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  #121  
Old Yesterday, 10:06
sHUGHES sHUGHES is online now
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smp52:"We need to build up the capability to bank/hedge against the big effects to keep temperate earth (20th-century mid-point as an average say)."

Why? What makes you think that this is the best temperature for the earth? I understand that people are reluctant to accept change and they have a tendency to revert to the "norm" as they know it from their own life experiences but once again I have to ask the simple question. WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR THE PLANET? If this question can not be answered definitively we have no idea if the geoengineering you are calling for will be good for the planet or just be the start of even more and possibly greater problems.

As the Medical and so called scientific (politically motivated) community need to keep in mind: First do no harm. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Coal has been roundly criticized for its obvious disadvantages but where would our society be if man had not harnessed its use? Thank God we now have the technology to move on with our societies advancement with better energy alternatives to coal. Everything in its time.

People are doing this exact same thing with fossil fuels today without having a viable replacement. Mankind will eventually stop using fossil fuels when scientific advances allow it. Until then we cope with the disadvantages because the advantages far outweigh those disadvantages.

Mans arrogance makes him think he needs/can control everything. This is a double edged sword that when used inappropriately can destroy the wielder.

To think the insignificant effects by man can destroy the planet is an example of this arrogance. The earth will respond by evolution as it always has to protect itself and maintain its proper balance. This in noway means we should abuse the planet and do nothing. It means we need to be sure that what we choose to do will do more good than harm before we do it.
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  #122  
Old Yesterday, 22:31
smp52 smp52 is offline
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Originally Posted by sHUGHES View Post
WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR THE PLANET?
Can't speak for the planet, but for humanity, temperate conditions are a range (no absolute value) and pretty broad between limits of desert conditions (Danakil depression on one end), to extreme cold (well above the arctic circle). The limits are based on our need for the following (in order) - air to breathe, access to freshwater, ability to obtain food, and build a shelter. Generally speaking, mid-latitude conditions have been the most prosperous for sunlight all year round to drive human biological support - agriculture, water, shelter.. (vice extreme latitudes with limited growing seasons, or desert patches). The United States, China, Brazil, and India are the biggest producers of food in the world.

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we have no idea if the geoengineering you are calling for will be good for the planet or just be the start of even more and possibly greater problems.
To be clear, I am not a proponent of dystopian geoengineering as shown in movies or anything on a global scale. I am calling for restoring the thermodynamic contribution of the ground as a part of the energy cycle to pre-industrial revolution levels. Not any absolute limit, just have to get the lungs pumping again. We already have geoengineered the earth on the grounds of vegetative cover change (deforestation in the US) since the industrial revolution and vast swaths of ground cover under industrial agriculture. The nighttime picture of the earth is another example of the scale of geoengineering (picture).

My perspective as noted previously is on the grounds of thermodynamics and where energy balances shift and the rate of shifts matter more so than the limits. Biological systems adapt over time. Dramatic rate shifts are stressors. Therefore I am advocating:
  • Using pre-industrial practices of land management that leaves the ground healthier with newly evolving tech and more efficient sources of energy such as 4th gen nukes, hyper-automation coupled with solar (or other sources), and artificial photosynthesis (we're on the cusp of it).
  • Restoring forest cover on the ground. Deforestation probably is the biggest man-made factor, more so than any fossil fuel use as trees along with phytoplankton are the lungs of the earth giving us clean air. Also, we have hundreds of millions of dead trees in forests that need to be cut and left on the ground or thrown down deep mine shafts, pits, etc. That's just dumb fuel waiting to burn because we took a century of zero burn approaches to protected forests.

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First do no harm. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
Agreed. Do no harm cuts into our current practices, too though. There is no prescriptive solution, each area needs to figure out risks and set appropriate measures in place tied to core principles. Thermodynamics provides the appropriate set of principles to do so, vice any hard limit. The complexity of global conditions makes it very difficult to execute, vice looking at energy as a debt/savings system is more helpful IMO.

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Coal has been roundly criticized for its obvious disadvantages but where would our society be if a man had not harnessed its use? Thank God we now have the technology to move on with our societies advancement with better energy alternatives to coal. Everything in its time.
Agreed. I said as such where the industrial revolution had its place and gave us advantages. I get it - I'm a mechanical engineer. Gets about as industrially classic in education as it gets. On the grounds of thermodynamics, we used the resources to propel us forward. However, based on the "do no harm" principle on macroscopic levels Coal has run its course. Between mercury, black carbon, sulfur, all the other effects of mining, burning, and dealing with the waste stream, it's an artifact of a bygone era.

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Mankind will eventually stop using fossil fuels when scientific advances allow it. Until then we cope with the disadvantages because the advantages far outweigh those disadvantages.
We're there IMHO with new tech around the corner. At a macroscopic level, we're taking on debt now. Does it offer advantages still, sure... It's coming and an increasingly greater opportunity cost.

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Mans arrogance makes him think he needs/can control everything. This is a double edged sword that when used inappropriately can destroy the wielder.
Agreed as well. I am taking the position that we have already opened pandora's box on the arrogance (unknowingly so) during the industrial revolution - primarily the level of deforestation screwing up the thermodynamics of the ground plays in the energy cycle with the air and sea. We know better now and can do things differently, it requires all parties involved to decouple the political bipolarity. Ultimately, the earth will move on with our without us. History shows it doesn't care. Having a healthy set of lungs in vegetation and more efficient sources of energy to ensure we have enough in the bank when we need it for a rainy day is a reasonable course of action IMHO.
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