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Scientists Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions 62

dus writes "Many of the 10,000 scientists attending this week's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) study climate change. Collecting them all in San Francisco undoubtedly increases our understanding of global warming, but it releases more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, pointed out one of this year's delegates."
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Scientists Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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  • In other news (Score:5, Informative)

    by njchick ( 611256 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:30PM (#7769397) Journal
    • Off topic? Come on, this is in the exactly same line as the submitted story. Doing good can be bad.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Come on, this is in the exactly same line as the submitted story.

        If it was exactly the same it would be redundant. AGU people aren't all fighting global warming. Most of them don't even care. Geophysics is largely used to find oil, so the analogy isn't very good either, unless, of course, those SARs guys are largely making bioweapons.

    • Re:In other news (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You fight greenhouse effect, you cause it. You fight SARS, you spread it. You preach morality, you ruin it. You love children, you abuse them. You hate war, you start it. You love democracy, you destroy it.

      Sometimes things don't work the way they are supposed to. Welcome to the real life.

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:37PM (#7769452) Homepage Journal
    "Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions"

    One scientist flatly denied emitting greenhouse gasses, suggesting that maybe the dog did it.
  • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:39PM (#7769473) Journal

    Other scientists are lobbying for increased virtual conferencing.

    I would have preferred that the scientists lobby for increased funding in virtual conferencing technlogies instead. I have yet to be part of a videoconference that could hold a candle to face-to-face meetings. No, I don't work in sales: I'm a scientist. I just feel that you lose an awful lot when you try to replace a meeting with a virtual one. A lot of the excited interchange that occurs in a face-to-face meething becomes a jumbled "who said that?" or "wait, did someone say something?" puzzle. I think the idea of virtual conferencing is a nice idea but still needs a lot more work before we can expect widespread adoption from scientists or businessmen. And that requires money.

    The rewards of a well-developed virtual conferencing technology would go far beyond environmental concerns. By not having to spend so much time enroute to the destination (or back to your home), standing in airports, etc., people could gain back some of those "lost hours" that invariable occur during business travel. Not to mention it would save a lot of us the stress and hastle of breaking up our normal routine and enduring the growing hell of airport quagmire.


    • The technology is out there, it's just expensive. Check out some of Kurzweil's toys.
    • I actually would be disappointed to see virtual conferencing take over face-to-face meetings. I actually enjoy traveling, regardless of the standard airport snafus, and would be sad to see travel opportunities in buisiness disappear. I do however realize the economic and environmental gain to be had by videoconferencing, and I can sadly see buisiness travel slowly shrinking into oblivion...
  • On the Agenda (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theMerovingian ( 722983 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:01PM (#7769640) Journal
    While at the conference, be sure to attend:

    ExxonMobil Morning Mixer for Students: Wednesday, 10 December, Yerba Buena Ballroom Salon 9, San Francisco Marriott, 6:30-8:00 A.M

    A complimentary breakfast will be held in honor of all graduate and undergraduate students registered for the meeting. Students will have the opportunity to hear an overview of AGU programs that serve its student members, meet with AGU leadership and representatives from ExxonMobil, and network with other students and future colleagues attending the meeting.

    (don't believe me?) [agu.org]
    • This Mixer would be interesting for those students enrolled in "Oilspill cover-ups 101" and "Advanced Globalexploitation".
    • Re:On the Agenda (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, god forbid that ExxonMobil would want to try and curb greenhouse gas emissions. They are completely retarded, have no long term strategy and have no idea that being a leader in the 'clean-burning fuel' niche will help them out immensely when (not if) the government starts cracking down on the fuel side of emissions.

      Go back to pestering Monsanto, they at least deserve it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...if we just started mulching our hippies.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:47PM (#7770490)
    This type of ironic "look who is polluting" statement brings up the issue of how to allocate scare resources on a global basis . In this case we are assuming that the scientists' right to emit greenhouse gases (primarily C02 from all the airplane flights and maybe methane from the cows that went into the steak dinners) is a scarce resource. Personally, I argue for a market solution, such asgreenhousegas emissions credits [ecouncil.ac.cr], that let people or organizations with the most economically valuable applications of CO2/methane production to prevail.

    The notion of any government agency ajudicating this allocation decision is appalling to me because the history of goverment is the history of undue influence by special interests. Whether that influence is the oil industry in the current U.S. government, the tyranny of the majority in all democracies, the king's cousin in an aristocracy, trade unions in communist countries, friends in high places, or Japanese farmers, I would argue that every government is subject to unfair, subjective, corruptible political influences.

    By contrast I would argue that money, as evil as it seems, is purest way of "keeping score" of what a society values. Perhaps it is the fact that money is so much harder to create than the usual social-network forms of political influence that makes so many people abhor it so much.

    With regard to scientists polluting to get to a conference, the price of getting to that conference should reflect the value of all the other activities that must be forgone on CO2 emissions limits. Thus, the scientists should "buy" the right to pollute from people who would sell their right to pollute. If too many other people have more valuable applications that emit CO2, then the scientists would give up their right to meet (more likely their right to fly in an airplane).

    Publically traded greenhouse gas emissions credits may not be a perfect way to allocate this scarce resource, but it is better than all the other ways.
    • As many economists [yale.edu] have pointed out [yale.edu], a major problem with tradable emissions permits is that the government is still trying to set limits on emissions. There are two problems:
      1. How would you enforce CO2 emissions limits on things like individual automobiles (which emit about 30% of the anthropogenic CO2 produced in the US) and home heating/air conditioning, etc?
      2. How would you trust the government to come up with the optimal CO2 emissions limits and how would the government achieve the flexibility to revi
      • How would the social cost of climate change be accurately determined?

        If these "carbon taxes" you speak of are taxes, wouldn't the government be setting the the value of the social cost of climate change? The same government that can't be trusted to set the optimal CO2 emissions limits? wtf?
  • Because.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by jfdawes ( 254678 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:44PM (#7771092)
    These guys don't breathe (etc) when they are at home.
    • You've got it wrong, what they're counting is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted at the plane engines, when the scientists are flying to the conference.

      Carbon dioxide from respiration is not counted simply becoz there's little/no difference between the CO2 emission from a scientist at lab and at conference. If you want to reduce the respiratory CO2 emission there are two ways to do it:

      1. sit in front of the computer and read Slashdot all day, DO NOT MASTERBATE in front of your computer no matter what yo
    • Hehe. Actually, breathing is just fine for these guys -- it's a fairly closed system: (1) Plant fixes carbon dioxide from atmosphere, (2) plant is eaten by animal, (3) animal is eaten by human, (4) human breathes carbon dioxide into air. Repeat. Little net change over a suitable timescale.

      The problem is that we're pumping huge oil reserves into the atmosphere, putting carbon back into commission that was taken out of circulation millions of years ago. And we're doing it so very very fast, that the n

      • Kewl, maybe with a little more heat we can finally have our Jurassic Park-based dinosaurs overlords back? I'm all for staving off the next ice age.
  • Slashdot: News from Tabloids, stuff that ignorant fools care about.

    Please, a little thought here. The results from that meeting could decrease pollution by hundreds or millions of tons per year... They are not hippies arguing wether it is OK to eat an apple you got off a tree, or you have to wait until it falls, or else you'll disturb the fragile balance of nature.

    • Did you check the link? You think that's a tabloid?!

      Oh, I forgot, there's a more reliable source for scienctific news - slashdot comments.

  • Teleconference...

    - all of the formal presentation / sessions -and-

    - as many informal BoF's as people may wish
    to conduct, in groups or person to person

    I'd suggest:

    If / when scientists (and / or managers)
    begin to utilise such systems...

    We'll all be much closer to being able
    to use them, ourselves.
  • Hot Air (Score:1, Redundant)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) *
    Does that number take into the account the amount of hot air the delegate might spew out

  • I was at the AGU - it's an extremely broad-ranging conference covering geophysics of all sorts and space and solar physics...

    I'm in the space and solar side so we spend our time launching things into space with sodding great rockets. That can't the greenhouse problem much either.
  • These scientists... look, people in their class take jets at least two times a year up to twice a week. Sorry, but they aren't average americans, they are from a much smaller percentile class.

    Meanwhile, I a fellow human don't take jets ever. I am making up for one scientist's transgression. There are enough like me to cover their little trist so fine. I support their conference, though I agree it could be tried by telepresence next time.

    What I don't support is anybody using any excuse to peddel communism
    • I don't agree to any method of allocating me rights I haven't earned fairly

      What rights has, say, a baby "earned fairly"?

      • pssht -- "i said to the man, are you trying to tempt me?" a baby? none! a baby is born with shit and blood clinging to it, and who cares?

        theologically, many people believe we are born with a certain number of rights. they're nuts. i'm a eugenicist, and i personally don't care about a single one of them.

        the true scientific nature of human conduct and socialization is that we give to each other what we need to in order to survive. we give other peoples' babies rights because we need to ensure our own babies
        • we give other peoples' babies rights because we need to ensure our own babies rights so they have a better chance at surviving.

          OK, what rights should be granted to pre-puberty children in order to assure the comfortable survival of Homo sapiens?

      • Don't feed the trolls. It only encourages them.
  • This is ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spin2cool ( 651536 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:25PM (#7773923)
    Yes, they are responsible for releasing carbon dioxide in their trips to get to the conference - just as we're responsible for releasing tons of CO2 every day. My response is: so what? This group of scientists is working together to effect global change, which will hopefully result in millions of tonnes of CO2 less, and will prevent catastrophic ecological consequences in the long run. If releasing a few tonnes now ultimately leads to major changes in our society, I say go for it. The long term benefits clearly outweigh the short term damage.
  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:29PM (#7773944) Homepage
    Pretty senseless to say gathering scientists in one spot increases their contribution to pollution. They would pollute in their respective cities anyway if they didnt travel.

    Its fine to invest in gathering scientists despite their pollution for the purpose of deciding how to reduce pollution. Their solutions might be implemented on a global scale to reduce pollution on a much wider scale.

    Better yet invite all scientists to arrive in San Francisco on bycicles. All those scientists losing weight will also fit more of them in the meeting room.
  • who thought Greenhouse Emissions was some kind of open-source project.
  • Oh dear, I just contributed to Global Warming (breathe) oops, again (breathe) oops, I did it again (pun not intended (stupid Britney Spears song...))

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?