It's warming up Diana Diamond's Blog, posted by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger, on Jul 24, 2006 at 2:40 pm Diana Diamond is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
To escape the soaring temperatures on Sunday, I went to the movie theater to see a film about global warming.
Standing in line, everyone seemed aware of the heat. ďItís 110 in Livermore and 140 degrees in Iraq today,Ē one young man commented. Another man said that while driving to see this film, his car thermometer registered 108 degrees outdoors.
So the recent week-plus heat wave may have made us all particularly alert to the message in Al Goreís film, "An Inconvenient Truth." Global warming is occurring, and at an alarming rate. The photos of the disappearing snow-capped mountains worldwide was quite convincing.
I certainly perked up when Gore talked of the melting glaciers and ice formations around Antarctica that could result in a 20 foot increase in the oceans and seas. He showed the effect these rising waters would have on parts of the world, including the San Francisco Bay. I watched the simulated waters slowly overtake the land around the Bay. At 10 percent I began to worry, at 15 percent I would be the home owner of Bay front property, and at 20 percent my whole neighborhood would be gone, as would most of all the neighborhoods east of Alma Street. And Iím not even living in the flood plain.
I came out a convert, not that I was a disbeliever to begin with. Global warming is occurring, and as a country we need to do what we can to halt it, since the United States contributes to 30 percent of the global warming problem.
I didnít grill outside last night, and I turned out most of my lights. Every little bit helps.
Posted by David, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2006 at 4:55 pm
One minor correction:
Al Gore talked about a 20 foot increase in sea levels, not a 20 percent increase. From looking at USGS topographic maps, that isn't quite enough to reach Alma St -- Waverly St. is at about a 20 foot elevation for much of its route through southern Palo Alto. By contrast, a 20% increase in sea depth would put the waterline somewhere up in the Santa Cruz mountains above Palo Alto.
Posted by David Bubenik, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2006 at 1:01 pm
The inundation zone definitely includes the sites for Palo Alto's coveted Auto Row along 101. Automobiles generate carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide aids global warming, which melts glaciers, raises the ocean levels, and floods our Auto Row. The irony.
Posted by vicki, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2006 at 7:01 pm
Actually there will be considerable benefits to global warming for the populations of USA,Canada and North Europe.a few hot days in the summer, much less heating needs in winter and more efficient transportation through the North Passage.As the warming is inevitable we should discus both the benefits and the risks
My main concern is the huge and increasing pollution and public health problems created by China which nobody talks about and as China is not a democracy internal discussion is impossible.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 26, 2006 at 9:13 pm
Thanks for the counter point, while also accepting the idea that global warming, due to human activity, is real.
If we accept that it is true, maybe we should look at real change. Did Gore suggest nuclear power plants , which produce no greenhouse gases? If not, maybe he has an agenda.
What do you think?
Diana Diamond seems to think the answer is to do mini-actions, like turning off the lights. Nothing wrong with that, it is a good thing, but she fails to understand that the CO2 battle will require very big solutions. Solar and wind will help, but it won't be nearly enough. Nuclear energy should be considered.
Posted by Robyn, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 29, 2006 at 8:59 pm
Has anyone heard of any meetings happening in Palo Alto to discuss how we can support each other in reducing our CO2 emissions? Al Gore may be preaching to the choir, but has the choir changed its light bulbs yet? Have we given up our SUVs? Have we written letters to politicians to insist on legistlation that will reduce CO2 emissions - adding our voices until a mighty cachophony of requests can no longer go ignored? Have we installed solar panels to power our home? Are we still booking long plane flights without serious consideration to the impact this makes on CO2 emissions?
There are so many things we can do to reduce our CO2 emissions, large and small, but is it hard to be good even we can sing Al's song.
I believe it would be a big help if people in the community met once a month to support and encourage one another in activities that will reduce our CO2 emissions.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2006 at 3:02 pm
Hey, since those bastards took away our yacht harbor, it would be nice to tie up in my front yard. Don't worry your pretty little head, D.D., Gore's science is right up there with his property management skills.
And while I would agree that there have been swings in the globe's temperatures, and that we have had ice ages followed by warming periods, most scientists today do agree that there is a decided upswing in temperatures, that we are experiencing global warming, and that these temperature increases are caused by humans. The last 15 years or so have experienced the 10 highest years of recorded high temperatures.
If you are right -- that we are not experiencing global warming -- I would be delighted. But if you are wrong -- and we take no action -- we are going to have world-wide problems. I would personally prefer to act prudently, and try to do what we can to stop global warming.
It may not even be too hard to do. Look at the tremendous success we have had in many places in the United States in reducing the amount of smog.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2006 at 3:55 pm
I really like your passion on local issues, even if I don't agree with all of them.
However, on the global warming issue(s), you are assuming that Al Gore's movie is accurate. As with any piece of propagands, one needs to look at what is missing, not just what is included.
Diana, the global climate issues are extremely complex. Actually, our current statistical models are barely adequate. I could offer lots of examples to counter current beliefs, but that is not the real point. This debate will go on for the the next several decades (more or less). Probably, satellite data will carry the day. At this point, satellite data show little, if any, global warming.
My main point is that this issue should not become a political argument, before it is clearly understood. The cost/benefit analyis is volatile, right now. There is a huge cost to be paid if, for instance, human-generated CO2 is NOT a cause of the current warming trend (if there is one).
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Aug 27, 2006 at 8:17 am
John is quite right. While it's increasingly clear that there is some global warming happening, and it's likely that at least some of it is due to human activity, there are still huge uncertainties. It would be better not to have the politica argument before the science is better understood.
The other point that isn't stressed by global warming worriers is the true extent of the economic and lifestyle sacrifices that would be involved to affect the ongoing warming if it's assumed that their predictions and models are correct. If the models that purport to show very significant human caused global warming are correct, then we all have to do much more than change lightbulbs and switch to driving Priuses.
The very significant reductions in greenhouse gasses called for the Koyoto Treaty (which was rejected by 96 of our 100 Senators, and which only two of the European signers have been able to meet), would, if you believe the most prominent warming models, reduce warming by less than 1% over 20 years.
The point is that to get real reductions in the hypothetical future warming as predicted by the models would mean cuts in energy use that would reduce GNP by 20 to 30 %, and would require significant restrictions in the use of private automobiles, home heating, and etc. This isn't politically possible in the US. And getting developing nations like China and India, where most of the increases in greenhouse gasses are coming from, seems highly unlikely.
There is a danger that we will do enough to harm the economy, but not enough to do anything about global warming. Perhaps a better path would be to try to assure we have enough economic growth so that when the problems of global warming become apparent (if they do), we have the resources to deal with them.