Author Topic: Younger people driving less  (Read 28023 times)

Guitarist

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Younger people driving less
« on: April 18, 2012, 09:32:27 PM »

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 07:36:42 AM »
Won't let me read without registering.  Pass.

Simple Google search reveals some articles in the same vein:
http://www.google.com/search?q="Younger+people+driving+less"

Some from May/June 2010, some from earlier this month.

Based on their data (worldwide) it seems it's not just a recession thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll last.  It'll be interesting to see.
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Guitarist

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 08:45:57 PM »
That's weird, I could read it when I posted it, now it wants me to register when I click the link.

Sorry about that.

menorman

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 04:40:20 PM »
Won't let me read without registering.  Pass.

Simple Google search reveals some articles in the same vein:
http://www.google.com/search?q="Younger+people+driving+less"

Some from May/June 2010, some from earlier this month.

Based on their data (worldwide) it seems it's not just a recession thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll last.  It'll be interesting to see.
I think it is more than just a recession-induced trend. Many of my friends do have cars and drive (as we have since we were eligible in high school), but I know plenty more who do so sparingly or not at all. I was at a regional transportation summit held by a local state Representative and all the area planning agencies were there with their projections of growth and need for infrastructure, both current and future. I was amused at some of the numbers that showed up and would like more information on what numbers were used to make the projections. I did take the time to ask what was being done to make it easier for individuals to bike in the area. I was told that when comments and suggestions for "active transport" (which I assume may include sidewalks in certain areas, not just bike lanes/paths) projects were being taken, the estimate was that about $1bn worth of projects was necessary. Apparently, the actual figure is over $6bn (which is still minuscule compared to the figure for highway improvements). Clearly, people in this area want to be able to safely get around w/o having to get into a car.
Including an electric car. At this same meeting, another executive from a local planning agency mentioned that electric cars are great on paper but impossible for much more than limited adoption in real life until something is done about the electrical delivery system. He said that several municipalities have ran into problems when as few as two people on the same block buy an electric car and subsequently blow the transformer. There are companies that'll install a solar panel w/ the capacity to charge the car (Ford is apparently even partnering w/ one to offer a package deal for the Focus electric), but that may be less than optimal if one is away from home during the day when I presume the majority of power generation would occur. A forward-thinking business would be wise to offer its employees a decent amount of connections at work and other such carrots to try to entice people into electrics.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 05:38:05 PM »
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/04/why-young-americans-are-driving-so-much-less-their-parents/1712/

Why Young Americans Are Driving So Much Less Than Their Parents by Richard Florida, 10 April 2012

Just wanted to bump up this topic again.  My generation is so Mustachian.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 05:45:48 PM »
Just reading through the comments, I have to ask... were any of those people you guys?

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 07:30:33 PM »
Just reading through the comments, I have to ask... were any of those people you guys?

Not I.   I don't comment on online news articles, waste of time.

I rarely even comment on blog posts (heck, I've probably only commented on even MMM's blog posts maybe 3 or 4 times).

I much prefer forums where you can have a much higher level of interaction and engagement.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

kolorado

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 08:13:55 AM »
I am 32, the very first wave of Millennials. I have never owned or purchased a car.
I am #4 of 5 kids. During my growing up years, I watched my dad keep hoopty after hoopty running for our family. My older brothers purchased rusty buckets by the time they were 16. My older sister was gifted a car by my grandparents when I started driving. My grandparents played favorites so no car for me. They said she needed it to get to work. Funny thing was, I'd been already working for a year at that point and she'd just started at my workplace on my recommendation.
I paid close attention when my dad and brothers talked about the expense of keeping a car and I knew how much it cost my parents to add me to their insurance. My mom or dad would drive me the 3 miles to work all summer(they would not allow me to bike)and I would deposit my entire paycheck, save $10 for gas, in the bank for college. I ran the numbers. I could take out my $2000 saved and buy a hoopty but because my parents rules were so restrictive, I wouldn't be allowed to get another job. I knew I couldn't afford to keep a car and save for college on $500 a month of part-time work. 
By the time I got married I still didn't have a car. My sister was driving me to my full time job and I'd pay her for gas. When I no longer had her to drive me I ran the numbers and decided again not to buy a car and had to quit my job. Hubby and I had about $15K saved when we married and used almost all of it buying our tiny starter home. Our savings dropped to $2500 and I would not go into debt to have wheels. My hubby(then fiance) had already committed to a $20K car loan without my input and he was maxed out on credit. I was only qualified for slightly above minimum wage work and at the time that was about $6-7 an hour. My earnings would push our household income into a higher tax bracket and I'd lose some of it. Insurance for young drivers in NJ was ludicrous. My good driver brothers paid over $200 a month in the 90's. So all in all, I would have brought home less than $500 a month for full time work. I opted instead to be a full time homemaker, developing frugal skills to save the money that my hubby brought in.
When we were expecting kid #2, hubby insisted I needed a family car so we offered to buy his parent's minivan since they'd planned to trade it in that year like they did every 4-5 years. Instead, bless their hearts, they outright gave it to us. It's still going 8 years later with little money put into it at all.
The thing is though, I almost never use the family car while hubby is at work. I do my shopping in the evenings or on the weekends when I can leave the kids at home with their dad and I can work without distraction. The only person I visited was my mother and I can't do that anymore. The kids are homeschooled. They aren't in any programs. Doctor's appointments are rare.
So I finally convinced my hubby that we operate like a one car family. When one of our vehicles dies, we will buy a nice used family vehicle and sell the second car. His work commute should be less than 10 miles so he can bike it or take the bus on days I need the car.
I agree that a big reason Millennials don't want a car is that it's easier to get our social fix now that it was for previous generations. Almost all communication can be electronic from the comforts of home. Parents are increasingly not home leaving more privacy at home for the teens. Less need to go to the malt shop/coffee shop/mall to escape.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2012, 05:52:46 AM »
I am 32, the very first wave of Millennials. I have never owned or purchased a car.


Snipping your post for brevity but I applaud you for laying it out as you did.

My college aged son is a non-driver.  He had a permit at one point--note past tense.  But this is a kid who was born with a mustache.  He saw no reason to pay for car insurance (a requirement for licensure in our state) while attending a college where cars are totally unnecessary.  A number of his friends are non-drivers.  They walk, bike or occasionally take a taxi if needed. 

Why is it that when people compare mass transit costs to driving, they see the latter only in terms of a MPG charge and not wear and tear, insurance costs, etc.?  I feel that this is part of the hoodwinking in the American car culture.  Which is why I liked kolorado's post.

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2012, 06:19:26 AM »
In my case I think non-driving runs in the family. Neither of my parents could drive. I tried to learn when I living and working in London and had the opportunity to use the car of a friend who went abroad for a year. But I had no practice outside the paid driving lessons and failed the test twice, so gave up on the idea.

Living in an inner suburb of a city with good public transport and a steadily increasing number of dedicated bike lanes, I have no need of a car. I'm glad that my son has followed my example and not that of his father who runs an Audi Quattro.

It does annoy me that a driver's licence is so often demanded as ID because it has a photo. My only alternative document is my passport and I don't carry that around with me. 

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2012, 07:29:50 AM »

It does annoy me that a driver's licence is so often demanded as ID because it has a photo. My only alternative document is my passport and I don't carry that around with me.

We have the option of a state issued photo ID.  Much more convenient to carry than a passport. 

Gerard

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2012, 05:32:04 PM »
I was going to say that my 19-year-old son doesn't even know anybody who owns a car, but then I realized that among my Toronto friends/family/colleagues, I don't either. Funny what counts as "normal" in different situations...

smalllife

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2012, 05:35:32 PM »
I'm about to move into a house that I chose partly because it is within biking distance of anything I would ever need.  And there is a bus stop right there :-)

My parents think I'm a little crazy but I already turned them into smaller car lovers with my car - a truly Mustachian car that I got before I knew what Mustachian was.  I have a goal to be car-free within four years and pass that car along to a younger sibling or my parents. 

I hate traffic, driving, and sitting when everything is within body-powered machinery distance.

sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 07:35:50 PM »
I finally sold my last car at the age of 32, because I just wasn't driving it enough to justify keeping it insured.  Maybe twice a week, distances that I knew I could bike instead.

So I pocketed the $3500 I made off of the deal and mentally earmarked it for another car at some point in the future.  I got married, and wife brought a car and two kids to the deal.  We've been married about a year now, and I've used the car maybe three times since then.

If you live in a reasonably metropolitan area and are not a fatass, then I just don't see the need.

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2012, 06:29:22 AM »
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but does anybody think climate change might also have something to do with this?

I'm 37 and I've been a driver ever since I was 18.

I believe anthropogenic climate change is real, and I've been very troubled by the changes I've seen over the past several years.

I've decided I want to drive as little as possible.  I've started working from home two days a week, I finally started riding my bike to work (although I crashed my bike my first day of bike commuting -- I'm going to try again in a week or two), and my husband and I are each working on replacing more and more car trips with biking.

I hit my low early this spring, when Minnesota was getting June weather in early March.  (Normally March is the snowiest month, but this year we were getting freak 80-degree days.)  It was hot outside.  And since it was (in my non-Mustachian mind) "too hot to walk," I drove my car four blocks to the convenience store to buy a cold soda.

Coming home, I had a moment of existential dread, and realized in my gut that I was part of the problem.

A few months later, I started reading MMM, and that furthered my desire to ditch the car and start biking everywhere.

I just wonder if younger people are more viscerally aware of how much humans have altered the planet's environment, and if that has anything to do with why they're driving less.

grantmeaname

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2012, 08:30:24 AM »
I don't know that you can say that our current climatic change is necessarily anthropogenic in nature. Even if so, you have to keep in mind that we as a country are totally scientifically illiterate -- enough so that I would argue that science doesn't strongly inform our buying behavior on a demographic level. (In 2005, more than half of Americans said they believed in young earth creationism and more than half of Americans said they believe evolution is a true origin explanation [Gallup, 2/3s down], and in 2001 and 2004 about a third of Americans believed that evolution wasn't even supported by scientific evidence! [same link, a bit lower]) That number may be less abysmal for my generation, but I doubt it's so dramatically different that you could point to it as a major cause of carlessness.

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2012, 08:44:23 AM »
I don't know that you can say that our current climatic change is necessarily anthropogenic in nature.

I can, and I did.  :)

The current consensus among climate scientists is that AGW is real.  Here is a brief overview that really lays it out clearly:  http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

However, your point about scientific ignorance is well-taken.

sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2012, 09:41:14 AM »
I don't know that you can say that our current climatic change is necessarily anthropogenic in nature.

This happens to by my profession, so I'll back her up.  Anthropogenic climate change is real, and it always worries me when this simple fact is still obfuscated by certain media outlets.

As just one of many lines of evidence, consider that the amount of carbon that we have burned since the industrial revolution is exactly the same, in moles, as the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution.  This is not a coincidence.  We dig it out of the ground, burn it, and it floats into the atmosphere.

If that's not convincing enough, remember from high school chemistry that combustion consumes oxygen.  The measured increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide also exactly corresponds to the predicted decrease in atmospheric oxygen over the same period, supporting they hypothesis that all of the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is derived from combustion (as opposed to volcanoes or natural cycles or whatever else Fox News is blaming this week).

Summary:  There are no honest professional scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change is real. 

grantmeaname

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2012, 09:46:32 AM »
In my field alone, there has been a prior consensus among scientists that eugenics is mankind's necessary fate, and one before that that there are eminent physical and mental differences between biological races of man, and one before that that all of humanity was created essentially complete in the recent past. Point being, science is based on evidence, not consensus or polls of scientists. People agreeing on things does not make them true, and it's a fallacy to suggest otherwise.

An 855-word glorified blog post is not proof of the theory, even if it's hosted by NASA. I understand that the earth has been warming for the two hundred years that we've been collecting data and that CO2 levels have dramatically increased in the last century. Those are not arguments that I ever made, and it's a total misrepresentation of my position to repeat climatological data as if I'm denying that we know the CO2 levels of our own atmosphere. I don't mean to derail this thread into a discussion of the merits of modeling-based AGW research or reconstructing past climatic data; I simply wish to point out that research on the matter is far from complete and that at best a scientific consensus reflects an imperfect understanding of the issue based on existing sparse data. AGW and our notions of it exist partly in the domain of belief.

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2012, 10:05:50 AM »
Um, OK.  So I guess at this point it's an epistemological question -- you're asserting that we don't know with certainty that climate change is influenced by human activity.

Given the stakes, though, I don't understand why we're splitting hairs about it.

igthebold

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2012, 10:15:32 AM »
Um, OK.  So I guess at this point it's an epistemological question -- you're asserting that we don't know with certainty that climate change is influenced by human activity.

Given the stakes, though, I don't understand why we're splitting hairs about it.

Not sure I've ever seen Pascal's Wager applied in a scientific argument before..

And yes, I really only ever pop in with useless snarky comments, so you can ignore me. ;)

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2012, 11:13:06 AM »
I'm still waiting for the post where I disagree with you Grant.

(Philosophically speaking, minor things aside.)
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grantmeaname

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2012, 11:18:45 AM »
It wasn't here, where I accidentally stuck my foot in mouth for just about the third time today and derailed the thread while I was at it? I guess you could call those minor things, if you're generous.

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2012, 11:24:51 AM »
It wasn't here, where I accidentally stuck my foot in mouth for just about the third time today and derailed the thread while I was at it? I guess you could call those minor things, if you're generous.

Okay, I found the post!
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2012, 11:35:26 AM »
That's awesome that you two are patting each other on the back.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering what you find to argue with in the following?

I don't know that you can say that our current climatic change is necessarily anthropogenic in nature.

This happens to by my profession, so I'll back her up.  Anthropogenic climate change is real, and it always worries me when this simple fact is still obfuscated by certain media outlets.

As just one of many lines of evidence, consider that the amount of carbon that we have burned since the industrial revolution is exactly the same, in moles, as the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution.  This is not a coincidence.  We dig it out of the ground, burn it, and it floats into the atmosphere.

If that's not convincing enough, remember from high school chemistry that combustion consumes oxygen.  The measured increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide also exactly corresponds to the predicted decrease in atmospheric oxygen over the same period, supporting they hypothesis that all of the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is derived from combustion (as opposed to volcanoes or natural cycles or whatever else Fox News is blaming this week).

Summary:  There are no honest professional scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change is real.

Also, I feel compelled to say (even though I should probably leave this alone) that the "blog post" from NASA was not meant to be a comprehensive argument, but just a good, quick summary/overview.  There are many, many books and peer-reviewed papers having to do with anthropogenic climate change, but this is a forum about Financial Independence, and I thought a brief, clear summary was the best place to start.

Humans have been (1) burning fossil fuels at an ever-increasing rate since the start of the Industrial Revolution, which has been (2) dumping ever-increasing levels of CO2 into the air, which has (3) increased the amount of heat being trapped near the Earth's surface.  These three points seem fairly straightforward, and I'd be surprised if you could credibly refute points one, two, or three.

Also, I'm not ever sure if there was a broad, fact-based consensus that Eugenics was the way to go.  It was a briefly modish idea, that's all.

grantmeaname

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2012, 12:15:44 PM »
I directly stated in my post that I accept the directly gathered data that we have on the subject, and my post was not about discrediting the data you presented. You got that two posts ago when you framed it as an epistemological discussion. That's the conversation I was looking to have. My post was not a meek way of saying that I disagree with the theory of AGW, which is what I assume you read between the lines. To the extent that I could have peppered it with caveats and disclaimers to prevent that, perhaps I should have. My post actually was me saying precisely what I meant: that I think there's an epistemological problem here that hasn't been addressed.

Perhaps there isn't, and if you'd like to discuss that further with me, I think it would be a fascinating direction for the conversation (especially with sol, climate scientist and total badass, onboard). If not, I don't want this to escalate further and I'd like both of us to stick around. So we could say that we disagree on the epistemology of the topic and agree about the evidence supporting the theory, and leave it at that.

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2012, 12:19:29 PM »
That's awesome that you two are patting each other on the back.

I too have often found that snark is the best way to convince someone you're right.

My biggest problem with the climate change people is their ostracization of anyone not immediately believing or conforming to their beliefs.  It has become faith based us versus them, instead of scientific debate.

I subscribe to Mill's Marketplace of Ideas and supporting ALL opinions, even wrong ones, under the premise that the truth will rise to the top.  Too often in the last decade have I see honest, scientific debate squashed by the people promoting climate change.

I don't think it's as 100% settled as some want to believe though I generally accept it as true, but beyond that I don't think we have any sort of consensus on solutions.  I think sitting down and working together is the way to start moving towards a healthy solution.  But the suppression and ostracization I've seen leads to the opposite of that.

IMO, YMMV.
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Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2012, 12:36:27 PM »
Arebelspy, sorry about the snark.  I agree with you that civil discussions are more productive than arguments.  I believe it's best to assume that other people are acting with the best information they have available, with motives that they themselves believe to be good.

It's just so frustrating for me to see people still arguing about climate change when the consequences are so potentially dire.  It's hard for me not to be emotional about it.

I'm grateful for this forum because I think Mustachianism (and frugality in general) dovetails nicely with having less of an impact on the enviroment.

I'm just surprised and startled when intelligent people think there is room for debate on this.  The reading I have done has persuaded me that there is little if any room for debate.  It's like we're in a house that is 3/4 on fire, but since the flames haven't spread to the living room yet, we're sitting on couches watching TV and idly discussing whether we know for certain if the house is indeed on fire, since we haven't gotten up and looked in the other rooms yet.

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2012, 12:44:18 PM »
I directly stated in my post that I accept the directly gathered data that we have on the subject, and my post was not about discrediting the data you presented.

I get that now. 

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2012, 12:46:51 PM »
ANYWAY, to get back to the original topic of the thread, I'm driving less now primarily because I don't want to be personally responsible for dumping more carbon into the air, secondarily for health reasons, and thirdly for frugality.

I doubt government is going to change things any time soon, and I am less certain by the day that that's where the impetus for change should come from.  I'd rather make changes on my own, and help inspire others to do likewise.

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2012, 12:54:03 PM »
ANYWAY, to get back to the original topic of the thread, I'm driving less now primarily because I don't want to be personally responsible for dumping more carbon into the air, secondarily for health reasons, and thirdly for frugality.

I doubt government is going to change things any time soon, and I am less certain by the day that that's where the impetus for change should come from.  I'd rather make changes on my own, and help inspire others to do likewise.

I applaud you for that, and often make choices myself due to similar concerns.

I hope the driving less trend continues, but I think concerns about GW isn't the main factor for most people.

Tragedy of the commons combined with selfish interest and hypocrisy (all IMO) means gas prices have a much bigger impact.
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AJ

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2012, 01:07:30 PM »
I'm just surprised and startled when intelligent people think there is room for debate on this.

Only tangentially related to the current conversation, but when people I know to be intelligent disagree with me on a subject, that is my cue to pause and rethink. Maybe I'm in the right, or maybe they are, but the simple fact that someone smart disagrees with me is enough to warrant a quick glance at my own assumptions and conclusions.

I like to believe that if we all have the necessary information and powers of reasoning that we will eventually come to the same conclusions. If we disagree, one or both of us is either missing information or isn't reasoning correctly (at least, in theory). That is where healthy debate comes in. If we can all humbly admit that our reasoning may be flawed and we are not omniscient, we can exchange information and point out fallacious reasoning until we arrive at common conclusions. If we cling to certain ideas religiously, or get emotional, we lose that ability and begin to throw out logical fallacies to back up our deeply held convictions.

Edit: uh...don't mind me...the conversation changed while I was typing and the forum didn't let me know...:(
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 01:09:20 PM by AJ »

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2012, 01:28:14 PM »
Good points AJ, regarding any topic.
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sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2012, 05:09:00 PM »
In my field alone, there has been a prior consensus among scientists that eugenics is mankind's necessary fate

Not even in the same ballpark.  Climate change is not an epistemology issue, it's an observable fact of the physical world.  You might as well argue that burning coal doesn't reduce the amount of coal in the ground.  It's the direct consequence of measurable facts, not an idea that people argue over.

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AGW and our notions of it exist partly in the domain of belief.

This is technically true only in the broadest possible sense, like physical chemistry and civil engineering exist partly in the domain of belief.  Just because a topic is the focus of human thought does not make it philosophically unfalsifiable. 

Not sure I've ever seen Pascal's Wager applied in a scientific argument before..

This isn't Pascal's Wager, this is sound engineering design.  It's not a thought experiment with unknown payoffs, it's a physical experiment that has already been run thousands of time with consistent results.

Consider the range of possible outcomes when you go for a drive.  Maybe things are lovely, maybe you find some bad traffic, and maybe you get hit by a drunk driver.  There is some uncertainty in the expected outcome.  Do we design cars on the assumption that the worst case scenario will never materialize?

Quite the contrary, we generally ignore the good outcomes and design for the bad ones, which is why cars have airbags and seat belts and crumple zones, and we hope to never use them.  Our carbon emitting economy is the car, and the expected outcomes range between 2 and 7 degrees of warming by 2100.  Should we just hope for the best case scenario and keep our fingers crossed?

The sad part is that the costs involved in reducing our carbon emissions are smaller than the cost of dealing with the consequences of even the best case scenario, yet we refuse to act and thus nudge the outcome closer to the worst case scenario.  It's like watching the drunk driver collision in slow motion.

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2012, 05:26:38 PM »
My biggest problem with the climate change people is their ostracization of anyone not immediately believing or conforming to their beliefs.  It has become faith based us versus them, instead of scientific debate.

By contrast, my biggest problem with the climate change debate is that people still deliberately spread misinformation rather than allowing the free exchange of information to guide the problem toward a solution.

You don't need faith in any particular side of the argument when the facts speak for themselves.  But it pains me to see the facts suppressed for so long.  Some day we'll look back on the 90s and 2000s with quiet shame, much like we look back on the civil rights abuses of the 60s, and think to ourselves "what were we thinking?"

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I subscribe to Mill's Marketplace of Ideas and supporting ALL opinions, even wrong ones, under the premise that the truth will rise to the top. 

I would also support that idea, if truth were allowed to be free.  I'd start by banning any fossil fuel industry from buying congressmen, as sort of an obvious first step.

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I don't think we have any sort of consensus on solutions.

We have a lot of debate about what sorts of policies we should enact, but we have pretty good agreement on what will happen if we don't.  We've got a pretty good handle by now on how much warmer it's going to get under the various future emission scenarios, so it's only a matter of deciding whether we want to spend the money to minimize changes to climate, or deal with the consequences of changing climate.  In this case, our inaction is also a decision.

sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2012, 05:44:57 PM »
The reading I have done has persuaded me that there is little if any room for debate.  It's like we're in a house that is 3/4 on fire

Oh there's tons of room for debate, just not about whether or not we're responsible for the observed warming.  That one is a done deal.

There's still a lot of debate about which parts of the world will suffer the most, when the warming will cause collapse of the polar ice sheets, and how much it would cost to offset any particular subset of impacts.  There is no debate about the fact that we have caused the climate to radically shift as a result of human economic activity, and that this shift will cause dramatic changes to the way the planet works in the coming centuries. 

I like to believe that if we all have the necessary information and powers of reasoning that we will eventually come to the same conclusions. If we disagree, one or both of us is either missing information or isn't reasoning correctly

We will all come to the same conclusion eventually.  In the meantime, the world's largest corporations all have a vested economic interest in postponing that consensus by concealing information, and they will spend vast sums to delay any real action.  It's classic tragedy of the commons, playing out on a global scale.

Oil is the most profitable commodity on Earth.  It has the highest profit margins and best governmental tax support.  If Exxon Mobil were a country, it would consistently rank in the top 20 economies worldwide, yet it has no democratic voter base, no human rights code, and abides by no international treaties.  Five of the world's six largest corporations are oil companies.  This kind of power can significantly influence the nature of the public debate about climate changes, and has done so quite effectively for decades.

So whenever I hear somebody say something like "scientists are suppressing the truth about global warming" I just incredulously blink my eyes and think "what possible reason could thousands of scientists around the planet have to suppress open debate?"  Quickly followed by "what possible reason could five of the world's six biggest companies that all make their money selling oil possibly have to suppress open debate?"

One of these questions is easier to answer than the other.

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2012, 07:14:28 PM »
If it's true that burning off fossil fuels leads to average temperatures across the globe rising, then we definitely need to conserve at least some fossil fuels and not use them all up now.  It will be useful to fend off the next (inevitable) ice age.

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2012, 07:35:11 PM »
My biggest problem with the climate change people is their ostracization of anyone not immediately believing or conforming to their beliefs.  It has become faith based us versus them, instead of scientific debate.

By contrast, my biggest problem with the climate change debate is that people still deliberately spread misinformation rather than allowing the free exchange of information to guide the problem toward a solution.

You don't need faith in any particular side of the argument when the facts speak for themselves.  But it pains me to see the facts suppressed for so long.  Some day we'll look back on the 90s and 2000s with quiet shame, much like we look back on the civil rights abuses of the 60s, and think to ourselves "what were we thinking?"

Quote
I subscribe to Mill's Marketplace of Ideas and supporting ALL opinions, even wrong ones, under the premise that the truth will rise to the top. 

I would also support that idea, if truth were allowed to be free.  I'd start by banning any fossil fuel industry from buying congressmen, as sort of an obvious first step.

I agree with almost all of this, yet it doesn't make anything I said less true.

I do hate the misinformation spread, however in my mind that is not as bad as suppressing opposing ideas, because, again, I believe the truth will win out.

So whenever I hear somebody say something like "scientists are suppressing the truth about global warming" I just incredulously blink my eyes and think "what possible reason could thousands of scientists around the planet have to suppress open debate?"

I don't think scientists are suppressing the truth.  I do think they stifle opinions and ostracize anyone who disagrees with them.  Such refusal for actual scientific debate is reminiscent of Newton, to me.  And if they have right on their side (which I basically believe they do), then they should be willing to let others disagree, and fight it with facts, rather than the terrible political things they have done.

I can't support that sort of censorship, regardless of good intentions and even regardless of the truth being on the side of the censor.  It's a slippery slope that leads to no good.

And my argument isn't about GW, but anything.  In no circumstance should one side of a debate try to silence the other side, but they should merely present the truth.
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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2012, 09:22:36 PM »
I don't think scientists are suppressing the truth.  I do think they stifle opinions and ostracize anyone who disagrees with them. 

I've seen scientists laughed at when they stand up at meetings and make outrageous claims, both in climate science and in other areas of earth science.  Like one guy at AGU a few years back gave a talk about why we'll never run out of oil because the interior of the earth is full of the stuff, all the way down to the core. 

This kind of thing is so contradictory to so many lines of evidence that it's hard to take seriously.  It's not "stifling opinion" to ask Senator James Inhofe why he is arguing with thermometers when he denies that the planet is warming.  Any scientist who stands up in public and denies the basic and easily observable facts of climate science might as well be saying humans are descended from rhododendrons.  He's ostracized himself by acting ridiculous.  The rest of us can only laugh.

But alas, some people demand we still take them seriously.  So we write long and carefully reasoned papers about why people are not descended from trees, explaining that plants are from a whole different branch of the tree of life and evolved independently from all mammals including humans, and it's a colossal waste of time for everyone involved.

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they should be willing to let others disagree, and fight it with facts, rather than the terrible political things they have done.

What sort of terrible political things are you referring to? 

I'm not claiming every climate scientist on earth has been morally infallible, but the list of egregious violations of respected climate scientists so vastly outweighs any possible politics they might do as to be beyond comparison.

Without exaggeration, billions have been spent by oil companies to discredit respected scientists trying to fight with facts.  There isn't enough chutzpah in the world to overcome that kind of coordinated PR machine from the big boys.


arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2012, 10:42:12 PM »
Im talking about bullshit like this.

Leading export on Polar Bears excluded from Polar Bear conference because he is a "skeptic":
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/5664069/Polar-bear-expert-barred-by-global-warmists.html

Or Al Gore giving a speech to the media saying "it was past time to allow dissenting voices to be heard as they only confused people. He said the debate was over and those few voices from the other side were outliars (intentional misspelling) and must be ignored."

(http://politics.slashdot.org/story/09/06/27/2314213/epa-quashed-report-skeptical-of-global-warming)

If you claim you have a scientific consensus, but silence dissenting opinions... do you really have a consensus?

It's the whole rhetoric.. calling someone who is a skeptic or dissenter a "denier," attempting to deliberately through the wording make them wrong, as well as align them with people who deny one of the worst things humankind has ever done.

Michel Crichton before his death gave a good lecture on how the media uses fear to control.  His book State of Fear was an interesting read, and though I disagree with some of the AGW stuff, his lecture given at colleges about the state of fear and how media uses fear to control was interesting, and is often done with AGW, legitimate science or not.

And again, I think the science is there, and I do think we have a major global warming issue.  I think serious action needs to happen.

But just as the pro-GW people don't like the misinformation spread by the anti-GW people, I can't abide by the silencing critics that is done by the pro-GW people.

"Without scientific dissenters we wouldn't have as much confidence as we have today on theories such as evolution, quantum mechanics (with Einstein being a major dissenter), and Big Bang cosmology. Often, the dissent strengthens the theory, leads to new branches of study, or points out actual flaws that need to be adjusted."

(http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/05/02/0430231/last-bastion-for-climate-dissenters-crumbling)

Similarly this comment sums up a lot of my opinion on the topic:
Quote
This attitude that when it comes to climate science it is a "With us or against us," sort of thing. Either someone accepts that humans are causing climate change, that the results will be catastrophic and so on or they are the ENEMY. Skepticism, dissent, etc are not tolerated. If you don't tow the party line, you are clearly in the pocket of the industry or a moron or whatever, worthy only of being shouted down and silenced.

That sort of attitude is a large part of what leads to the polarization of the issue, and is precisely what it seems that this person is trying to work against. If you have the attitude that anyone who is skeptical of your theory at all is to be dismissed a priori, well then you aren't going to win many converts, are you?

Also I should note that attitudes like this make many people like me extremely skeptical. Whenever people act in a manner that demands unquestioning support, when they simply shout down those that disagree and attempt to silence them, when they are secretive about their methods and data, when they appeal to a consensus, when they say debate is over, well that raises my bullshit alarm. The reason is that is precisely how con artists operate. They present you with what they say as absolute truth and shout down those who would dare question it. They want to present you with only their reality, because they are indeed full of shit and they don't want that to come out. As such they attack those that question them and try to silence them, because they want to deflect from the questions.

Well, when you act like a con man, that really sets off warning bells for me. Why would you do that? Why would you simply try to shut down those that question you if you are so sure of your position? While it doesn't make you a con to do that, it sure as hell makes me suspicious you are one.

So really, shit like that doesn't help. If you are going to dismiss anyone who is skeptical of your viewpoint out of hand, you accomplish nothing. You won't convert any of them, obviously since you just dismiss them, and you'll make others wonder what it is you are so worried about.

(http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/11/27/1811253/engaging-with-climate-skeptics)

Now in those links you will find a lot of debate for and against AGW.  But in the pro-AGW community, you'll find almost no willingness to engage in debate.

In fact, they've often refused publication of legitimate scientific study in peer reviewed journals.  Funding is often targeted for pro-AGW research, while dissenters have their funding cut.

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1476540&cid=30421188

And that's what frustrates and saddens me.

If your argument for pro-AGW is so solid and is the truth.. let the dissenters speak. Engage them, debate them, and convince them.  The truth will win out.  It's the skeptics of things like the sun revolving around the earth that lead to scientific breakthroughs ala Copernican Revolution.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 10:44:04 PM by arebelspy »
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Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2012, 05:05:20 AM »
I read the polar bear article.  It may have been wrong of the conference attendees to exclude the polar bear researcher.  However, I have to wonder what the researcher was thinking when he said warming in the Arctic was caused, not by increased CO2, but by warm air and water flowing in from elsewhere.  Where does he think this warm air and water is coming from??
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 05:12:41 AM by Xtal »

arebelspy

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2012, 03:47:09 PM »
I read the polar bear article.  It may have been wrong of the conference attendees to exclude the polar bear researcher.  However, I have to wonder what the researcher was thinking when he said warming in the Arctic was caused, not by increased CO2, but by warm air and water flowing in from elsewhere.  Where does he think this warm air and water is coming from??

I don't know.  And think he may very well be wrong.  But wouldn't it be better to hear his argument for why he thinks that, rather than suppressing it? 

That's my whole point, and it's a philosophical position whereby AGW is only one recent example (and tends to actually distract from my point, because then people jump on the AGW part of it), but really applies to all censorship.
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sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2012, 06:17:23 PM »
I don't know.  And think he may very well be wrong.  But wouldn't it be better to hear his argument for why he thinks that, rather than suppressing it? 

That polar bear guy signed the Manhattan Declaration, claiming that CO2 doesn't impact climate. 

That's like a Catholic signing up with Scientology, and then being upset when they don't offer him communion anymore.  No, it's even worse than that.  It's like someone watching television while saying they don't believe in electricity.  Whatever other good ideas he may have had about polar bears are kind of irrelevant at that point.

We have folks who show up at conferences with crazy ideas.  General relativity is a hoax perpetrated by the Masons.  Peak oil is impossible because of the Mayan calendar.  Cold fusion is easy if you just use coca-cola.  They are allowed to attend, and sometimes even present their ideas, but it's kind of like the sideshow to the real science going on. 

And we don't know Mr. Polar Bear's whole story, either.  Was he an invited speaker being offered an honorarium, and then came out as a wacko and they booked someone else?  Was he trying to organize a protest at the conference?  Generally speaking, anyone is allowed to attend these things.  Typically half or more of the attendees are graduate students with little or no public record, so it's not like anyone checks your belief system before accepting your non-existent application.  You just pay your money and you show up.

More likely, I think, is that he asked to give the keynote address at the opening or closing ceremonies, and they said no thank you because they wanted someone who isn't an embarrassment to the field.

sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #43 on: July 04, 2012, 07:08:51 PM »
Or Al Gore giving a speech to the media saying "it was past time to allow dissenting voices to be heard as they only confused people. He said the debate was over and those few voices from the other side were outliars (intentional misspelling) and must be ignored."

Let me preface this by saying Al Gore is a publicity whore who has done at least as much harm as good to the movement he has come to represent.

With that out of the way, I agree that the time to listen to dissenting voices has past for most of these topics.  Oil companies tried to drag out the debate about whether or not carbon contributes to warming, in much the same way that tobacco companies tried to drag out the debate about whether or not smoking contributes to lung cancer.  They both benefit by sowing doubt, long past the time when the issue has been effectively decided.  They even hired many of the same lobbyists.

Which isn't to say there isn't a ton of room for debate about earth's climate.  I could rattle of three or four major unanswered questions about how our climate works and how it will change in the future.  But the central issue, which is that humans burning fossil fuels have added carbon dioxide to the atmosphere that is warming the climate, is a done deal.  Anyone who argues that point just hasn't looked at the facts.  So on that issue, can we please stop giving the oil companies equal time on television to try to say otherwise?

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Either someone accepts that humans are causing climate change, that the results will be catastrophic and so on or they are the ENEMY.

"Catastrophic" is a relative term.  Global warming does not immediately threaten the survival of the species.

Major economic upset, mass migrations, international armed conflicts, sure.  Five hundred million dead, perhaps.  But a half billion dead people is not the same level of catastrophe as an asteroid impact.  On the other hand, it's virtually guaranteed to happen in the foreseeable future

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If you are going to dismiss anyone who is skeptical of your viewpoint out of hand, you accomplish nothing. You won't convert any of them, obviously since you just dismiss them, and you'll make others wonder what it is you are so worried about.

Do you wonder what I'm so worried about when I dismiss the dirty homeless guy who tells me Obama is a Kenyan socialist bent on destroying America?

Consensus on the core tenets of global climate change is both broad and deep.  I don't dismiss objectors because I'm afraid of their opinions, I dismiss them because their opinions are outdated, unsupported, and irrelevant.  If you lose faith in the consensus when I ignore the crackpots, I'm okay with that.  I trust you will learn the facts for yourself, eventually.

Quote

In fact, they've often refused publication of legitimate scientific study in peer reviewed journals.  Funding is often targeted for pro-AGW research, while dissenters have their funding cut.

Can you support that assertion with any examples?

Because I can offer you a looong list of research paid for by oil companies to try to discredit the ever-growing consensus.  Does that equally "frustrate and sadden" you?

Quote
If your argument for pro-AGW is so solid and is the truth.. let the dissenters speak.

I don't have to "let" them speak when they can buy primetime coverage on every major network.  Quite the contrary, the scientific establishment generally feels widely ignored when it presents the truth, and nobody listens because BP is spinning the coverage of a ruptured oil well in the gulf into a feelgood story about how they're nurturing shorebirds back to health.  It disgusts me, and the last thing I want to do is give them equal billing at a scientific congress next to the guy who thinks the earth is hollow and you can access the aliens living on the inside by flying through the giant hole at the north pole.

These people are either crazy or evil or ignorant, and whichever one it happens to be doesn't really matter because the end result is the same; they're stifling progress on a pressing issue that we have the power to solve.  They're deliberately ruining humanity, like the guys who burned the library at Alexandria.  It's tragic to watch.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 07:13:53 PM by sol »

liquidbanana

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #44 on: July 04, 2012, 07:24:07 PM »
Eh, either way, fossil fuels are inherently unsustainable. They also don't do much for maintaining world peace.

sol

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2012, 07:29:30 PM »
My wife has just spent the past five minutes alternately laughing at me and ridiculing me for arguing with people on the internet.

She's a good reality check sometimes.  I think I'm done here.

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2012, 08:20:08 PM »
My wife has just spent the past five minutes alternately laughing at me and ridiculing me for arguing with people on the internet.

She's a good reality check sometimes.  I think I'm done here.

Likewise, as you apparently missed my point that none of this is about AGW.
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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2012, 09:18:28 AM »
My wife has just spent the past five minutes alternately laughing at me and ridiculing me for arguing with people on the internet.

She's a good reality check sometimes.  I think I'm done here.

Dang, maybe missed my chance.

I'm hoping this isn't taken as argumentative.  I don't come across a whole lot of people who work in a related field, and last time I did, it was in a crowded noisy bar, and I left with more questions than answers.

I imagine most regulars here know that I am hard-core into bicycles for transportation, my truck runs on vegetable oil, and I am one of, if not the, most liberal politically on this forum (boarding on communist).  I'm fully on board with environmentalism, as well as with science (I even have degrees in both biology and earth science).
And yet, from everything I have heard on the issue, I'm inclined towards Grant's position.

If Sol, or anyone else who understands the details, can address these specific issues, I'd be very interested to read them:

1) Climate models only go back to about 1800, the start of the industrial revolution.  The reason for this is that we simply don't have the processing power to plug in the vast number of variables and get a program to generate fluctuations that match what we know to have occurred.  But, unless you can start at the beginning of the Earth and have a program model what is known, how can you possibly expect to get a reliable baseline with which to make predictions?  Starting at the point just before we started adding carbon assumes that if we hadn't done that, the climate would be stable, and we know it wasn't stable.
The last 215 years, on the scale of global phenomenon, is kind of ridiculously small.  If you look at the big picture:

or

Its harder to say that what is happening right now is particularly extreme, and must have some non-natural cause.
To me at least, using a model that starts at the industrial revolution would be looking at a graph of stock prices than spans the last few minutes, and using that to try to predict the next yew years - completely ignoring the past century of fluctuations.

I understand that this is the best data we currently have, and it isn't evidence against AGW, but it should raise the sort of doubt the Grant and Rebel mentioned.

2) In that conversation with climate scientists I once had, in response to my mentioning that temperatures have been much higher in the past, one of them said that temperature has never risen as rapidly before.  I, not being a climate scientist, wasn't sure and had no response, but I have since looked into it, and it turns out that is totally false.
At the end of the "Younger Dryas period" the average Earth's temperature raised by 7 degrees in just 20 years - about 15 times more rapidly than it has over the past 200 years.  This goes back to the first question of is anything abnormal actually happening this time?

3) CO2 levels have varied just as much as temperature, and in lock-step with it, for millions of years, (Milankovitch cycles) indicating that the two are correlated, but not necessarily that the former causes the latter.  There are several possible reasons for pre-human-activity climate change which are not carbon based, which could imply that the warming induced the carbon, not the other way around.

We can say definitely that the climate is warming, and that CO2 is rising, but we can't say what the temp would be now if we weren't adding co2, so how can we say with confidence that it wouldn't be the same (or similar) without our contribution?
The last climate scientists I talked to all seemed totally sincere, and I have no doubt that they were.  But I get the impression the certainty, and the whole consensus argument, is a social/political backlash from the skeptic movement, itself motivated by politics instead of science.  In other words, might climate scientists be more willing to admit the unknowns if not for the fear that it would be used politically in the debate in much the way creationists tried to dispute evolution?  Granted, the evidence for evolution is much stronger, but the stakes in climate change are potentially much higher.  If it turns out we are making things worse, and we use scientific doubt as an excuse for inaction, then we all lose.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 11:22:56 AM by Bakari »

Xtal

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Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2012, 11:12:29 AM »
If it turns out we are making things worse, and we use scientific doubt as an excuse for inaction, then we all lose.

Yes, that's pretty much the case.  Here's a good graph that shows carbon PPM over the last many millenia (not just the past 200 years!)

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Analysis of the carbon isotopes found in the air show that the increase is due to what humans have been digging out of the ground and burning.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

Also see Sol's posts for a pretty lucid explanation of this.

Xtal

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 96
Re: Younger people driving less
« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2012, 11:17:00 AM »
I should make it clear, also, that I'm not advocating for censorship in any form.  However, at some point people are just... wrong.  Disagreeing with people who are wrong isn't censorship.  It's just... disagreeing with them.  And at some point it becomes reasonable to ignore (not censor) the people who are wrong.  We've squandered decades arguing about whether AGW is real, when those decades could have been spent figuring out how to (1) slow it down and (2) mitigate the consequences.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!