Monday, April 28, 2008

Oo, look, a wolf! And another one. And this time it's HUGE!

I like Treehugger. They have a nice wadge of fun stuff and info and articles and even spirited debate.

However, I don't think they are doing themselves, or any with a concern about what's going on climatically (just had hail and sunshine alternating 3 times in the last hour) and how to address it, many favours with headlines like this:

Bye bye Greenland

Whatever else might happen, I doubt that Greenland is going bye bye. The name itself suggests an earlier incarnation. I believe vineyards were harvested by the Vikings.

All this will do is pit the Two Opposing Corners of the Apocalypse (acronym alert: TOCOTA) against each other... again.

It doesn't really matter much what the end point is, or is not, really, but if there is a direction we're headed, and certain stuff might be wise now, I simply advocate, again, that we look at sensible mitigations.

There is a case for figuring it all out as well long term to ensure resources get directed when and where they will do most good, but this end of the world stuff now kinda just feeds fuel to the absolutists (on both sides - you are either for us or agin' us) to talk us to death for longer.

Hence my not pitching in over there. I think that one is a fight that will last forever, with no middle ground allowed.

The natural CO2/temperature balance

Probably the most important piece of climate research for years.

For some 25 years scientists have argued that there must be an entirely natural mechanism that regulates the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the planet's temperature. It is this assumed natural mechanism that is the basic evidence that skeptics use as a primary argument against mankind having anything to do with climate change.

Well, according to new research published in the journal Nature Geoscience and reported by Reuters, there is evidence that there IS indeed a natural mechanism in operation.

So, there IS a natural CO2/temperature cycle. Should all the climate change 'deniers' start celebrating?

Well, errrmmm, no. Why? Because the evidence from Antarctic ice indicates that the natural cycle prior to the industrial revolution shows that "The average change in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 600,000 years has been just 22 parts per million by volume, Zeebe said, which means that 22 molecules of carbon dioxide were added to, or removed from, every million molecules of air." I.e. All of the pre-industrial warming (vineyards in Greenland and Northern England) and cooling periods (mini ice age etc.) have occurred naturally over long periods of time with a variation in CO2 levels of only 22 ppm!

But, since the industrial revolution, "the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 100 parts per million". "That means human activities are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere about 14,000 times as fast as natural processes do"

And the rate of increase in CO2 levels appears to be speeding up.

The natural mechanism will eventually remove the excess CO2 from the atmosphere, but we are talking about something that would take several hundred thousand years. As we appear to be accelerating the natural mechanism by some 14,000 times the norm, I rather suspect that mankind does not have that sort of time frame in which to address the problem!

It will be interesting to see how widely this gets reported. My guess is that as it is pretty bad news, it will generally get ignored. Let's see.

Addendum 29/4/08:
As I suspected, nothing really mainstream at all - the only coverage I can spot so far is from News.Com.AU, TreeHugger (the first to state what this research actually means - global warming IS man-made) and RedOrbit. I'll keep checking though.

Because graded greens means fewer flowers

Grading Green: The Watchdogs CMOs Must Appease

You know, whilst I broadly agree I rather think there might now be a few more than that. Certainly as I look at my inbox daily from the funded/subsidised/donated whole (and I am sure I have missed a ton) sorry lot of them. Which may be part of the problem.

By already having such diversity, especially without any real knowledge (without a ton of digging) of provenance, objectivity and accountability of these entities all competing for consumers' and/or worried/cynical brand owners' money to pay for empires and comms budgets, what value do I think most of them actually present to the planet.... few. These may be exceptions. Sadly, in comparison that is a tad more than I would so far accord most efforts so far from my own government or major media, at least in terms of clearing things up and offering comprehensible methods of engagement for the average Joe.

The business of telling people about green seems now to have easily outpaced, at least in terms of trying to grab attention and hence sources of revenue, any of those trying to actually do much about it.

Hard to see how we can get back to simpler, trusted ways to make decisions based on meaningful enviROIs now. Too much, and too many, invested in competing for our eyeballs... and wallets.

Who grades the graders?