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Monday Message Board

August 4th, 2008

It’s time once again for the Monday Message Board. Comment on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. Dave
    August 4th, 2008 at 11:27 | #1

    The recent unprecedented melting of the arctic ice and greenland simply proves the denialists argument : the ice has clearly just melted itself as part of a world socialist conspiracy to trick us into believing AGW.
    Nothing to worry about guys, the ice is just trying to trick us.

  2. Dave
    August 4th, 2008 at 11:29 | #2

    Actually, could we have some of the denialist geniuses on this board explain the recent ice melting to us. I’m confused, and seek their guidance.

  3. Kymbos
    August 4th, 2008 at 12:13 | #3

    John, do you have a firm view on where the Australian economy is going over the next 6-12 months? Please let me know if you’ve posted on this elsewhere. I’d be interested to know whether you think the slowdown is actually too quick, or if things are moving in the right direction more or less.

  4. Spiros
    August 4th, 2008 at 15:31 | #4

    Congratulations to Peter Garrett for banning the importation of Savannah cats, a cross-breed with an African feline which can get as big as 12kg.

    The wannabe-importers say they are going to sue, because they got the all-clear from the Howard government. As if we don’t have enough problems with feral cats as it is, let alone with super-sized ones.

    Whatever the merits of the legals, their argument that it would have been all OK because the cats would have been desexed is totally convincing. One runaway non-desexed cat and it would be the cane toad all over again, only worse.

  5. Spiros
    August 4th, 2008 at 15:31 | #5

    Sorry, that’s ‘totally unconvincing’.

  6. tintin
    August 4th, 2008 at 15:42 | #6

    Spiros says “One runaway non-desexed cat and it would be the cane toad all over again, only worse”.

    Actually Spriros, last time I checked, you’d need at least two non-desexed cats.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_birds_and_the_bees

    Tin Tin

  7. Spiros
    August 4th, 2008 at 15:52 | #7

    tintin, one runaway non-desexed Savannah cat plus one other feral cat is all that is required.

    If you don’t believe me, ask Professor Calculus.

  8. August 4th, 2008 at 18:06 | #8

    “Congratulations to Peter Garrett for banning the importation of Savannah cats, a cross-breed with an African feline which can get as big as 12kg.”

    I’ll second that. My jaw hit the floor when I heard about this gobsmackingly stupid plan to import these cats.

  9. TerjeP
    August 5th, 2008 at 04:43 | #9

    Taronga zoo is full of big cats.

  10. Socrates
    August 5th, 2008 at 12:02 | #10

    Did anyone see the Four Corners show on Arctic ice melting last night? I found it quite sobering, and a few quick internet searches afterwards seemed to confirm its accuracy. I am not a climate scientist but I couldn’t help thinking that it is already too late to stop the Arctic from melting. This would lead to Greenland melting more quickly and all that entails.

    Given the current balance between CO2 emissions and natural absorptive capacity, plus that it looks like we won’t have started to reduce emissions before 2012, I don’t see how the situation will even begin to stabilise before 2020 to 2030. That means the Arctic will be gone, and presumably lead to severe climate and sea level impacts. It looks to me as though we are headed for an outcome much worse than IPCC4 predicted.

    Perhaps my assumptions are too gloomy. Even so, I can’t help wondering if we have dithered too long on carbon trading, and pass rstrictive laws on net CO2 emissions for all major industries, including CO2 intensive imports where the producer country doesn’t have a trading scheme?

  11. wilful
    August 5th, 2008 at 12:17 | #11

    Socrates, here’s a book for you to read: http://www.climatecodered.net/

    It’s becoming a legitimate, well-supported scientific position to say we’re just plain f*cked.

    Try dialling in +7 metres (for greenland).

    http://flood.firetree.net/

    Now add 5 metres for East Antarctica

    Then add one metre for thermal expansion.

    Then have a look at the Netherlands, and London, and Shanghai.

    Don’t forget a couple of metres for the glaciers and ice sheets. What, you’ve broken the model? Ooops.

  12. TerjeP
    August 5th, 2008 at 12:41 | #12

    I thought the Arctic had been clear of ice on previous occasions. Didn’t some Norweigen chap sail across in the early 20th century. Before declaring this to be potentially bad news you would need to validate that it is in fact an unprecidented phenomena.

  13. Socrates
    August 5th, 2008 at 13:22 | #13

    No Terje, I have gone over this before. The Arctic has not been ice free in recorded history. The last time it happened with certainty was 55 million years ago. It may have happened 125,000 years ago (estimate; geologicvally hard to be certain). See
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html

    As for Amundsen, he was the first person to cross the North West Passage in 1903, using a specially strengthened cutter. He didn’t “sail” it – it took him 3 years and he was frequently locked in ice.

  14. Dave
    August 5th, 2008 at 13:27 | #14

    Come on denialists, surely you can explain the melting ice. I mean, your theories are so consistent and science based. Come on guys!

  15. Socrates
    August 5th, 2008 at 13:36 | #15

    Incidentally Terje, IF it was the case that the Arctic was last ice free 125,000 years ago at the height of the Eemian inter-glacial, it is worth noting that that coincided with a period when global sea levels were 4-5m higher than at present. See
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html

    There is also a long history of sailors trying to cross the North West Passage, going back to Cabot in 1497. Nobody seems to have actually gotten north of Alaska before Bering in 1728.

  16. Socrates
    August 5th, 2008 at 13:46 | #16

    Wilful

    An interesting map. Even if I dial in the Eemian era sea level (+4.5 metres) from NSIDC, it is sobering for many coastal cities, including the Gold Coast. The new “Venice of the South”?

    I used to think this was a very long term thing till last years holidays, when we stopped into Narracorte Caves in SA. The whole area from there to Mt Gambier has been affected by recent inundation. I was surprised to read that the best estimate was that sea levels rose 20 metres in 500 years about 12000 years ago. Thats 4m per century!! Apparently that is unlikley to happen now because there is less ice to melt now but even so, it would be interestign to take a Julian Simon type bet on what sea-levels will be in 2050.

  17. wilful
    August 5th, 2008 at 18:01 | #17

    Of course, the IPCC say it’s 18 – 59 cm, plus who knows what. It very much looks like we’ll lose Greenland and the west (or is it east) Antarctic this century. That’s up to 20 metres. That level of disruption to society is truly game-changing.

    This isn’t wild-assed speculation either, it’s some of the maybe lower probability but still highly possible outcomes.

    The previously mentioned 4 corners site is here: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2321264.htm

    Reports and research: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2323890.htm

    (Thanks to I think Peter Wood for the links, over at LarvaProd).

  18. Socrates
    August 6th, 2008 at 08:54 | #18

    Wilful
    I agree with your concern but I thought Greenland plus WAIS melting would equate to a 13 metre sea level rise, not 20. Also none of the stuff I have suggests we might lose both Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets this century. What is your source for that?

  19. wilful
    August 6th, 2008 at 13:26 | #19

    Socrates, I’m not going to be able to quote directly from the sources, but they should be easy at hand, such as through the 4 corners link above or from “Climate Code Red’.

    I don’t mean 20 metres to be the definitive level, it’s indicative, anywhere over about ten to fifteen can be called disastrous, right? From recollection, Greenland is about seven metres, West Antarctica about six, and then there are a bunch of other issues which add another couple – thermal expansion, glaciers, other ice sheets, gains already in the system. Plus uncertainty. According to the ‘tipping points’ views of the world, we’re rather likely to lose Greenland this century, and moderately likely to lose West Antarctica. Due to physical inertia, we may well have already lost Greenland ice sheet already. Due to political inertia, we may as well factor in Antarctica.

  20. Ian Gould
    August 6th, 2008 at 18:25 | #20

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08/adspecs_eyeglasses_for_a_billion.php

    Adspecs is short for “adaptive specs” – a new design for cheap mass-produced glasses for the third world.

    But seeing the headline led me to think about advertising sponsorship for various essential items.

    For example, you could still a Micrososft logo on the frames of the glasses.

  21. Ian Gould
    August 7th, 2008 at 18:44 | #21

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/07/2327204.htm

    Australian unemployment remains at 4.3% and total employment icnreased last month.

    Meanwhile oil prices continue to fall.

    Maybe the end of the world isn’t nigh after all.

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