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Earth Science

The Arctic Is Leaking Methane 303

registerShift and other readers sent in news that the Arctic Ocean seabed is leaking methane. "...climate experts familiar with the new research reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science that even though it does not suggest imminent climate catastrophe, it is important because of methane's role as a greenhouse gas. Although carbon dioxide is far more abundant and persistent in the atmosphere, ton for ton atmospheric methane traps at least 25 times as much heat. ... [One scientist] estimated that annual methane emissions from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf total about seven teragrams. (A teragram is 1.1 million tons.) By some estimates, global methane emissions total about 500 teragrams a year. ...about 40 percent is natural, including the decomposition of organic materials in wetlands and frozen wetlands like permafrost."
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The Arctic Is Leaking Methane

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  • Fuel? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @09:55AM (#31370272) Homepage Journal
    So can it be capped and used for fuel?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by carlhaagen ( 1021273 )
      Wouldn't it just be easier to collect the staggering amounts of methane byproduct from all our cattle and other livestock? Surely the methane resources in these "establishments" are far more manageable than those of an arctic plain.
      • Re:Fuel? (Score:5, Funny)

        by ItsJustAPseudonym ( 1259172 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:10AM (#31370448)
        "Hey Elsie, pull my hoof. Moo."
      • Re:Fuel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:37AM (#31370704)

        Are you volunteering to plug in all the nozzles?

        The problem with this plan is two-fold:
        1) The gas isn't centralized. Where it is (say, sealed garbage dumps), methane is already harvested and used.
        2) Setting this up is far, far more expensive than just buying your gas from the local utility company. Why would anybody bother if it doesn't save them money and they have to attach balloons to cow asses for the rest of their lives?

        • Re:Fuel? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:08PM (#31371896)

          See my post above, but also, Re #2:

          http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/06/26/methane_digester/ [publicradio.org]

          The cost of the setup is here:

          The biggest hurdle is cost. This on-farm power plant, called a manure digester, is only the third in the state, and it has a half a million dollar price tag. Federal, state and local grants paid for much of it, but the farmer paid the remaining $100,000.

          The savings seem less clear, though he does expect to drive his car for free, power the process for free, and earn $400/week from pumping power back into the grid. Without knowing his costs, it is hard to say for sure how long it would take him to reclaim even his own $100,000.

          We can guess though, from this site [farmanddairy.com]:

          In South Dakota, for example, electricity alone represents 30 cents per 100 pounds of milk.


          The 200 cows on Jerry Jennisson's central Minnesota dairy farm make 1,100 gallons of milk every day.

          Google holds the weight of milk at '4.5 lbs/gallon'... So a little rough math puts the dairy farm's operation at 4950 pounds and $14.85 per day.

          Total revenue, from what we know, generated by the digester is something in the area of ($5,420.25 + $20,800) $26,220.25/year. He'd get his money back out in four years, or so, and the total break-even is twenty years. None of this accounts for the other economic factors. There are likely additional positives and negatives to the formula, but at the end of the day it actually does earn money.

          Also, this is first-generation tech. Efficiency will undoubtedly go up, increasing revenue and lowering costs. There were only three at the time of the writing, which means they were not being mass-produced, but custom built.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by necro81 ( 917438 )

            Google holds the weight of milk at '4.5 lbs/gallon'.

            For what it is worth, milk is more than 90% water, which weighs in at about 9 pounds per gallon. The rest of milk is mostly fats and proteins, which are not drastically different in density than water.

            A little [hypertextbook.com] searching [illinois.edu] around [csgnetwork.com] yields the density of milk to be around 1.02-1.06 g/cc (or kg/L). This translates to, you guessed it, about 9 pounds per gallon.

            Also, any farmer could tell you that a hundredweight of milk (a touch over 100 pounds - go figu

        • Actually, cows burp more methane than they fart. A lot more. You'd need to attach the balloons to cows mouths instead. Less disgusting, but still intractable if you want cows to, you know...eat.

      • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

        I think this would be a matter of logistics. Capturing all of the output of millions of cows or capturing the output from one region of Earth. And then shipping said product to processing facilities. Sure, the cows could be used, but I think it would be easier to deal with the planet.

        • If I was a misanthrope who really wanted to piss in everybody's cornflakes, I'd take a trawler and a few dozen cases of dynamite and cruise along the Northern Canadian coast, blasting that methane loose from the sea floor. Talk about your low-budget ways to destroy^W ruin the world. I really don't see why the Dread Pirate Roberts, err, Osama hasn't tried this, I mean overlooking the whole being dead for nine years thing.
      • Hell, just catch me after a week of eating boiled eggs, "I" could help fuel a couple of cars.

        And don't even get me started after a meal of red beans and rice washed down with Moosehead beer....

        Loved ones are in danger the next day!!

      • by eonlabs ( 921625 )

        Quantity matters too. You're not getting millions of tons of the gas in each livestock establishment. Granted the distribution across area could still be similar, but it may be easier if it's leaching from reservoirs in the ice...

      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        I'll reply to you, rather than to the ones below that aren't familiar with some of our opportunites:

        1) The harvesting is done against the manure ponds, such as in dairy farms, etc, and not directly against the animals. Cows belch more than fart anyway, so that kind of collection is doubly absurd. However, just a little googling will show you successful reclamation efforts of this type, on a small scale.

        2) Manure is a problem that our current stockyard system simply refuses to deal with. This kind of harv

    • Let It Burn! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Methane being 25 times more hazardous to the climate than CO2 then surely even burning it in-situ would be ecologically sound byproduct is CO2 + 2H20

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pydev ( 1683904 )

        Methane being 25 times more hazardous to the climate than CO2 then surely even burning it in-situ would be ecologically sound byproduct is CO2 + 2H20

        That's not true. Methane's half-life in the atmosphere is so short that it is not a significant risk; in a year, all that methane is going to be CO2 anyway and only 1/25th as potent for global warming.

        CO2 is risky because it has a half-life of over a century.

        • Re:Let It Burn! (Score:5, Informative)

          by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:34AM (#31371448)
          From Linky [wikipedia.org]:

          Methane has a large effect for a brief period (a net lifetime of 8.4 years in the atmosphere)

          Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high 'global warming potential' of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years).

          Global Warming Potential [wikipedia.org] is a relative scale which compares the gas in question to that of the same mass of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is by convention equal to 1).

          So methane is 70 times worse then CO2 over 20 years and 25 times worse over 100 years. Not exactly insignificant...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pugugly ( 152978 )

            Ouch - I was familiar with the numbers, but not the curve.
            So, fundamentally the effect is frontloaded, so the direct effect is to warm up faster and the indirect effect is to release more methane as it does so.
            And, if I'm reading the formulae in the wiki article right, those numbers are direct effect numbers, not taking into account feedback loop effects. Understandable - much easier to calculate, less assumptions, but as methane leaks out of permafrost, it's going to cascade a lot.

            We may have hit tipping p

    • Re:Fuel? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:07AM (#31370422)
      In most cases, probably not. The methane is seeping out at low local concentrations over a vast area - there is no huge concentrated deposit like it is the case with oil or natural gas. Instead it is dissolved at low concentrations in the soil. Pure, concentrated methane hydrate deposits exist and might be useable for fuel extraction, though. Those are usually deeper in the oceans, where the hydrate is stabilized by water pressure. Getting the stuff to the surface without prematurely releasing the methane due to the pressure reduction is non-trivial, though. I suppose oil and natural gas are too cheap to make harvesting such methane hydrate deposits economically viable at the moment.
      • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        In most cases, probably not. The methane is seeping out at low local concentrations over a vast area - there is no huge concentrated deposit like it is the case with oil or natural gas. Instead it is dissolved at low concentrations in the soil. Pure, concentrated methane hydrate deposits exist and might be useable for fuel extraction, though. Those are usually deeper in the oceans, where the hydrate is stabilized by water pressure. Getting the stuff to the surface without prematurely releasing the methane due to the pressure reduction is non-trivial, though. I suppose oil and natural gas are too cheap to make harvesting such methane hydrate deposits economically viable at the moment.

        I thought methane was a natural gas? But then, i'm not a chemist.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Natural gas is indeed mostly methane, with some ethane, propane, CO2 in the mix. I was using the term to refer to fossil gas mostly associated with oil deposits and the like. I just looked it up and found that the distinction between fossil gas, methane clathrates and swamp gas seems not to be that strong in English, which is not my first language.
        • Petroleum processing gaseous byproducts (a mixture of stuff) and Syngas are often sold as natural gas. May contain a mixture of propane, butane, ethane, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen.
      • So we need a huge canopy to collect all the methane in...

        Quick! Someone call the Scientologists!
      • There was an episode [bbc.co.uk] of the BBC documentary "Earth: The Power of the Planet", where the presenter and his guide were in Siberia, dug a hole in the ice, and lit the escaping methane with a lighter. They got quite an impressive sustained flame out of it.

        If I remember correctly, the programme implied that it wasn't uncommon to be able to do this. Of course there's no telling how many different takes they shot with how many different holes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      Yes [technologyreview.com]

      Obviously this comment is too short to be informative as I wrote it quickly. Gah.... I wish Slashdot would grow a bit over this time limitation for posts...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is 1 Million tonnes.
    it is 1 Megaton
    it is 10^12 gram
    it is 10^9 Kilogram
    it is very easy to multiply with 10 in a 10 digit-system, so learn to do it right?

  • better out than in
  • by Van Cutter Romney ( 973766 ) <sriram.venkataramani@NOSPAm.geemail.com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:04AM (#31370370)
    Seen already [slashdot.org].

    ...but can we do something about it?
    • by Khomar ( 529552 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:15AM (#31370506) Journal

      ...but can we do something about it?

      Sure. Give them millions of dollars of grant money to do more research while we pass legislation to make manufacturing even more difficult in America so we can export the rest of our jobs to China where they can ignore all environmental laws. Of course, at present rate, the world-wide economy will soon be completely shot, so after we kill off a couple billion people from the resulting unrest, diseases, and famines, our human contribution will be greatly reduced... to negligible effect.

      So no. Not really.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Parent is insightful, +5.

        We have, as a nation, in the name of Corporate Greed and the Maximization of Profit, destroyed our manufacturing sector, which was the world's greatest after WW2. We have ceased to create real Wealth, and now we produce only imaginary Wealth. Not everyone can be a Doctor or a Lawyer or an Engineer. We need actual jobs that actually produce things.

        Our entire system is based on a redistribution of wealth; we take it from the many and concentrate it into the hands of the few.

        • excuse me... As an Engineer who works in the manufacturing sector, I take umbrage with part of your statement. Engineers produce things. I like building stuff. I just don't work every day on the production line. My hat's off to those folks that do.

          That line should probably read "Not Everyone can be a Manager or a Lawyer or an Accountant."

          Otherwise, I agree with you, we need to bring the manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

          • That line should probably read "Not Everyone can be a Manager or a Lawyer or an Accountant.

            Correct. The US has exported a lot of engineering jobs to China as well. A lot of technology is now lost to the US, and rebuilding the plants and the technology will take a lot more time than it took for the corporate psychopaths to enrich themselves while destroying the technological and industrial capacity of the US (and Europe).

  • Old news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Researchers have measured methane in the region before. Of course, now you can't find those reports because they're buried by this press release.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Releasing a press release causes earlier reports to become forgotten? I didn't know that the archive of all news stories ever written is solely stored in Homer Simpson's brain.

  • Chuck (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:09AM (#31370434)

    Man, it's just a shame global warming isn't real. Then this story may actually have some relevance.

  • by navygeek ( 1044768 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:10AM (#31370442)
    Quick! Someone make an impassioned plea to the U.N. to write a strongly worded letter informing the Arctic that its actions are unacceptable and intolerable. We must not abide this clear violation of greenhouse gas limitation policy. Please, be sure the letter is *strongly worded*!!!
  • by kiick ( 102190 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:10AM (#31370446)

    The ice cap is farting?

  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by neuromountain ( 1255052 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:13AM (#31370486)
    It should be noted that 100-year global warming potential is around 23 -- the 20-year GWP is actually about 72. So the effects of permafrost thawing and possible release of any clathrate methane and the real warming impact in the short-term will be more extreme.
  • For clarity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:15AM (#31370494)

    7 teragrams = 7,000,000 metric tons.

    Far easier to think about if you work in units people are used to.

    To compare to something in human terms:

    The British Emerald is the largest LNG carrier I can find and can carry somewhere in the region of 77500 metric tons of gas (155,000 cubic meters with LNG having a density of about 0.5 kg/L).

    So this is something like approximate to the largest natural gas tanker in the world releasing it's entire load into the air about 90 times over.

    any corrections to figures welcome.

    • Re:For clarity (Score:5, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:41AM (#31370756)
      Only one correction:

      So this is something like approximate to the largest natural gas tanker in the world releasing it's entire load into the air about 90 times over per year.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The EPA estimates: "Globally, ruminant livestock produce about 80 million metric tons of methane annually"

      That's an order of magnitude more than the estimated amount of methane leaking from the Arctic.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Bartles ( 1198017 )

        Where does the methane that the animals fart out come from? I would think animal methane is carbon neutral.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Two basic problems with animal methane:

          Even in situations where it is in fact carbon neutral(atmospheric co2 -> plant -> cow -> atmospheric methane) you are turning a less potent, in greenhouse terms, flavor of carbon into a more potent one.

          Second, in much of modern agriculture, there is substantial input of fertilizers and pesticides and things, many of which are petrochemically derived. In these cases, you get all the disadvantages of the carbon neutral case, plus some fossil carbon coming
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:16AM (#31370518)

    It's from the under ocean citys

  • by curmudgeon99 ( 1040054 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:19AM (#31370544)
    What a bunch of stupid humans we are. We're killing our planet and yet we have to fight these stupid, selfish, self-serving idiots who want to pollute a little longer, so they can buy that Hummer or McMansion. There is going to be hell to pay and all the Sen James Inhofe's of the world will suddenly disappear into the shadows.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 )

      The world changed, has always changed, and will continue to change. Be it by our hand, or natures. One would argue it's one in the same. So would argue that extra CO2 and heat will *increase* vegetation and improve bio diversity that goes along with it. Meanwhile, Humans continue to become the most adaptable mammal on the planet. This did not happen over night.

      Sit back, take a chill-pill, and relax. Oh, and burn some oil. Life thrives on carbon and CO2, for you are the LIFE GIVER!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid ( 135745 )

        " Life thrives on carbon and CO2,"
        No. CO2 it important to the cycle, but too much has effects that make the planet less habitable for humans.

        While humans are adaptable, the Global warming changes are happening very fast compared to out evolution.

        Too much CO2 will kill humans.

  • "Natural" methane? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BetterSense ( 1398915 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:19AM (#31370556)
    I wonder what exactly "natural" methane is. When it comes from decomposing matter in permafrost, it's "natural" methane, when it comes from the digestion process of human-bred ungulates it's "unnatural" methane? I find it interesting how nothing humans do is considered "natural" despite that we are born here, eat here, shit here, and die here. I wonder just what is so "unnatural" about the human race, especially considering that we now supposedly reject magical thinking that he is divinely created and now believe he is an advanced ape. Yet his impact on his environment is always "unnatural" and impure and somehow different than that of any other species.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by klingens ( 147173 )

      It is natural insofar as humanity didn't do anything to create it. While the cow herds are expressly bred and raised by humans. A wild cow or zebra or gnu are natural too, even when they produce exactly the same methane.
      In Nature, the amount of cattle raised by humans is not sustainable. It only works for us since we specially grow feedstock using fertilizer and pesticide to get a bigger crop than naturally possible.

    • Sustainable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by copponex ( 13876 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:58AM (#31370972) Homepage

      Nature seeks states of equilibrium. The question is not whether we are a part of nature. The question is whether we are hurtling the earth's climate toward a state of equilibrium that destroys our civilization.

      This does not require the entire earth to become inhospitable. But if there are enough strains on world resources, it will end up putting us through decades of misery which may result in catastrophic wars, food shortages, and the loss of all coastal communities.

      Famines have killed millions in the past, and are still killing millions in Africa. Right now we have easily exploitable resources that allow us to enjoy a certain quality of life, but we are dangerously close to depleting a number of those resources to new low states of equilibrium. Add in unpredictable droughts, rising sea levels, and the loss of many glaciers that supply freshwater through natural processes, and you can see why people are worried.

      • I totally understand THAT line of reasoning. I'm pointing out the persistent concept, exposed casually in TFS, that things done by humans are "unnatural" and that "natural" means "untouched/caused by humans". Why are humans considered unnatural and not part of nature? Why do we think we are different and exist outside of and separate from nature? When the human race does something to the environment, why is that seen as less natural than when a termite mound is built?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by radtea ( 464814 )

        Nature seeks states of equilibrium.

        One might as well say, "Nature seeks extinction", as far more species have become extinct due to entirely natural processes than currently exist.

        The Earth has become uninhabitable at least once already, with the build-up of a highly toxic gas that was the result of the natural metabolism of natural organisms, sometime between 1 billion and 500 million years ago. This entirely natural process killed off very nearly every living thing, driving a vast range of single-celled species to extinction. It also hap

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mikkeles ( 698461 )

      Firstly: unnatural doesn't mean supernatural. It's idiomatic.

      Secondly: humans capacity for technological development allows us to usurp common and typical natural feedback mechanisms that limit effects of any other species' activities. This allows us to regularly or contiually have potential effects typical only of relatively uncommon events such as major volcanic eruptions, meteor strikes or worse (for us and every other organism).

      Finally: we have the ability to comprehend that there are unintended conse

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
      Because the word "natural" is a lot shorter and less awkward than using "non-human-caused-" every time? You can argue semantics all you want, but it's a useful distinction to make, and it's clear enough to most of us.
    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      The word "natural" has multiple meanings. In context, it means "not man-made".
  • If I remember correctly, there was a story on here recently about cows that produce less methane and, thus, are better for the environment and won't cause global warming. So, is the fact that the Arctic releasing methane proof that it is suicidal? (Or maybe the Arctic is just Mother Nature farting a little...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SharpFang ( 651121 )

      Global warming is disastrous to cities only, and changing for many regions, some for better some for worse. It is not suicidal for the Nature, just opposite, it may grant it some relief from the human problem...

  • It is destroying our planet!

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#31371302) Journal

    But I'm happy about it because I think it is important. Anyway since I spent a while putting my submission together, here it is for your (hopeful) enjoyment:

    Will LIFE almost end AGAIN? Another Great Dying?

    I've said it before (http://slashdot.org/submission/1066423/Another-Permian-extinction-on-the-way?art_pos=62, http://slashdot.org/submission/1056203/Global-Warming-Tipping-Point?art_pos=71 [slashdot.org]) and I'll say it again: there may be a chance that we may be facing another Permian level extinction event. What is that you say? It was the greatest extinction event in earth's history (hence "The Great Dying") causing up to 96% of all marine organisms to go extinct and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates. Remember, these are entire SPECIES that went extinct, individual population losses were obviously higher. The cause? Well according to Wikipedia: "only one sufficiently powerful cause has been proposed for the global 10 reduction in the 13C/12C ratio: the release of methane from methane clathrates;[7]"

    So, as you can see, I keep saying this because the stakes are so high.

    Well now there are reports (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=10010948) that the methane clathrates off of Eastern Siberia are releasing 8 million tons of methane a year. While currently "negligible" compared to global emissions of about 440 million tons: "The release of just a 'small fraction of the methane held in (the) East Siberian Arctic Shelf sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming,'" This WILL become more likely because: "If atmospheric temperatures rise, the hydrate stability zone will shift upward, leaving in its stead a layer of methane gas that has been freed from the hydrate cages. Pressure in that new layer of free gas would build, forcing the gas to shoot up." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902133637.htm [sciencedaily.com]. Of course what's driving this is the quick rise in temperatures in the Arctic/Antarctic, temperatures there are rising twice as fast as the global average (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane). So even if we manage to keep the temperature rise BEFORE counting in the additional methane release to a very optimistic 2 celsius (3.6 degrees for Americans) it will be twice that for the arctic regions. Remember also that these articles are talking about just a small part of the arctic methane clathrate reserve (which is itself just a tiny part of the global reserve in all the deep sea sediments) and that it is coming out of out of the sea bed in other places too. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902133637.htm).

    If the temperature rises cause enough methane to come out to cause the temperature to rise even more we could be in for a very bad greenhouse effect. Methane is 20x more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2 and there are 500-2500 Gigatons of the stuff on the ocean floor compared to just 700 Gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere. So if just 5% of the stuff comes out, we've doubled the heat retained in this manner by the atmosphere!

    Now I probably lost the climate-denialists/creationists/young-earthian/Republicans a while ago but to those of you still reading please consider that this is an EXISTENTIAL threat, that is it threatens our (humankind's) very existance. Maybe if temperatures soar into the mid-one hundreds, people will still be able to walk outside/in the winter/in Antarctica and exist in air-conditioned caves elsewhere but I think you'll agree we will have made our own hell on earth. So even if the chance of a semi-runaway greenhouse effect is very small we should really REALLY be careful. (To see the effect of a full runaway greenhouse effect, just visit Venus, hot enough to melt lead!).

    Sure prediction, especially about the future, is hard. But the vast majority of climate scientists think we are headed for a cliff in the fog, fast. They may dis

    • Meh. You can't scare people into thinking humanity will become extinct by just altering the global temperatures - we have air conditioning and central heating. Try convincing them that global warming will make the Earth blow up [bioresonant.com], that ought to do it!
    • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:31PM (#31372202)

      Why do people think climate scientists are any different,

      Because they work in a field that is extremely messy and fraught with uncertainty and yet promote the results of their unphysical computational models as being virtually certain, and they lead their arguments with fearmongering language about the risk of dire consequences rather than the science.

      If anyone believes that climate models are an adequate basis for public policy, then they also necessarily believe we ought to immediately implement global free trade, because economic models are of far higher quality than climate models, and the underlying processes are far better understood, and all economic models show that global free trade would be of vast economic benefit, to the extent of saving millions of human lives per year.

      So give that you are assuming that climate models are a sufficient basis for public policy, am I correct in assuming you are also absolutely in favour of global free trade? Can you point to any impassioned articles you have written on this subject, and the millions of lives that are lost each year as a result of not adopting this policy? You are clearly deeply concerned with things that will better humanity's future, so surely you must have written such things.

      If not, why not?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If the vast majority of medical experts told you that you had a disease that was curable but only if you acted quickly wouldn't you do so?

      Suppose one believes the full corpus of scientific literature on AGW. What do you do next? The IPCC report says that trends don't predict an extinction level event, but *do* constitute a certain amount of cost to global society. Do we have a model that says if we put Treaty X into effect as soon as possible we avert all that cost? Well how much of it CAN we avert? And how much does that affect the world around us? Will China comply? Do we lose even more of our manufacturing industry? Does it bite in

  • I have been leaking methane for some years now. Friends and co-workers have made the argument that I alone, contribute significantly to global warming and localized pollution, however, I am applying for a stimulus grant for research into myself as a viable energy source.

  • Blame Canada
  • For a while atmospheric mehane was increasing. Then it stopped increasing [www.semp.us] a few years ago. No one really understands why.
  • Was that you?!?
  • Better headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:31PM (#31372196) Homepage Journal

    "The Arctic Is Leaking Methane, as predicted by Global Warming."

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"