Neil Greco

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Are Carbon Dioxide emissions threatening to change our Global Climate?

If you have not seen Journey to Planet Earth on PBS, it is a must. In it Lester Brown and many other prominent world scientist discuss the "tippiing point" in our worlds current atmosphere whereby the carbon dioxide levels will cause a radical change in global climates. Our earth did not sustain life until several large changes in carbon dioxide levels (caused by volcanic action) produced a mixture that would hold in heat. The plants help maintain that balance. Now, with our energy consumption causing rising carbon dioxide levels, while we decimate parts of the rain forest, is causing a huge imbalance. We litteraly could see drought and familne the likes of which has never been seen and can't possibly be managed.

The experts argue that we are already at that tipping point. World leaders, including President Obama here in the US, are discussing this. However they are calling for large reductions in Carbon Dioxide emissions within 20 years!!

Should we find a way, as citizens of this planet, to make them act more quickly?

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    Jun 22 2011: It's hard to know when this tipping point might be. I hope we get our act together soon enough so that we don't have to find out the hard way.
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      Jun 23 2011: I hope we do. By we I hope it's you and I and whatever we can do to move things faster to change the current path we are on. Governments are acting, but very slowly. There's a lot of economics tied up in our current mode of energy production. I fear we may live to see things change for the worse and then have to explain to future generations why we did not act. I understand it's hard to predict exactly when this tipping point will be, however, considering the amount of damage that's been done, in a relatively short period of time (maybe since industrial revolution on through today), we certainly aren't stacking the odds in humanites favor.

      Thanks Matthieu for the interesting dialogue.

  • Jun 23 2011: No one has yet to explain to me how "experts" can predict world temperatures so many years into the future while meteorologists can not get weather forecasts for a week correct.

    Climate change makes sense and is logical... man made climate change does not. Obviously man can affect citywide regions in terms of ecology and slight temperature patterns but these affects are mainly temporary. Certainly so on a geological timescale.

    Things like end-of-the-world predictions and "tipping points" make good shows because they draw interest by fear. Nobody cares if everything is going well.

    "The only good news is bad news."
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      Jun 23 2011: I have heard this argument time and again and it still sounds as stupid as the first time. Here's a good place to start:
      • Jun 25 2011: If I read the article correctly, Climate is a long term condition and weather is short term.

        If short term weather patterns can not be predicted accurately but only given in wide ranges, how can long term climate predictions be accurate to the point of stating that there is a permanent change in climate attributable to man?

        In addition how can we link climate change directly to human intervention? Some reports state Carbon Dioxide is more prevalent but how can we link that Carbon Dioxide directly back to fossil fuels and not volcanism and other natural processes?

        If there a particular point in the article you wanted to point out? What exact point in my argument is stupid?
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          Jul 1 2011: The stupid activity (not necessary only yours) is to post the same questions into the debates,
          over and over again. Smart activity would be to read a bit, before asking the obvious.

          The difference between climate and weather is explained (e.g.) here:

          The role and origins of understanding the CO2 effects is described (e.g.) here:
          The Discovery of Global Warming - A History

          and PLEASE - to not respond by next stupid question : "what about water? Did those stupid scientists forgot about water". They did not, as explained here:

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      Jun 23 2011: Bob - Don't be so sure of yourself on this...

      As an evolving species we have been making mind-boggling discoveries and have developed incredible abilities to potentially do some serious harm to our planet. Our knowledge of and ability to affect our world is growing almost exponentially.

      "Tipping points" as I understand them are not manufactured by those who want to scare us. It is a very well-researched explaination of how things change. As to whether or not it applies to global climate change is another matter - but in some ways I think it does help explain what might be happening. Where did you get your information about tipping points?

      Matthieu -- great link on the differences between weather and climate, thanks!
      • Jun 25 2011: I am willing to admit that I may be wrong about man-made climate change if provided the proper evidence. I'm more concerned with people approaching this subject from only a fear perspective and making bad choices.

        I do know that sensationalist "end of the world" media has increased fear in the world wide community about climate change which companies are exploiting to create "green" technologies which are not really green like CFLs, Hybrid and electric cars, etc.
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    Jun 23 2011: Since I saw the program on Public Broadcasting I have noticed the importance of addressing this issue in talks on radio, or statements like Pres.Obama talking about reducing emissions by 80% in a few decades. I meant to include a liink to the PBS broadcast, but forgot. The scientist taking this on as an important cause brought in other well known world scientists and did show talks by world governments on what to do? There many points and facts, etc.. that I couldn't recal well enough to put in here. However, one fact I took away is the amount of US electricity produced by coal plants. I think it was above 50%. They related that these plants are producing the majority of the emissions (vs. what I would typically think of.. cars). By all means, don't take my word for it.. But check out the link. As fascinating and informative of any of the wonderful TED talks I've watched. Like many things that come accross a person's radar.. I just happened to tune into it one eve.


    Here it is.. (you can also google plan b and pbs and it comes right up if my link, stinks (for lack of a better word, pun intended)