View Poll Results: Will the environment continue to get worse, or will it get better?

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  • Environmental conditions will worsen over time.

    21 38.18%
  • Things will pretty much level out.

    13 23.64%
  • Things will improve...cleaner air, water, etc...

    21 38.18%
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Thread: Environmental poll

  1. #1
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    Environmental poll

    Will the environment continue to get worse, or will it get better?

  2. #2
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    Considering how many people on this board, in theory with at least some scientific bent, have said that humans aren't affecting the environment, I think enough of humanity has its head buried up its... rather, in the sand that we'll not get around to doing anything significant to stop it until we get pimp-slapped a couple of times for our joint, willful stupidity.

    BTW, BBP, are you listening to NPR right now?

  3. #3
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    I'm wondering why some people think that the environment is getting worse? Hasn't it been getting better for decades now? Aren't cleaner technologies being used?

  4. #4
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    The good thing to remember, is that there's no way we can wipe out all life on the planet no matter what we do.
    The bad one is that we're quite capable of wiping out ourselves.

    With the US pulling out of Kyoto, and giving tax breaks for buying SUV's, I think it's pretty clear that we have at least one major industrial nation where the leaders don't give a damn about the environment if it's in the way of profit for their friends.

    I don't see the environment getting better soon

  5. #5
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    Thing is, we really don't have that much of an effect on the environment. The ozone layer is fixing itself and the global warming theory is iffy at best.

  6. #6
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    The environment will get worse. I just will debate you on how long it will take. :-)

  7. #7
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    Well, a long time from now we're going to run out of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and everything will die... and then even later, the sun will go out... and we will too!

  8. #8
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    Had a long argument with a guy about vehicle emissions and the chicken little therories about SUV's destroying the earth. If it's not one thing to label as the next great evil, it'll be something else.
    Different types of environmental pollution. Gas emissions have been going down per vehicle, but there's more vehicles on the road. Better recycling efforts, but there's also more people generating waste.
    It's a balance. But there's been too many sky is falling predictions for me to get all worked up over it anymore. I remember how acid rain was supposed to melt the skin right off of you by 2000.
    The problem is the science is easily twisted by whatever lobby group is buying the ear of congress this month.
    As long as population growth exceeds efforts to deal with the increase of pollution, then it will get worse. The issue is whether that's really a significant amount or not.
    In my life, I've seen major improvements to the environment. When I was a kid, the Merrimack River in NH was so nasty I never swam in it, despite living 2 blocks away.
    By the time I was 20 the river was rated as nearly drinkable. Fish were restocked and people eat the fish out of there all the time. You can swim in it all day. Better, not worse.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    Thing is, we really don't have that much of an effect on the environment. The ozone layer is fixing itself and the global warming theory is iffy at best.
    No global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best it is dead on. Our part in the process is what is being debated. As far as the environment I would say it has been getting worse but eventually will get better as we become more advanced and/or it starts affecting us thereby kicking our asses into high gear and do something about it. I don't however have any idea on a time frame.

  10. #10
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    Here is one I always tried to explain to people in my undergraduate environmental science but always got strange looks for. If you made engines that run without pollution and without gas as a fuel source at our current technological level you would NOT get rid of our dependence on oil. (Also if the fuel is less expensive you drop the overall cost of the vehicle thereby having MORE people owning a vehicle.) This causes all kinds of problems because our oil use MAY go up the reasons: Oil is used for the plastics in the car more cars=more plastics used, oil is used in the production of tires again more cars driving uses more tires, oil is used to lubricate engines more cars more lubricant needed, oil is used to make roads more cars=more roads(trust me in my city it is horrible), and I am certain i have missed some thing from my usual argument. Oh well, the picture should be clear. Getting rid of fuel guzzling suv's won't rid us of our oil use. Only a new method of transportation will. Also, I know many of these items use non-natural or recycled oils but natural oil use is still quite high and very cheap(comparitivly).

  11. #11
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    I've mentioned on another thread (and Arthur Clarke said a generation ago) that petroleum is far to valuable to burn.

    The most recent breakdown I've seen on total oil use is that about 85% is used as a direct energy source (burned), divided about evenly between transportation and static uses (heating, electricity generation, etc.). The remaining 15% is divided up between plasitcs and other petrochemicals.

    So the amount used for nonenergy processes is significant. But it won't produce the CO2 that burning does.

  12. #12
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    I don't see the environment getting better until we stop making so many people.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffel999
    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    Thing is, we really don't have that much of an effect on the environment. The ozone layer is fixing itself and the global warming theory is iffy at best.
    No global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best it is dead on. Our part in the process is what is being debated.
    That's what I meant. The greenhouse effect is correct, but global warming (caused by us) is iffy. Sorry for the confusion.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mutant
    I don't see the environment getting better until we stop making so many people.
    I voted, based on hope, that the environment will improve, but one ray of hope came out this year. The world population's growth rate is actually slowing for the first time ever.
    From what I've read, the biggest factor seems to be education. As soon as women in poorer countries figure out that they don't have to be pregnant every year, and how that can be avoided, they stop having so many kids. Still too many of us being born, but at least it's slowing down.

  15. #15
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    Companies dumping toxins in to our water supplies for small fines. Rain forests razed at alarming rates. Urban sprawl. Gas guzzling vehicles. Greater demands for plastics. Burning fossil fuels for energy. Overpopulation. Strip malls on every freaking space of land possible. Over packaging.

    These are things I see affecting the environment on a daily basis. Green spaces are diminishing everywhere I look. I don't need to worry about a greenhouse effect when I can't even eat the fish I caught because of mercury levels. Or how my eyes would burn every day from the smog when I went to school in Pasadena, Ca.

    My point is that we do have an effect on our environment and it will get worse unless these issues are addressed and dealt with. The Earth will be fine in the long run, but will our place on it be?

  16. #16
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    My thoughts follow; by way of explanation, I spent 28 years in fairly senior positions at U.S. EPA. I don't claim to be an expert in all environmental science areas, but have some grounding and familiarity witht he issues.

    Some things have improved (control of acid rain precursors have helped that problem a lot); others don't look so good (like global warming/CO2 emissions). Contrary to some things said in this thread, the drinking water supply is reasonable safe, but aging infrastructure and water resources themselves may pose a problem in the near future.

    The underlying problem is two-fold--population growth (tho an earlier poster indicated the world population growth rate has declined), and the future industrialization of the 3d world, especially China. More and more people are going to get closer to U.S. levels of consumer consumption AND waste production (including auto/powerplant emissions). What will happen when Asia is full of two-car families, busily belching pollutants as they zip down the freeways over the rice paddys on the way to their air-conditioned homes with 65 inch TVs?

    We aren't likely to give up our way of life, and we can hardly expect the folks in the 3d world to reject it if they can get it!

  17. #17
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    My concern really isn't about the environment getting worse. All those dire predictions about acid rain dissolving everything and oceans boiling away haven't materialized. And I remember reading that temperature fluctuations actually can have a cosmic cause.

    My main concern is the depletion of nonrenewable resources. I think these resources will go before the environment does. I'm glad that research has explored alternative sources of energy and materials.

  18. #18
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    The environment is getting better on a local scale when you look at most higher industrialized countries like Germany. We polluted a lot of our environment in the 50s, 60s and 70s, but started to do something against since then. Rivers are again pretty clean, the air in the cities is breathable and other stuff. But on a global scale, I think we are still going downhill. Too many countries who can't or won't afford spending money for the protection of the environment.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocasey3
    Companies dumping toxins in to our water supplies for small fines. Rain forests razed at alarming rates. Urban sprawl. Gas guzzling vehicles. Greater demands for plastics. Burning fossil fuels for energy. Overpopulation. Strip malls on every freaking space of land possible. Over packaging.
    You shouldn't consider Detroit typical. And I gotta laugh at the strip-mall one. Its just funny.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffel999
    No global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best it is dead on. Our part in the process is what is being debated.
    This is one of those cases where a comma and its position, are critical. There is a world of difference between

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy, at best it is dead on.

    and

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best, it is dead on.

    I was reading an article today on HNN (History News Network) which alleges that the evidence to support global warming (most notably the alleged hockey-stick curve) is highly suspect and may be fraudulent. Comparisons are already being drawn with the Belleisle "Arming America" scandal. If the allegations are correct, the kick the props out from under the whole concept and effectively indicate that there is no "global warming"; that what we are seeing is nothing more than routine, long-term temperature fluctuations. This follows some recently-reported Russian work that also discredits much of the claims for Global Warming.

    By the way; the US did NOT withdraw from the Kyoto Agreement; itw as never in it. The treaty was rejected by the Senate 99 - 0 and was thus null and void as far as the US was concerned. Good thing to, it was a monumentally stupid concept.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Quote Originally Posted by tuffel999
    No global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best it is dead on. Our part in the process is what is being debated.
    This is one of those cases where a comma and its position, are critical. There is a world of difference between

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy, at best it is dead on.

    and

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best, it is dead on.
    Not to mention the possibilities that start out "No global warming".

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    By the way; the US did NOT withdraw from the Kyoto Agreement; itw as never in it. The treaty was rejected by the Senate 99 - 0 and was thus null and void as far as the US was concerned. Good thing to, it was a monumentally stupid concept.
    Isn't it also true that several of the Kyoto provisions could not be legally (that is, constitutionally) enforced by the federal government anyway?
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  22. #22
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    Since the collapse in November of global warming talks at The Hague, the Kyoto climate treaty has been on life support. Now President Bush appears to have pulled the plug ó at least as far as U.S. involvement goes.

    "We'll be working with our allies to reduce greenhouse gases, but I will not accept a plan that will harm our economy and hurt American workers," the president told reporters Thursday when asked about the climate agreement reached in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan.

    He said he would remain "open minded" on addressing the threats of global warming. But he maintained the Kyoto agreement's mandatory reductions in heat-trapping greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, and short timetable are too expensive and unwise when the country faces energy problems.
    source
    No mention of legislation problems here.
    No mention of the Senate either.

    Three years and four months ago, then-Vice President Al Gore hailed the Kyoto agreement, which he personally helped craft, as a breakthrough in addressing climate change. It called on industrial nations to cut heat-trapping emissions to below 1990 levels by 2012.
    If Americans were involved in crafting it, I find it hard to believe that the agreement would somehow be hindered by American law.
    The Kyoto Protocol
    More on the Kyoto agreement

    Edited to add link.

  23. #23
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    [rant]
    Population Levels
    I heard on NPR a while back that Europe's population is decreasing due to women having babies later in life and less of them. The average is... 1.7 I believe. Also, the US's population is growing only because of immigration. If you strip out immigration, the US population is shrinking also. Again due to the wait later/have fewer baby thing. So we might be stabilizing there.

    Power Production
    Power producers in the US spend tons cleaning up their emissions; one number I can remember right now is that one of them spends about one million dollars a day cleaning up its fossil plants' emissions. They're nearly at the breaking point. You can scream all you want about them cleaning up the emissions, but theyíre businesses, theyíre there to make money. They could care less who buys it, only that the money made is more than the money spent. Spend more on a plant and you shut it down.
    As for what somebody once told me about how that would be a good thing and they could be replaced by wind turbines and solar panels: The sun sets and it can get cloudy. The average modern wind turbine can produce about 1,000 kW annually. A single modern fossil unit can do around 1,000,000kW annually and are generally in plants that have 2-10 such turbines. So to replace one plant with 5 fossil turbines at 800,000kW each (I dropped the number a bit to account for all the older units), you would need 4,000 wind turbines. Thatís not counting the fact that most places are absolutely horrid for wind turbine placement. Plus the flicker. One problem in England is the flicker at sunrise/sunset. Try to concentrate with somebody turning the lights on/off. Flick, flick, flick, flick. (Sorry, thatís a real sore spot for me, some people seem convinced that 1 wind turbine is enough to power the world. #-o )

    Global Warming
    Then there's that controversial satellite study of the upper atmosphere. Depending on how you shake the numbers it either confirms global warming or global cooling. Of course the people they interviewed were obviously biased, this person was a researcher into the dangerous effects of global warming and studied the data and found out that it confirmed it. That person wrote a book about how itís a myth and the data proved it. However it was the people claiming independence that seemed to lean toward the data trending slightly downward.

    For those who want to know why the data could be skewed, they covered that. There were millions (billions maybe) of data points from multiple satellites. You had to make sure that the time was accurate; one satellite might be a few seconds/minutes off. There were issues with sunlight on the satellite causing a bias that had to be corrected for, same with atmospheric fluctuations do to localized heating because of one reason or another. One satellite would get replaced and the new one would read half a degree off of the old with no good way to figure out which was in better calibration. A real hodgepodge of stuff that had a bunch of fluff and bad data points that need to be filtered through. Last I heard, Germany, I think, was getting into the mix and setting up an independent panel to review the data.
    [/rant ]

    Oh and for the poll: I really don't know what to believe right now. We might or might not be causing the trouble. Or it might be a cycle and we just starting monitoring it in the upswing and thus it looks like we're causing it when it's just part of a natural cycle.

    [edited to fix a few things]

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kidd
    Then there's that controversial satellite study of the upper atmosphere. Depending on how you shake the numbers it either confirms global warming or global cooling. Of course the people they interviewed were obviously biased, this person was a researcher into the dangerous effects of global warming and studied the data and found out that it confirmed it. That person wrote a book about how itís a myth and the data proved it. However it was the people claiming independence that seemed to lean toward the data trending slightly downward.
    Wouldn't that be all of them?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by informant
    No mention of legislation problems here.
    I can't comment on the legislation or its problems. I defer to others there.
    No mention of the Senate either.
    Perhaps there was in the bits edited out. Doesn't matter. The Senate rejected the Kyoto agreement by 95 - 0 in 1997. The treaty was a dead duck from that point onwards. The only reason that Clinton signed it befroe leaving office was to create an otherwise non-existant issue.

    If Americans were involved in crafting it, I find it hard to believe that the agreement would somehow be hindered by American law.
    I don't have any problems in believing anything derogatory about Al "I Invented The Internet" Gore. His involvement probably explains the fact that Kyoto was a monumentally stupid agreement.

  26. #26
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    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    No mention of the Senate either.
    Perhaps there was in the bits edited out. Doesn't matter. The Senate rejected the Kyoto agreement by 95 - 0 in 1997. The treaty was a dead duck from that point onwards.
    would seem to conflict with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Quote Originally Posted by informant
    No mention of legislation problems here.
    I can't comment on the legislation or its problems. I defer to others there.
    Your opinion of Al Gore and Bill Clinton is quite beside the point, as Iím sure you realize.
    And, by the way, Did Al Gore claim he invented the Internet?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by informant
    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    No mention of the Senate either.
    Perhaps there was in the bits edited out. Doesn't matter. The Senate rejected the Kyoto agreement by 95 - 0 in 1997. The treaty was a dead duck from that point onwards.
    would seem to conflict with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Quote Originally Posted by informant
    No mention of legislation problems here.
    I can't comment on the legislation or its problems. I defer to others there.
    Your opinion of Al Gore and Bill Clinton is quite beside the point, as Iím sure you realize.
    And, by the way, Did Al Gore claim he invented the Internet?
    No contradiction at all. There was a question about whether aspects of the Kyoto agreement were beyond the remit of the federal Government. I can't comment on that. However, the Senate Vote, nixing the treaty is public record.

    The Al Gore reference was tongue-in-cheek. However, the hypothesis that his involvement in framing the Kyoto Treaty explains why it is such a risible idiocy was not.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    I was reading an article today on HNN (History News Network) which alleges that the evidence to support global warming (most notably the alleged hockey-stick curve) is highly suspect and may be fraudulent. Comparisons are already being drawn with the Belleisle "Arming America" scandal. If the allegations are correct, the kick the props out from under the whole concept and effectively indicate that there is no "global warming"; that what we are seeing is nothing more than routine, long-term temperature fluctuations. This follows some recently-reported Russian work that also discredits much of the claims for Global Warming.

    By the way; the US did NOT withdraw from the Kyoto Agreement; itw as never in it. The treaty was rejected by the Senate 99 - 0 and was thus null and void as far as the US was concerned. Good thing to, it was a monumentally stupid concept.
    I am not really sure what your point was in there. My point was that global warming happens, otherwise the Ice Ages would have never ended. Now our part in the process, speeding it up or otherwise, is what is being debated and researched. The evidence for global warming has been around for years through use of ice cores at the poles. Humans have been producing greenhouse gases in large quantity only since the industrial revolution so it makes this research a lot harder to do since there is no real nice and neat way to measure our impact right now, a few million years from now that may change but it also may be too late. However, it would be nieve(sp?) to believe we have NO impact what so ever on our environment since we have conclusively proved that we can change the flora, fauna, and structure of great tracts of land and adversley affect those organisms that used to inhabit them and ourselves, especially in the US (passenger pigeon, bald eagle almost, buffalo almost, many others, love canal, the great lakes pollution, deforestation, acid rain destruction of the Smokey Mountains, the list keeps going).

    As for the Kyoto accord why would it be such a bad idea? Please enlighten me. I don't think I would care to much to be breathing CO2 instead of oxygen, I get to see what that does to mice we euthenize in the lab all the time and I'll pass on that one.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Quote Originally Posted by tuffel999
    No global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best it is dead on. Our part in the process is what is being debated.
    This is one of those cases where a comma and its position, are critical. There is a world of difference between

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy, at best it is dead on.

    and

    No, global warming as a theory isn't iffy at best, it is dead on.
    Not to mention the possibilities that start out "No global warming".
    I meant the following:

    No, Global warming as a theory is not iffy at beast rather the theory is dead on. Our involvement in said event is what is being debated. Everyone happy now. I am not a nenglish major sorry. By the way what is a ; for?(rhetorical question) ](*,)

  30. #30
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    nieve(sp?)
    naive

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