General Question

ukasaka's avatar

In your opinion, is climate change a serious matter?

Asked by ukasaka (57points) July 24th, 2008

Do you think it’s over-hyped? Do you think it is the end of us? I think that if we continue being stupid, that our choices will kill us in the end.

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23 Answers

waterskier2007's avatar

were all gonna die its just a matter of when. and yes i think its over-hyped

augustlan's avatar

I saw “An Inconvenient Truth” and it was pretty hard to refute global warming after that! On the other hand, I don’t know if the world is going to end over it…

waterskier2007's avatar

the only thing that is more harmful than global warming is man-bear-pig

rockstar's avatar

I personally think its over-hyped. I do think we have an impact on global warming, but at the same time the Earth could just be going through a normal cycle of warming. I tend to think its more of the Earth and not us.

Traveosa's avatar

It is way over-hyped. I also think sooner or later, we are going to adapt to the new climate. So I don’t see any point of worrying.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Global warming is extremey serious. If we continue to live this way of life that is extreme pollution, there will be no adapting to the new climate because all of the continents will be covered with water, with the exception of large mountains. Anyone seen the movie WALL-E? Yeah, that will be us. The sad thing is that a G-rated Disney movie can pretty accurately predict our future.

kevbo's avatar

I haven’t confirmed this, but the last info I read on the subject is that it’s caused by increased solar activity and that Mars, for example, is likewise undergoing similar temperature change (and that carbon trade is sort of a new way to scam money/power on a global scale). If it is man-made, though, and our efforts can reduce it, then I’m for it.

marinelife's avatar

Whether you accept the prevailing scientific opinion that global warming is a problem, the emissions that we are creating are a huge environmental problem anyway.

Since we can make the changes and have to eventually (because we will soon exhaust fossil fuel) we should go ahead and do it.

chaosrob's avatar

@augustlan The world will be fine, it’s the humans I’m worried about.

I’d say there’s clearly some cause for concern, if only because we can’t keep treating the atmosphere as pollution storage. I’d vastly prefer to live in a way that meant my daughter’s kids will be able to breathe unassisted.

Harp's avatar

I’m not a scientist, and I’m not going to be able to examine raw data and extract any kind of credible hypothesis of my own (I expect most of us on this thread are in the same position). So all most of us can do is line up behind the scientists in whom we have the most confidence. That choice will be determined by non-scientific factors as well, such as conspiracy theories, economic interests, religious inclinations, etc.

Personally, when I hear most of the scientific community asserting that global warming is real and will have far reaching negative impacts, I take that seriously. Even if warming is part of the natural cycle, I think we should still ask ourselves what we can do to reduce its severity, and there again, most scientists see our carbon output as our only controllable factor.

I agree with Marina that we have to find alternatives to carbon based fuels anyway, and soon, so I see little compelling reason not to assume that the threat is real. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised sometime in the future to find that it wasn’t such a big deal, but we’ll still be glad that we took the steps we did.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

@chaos ; I totally agree with you.

@marina and harp ; There already are alternative fuels that are not carbon based [Ethanol/E-85 (though it does contain diesel fuel), hydrogen fuel cells, biofuel, etc.], just not enough cars, etc. that will take them.

Harp's avatar

The production of ethanol and the combustion of both ethanol and biofuels still result in CO2 emissions, I’m afraid.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

@Harp ; Really? Hmm, that’s sad…I at least know that Hydrogen fuel cells are fine. I did a project on them and they don’t put out any pollutants [only heat and water], nor do they take carbon dioxide to make [done through wind power or electrolysis]. At least there’s some hope for us…

Harp's avatar

Yep, fuel cells are good (as are electricity from wind, solar and hydro, of course). Even with fuel cells, you must have a supply of hydrogen, and we have yet to thing of a good clean way to ensure an abundant supply of it.

PupnTaco's avatar

Definitely a serious issue and I look forward to a president who won’t edit scientific reports to bolster his agenda.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

@Harp ; Of course. I really hope that our society starts to switch over to these alternative fuels…too many people are too ignorant to notice and/or care what will happen to the world if we don’t.

@Dave ; I’m with you there…

qashqai's avatar

I honestly think climate change is “The Issue”.
People thinking this is over-hyped or that is going to touch just marginally their every-day life are just seeing the problem in a pure egoistic manner.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

I’m going to answer this the way I always do…
It doesn’t matter if you believe global warming or not, or if you think climate change is serious. We’ve all heard about the serious outcomes of inaction predicted by over 90% of scientists on the issue. The real question isn’t whether or not you “believe” the problem to exist, its whether or not you want to risk those serious outcomes. Whether you say to yourself, “hey, I may not believe in global warming, but I’ve been wrong about things before. This time though, the stakes may much much higher. do I want to risk that?”

Hey look, I have 1000 lurve, woot go me.

Scrumpulator's avatar

All of the Global temperature readings are in cities. Cities are on average 1–2 degrees hotter then the surrounding areas. Can we attribute that to the 1–2 degree raise in temperature. the original start measurements were taken when these cities were not large and not 1–2 degrees hotter. air conditioners make heat. they spit out heat as they make cool air?

Now on to Methane- 4 times more dangerous as a climate changer then CO2. The termites of the earth which I might add. outweigh humans by 50 times. Termites produce a lot of methane. Each termite produces only about half a microgram per day, but there are so many of them in the world that together they produce about 20 million tons per year.

Some agricultural activities also produce methane. Rice is usually grown in flooded fields. The stagnant water covering soil encourages methanogenesis like in a swamp.

Domestic cattle produce more methane than wild animals. One cow produces about 50 l (13 gal) of methane per day, and the world’s commercial cattle and sheep produce about 100 million tons per year.

livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. However, the report says, the livestock sector’s potential contribution to solving environmental problems is equally large, and major improvements could be achieved at reasonable cost.

Now onto math this is to determine the atmospheric life of chemicals in the air

Jacob (1999)[34] defines the lifetime τ of an atmospheric species X in a one-box model as the average time that a molecule of X remains in the box. Mathematically τ can be defined as the ratio of the mass m (in kg) of X in the box to its removal rate, which is the sum of the flow of X out of the box (Fout), chemical loss of X (L), and deposition of X (D) (all in kg/sec): \tau = \frac{m}{F_{out}+L+D} [34]

* CO2 has a variable atmospheric lifetime, and cannot be specified precisely.[35] Recent work indicates that recovery from a large input of atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuels will result in an effective lifetime of tens of thousands of years.[36][37] Carbon dioxide is defined to have a GWP of 1 over all time periods.
* Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of 12 ± 3 years and a GWP of 62 over 20 years, 23 over 100 years and 7 over 500 years. The decrease in GWP associated with longer times is associated with the fact that the methane is degraded to water and CO2 by chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
* Nitrous oxide has an atmospheric lifetime of 120 years and a GWP of 296 over 100 years.
* CFC-12 has an atmospheric lifetime of 100 years and a GWP of 10600 over 100 years.
* HCFC-22 has an atmospheric lifetime of 12.1 years and a GWP of 1700 over 100 years.
* Tetrafluoromethane has an atmospheric lifetime of 50,000 years and a GWP of 5700 over 100 years.
* Sulfur hexafluoride has an atmospheric lifetime of 3,200 years and a GWP of 22000 over 100 years.

# ^ a b Jacob, Daniel (1999). Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry. Princeton University Press, pp. 25–26. ISBN 0–691-00185–5.

In conclusion- Yes it is a problem. At the rates these gases enter the atmosphere the natural filter (the Oceans) Cant keep up. although it is a lot slower in rising then people think.

KimberlyLD's avatar

Climate change, rather you buy the “hype” or science or not, is an excellent impetus for relearning moderation and humanity for us all.

Do I think man is affecting the planet? Absolutely!

Do I think our actions can change that affect? Absolutely!

Do I think it will be enough to allow humanity to continue to reside on this planet during a future that I may or may not see? I have no idea.

However, I do believe that there is nothing wrong in trying to live a reduce/reuse/recycle philosophy that has sustained human for thousands of years. It’s only in the post industrial age that humans have, in such large numbers, become quite so materialistic and cavalier about the nature of their interactions with their community and the depletion of the communities resources.

The 21st century has made it nearly effortless to recycle, and the people in many nations would be served a great deal by walking or biking and getting out of their cars. So, if it’s easy or requires the tiniest bit of effort, why not embrace it and hope that each tiny effort multiplied billions of times over might make a significant impact on the future?

So many people work all their lives to “leave their mark”, what if the “mark” that was left was a better place to live for everyone?

winblowzxp's avatar

I think that us ‘doing something’ will have minimal impact on the planet. PDO data from NASA’s JPL has indicated that a cooling trend has begun in the Pacific Ocean.

Also, in the next 15 or so years, the sun will be entering a cooler cycle (for a lack of better terms), so this will help, as we won’t be as bombarded by so much solar radiation. Something to look forward to.

I have a big problem with Al Gore and his rhetoric. He wants all this ‘Climate Change” legislation, but he’s not practicing what he’s preaching. His private jet, a Gulfstream 2, circa 1970’s, belches out more emissions than a Hummer emits in a year. He likes big vehicles, Towncars and such, all idling with the A/C running full blast, etc., etc.

I think we all should drop this “we’re all gonna die” mentality. I think that the ‘Climate Change’ movement is just another way to tell us how to live our lives. We should be good stewards of the planet, but at our option.

jpark's avatar

Galveston is suddenly halfway gone as are many of the surrounding cities. Galveston Beach is completely gone as is Crystal Beach. Houston will probably have a beach soon. And sure, you can call it a fluke… but we just had a 100-year storm three years ago (i.e. Katrina) that washed out a significant portion of the Louisiana wetlands. With all of these storm surges, I’m not sure that anybody can rule out anthropogenic global warming as easily as he/she would like. Air pollution and water resources scientists (the credible ones, anyway) have been predicting this kind of climate change for years. I think that they might be right.

Critter38's avatar

Yes climate change is a serious matter, based not on my opinion but on the weight of available evidence. The following is a joint statement from the world’s major national science academies.

I think false claims permeate any public discussion where there are few cross checks on the accuracy of claims. However, with regards to the issue being “over-hyped, this needs to be seen not just in regards to what is said, but what is being done.

Currently the rate of greenhouse gas emissions are not just increasing, but increasing in intensity. Furthermore the world’s land and ocean based natural sinks appear to be declining in efficiency. In other words instead of 40% of emissions becoming an atmospheric fraction, now approximately 45% of emissions are doing so. AS such nature is doing less work for us. For this reason the sooner we act the more of the work nature will do.

Although short term cooling periods (as caused by la nina influences on Pacific upwellings)are predicted to make short term compensations for warming, this is not predicted to be any more than a brief interlude in the general pattern of climate warming.

Although over the last 100 years the Earth has seen a general warming of approximately 0.7 degrees, it is quite possible for us to double or triple the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere unless we begin serious and encompassing mitigation efforts. Due to inherrent time lags in the climate system every year lost makes reductions that much harder.

We are currently producing approximately double the amount of emissions than can be absorbed by natural sinks. AS such, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase until we halve emissions, they will just increase at a lower rate as we approach this limt. Think of a bathtub filling at double the rate of the water exiting, a 10% reduction in the inflow won’t reverse the fill, just slow it. Without dramatic cuts, the climate will keep warming. Until we drop our emissions to below half of their current rate, our best estimates suggest that greenhouse gas accumulation will continue to increase. Couple this with decreasing efficiency of natural sinks and you start to understand what all the fuss is about.

With every degree rise (and it seems inevitable that this century will see an increase of at least a couple of degrees if we continue on our current trajectory) we risk larger impacts in terms of shifts in ecosystems, species loss, sea level rise, drought, flood, etc.

This is not alarmism. This is what the evidence tells us.

Does this mean the end of the human race. Not at all. But it means a huge amount of suffering in those parts of the world that can’t buy there way out of the crisis or afford the infrustucture or investment necessary to effectively adapt to associated changes.

But don’t take my word for it, download the policy summary statement of the IPCC fourth assessment report and take the time to read it. It is not light reading, but it is far from unreadable. It is made for policy makers, not climate modellers.

it makes for sober reading and every single sentence has been challenged and argued over to ensure that it meets the highest of evidence based standards at the time of writing.

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