back to article Global-warming scientist: It's worse than I thought

A renowned global-warming scientist says the problem of global warming is much more serious than previously estimated. However, he also hints that there may be no need to fear catastrophic carbon-driven climate upheaval, as mankind will run out fossil fuels much sooner than presently estimated. James Hansen, chief of NASA's …

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I wonder

Disclaimer: I haven't read this study, but I wonder if this guy has simply compared CO2 levels and glacier melting and completely disregarded all other variables.

Doing "studies" this way can generate just about whatever result one wishes, but that doesn't make them true.

Just have a look at statistics (http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/) showing that there is a clear connection between the number of pirates and global warming. (Those statistics are ofcourse true)

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Please help

I may be a bit simple but the article in The Guardian has him saying:

"...when the world began to glaciate at the start of the Ice age about 35m years ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere stood at about 450ppm."

Then he says:

"If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice..."

Err... so it was at 450ppm when the ice formed but that same 450ppm is now enough to melt the ice. What is happening?

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Tom
Silver badge

Glug Glug!

'A global cap at 350ppm would appear wildly unrealistic in diplomatic and political terms.'

With New York and London underwater the politicians might think twice.

But probably not!

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Anonymous Coward

Primary sources

Those interested in more rigorous language than the front page of the Guardian offers can find primary sources here:

"Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?</a>" (Hansen et al)

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080317.pdf

See also "Climate Change and Trace Gases" - Hansen et al (2007) :

http://www.planetwork.net/climate/Hansen2007.pdf

...and whilst I'm posting links, here's a great Scientific American article on Antarctic ice-sheets' vulnerability to runaway breakup:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-unquiet-ice

And this is also interesting:

"Tipping Elements in the Earth's Climate System" (Lenton et al)

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/105/6/1786.pdf

"skeptics", please go read up on well-known myths of global warming before posting the usual guff about volcanos, solar output, orbital variations, "how can we predict climate when we can't predict weather" and all the rest. If you've thought of something that falsifies the current understanding of climate's response to anthropogenic CO2 emisisons, either (a) much cleverer people than you already thought of and accounted for it long ago, or (b) there's a committee in Oslo who'd like to see your peer-reviewed papers, as they have a Prize waiting for you.

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@AC, I wonder

"but I wonder if this guy has simply compared CO2 levels and glacier melting and completely disregarded all other variables"

That's probably what you would do and therefore you expect others to do the same.

Oh wait, you even admit it:

"I haven't read this study"

You are not an anonymous coward, but a lazy coward.

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I don't understand why...

...people don't just go along with the climate change stuff anyway. Sure, the global warming theory may still be argued over, and parts or all of it may be crap, but how is reducing our dependence on limited fossil fuels a bad thing? How is pumping less crap into our air ever going to be a bad thing to do? I can't see a downside to finding and utilising alternative sources of energy that are cleaner and more efficient, apart from cost, which will obviously decrease as use of a given technology increases. We really need more investment in these technologies to get over the initial problems and start using them properly.

Though it's rather ironic that halfway through me writing that, Winamp switched tracks to Jessica by the Allman Brothers Band (the theme to Top Gear, for the uninitiated).

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Flee or laugh?

"... probably melt all the ice - that's a sea rise of 75 metres."

That's us completely fucked then. OMG!

"...no need to fear catastrophic carbon-driven climate upheaval, as mankind will run out fossil fuels much sooner than presently estimated."

Hoorah! We're saved in the same article!

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Why should anyone take the word of a congenital liar?

Hansen has been cooking the "Global Warming" books for years. Every time he is forced to correct his alleged data he moves the the goal posts. As a paid associate of George Soros any pronouncement of his must be considered wholly a political statement for political purposes. There is no science involved.

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Thumb Down

Hansen's data magic

More fudged data from James Hansen, if he is running to form. It's amazing that he can get away with hiding his data, using invalid data, and using invalid data manipulation for so long - and still be regarded as an expert! http://tinyurl.com/6gb4rx

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Stop

Brrrr, it's snowing again!

Snow at Easter and in April, officially the coldest Easter in 40 years. More like the coming of an Ice Age.

Another NASA scientist released some findings in February that showed the polar ice caps have recovered to near normal levels. What’s most surprising is there is no mainstream media coverage of this in the UK or USA, but there is some in Canada. The Earth’s temperature dropped “significantly” between Jan 07 and Jan 08 according to this NASA scientist.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/mostread/s_555066.html

To the north of Canada the ice covers 2 million sq km MORE than it did in the past 3 winters and is 10-20mm thicker than last year. In the Alps they’ve had the best ever snowfall for 20 years with the skiing season starting 2 weeks early.

It's amazing how much money is being poured into GW research. No wonder "experts" ring the alarm bells every now and again to ensure the money keeps on coming. The political backing has ensured it's a gravy train for researchers who cash in with consultancy and conference fees, and of course governments who can raise revenue with "green" taxes.

The man who founded the Weather Channel says GW is a scam. Check out his evidence in this fairly long PDF: http://media.kusi.clickability.com/documents/Global+Warming+is+a+Scam1.pdf

Footnote: With all that said, I firmly believe in cutting pollution & conserving resources but for different reasons. (I do both)

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Anonymous Coward

>I wonder

I wonder if maybe the guy puts a lot of effort into his research and is right.

I wonder if I should perhaps read his paper before I go around suggesting that he's made a very basic mistake.

I wonder if pirates did have something to do with global temperature, then there would be many pirates in the last ice age to make it so cold.

I wonder if I drew a graph of said Pirate-temperature correlation I would put the numbers of the pirates in the right order.

I wonder if people who don't accept man made global warming would still accept that there may be other good reasons for not being totally reliant on finite resources that are kept in the hands of lunatics.

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Linux

@Andrew Simmons

"If you've thought of something that falsifies the current understanding of climate's response to anthropogenic CO2"

Only that the CO2 level is an effect, not a cause. As Al Gore's infamous (although doubtless peer-reviewed) graph shows when the time-axis is expanded.

As Professor Philip Stott and others are probably tired of pointing out, climate change is something that has occurred since we had a climate. He puts it all much more eloquently than I could, here:

http://parliamentofthings.info/climate.html

(Tux, since he's keen on ice-caps)

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Anonymous Coward

Confused...

Why is an ice-age deemed preferable to the ice melting?

Surely if the glaciers advance then we're all screwed anyway. Why not be screwed with nice warm temperatures?

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Flame

I suppose the beauty of wild global warming theories is...

That all we have to do is wait to see if they're true. Sure, we may be underwater, or we may be laughing at the so-called experts, but either way, we'll eventually find out the truth.

Personally, I think we should phase out ALL polluting energy sources as soon as possible, but I also believe that 'global warming' is part of a larger cycle of our planet---and we're like a small dog barking at the moon trying to make it go away, for all the good our efforts to reverse this trend are going to be.

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@ Andrew Simmons - Regurgitator

O.K. You have a bunch of URLs and you also say any opposition to your point of view needs a peer reviewed paper and an invitation to Oslo.

What *precisely* do you have to add to the discussion on global warming (aka climate change)? i.e. Peer reviewed papers, published articles in Nature, that sort of thing.

What scientific contribution do you make?

Myself? No papers, no peer review, but at least the humility to acknowledge that.

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Check out the Bakken Oil Reserves

Oil will not run out for probably a century and coal not for at least 4 centuries and nuclear reserves for multiple millennia. The only energy and "Global Warming" crisis are phantasms created by and in the minds of those who want to drive everyones lives except their own.

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OTOH

Strange then that, according to the IPCC 2007 report (Summary for Policymakers, Table SPM 1), the worst-worst case (roughly 3% economic growth for 100 years, with CO2 output rising in proportion and no mitigation effort) would give a sea level rise of 0.6m by 2100. Now, I may not be a fully paid-up climate scientist, but that's a long way from 75m. Sure, if all the ice melted from Antarctica, but that would take many centuries (probably millennia), giving us some time to prepare defences (I'd like a space parasol, myself, but working fusion would probably do it).

If I may borrow a formulation from Bruce Schneier:

The physics are impeccable, the computer models are flawed, the economics are lousy, and the politics are abysmal.

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Disaster, really ?

Well, it would only be a disaster if you postulate that we achieved the best possible living conditions, and that those conditions would suffer...

On the other side of the logic, there are going to be change in living conditions, but who can pretend that has to be a disaster ? It might well end up with even better conditions if humanity has to rethink about itself...

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We're all saved

If global temperature is related to piracy, then don't worry. Piracy is on the increase.

Can't remember where I read that but I did read an article on it once.

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Peak Oil doesn't help

There is no advantage to Peak Oil- all that means is that it will become economically viable to start using coal-derived automotive fuels, which are typically a lot more polluting ( Clean Coal is currently a myth ) and just as environmentally destructive in their extraction.

It seems that people in power are conscious of this already - take a look at the Merthyr Tydfil Open-Cast scandal to see the toxic political behaviour and blatant corruption involved in the coal industry currently.

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Pirate

High-level risk analysis:

Essentially, we have four scenarios

1/ GW is a lie/We do nothing

Cool, we don't spend vast amount of time, effort and money combatting a non-existant problem. We don't die.

2/ GW is a lie/We try to fix it

Bugger, wasted a vast amount of time, effort and money combatting a non-existant problem. We don't die

3/ GW is true/We do nothing

Oh shit. We saved a vast amount of time, effort and money. We die.

4/ GW is true/We try to fix it.

OK, we spend vast amount of time, effort and money. Maybe we don't die.

So, overall, we shouldn't bother about it. Save our money, take our chances. But then, do we really want to take the chance. After all, we have loads of money, loads of people to put in the effort and not much time left to make it work.

Pirates, because we'll be safe sailing the seven (or how ever many were left with) seas!

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Arghhh - save the planet from stupidity

The global temperature and CO2 levels appear to be broadly cyclic in the long term record. They appear to be broadly of the same frequency. They also appear not to be in phase. Assertions based on associating peak temperatures (such as might speculatively melt Antarctic ice) and synchronous CO2 levels are what you would might expect of kindergarten scientists.

Just as well they are not 180 degrees out of phase, as we would have to be stoking up hell just to keep the plants alive so we could breathe - tho doubtless the imperialists would arrange things so the "excess" billions could do the shoveling.

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Paris Hilton

75 metres...

75 metres my a$$. This higher temperature is causing floating icebergs to melt, but wont make the ocean rise 75 metres.... In order to float, the iceberg displaces a volume of water that has a weight equal to that of the iceberg. Submarines use this principle to rise and sink in the water by changing their weight....

If all of the Antarctic ice melted (which it wont), sea levels around the world would rise approx 61 metres due to the amount of ice on land however were talking about the Arctic Ocean here which is all floating so you can shove your 75 metres

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Hansen "invented" Global Warming

Which is a problem now that the Earth has been cooling for ten years (while CO2 has increased).

So The Emperor has to make his scare stories more terrifying. Or people might notice what he's wearing.

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Mauna Loa CO2 2008 level may be less than 2007

No, no one is claiming that we're emitting less CO2 than before, but the current La Nina is bringing colder water than usual and apparently more CO2 is being absorbed. The result is an interesting downturn in Mauna Loa data, see http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/ for details.

Data from several other CO2 monitoring stations doesn't show the effect, but do point out that it's tough to implement a 350 ppm cap when we're at 386.

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Coat

Human Race?

Is that race as in Race (n): Humans considered as a group, or race as in Race (n): A competition of speed, as in running or riding.

Or perhaps both!!!

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vested intrest

Hint:

"James Hansen, chief of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies..."

Did you spot it?

NASA - the people behind the space program.

In other words:

The world's screwed, give us a tonne of cash and we'll find another world for everyone to live on?

If age was measured in world-weary cynicism, I'd give Yoda a run for his money.

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Coat

How long is really what we want to know . . .

because we're all selfish buggers who don't give a toss if we're going to snuff it anyway before the ice melts.

"Snow at Easter and in April, officially the coldest Easter in 40 years. More like the coming of an Ice Age." Nah, really early Easter, snow in April is nothing new 'eh, we 'ad all that before yer global warming malarkey'.

I'll get me boat

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@Brutus

You left one out - GW is (or isn't) true, we try to fix it, and screw everything up even worse. Not to say we shouldn't try, but some schemes that they've come up with seem to be a little bit risky, given that we don't understand very much about all this yet.

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Jim

GW?

Anybody noticed that the media quietly moved to using term "Climate Change" instead of "Global Warming"? Morale is simple, pay your taxes whatever climate...

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Anonymous Coward

So what's happening with oil?

I'm guessing 80 euros a barrel for oil by the end of the year which will be about $150 a barrel by then (due to dollar depreciation / moron leadership).

I'm guessing they won't cover the $750 billion that will cost to import with real money (recall their oil imports use to be zero), if you look their imports have dropped slightly due to belt tightening, but no way near enough to fix the problem.

Unless they have a serious dollar collapse, I can't ever see USA cutting it's oil consumption much and the people lending them money (Asian + Middle East) will likely pull their investments slow and steady to avoid dollar collapse. So I'm not expecting major improvements in that.

As for the GW is a scam comment above, solar activity has dropped since 1985, not increased yet average global temperature has increased (and rate of increase also increases). So if anything it's buffering our increase.

Coldest Easter in 40 years, was also the *earliest* easter in 95 years, Easter being a date that varies from year to year.

http://www.maa.mhn.de/StarDate/publ_holidays.html

And presumably when the favorable North Atlantic Oscillations swing to unfavourable, you'll start quoting numbers from the *southern* hemisphere instead?

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Coat

Weather .neq. Climate

For heaven's sake, please can we get past all the "oh look, it's snowing, what global warming?"

As has been previously documented, the most likely change in the short term is that melting ice (which is observed now) will cause localised freshening in the ocean, which will bugger up the ocean currents. Weather and localised climates are very dependent on ocean currents - while it's not an exact science, it is likely that the slowing of the gulf stream would cause Northern Europe to get a lot colder, and some heavily populated tropical areas to get warmer and drier.

Mine's the warm woolly one, ready for when ocean current change makes GB perishing cold.

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@Jerry

So you flame someone for contributing links to credible primary sources as if he was just spewing self-aggrandising crap then tell us "Myself? No papers, no peer review, but at least the humility to acknowledge that." Away and polish your halo.

Congratulations on trying to keep science, data and sense out of a discussion on global warming. No place for that on the register

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Andrew Simmons

This would be the same Hanson whose 1998 paper produced the infamous "hockey stick" graph that has been thoroughly debunked by, amongst others, McIntyre and McKitrick.

The same Hansen who refuses to release the data and methods used in his calculations so that others may verify his work.

The same Hansen who, in his 1998 paper, has Paris (France) located in New England, Toulouse located in South Carolina, Philadelphia located in Bombay for his precipitation calculations.

The same Hansen whose 2007 paper has the same location errors as the 1998 paper despite having the errors brought to his attention.

The same Hansen who believes that a bunch of bristlecone pines in North America can tell you everything you need to know about global climate over the past 1000 years via teleconnection

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Linux

Full Employment

Sadly, the inhabitants of London and Manhattan will not drown in a potential rising of the level of the sea. They will move. So would the people living in the current costal areas.

I trump Mr Gore's offer of hundreds of thousands of jobs, with the millions of jobs that could be created by a rise in sea levels. Contruction, engineers, sea wall builders, movers, real estate agents, etc. It would be wonderfull. Jobs for one and all.

Those of you with property in London or Manhattan, on the beach or on an island; Wake up! Your property is worthless!

I can't help but feel sorry for you, so I am making the generous offer to purchase your wothless property at 10% of its pre-future flooded value.

Bofins have been speculating that we would run out of oil in the next 20 - 30 years, for the last 100 years. Hopefully we will discover enough oil in Antartica to last another 150 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Couple of responses

@James Pickett:

> "Only that the CO2 level is an effect, not a cause. "

No, it's not, it's a common myth amongst people who have not bothered to read up the actual science.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/

Oh and incidentally "this NASA bloke" is in fact the head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and is one of the most respected scientists in the field.

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

@Jerry:

"What *precisely* do you have to add to the discussion on global warming (aka climate change)? i.e. Peer reviewed papers, published articles in Nature, that sort of thing."

I try to point those who are intelligent enough to understand them but unfortunately misinformed to fall for one of the many canards, myths and outright lies that float around the public perception of the science at solid, well researched and authoritative sources of scientific knowledge.

No, I'm not a climatologist, just a layperson who likes to be informed and has had an interest in and been following AGW science for 22 years.

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Happy

We're all screwed anyway

As soon as they turn on the Hadron collider in July, GW will disappear with everything else into thousands of tiny blackholes

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Anonymous Coward

response - 75m, Mauna Loa, "world is cooling"

@Dave: I guess (I have not yet read the full paper) the 75m figure is the expected result of losing both the east and west antarctic ice sheets (WAIS, EAIS) as well as Greenland.

Eric Werme ("Mauna Loa CO2 2008 level may be less than 2007"): I prefer primary sources for exactly this reason. I think the trend is pretty clear...:

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html

"Dr" Stephen Jones (Dr of what? Do share):

The world has *NOT* been "cooling for 10 years". The politest thing I can say in response is "citation needed".

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Flame

Fossil Fuels will soon run out?

I've been hearing that line for the last ~30years. It is the staple line the the Energy industry uses to justify their prices.

Of course, Fossil fuels will run out eventually, I seriously doubt it will happen in the next 100-years.

Personally, I think one of the better suggestions is to encourage the building of more energy efficient buildings, improve insulation etc to reduce the amount of energy that people insist on wasting; also a reduced amount of pseudo-science (special-interest based politics) hype and general BS on the subject would be a good thing, too.

Flame-on, because we appear to have plenty of fuel to burn.

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Has everyone forgotten Archimedes?

If the North Pole melts I doubt we'll see flooding. Why?

It's called water displacement - physics for 12 year olds, if kids are still taught science these days?

All that ice is already in the sea which means its mass has already displaced the sea level. If you run a bath and then sit in it the water level will rise. This is what will happen to the sea level, so claim the doom mongers. Wrong! That's bad geography and physics on their part because if the ice (which rests on top of the sea) melts it's not adding any more mass or displacement to the sea level because it was already in the sea when it was ice! There is no land mass at the North Pole, it's all ice sitting on top of the sea.

Sit in a full, large bath and curl up pretending to be a mountain of ice. Now melt and stretch out. Did the water rise? Of course not (assuming your bum wasn't resting on the sea bed). Here's a better experiement. Fill a glass half with water. Put in 3 or 4 ice cubes and mark the water level. Wait for them to melt and compare the levels. It will be the same. No rise in sea levels.

It's the melting of the *South* Pole that people would need to be concerned with because a lot of the ice there is supported by land which means its mass has not been displaced in the sea. Luckily for us the South Pole is *NOT* melting.

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The simple answer to finite resource

There are eight pints of beer reaming in the whole world.

Do you: -

A) Share them with a load of strangers

B) Take very little sips to make them last for a very long time

C) Drink them all in a big piss up have a laugh and fuck everyone else.

Count me as a C!

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Flame

BBC global temperature decline story changed to suit activist

This is not quite on topic, but is the story of story that amuses Reg readers.

Last week, the BBC published http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7329799.stm titled "Global temperatures 'to decrease'".

The BBC then changed the title and contents a few times, much to the amusement and consternation of people who noticed.

Today comes a purported dialog between an activist, Jo Abbess, and BBC Environment reporter Roger Harrabin that was behind those changes. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the claims, but it makes for amusing reading at

http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002906.html

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Paris Hilton

@Anonymous Coward, ref McIntyre and McKitrick.

"This would be the same Hanson whose 1998 paper produced the infamous "hockey stick" graph that has been thoroughly debunked by, amongst others, McIntyre and McKitrick."

>snicker<

heh

heheh, ,

chortle, ,

ha

hahahahahah

bwahahahahahahahahaha!

That's really pretty funny.

McIntyre, and McKitrick, , , sheesh, you kill me.

hehehehehe

ha,

sheesh

Paris, because she's good at science too!

btw, that was Dr. Michael Mann' hockey stick.

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Alert

Re: has everyone forgotton archimedes

Erm - The "South pole" isn't melting? <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7313264.stm"> So why are there articles like this?</a> talking about how antarctic ice shelves are breaking away.

Alternitively it could be that the water supported ice is been melted by rising sea tempertures, and rising sea tempretures will eventually translate into rising air tempretures, which will translate into melting land locked ice.

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IT Angle

It never ceases to amaze me...

.....how many shouty sceptics come into these threads and try to disprove some of the worlds greatest scientists, pretty much all of which think we are up shit creek without a paddle.

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Alert

Runaway marketing

Cash seeking boffins, hand wringers, civilization haters, lend me your ears!

Much like scientologist's, you are victims of guerilla marketing for a sci-fi book/writer. The guerilla marketing for "alternative 3" (published as non fiction, by the way) just got out of hand. Now the true believers spend their time shouting down anyone who disagrees with them.

My Grandpa says he walked through three feet of snow to get to school. My Grandma complains that the summers are so cold now. I just don't know who to believe.

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Dont care, dont care

That does it, never looking at another environment article. These guys have no idea what they are doing

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Anonymous Coward

eight pints of beer

D) Come up with a way to make more beer.

Better not jug 'em all at once either, what if you need some beer to make more beer?

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Coat

Call me thick but what's the problem :

If the sea did rise 75 m it seems to me that :

New York can be renamed New Venice. I like Venice.

And surely there will be a much greater area of sea , so that will lead to a greater dispersal of pirates, less density per square fathom or whatever.

And they will have to sail much further to board your yacht. Not seize, as you abandoned it some while again when the oil ran out.

Which way is Oslo? Do they read the Sun, my daily paper?

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Credentials please

Would all those posting with such certainty here please add to their posts where they got their doctorates? Also, a list of the papers they've published.

Oh wait, you don't actually know anything about the subject, but just believe a lot of conspiracy crap by non-scientists? What a surprise.

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