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Haley Florio

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Do you really think global warming is a huge problem on Earth? (Or even real?)

In my opinion, I don't. Last winter (In New York) was the coldest winter on record. The earth is getting hotter because that is mother nature's way, but I would like to know your opinions.

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  • Jan 2 2012: I believe global warming is real. It may be however a combination of man-made causes and natural cycles of warm/cold. Obviously we need to do all we can to reduce emissions, whether or not it is causing some dramatic change. Cleaner aire and water is imperative for the world.

    We must take long time span looks at this question and not just rely on "the average temperature" in any given year. There are way too many variables in something like that. These variables will give us short-term "spikes and dips" that are not truly indicative of what climate is doing.
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      Jan 3 2012: Michael, the science is clear. Climate change is real and human activities are causing conditions to shift in the blink of a geologists eye.
      • Jan 3 2012: Kat

        Thanks for the comment. I do agree that climate is changing (warmer) but I am still not convinced on the total human contribution to the net result. My opinion is that it is probably a whole combination of factors that are creating this dynamic system. I doubt if it is simple cause and effect of one major variable.

        That said I still do think that reducing emissions, reducing the part we can control is important.
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          Jan 3 2012: Does it make any difference Michael? If the globe warms up, the effects will be devastating. Even if it were a purely natural phenomenom (which it isn't) we have to take all steps to get below the threshold anyway, don't you agree?.
      • Jan 3 2012: Joanne
        Yes, it does make a difference. Yes we should do all we can to reduce CO2 emissions. But, (and I am serious here) what if there are climatological changes taking place we can't control? That is the real issue for me here. Yes, we should control what we can, but the very idea we can actually control climate is really way way out there. We cannot and do not. We are not "victims" but you know what? I wonder what our ancestors did before the last Ice Age? Maybe they said, we can build a big enough bonfire......
        Ok, just trying to be funny here. The globe might warm and food production areas will shift to other areas. What we are afraid of I believe, is that our breadbasket will now belong to someone else.
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          Jan 4 2012: As usual Michael, you reveal an interesting perspective. 'What we are afraid of I believe, is that our breadbasket will now belong to someone else'. I think you outline an important trend, that changing global politics is deflecting interest in this issue. The issue of food, and water too, is especially relevent when we are talking about climate change.

          I am not sure I understand though, why you think humans cannot impact climate change. Since James Watt invented the steam engine in 1784 humans have released over half a trillion tons of carbon from where it had been previously; safely stored underground. Today we release about 10 billion tons a year, which is a million tons every hour. Why do you think this suffocating blanket of carbon dioxide will NOT have an affect?

          During the previous mass extinctions, volcanic super-eruptions dumped trillions of tons carbon into the atmosphere over a few thousand years, causing a similar effect over a longer time scale, to what we are produciing in a matter of decades.

          The planetry boundary committee has set the planetry boundary for carbon density in the atmoshphere at 350 parts per million. I believe we are about at 380 parts per million now. If we go to 450 parts per million, some models predict we will be ice free. No ice on the planet. If our current rate of carbon emissions continues unabated, scientist predict we will be at 450ppm by mid century.

          Why do you think these important limits are erroneous?
      • Jan 4 2012: Joanne
        I do not think they are erroneous. Much of this is based on good real-time scientific study. Some however is based on computer generated projections of future trends. We still do not do very well with that. Secondly, again yes, we reduce CO2 emissions. We must. There are ten billion reasons to reduce CO2, reduce air pollution, make the world a healthier place. My main point here is this. Yes we do that, but there are other variables we cannot control that I believe are honestly working here. We do not control these variables. They are impacting also.

        Now to the point of the breadbasket. Yes, strange huh? We are afraid of losing our food production in places like the Great Plains. What may very well happen though is that other regions may become more productive. These regions may not be within the US! Yes, we are worried about "less rainfall" (again maybe not less, just more in places that don't get it now) and higher temperatures. My question here is are we worried in point of fact about global warming or just what it might do to us (most computer projections are dim) and how it might help others? Northern Africa for example, used to be one of the bread baskets of the Mediterranean What if it became so again? Are we so worried that we might have to buy food from other countries? Of course we are.
        All of this doesn't even deal with the questions of shifting crops, water consumption, and lifestyle choices we make. Those are as they say, another issue.
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          Jan 4 2012: HI Michael, you raise important issues around planetary boundaries. I hope we are not boring Haley and she is still reading, as it is her and her children who will be more affected by these things than me and my peer group.

          As we ruin our worlds soil, disrupt the nitrogen cycle, eradicate our biodiverse ecosystems and as we acidify and empty out the most important and delicate breadbasket of all, the oceans, we jeopardise the planet's ability to support human life. We will probably not be able to feed the number of people who will be alive on the planet by midcentury if we keep going the way we are. We cannot feed the people on the planet today without the Haber Bosch process, a process which fixes nitrogen from the air into ammonia to make chemical fertiliser. This process takes a collossal amount of energy, in a world where increasingly we are going to describe countries as energy rich and energy poor, as water rich and water poor.

          We have important management issues to contend with, in world where people still think it is patriotic and a sign of success to consume, consume consume, without thought of the future.

          Where do you think some of the solutions lie? What can Haley's generation hope for?
      • Jan 4 2012: Joanne & Haley
        What can we do now? People will probably not like some of these steps.
        1. Reduce CO2 output around the world rich/poor nations.
        2. Begin now looking at which areas might change and develop food crops for those areas. (Remember for example, much of the corn grown in the midwest is ethanol and cow food, not human food)
        3. Study now population shifts that might have to happen. We love living by sea. The question in 50 years is where might the beach be.
        4. Learn to roll with what nature gives us instead of trying to control what we cannot control. We need to stop pretending to ourselves that we do. That means yes, giving up trying to irrigate for example where water is already very scarce. Learn that hurricanes for example bring needed rain, not just destroy $500K beach houses.
        5. Learn that we are interdependent on new global levels. We already have been it is going to change again if it does drastically warm.
        6. If there are huge population shifts, make those migrations easier and with planned growth in some areas.

        What can Haley hope for? I think a world that will be different with different challenges, but not necessarily apocalyptic. We have after all, managed before. Getting people ready for change is as important as the consequences of the change. Her generation may be very fit for that. I honestly believe, not in a Pollyanna way, that life finds a way. We need to help her generation learn to get on with life that is not consumption oriented.
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          Jan 4 2012: No not apocalypic. Not at all. We have the ability to live in this garden of eden we have been granted, peacefully, sustainably. It is not even hard, we just need to look at the problems and change a few things.

          All nations need to sign Kyoto for starters. Forget economic growth, aim for economic equilibrium. Intelligent design, intelligent technology will look forward to brilliant ways to conserve energy and recycle efficiently. We can live happy and even affluent lives tomorrow, but we do need to change some things. We need to take a deep breath and plan for a future world of dwindling resources. We need to protect the oceans and forests and biodiverse foodchain, with all our hearts and souls for the children of the future.

          We need to turn a deaf ear to the people who would say, for their own selfish reasons, that it is none of this counts, none of it is important.
        • Jan 4 2012: Your concept is too ideal. There is no way it can be in a working model, no one will just forget economic growth, nothing can reach Utopian equality, and we care more about the immediate future then the distant future. Also, human beings are naturally selfish, this selfishness deviates from the survivalist instinct.
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          Jan 5 2012: Hi Zared, an idea cannot be too ideal, only a good idea or a bad idea. It might be hard to imagine, I understand that but it is amazing how quickly things can change, indeed have changed when we look at history, when circumstance also changes. I think we are going to have to come up with some radical solutions and the model we currently use, will probably be rendered obsolete. What will replace it?

          I am not certain I agree that humans are naturally selfish. Stress, feelings of insecurity, an overblown sense of entitlement and circumstances of hardship create selfishness.
        • Jan 5 2012: Any idea can be too ideal if it focuses more on the goals than probabilities and applications.
          The concept you speak of involves a total recall and positive release of human morality, equality, and social norms on a large proportion of the human race essentially after a apocalyptical event which would most likely cause people to divert into survival mode then form caring communities. The societies after a apocalyptical events will lose great morals, be unfriendly to other societies, and they will do anything in terms of survival. Once again, it is a life or death situation in the new ice age which also means that you are only right on the focus of conserving items efficiently.
          Another scenario, people could survive this new ice age in underground bunkers where resources are abundant and most human behaviors will probably be the same except a slight decrease in concern of economics. This one would be the most probable society for this situation.
          I do not mean selfishness as arrogance, but selfishness as caring for oneself or a relation of oneself.
          I could be horribly mistaken so, please, point out any flaws in my logic.
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          Jan 5 2012: O.k, no argument with that definition of selfishness, and your logic isn't flawed.

          You seem to be asking me to reflect on the idea that societies cannot be 'designed' but are destined to be forged from circumstance. This is why you call my comment idealistic. O.K, I probably must concede, however reluctantly.

          Yet, although certain ideals might seem impossible for humans to achieve in current thinking, through history people have made similar leaps and changes. Galileo's proposal that the world was flat, Darwin's understanding of evolution, the aboliton of slavery, all ideals that people were terrified of initially. They resisted, because they thought the world as they knew it would crumble . The world as they knew it did crumble, but we carried on.

          IF we could arrive at a more sustainable economic model, no matter how radical such an idea might seem at first, and no matter how much some people would resist change, such a thing is possible and might be necessary. Population stability/control might also become necessary.

          As you can see, it is my hope, with our big brain, all our generations of accumulated knowledge, the brilliant people who live and think today, warp speed information exchange, that we can out think the trajectory we are currently on and avoid the circumstances which would FORCE change on us. To me it is still feasible, now but not for much longer, to avoid the critical planetry tipping points. The problem is more a political one, or perhaps an A-political one. Not enough people know and care.

          I hope we do not reach the apocalypse you describe and if we do, I doubt we will be in 'underground bunkers' . Who will construct those and what with?
        • Jan 5 2012: Well, if there is no global warming, then there is an upcoming ice age. The only way to survive the cold weather is to live in those bunkers for warmth. Paranoid people already built these bunkers to withstand nuclear fallout during the cold war. They are built into deep underground, mountains, etc. with the protective materials needed to withstand those disasters.
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          Jan 16 2012: I agree with you, Michael; especially #4. Us humans do try and control things we cannot (I do not know if this is correct, but didn't President Obama try and increase/decrease C02 in general?).
          Sometimes, we just have to go with the punches. Mother Earth has let us live on her, therefore we need to accept what she throws at us (i.e hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.).
          Unfortunately, I do not agree with you on some steps. Population shifts, for example; those are not necessary. Is the weather drastically changing? I do not think so, maybe a little bit, but not by 20 degrees each summer. Maybe I think this because last winter was the coldest winter on record, and this summer was much cooler than last (In New York.)
          In your end paragraph; every generation faces difficult, new challenges that the past generation did not face. For example, my grandparents faced the Holocaust; my parents faced the Vietnam War, and my generation will be facing this. I am ready and open to new challenges, because no matter where you are, who you're with or what you're doing, you will face a problem. It's just the way life is.
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        Jan 17 2012: Hi Haley, I understand your thinking when you say this;

        'Is the weather drastically changing? I do not think so, maybe a little bit, but not by 20 degrees each summer. Maybe I think this because last winter was the coldest winter on record, and this summer was much cooler than last (In New York.)'

        But what I have read, and I hope you check it out yourself and don't just take my word for it, is that global warming means big jumps in weather changes, so you might notice things heating up one year, and then notice some drastic cooling the next. Also we should see deluges, which means lots and lots of rain. I have noticed deluges and drastic temperature changes happening in my country, and a few other freaky things too, like great big icebergs floating up from antarctica. (I live in New Zealand, near the South Pole, and we never ever see icebergs, but suddenly here they are!)

        Also, what they talk about when they talk about a warming planet is only a few degrees, so it might not seem noticeable to us especially from year to year. BUT if you are keen on dinosaurs and you have read about the extinction that happened in the Jurassic period, you come across the idea that these animals went extinct because the earth heated up (it was natural that time, because of volcanic activity). It melted all the ice as we are seeing now!

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