Suggestion by WBHobbs on 2007-12-20 22:04:34
Agreee with the 30 year ago comments. "Scientists" also predicted food wars, running out of oil, running out of water, running out of copper and other resources, etc. all were to occur before the mid 1990's. None of these happened. We even survied being thrown back into the middle ages by Y2K. Why would we believe these guys now with this track record?
Precautionary principle: we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from taking the precautions to avoid such problems. While a shift in energy paradigm right now would cost a large amount of money, the potential for future growth from the increased technological advancement generated from researching alternative energies could potentially drive phenomenal future growth. Furthermore, it's rather difficult to imply that we in the U.S. benefit from using a form of energy that's controlled by politically unstable parts of the world.
You're right, these dire predictions did not come to pass in the last few years. Ask anyone who lives in Los Angeles or Georgia, though, and you'll find out that water really is becoming a scarce resource. According to UNICEF, 1.1 billion people live without access to water in Africa and Asia. Whether this matters or not is, of course, a value judgment, as is whether climate change matters or not.
As for running out of oil, the price of oil is hovering at $90/barrel, and many are predicting it will break $100 very soon. While this is attributed to OPEC being rather stingy with their reserves, there are no shortage of analysts who believe the reason OPEC did not increase production on December 5th as rumored is because they no longer can increase production. If you'd like to know more, click here.
As for Y2K, ask anyone in the financial or IT industry and they'll tell you that the reason that we weren't thrown back into the middle ages was that there was a concerted, worldwide effort made by private industry (who had everything to lose) to fix the coding issues that would have been responsible BEFORE January 1st, 2000 came around. The idea behind addressing climate change now is that one day, people can look back and say, "Remember when we thought that would be an issue? What a joke!" --AviGandhi 17:12, December 20, 2007 (PST)
Your comment ... Precautionary principle: we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from taking the precautions to avoid such problems. ... Is overstated on both ends. The cost in terms of lost wealth will be huge tens of trillions of dollars. ...reduced production, decreased growth in the world economy, etc will translate in to less wealth devoted to feeding starving people, producing medical research, etc. the cost in lives will be huge over time. Likewise the results will likely be small - perhaps measured in hundredths of degrees relative to some theoretical change. In reality, there will likely be no desirable results.. Plus there are recognizable unintended changes already occurring - increased cost and scarcity of food as land is used to grow fuel for cars rather than nutrition for children. It's happening i the US with corn and elsewhere with other crops - Palm oil is a good example; Palm oil producers are running slave labor type operations with third world poverty victims as their labor pool - theft of property - repression of rights - murder - bribery etc. are wide spread. Palm oil production is resulting in substantial, irreversible damage to the environment - deforestation, habitat loss, damage to endangered species - AND - on top of this; the desire to use palm oil as an alternative fuel is resulting in a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Already we are seeing nations back out of prior agreements to curtail emissions. We are seeing highly productive industries slowed by laws while countries that could are less about the environment are taking their jobs and wealth - while producing much higher emissions of GHG to produce the same products...
We are seeing that plans for wind powered economies have failed, as money is poured into windmills - it is also poured into cheap (dirty) backup power plants that can replace generation when the wind quits blowing... For every 10 units of wind, 9 units of new cheap (dirty) fossil fired capacity is installed, since the wind is about 10% reliable, the fossil is called on often - since it is dirty the net result is 1) massive increases in the cost of power (you now have 1.9 power plants rather than 1.0) 2) increases in GHG emissions since the wind does not offset the added emissions from the cheap new (dirty) plants. If the various governments had left the supply decisions to the market - likely efficient fossil plants would have been built - GHG would be lower than otherwise - costs coud have been lower than they are (In some cases 40 cent per kWh power would have been 10 cents per kWh)
Suggestion by 188.8.131.52 on 2007-12-20 17:41:23
Thirty years ago some scientists were predicting a mini Ice Age. Early this year there were predictions of a terrible hurricane season which did not occur. Why should we accept on faith the predictions of computer algorithms and scientific advice based upon a vote of scientists, a group which excluded anyone with a different opinion?
If these scientists to which you refer were actually excluding those with differing opinions, I'd agree with you. If you look at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report for 2007, however, you'll see that they paint a much more realistic picture, with accumulated data from hundreds of studies and models, as well as a number of predictions (some of which are not at all dire). The actual report is rather long, but if you'd like, here is a link to the summary for policy makers. Climate systems are incredibly difficult to predict, even with computers, because there is a lot of "noise" in the data and chaotic events tend to ruin predictability. I would expect that smaller chaotic events would have larger effects on smaller climate systems, which could explain the lack of a strong hurricane system; as for the mini Ice Age, there are scientists that argue that the data actually shows that on a geologic time scale, we're actually still in an ice age, and global warming is moving us out of it. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing is a value judgment, since we've adapted to being in the current climate system. As to why we should believe computer algorithms and scientists, that's not a question that can be easily addressed (kind of like "why should we believe in evolution?"). Either you have faith in the human ability to follow a scientific method, examine empirical data and draw logical conclusions, or you don't. --AviGandhi 11:55, December 20, 2007 (PST)
Suggestion by Wraythe on 2007-12-17 16:13:14
According to NOAA, although Katrina briefly touched Cat 5 out in the Gulf of Mexico, it was a Cat 3 when it came ashore which makes it far from being a freak storm. Katrina was a routine hurricane that hit an ill prepared city built below sea level with an aging dike system. I believe that climate change is a serious topic that needs to be addressed with hard facts and the natural tendency to exaggerate to make a point hurts more than it helps.
I agree. The beauty of Wikinvest is that you have the ability to change the article to remove things like that. I encourage you to contribute more. --AviGandhi 11:55, December 20, 2007 (PST)