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Old 27-12-2015, 06:05   #496
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
[Question 4b]
...With regard to the latter fact, I would very genuinely appreciate an explanation of the often heard argument that increased CO2 levels will cause ocean acidification to the extent that coral reefs will no longer survive. I have frequently, frequently heard this stated, including in argumentation on CF recently, and yet coral reefs have flourished over vast swathes of geologic time (since near the dawning of multicellular life), most of which featured CO2 levels FAR in excess of those currently envisaged. How is this particular circle to be squared?
The short answer is that there are two types of calcium used by shell- and coral-building critters: calcite and aragonite. Calcite is more abundant in acidic ocean waters, aragonite more abundant in basic ocean waters. Aragonite dissolves more readily in more acidic water than does calcite.

We are now in what is called an Aragonite Sea era, but the acidification of the oceans is turning them into Calcite Seas. Many critters that use aragonite cannot effectively use calcite. The current rate of change from aragonite seas to calcite seas is much faster than the rate at which biological evolution can keep up with.

Calcite sea | Wikipedia

Aragonite sea | Wikipedia

Carbonate hardgrounds | Wikipedia

Calcite vs Aragonite

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Old 27-12-2015, 06:31   #497
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Originally Posted by SailOar View Post
The short answer is that there are two types of calcium used by shell- and coral-building critters: calcite and aragonite. Calcite is more abundant in acidic ocean waters, aragonite more abundant in basic ocean waters. Aragonite dissolves more readily in more acidic water than does calcite.

We are now in what is called an Aragonite Sea era, but the acidification of the oceans is turning them into Calcite Seas. Many critters that use aragonite cannot effectively use calcite. The current rate of change from aragonite seas to calcite seas is much faster than the rate at which biological evolution can keep up with.

Calcite sea | Wikipedia

Aragonite sea | Wikipedia

Carbonate hardgrounds | Wikipedia

Calcite vs Aragonite

What a crock. Your explanation and links have nothing to do with ocean pH. It relates to ocean magnesium content influenced primarily by plate tectonics. One of your links explicitly explains this.

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Old 27-12-2015, 06:38   #498
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Muckle Flugga,
These are all important question, each worthy of extended discussions. I'll take a crack at 4a in this post, and 4b in my next post.

As an aside, the website SkepticalScience.com has a huge list of Q&A pages which address many AGW topics.


The short answer is that at those times when CO2 levels were enormously higher, solar output was lower, which tended to balance out temperatures.

ETA [Current CO2 levels are ~400ppm. In the distant past CO2 levels may have been as high as 5,000 ppm]

Well thanks but in fact I had of course read that article and really it doesn't actually address my question. I am not suggesting that CO2 has no role in mediating planetary temperature, and you will find nowhere I suggest this, so you are mistaking me for a "denier". It is of course interesting, however, that the answer to the problems provided by the periods of extreme glaciation at the same time as high CO2 is that it was "solar forcing". I recall many debates and rebuttals wherein the standard suggestion from the skeptics was that solar forcing was a big factor in climate change and the mainstream bunch shouting them down with absolute ridicule. It seems when things are more awkward, 'tis the sun what did it after all… In any case, I am not actually convinced by skeptical science's response. It is rather too pat, and not nuanced enough by half. Frankly we don't really fully understand what happened in these remote periods of high CO2 but massive, in some cases global, glaciation. The sun is likely a factor, of course.

However my question was more pointing at the fact that those pushing the fact of climate change mediated by CO2 have a bad track record of predicting absolutely catastrophic scenarios, wherein, for examle ALL coral reefs and bivalves are destroyed by ocean acidification brought about by excessive CO2… even though the latter is predicted, at the most extreme, to be massively smaller component of the atmosphere than it has been for the overwhelming majority of the history of coral reefs on earth. Further, it is clear that life flourished during periods of far higher carbon dioxide. I have, even on this thread, consistently come up against the frankly arm waving argument that we as humans in our history have never experienced CO2 much higher than it presently is… but I rather say "so what"? to that. It doesn't really strike me as a particularly cogent argument for anything at all. As to the doomsaying about runaway greenhouse effects and overwhelming catastrophe, which has been such a feature of the last 15 years, I find the vastly higher CO2 in the overwhelming majority of the phanerozoic to be an instructive set of facts to consider, which rarely are so. After all it was this very planet and the history of life thereon, wherein this 3,500 million year experiment has indeed already been carried out.
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Old 27-12-2015, 06:41   #499
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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What a crock. Your explanation and links have nothing to do with ocean pH. It relates to ocean magnesium content influenced primarily by plate tectonics. One of your links explicitly explains this.

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I do rather fail to see what CO2 has to do with the magnesium/calcium ratio in seawater…
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Old 27-12-2015, 06:51   #500
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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The short answer is that there are two types of calcium used by shell- and coral-building critters: calcite and aragonite. Calcite is more abundant in acidic ocean waters, aragonite more abundant in basic ocean waters. Aragonite dissolves more readily in more acidic water than does calcite.

We are now in what is called an Aragonite Sea era, but the acidification of the oceans is turning them into Calcite Seas. Many critters that use aragonite cannot effectively use calcite. The current rate of change from aragonite seas to calcite seas is much faster than the rate at which biological evolution can keep up with.


I also note that the previous episode of an "Aragonite sea" spans nearly the entire Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic and early Jurassic periods… most of which had dramatically higher atmospheric CO2 than is predicted by the most extreme models at present. Indeed it would look from the graph like the Precambrian era had an extremely "Aragonite" oceanic environment, and that period averaged more than 1200 percent higher atmospheric content of CO2 than we are currently experiencing.
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Old 27-12-2015, 07:14   #501
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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… meanwhile I would really honestly love for the various gurus here to address the following questions, raised earlier in the thread but neglected for more fashionable lines of battle in this area:

1. How is the enormous expenditure of political, social, intellectual and other capital in this area, while vast swathes of the earth are simply burned and eaten, but the latter problems not addressed, not "fiddling while Rome is burning"?

2. Given that Climate Change is happening, as all agree, and given it is in fact inevitable, what is being done simply to accomodate the change, rather than attempt to prevent it, Canute style?

3. What benefits vs. debits may we reasonably expect from this change?

4. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of the history of life on earth, even since the Cambrian, has featured atmospheric carbon dioxide far beyond present levels, why is this fact almost never regarded in any discussion?

With regard to the latter fact, I would very genuinely appreciate an explanation of the often heard argument that increased CO2 levels will cause ocean acidification to the extent that coral reefs will no longer survive. I have frequently, frequently heard this stated, including in argumentation on CF recently, and yet coral reefs have flourished over vast swathes of geologic time (since near the dawning of multicellular life), most of which featured CO2 levels FAR in excess of those currently envisaged. How is this particular circle to be squared?
Install pumps:
Miami Beach’s battle to stem rising tides | Miami Herald

Why the City of Miami is Doomed | Rolling Stone

Various flood-control measures:
Flood management in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Improve agricultural seeds and techniques:
What Does Climate Change Mean for the Future of Agriculture? | Seed World

Warn and prepare for food production shocks:
Society & Security: Food System Shock | Lloyds

Install desalinization plants:
Nation’s largest desalination plant looking to provide drought-proof water supply to Southern California | Los Angeles Daily News

Assess and warn:
The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability | Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

What You Can Do | New York Times

Vote (if you're a citizen of the USA):
This Chart Shows Where All the Candidates Stand on the World's Biggest Issue | Mother Jones
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Old 27-12-2015, 08:07   #502
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Well thanks but in fact I had of course read that article and really it doesn't actually address my question. I am not suggesting that CO2 has no role in mediating planetary temperature, and you will find nowhere I suggest this, so you are mistaking me for a "denier".
It is because I don't take you for a ding-bat denier, but rather an intellectually honest skeptic, that I've taken the time to respond to your quires. There are, however, a number of the former on this thread.
Quote:
It is of course interesting, however, that the answer to the problems provided by the periods of extreme glaciation at the same time as high CO2 is that it was "solar forcing". I recall many debates and rebuttals wherein the standard suggestion from the skeptics was that solar forcing was a big factor in climate change and the mainstream bunch shouting them down with absolute ridicule. It seems when things are more awkward, 'tis the sun what did it after all… In any case, I am not actually convinced by skeptical science's response. It is rather too pat, and not nuanced enough by half. Frankly we don't really fully understand what happened in these remote periods of high CO2 but massive, in some cases global, glaciation. The sun is likely a factor, of course.
Yes, it is difficult to determine exactly what happened in the distant past. As you will note, the error bars in the charts grow increasingly larger the further back in time one goes. However, what is happening now with respect to both ocean acidification and climate change, is corroborated both by physical, chemical and biological theories, as well as by observational data.
Quote:
However my question was more pointing at the fact that those pushing the fact of climate change mediated by CO2 have a bad track record of predicting absolutely catastrophic scenarios, wherein, for examle ALL coral reefs and bivalves are destroyed by ocean acidification brought about by excessive CO2… even though the latter is predicted, at the most extreme, to be massively smaller component of the atmosphere than it has been for the overwhelming majority of the history of coral reefs on earth. Further, it is clear that life flourished during periods of far higher carbon dioxide.
No serious scientist is warning that all life is at risk. The big problem is not so much that change is occurring, but rather that the rate of change is so fast that normal biological evolution cannot keep up.
Quote:
I have, even on this thread, consistently come up against the frankly arm waving argument that we as humans in our history have never experienced CO2 much higher than it presently is… but I rather say "so what"? to that. It doesn't really strike me as a particularly cogent argument for anything at all. As to the doomsaying about runaway greenhouse effects and overwhelming catastrophe, which has been such a feature of the last 15 years, I find the vastly higher CO2 in the overwhelming majority of the phanerozoic to be an instructive set of facts to consider, which rarely are so. After all it was this very planet and the history of life thereon, wherein this 3,500 million year experiment has indeed already been carried out.
I'm not a bio-chemist. If these references aren't persuasive I can't offer you anything better.

What is ocean acidification, and why does it matter? | PHYS.org
Quote:
"Ocean acidification has been called the evil twin of global warming. It is the other carbon dioxide problem. As we increase the acidity of sea water, it has an effect on organisms," said Bärbel Hönisch, a biologist and oceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She discusses how scientists use ancient shells from the sea floor to understand how ocean chemistry has changed over time and could change in the future.

Ocean acidification itself is a fairly simple chemical process. As carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in water (H2O), it creates carbonic acid (H2CO3), which is a weak acid. Carbonic acid dissociates into hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3-1), and the hydrogen ions bond with carbonate ions (CO3-2) in the water. In the oceans, many sea creatures with calcium carbonate skeletons and shells also rely on those carbonate ions for aragonite and calcite to build their skeletons and shells.

Studies show that as carbon dioxide levels have increased in the atmosphere over the past two centuries, seawater has become less saturated with aragonite and calcite. The average pH of seawater has fallen from about 8.2 to 8.1, about a 30 percent increase in acidity on pH's logarithmic scale...

A global study in 2014 led by Lamont's Taro Takahashi mapped acidification changes around the world and found the lowest pH levels in the cold waters off Siberia and Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Antarctica. The scientists found that over extensive ocean areas, excluding the polar regions, pH had been declining by a mean rate of about 0.02 pH units per decade. The concentration of CO2 had been increasing at a rate of about 19 μatm per decade, consistent with the mean increase of 19 ppm per decade in atmospheric CO2 concentration over the past 20 years...

About 56 million years ago, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, temperatures rose and there is evidence that coral reefs collapsed and many deep-sea benthic foraminifers, which produce shells of calcium carbonate, disappeared. "There is indication that sea water acidified at the time," Hönisch said. "What we've realized is that the acidification at that time was about as large as what we're predicting for the end of this century."...
What is Ocean Acidification? | NOAA
Quote:


The Chemistry

When carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. These chemical reactions are termed "ocean acidification" or "OA" for short. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms. In areas where most life now congregates in the ocean, the seawater is supersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate minerals. This means there are abundant building blocks for calcifying organisms to build their skeletons and shells. However, continued ocean acidification is causing many parts of the ocean to become undersaturated with these minerals, which is likely to affect the ability of some organisms to produce and maintain their shells.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units. Since the pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, this change represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Future predictions indicate that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years.

The Biological Impacts

Ocean acidification is expected to impact ocean species to varying degrees. Photosynthetic algae and seagrasses may benefit from higher CO2 conditions in the ocean, as they require CO2 to live just like plants on land. On the other hand, studies have shown that a more acidic environment has a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. Today, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Many jobs and economies in the U.S. and around the world depend on the fish and shellfish in our oceans.

Pteropods

The pteropod, or “sea butterfly”, is a tiny sea creature about the size of a small pea. Pteropods are eaten by organisms ranging in size from tiny krill to whales and are a major food source for North Pacific juvenile salmon. The photos below show what happens to a pteropod’s shell when placed in sea water with pH and carbonate levels projected for the year 2100. The shell slowly dissolves after 45 days. Photo credit: David Liittschwager/National Geographic Stock. Used with permission. All rights reserved. National Geographic Images.



Shellfish

In recent years, there have been near total failures of developing oysters in both aquaculture facilities and natural ecosystems on the West Coast. These larval oyster failures appear to be correlated with naturally occurring upwelling events that bring low pH waters undersaturated in aragonite as well as other water quality changes to nearshore environments. Lower pH values occur naturally on the West Coast during upwelling events, but a recent observations indicate that anthropogenic CO2 is contributing to seasonal undersaturation. Low pH may be a factor in the current oyster reproductive failure; however, more research is needed to disentangle potential acidification effects from other risk factors, such as episodic freshwater inflow, pathogen increases, or low dissolved oxygen. It is premature to conclude that acidification is responsible for the recent oyster failures, but acidification is a potential factor in the current crisis to this $100 million a year industry, prompting new collaborations and accelerated research on ocean acidification and potential biological impacts.

Coral

Many marine organisms that produce calcium carbonate shells or skeletons are negatively impacted by increasing CO2 levels and decreasing pH in seawater. For example, increasing ocean acidification has been shown to significantly reduce the ability of reef-building corals to produce their skeletons. In a recent paper, coral biologists reported that ocean acidification could compromise the successful fertilization, larval settlement and survivorship of Elkhorn coral, an endangered species. These research results suggest that ocean acidification could severely impact the ability of coral reefs to recover from disturbance. Other research indicates that, by the end of this century, coral reefs may erode faster than they can be rebuilt. This could compromise the long-term viability of these ecosystems and perhaps impact the estimated one million species that depend on coral reef habitat. For more information on the impact of ocean acidification on coral, see NOAA's Coral Reef Watch website.

Ocean Acidification: An Emerging Global Problem

Ocean acidification is an emerging global problem. Over the last decade, there has been much focus in the ocean science community on studying the potential impacts of ocean acidification. Since sustained efforts to monitor ocean acidification worldwide are only beginning, it is currently impossible to predict exactly how ocean acidification impacts will cascade throughout the marine food chain and affect the overall structure of marine ecosystems. With the pace of ocean acidification accelerating, scientists, resource managers, and policymakers recognize the urgent need to strengthen the science as a basis for sound decision making and action.



See the links below to learn more about ocean acidification and the type of research our group is involved in.
Ocean Acidification: A Risky Shell Game | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Ocean acidification | Wikipedia
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Old 27-12-2015, 12:02   #503
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Yes this is true. However Mike's earlier post regarding waste disposal is apt. There are plenty of massively geostable regions, such as the Canadian Shield and other areas towards the centres of cratons where burial would present no issues whatsoever, other than to the superstitiously committed naturopaths. There are indeed plenty of those, however, to be sure.
Agreed. I fear, and observe, the number of "superstitiously committed naturopaths" are on the rise. It seems that fear and ignorance are now main drivers of our politics and our public discourse.

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However I remain concerned and rather irritated by what I perceive as a massive overfocus on climate change as a "problem", distracting us from the far more pressing problems of direct mechanical damage to the biosphere, which lately has been accellerating at an alarming rate. Energy diversification is a boon, and a good by product of the current panic, but I really can't see how the consequences of increased CO2 are worse than the consequences of annihilation of the majority of the wild biomass in the oceans, or the destruction of rainforests for palm oil and other agriculture.
I agree with you MF that there are many more limits that we face than simple CO2 concentrations. And some are more immediately threatening. Resource depletion, local ecosystem destruction, pollution, flooding and drought for example. But the one thing about rapid climate change is that it exacerbates or underlies many of these other challenges.

Speaking of drought, I've been travelling through California, Nevada and Arizona these last few months, and the impacts of drought are ever-present. What's really jarring on the landscape, however, are the rectangular splashes of cultivated green that I've come across as we travel through some of the most desiccated and parched desert landscapes that I've ever seen. Orchards are planted in dust, but are lush and vibrant. Open irrigation channels carry water hundreds of km so we can grow oranges and lemons in a land that is suited for prickly pear cactus or joshua trees. Los Vegas is a surreal display of our power, and our folly.
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Old 27-12-2015, 13:25   #504
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga
Yes this is true. However Mike's earlier post regarding waste disposal is apt. There are plenty of massively geostable regions, such as the Canadian Shield and other areas towards the centres of cratons where burial would present no issues whatsoever, other than to the superstitiously committed naturopaths. There are indeed plenty of those, however, to be sure.
Agreed. I fear, and observe, the number of "superstitiously committed naturopaths" are on the rise. It seems that fear and ignorance are now main drivers of our politics and our public discourse.
Oh c'mon Mike, don't pander to the superstitiously committed flat-earthers.

I agree with everything being said about the suitability of Canadian shield for storing reactor waste. Except for the "bury and forget" part. When something has a half-life of 1000+ years, let alone the potential to touch the water table, or show up in some nut's dirty bomb, you can't just bury and forget. It's a long-term obligation.
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Old 27-12-2015, 13:41   #505
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Originally Posted by SailOar View Post
It is because I don't take you for a ding-bat denier, but rather an intellectually honest skeptic, that I've taken the time to respond to your quires. There are, however, a number of the former on this thread.

Yes, it is difficult to determine exactly what happened in the distant past. As you will note, the error bars in the charts grow increasingly larger the further back in time one goes. However, what is happening now with respect to both ocean acidification and climate change, is corroborated both by physical, chemical and biological theories, as well as by observational data.

No serious scientist is warning that all life is at risk. The big problem is not so much that change is occurring, but rather that the rate of change is so fast that normal biological evolution cannot keep up.

I'm not a bio-chemist. If these references aren't persuasive I can't offer you anything better.

What is ocean acidification, and why does it matter? | PHYS.org


What is Ocean Acidification? | NOAA


Ocean Acidification: A Risky Shell Game | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Ocean acidification | Wikipedia
Well, they aren't persuasive. The first clue is the constant reference to acidity. Basic chemistry will tell you that making an alkaline solution slightly less alkaline in no way makes it "acidic". It's still an alkaline solution.

The ocean has a pH of 8.1 it is estimated that it has decreased by 0.1 as a result of addition co2 produced by anthropogenic sources. The pH scale is logarithmic with 7 neutral, >7 alkaline and <7 acid.

http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/184ph.html

I won't disagree that it may well be true that some fragile aquatic species with tentative holds may indeed be stressed by these ever so slight changes, however I'd also postulate that pollution in general is likely to be much, in fact likely to be very much, more damaging to these same organisms.

And no, I don't accept dipping pea sized shellfish into artificially created "year 2100" seawater and watching their shells dissolve - probably very painfully to the poor creatures - in an attempt to prove that they can't adapt quickly enough to changes is good science.


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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Oh c'mon Mike, don't pander to the superstitiously committed flat-earthers.

I agree with everything being said about the suitability of Canadian shield for storing reactor waste. Except for the "bury and forget" part. When something has a half-life of 1000+ years, let alone the potential to touch the water table, or show up in some nut's dirty bomb, you can't just bury and forget. It's a long-term obligation.
You're right LE, there is no way this stuff should be buried and forgotten. Although given our propensity to do just that with all manner of pollutants and business "externalities", I won't be shocked if this does happen in the future with some of these sites.

Speaking of flat-earthers though, I suspect I've also used them as humorous rhetorical foils. I've always assumed they were a safe joke, but my nephew pointed out there are actual real people who still fervently believe this stuff. Apparently that have an internally consistent epistemological explanation of how the world works. Of course it's easily and demonstrably wrong, but the adherents have all the necessary conspiracy theories explaining why and how the scientific consensus around things like gravity is corrupt and wrong.

Hmmmm, sound familiar?

Ironically, and apparently, the flat earthers do accept what science is saying regarding climate change. Gotta love humans .
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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You're right LE, there is no way this stuff should be buried and forgotten. Although given our propensity to do just that with all manner of pollutants and business "externalities", I won't be shocked if this does happen in the future with some of these sites.

Speaking of flat-earthers though, I suspect I've also used them as humorous rhetorical foils. I've always assumed they were a safe joke, but my nephew pointed out there are actual real people who still fervently believe this stuff. Apparently that have an internally consistent epistemological explanation of how the world works. Of course it's easily and demonstrably wrong, but the adherents have all the necessary conspiracy theories explaining why and how the scientific consensus around things like gravity is corrupt and wrong.

Hmmmm, sound familiar?

Ironically, and apparently, the flat earth's do accept what science is saying regarding climate change. Gotta love humans .
YA SEE??! If the Alarmists can't even figure out how to accurately insult the Deniers, then surely they must be wrong about everything else!
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Muckle Flugga,
These are all important question, each worthy of extended discussions. I'll take a crack at 4a in this post, and 4b in my next post.

As an aside, the website SkepticalScience.com has a huge list of Q&A pages which address many AGW topics.
Anyone who uses SS.com as a reference loses me immediately. Cook and his cronies run a pure propaganda site which constantly distorts the science to suit the message.
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YA SEE??! If the Alarmists can't even figure out how to accurately insult the Deniers, then surely they must be wrong about everything else!
There ya go

And before everyone else melts down, we're just having a little fun here. Lets face it, no one is going to change their mind on anything. Doesn't really matter. The planet's ecosystem doesn't care what we think.
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Re: Why Climate Change Won't Matter in 20 Years

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
What a crock. Your explanation and links have nothing to do with ocean pH. It relates to ocean magnesium content influenced primarily by plate tectonics. One of your links explicitly explains this.

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Yep, SkepticalScience at its best
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