , ny money is on it to outlast humanity . Hmm . The kids discovering the black stuff and burning it wantonly leading to inevitable negative feedback loop of population , consumption and destructive warming . Poised on the brink of our own destruction or brilliant adaptive leap of evolutionary consciousness , im not writing off humanity yet , self preservation is a powerful drug , and we are luminous beings , as Yoda said . Whose blog is this , anyway . ?ReplyDelete
I am afraid the very compelling science you present does not compete with "It will cost jobs" and "toxic tax" or even "mythical end-times quickening". We are in for a period of reactionary anti-science and anti-climate change politics. Then, by the time we are all hurting from what is clear to all is caused by climate change, we will be too busy surviving to have the headspace for what we need to do. It is already too hard for most. I find the fence sitters most frustrating because, even in the face of disaster they will not look at the evidence.Delete
Someone said: 'Common Sense is judgement without evidence'. There is a a lot of it about.
For what it's worth, here's my take. It matters not whether climate change is real or not, or whether it's "man-made" or not. The emergent economies are not going to change the way they behave in the interests of a planetary future more than 48 hours away. We shouldn't expect them to. And neither will the so-called developed economies change. And the consumers who consume the obsolescent rubbish that these economies produce will not stop driving and flying, changing their cars, fridges, T.V sets etc every two/three years because some mindless advertisement tells them this is what they should do in order to become fully-functioning human beings. We're on the "Titanic" and fiddling about with wind-farms and solar panels is a like re-arranging the deck chairs in the hope that this will stop the ship hitting the iceberg.ReplyDelete
And of course it's true that CO2 is "plant food" But increasing the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere doesn't make the plants eat more than they need!
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