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Shawnny3August 14th, 2007, 11:04 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
People have beaten around this topic many times in other threads. I thought I'd bring it to the forefront. Any takers? I think I'll wait to share my own opinions - I just don't have time right now.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
TroutnutAugust 14th, 2007, 12:30 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
It's a serious threat, because so many trout streams are already on the brink of thermal disaster. The first thing that comes to mind is that higher temperatures will be bad for the trout, which is true, but I think another symptom of global warming will probably do more damage first. That is the unstable weather: rain is expected to come less often and in larger doses. That means more droughts and more floods. That would certainly be consistent with most of the weather in the Midwest and Northeast in the last few years, and that weather has been taking a toll on the trout streams. I'm afraid that pattern may continue.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfAugust 14th, 2007, 2:17 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3161
Watch An Inconvenient Truth, and get others to do so. Many people still either deny global warming or don't seem to care about it.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SofthackleAugust 14th, 2007, 5:38 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
I believe, as Jason does, it will affect trout fishing immensely. It will also impact us and many other species on this planet. In fact it already is. Polar Bears are having trouble finding ice to live upon, and it seems like it's getting warmer earlier in the spring, and much warmer than it should be at times. It seems like my trout fishing season has shortened by a couple weeks, at least. The water is too low and too warm too early, and has Jason has pointed out it's either too much or too little rain.

The problem may seem too big for any of us to do anything about, but we can start right in our own homes by using energy saving appliances. I've switched out my regular incandescent bulbs for the new screw in florescent ones. Recycling also helps--especially paper products to prevent the cutting of trees for paper. It's not getting any better, and if we don't start doing something now, it may be too late to reverse it at all.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
DavezAugust 15th, 2007, 8:38 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 59
We've reached the point in all forums where it will become divided. I will keep my opinions to myself. i will sit back and watch this one unfold.



Shawnny3August 15th, 2007, 10:00 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Sure, Davez, but weighing divided opinions is how we resolve things in our own minds. If everyone just nodded along, the discussion would go nowhere (which, I fear, is more likely where discussions on this topic are heading). I certainly plan to share my opinions (ignorance has never stopped me before), but I just don't have the time right now.

Hopefully we can all at least agree that we care about our surroundings, at least inasmuch as they impact our fishing.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Chris_3gAugust 15th, 2007, 12:06 pm
Posts: 59I feel like I should say something, because I have somewhat strong feelings on this topic, regardless of my attachment to fly-fishing. I have not read every journal / book in existence, but I'm taking a more practical point of view, I suppose.

I am going to make the statement now that I am not opposed to environmental activism as long as it doesn't involve extremes; I think we should all do our part to conserve, protect, and improve our environment. If global warming is the cause that gets everyone in gear, then I can't oppose said cause, but I have a couple of opinions regarding global warming that I can't help but throw out there.

Is it happening? The Earth seems to be going through a warming trend, yes; I am really only basing this on what I've read and / or heard on the topic. Assuming that it is happening, I think we should prepare, but there is only so much we can do. Humans have adapted to various changes, from minor to dramatic, numerous times throughout history, and we will continue to adapt again and again until Earth gets tired of us and kicks us out. Hopefully, all of you guys are buying up all the land in Canada so when our trout streams in the U.S. start boiling in a million years, we'll still have a place to wet a line.

Anyway, my issues with global warming stem from my belief that we, as humans, don't have the control on it that we assume we do.

My first complaint is that we are basing everything we know of temperature fluctuation on the past 180 years worth of data, because this is the only data we have. Considering that Earth is approximately 4.57 billion years old, we have something like 0.000004 percent of the global temperature data on which to base our opinions. Now, while I understand that nearly all of that 4.57 billion years, Earth has been uninhabitable and has gone through monumental changes, it is safe to say that we know of and understand only a small portion of its history.

That being said, doesn't it seem a bit biased, if not pompous, to report that we are causing a catastrophic meltdown of the entire Earth because we've been emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since the 1800's? I'm not saying that we're helping (or hurting) things, but I think that we are putting ourselves a bit too high on the totem pole as far as our impact on global climate change goes. Earth has been around for some time now, and it'll likely be around for a long while after we're gone.

Do I think we need to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels? YES, if not for environmental, for political reasons - and this does not include drilling for oil in Alaska! We've needed to do this for years. Do I think that if we ceased all CO2 production this second that the sun would shine brighter and this warming trend would immediately stop? NO! There are far too many nonlinear, stochastic processes that are involved in Earth's climate that to make any such claim is ludicrous in my opinion.

Another issue I have is with regard to global climate models. Can your average weather station predict the weather within a month, aside from saying that it'll be cold in January? The year after Katrina, meteorologists predicted a very active hurricane season, and relatively nothing happened in comparison to the previous year. Is it then intelligent to say that a weather model that is predicting global climate changes 50-100 years from now is valid?

This goes back to the fact that Earth's climate is not a simple linear system. The impact that certain processes have on others which then impact others (and so on) needs to be understood thoroughly before valid predictions can be made on a global scale. Even then, there are random processes which must be thrown into the scheme of things to be completely correct, and that's a can of worms that no one wants to open. I've also heard that a lot of climate models cannot predict the past climate conditions with any confidence. Doesn't that seem like it would be a prerequisite? As improvements are made, computing power is increased, and we just flat out learn more, the models will improve, but I will always maintain a certain level of skepticism.

I guess those are my main issues. If it's happening, fine - we adapt accordingly and either start planning fishing trips that are farther north or get used to warm water fishing. Regardless of whether it is happening, we should have been taking better care of our environment from day one, rather than reacting to an assumed affect we've had on the global climate. If this global warming cause, causes humans to wake up and pay more attention, then go global warming, but I have a hard time believing that we have the power to shut off global trends with the flick of our wrists.

The most we can do at this time is do our best to conserve, protect, and improve the environment to the best of our ability, but I think we also need to understand that whatever was going to happen likely will anyway.

Chris.
SofthackleAugust 15th, 2007, 4:24 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Believe what you will, the evidence, however supports global warming and that we are the cause. I suppose you believe we're not the cause of global polution that has occured over the years; that we were not the cause of the extinction of some species; that we are not the cause of the poisons that permeate our plantlife through the use of certain pesticides that are now banned for use but are still present? Yes, we can and do have an impact on our environment, and to ignore warning signs may lead us to disaster. I'm not trying to scare anyone, nor am I an "activist" or "alarmist" as you say. I am concerned however. I know it probably won't affect me. I probably won't be around that long, but I have 5 children and 9 grandchildren, and I'd like to think they'll have a chance at life.

Even if we are totally wrong about global warming wouldn't you say it's wiser to make a mistake on the plus side and do things that will help the environment, nonetheless. That is what is being advocated as a solution,- changes to make our environment better. I'm sorry, but I would rather do something than sit back and let global warming happen.

I suggest you pull your heads out of the sand and do some research. Yes, there's two sides to every story, however, there are few that disagree, in the scientific community, with the fact that global warming IS occuring and that WE are the major cause. I'd also like to know what you think "the Media" has to gain by reporting this information?

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
TroutnutAugust 15th, 2007, 5:25 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
Humans have adapted to various changes, from minor to dramatic, numerous times throughout history, and we will continue to adapt again and again until Earth gets tired of us and kicks us out.


That kind of goes to a point George Carlin has made: we aren't out to save the Earth. The Earth is just fine no matter what we do to it, and it'll keep on spinning 'round the sun. We just have an interest in preserving our own habitat the way we like it.

That said, I think preserving our own habitat is very important, so the distinction is really semantic.

We are also far less adaptable than we used to be. A hundred thousand years ago, a 20-foot rise in sea level would have been no big deal. Pick up camp, move to higher ground. Ice age? Shoot something with thicker fur, problem solved.

Today, a major change in climate causing melting of the ice caps would necessitate a near-impossible population shift away from the coasts, causing an unprecedented refugee crisis. Global shipping would have to be completely revamped because most major ports would be underwater. A change in temperature would accompany massive changes in rainfall patterns, making many farming centers un-farmable and resulting in widespread famine. The world's economies would have to be completely rewritten, and many wars over resources would inevitably break out.

None of these things would necessarily make the Earth uninhabitable. Overall, it probably wouldn't be much different in that respect than it is now. It's just that the shapes of the continents would change, fertile farmlands would become deserts or jungles and jungles deserts -- it would just scramble everything. It's not the final state or air temperature of the planet people are really freaked out about, it's the effect of change on human society. Civilization is too entrenched, and not centralized enough, to adapt. If it is to survive the changes that might come, we need to slam the brakes on those changes to whatever extent we can in order to buy more time to adapt.

So it's not really about saving the planet or even saving the species, but preserving our quality of life. In that context it is an urgent crisis.

My first complaint is that we are basing everything we know of temperature fluctuation on the past 180 years worth of data, because this is the only data we have.


That's not true. Sure, we've only had people writing down thermometer readings for about that long, but geologists have numerous ways to infer temperatures (with varying degrees of accuracy) dating back many thousands or even millions of years.

Do I think that if we ceased all CO2 production this second that the sun would shine brighter and this warming trend would immediately stop? NO!


Nobody is saying it would. The CO2 we've already put up there isn't going away in a hurry. But the solutions aren't about hitting on/off switches. They're about slowing down harmful processes to give ourselves much-needed extra time to adapt or develop more permanent solutions.

Another issue I have is with regard to global climate models. Can your average weather station predict the weather within a month, aside from saying that it'll be cold in January? The year after Katrina, meteorologists predicted a very active hurricane season, and relatively nothing happened in comparison to the previous year. Is it then intelligent to say that a weather model that is predicting global climate changes 50-100 years from now is valid?


Yes, because nobody's saying, "On October 16th, 2091, it will be 54 degrees and lightly raining in St. Louis." Large-scale processes are often more predictable than their chaotic components, and the predictions made are far less specific. For example, think about the position of a ball bouncing down a rocky hill. Nobody would presume to predict within 1 foot where that ball will be 10 seconds later, because it's taking all kinds of unpredictable hops. But it's pretty clear that at the end of the day the ball will be somewhere at the bottom of the hill. Likewise, more CO2 in the atmosphere means more solar energy trapped in the long run, regardless of minor fluctuations in the details. And that extra energy has a host of predictable dire consequences.

Sure, we don't fully understand all the changes likely to come from global warming. But do we need to? The only good climate for us is a stable climate. Any large-scale instability will disrupt the lives of hundreds of millions of people, no matter what form it takes. It is also sure to negatively impact other species which demand stable conditions, including trout.

I think a lot of well-intentioned people have become global warming "skeptics" as a negative reaction to the lofty rhetoric and exaggeration commonly used by celebrities who take up the cause. The presence of a handful of dissenting scientists, most looking to get their names in the papers, makes it easier to doubt that there's a problem and to overlook the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of experts in the field.

It's almost like evolution in that respect -- there's no conflict among actual experts, but because a couple vocal goofballs with biology credentials oppose it, the public begins to view it as a matter of opinion. Then a cottage industry of "skepticism" (which is not real, cautious, scientific skepticism, but a non-skeptical acceptance of any information opposing the mainstream position) pops up around the issue, full of misinformation, quotes pulled out of context, and an attractive "us vs. the man" attitude. These minorities really thrive when unqualified celebrities speak out for the majority position in inaccurate ways. They find some little detail error made in a speech by George Clooney and quote that to say, "see!? Global warming IS wrong!" I bet these people have spent more hours trying to poke holes in An Inconvenient Truth than they have in every scientific journal article on global warming combined.

I think it's much more reasonable to stick with the overwhelming majority opinion of qualified climate scientists, particularly with regard to such simple and overwhelmingly agreed-upon fundamentals as the greenhouse effect. When they say there's cause for concern, there's cause for concern and we should act. If we act and it turns out not to have been necessary, what have we lost? Nothing. If we fail to act and it turns out they were right, we're screwed.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
KonchuAugust 15th, 2007, 8:32 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 503
Thought I'd share some things in simplified, condensed form from my environmental science class. Decent records of global temperature and atmospheric gas levels are preserved in polar ice. Core samples from this ice show a picture of rapid recent global temperature change and atmospheric composition. However, more dramatic changes have happened pre-Industrial Revolution. So without going into all the details, while it isn't certain that we're wrecking the planet, it is pretty likely. We're also probably near the point of no return. Even if we cleaned up our act completely tomorrow, things would continue to get worse for awhile; then things would rebound. Current biomes are pretty resilient, but only to a certain, unknown, extent.

It is interesting, too, to note that some population dymanics models independently predict some global event within about 75 years that will cause the human population to level out. Famine? Disease? As a result of: Environmental catastrophe? War? Or will we have improved adoption of contraception?

It all seems rather apocalyptic and makes one start to question a lot of things.

What does this mean for the cold streams that I like so well? They going to become more isolated. Lower elevation species are going to be pushed up, if they can make it. And more trash species are going to take over.

If I look at the mayfly species I've studied over the past decade or so, I can point out some apparent trends that should be of concern. Whether these are due to climate change or merely land use changes, is tough to say, however. And sometimes decline is merely populations returning to equilibrium after being out of balance during our formative years of reference.

The ultimate fate of every species is extinction; we just might be rushing the process.

Wish I had time to weigh in more here and elsewhere, but alas life beckons.
Shawnny3August 15th, 2007, 8:50 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Nice posts so far, everyone. I hope we can keep things from getting too heated.

I wrote some stuff before Jason and Konchu posted, so if it looks like they've already spoken to some things I have to say, that's fine - I've already spent too long on it to go back and edit things. Let me say in advance that I really liked what Jason and Konchu posted - very perceptive insights, guys.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Shawnny3August 15th, 2007, 8:50 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I am a chemistry and physics teacher, so I'm a scientist but by no means a climate change scientist. A few colleagues and I developed a course last year that teaches both physics and chemistry around a central theme - that theme is the energy problem, which goes hand-in-hand with the issue of global warming. Also at my school last year, a few social studies teachers moved by Al Gore's film actually arranged for a school-wide screening of it, and brought in a world-renowned climate change expert from Penn State to give a talk to the students afterwards. Needless to say, the topic was hotly discussed in my classes, so I researched the field as best I could. What I found was that the issue is so politicized that it was quite impossible to find information from unbiased sources. Couple that with the incredible number of variables at play, and the bottom line is that there IS no expert on global warming who has both the breadth and depth of knowledge and the political neutrality needed to wisely guide world policy. So we pit expert against expert, each with his own bias and each with his own areas of scientific weakness, and don’t get very far.

Gore’s film is undoubtedly the most popular source of information on this issue for the general public, so let me address the main points of Gore's film, offering along the way some other perspectives I’ve come across in my research.

Point #1: "The Earth is getting warmer." Almost certainly. Over the past 150 years, there is consensus that there has been a general warming trend. I've actually seen data, however, that suggest that the Earth's temperature since the year 2000 has held steady. Also, in the 1950s and 60s there was a sharp downward trend, severe enough that many major periodicals widely speculated that the Earth was going into another ice age.

Point #2: "Human-made CO2 is to blame for the Earth getting warmer." Most compelling is ice-core data that shows that CO2 and global temperature are closely correlated over the past 600,000 years. It is when speaking about this correlation that Gore makes the classic non-scientist blunder, substituting causation in its stead. The correlation of two variables does not tell us which causes the other or whether both are caused by other unstudied factors. For example, the Sun's irradiance over the past 150 years is closely correlated to global temperatures. But again, that doesn't prove causation.

But there is one type of correlation that brings us at least closer to causation, one in which one variable’s changes precede another variable’s corresponding changes. Now, when Gore shows you his correlative data over the past 600,000 years, it is impossible to see which variable precedes which, if at all. But, when the data is investigated more closely, it is found that the CO2 levels during warming periods actually TRAIL the temperature increases by an average of 800 years, then again trail the temperature decreases when the temperature goes back down. I’ve seen attempts made by geoscientists to explain away this lag by saying that some other unknown cause started the warming periods but CO2 could still have acted as a positive feedback mechanism that exacerbated the warming, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense – a positive feedback mechanism spirals out of control unless an even more powerful mechanism overwhelms it. So the “expert explanation” is that an unknown and very powerful cause made an incredible amount of ice melt, then another unknown, then CO2 went up and could have caused more warming, then another very powerful cause reversed the ensuing exponential warming and plunged the Earth back into another ice age, then CO2 went back down. Not a very compelling explanation, especially considering the amount of heat required in the first place - melting ice requires more than 300 times more heat than warming the same mass of air by 1 deg-C, and reforming that ice would require removing that same amount of heat. All this explanation does is make it sound like CO2 is a minor player at most and the experts really have no clue what the major players are. The more obvious explanation, of course, is that atmospheric CO2 is a consequence of global warming rather than the other way around. But I certainly wouldn’t be confident in saying that either.

Point #3: “100% of all climate scientists concur that global warming is occurring and humans are responsible.” Gore says this with barely restrained delight and a great deal of drama. I hope the transparent idiocy of such a statement makes it obvious to everyone that Gore might just be twisting the facts a little for his own agenda. Let’s assume, though, that the number is close to 100%. How does such a consensus happen on such a complex issue? Well, when someone pursues a higher degree in climate change science, it stands to reason that he believes that the climate is changing, just as someone pursuing a higher degree in, say, the drift-feeding behavior of salmonid species (sorry, Jason), presumably believes that salmonid species actually exhibit drift-feeding behavior. No one studies something he doesn’t believe exists. Then, once that graduate has his degree in climate change science, how does he justify his own position at a university or other organization? Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck wouldn’t go around trying to prove that my own discipline was baseless. You get the idea. If you aren’t convinced yet that scientists are biased, just follow the money trail – everyone is funded by someone with a vested interest in certain outcomes, especially when the game has stakes as high as you’ll find in the field of global warming. This happens all the time in science.

Point #4: “Do your part – plant a tree, change a light bulb, drive a hybrid.” Seriously, these are Gore’s solutions, and I’ve heard them echoed countless times. Oh, I forgot his best one – carbon sequestration. You’re going to sequester the 15000 lbs of CO2 generated yearly by each person in the U.S. in an economically feasible and environmentally friendly way. Um, yeah. And where are you going to get all the energy you need to build the long-term storage facilities, mine, purify, and react the necessary chemicals to turn the CO2 into liquid or solid form (or the energy needed to just compress it), equip every vehicle with a means to trap its own exhaust… I mean, are you kidding me? I think colonizing Mars would be more feasible. But really, Gore spends 98% of his film telling us how terrible the situation is, then spends the last 90 seconds of his film giving us THESE solutions? I was pretty insulted. Gore’s not alone in this – it’s the same stuff I hear from everyone on this issue, including the expert who spoke at our school. This little gem was what he left our students with (and I paraphrase): “We humans have always found a way to solve our problems through ingenuity and science, so I’m confident that we will find the solution to this problem.” Really? We’ve had a long time to come up with the vaccine for the common cold – how’s that coming? Thanks for being the cheerleader, but I was hoping for a little more in the way of actual ideas.

Point #5: “Doing something is better than doing nothing.” Not when doing something causes energy costs to rise to the point that the poorest people can’t afford the basic necessities. It’s easy for upper-middle-class Americans to handle rising energy costs, but not for the African living on $500 a year. Bottom line: If we actually do anything more to curb global warming than the silly little things Gore proposes, the poorest people in the world will have an even more difficult time fighting famine, disease, etc. Right now international pressure from the environmental movement is keeping Africa from developing, when many African nations are sitting on huge oil fields. “Doing something about it” has a cost – don’t forget that. So we ought to make darned sure we’re right before we mortgage millions of lives on a real solution, one that (don’t kid yourself) will cause energy prices to skyrocket.

Point #6: “We just have to stop using so much fossil fuel.” And what, slow the INCREASE in the rate of warming? If the picture is as bleak as Gore paints it, then we can’t even slow the rate, only the increase in the rate. What good would that possibly do? Again, “doing something” just doesn’t make sense unless it’s something that might actually WORK. Bottom line: We have used half of the oil on this planet, and we WILL use the other half before we develop alternative energy sources. According to modern Hubbert’s peaks, this decline in oil production could begin any year now, which will drive us to coal, which will last us another 50-100 years after the oil is gone. We’re probably only talking about 150 years of the fossil fuel era left. Even with huge alternative energy initiatives (which will be quite energy-costly up front), we will only slow our fossil-fuel usage somewhat, get another 50 years perhaps. I guess what I’m saying is, if we knew about this problem 150 years ago, we could have done something significant about it. But we’re now at the peak of the fossil fuel era, and those fuels will be phasing themselves out whether we want them to or not – no environmental movement necessary.

Point #7: “Global warming is the greatest problem we face as humans.” If it is occurring, I would probably put it third, behind nuclear proliferation and the spread of AIDS, but that’s just me. Many scientists, coincidentally, implicate nuclear testing for the global cooling of the 1950s and 60s, claiming that extra dust churned up from nukes caused a mild nuclear winter. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we spent the next 50 years fighting global warming, and SUCCEEDED, only to have a nuclear war break out and cause a nuclear winter? Call me a pessimist, but I think nuclear war is much more likely to cause a nuclear winter before global warming causes all the catastrophes some predict. Have you seen the wackos in Iran and North Korea, not to mention the White House?

Point #8: “Al Gore is the world’s greatest martyr.” In his own eyes, perhaps – his film makes shameless attempts to get this message across. But don’t cry for Al – his mansion in Tennessee uses 20 times the energy of your average American home. Just he and Tipper, mind you. Couple that with his jet flights and limo rides the world round spreading his gospel, and Al’s got a huge problem practicing what he preaches. Now, he’ll tell you that he pays extra for “green” energy so as not to harm the planet, but energy usage is energy usage, and there’s a reason those “green” energy sources cost so much money – because there’s a huge cost associated with making windmills and solar panels in the first place, fueled by the energy and built with the synthetics derived from (surprise!) fossil fuels.

I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I am skeptical about all this global warming fervor. I spoke with a friend of mine who is a world-renowned meteorologist, and he’s not too worried. He points out that the models he uses to predict weather 2 weeks away have been honed for 50+ years, while the models predicting global temperatures a hundred years away have been in existence for 15 years. Furthermore, the models predicting global warming rely heavily on the tweaking of political variables such as human CO2 emissions while completely ignoring the impact of much more important global variables such as the temperature buffering effects of the ocean. His personal conclusion is that very little, if any, of the warming we’re seeing is human-caused, but then he says he has some colleagues who are freaking out about global warming.

By the way, if you’d like to quickly explore some of the views opposing Mr. Gore’s, there’s an equally biased documentary called “The Great Global Warming Swindle” that you might want to check out – you can watch it for free on Google videos. It’s been discredited by certain experts as anti-environmental propaganda, but if you could stomach Gore’s film then you should be able to handle this one. At least this film has actual scientists in it, some of them pretty prominent.

Sorry for the length of this post. Gonzo would be proud.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
TaxonAugust 16th, 2007, 12:10 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1337
Shawn-

No one studies something he doesn’t believe exists.


Really? Perhaps you should qualify that statement just a smidgen.

In any event, you certainly make some interesting points. Not sure whether I should be relieved or disappointed that I won’t not be around long enough to know who (if anyone) was actually right. However, I'm pretty certain that way too much of my threshold for debate is likely to be dominated by the controversy. Heck, maybe I'll just go out and collect some mayflies.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
WiflyfisherAugust 16th, 2007, 4:49 am
Wisconsin

Posts: 647
Shawn I am impressed! I bet you are an excellent teacher! I also enjoy some of your witty comments on other threads.

John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
Shawnny3August 16th, 2007, 7:09 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thank you, John. Personally, I'm more impressed with what Jason wrote. But I appreciate the kind sentiments.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
SofthackleAugust 16th, 2007, 8:13 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
I am not a scientist by any means, and I agree that there are other things we definitely need to worry about in this world to help preserve our future. I also know about and have seen changes take place over the years that have definitely improved our environment. I recall a time when we were spraying DDT on everything, till, low and behold, we discovered it was causing some serious problems in the environment. But we humans also have a tendancy to overlook things that seem to be useful to us despite the real damage it may be causing.

I'm not a global warming expert, but I'm person that remembers colder longer winters, and shorter summers. So I know something is happening, and I believe the change has something to do with our activities, as it has in the past, although I don't know, and that can truly be the problem, here--we don't know.

Of course facts can be twisted, but they can be twisted both ways, just as they were when they were looking at the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. How are we, the plain man, suppose to know what is right and true? Do we ignore the signs? Do we just go on oblivious to what is happening around us? What do we do? And while we are sitting around arguing who is right, are we letting something slip by? A solution, perhaps, or something that will tell us what IS going on?

(PS-I'm not a chemist either, but I thought the by-product to internal combustion was carbon monoxide.)

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
WiflyfisherAugust 16th, 2007, 8:16 am
Wisconsin

Posts: 647
Shawn,

Because you are teaching your students (by your example) to be objective, research and analyze the situation for themselves.
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
DavezAugust 16th, 2007, 10:07 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 59
I have a relative and a friend who are both scientists. one works for an organization PAID to research global warming to prove it and the other is PAID to research to disprove it.

when i talk to one of them, it is a scam. the othe rone thinks we are all gonna die.

If you know where your bread and butter is coming from, I'm sure you would like to keep your job.

Anyone can be bought or sold.

Shawnny3August 16th, 2007, 10:28 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I think you touch on something key, Mark, and that is that we have to have a healthy level of awareness of our impact on our world, and you're absolutely right - we DO have an impact. Even if you get everyone to agree that our environment is important, though, the best course of action is still not always obvious. In some cases the environmentally responsible choice is relatively easy to make. You gave the example of DDT. Another would be the elimination of lead from paints - it sent the paint industry back to the drawing board and they gave us inferior paints for awhile, but it was well worth it in the long run. The problem with global warming is that CO2 is produced every time you burn anything (carbon monoxide, which you mentioned, is a minor byproduct of combustion reactions resulting from low oxygen availability). So when you burn firewood, coal, natural gas, gasoline, plastic, foam, synthetic fibers... essentially anything, you release CO2 as the major byproduct. It's hard to envision a world in which nothing burns, which makes the problem of CO2 (if it really is causing global warming) a lot more difficult to fix than lead in paint or DDT in pesticides. Developing a CO2-free combustion reaction would be like trying to dehydrate water.

The only "combustion" reaction that produces no CO2 is the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen to form water (it's not considered true combustion because it doesn't produce CO2). The problem is that hydrogen is nonexistent in elemental form on the Earth's surface (it's the least dense of all gases), which means you have to isolate it from water, which requires even more energy input than you get out of it in the end (because no energy conversion is 100% efficient, and this process would require at least 2 energy conversions, typically more). So hydrogen is only useful for energy storage - it is not an energy source for us. The electricity needed to drive hydrogen from water is usually generated by coal, much cheaper than gasoline and much easier to remove the pollutants from (because all the pollution is generated in one place, a factory designed to deal with it, instead of in every car that burns it). So, even with the inefficiencies in the system, hydrogen powered cars could be a quite economical and environmentally friendly option... with the exception of one pollutant - CO2. There is no practical way to remove it from the coal burning process (since it is a major product rather than a minor nuisance), so it just goes out the chimney and into the environment.

Solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy sources don't directly produce CO2, but they have a huge up-front energy cost (paid for in fossil fuels), and produce relatively puny amounts of energy. There are also other environmental concerns with wind (birds getting killed by the props) and hydroelectric (fishermen know this all too well) energies.

The only other energy-producing option that does not produce CO2 is nuclear energy, which our country has inexplicably abandoned since the Three Mile Island incident. Nuclear reactors produce both huge amounts of energy and very little waste. That waste, currently little used and stored away in nuclear waste facilities, can be converted back into useful fuel in breeder reactors, so we could get even more energy out of it. The environmental cost of nuclear energy is so minor (just some warm water discharge, typical of any energy plant) as long as the reactor and waste are well managed that it is the only long-term option that could both bear the brunt of the energy load and not cause widespread harm to the environment. Forget the CO2 and global warming for a minute and compare just the number of deaths associated with mining fossil fuels, transporting them, burning them, and then inhaling the byproducts with the number of deaths associated with nuclear power plant disasters in the past 50 years. Yes, we use a lot less nuclear energy than fossil fuels, but the point is obvious - nuclear is better for us (as long as we don't use it to blow each other up). Yet our country has not built a reactor since the 70s, while the French produce nearly all of their electricity from nuclear fuel. When France is obliterating us in a technology invented in the U.S., it's an embarrassment.

Sorry, I wasn't supposed to do that until September.

-Shawn

P.S. Thanks, John - I try to get them thinking instead of just passively accepting, but for the most part their Playstationed brains resist at all costs.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Shawnny3August 16th, 2007, 10:45 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
In college, Davez, a company called the microbiology lab I was working in with a grave concern - turns out new research had just been published showing that bacteria were more easily transmitted from plastic cutting boards than wooden ones. The company that funded the original research was, of course, manufacturing wood cutting boards, and the concerned company that called us was, of course, manufacturing plastic cutting boards. They wanted us to show some way in which plastic cutting boards were superior to wood cutting boards. We took their money and did the research.

We did our research with E. coli 0157-H7, the infamous strain implicated in so many food outbreaks. We found (not surprisingly) that wood cutting boards do indeed trap bacteria in them, but, though wood has some natural antimicrobial properties, that we could also detect living bacteria inside of cracks in the wood cutting boards even after they were cleaned (this was done using an ingenious agar overlay technique I cannot take credit for). Now, neither bit of research was necessarily wrong, and both studies had their merits, but the fact remains that each research team set out with a specific agenda to find a predetermined outcome and exclude any results to the contrary. Can you imagine what the response would have been from the plastic cutting board company had we returned and said, "The results are in, and it's worse than we thought - wood cutting boards are even more vastly superior than the previous study reported, and we're planning on publishing the proof in a major research journal." And that was a relatively low-stakes bit of research. Imagine the pressure to find certain predetermined results if the very roof over your head and the food in your children's mouths was based on your finding those results and if everyone else in your field was coming up with similar results and fully expecting you to do the same? This is why statements like "100% of scientists believe..." raise my ire.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
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