Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Intellectual Properties

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  • BenWilson,

    Forests can "migrate" in geological time. But they can't cope with change this rapid. Animals find it easier, but there are usually significant barriers to migration, both from topography and from people. Basically, we're looking at a significant mass extinction event.

    And again I say, I don't see how you can be sure this will happen. I can't be sure it won't either. That's all I'm saying. Spores and seeds can travel great distances on the wind or carried by animals.Tiny unnoticed colonies can spring into full bloom. The only thing you could really say with confidence is that things would probably be a lot different. But different bad or different good? Or just different? I guess it depends which species you were in the first place.

    Of course I also fear change. The possibility of, say, a dramatic drop in the rainfall in NZ would be quite disastrous in the short term for this country. Whereas a massive increase would not really add that much that could be immediately exploited.

    I just refuse to accept that we know for sure that climate change would create a living hell for humanity, or decimate life on earth. I'd rate it as almost equally likely that the long term effect could actually be positive for humans. The geological timescale suggests that life on this planet will scarcely notice that humanity had ever been here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Meh........

    Ben - I repeat to you the point that I made the last time you voiced this kind of argument. Philosophically and scientifically you are correct. There is no such thing as a scientific certainty. I would even go so far as to say that climate science is guilty of only looking at the negatives. But in looking for the negatives scientists have managed to accumulate evidence that indicates a high likelihood of some well described negative events. Your argument on the other hands lacks any such evidence and remains in the realm of speculation. It reeks of the sort of FUD that eventuates in "suck it and see I don't need to change what I'm doing". In so far as you are less than vigorous in calling for more and better research on the matter am I to presume that this is your point ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And again I say, I don't see how you can be sure this will happen. I can't be sure it won't either. That's all I'm saying. Spores and seeds can travel great distances on the wind or carried by animals.

    Actually scientists can be quite clear on why this is a problem. Plant environments have developed over millions of years. Plants have evolved to deal with certain climate, soil, other plants, animals. Plants themselves help create this environment through their decay. If you shift plants 500 km south, that's not necessarily going to work out very well, even if the temperature remains largely the same as they're used to. Birds and insects have a very important role in fertilising plants. What happens to a forest of plants when the bird that has performed this role migrates south permanently?

    Your theory about plants just moving doesn't pan out. Ask why there are native plants in one place, and not in another, even though the climate is similar. There are natural barriers to plants - deserts, mountains, swamps, sea, large rivers. One of things that climate change might lead to if it gets severe is human-assisted migration of plants and animals to maintain their environment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    81st, your concession that they're only looking for negatives is enough for me. I don't care what it 'reeks' of. I have my opinion and my reasons for it, which I have given. There are no hidden agendas. I've said I think we should control climate change, because even if the probability was weighted towards positive effects, the chance of negative effects is too high to just wear. I just get tired of hearing the equating of climate change with certain doom. It is far from certain. Until people seriously investigate the alternative scenarios and how we might be able to manage under them, the likelihood of doom is utterly unknown, rather than being a scientific fact or even a scientific likelihood.

    Kyle

    I don't know what it is you think my 'theory' is. How plants propagate is surely not what you are disputing. So you must have some conception of what you think I mean that I'm not following.

    We were talking about extinctions - not some Lord of the Rings scenario where whole forests just up and move. And I was pointing out that plant species can actually survive a lot of change.

    Sure, there will be some extinctions from climate change, although I highly doubt that anyone could easily predict which species, unless that species exists in tiny numbers. There are extinctions all the time, from human and non-human causes - that's evolution. There could even be a lot of extinctions all at once, but none of that means certain doom.

    I guess a lot of the extinctions would be a lamentable loss to science and Gaia (if you believe in that), but would humanity suffer much more than that? Every species upon which we depend would survive, at least in seed form for plants, and probably en masse for animals.

    Disaster could happen. That's surely enough argument to try to control climate change. We don't need to pretend we know for sure that it would happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Ben - any sudden change will lead to chaos.

    A reason order is so prized by many cultures, & Roger Douglas will never get any power ever again.

    Revolutions are always bloody things and an environmental one will be pretty ugly with nowhere to hide.

    Haiti just lost its Prez over the price of rice & Joseph Smiths crowd have to have a 5yr supply of food in the garage. I'm not gonna join the Mormons just yet but I've got a suit and a bicycle.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Thanks Ben - Fair call, I figure that environmental scare will be about as effective as health scare....we need to be smarter than this.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ben - any sudden change will lead to chaos.

    That depends what you mean by chaos. If you mean 'rapid change' then sure, that's pretty much a trusim. If you mean 'everything will go to shit', then I don't think you can be sure of that.

    81st

    The reason for climate control to me is similar to the reasons for not driving drunk. It's not that you'll be sure to have a crash. It's not even likely at all. It's just 'more likely', and the consequences are catastrophic. Of course all opponents of drink driving will do a million studies about how it makes you less in control, how you're more likely to crash. But they seldom give the raw statistics of the chances of a crash, because it might undermine their case to say that a drunk driver has a one in ten thousand chance of having a fatal accident.

    Currently we are driving the climate drunk. Which surely increase our chances of a big stack, even though we actually don't know what those chances are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    ben:

    The reason for climate control to me is similar to the reasons for not driving drunk. It's not that you'll be sure to have a crash. It's not even likely at all. It's just 'more likely', and the consequences are catastrophic. ......
    Currently we are driving the climate drunk.

    i quite like this analogy.
    We may be out in our various predictions, however whether we risk smashing into a tree, take out a pedestrian, or a whole carload of tourists....certain precautions, within reason are sage.

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    And the first thing to do, is to stop drinking, to limit the amount of alcohol in our blood (ie CO2 in the atmosphere).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    And the first thing to do, is to stop drinking, to limit the amount of alcohol in our blood (ie CO2 in the atmosphere).

    isnt the first thing to do to stop drinking and driving?. either by replacing the risk adding element (a taxi/less bloody polution) or by adapting (sober driver/alternate energy sources).

    one is always wary of picking up the analogy and running with it a little tooo far.....

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    one is always wary of picking up the analogy and running with it a little tooo far.....

    Yes, it's hard to think how you could get an environmental designated driver so you can get blotto.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes, it's hard to think how you could get an environmental designated driver so you can get blotto.

    I think it's called carbon credits.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    hmmm and we all know what happened to non-alcoholic beer....

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I think it's called carbon credits.

    True. And places that spend up large on fossil fuels are more scrappy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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