Volcanos are countering global warming

The earth is taking care of itself.  From James Fleure in Science Recorder:

Erupting volcanoes offset recent Earth warming, according to a team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after searching for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as climatologists expected between 2000 and 2010. . . .

According to Neely, tiny amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions generate sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight away from the Earth and back to space.

The study’s findings reveal that it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been offsetting recent Earth warming, according to Neely, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the effects of sulfur dioxide emissions on the environment depend on several factors, including the amount of gas a volcano emits into the atmosphere, whether the gas travels into the troposphere or stratosphere and the regional or global wind and weather pattern that moves the gas.

The motivation for the study was a desire to resolve conflicting results of two recent studies on the origins of the sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere. One study showed that aerosol increases in the stratosphere may have come from India and China’s rising sulfur dioxide emissions, while the other study revealed that moderate volcanic eruptions were to blame. . . .

Study co-author Brian Toon of the University of Colorado at Boulder said that scientists must spend more time examining the impact of small and moderate volcanic eruptions when attempting to learn about changes in the Earth’s climate. He added that “overall” these eruptions will not counter the greenhouse effect. While the emissions of volcanic gases increase and decrease, greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity are rising.

The researchers combined the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model with a second model, the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmosphere. The combined use of these two computer models produced the new results from which the researchers drew their conclusions.

According to Neely, the researchers used a supercomputer on campus to process 10 years of atmospheric activity linked to both coal-burning activities in Asia and to emissions by volcanoes around the world. They ran this simulation several times. The team was able to separate coal-burning pollution in Asia from aerosol contributions from moderate volcanic eruptions. According to Neely, each computer “run” took approximately a week to complete.

The researchers warn that the 10-year climate data sets collected by this study are not extensive enough to identify climate change trends. Neely added that the study provides valuable information for those looking into the “sources of decadal climate variability,” in addition to the global impact of local pollution and the role of volcanoes.

According to Toon, larger volcanoes can have an even bigger effect than small and moderate volcanoes. He noted that when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it sent millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, cooling the planet for the next several years.

The study’s findings were recently described in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

via Researchers: Volcanic eruptions offset recent global warming | Science Recorder.

Go here for the original study.  The scientists specifically aren’t saying this is reversing global warming, but the study reminds us how complicated and interconnected-with-everything the earth’s climate is.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • tODD

    Dr. Veith, this isn’t an example of the earth “taking care of itself”. That phrase would imply that volcano output was somehow influenced by something correlated to global warming — specifically, either levels of greenhouse gases or global temperature. But the article isn’t saying that, and nor is anyone else.

    Call it a happy coincidence if you want, but the volcano activity is not a reaction, much less a counter-reaction, to global warming.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I think you’re missing the point, tODD.

  • SKPeterson

    I believe that what Todd is objecting to is the anthropomorphism implicit in the notion that “the earth is taking care of itself.” The article does point out that the dynamics of atmospheric chemistry and the interaction of various solar and terrestrial processes are very complex and that modeling such systems is often times more a guessing game than a solid, predictive science. This has been my caution all along regarding the models and the underlying processes they are trying to model and predict: our knowledge of these processes is impressive, but incomplete, and our confidence in the accuracy of the models is overstated and, in my opinion, misplaced. That is my (professional) opinion. I will put it this way: we have more data and information on the dynamics of the modern capitalist economy than we do about the dynamics of climate and our economic models are generally crap. How much more so climate models? The models may, and probably are, useful indicators of broad trends, but their predictive capabilities over 10 to 100 years are vastly overrated and not something that we should be following blindly. I fear, however, that climate modeling will follow economics and, when faced with inevitable model failure, will simply say, “well, if we just tweak the model this way, or apply this statistical technique to the data, or collect data on this variable, the model will work perfectly.” Until it doesn’t.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As SKP notes, this is a very complicated issue. A lot depends on the nature of the volcanic eruption. Some release massive amounts of CO2. This increases the greenhouse effect. Others eject a large amount of micro-particles into the stratosphere, which has a cooling effect (Krakatoa).

    Furthermore, climate is a dynamical system (mathematically speaking). These are incredibly complex, and while we have made huge strides, we cannot claim to completely understand. That is why, although our weather prediction is not too bad, climatic prediction is really, really difficult. If anybody is so inclined, here is a paper looking at the volatile release from flood basalts, the largest volcanic events: http://www.ligo-wa.caltech.edu/~robert.schofield/Flood/HugeGasReleaseFromFloodBasalt.pdf

    Note that the system is really complex, with SO2 and CO2 release affecting the environment. It is possible that the great Permian extinction was partly caused by dramatic climatic fluctuation caused by SO2, glaciation etc. Such a disturbance to the system could cause it to change it’s dynamical behaviour, with bifurcations and even chaos in the system as a whole (my guess).

    The difference with today’s climate is the consistent level of CO2 release into the atmosphere. Anthropogenic CO2 production exceeds volcanic CO2 production. It is anybody’s guess how the climate would react in the medium to long term. This, of course, does not mean that we can happily ignore it either.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ the Old Adam

    The earth has been cooling for 16 years now.

    Why?

    The earth warms and cools and we have nothing (virtually- our contribution is a grain of sand on the beach) to do with it.

    But we do love to control people and pass lots of harmful laws (to people and prosperity).

  • kerner

    Klassie:

    Your comment confirms my understanding. Volcanic emissions of CO2 might cause warming. Whereas, volcanic emmissions of microparticles block the sun and causes cooling. I have anecdotal experience of this. Shortly after the last eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, my daughter was born on February 3, 1982. It was -29 degrees Fahrenheit that evening. It was one of the coldest winter’s on record in Wisconsin, and in Saskatoon, it was probably significantly colder.

    So, it has been suggested that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 might cause global warming. Does that mean that anthropogenic emissions of particulate matter might then contribute to global cooling and balance the global warming? So, possibly our legal regulations decreasing industrial partiuclate emissions have been counter-productive? Wouldn’t that be ironic? Or, would it just be a testimony to our inability to understand the process of the weather well enough to try to control it?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD’s thought was my first thought; until we can demonstrate that carbon dioxide causes volcanic eruptions (a rough task by any accounting), we need to note this is a happy coincidence and not the earth taking care of itself.

    A phenomenon that would be “earth taking care of itself” would be the fact that plant growth is generally enhanced when carbon dioxide increases. So the planet does tend, to a degree, to sequester its greenhouse gases.

  • Dr Luther in the 21st Century

    It’s not atmospheric CO2 causing the eruptions, it is the top secret seismic weapon we are testing in Alaska that is doing it. And Al Gore found a way to help fight global warming without having to cut back on his carbon footprint, so he is using this weapon to offset his house. :p

  • SKPeterson

    Volcanoes, ebbs and flows of solar activity, all of which act to warm or cool. Decreasing sunspot activity combined with an increase in volcanic SO2 and we head more steadily toward a new ice age. Sunspot activity increases, coupled with larger CO2 emissions via volcano or man and we move toward a warmer climate.

    People seem to think that climate is a stable thing; it isn’t. Climate is always changing. Often it is imperceptible, but a simple look at temperature patterns even over the last 15K years shows a large volatility in temperature as we emerged from the last ice age until about 8K years ago when we finally stayed warm. We’ve been fairly stable since then.

    As to consistent CO2 release – KK do you know if there have been examinations in the differences of our “relatively” constant volumes of CO2 release v. the regular, but seasonal, CO2 releases still created around the world and until the last 100-200 years or so ago by our ancestors from burning off fields, clearing forests, etc.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    “Global warming”..”climate change”…is the BIGGEST SCAM in the history of the world.

    Billions upon billions of dollars bilked from people. And for what?

    Absolutely nothing. Except to destroy prosperity and send us backwards in time. What a cruel and lucrative joke played upon us.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP, I checked, and here are 2 studies:

    The first studied preserved hemlock: http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/33/1/33.abstract , and covers only the last millenium.

    The second looked at Antarctic ice cores – and has both a shorter term (last millennium) as well as a longer term 160 000 year result set. There has definitely been a post-1800 spike in CO2 levels: http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap01/icecore.html

    A correction to your post: We’ve had several minor fluctuations, such as the mini-ice age in the medieval period. The climatic shift caused major economic disruption, as well as famine and resultant political fall-out.

    theoldadam: Climate has always changed. It is silly to think that out major output of CO2 has had no affect. It is just not clear what the medium and long term results will be, because, as I explained above, long term predictions are highly speculative, due to the dynamic (mathematically speaking) properties of climate.

  • SKPeterson

    KK – you are correct about the mini-ice age period, but even that was a minor blip in the context of the last 15,000 years or so, as was the medieval warming period that preceded it. I was thinking of this graph: http://iceagenow.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Easterbrook-Natural_global_warming.jpg or even this: http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/tharriso/ast110/carbondioxide.gif

  • SKPeterson

    All of which is to re-emphasize what KK and I have been saying: a) the climate is always in a state of flux, in some periods that flux may be quite dramatic, in others (like ours now I would argue) far less so, b) CO2 has an impact. So does S. There is a great amount of uncertainty on the how’s, where’s and when’s of climate change with those variables in addition to many others. It is complex, in every sense of the term, c) climate change is of two parts – 1) the complex science of climate modeling and data gathering, and 2) the hypesters and hucksters looking to make money or gain power off of the panic.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – yes, my point regarding the “mini ice age” is more that relatively minor changes can have quite dramatic short-term effects.

    Of course, one could extend this into many aspects: Species come and go, etc etc. After all, we once ate mammoth and hunted (and were hunted) by saber-tooth tigers. The main thing is to release that as we have developed and spread out, and are self-aware and cognizant of our affect and our dependence on our environment, we should aim to minimize negative affects, and to preserve/intelligently manage the resources we, and the myriad of creatures we depend, all need for continual survival.

  • kerner

    Klassie:

    The problem with trying to minimize negative effects is that to do so we have to know the consequences of our actions, which we do not. Our best intentions might generate unintended harm.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner: Sure. But that ,means we must make intelligent, careful choices, not throw our hands in the air and say “whatever!”. And we should make analysis and suggestions as to correct decisions the task of the ones who know their subject matter, not politicians, journalists, lobbyists, activists of whatever political stripe or side.

    While we cannot with 100% accuracy predict the future, and in some areas (ie Climate) it is worse than others, we also possess a large body of knowledge, and we can make informed decisions.

  • sg

    The thing that annoys me is that I never seem to hear anything about what anyone can do to remedy the situation. Buying some carbon credit is just utter BS. The person who gets my $$ is going to use it on something that uses fuel in some way just like I probably would have. Also, don’t people use more CO2 generating goods and services when they move from less developed countries to more developed countries? Shouldn’t developed countries research the environmental impact on global climate from increased CO2 emissions when people move to their countries? Would the US, perhaps, be able to reduce emissions by increasing efficiency and not importing more people? How do you have more people who are more prosperous who then use less stuff? That doesn’t even make sense.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Carbon credits is total nonsense. Technological efficiency is important, as is organizational efficiency (that is why concentrated cities are actually, per capita, quite efficient). New technologies can help as well – solar tech has been improving a lot, but cost-benefit is still not ideal. Personally I support responsible, safe nuclear energy.

    I’m not taking the bait on the other stuff – really, do you have nothing else on your mind?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    ….are total nonsense (1st sentence). Sorry.

  • tODD

    SG (@17), there comes a point where one gets dangerously close to writing like someone who is attempting to mockingly parody one’s own writing. Please back away from that point, SG. Just because all you’ve got is a hammer doesn’t make every comment thread a nail.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Klasie, yes, we cannot insist on 100% accuracy, but the record of predictions by the IPCC crowd is, shall we say, not exactly pressing 100%–if they got to a mere 10%, it would be a vast improvement over their current record. More or less, betting in the IPCC’s science record (which has been repeatedly misportrayed by the IPCC itself) is like betting on the Chicago Cubs to win the series.

    I’m all for taking reasonable action to encourage efficiency in industry, but that based on the known benefits of efficiency, not the IPCC’s science.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, the IPCC seems to be rife with political manouverings – the little bit that I’ve heard. But one should continue to address their results/ideas based on its scientific merits, not on their or one’s own bias in the matter.

  • sg

    @20

    I don’t concede the point. There is this big elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss no matter how relevant. I am not saying I am right necessarily, but it is freakin’ weird that there is no discussion of the situation. If more people using more stuff is a problem, then why is it only a problem when some people do it, but not when other people do? Well? If we are bad affluent Americans whose only redeeming characteristic is our low birthrate, why would we want more people to come here and turn into more affluent wasteful CO2 polluting folks? How is that environmentally responsible? Okay, you aren’t interested in considering that question. That’s fine, but it turns freaking weird when no one is interested in asking or answering that question. Why do we retreat from it?

  • tODD

    SG (@23), it’s a short hop from your “bar the doors in order to save the Earth” suggestion to one where we also limit the number of children people can have. You know, in order to save the Earth. I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t entertain the latter notion (though the argument — less people in America=good — is the same), and I think rightly so. It’s not as if there’s only one principle to consider here. We have to balance competing principles. You know that.

    Anyhow, it’s not like you’re coming at this without known baggage. Frankly, I’m less than convinced that your main concern is the environment here. Because, well, your suggestion is the same as it always is. It just sounds nicer (I guess) to say “you can’t come in, because of the environment”, as opposed to “you can’t come in, because you’re going to corrupt our society with your foreign ways.”

  • John C

    Carbon credits may need to be refined, Klasie.
    But taxing carbon seems to work. Australia introduced a carbon tax 8 months ago and after 6 months there was a 9% decrease in emissions from electricity generators.
    I would also add that an international agreement on reducing CFCs has led to decrease in the rate of ozone depletion.
    As others have suggested on this blog, the science on global warming is not fixed but as yet, it has not been refuted. There is a cluster of Nobel prizes and a truck load of money for those who can.

  • SKPeterson

    It cannot be refuted, nor can it be proved. It all depends. That’s the problem. Here’s another example: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/the_anatomy_of_climate_science_hype.html from Fred Singer. Singer is a skeptic, but he’s a pretty knowledgeable skeptic.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    “It is silly to think that out major output of CO2 has had no affect.”

    It’s negligible.

    Why is the earth in cool down mode then? For the last 16 years. There are so many factors that neither you, or I, nor the scientists know about.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    It is the height of hubris to think that we can control the weather.

    It’s akin to blasphemy.

  • tODD

    John C (@25), going only off what you’ve told me (I tried looking up better results, but couldn’t easily find any), it appears to be too early to judge the success of the Australian carbon tax.

    After all, the tax started in July — Australia’s winter, when temperatures are cold and nights are long. You’d expect there to be a drop in electricity use since then, even if there were no carbon tax. What would be more useful would be a comparison with the previous year’s consumption.

    TheOldAdam (@28), you said:

    It is the height of hubris to think that we can control the weather. It’s akin to blasphemy.

    That is, of course, a statement of faith, not one of science. So likely no one will be able to convince you otherwise, at least with science (e.g., references to acid rain). But I will note that your faith statement does not come from Scripture. So where does it come from?

    One also wonders what else is the “height of hubris” to consider in our power. The splitting of atoms? Leveling mountains?

  • sg


    “I would also add that an international agreement on reducing CFCs has led to decrease in the rate of ozone depletion.”

    Yes, exactly. They defined exactly what to do to fix the problem and they sold it to the public, etc. But with CO2, how exactly are we going to define our objective, much less sell it to the public? Seriously pretty much everyone on the planet who is not now living at middle class American consumption and CO2 generating levels sure wishes he were. Everyone wants to use tons of goods and services and that generates tons of CO2. How do you sell the public on using less of anything? My guess is that you don’t. Either the geniuses figure out a way to pump out less CO2 or it just continues apace. Among those most convinced and concerned about harmful effects of CO2 on the climate, how many have a comparatively low carbon footprint? I am guessing it approaches 0%. When those folks either go Amish style, or really start pushing any viable alternative or program to actually reduce CO2 that doesn’t involve their getting richer, then they will have more credibility.

    @24 Who cares what my motivations are? All that matters is whether or not there is any reason to think that a given individual’s carbon footprint increases when he moves to the US. Either it does or it doesn’t on average. Would he have caused less CO2 emission had he not moved here, or he wouldn’t he? That is the question. After we answer that question, we can go on with the balancing act. Given that no one needs to come here, and that generally their sole motivation for coming is to live a lifestyle that definitely will result in higher CO2 emissions, then the 1,000,000 folks who move here and increase their CO2 production forthwith each year, are certainly of concern to those who think the US and its residents pump out too much CO2.

  • sg

    Okay, are there many volcanoes long overdue for blasting out Krakatoa-like levels of sky-darkening particulates?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    JohnC, depends on what one means by a carbon tax: There are many schemes out there – the so-called “cap-and-trade” was the focus of my criticism.

    Theoldadam – there is a big difference between controlling the weathern and affecting the weather. It is in the nature of dynamical systems that a relatively small change could result in much larger instabilities. But the other assumption you seem to make is that unless we know (almost?) everything, we should do nothing? I suggest you return to the cave whence you came from.

  • sg

    But the other assumption you seem to make is that unless we know (almost?) everything, we should do nothing?

    No one is really saying what to do. With CFC’s they were very clear about what should be done. Not so with CO2.

    “I suggest you return to the cave whence you came from.”

    Was that really necessary? What if he said that to you? Seriously, that’s just rude.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sg, if we only did things when we completely understood them, very, very little will ever be done. Technology would regress. Essentially, we might as well return to the paleolithic. Hence my comment.

    There is a clear assumption by some that unless you can prove everything 100% conclusively, you should treat it as false. If that be the case, most knowledge would dissappear. Including knowledge pertaining to Scripture. It is a curoius epistemological view, since our own learning process does not work like that: we learn by trail and error, but if we foillowed theoldadam’s view, we would not learn at all.

    Furthermore, he called climate science, which seems indicate some human impact on the climate, virtual blasphemy. Such language etc is more reminscent of the Taliban than anything else.

  • kerner

    But Klassie, it is one thing to resist waiting until we know absolutely everything (an impossible standard) before taking action, and another thing to urge ACTION!!! while climate science is still in its infancy and we really don’t know very much. And it is yet one more thing to encourage scientists to do reward certain “scientific” findings with large cash rewards when they agree with certain political positions.

    sg’s injection of a political issue into this thread is just one example of how politics corrupts science. There are many on the left who believe that the USA (and the rest of the developed world) use more than their “fair share” of energy and that this in turn affects our political and military power reletive to the rest of the world. Therefore, they reason, the energy consumption of the developed world should decrease so our political and military power decreases correspondingly. But to get us to decrease our energy consumption, an incentive must be found. Enter “climate scientists”, whose politically funded studies unsurprisingly publish findings that support the political goals of their donors. I’ve been practicing law a long time, and I understand the concept and use of a paid expert witness.

    One more thing. Earlier I suggested that we might consider counteracting our anthropogenic generation of CO2 by increasing our anthropogenic generation of SO2. You didn’t respond, and you may have considered it kind of a lame joke. It may have been lame, but it was not a joke and I didn’t make it up. It was not too long ago a suggestion by a respected scientist:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060804-global-warming.html

    Although it WAS my contribution to suggest that we don’t need an expensive program to inject more SO2 into the atmosphere. All we need to do is take the expensive “scrubbers” off our coal burning smokestacks.

  • kerner

    oops. fourth line above should be “…to encourage scientists to reach certain scientific findings…”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, you are arguing with wrong man: Read my comments at 16 and 22. I am fully against the alrmist response, just as much as I am against the “Eevul conspiracy” response evident in the response of one commenter here.

    As to respected scientist: even respected scientists can be idiots. That’s why peer review exists. We really don’t need acid rain.

  • John C

    SKPeterson at 26

    It is not a surprise Fred Singer is a global warming sceptic. He is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute – a libertarian organization that once lobbied on behalf of Phillip Morris to discredit the science on passive smoking. The Heartland Institute does not reveal its financial backers but one can assume it is funded by Big Energy and the Koch Bros. The Heartland Institute’s position on global warming has as much credibility as WorldNetDaily.
    It is an UnThink Tank masquerading as a Think Tank.

  • John C

    Todd at 29

    You are correct. It’s too early to make any call. There are no other statistics other than a quote from the Dept of Climate Change and Renewable Energy. And the issue is a little more complex than I stated. The Carbon Tax is the first step in a process that will lead to an Emissions Trading Scheme in 2015. However, there is an election in September this year and the conservative Opposition has solemnly and repeatedly promised to rescind the Carbon tax and introduce a scheme that does not have the support of either climate scientists or economists.
    Our polity is just as poisonous as in the US: the Conservatives are just as recalcitrant as the Republicans.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Kerner (#35) — “All we need to do is take the expensive “scrubbers” off our coal burning smokestacks.”

    Thanks for the acid rain.

  • kerner

    Kevin @40

    Hey. Filling the stratusphere with SO2 was the idea of this Nobel prize winner. Not mine. I just thought removing the scrubbers would be easier and cheaper than designing delivery systems based on ballons or artillery shells.

    But why aren’t all those scientists at UC Boulder and the Nobel prize winner worried about volcanoes causing acid rain? Is acid rain a made up non-threat also? I do not understand why volcanic SO2 is good but anthropogenic SO2 is bad. Can any of you science buffs explain it to me?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, not everything natural is “good”, whatever that means, from our perspective. Viruses are natural too. Earthquakes. Tsunami’s. etc etc…. So why would we want to exacerbate the problem?? It is like saying – viruses occur naturally, so why kill them?

    Anyway, here is a link to study on SO2 in Mexico city, which has natural (Popocatepetl) as well as industrial SO2 sources in its area. The volcanic contribution was smaller and sporadic, vs the more sustain, higher release onslaught by Industrial pollution: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/9599/2009/acp-9-9599-2009.pdf

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Also Kerner, read your source. The SO2 idea came from a German scientist at the Max Planck institute, who also said that he hopes it would never need to be done. The fellows at Boulder had a completely different idea.

    Furthermore, the SO2 idea was for seeding the stratosphere with it. This idea depends on the SO2 being confined to the upper atmosphere, not filtering down and then coming in as acid rain. It has not been proven that the SO2 would remain at that high levels either. Mt Pinatubo’s eruption, due to its intensity, did send gases up into the stratosphere, causing temporary cooling. But the long ter

  • kerner

    Klassie:

    I understand all that. I took a few moments to read up on acid rain, which I haven’t thought about in years, and I remember now that sulfur, nitrogen, and some carbon emissions into the atmosphere can cause a decreased ph in rain, which can, in turn affect plant life and fish. On the other hand, it seems that these same emissions also help cool the planet, and this is an observed natural phenomenon at least on a local and/or temporary basis.

    On the other hand, the “mini-ice ages” of the 900s and 1300-1740 have been attributed to a lack of sun spot activity, which is beginning to occur again so I hear. And then there is this:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/09/peat_ice_age_coming_only_co2_can_save_us/

    Swedish scientists who claim that our increased production of CO2 is saving us from an ice age we should be experiencing.

    While I am perfectly comfortable with regulating our emmissions into the atmosphere and water in local and mostly closed systems, I still wonder whether we have enough knowledge to really understand what effect, if any, the presence of more humans, and more human technology, has on a huge and chaotic system like the global climate.

  • sg

    “Furthermore, he called climate science, which seems indicate some human impact on the climate, virtual blasphemy. Such language etc is more reminscent of the Taliban than anything else.”

    The problem with the Taliban is not their clothing, their hyperbole, their religiosity, etc. The problem with the Taliban is that they are violent, oppressive and abusive. The thing is though, totally different people who are talking about something totally different and use maybe a little hyperbole are not, in fact, like the Taliban. Commenters here are not violent and abusive even though they may at times use some hyperbole and have a different sort of religiosity. You defame your opponents rather than engage them. Can you just can the hostility for half a second? Sheesh, man. Can you try to understand and appreciate other people’s point of view rather than constantly and incessantly insult and impugn their motives? The over-the-top, oh so much holier-than-thou that you don’t even need to explain anything because anyone who disagrees with you is too stupid or evil to understand anyway is long past tiresome. Give it a rest.

  • sg

    Swedish scientists who claim that our increased production of CO2 is saving us from an ice age we should be experiencing.

    What else would you expect from Swedes? Global warming is good for them and their little teeny tiny frozen patch of dirt.

    Kidding!!!!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sg, did I bsay Steve (theoldadam) is like the Taliban in every aspect? But to call legitimate scientific concerns “blasphemy” is Talibanesque in it’s premodern, pseudo-”theocratic” impetus.

    I will respond to BS with rebuke or derision. You will notice that I have been responding to Kerner, John C etc as normal debaters. Something you have yet to learn.

  • sg

    “Sg, did I bsay Steve (theoldadam) is like the Taliban in every aspect?”

    How petty. It is like talking to a 14 year old. You know that it is defamatory and mean spirited to compare to the Taliban someone who is merely ignorant and exasperated. How about a little patience, charity and forebearance? Or do you think rebuke and derision are the first step to helping people gain an understanding of a topic?

    You act like some people (they know who they are) don’t deserve civil response. Rather anyone who dares not be informed enough or good enough for you in his mode of expression gets a nasty retort. Why? To what end?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sg, for someone who is constantly writing bout the inferiority of some races, the words “mean spirited” sound a bit ridiculous coming from you.

    That said, the use of the word “Taliban” was a bit over the top (sorry Steve), but I was trying to show how the use of the word “blaspheme”, one of the strongest acquisations a Christian can make, leads one to immediately think of other folks who are fond of the use of that word.

    This is my last word on the matter.

  • helen

    “First, do no harm” is an excellent aim, and not only for physicians.

    But while you all argue (and call names) here, the 1% are going to make the decisions that are most profitable for them. Whatever destruction ensues, they can afford to buy their way into more comfortable surroundings.
    Too bad about the rest of the world.

    P.S. I wonder how much less CO2 production we’d have if we really decided to “Buy local” and mothballed all those container ships ploughing across the Pacific, (most filled with junk we don’t need, and the rest with things we were once able to build here).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    helen – the answer to your question might be counter-intuitive. Think about it this way: Which uses the most gas – one 50 ton semi, or 50 1 tonners?

    Economically, things could be done better, but sometimes actual economic growth that benefits a large majority of people requires a specific path. Let’s say you stop buying imported goods. You would have just taken away the only income of people in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India etc etc. What helps is to press for decent wages and safe working environments.

    The CBC had a wonderful podcast series last year – “The invisible hand”. I refer you to this episode – http://www.cbc.ca/theinvisiblehand/episodes/2012/08/01/episode-six-offshore-labour/
    - but listen to the whole series if you can.

  • sg

    Sg, for someone who is constantly writing bout the inferiority of some races, the words “mean spirited” sound a bit ridiculous coming from you.”

    This is just baldly defamatory.

    When people start out blaming teachers, society, the weather, poverty and all this other stuff for the low performance of some groups, I simply make the point that the low observed performance is not the fault of those who work and spend money to try to address and ameliorate it. Your position that higher performing groups are somehow responsible for the low social function, lower relative academic performance and higher criminality of other groups is far more mean-spirited than simply noting that the differences appear endemic or inherent and therefore only partially mutable.

  • sg

    “What helps is to press for decent wages and safe working environments.”

    No one is going to do that. The whole point of buying from overseas is that it is cheaper because they just use their people practically as slaves. There is no asymmetry to profit from if overseas workers are treated decently.

  • sg

    “You would have just taken away the only income of people in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India etc etc.”

    Remind me why they can’t sell their products domestically. There are like 3 billion in China and India alone. Oh that is right, all the profit goes to the middlemen and export guys not to the workers. So, the workers are too poor to buy their own domestic goods. Yet we are so wonderful because our market gives them jobs. Gag.

  • kerner

    sg:

    “Remind me why they can’t sell their products domestically.”

    Because people in those countries have insufficient cash to purchase the products, unless they have jobs.

    And what have you got against middlemen and export guys? Guys like that are the ones who, by finding markets for the goods produced, are invaluable to workers, because they would otherwise have no work.

    Geez. You are such a marxist sometimes.

  • sg

    I don’t have anything against middle men or export guys. However, the fact remains that they make more than the workers. The workers are exploited. It doesn’t make me a marxist to say so. Marx was indeed an economist who discussed the profitability from asymmetry. My point is just that paying foreign workers decently means that the products would no longer be price competitive. So, the only people who do well are the owners, aka capital. Workers get the shaft both there and here.

  • sg

    Guys like that are the ones who, by finding markets for the goods produced, are invaluable to workers, because they would otherwise have no work.

    Find markets?! Puleeze…

    India has over a billion people. That is a big market. Same for China.

  • kerner

    sg:

    @56:

    Sooooo, workers are exploited if somebody else makes more money than they do? They’d be better off making nothing? Once again, your idea of “decency” in wages hurts the people you purport to care about.

    @57:

    India and China are big markets that are cash poor. Cash poor markets acquire cash by selling stuff (trading goods for cash), which is what they are doing with the valuable (hence the reason they are PAID) aid of middle men and export guys.

  • sg


    Sooooo, workers are exploited if somebody else makes more money than they do? They’d be better off making nothing? Once again, your idea of “decency” in wages hurts the people you purport to care about.”

    Oh, bull. Such a straw man. My point is that they wouldn’t have to sell out of the country if they made enough to buy their own products. Remember Henry Ford? Why don’t you want them to make more and sell more domestically? Why the false dichotomy that it is better than nothing, as though nothing is the only other alternative? India and China don’t have to be cash poor. They are productive but far too much of the value of their labor is transferred to others. Obviously they are productive because plenty of other folks have got rich off their labor.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Hmm, anti-capitalism, anti-foreigner, ethnic exclusivety, nationalism, self-sufficiency – I think that sounds a lot like Juche.

  • kerner

    sg@59:

    Chinese workers are not being exploited. They are prospering as never before and their wages are increasing and are expected to continue to do so as the Chinese economy becomes less and less cash poor:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2011/03/18/china-faces-years-of-double-digit-wage-increases-currency-appreciation/

    You are correct when you argue that their higher wages cut into their competitive edge. Eventually, an equilibrium will be reached and the Chinese will have to maintain their competitive edge by maintaining high quality (as Japan and Korea have done). Someone else will enter the cheap goods production market, and it might be India, but it could be Indonesia or some other third world country seeking to acquire cash in its economy.

    But don’t complain that Chinese workers aren’t being paid “decently”, or that others are getting rich off their labor. Chinese workers are getting richer themselves doing just what they are doing now.

    And don’t worry about American workers either. American workers can easily acquire job skills that enable them to make more money than unskilled Chinese workers, and meanwhile, they can buy Chinese products for low prices and save their money for other purposes.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, interesting comment on Indonesia: I’ve been saying that for a while – Indonesia is one of the major ones outside the BRICS countries to watch. Except other South-east Asian countries, other countries to watch in terms of explosive economic growth in the medium+ term are (these arre some, not all) places like Turkey, Chile, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the East-African countries (Mozambique to Kenya). The latter lot has further to go, but there are constant good news murmurs. A gradual crackdown on corruption is occurring, and interestingly, and growth growth in many economic sectors economy: Kenya – http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2012/12/05/energizing-kenya-s-economy-and-creating-quality-jobs
    Tanzania – http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/11/01/tanzania-economic-update-from-growth-to-shared-prosperity


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