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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » The Future of Humanity & Intelligent life in the universe
The Future of Humanity & Intelligent life in the universe
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Thursday, 27.10.2016, 21:46 | Message # 421
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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Friday, 11.11.2016, 08:53 | Message # 422
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PlutonianEmpireDate: Monday, 14.11.2016, 10:24 | Message # 423
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And:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news....81.html

Quote
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn

New research suggests the Earth's climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an 'apocalyptic side of bad' temperature rise of more than 7C within a lifetime.

It is a vision of a future so apocalyptic that it is hard to even imagine.

...

But, if leading scientists writing in one of the most respected academic journals are right, planet Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime.

According to the current best estimate, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if humans carry on with a “business as usual” approach using large amounts of fossil fuels, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

However new research by an international team of experts who looked into how the Earth’s climate has reacted over nearly 800,000 years warns this could be a major under-estimate.

...

In a paper in the journal Science Advances, they said the actual range could be between 4.78C to 7.36C by 2100, based on one set of calculations.

Some have dismissed the idea that the world would continue to burn fossil fuels despite obvious global warming, but emissions are still increasing despite a 1C rise in average thermometer readings since the 1880s.


The paper in question: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/11/e1501923





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Edited by PlutonianEmpire - Monday, 14.11.2016, 10:33
 
WatsisnameDate: Monday, 14.11.2016, 10:50 | Message # 424
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Eh... I really don't like impending-doom or hopelessness kind of language in any scientific report on the warming. Rather than promoting action to try to solve the problem, it is more likely that people will respond by dismissing it, ignoring it, or otherwise give up because what they do doesn't matter. But it does matter, because the bulk of scientific research indicates that how much warming we will see depends a lot on our present choices. There are a lot of different potential futures and we can choose between them.

I also see a lot of similarities in the reporting of this paper with the reporting of the paper on dark energy and cosmic expansion by supernova data. You have to look at how that particular study fits in with what we know from the other studies that have been done and different types of data and methods that are used.

Added: But as for the video, I think that's pretty much spot on. We're at the point now where the only realistic way for us to stay below 2°C of warming requires removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. In another few years it would even require negative emissions.

There are a lot of groups trying out techniques for carbon sequestration, and some are having success on small scales. But scaling it up and doing it quickly enough to have an important effect is dubious at this time. And we still don't fully understand the potential unintended consequences of some geoengineering methods. So it is alarming that we must assume them in order to follow the low RCP scenarios.





 
midtskogenDate: Monday, 14.11.2016, 11:21 | Message # 425
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Quote Watsisname ()
Rather than promoting action to try to solve the problem, it is more likely that people will respond by dismissing it, ignoring it, or otherwise give up because what they do doesn't matter.

Those are objectives outside the scope of science. Scientific papers aren't good or bad depending on whether they trigger certain responses.





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AerospacefagDate: Monday, 14.11.2016, 16:22 | Message # 426
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Quote midtskogen ()
Scientific papers aren't good or bad depending on whether they trigger certain responses.

We do not have a mechanism which ensures that scientific paradigms are not influenced by society, economy or authority. Period.
 
PlutonianEmpireDate: Monday, 14.11.2016, 19:21 | Message # 427
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Quote Watsisname ()
Eh... I really don't like impending-doom or hopelessness kind of language in any scientific report on the warming. Rather than promoting action to try to solve the problem, it is more likely that people will respond by dismissing it, ignoring it, or otherwise give up because what they do doesn't matter. But it does matter, because the bulk of scientific research indicates that how much warming we will see depends a lot on our present choices. There are a lot of different potential futures and we can choose between them.

Yes, that was my only beef with the article. I intentionally left out the political paragraphs fromy quote box, as it seemed like fear mongering. The independent probably is not the best source I admit, but there are likely better articles about the paper that I haven't seen yet from better sources.

Quote Watsisname ()
There are a lot of groups trying out techniques for carbon sequestration, and some are having success on small scales. But scaling it up and doing it quickly enough to have an important effect is dubious at this time. And we still don't fully understand the potential unintended consequences of some geoengineering methods. So it is alarming that we must assume them in order to follow the low RCP scenarios.

Would it be possible to convert the CO2 to O2 instead? Putting it back in the ground makes me think it is just making it a problem again for distant future generations (there's an analogy for it that I know, but I can't seem to remember it), unless I'm missing something?





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Edited by PlutonianEmpire - Monday, 14.11.2016, 19:30
 
WatsisnameDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 01:58 | Message # 428
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Quote midtskogen ()
Those are objectives outside the scope of science. Scientific papers aren't good or bad depending on whether they trigger certain responses.


Quote Aerospacefag ()

We do not have a mechanism which ensures that scientific paradigms are not influenced by society, economy or authority. Period.


It is not the job of the scientist to tell people what course of policy to follow. It is their job to lay out their methods and results, in order to best inform those who do make policy decisions as to what options are available and what the effects of those choices would be.

In climate science, one of the jobs tasked to the IPCC, by the multinational agencies who called for founding the IPCC, is to analyze methods for mitigating and adapting to climate change for the education of policy makers. This is the entirety of what working group III does.

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/

A good analogy is in studying asteroid impact probability and impact avoidance methods. Suppose astronomers find an asteroid with a very high probability of impacting Earth. They could simply announce "hey, we found this asteroid and it has a very high probability of hitting Earth." Now imagine how people would respond. Common questions will probably include:

"How did you find this? [Ask questions about their methods]
"How certain are you?" [Ask questions about their error analysis]
"Ok, what can we do about it?"

That's where scientists work to analyze options and inform us to their strengths and weaknesses. For instance they could say "given sufficient lead time, a gravity tug has a lot of practical benefits over methods which interface directly with the asteroid".

But how helpful would it be to simply say "it's game over."? That doesn't help anyone to understand their options. It is the opposite of advising to their options. All it does is promote pessimism, and that serves nobody.





 
WatsisnameDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 03:04 | Message # 429
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Quote PlutonianEmpire ()
Would it be possible to convert the CO2 to O2 instead? Putting it back in the ground makes me think it is just making it a problem again for distant future generations (there's an analogy for it that I know, but I can't seem to remember it), unless I'm missing something?


This is what plants do, but as we know from photosynthesis, it requires energy. To do it on a large enough scale to make a meaningful difference is probably not very plausible.

Nature does help us a bit in this regard, since the warming world does help promote plant growth, especially in previously tundra climate zones, and this acts to increase the carbon sink. Unfortunately, it isn't enough. There are other and more powerful mechanisms which act against us, like the increased methane emission, plant die off and land use change elsewhere, and decreased CO2 solubility in the oceans.

Sequestering the CO2 in the ground as rock is actually a pretty effective method, though it's costly as well. Basically they pump the CO2 gas into a substrate which mineralizes and literally becomes rock. That can be stable for a very long time -- geologic scales. How to scale it up to handle billions of tons of CO2 per year is a difficult problem though.

One idea I heard was to powderize olivine and spread it in the oceans. This would be a pretty effective rapid CO2 sequestration method. And there are large sources of olivine -- I happen to live near a literal mountain made of it. However, it has potential unintended consequences, as it changes the ocean chemistry.





 
midtskogenDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 04:24 | Message # 430
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Quote Watsisname ()
But how helpful would it be to simply say "it's game over."?

If that is the only conclusion that agrees with their observations, what should they do? Publish, not publish? Twist their observations to make the conclusion more acceptable?





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WatsisnameDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 04:42 | Message # 431
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That's a very different question with interesting ethical implications. My opinion is that such a discovery should not be withheld, though the manner in how it is announced would certainly require extreme consideration. No matter how hopeless, humanity can still try to do something. And, as the saying goes, there is no better source for innovation than sheer necessity. And I think trying to do something is better than doing nothing and just letting it happen with society remaining ignorant.

In climate science, the bulk of research concludes that what will happen depends a lot on our choices. It is not hopeless. smile Again, there are whole volumes of literature dedicated to the subject.





 
PlutonianEmpireDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 04:52 | Message # 432
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There's also the other source of motivation; when backed into a corner, people can do desperate things sometimes, for better or worse. I imagine this applies to groups of people too, and perhaps humanity at large. A dying Earth just might be what it takes, but I do hope we act sooner than later.




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midtskogenDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 12:12 | Message # 433
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Quote Watsisname ()
In climate science, the bulk of research concludes that what will happen depends a lot on our choices.

IPCC lists certain scenarios, but says little about how those scenarios should be realised. If the business as usual scenario is a big problem, I see now other option for a scientifically based advice than setting a massive shift in motion towards nuclear power and research of nuclear power (at the cost of climate science if needed). But this is not happening. Go figure.

If the climate scientists are frightened and confident, they should scream "fire us, hire nuclear scientists instead!".





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WatsisnameDate: Tuesday, 15.11.2016, 19:34 | Message # 434
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Quote midtskogen ()
IPCC lists certain scenarios, but says little about how those scenarios should be realised.


Right; this was not one of the tasks the IPCC was given. Their job is to examine the scientific basis of what's happening, advise to what will happen based on what we do, what the impacts would be, what can we do to affect change or adapt to it.

Then there are other organizations who specialize in determining how different scenarios can be realized from a socioeconomic standpoint -- going one step closer to saying "this is what policy makers should do to have the best chance of realizing a particular outcome". You may recall some reports from the IEA which I provided in previous discussions. It seems to be true that nuclear energy can help us bridge the gap to clean and renewable energy and mitigate climate change, but it alone cannot solve the problem. Research suggests that there really needs to be a combination of strategies, and the particular strategy may vary by country and location. For instance, energy from ocean waves isn't very helpful on a global scheme (the energy available there is a fraction of the wind energy, which itself is a fraction of the solar energy), but in specific areas it can be very helpful indeed.

And we're also starting to see that carbon sequestration will probably be necessary if we want to follow low concentration pathways -- this is the story being told in several recent articles.





 
WatsisnameDate: Wednesday, 16.11.2016, 21:15 | Message # 435
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One more thing: if people who are interested in forming opinions about how climate science interfaces with policy making could do so after learning how it is actually done, that would be great. happy Not that I mind helping people educate themselves about it, it's just weird that it's necessary.




 
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