Author Topic: The Official Climate Change Thread  (Read 24334 times)

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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2012, 01:39:22 PM »
I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

Uhh, yeah it is.  The technology is almost at the point of energy break-even, in fact.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #71 on: September 20, 2012, 01:41:32 PM »
I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

No, I meant fusion. The stuff that goes on in the sun... converting hydrogen into helium and such

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #72 on: September 20, 2012, 01:50:35 PM »
I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

Uhh, yeah it is.  The technology is almost at the point of energy break-even, in fact.

Holy shit, really? Where'd you hear that???
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #73 on: September 20, 2012, 01:52:26 PM »
I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

Uhh, yeah it is.  The technology is almost at the point of energy break-even, in fact.

Sorry, I meant in order to have a net energy gain.

Hah, Google it, and it gave me an article an hour old explaining the break through. Definitely news to me, previously I had heard it was probably at least another decade out before we could reliably harness fusion for energy purposes. That was like, a year ago.

I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

No, I meant fusion. The stuff that goes on in the sun... converting hydrogen into helium and such

Yes, I'm very aware that that goes on in the sun - but it is not what goes on in current day (and aging) nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants currently use fission, and the radioactive decay to heat water and power turbines. Fusion is a developmental technology which has not yet been able to demonstrably produce net energy gains (though, as GP points out, we may be getting closer). If you meant fusion, then you're wrong when you say it can produce a net gain. It also seems an odd response to me, considering fission is the most commonly used method to produce energy, and one which produces net energy gains.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #74 on: September 20, 2012, 02:04:41 PM »
I can't remember:  does nuclear energy provide us with a net energy gain?

If it is a system with a little amounts of fusion occurring, you will see very little net gain. There are two other types of systems. One that operates in a constant state through a magnetic confinement, and one that achieves extremely high temperature/density. Both of those tend to yield huge net gains... from what I understand anyway. I'm not a physicist.

I think you mean fission. Nuclear fusion still isn't possible, not without a big, big boom.

Uhh, yeah it is.  The technology is almost at the point of energy break-even, in fact.

Sorry, I meant in order to have a net energy gain.

Hah, Google it, and it gave me an article an hour old explaining the break through. Definitely news to me, previously I had heard it was probably at least another decade out before we could reliably harness fusion for energy purposes. That was like, a year ago.


Interesting. I had this professor the last couple years that was very fond of saying that if reproducible fusion power plants were step "Z," we're on step "G" now.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #75 on: September 24, 2012, 12:53:11 PM »
And in a turn of good-ish news:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/world/asia/japan-backs-off-of-goal-to-phase-out-nuclear-power-by-2040.html

At least now it won't be more difficult to reach their carbon targets.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2013, 07:28:43 PM »
The fastest winds ever recorded on Planet Earth were noted today... No big deal. Right?

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #77 on: May 20, 2013, 08:11:18 PM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.
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Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #78 on: May 20, 2013, 08:45:02 PM »
The fastest winds ever recorded on Planet Earth were noted today... No big deal. Right?
What was the 'official' confirmed speed? Last article I read it was between 166 and 200 mph.
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Online rumborak

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #79 on: May 20, 2013, 08:50:21 PM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.

Global warming is a very slow process. Just wait until we run out of working antibiotics.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #80 on: May 20, 2013, 09:07:59 PM »
The fastest winds ever recorded on Planet Earth were noted today... No big deal. Right?
What was the 'official' confirmed speed? Last article I read it was between 166 and 200 mph.

That might be for hurricanes. I know the tornados in 1999 were clocked over 300mph. I've heard reports that the winds today exceeded 350mph.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #81 on: May 21, 2013, 08:21:05 PM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.

Global warming is a very slow process. Just wait until we run out of working antibiotics.

It's a slow process if the total melting of the ice caps doesn't trigger runaway warming. If it does, we'll see the shit hit the fan pretty quick.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #82 on: May 21, 2013, 09:19:23 PM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.

Global warming is a very slow process. Just wait until we run out of working antibiotics.

It's a slow process if the total melting of the ice caps doesn't trigger runaway warming. If it does, we'll see the shit hit the fan pretty quick.

A lot of scientists believe we will see that by 2050.

Online Implode

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #83 on: May 21, 2013, 11:04:58 PM »
The fastest winds ever recorded on Planet Earth were noted today... No big deal. Right?
What was the 'official' confirmed speed? Last article I read it was between 166 and 200 mph.

That might be for hurricanes. I know the tornados in 1999 were clocked over 300mph. I've heard reports that the winds today exceeded 350mph.

I heard the winds were only around 200mph and the major destruction caused by the Moore tornado was due to how slowly it was moving. Maybe that was wrong though.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #84 on: May 22, 2013, 05:08:07 AM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.

Global warming is a very slow process. Just wait until we run out of working antibiotics.

It's a slow process if the total melting of the ice caps doesn't trigger runaway warming. If it does, we'll see the shit hit the fan pretty quick.

A lot of scientists believe we will see that by 2050.

Right, and that's why the question now is if that happening will result in runaway warming. As one of my favorite environmental professors put it, once the ice caps melt, all bets are off. No one knows how bad it could be. That's why as an environmentalist I believe in preparing for the worst.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #85 on: May 22, 2013, 05:40:07 AM »
Don't know. I've given up on trying to save the Earth. I'm just gonna hope we find a way to get off-planet by the time things really go to shit.

Global warming is a very slow process. Just wait until we run out of working antibiotics.

It's a slow process if the total melting of the ice caps doesn't trigger runaway warming. If it does, we'll see the shit hit the fan pretty quick.

A lot of scientists believe we will see that by 2050.

Right, and that's why the question now is if that happening will result in runaway warming. As one of my favorite environmental professors put it, once the ice caps melt, all bets are off. No one knows how bad it could be. That's why as an environmentalist I believe in preparing for the worst.

How the hell do you go about relocating the millions of people who are going to be permanently displaced due to flooding?

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #86 on: May 22, 2013, 06:03:34 AM »
Oh, I meant stuff like renewable energy and the like. But hey, I dunno, not my problem. Should've been taking steps to prevent this stuff sooner, then we wouldn't have to worry about that.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #87 on: May 22, 2013, 07:24:26 AM »
If we stopped growing so much corn we could start sequestering some carbon.  In an all natural and healthy way.

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #88 on: May 22, 2013, 07:33:25 AM »
Or what happened to those black carbon bricks they were going to make?
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #89 on: May 27, 2013, 06:41:33 AM »
And now shit is getting really complicated:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/opinion/geoengineering-our-last-hope-or-a-false-promise.html?hp

To just quote a small bit:

Quote
So who would be turning the dial on the earth’s climate? Research is concentrated in the United States, Britain and Germany, though China recently added geoengineering to its research priorities.

Some geoengineering schemes are sufficiently cheap and uncomplicated to be deployed by any midsize nation, or even a billionaire with a messiah complex.

We can imagine a situation 30 years hence in which the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power is threatened by chaotic protests ignited by a devastating drought and famine. If the alternative to losing power were attempting a rapid cooling of the planet through a sulfate aerosol shield, how would it play out? A United States president might publicly condemn the Chinese but privately commit to not shooting down their planes, or to engage in “counter-geoengineering.”

Little wonder that military strategists are taking a close interest in geoengineering. Anxious about Western geopolitical hubris, developing nations have begun to argue for a moratorium on experiments until there is agreement on some kind of global governance system.

We should've gotten on board with renewables when we had the chance.
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Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #90 on: May 29, 2013, 11:07:24 AM »
And now shit is getting really complicated:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/opinion/geoengineering-our-last-hope-or-a-false-promise.html?hp

To just quote a small bit:

Quote
So who would be turning the dial on the earth’s climate? Research is concentrated in the United States, Britain and Germany, though China recently added geoengineering to its research priorities.

Some geoengineering schemes are sufficiently cheap and uncomplicated to be deployed by any midsize nation, or even a billionaire with a messiah complex.

We can imagine a situation 30 years hence in which the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power is threatened by chaotic protests ignited by a devastating drought and famine. If the alternative to losing power were attempting a rapid cooling of the planet through a sulfate aerosol shield, how would it play out? A United States president might publicly condemn the Chinese but privately commit to not shooting down their planes, or to engage in “counter-geoengineering.”

Little wonder that military strategists are taking a close interest in geoengineering. Anxious about Western geopolitical hubris, developing nations have begun to argue for a moratorium on experiments until there is agreement on some kind of global governance system.

We should've gotten on board with renewables when we had the chance.


You talking about those lines in the sky I see every damn day, that make it cloudy and cause unusual weather patterns.

Yeah, they're Chemtrails or contrails. Whatever they are they're spraying something, if its to combat GW, that's dumb. Doesn't feel right to stop what we put in the air by putting more shit into the air.

Also, I heard volcanoes in Mexico, Central America, and South America have become active.

I know you guys are skeptical about Conspiracy things but wouldn't the HAARP Machine be a part of Geoengineering?
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #91 on: May 29, 2013, 02:08:32 PM »
I'm not sure if chemtrails are the same thing; to be honest I don't know much about them because I tend not to put much stock in conspiracy theories.
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Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #92 on: May 29, 2013, 02:37:20 PM »
I'm not sure if chemtrails are the same thing; to be honest I don't know much about them because I tend not to put much stock in conspiracy theories.

Me either, but I can't help but wonder why all these jets? I see about 20 a day, it doesn't help that military planes fly really low, even at night at like 3am.
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #93 on: May 29, 2013, 03:00:54 PM »
I'm not sure if chemtrails are the same thing; to be honest I don't know much about them because I tend not to put much stock in conspiracy theories.

Me either, but I can't help but wonder why all these jets? I see about 20 a day, it doesn't help that military planes fly really low, even at night at like 3am.

Because planes... fly?  It's like asking why there are cars on the road or trains or tracks.
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Offline jasc15

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #94 on: June 07, 2013, 07:48:58 PM »
Please forgive me for jumping in here at the end of the thread without reading much of its contents, but I wanted to share some thoughts.

I'm sure there is a word for this argument.

It is generally accepted that Mesopotamia is the origin of human agriculture, and the departure from the nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyle.  But how is it that the center of agriculture was in such an arid and inhospitable location as modern-day Iraq?  A page from Guns, Germs and Steel:

Quote
Today, the expressions "Fertile Crescent" and "world leader in food production" are absurd.  Large areas of the former Fertile Crescent are now desert, semidesert, steppe, or heavily eroded or salinized terrain unsuited for agriculture...  In ancient times, however, much of the Fertile Crescent and eastern Mediterranean region, including Greece, was covered by forest.  The region's transformation from fertile woodland to eroded scrub or desert has been elucidated by paleobotanists and archaeologists.  Its woodlands were cleared for agriculture, or cut to obtain construction timber, or burned as firewood or for manufacturing plaster.  Because of low rainfall... regrowth of vegetation could not keep pace with its destruction, especially in the presence of overgrazing by abundant goats.  With tree and grass cover removed, erosion proceeded and valleys silted up, while irrigation agriculture in the low-rainfall environment led to salt accumulation.  These processes, which began in the Neolithic era, continued into modern times.

Thus, Fertile Crescent and eastern Mediterranean societies had the misfortune to arise in an ecologically fragile environment.  They committed ecological suicide by destroying their own resource base.  Power shifted westward as each Mediterranean society in turn undermined itself, beginning with the oldest societies, those in the east (the Fertile Crescent).  (p.410, 411)

These people were as short-sighted about and irreversably dependent on their newly found resource as we are today on ours.  I can even imagine people then crying about the inevitable danger that loomed if it continued unabated.

This book it not about climate change, but it makes you think of human events on a scale of millennia, rather than decades or even centuries.  Climate change has been a part of human and animal species for as long as there has been an effect on one by the other.  Today, its effect will be to alter the locations of power centers in the world, just as it did then.  This is just the natural course of the world.  We can intellectualize it, feel guilty, and try to reverse it, but on the aggregate, we are still the same short-sighted animal, and this is still the same earth that was thousands of years ago.

my $0.03

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #95 on: June 07, 2013, 08:12:41 PM »
They're called Goldilocks civilizations, and it's been tied to the Indus Valley civilization and Easter Island as well. The problem is this instance is its scale; it's not just a region of the world that's about to get fucked over but all of human fucking civilization. It's going to happen soon and it's going to hit us hard - by all indications, harder than these environmental changes did because the change is less gradual and more volatile.
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #96 on: June 08, 2013, 12:02:24 AM »
Easter Island is a great (and terrifying) example.  If you know anything about the island, you'll know two things: it's barren and treeless, and it has all those statues.  It actually used to be heavily forested, and contained some of the largest palm trees in the world.  However, to make way for agriculture and continue the construction of those famous faces, the forests were eventually cleared, leading to soil erosion, famine, and a massive decrease in indigenous population.

As much as we like to think that humans are sensible and that we can stop ourselves before we do any great harm, thinking about this: there came a day where someone cut down the last tree on Easter Island.  Someone, who probably grew up with memories of how it used to be or with knowledge of the islands previous grand forests (and the problems that had arisen due to its destruction), made the decision to cut down that single survivor.

Humanity's fucked, basically.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #97 on: June 08, 2013, 05:17:13 AM »
Purty much. Depressing, innit? I'm basically hoping at this point that before the damage gets extinction-y, we can move everyone to Mars.
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Offline jasc15

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #98 on: June 10, 2013, 07:43:52 AM »
I don't get this mars business.  Even the worst condition of earth imaginable cannot compare to the barren martian "environment".  Terraforming doesn't sound even remotely practical, even in small biodomes.  (Now I have Pauly Shore in my head).

The earth has survived much worse than us.  The worst I can see is a mass shift in population centers, and its associated chaos among humans.  Earth could'nt care less.

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #99 on: June 10, 2013, 11:04:02 AM »
It's withstood worse than the current amount of greenhouse gases we're pumping up there. The concern is about the melting of the ice caps, which will release all greenhouse gases ever. In that sense, it would be a matter of Earth not only surviving us, but everything that came before it. No one's sure where the breaking point is, and the consequences are potentially disastrous (as in Earth not becoming Mars so much as Venus).
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #100 on: June 10, 2013, 05:32:12 PM »
The earth has survived much worse than us.  The worst I can see is a mass shift in population centers, and its associated chaos among humans.  Earth could'nt care less.

It just barely survived the emergence of cyanobacteria. If bacteria can almost destroy the earth and the entire ecosystem, I sorta imagine humans can as well.

Offline jasc15

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #101 on: June 11, 2013, 07:00:16 AM »
The earth has survived much worse than us.  The worst I can see is a mass shift in population centers, and its associated chaos among humans.  Earth could'nt care less.

It just barely survived the emergence of cyanobacteria. If bacteria can almost destroy the earth and the entire ecosystem, I sorta imagine humans can as well.
Yeah, and what's the difference?  Because we are conscious of our effects on our environment?

An organism vastly alters its environment, possibly to its own detriment.  Big deal.  It's how the earth works.

Also, I wouldn't say the earth barely survived cyanobacteria, though that's true of most of the life at the time.  It was a major change in the earth's ecosystem which had the effect of creating an environment for new life forms.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 07:06:54 AM by jasc15 »

Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #102 on: June 11, 2013, 07:07:01 AM »
I'm saying we basically got lucky with cyanobacteria. It nearly snowballed earth. I see no reason to play with fire just because of some conception of the earth as being stronger. It's also conceivable to make conditions on earth inhospitable to US specifically, and that's frankly what I'm more concerned about than some futurel ife form adapting to the new environment we create.

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #103 on: June 11, 2013, 06:01:50 PM »
I'm saying we basically got lucky with cyanobacteria. It nearly snowballed earth. I see no reason to play with fire just because of some conception of the earth as being stronger. It's also conceivable to make conditions on earth inhospitable to US specifically, and that's frankly what I'm more concerned about than some futurel ife form adapting to the new environment we create.

My thoughts exactly: some other species may prevail after us, but I kinda like living.
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Offline Chino

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Re: The Official Climate Change Thread
« Reply #104 on: June 13, 2013, 04:24:43 AM »


The earth has survived much worse than us.  The worst I can see is a mass shift in population centers, and its associated chaos among humans.  Earth could'nt care less.

Yeah... Bt the human race is kind of cool and I kind of wish more people would care about where we end up as a species.