There has been a lot of debate whether the Earth is warming, or whether it is warming due to human activity or natural cycles. Lately, it seems like more people accept it as a reality, one caused by human activity though there are still many people that doubt it.
I thought a poll would be interesting. What do dopers believe in this area? Has ignorance been fought here?
You don’t have an option for both. It’s a natural cycle and humans ain’t helping it any. I think deforestation the past 2-3000 years has had a cumulative impact that doesn’t get the screen time it deserves.
There wasn’t an option in the poll for what I believe.
I personally believe that while the existence of climate change cannot be denied, how much of it is directly caused by people is impossible to confirm, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of our planet.
I should add that in most places, both online and IRL, I keep my mouth shut about this opinion, because most people I know believe it’s entirely caused by people and that we should intervene. I also believe that if there’s anything that happens on Earth that we’d better not mess around with, it’s the weather/climate.
Climate change is happening. It’s natural and human caused. I’ve no doubt that at least some of it, or maybe most is anthropogenic Climate Change. We are taking baby steps to fix this based on how much shareholders and board members can make on the next development. None of them can look past the next shareholders meeting.
While the PTB argue about stock prices, I think we should really work on zero population growth. There are IMHO way to many people on the planet already. Let’s ZPOP, and work on tech to sustain us all in food and energy.
Considering what has been accomplished in the last century at exponential rates, we could solve this in 50 years. But the root of the problem is too many people.
Absolutely real. I would have thought so even if nobody even proposed the idea, simply from observational experience. I have lived in the same city for many years and have experienced an obvious increase in longer, hotter summers compared to what it was like in the '90s. Because I absolutely hate summer (my ideal outdoor temperature is late 40s through the 50s), temperature changes are something I’m acutely aware of. My city was definitely much more pleasant in the '90s in that regard.
Cause doesn’t really matter at this point but I would say it’s certainly, if not directly caused by human activity, then definitely exacerbated by it. You can’t pump pollution into the environment for 150 years without expecting it to cause some kind of damage.
I firmly believe it’s too late to do anything to change it, however. I don’t have the cite unfortunately, but I read in an article somewhere that even if we were to cut to zero emissions right now, we would still be feeling the effects of the existing damage for another hundred or two hundred years at least before the planet could heal itself more or less back to its condition pre-Industrial Revolution. And the way people have been dawdling about and denying that anything is wrong, we’re gonna be in seriously deep trouble by mid-century. So drink up and enjoy the joint while it lasts!*
*Yeah, I’ve never been accused of being an optimist!
The so-called “debate” is almost entirely political. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the climate is warming, and that by far the major factor is changes caused by humans. There is some debate over exactly how bad it will get, and the exact detail and sequence of changes, but there is no significant debate among scientists about the overall trends and causes.
I consider population growth to be a separate but related problem. Even if we weren’t dealing with climate change, we are procreating like rabbits, especially in less developed countries. Regardless of the climate issue, we’d still be dealing with the fact that we are collectively churning through natural resources like they are limitless. Climate change will make this worse through things like droughts and natural disasters that will wipe out crops, water resources drying up or becoming too polluted to drink, etc. The next world war won’t be about religion or ideology or politics. It will be about fresh water and who still has some left.
As an aside, there’s a line in Tarantula (1955), in which a scientist working on an artificial nutrient to increase the growth of plants and animals explains the reason for his work: “The disease of hunger, like most diseases, well, it spreads. There are 2 billion people in the world today. In 1975 there’ll be 3 billion. In the year 2000, there’ll be 3,625,000,000. The world may not be able to produce enough food to feed all these people.” I find a dark humor in that with the wisdom of hindsight.*
*Actual figures for those who can’t be bothered googling it: We hit 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 6 billion in 1999 and 7 billion in 2011. It’s estimated we’ll reach 8 billion around 2024.
But the decisions how and where to lower living standards to address the issue via emissions cuts is political, the essence of politics, deciding who sacrifices. Except for a world problem with no world government.
The stylized domestic US debate ‘you haven’t proved it’s a problem’ v ‘overwhelming consensus’ acts like it’s mainly science debate when it’s not. Or anyway is stuck at the science 101 starting point. The ‘overwhelming consensus’ side, though right AFAIK as far as that narrow issue, tends to then take for granted that once everyone is on board, people are going to go along with a lot of stuff they just won’t. Such as, that rich countries in temperate zones should bear most of the cost because they emitted most in the past, even though there’s also little doubt that the impacts are less likely to be devastating in temperate zones*. Or China, India, etc will go along with the idea the cost shouldn’t be highly skewed toward the richer countries.
There’s a lot of talk about working that out once ‘the US shows leadership’ but IMO it simply is not going to happen. Emissions will be slashed (not just leveled out) when low/zero carbon tech is cheap enough to make that attractive without considering climate externalities. And to the extent that doesn’t happen and it’s not gteed it ever will, the problem will be addressed by direct climate engineering, adaptation, or not addressed.
So I voted climate engineering. Which is not to say ‘nothing’ should be done otherwise, and emissions will be reduced v an absolute nothing baseline like the report* because it already is cheaper in some cases. But calls for rapid drastic reductions in GHG are unrealistic IMO, and that’s not because people say it’s debatable whether there’s human caused climate change.
*the recent US govt report the Trump admin tried to bury and media played up said climate change could cost the US economy $500bil inflation adjusted/yr by 2100, in a relatively bad case scenario. But with 2% real growth the US GDP economy would be $90+ tril inflation adjusted by then. This has always been quite mainstream though not emphasized a lot: the expected effect on the US is not that drastic. Other places it’s more so, and there is risk of a runaway non-linear effects that could be truly drastic everywhere on earth. But people accept significantly lower living standard now to take out tail risks decades in the future? That’s never happened before and I don’t think it will now, even if everyone got on onboard at step 0 with the ‘consensus’.
Sure, but that’s irrelevant, since at the moment, ACTUAL FACTS are being treated as if they were mere political opinions. That’s a potentially solvable problem, and it needs to be solved before we can even start on the other stuff. (Also, the “lower living standards” stuff is political fear mongering, not any sort of fact. We could make the transition without much pain – it would just cost currently powerful people some of their money and power, which is why they spend so much effort trying to pretend facts aren’t.)
There are many variables, and while I suspect the human variable is the smallest variable (vs. geological, tectonic, volcanic, solar, interstellar, earth’s core) we should do our best to minimize the human impact and work towards eliminating human actions as a variable. But let’s not lose our minds over it, because measured and scientific approaches are best, when strong, capable corporations are on board and have natural incentives.
Rather not see Western industry and economies slowly recede as less-conscious countries replace the West and ramp up global warming at a pace greater than the West, so we need to be strong to have a say in the matter and not enter into agreements that weaken or eliminate the most conscious countries by removing all their global leverage.
Note: Really don’t care, but if we have to do this climate change thing going forward because a social construct has been created around it, then see above.
It’s not a matter of belief. There is significant evidence that the climate is warming, and human activity is the primary cause. Evidence is not something you choose to believe (or choose to ignore). It’s just there.