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Thomas K asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 7 years ago

Help me out here – I don’t understand the controversy over Global Warming.?

Help me out here – I don’t understand the controversy over Global Warming. I would also ask you to limit the sarcasm and post an intelligent rebuttal or affirmation.

I believe the climate is changing, and is warming up. I’m an engineer by trade and I am used to evaluating data. I believe that the changes in the tundra and permafrost, as well as the trends in arctic sea ice, offer incontrovertible proof that things are warming up. But, if I’m wrong, and we do commit to alternative energy sources and global warming does NOT happen, here are the consequences:

1) Remember the oil embargo in 73? The $147/barrel in 2008 when Iran tested its new rocket? The rationing in 79? And, of course the wars over Kuwait and Iraq. Eliminating dependence on foreign oil eliminates those. (Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.)

2) Our own domestic oil production would be enough for our own use, plus exporting some – Our refineries would continue, but now we would have a cash flow instead of dollars flying out to support air condition tents in Saudi Arabia.

3) I bought my first calculator, (it only had the basic 4 functions and no memory) in 1970 for $32. Now you can get a multifunction calculator watch at the Dollar Store. My first TV, a 19” RCA, was $379 in 1975. I can now get a 43” Plasma TV for the same price. Over time, we have repeatedly shown that technology improvements lower prices. The price of solar panels has already plummeted in the last 3 years alone.

The list goes on and on. Bottom line, devoting the country to alternative energy is just the smart thing to do. And, if I’m right and global warming is happening, and we ignore it, the consequences are self-evident. Here is a short list:

1) The record wild fires in the west are just a taste of things to come. The record droughts in Texas, Australia, England, Mexico, etc will become the norm.

2) It won’t be just Florida or Louisiana tha tis plagued b y hurricanes. New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and other points north will need to protect themselves from such storms. The record hurricanes (called Typhoons over there) in the Pacific and Asia will increase.

What am I missing??


(sigh) I’m of the strong opinion that most of these answers were obtained by selecting web sites that agreed with your point of view rather than a careful analysis of existing data from all sources.

John doesn’t think that there is any increase of CO2 but all we need is to look out the window and see the increase of vehicles on the road, the doubling, and redoubling of per capita home energy consumption, etc to know that more CO2 is being generated than just a few decades back. And yes, water vapor does have a higher specific heat than CO2, but our eyes tell us that water vapor is also increasing – it’s a by-product of combustion, just as CO2 is. Most of the debates I have heard revolve around how significant is the increase in CO2 – this is the first time I have heard anyone say there is no increase. And, of course, John realizes that when water vapor absorbs CO2, the result is carbonic acid. It wasn’t that long ago that folks were denying that acid rain existed. That was a rud

Update 2:

Mike is correct when he states that the IPCC says there is no increase in current hurricane levels. My comment was, if global warming is happening, we can expect to see an increase. The visions of the devastation from Sandy is fresh in our minds, but this is natural (so far).

Mike does make my case that the increase in energy costs affects the poor. When oil was crowding $150/barrel, I had to choose between groceries and heating the house. If Mike isn’t rich, he would have had the same issue. This was a common complaint that was a fixture on the evening news and is beyond reproach. There can be no argument that, as it currently stand, energy prices are unstable and subject to the emotions of middle east dictators. If you folks were driving in the 70’s, then you must have stood in line for gas. I can recall that for over a month, you could not buy more than $2 worth. Rationing sucks.

As far as natural gas, I’m a big fan. I have personally negotiated contracts for millions of

Update 3:

. I have personally negotiated contracts for millions of therms for our mills. When natural gas is around $3/therm, it is lovely, but, I’m sure you recall when it was over $10/therm not that long ago. When the price of oil increases, its competitors, such as natural gas, also follow as folks switch to gas and increase demand. Our plant lost big dollars when our energy costs increased almost 400%. We couldn’t compete.

As far as regulating emissions from other countries, of course we can do little. And, if global warming is just a farce, then no harm, no foul. I stated that regardless if global warming is true or not, the United States is in better position to compete if we do develop alternative energies that bypass the emotional instability of foreign despots.

Update 4:

If global warming is real, we would be in action. If global warming is not happening, we are improving the competitive position of the United States. Just as we saw in computers, calculators, color TV’s, etc, the price will plummet as demand increases. We are already seeing that in solar panels and wind turbines.

Update 5:

Thanks for all the responses. There are a lot of passionate responses on both sides. It was not easy to choose a best; Sagebrush put the most time and organization in responding, and thus earned the top billing.

A couple comments:

1) No one really tackled the wide pricing swings other than to blame Jimmy Carter and the State of Texas. (The record price for oil was in the last year of G.W. Bush’s Presidency. It has been my experience, and Rick Perry’s claim, that Texas has always been one of the most pro-business states.)

2) There were a few graphs that were confusing in that they were not labeled, and gave no clue as to what they were talking about. One, from “Wood for Trees” is an “Audio Wave Form” (?) and is from a self-proclaimed “Greenie” who supports alternative energy growth.

3) I was very disappointed that the discussion is still follows party lines, as if a Conservative could not be worried about climate change.

4) I don’t care that China is leading the charge i

14 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "If global warming is real, we would be in action. If global warming is not happening, we are improving the competitive position of the United States. Just as we saw in computers, calculators, color TV’s, etc, the price will plummet as demand increases. We are already seeing that in solar panels and wind turbines. "

    The changes in the price of your calculator, for example, were based on good old capitalism. It did not need the artificial stimulus that you see in solar panels and wind turbines.

    As to your old theory, "the price will plummet as the demand increases." That was at one time, until the government got involved. Just look at the price of gasoline. Before the invention of the 'Ottocycle' in the 1870s, commonly referred to as a reciprocal engine, there was no use for gasoline. It was a by product. It was a throw away. It had no use. Its value was below zero. As the demand went up, the price has INCREASED. Quite the opposite of your theory. And the AGW laws restricting the production of petroleum products has only INCREASED the price even more.

    I could go on and on, but you are absolutely wrong. That calculator is a good example. Today's calculator is made in other countries, away from the bureaucracy of the US. The semiconductor industry has mainly gone abroad due to US governmental influence. That calculator of the 70s was probably a TI made in Texas. Today that same calculator made in Texas would cost even more, due to government intervention. Why do you think everyone, even IBM, went abroad. To stay competitive.

    Take electricity, as another example. At one time power companies were paying their employees to dream up new uses for electricity because they wanted people to use more electricity. At the time it was mainly used for light and only that. It was cheaper and cleaner than the kerosene lamps. The toaster was one such invention that increased electric usage. The efficiency of the electric motor, which Tesla perfected and never got paid for by Edison, increased the usage of electricity in industry and the energy prices were low. You could buy electricity for less than a penny a kilowatt. Now that the demand for electricity is higher, has the price gone down? Definitely not! We are told the we are gluttons for power and we must pay more. And a lot of that is due to AGW a phony concept.

    I can remember, when I was young, that most farms did not have electricity. They were forced to have electricity by the REA (Rural Electrification Administration). Now they are called gluttons by the greenies.

    Your theory of economics is horrible. Today's economics is more like the illegal drug industry. At first they will give you the drug. Then as your dependency on that drug increases, so does the price. That is irregardless of the supply. We have been ultimately forced into a fossil fuel dependent world, by who? The government. Who highly regulates the supply of fossil fuel production? The government. Who taxes the fossil fuel? The government.

    Entering Carter years in the US we were paying around $0.30 for a gallon of gas. Previously I had purchased gasoline for a low as $0.14 a gallon in a state that had $0.07 a gallon tax. Has the demand gone up? Yes. Has the price gone down? No. That blows your theory right out of the water, whether you want to admit it or not. Why has the price gone up? Government intervention by using AGW as a tool. And what is Government intervention in the economy? Communism.

    Quote by Gus Hall, former leader of the Communist Party USA: "Human society cannot basically stop the destruction of the environment under capitalism. Socialism is the only structure that makes it possible."

    Quote by Jack Trevors, Editor-in-Chief of Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: "The capitalistic systems of economy follow the one principal rule: the rule of profit making. All else must bow down to this rule…The current USA is an example of a failed capitalistic state in which essential long-term goals such as prevention of climate change and limitation of human population growth are subjugated to the short-term profit motive and the principle of economic growth."

  • Rio
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    Okay tossing what will and what might happen concerning weather seems feasible to me. Most engineers I've worked with are a practical lot but not all. The short end: 1) practical=efficiency. 2) efficiency=affordability.

    The problem with number 1 is infrastructure and for a large part geographical location. Not to mention regional government policy.

    One can't say that's indicative for the rest of the country, though it does offer a small scale example for a large problem. As for number 2 sure there's a glut in the Chinese solar market. That still doesn't make them affordable. Nor does it make them practical. Yes there's also a list of other alternative sources. If one could only find an affordable and practical means of implementation. Then you've solved the problem.

  • 7 years ago

    Your alternative scenario does not necessarily include all the relevant factors.

    For instance, let's suppose:

    ► We all switch to "alternative energy".

    ► It actually works.

    ► It provides the same level of coverage as now.

    ► It provides the same continuity of supply as now.

    ► No fossil fuel back up is needed.

    ► There are no unforseen adverse consequences.

    (The above is by no means a foregone conclusion.)

    How much will it cost?

    If it costs as much as now then your scenario may work out. If it costs ten times as much then where will we be? Without knowing the cost all scenarios are baseless.

    There seems to be the view amongst some that wind and solar energy will be free. Well, coal, gas and oil are also free. The expensive part is converting it from a raw material into something useful that comes out of the wall socket. In the case of bio-fuels, where we burn food instead of eating it, the consequences of world hunger need to be factored in.

    The link between climate and extreme weather is not standing up and the IPCC is starting to distance itself from the claim. I seem to recall that in one year in the 1950's (1953 or 1954?) you had three major hurricanes in the US but recently, not much happened between Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012.

    In these days of global markets, the manufacturing base will move to where the cheap labour and cheap energy is. If that becomes China, India or Brazil then the established countries will lose jobs and revenue. Their prospects will decline as a consequence. We could be shooting ourselves in the foot to insist on "alternative energy" in any compressed timescale.

  • Maxx
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    You say: "I’m an engineer by trade and I am used to evaluating data."

    Well then, Evaluate this:

    The globe is NOT warming, it hasn't been for about 17 years. Where have you been?

    During all your data analysis did you ever bother to look at the temperature record?

    Top climate scientists say there is no man-made Global Warming. And currently there is NO WARMING --- man-made or otherwise.

    The Great Global Warming Swindle

    Global Warming Doomsday Called Off


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  • 7 years ago

    I'll take a more practical approach to your question. The emerging markets of the Far East have no intention of actually cutting their CO2 emissions. That makes the AGW debate purely academic.

    As you stated, the U.S. has enough fossil fuel resources to last the rest of this century. By then other technologies should be economically viable. And we do spend billions on alternative energy research already. This investment is paying off on many fronts.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Now there is also the fact that temperatures have been rising for centuries, so perhaps the warming is not from CO2 but natural, and the CO2 warming is small, but let's assume the science is accurate.

    Well according to the IPCC, there has been no increase in hurricanes due to global warming. See Roger Pielke Jr for the details.

    Similarly for other disasters.

    Going to more expensive forms of energy means more poverty, and it hits the poor the most.

    Recent developments in frakking and discovery of the Bakken field is increasing US production, so dependence on foreign oil is irrelevant.

    Take a look at CDIAC, and look at its list of CO2 emissions by country, as well as for the past few years.

    US, Europe, Russia, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea combines for less than 40% of CO2 emissions, and the number will drop even more going forward. According to scientists, you need to cut emissions at least 80% to slow down global warming. Dropping by 40% does not stop things, and only lowers temperatures by tenths of a degree. Regardless of what policies you think are common sense, those other countries like China(25% of emissions and growing), India(5% and growing), and the rest of the developing world are not going to agree to pay more for energy. So now you are just hurting poor people in your own country, while not stopping global warming.

    If on the other hand, you are developing energy that is cheaper than current energy, then those other countries will flock to it.

    So as an engineer, how do you propose to get those other countries to reduce their emissions by at least 2/3 (40% +2/3 of 60% is 80%) rather than increase emissions as they are planning?

  • 7 years ago

    The issue is one of what we should do about the changes that are occurring. In addition since the models have been shown to be inaccurate some of us don't want to rely on them.

    Simply many are hesitant to make changes without decent information that we currently don't have.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Bankrupting an economy by forcing the country to adopt the most expensive and unreliable sources of energy is never smart. What is smart is creating an energy policy that makes the US independent of other energy producing countries. How much did the libtards in congress and the executive branch waste on green energy schemes that went bankrupt? There is a long and growing list of Solyndras out there. How much of that $17 trillion debt was wasted on this AGW crap?

    By the way, AGW cultists love to claim that global warming will destroy the planet's ecosystem however there has never been any proof that any global warming in the entire geological history of the world that has been analyzed that even remotely resembles their claims. In fact it has proven the exact opposite. It's always been global cooling and ice ages that have destroyed ecosystems.

    Source(s): Large forest fires are the result of forest mismanagement due to endless lawsuits that prevent industry and government from clearing out the underbrush and thinning out trees in the forest. Nature's way of thinning out forests and clearing underbrush is to allow the forest to burn in smaller and more frequent fires. Humanity prevents natural fires from burning thus allowing excessive vegetation to grow.
  • 7 years ago

    Please use more clear reliable energy , that will not pollute the environment .I think wind turbine is a good choice . Here is a good wind turbine manufacturer with best price and quality , export to more than 90 countries .

  • 7 years ago

    The controversy hinges on whether or not human activity plays a significant role in altering the Earth's mean temperature and, as a consequence, the climate of most regions upon Earth.

    What we know as fact include:

    1. The temperature of the Earth has increased overall for centuries. 60,000 years ago what you see as Lake Michigan on a US map today was all glacial ice which extended even further west in what is know to have been the Wisconsin Glacier. This was the last "great" ice age and was actually less severe than previously known ice ages. Since that time, the Earth has warmed. We have had some cold periods of note since then, some which have been referred to as "mini" ice ages and we have had some warmer than normal periods since then that have lasted as long as these "mini" ice ages. But when an expanse of 60,000 years is taken into account along with the extreme variation in global temperature sustained for thousands of years that occurs during major ice ages, it is simply logical to maintain that the Earth has been in a warming cycle for at least the last 50 thousand years.

    2. The second thing that one must logically accept is that human activity does affect regional climates. The climate of areas in and around major cities are clearly altered by the activities of humans and the emission of heat energy and by-products of combustion from these cities. The first law of thermodynamics tells us that "energy can neither be created nor destroyed". That means that when we convert the latent energy contained inside fossil fuels into kinetic energy such as "heat", that heat, along with chemical byproducts from the conversion process, will never simply disappear. Unless or until they are subsequently converted into other forms of energy, bond with atoms to create various molecules or leave Earth's atmosphere - they will remain within our atmosphere indefinitely. We know that smog is generated in our urban centers from various combustion processes because we can see it, smell it and taste it. Heat is a form of energy that is invisible and while we can feel it, that often isn't enough for people to accept the fact that it is within their environment as a result of human activity in the same way that smog is there.

    3. The controversy surrounding global warming has, for the most part, centered around one of the byproduct gases from the combustion process - carbon dioxide. Many scientists believe that this byproduct gas is, through human activity, too abundant within the atmosphere to be converted or absorbed by other molecules in natural ways. Because this byproduct gas is accumulating in Earth's atmosphere, it acts to trap heat that would otherwise leave the atmosphere. It is sort of like when you leave your car parked with the windows up during a hot summer day. When you return the interior of the car is blazing hot inside. This is because the radiant energy from the sun passed through the car windows, struck the interior and while most of it bounced off the interior in the form of a wave of energy, it was trapped inside the car by the roof and windows. So it bounced back and more of it was absorbed as heat into the interior. Scientists contend that radiant energy from the Sun that would normally strike the Earth surface and be repelled back into space is trapped by Carbon Dioxide molecules and bounce back to the Earth's surface where additional heat is absorbed. This action, occurring globally, they reason, would cause the Earth to heat up, just like it does inside that parked car.

    3. But is comparing the atmosphere of the entire Earth to the interior of your car truly accurate? Not really. While the principals of thermodynamics will never change, you have to recognize that the atmosphere of the Earth has a lot going on and is enormous in size. This is why many scientists question whether the activities of humans, who in the great scheme of things seem rather insignificant, can really have an impact great enough to alter the entire Earth's atmosphere to such extent that it will alter the climate in every region of the World.

    While we know for a fact that humans can alter the climate in their own city or geographical region, their impact doesn't seem to effect even nearby regions. While the "heat dome" created in large urban areas is real and clearly man made, that heat dome doesn't exist just a few miles away in the suburban areas of those same cities. So if the climate affects of human activity in our large cities is limited to such a small geographical area, how can scientists draw such an enormous conclusion that suggests that all of the Earth's atmosphere is being affected to such extent that we are in imminent peril of destroying our planet?

    This is where the controversy resides. There is a lot of side issues like people for political or financial reasons promoting one side or the other, but none of that is germane to the actual controversy.

    The bottom line here is that while this controversy seems so vital and important to humans today it actually is relatively insignificant. Keep in mind that Earth is only a temporary home for a very transient species we call humans. If we could snap our fingers and eliminate every form of human activity generating carbon dioxide today, our welcome on this planet as a species would still be coming to an end. We are on the doorstep of an evolutionary leap right now and if we don't wipe ourselves out in the next few decades, we will see our species move toward other stars.

    So don't lose sleep over the global warming issue.


    But recognizing this fact, does not imply that human activity affects all climates in all regions of the Earth to such extent that it f

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