jjl - 3/2/2005 7:20 PM
'Course not. But net CO2 emissions are what count.
My own view (and that of most climatologists) is that fairly catastrophic climate change will happen in the next 30-100 years. Our children and grandchildren will curse us for it.
I agree, jjl. I think that a major part of the problem of convincing the public of the gravity of the problem (aside from politicians and some powerful companies being intentionally misleading) is that the evidence along any one line of inquiry is not necessarily compelling.
Take atmospheric temperature. It is very variable on every scale of measurement. Only by some pretty intensive filtering and data transformations can a trend be demonstrated over wide areas. Also, we have a fairly short direct record of atmospheric temps. So it is easy to argue that there isn't enough data sufficiently compelling to force radical change.
My own understanding is just that and I agree with the single line of data argument against making fundamental drastic change just on the temperature argument. But guess what folks, air temp alone does not a sound theory make. There are an awful lot of other lines of evidence that all point to a warming trend. Many of these lines of evidence are completely independent of each other. Like rings in coral reefs and mollusc shells. Tree rings and ice layers in glaciers around the globe. All of these converge, whether fossil or recent, onan historically (geologically speaking) radical increase in global temp.
Atmospheric gass comparisons from fossil gas (air bubbles in glaciers, isotope ratios in various sedimentary formations) all correlate with the growth studies and point to massive changes in CO2 as the likely cause.
Again, not one of these sources alone is sufficiently compelling to force consideration of modifying our lives. But taken together, they all point to roughly teh same conclusion over the same timespan.
Even Prez Bush is coming around (kicking, screaming, struggling...).
It hasn't quite become an objective fact, but it is such a compelling correlation that very few scientists who actually study these phenomena dispute the predictions that jjl provides.