I just posted a new subject under the "Writers Groups" page and I would ask any who are interested to please take a peek. The idea is to write short stories about global warming, near future setting, like the next 50 years or so. The goal at its grandest is to publish the best of the stories as a book, but if nothing else at least we could get some stories about this issue into the marketplace. Better yet skip the next 50 years bit, there shouldn't be any restrictions here. Get inspired and just write something.
Posts: 84 | Registered: Feb 2006
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I can't take Global Warming seriously from a science point of view. Nearly thirty years of observing the same stretch of Florida shoreline shows no significant change in water levels. So who am I going to believe: Al "I Invented the Internet" Gore or my own eyes?
Posts: 8728 | Registered: Aug 2005
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That's your personal point of view, not your "science" point of view. Besides, Florida is actually supported on a system of subterranean buoys. I'm surprised you didn't know that
Come on, you can write a story about the consequences of everyone thinking global warming was a big problem when it wasn't taking place at all. Like my idea posted in Hey, what happened to Science Discussion?, in which I suggest deploying a cheap (and very difficult to remove) solar shade in orbit. Actually, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Michael Flynn already wrote a pretty good book along those lines, though they didn't deploy a solar shade. Crighton apparently wrote something too, but I haven't read it
There's apparently a lot of arctic coast that has become more verdant for longer stretches of the summer, in the process absorbing more heat. I don't know... I mean, I know it has more effect on the ice cap, bur more than all the digging up of asphalt and laying it in big strips all over the place?
The thing about global warming is that people still live in places like Tucson. I don't know why they do, but they do. I mean, I used to wonder about the socioeconomic impact of all populations trying to shift north, but really people will just stay where they are and either use more energy or maybe become nocturnal. Hmm. Nocturnal societies dependent on pharmaceuticals to compensate for a lack of overabundant sunlight could be interesting. Think of your average gamer being the pillar of society.
I think this could be interesting, especially in the next 50 years because it will be a while before certain reluctant elements in our society come to believe it's happening. After all, the warming is slow and most of the effects at the moment are limited to arctic and antarctic regions of the globe. I tend to find the social element of these things more fascinating than the scientific element, though, so that's just me.
I'm not sure about your anthology, but I might be interested in writing on this topic. I've been meaning to watch "An Inconvenient Truth" for a while now. It seems every winter around here is a bit warmer than the one before. I've been told by people who have lived around here for a while that the lake used to freeze enough to ski/skate on but it hasn't for years. These are the kind of subtle things I've seen in my personal experience (no science involved ).
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Being naturally a little contrarian, I like Survivor's idea: imagine what happens if a cherished "truth" were actually false. Crichton wrote a book called "State of Fear" (link) that specifically follows that idea, though, and there's no way I'd be able to get anything similar published, so I'll leave him to own the field.
I'll also indulge my contrarian nature here, but I promise to tie that into writing:
quote:I've been meaning to watch "An Inconvenient Truth" for a while now. It seems every winter around here is a bit warmer than the one before. I've been told by people who have lived around here for a while that the lake used to freeze enough to ski/skate on but it hasn't for years. These are the kind of subtle things I've seen in my personal experience (no science involved ).
The problem with those anecdotal experiences is that they _don't_ add up to science. The average global temperature has increased about half a degree Centigrade in a century, which isn't enough to change how your lake freezes; in fact, it implies that your lake is freezing later because other people's lakes are freezing earlier. There's a very complicated question of how global trends are reflected in local conditions.
For that reason, I'm a doubter of "global warming" -- I agree that the globe is getting warmer, mind you, but I doubt (not reject) Gore's claims that (a) that's catastrophic (the global temperature was higher in the middle ages), (b) that man-made pollutants are the greatest cause of the warming, and (c) this is the highest priority that we face. (For more information, see the apparently non-wacko information provided by people like Prof. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, and others: here, here, here, here, here, and ]here.)
So what does this have to do with writing?
Fantasy has always depended on things being different from how we think they really are. One way to find good ideas is to find ideas and take them to their logical conclusion; another is to pick something that's "accepted" and find the things that go against it. Some of my favorite fiction has gone against the grain of accepted truths without ever becoming fairies-and-elves fantasy.
I did specifically say that my anecdote wasn't science. I only put it in there as a counter to Robert's similar anecdotal experience, which isn't science either. I guess the point got missed.
I do believe in global warming, though. I'm not sure where you got your information about the half degree in one hundred years. I'm not sure that's correct, but I don't have time to do real research right now. I thought it was at least a full degree. Moreover, as you say there is more to global weather than simple averages. We don't all get warmer or cooler together. But it is clear that the earth's climate is changing -- on average getting warmer. Symptoms include the increased number of hurricanes, the loss of coastline in certain areas of the globe, and the slow loss of glaciers. The real question isn't whether the earth is getting warmer, but whether or not this is caused by human factors or natural forces.
[This message has been edited by Christine (edited January 16, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by Christine (edited January 16, 2007).]
I can't take it seriously from either a science or anecdotal point of view. I think some of these so-called "scientists" have a political agenda beyond any credentials they may have as environmentalists, as do the "mainstream media" who report it. (Did'ya ever notice that the "solution" to every "problem" they come up with is to put complete and utter control of everything in the world in the hands of a giant government or extra-government bureaucracy? And, really, how well has that worked for past problems?)
That a few years ago it's colder, and that now it seems to be getting warmer---that I can accept. But the catastrophic climate change being pushed---no, on the evidence I've seen, I can't buy into it.
(Anybody remember about twenty years ago, when they all were talking up a New Ice Age? What happened to that?)
Politics has certainly played a huge part in the global-warming theory, which I believe has detrimented the actual science used on the subject, but it doesn't discredit that it's actually taking place. Yet.
Climatology is an important science to study, but it's far from perfect. We can accurately predict weather up to ten days in the future, but beyond that, it starts getting fuzzy. Most of the information on global warming is based on past trends, and when you combine all the information on prior temperatures, they're actually pretty neutral on if the earth is warming or not. When climatology has improved to the point when they can reasonably predict what the weather will be like at least ten years from now, then the global warming theory will have some credence scientifically. Until that point, I'll remain skeptical, on arguments both for and against it.
My contribution to this topic is going to be to point beyond myself, to the episode of the Simpsons where the kids visit Springfield Glacier, and the entire glacier has melted into a lake. However, because the official government position is that global warming doesn't exist, the park ranger insists on "showing" the students the non-existent glacier. When Lisa falls into the lake, the ranger insists that she is in fact walking on the glacier. Hilarious stuff.
I've seen convincing studies that the average temperature is rising. I have not seen any disciplined scientific studies that support the hypothesis that the observed temperature change is likely to be a long-term phenomena or that it is substantially caused by human activity.
I like the idea of a story about the consequences of everyone believing "in" global warming (important rhetorical note: believing "in" a scientific theory, like global warming or evolution, is a perversion of science. Scientific theories are by definition matters of reasonable inference from repeated observation; not matters of belief or faith. "Global warming has been observed" is a scientific statement; "I believe in global warming" is a superstitious one.) I think a story like that could be both entertaining and poignant.
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[This message has been edited by J (edited January 16, 2007).]
Whether Global Warming is real or not scientifically, it is something that is very much on people's thoughts right now. That makes it a lightning rod for attention. I think that alone makes a project like the one suggested by thayerds possible. Of course, the idea is the easy part. The real work would be in getting enough known authors involved in it to garner the support of a publisher, or getting someone like Al Gore to endorse it and maybe write the introduction, or maybe both. If it did get published I think it might sell pretty well.
As a final thought, I think a book like this would work best with a combination of fictional stories, and some factual ones as well.
It just happens that Washington is having a freakishly warm winter this year, so it's going to be talked about more than all those years that the east coast gets shut down by ice storms.
I do "believe" in global warming, and that industrialization is not helping matters. But like Captain Kirk says, humans would rather die than be denied their inalienable rights- such as driving SUVs, buying ever larger TVs, and hooking up a computer for every literate member of the family. Now excuse me while I go and run my electric dryer.
Actually, mean global temperatures haven't been rising for the past decade or so. That doesn't mean that I don't want to deploy a solar shade. It just means that I'm not likely to persuade anyone that it's a really good idea. What I'd really like to do would be to put a giant solar collector out there at the L1 and then charge for sunlight. I'd heat my own little patch of the globe with microwaves, so as to avoid all that pesky visible spectrum and up radiation.
Since I don't currently have something like that, I'm surviving this winter by watching Kanon and persuading myself that all the snow really helps to get in the mood.
I would love to deny global warming exists, that humans are providing the problem and not the solution, and play shoot the messenger--but alas I see no reason to deny it. Humans are ruining the earth, just like the Good Book said they would.
I am amazed at the rabidity of the denial. If I were inclined not to believe, I would still respect the beliefs of those who did. I wouldn't riducule them as if they were the scum of the Earth and paint them with all sorts of vile motives. After all, I can't read minds or hearts. And I still have yet to hear a credible movtive for such a conspiricy. Sure, there are the boiler plate quotes that obviously has arisen from groupthink, but nothing that rings true.
I think its not a global conspiracy to destroy the ecology of the planet. It is how ever fiscal apathy. Since the industrial age began, people where more concerned with the bottom line then if their children would have a clean water hole to play in. I think if you look to it like a conspiracy and people purposefully going out to destroy the ecosystem like some poorly conceived villain on a captain planet cartoon, you will be hard pressed to find the bad guy. If you look to human greed and laziness you will see the issue. If its cheaper it keep burning oil and filling the sky with funk lets do it!! Thats the issue, but I ma not sure if I can write a short story with out sounding like a tree hugging hippy liberal. I have nothing against them personally, but I like showers and hair cuts.
Posts: 119 | Registered: Jan 2007
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Well, well; just got back from work and look at what a hornet's nest I stirred up! Not my intention at all. I guess my biggest surprize is that so many are feeling so strongly about this. Its all good. No anthology would be complete without a story where global warming was predicted but never took place. That would be only natural. Personaly, and please don't take this personaly, I don't believe in global warming because it is simply a fact. Like evolution, everyone seems to want to argue about it, but as with all facts, argument does not change the fact. It is not a question of belief. Anyway, my point in proposing the project was to get a lot of points of view, whether or not they argree with me or anyone else. It is an inspiration for fiction, not a soap box for political oratory. So let's do a little art, and maybe something meaningful will come of it. That's all I wanted to say.
Posts: 84 | Registered: Feb 2006
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might as well put a lid on all those lakes and oceans and rivers. Water vapor accounts for more than 60 times the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. While Carbon Dioxide is a more efficient "greenhouse gas", it exists in such a small quantity compared to water vapor that the impact of water vapor on global temperatures is markedly greater.
This is why meteorologists concern themselves with the amount of water vaport/relative humidity. The greenhouse effect from water vapor is much greater than that of carbon dioxide.
Is man more responsible for the impacts to global temperatures than, say, increased thermal output from the sun, water vapor, volcanic activity, biological activity, and agricultural activity (hey, human or no, we gotta eat)? I don't think so.
Even if you buy into the theories of the feedback system caused by increased carbon emissions, the data still seems to indicate that increased output from the sun has greater effect on the low-level cloud cover and heat retention.
Simply put, it is difficult to imagine that human activity is responsible for more than the slightest fraction of any global temperature change. Frankly, I've always found it to be the height of arrogance to presume that we can have that much of an impact on a world this large, especially considering what one single volcanic eruption can do to the climate.
All that aside, I think such an anthology could prove very popular (especially if there were dissenting views presented).
FOr now, I'm going to go warm up my Jeep, and add my own little .00000001% of the emissions. Hey--if people are going to bicker about my vehicle (rather, ALL SUVs) adding 1 or 2 pennies to the cost of their gas, I might as well make it worth while....
Okay, there are reasons that people who don't believe in Global Warming theory (as opposed to global warming) fight the political movement to cut the U.S. economy off at the knees. Even Card, who hates everything about capitalism, isn't fond of the idea of legislating a marked decrease in the standard of living for no reason.
I don't really care, I just think that people should realize that global warming has stopped, and therefore we shouldn't be too worried about Global Warming. Also, almost everything about Global Warming is just plain dumb. Even the movies. That still doesn't keep me from wanting to establish a monopoly on sunlight
Okay, that's just because I think that it would be cool if the Apocalypic events leading up to the end of the world could be the direct result of my personal actions. In any case, there is nothing wrong with writing stories about Global Warming, whether or not you believe in it.
quote:I just think that people should realize that global warming has stopped
Darn! Out of the loop! Nobody sent me the memo.
Sorry, even having read much of this thread, I can't get Robert's first response out of my head.
"I haven't seen it so it isn't happening".
The science on whether or not greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are or are not causing global warming is certainly open to debate and question. But I don't think the evidence that the planet's climate is changing at a rate unprecedented in human history (which is a tiny fraction of geological time, of course) can really be questioned.
How bad it will get is open to question, but it's kind of galling to see a bunch of well-off Americans (and I'm talking about the general level of "global warming denial", not referring to people on this board) steadfastly refusing to concern themselves about it, while the people who live on the margins (the Sahel, Bangladesh, various coral islands around the globe) are the ones who actually experience it and whose lives, already unimaginable to most Americans, are directly impacted by it.
It is said that history, for a person, starts from the moment they were born. Global Warmest fanatics are a prime example of this. They utterly ignore available information, especially historical information to prop up their "fears." Of course, when you listen to their solutions, you realize it has nothing to do with global warming or the environment.
Historically, Between about 900Ad and 1400Ad, we had a global warming event. One was able to grow crops on Greenland. Grapes grew in England. From 1400 till 1800, we had a global cooling event. The Petomic regularly froze over. We are now in the middle of another global warming event. Also notice reports now that Mars ie warming up, the ice caps are not as big as they were before. Unless one can (and I can) invent a cause for our technology landing on Mars is messing up the ecology of Mars, One must presume that the global warming we see is by nature, Natural. As mentioned above by someone else, Mankind's (specifically America's) effect on global warming gas is minimal at best, Insignificant most likely.
There is, though, a whole host of stories one could write based on the concept. Consider what happens if we do everything the Global Warming Fanatics say we must do, and we have no effect? Then again, one could show what happens if we ignore them and things level out (they will invent a new cause to cry about to get us to give up our technology). One could show what happens if they are right and we don't give up our technology. We could also show what would happen if we followed their instructions and it turns out that they are right.
The big solution for the effects of global warming on the population is to ban property rights and the world government shift people around the world according to the environmental conditions. Farmers would be forced to shift north, as the growing zones shift, people along the oceans be moved out, away from the rising seas and stronger storms, flood plains be evacuated, people living on hills only, cities relocated to higher grounds, and so on. At first it would not be effective, but over time, the population would get used to it and it would be made to work.
As I said, one can do several thousand stories based on global warming very easily if one wanted to.
I remember the line in "Futurama," along the lines of, "Yes, Global Warming took place, but Nuclear Winter precisely canceled it out."
To tchernabyelo: Mine own eyes tell me it cannot be happening the way the "authorities" of Global Warming say it is. Why shouldn't I doubt that it's happening at all?
In more general reply: I've seen several articles of late that state that "Global Warming is no longer a matter for serious dispute." I've seen (and occasionally read) the serious disputes about , and therefore know that statement is an outright lie. So, again, why shouldn't I question the motivation of those who are promulgating such a lie?
I saw a writeup recently, that suggested the mainstream media's fixation on Global Warming comes from them being based in and around New York City. It's been mostly unseasonably warm on the East Coast for the past few winters, and the "mainstream media" assume everything that happens in front of them (their own eyes) is happening elsewhere in the world. But it isn't. From the weather reports this year, the East Coast is unseasonably warm while parts further West are "freezing their butts off."
Please.... Does anyone remember 20 years ago? If we had this discussion then it would have been about the coming ice age. In school they taught us the next ice age was coming, blah blah blah. My grandkids will be taught about the next, upcoming ice age again, if it is politically convenient, or if they have a few hard winters in a row.
Hard to write about something I know I will be embarrassed about in 20 years, but I do like Survivor's idea, just not sure if AL would endorse a story about everyone being wrong about it.
Card hates everything about capitalism? From what I've read, he wholeheartedly is in lockstep with economic academia when it comes to free trade, importing and exporting jobs for the sake of ultracheap labor, ect...
He doesn't believe global warming is a result of human pollution, and maybe it was tongue-in-cheek, but he seems to be pro-global warming, that is, he believes it is a postive development.
To be fair, I think his story Pastwatch is a good story about environmental responsibility, as humans are stripping thier only home increasingly of natural resources. And that might in fact be a greater problem than carbon emissions. Then again, one might cancel the other out.
Frankly though, I would love to read a review of his that didn't degenerate into a political tirade. Sometimes the interjections don't really seem to fit the column overall. It would be nice if people today just explained thier beliefs and why they believe it, while at the same time respecting those who believe differently and thier right to do so, perhaps empathizing with why they feel that way and trying to find common ground. But I'm being idealistic in expecting an all-things-to-everyone approach.
Card is big-time against capitalism and the free-market, and I've become...well if not exactly comfortable with his thoughts on the matter, at least willing to overlook it.
quote:The science on whether or not greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are or are not causing global warming is certainly open to debate and question. But I don't think the evidence that the planet's climate is changing at a rate unprecedented in human history (which is a tiny fraction of geological time, of course) can really be questioned.
When you can't question something, it's no longer science, but dogma. More importantly, the mean global temperature stopped rising nearly a decade ago. That's the raw data on which Global Warming theory is based. It turns out that the infamous "hockey stick" is looking more like just hockey stick all the time, rather than the beginning of an unlimited change. I'm still voting for a giant solar shade if anyone wants to build one. I'll worry about how to gain control of the thing and use it to destroy humanity when it's built. But...realistically speaking, nobody's going to do it. Global Warming is now just a pretext for governments to seize assets and increase regulatory burdens. First they said that only governments could do things "efficiently" (hah!), now they're saying that only governments can do it "cleanly".
No skin off my nose. The better to kill you with and all that, I figure.
I think there's a difference between questioning scienctific theory - as stated, I'm by no means convinced that humans are responsible for global warming - and questioning evidence. I don't think I'm being dogmatic by accepting evidence.
The NCDC and NASA don't appear to agree with your contention that the average temperature stopped rising a decade ago, but I'm willing to look at your figures.
Climate change has been a huge part of our recorded history. We have had ices ages, ling winters, and even temperate increases that have led to the extinction of several species, unless you are a believer of "intelligent design". I think the idea behind the global warming movement is a grand one, to clean up our home. I do think even though the end result is good, they might be discredited later and lose support. example; going into Iraq to dispose a tyrant was good, going in under the pretense of finding WMD's and having no exit strategy was bad. Look at all the support the war had going in, and look at the support now. Essential ecology is a ongoing war against our lazy and greedy natures. Showing glaciers melting is not going to convince me unless they can prove it is a trend caused by the small amount of emissions we produce, but that is not going to deter me from recycling and riding my bicycle to work. I am not doing this to thwart a global upheaval. I am doing this for my health and in good manners. I like to leave things better then I found them.
Posts: 119 | Registered: Jan 2007
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I already posted several articles that support the anti-catastrophic position. The first one, here, is by Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. It gives you the numbers you want, reading:
quote:Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early '70s, increased again until the '90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.
I don't have studies for you to read, but I will place at least as much weight on the words of an MIT scientist as I do on an ex-Vice President, however well-meaning he may be.
The same article also says other things that are important for us to know as we evaluate what Mr. Gore says:
quote:...that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.
I think this clearly indicates that "the evidence that the planet's climate is changing at a rate unprecedented in human history (which is a tiny fraction of geological time, of course) can really be questioned."
I was pretty irritated when I started doing actual research into the issue, because (a) I didn't know whom to trust, (b) as soon as you say you're a global warming doubter you're automatically considered to be a shill for the oil companies, and (c) I really do think we need to take care of the planet -- but we can't do that without knowing what we want to take care of.
With respect to (b), by the way, much ado was made about a pundit's suggestion that there be Nuremberg-style tribunals for policymakers that _doubt_ the "evidence". See here. The emotion on this issue is out of control.
Okay, okay already. The point of all of this is that there really are two sides to this issue. On the one hand, pollution is bad, on the other, CO2 isn't a dangerous pollutant.
If you really believed that global warming was a serious danger, then you'd be in favor of a solar shield rather than burdensome regulations and confiscatory taxation of essential commodities. That's my take on it. I see a lot of people suggesting measures that we know will have virtually no effect at extraordinary cost because they believe that the brunt of the cost will be borne by "someone else". I see nobody advocating a method that we absolutely know will be highly effective and quite cheap. How would you interpret that evidence?
We can all write stories about global warming and Global Warming, and nobody needs to be getting all upset about the "truth". That's why it's called science fiction.
They say that CO2 is the cause of global warming. It just happens that all animals release CO2 with each breath.
If there is too much of that gas, I think that if we eliminate some of the breathers and see if that will solve the problem. My suggestion is to start with the global warmests. If that does not make a change, then continue with the environmentalists. If we do this, I am sure that we will not hear about global warming. If there are no complaints about it, I am sure there will be little need for doing more about global warming......<g>
As another GW skeptic, here are a few other things that bother me about how the theory is presented:
1) Everyone who calls themselves a sceintist tosses in Global warming as an explanation. I see this all the time in press reports. An increase or decrease in the population of some obscure frog speicies in the Amazon: blame GW. I can see why. Follow the money. For example, if you want to study lichen in the forests of some Pacific Island, include GW in your grant request just to make sure your get the cash. Heck, this past week even the Bulliten of Atomic Scientists decided to toss in GW to explain why they moved up the hands on the Doomesday Clock.
2. Everyone is a Climatologist now. You don't actually have to understand climate models or have more of an understanding of GW than can be derived from watching Gore's movie to use GW to support your thesis. I've already noted the biologists, but another example is the this big dispute going on between the actual climatologists (metereologists) and statisticians (mathematicians) regarding whether GW is responsible to the recent increase in hurricanes. The metereologists say no it all part of a natural cycle, but the stat guys and Gore say yes.
3. Where's the margin of error? It's ignored and never mentioned. A one degree celsius change over 100 years we're told again and again. The margin of error: a little more than that. It's hard enough to get a global temp reading for 2006, even with sats and monitoring stations across the globe (you still end up with margin of error of over 3 degress F), so why should we trust that temperature guess from 1906 is more accurate?
4. Where's the correlation in temp increase and X consequence? The missing link in almost every report (news report and in scientific study) is an explanation along the lines of: the temp in this forest averaged 88.7 degrees in 1996 and the frogs where everywhere and healthy. In 2006 the average temp was 88.9 degrees and the frogs are dying out or look sickly, and this is why they are a so sensitive to such a shift in temp. Never seen it, and I doubt I ever will. Not even a discussion documenting an actual temperature increase for the location (except for some northern hemisphere glacier studies).
5. Journalists are not very smart, honest and/or have an agenda of their own. I'm sure of the first two, willing to remain open minded on third. Jouranlists rarely have any expertise in the issues they cover. In my professional carrer, reporters routinely, sometimes weekly, write up stories on cases, issues, or events I have either workes on or am intimately familiar with. Percentage of the time that the story is mostly acurate or doesn't contain a glaring inaccuracy: less than 5 percent. I shudder to think about all the other news reports I have no first hand knowledge of.
Next time your read a report supporting GW ask yourself if these basic questions are addressed.
I can't formulate my own thoughts on this issue there is so much bs floating around, by which I mean confusion.
We know from chaos theory that small changes can have drastic effects. Then consider the implications that burning up all the fossil fuels might have. This is the essence of the argument, imho, and it's a good concern to raise.
Oh no I just lost a whole liberal rant, probably for the better.
In any case, the treatment of these issues raises issues about human nature which I'd love to see in writing. I might participate in something like this but only later in life once I have fleshed out my views.
You know, I wasn't going to weigh in on this, but I kind of feel like I have to right now. So here's my 2 cents.
I took several geology courses in university (including one on climate change). I went into that class uncertain about global warming, and expecting a chicken-little professor essentially (though not literally) screaming "The sky is falling, the sky is falling, Global Warming will kill us all." It's what some of the supporters of global warming out there seem like to me, to be honest.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when my professor taught us a lot, including some of what we know about how the climate on this planet has changed historically, and did not say that we were headed either for extreme cold or species-killing heat. His basic message was simpley this, "We don't know." The point he repeatedly made to us is that we don't understand the earth well enough to predict how it will react. All the time, we are learning more about how the earth and it's climate functions, learning that things we thought were unrelated are actually connected, and that there are feedback systems built into the climate we hadn't expected. His point was that, in the perspective of how long this planet has been around, we haven't got nearly enough information to make an informed conclusion. Put it this way, the thermometer, has been around for a couple hundred years (I don't have the date of invention handy right now), and the earth is about 4.57 billion years old. Not a lot of time with (sort of) accurate measurements. As for historical data, the farther out you go, the greater the margin for error, and the fuzzier the picture gets. So I'm hesitant to rely on that for an absolute answer either.
I gotta tell you, I loved that climate change course. I liked that it was open to debate, as science should be. I loved that we were told to look at the evidence and come to our own conclusions. I think that we have a long way to go before the question of global warming/cooling is answered, if it ever is. I think what bothers me most about the whole debate is the idea that is often imbeded in some of the arguments that change = bad. The earth is a living, changing thing. Yes, that includes it's climate. I'm kind of glad that some of it chages. I'm from Canada, and since we settled here in a mini-ice age, I'd be freezing my butt off right now if it hadn't changed at all.
But I have to agree, there's a lot of room for a wide variety of interesting stories about the subject, on both sides of the debate, and maybe even in the middle.