Sunday, July 16, 2006

Global Warming Doc. Pt 2

>If just the Greenland icesheet melts into the ocean, it could raise global sea levels by 23 feet over the next few hundred years. Coastal cities, including New York and London,would be completely flooded. Low lying countries such as Bangledesh-with much of its land mass at sea level-would be nearly wiped out.<

Again, more conjecture. Sure, it could happen and if so people will have a few hundred years to move to higher ground. But if warming doesn't happen and cooling does, New York and London will be under a mile of ice and so will the higher ground.

>Every year, nearly a thousand square miles of farmland in China turns to desert. Since the 1950s, that rate has doubled.<

Well, this article at the Pittsburg-Tribune Review by Dennis Avery says:

"China's weather records show four major floods per century during the Medieval Warming, and eight per century during the Little Ice Age. China also had three times as many droughts during the Little Ice Age as during the warmings."

Obviously, China's climate is much better off under a warming shift.

>In a study of polar bear population in the Arctic town of Churchill, Manitoba, along Canada's Hudson Bay,the number of bears has declined from about 1200 back in the 1980s to less than 950 today. This 22% delcine is directly related to early break-up of sea ice in the region.<

Yes the bears are in decline in Hudson Bay. Evidentally though, not anywhere else. According to Steven Milloy at Junk via Fox

"A Canadian Press Newswire story earlier this year reported that, in three Arctic villages, polar bears "are so abundant there's a public safety issue." Local polar bears reportedly increased from about 2,100 in 1997 to as many as 2,600 in 2004. Inuits wanted to kill more bears, which are "fearsome predators."

An aerial survey of Alaskan polar bears published in Arctic (December 2003) reported a greater polar bear density than previous survey estimates dating to 1987.

If polar bears are getting skinnier as the 1999 study suggested, it may be due to greater numbers subsisting on the same level of available food. After all, harvesting Alaskan polar bears has been limited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and international agreements since 1972." And this article from the Toronto Star by Dr. Mitchell Taylor via Arctic Net:

"Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present."

The documentary then focuses on greenhouse gases. It points out how much carbon dioxide humans are puting into the air and how fast. One of the claims is;

>More than 5 million acres of Amazon rainforest are lost every year to loggers and farmers.<

All the more reason to bring modern technology and modern agriculture techniques (i.e. capitalism) to that region ASAP so they won't have to burn so much wood for fuel and clear so much land for inefficient agriculture.

>The United States pumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country in the world. And the U.S. makes up only five percent of the world's population, yet we are resposible for a staggering 25% of the carbon dioxide that's released into the atmosphere.<

As far as I know those numbers are plausible. But did you know that the conterminous USA (the lower 48) is a net carbon sink? From what I've read, a net carbon sink is an area on the planet that draws more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it emits into the atmosphere. In other words, the USA pulls out all the CO2 it emits and some of someone else's as well. This paper from Princeton University says they estimate the US carbon sink to end around 2100 probably as reforestation slows or stops.

As for the amount of CO2 and the speed with which we emit it, I for one am not worried. It seems that there has only been two times in Earth's history that carbon dioxide levels and temperatures have been as low as they are today: the Carboniferous and Ordovician periods. The Ordovician was an ice age. According to this website, today's climate, when compared to the rest of Earth's history, is carbon dioxide deficient!

The end of the documentary had some commen sense suggestions on what an ordinary citizen could do to reduce CO2 emissions. Personally I don't see anything wrong with them except that I would do them for reasons of saving money and not to reduce emissions.

A summary.

The Documentary Global Warming: What You Need to Know was well done from a professional delivery viewpoint. But the content left a lot to be desired. It was all one sided presenting only the pro-warming position as if there were no other view. No direct connection was established showing CO2 as causing temperature rise. There are studies that show the relationship of CO2 to temp. rise is backwards. In other words, the climate warmed then CO2 went up. Why did Mr. Brokaw think his viewers didn't need to know this?

End of review but a follow up is in the works.

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