26th October 2007 - 05:35 PM
Interesting thread. I guess to get to the original point of the thread, I do find it strange that Climate change wins a nobel peace prize. To me, work on climate change doesn't really fit in with any of the categories of the Nobel, but I do not know much about the history of the Peace prize.
I used to be unconvinced about global warming. Over the past year or so however, in discussions with scientists, I have had many questions that I did not understand answered that have pushed me much closer to accepting global warming. We definately need to do something. One thing I did learn, which I found very interesting is that apparently the amount of soot and other particulates in the atmosphere from unclean energy sources has actually been hiding some of the effects of global warming by reflecting a significant amount of sunlight away from earth. I found this interesting, though I have not had time to look up more about it.
Someone earlier also made reference to water vapour being a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. This is true, however just stating this doesn't really say anything because the cycle of water vapour in the atmosphere is much different than CO2. Water vapour doesn't stay in the atmosphere for very long. It rains fairly frequently (over the whole earth). The change due to water vapour isn't long term and most likely averages out over the course of a year, or even a few months. Just think about how the temperature at night has changed on a hot day when it is cloudy, and it is not. On a cloudy night the temperature doesn't drop nearly as much as it does on a clear night. This can change from day to day and is not going to effect climate long term.
I also read in an editorial in the Journal Nature in february which said
Until quite recently (perhaps even until last week), the general global narrative of the great climate-change debate has been deceptively straightforward. The climate-science community, together with the entire environmental movement and a broad alliance of opinion leaders ranging from Greenpeace and Ralph Nader to Senator John McCain and many US evangelical Christians, has been advocating meaningful action to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions. This requirement has been disputed by a collection of money-men and some isolated scientists, in alliance with the current president of the United States and a handful of like-minded ideologues such as Australia's prime minister John Howard.
I may not be an expert on climate change, nor have the time to become one. Fortunately I do know about the Journal Nature and how difficult it is to get published in it. I find it reasonable that if they claim it is pretty much a scientific concensus, then it most likely it is.
With all of that being said, through discussions with friends at different universities, apparently if we were to cut all green house emissions to zero right now, it would take 40-50 years for the warming to actually stop. So this means really, that even with what most people would consider drastic changes now, we still need to invest time and money into figuring out how to adapt to any temperature changes that may take place.
To share something that I found funny though, a comment by Stephen Colbert, from the Colbert Report "I now believe in Global Warming. Al Gore's movie made money. The market has spoken".