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Could Global Warming Make Life on Earth Better?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the makes-for-lots-of-swimming-opportunities dept.

Science 923

mikee805 writes "A lengthy article in Spiegel explores the possibility that global warming might make life on Earth better, not just for humans, but all species. The article argues that 'worst-case scenarios' are often the result of inaccurate simulations made in the 1980s. While climate change is a reality, as far as the article is concerned, some planning and forethought may mean that more benefits than drawbacks will result from higher temperatures. From the article:'The medical benefits of higher average temperatures have also been ignored. According to Richard Tol, an environmental economist, "warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu." Another widespread fear about global warming -- that it will cause super-storms that could devastate towns and villages with unprecedented fury -- also appears to be unfounded. Current long-term simulations, at any rate, do not suggest that such a trend will in fact materialize.'"

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Could Global Warming Make Life Better? (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085325)

Only if you bought lake front property in Siberia for no money down ... and you were hoping that one day you could use it as a Winter home.

Re:Could Global Warming Make Life Better? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085565)

"warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu."

Of course, the math gets a lot more complicated once we start counting tropical type diseases which will increase in prevalence.

Not to say there aren't good things from global warming, but I would rather deal with what we do know (the climate we have now) rather than hoping that things will be better with whatever climate we get later.

Re:Could Global Warming Make Life Better? (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085867)

Yeah -- and quite honestly, I'd rather get the flu than dengue fever [wikipedia.org] , yellow fever [wikipedia.org] , viral encephalitis [wikipedia.org] , malaria [wikipedia.org] , and a whole host of other tropical diseases.

Sure, preparataion would help us deal with global warming. However, the fact remains that humans are tightly bound to geography and environment by our infrastructure. While individuals may uproot and move without too much complication (although there certainly is an economic cost to do so), our infrastrucure doesn't. Furthermore, the simple cost of relocation makes it completely infeasible in many locations. Look at Bangladesh. Something like 60 million people there live within one meter of sea level. They expect a country as poor as Bangladesh to uproot and move a third of its population? And to where?

Just because global warming has the *potential* to, say, transform Siberia and Canada into a new breadbasket, doesn't mean that such a transition would go smoothly. Even in the best case in which the warming is a net positive to world climate (which is doubtful), this simple fact means hardship for humanity.

Tipping Points? (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085859)

What about Tipping Points [washingtonpost.com] ?

Things might really suck for us!

Global Warming no, but.... (0, Troll)

willie_nelsons_pigta (1006979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085337)

Global Warming no, but a little chlorine in the gene pool wouldn't hurt.

Head in the sand (0, Flamebait)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085349)

Is it just me or does this strike others as "lalalalalalalalalalalaI'mnotlisteninglalalalalala la!" Way to ignore the vast majority of solid information out there and try to put a rose on a pile of shit.

Re:Head in the sand (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085399)

It's just you.

Re:Head in the sand (2, Interesting)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085407)

What about the guy who did the original paper on Global Warming, who is saying it is a sham?
I don't know, but as the first Iowa poster, let me say...

Global warming? Yes, please.

Re:Head in the sand (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085511)

Agreed. Life better? Let's see, with Florida, much of California, Michigan, and many East Coast states, including much or all of New York City completely under water...let's just say it won't be a picnic...if you thought Katrina was bad, as BTO would say ... you ain't see n-n-n-nothin' yet. And, speaking of Katrina, some scientists studying global warming believe that it is responsible for the more-active-than-usual hurricane seasons of the past few years. Which makes sense since the main cause of hurricanes is -- wait for it -- heat. Who paid these shills?

Re:Head in the sand (5, Funny)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085711)

"Florida, much of California, Michigan, and many East Coast states, including much or all of New York City completely under water"

Hmmm...maybe it will be better.

Re:Head in the sand (2, Insightful)

Eiron (1030492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085771)

You mean like last year . . . with the total of 0 hurricanes. Damn youze Global Warming, I'll get you for that!
I think you'll find that over the past few years the average number of hurricanes may be unusual, but it isn't unusually high.

Re:Head in the sand (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085773)

And, speaking of Katrina, some scientists studying global warming believe that it is responsible for the more-active-than-usual hurricane seasons of the past few years. Which makes sense since the main cause of hurricanes is -- wait for it -- heat. Who paid these shills?

Is it also responsible for last year's dead hurricane season? Really, these things are far too complicated to generalize in that manner. While I do believe global warming is anthropogenic, I don't think it serves any purpose to use half-baked, unreasearched theories to blame everything short of a supernova on global warming.

Oy vey gevault. (0, Flamebait)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085361)

Aren't we all sick of the global warming hoax yet?

You heard me, I called it a hoax. Not only has our planet seen amounts of CO2 that make the current amount look silly, but we're coming out of a geological cold phase. CO2 lags heat, not the other way around. It's all about the sun. We've got nothing to do with it.

Surprisingly convincing BBC documentary [google.com] .

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085445)

Who is the hoaxer?

Seems like there are an awful lot of people in on this conspiracy you suggest.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (2, Informative)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085793)

Yes, there's an entire industry behind it, worth about eight times what a science field with that count of people in it is typically worth. Academic funding goes to hot topics. Watch the video.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085479)

For the last 100000 years or so, you're right. The only problem is that in the last 150 years or so, CO2 concentration has changed its correlation pattern with temperature. Now, there's a massive CO2 spike that is not explained by temperature dependencies.

Besides, since you are so sure, riddle me this: we can calculate our CO2 output (it dwarfs natural emissions). We know the physics behind CO2 absorption of solar radiation. What makes you think that this is affecting the earth?

I'm always amazed by how easily people believe things they want to believe.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085731)

For the last 100000 years or so, you're right. The only problem is that in the last 150 years or so, CO2 concentration has changed its correlation pattern with temperature.
And you base that on what, exactly? Humanity has less than 30 years of atmospheric data, so I'm rather skeptical. Don't waste my time by bringing up ice core samples; there is no correlation of ice core samples to global temperature which is accurate to less than ten years, and if you actually bother looking at the ice core record, you'll notice that the correlation that we've seen for more than ten million years is actually holding exactly where we would expect for it to.

Start citing sources for data, because on this case, you're dead wrong.

Now, there's a massive CO2 spike that is not explained by temperature dependencies.
That's funny, none of the scientists see said spike. Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me what year(s) this spike is over, which CO2 measurement you see it on, where the CO2 is (since no such measurement is ever made without an atmospheric segment,) and what the change rate is? (Of course, if you were making the data up, you'd insist that I do the research for myself, that I'm being lazy to ask you to cite data to back up your false claims, but that's what I'm expecting, since I've never seen a pseudoscience book make your claims, and since it's sure as hell not coming from actual planetary data.)

Besides, since you are so sure, riddle me this: we can calculate our CO2 output (it dwarfs natural emissions).
Where do you get this stuff? Humanity is responsible for less than one tenth of one percent of the CO2 in our atmosphere. We are positively dwarfed by rotting vegetation, dead animals and the tundra. However, the vast bulk of atmospheric CO2 (~72%) is released from the ocean CO2 reservoir.

We know the physics behind CO2 absorption of solar radiation. What makes you think that this is affecting the earth?
I don't think it's affecting the earth. Why do you? Don't pull what you did above, making up data and spouting things you expect. If you can't explain with references to data, accept that you have no idea.

I'm always amazed by how easily people believe things they want to believe.
Imagine how that would sound if you found out I was actually operating on good, solid science. Next, go watch the video I posted.

You're in for a dry shock.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085853)

Do the world a favour. Climb inside a container, have someone seal it. Add an outlet that let's X amount of water out per minute, add an inlet, start filling at X per minute. Now start adding X + X/1000 per minute.

How long until you drown?

Re:Oy vey gevault. (0)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085609)

This is also pretty much my current view. I do believe in taking steps to prevent as much non-naturally occurring CO2 from entering the atmosphere as possible but I do also believe that our "Global Warming" is just another planetary cycle of which has been occurring for million/billions of years prior to the existence of the first human.

My basic concept is "If you make the mess, you clean it up". The idea is not to make a mess and we "are" making a mess.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085807)

I do also believe that our "Global Warming" is just another planetary cycle of which has been occurring for million/billions of years prior to the existence of the first human.

Your belief or otherwise is irrelevant to what is actually occurring. If you have contrary evidence, then start writing papers.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (2, Funny)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085663)

Hoaxes take time to be discovered. There are always people saying "um, folks, this is a hoax", but there are so many people who believe the hoax that it takes them time to come to their senses.

I wonder if it would help if Snopes listed Global Warming as a hoax? I don't mean Climate Change -- that's the scientific observation that the climate is always changing. I mean Global Warming -- the idea that mankind is responsible for changing the weather -- as if that were possible!

Re:Oy vey gevault. (5, Informative)

Kev_Stewart (737140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085675)

The documentary wasn't broadcast by the BBC. It was broadcast by Channel4 (known for more controversial and speculative content). Many of the scientists interviewed in that programme have since complained that they were grossly mis-represented in it.

It's still an interesting programme though.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (2, Informative)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085743)

I love the way people are able to discard mountains of scientific evidence on the basis of a crappy documentary.

The documentary (which wasn't made by the BBC) has been strongly debunked, and it was seriously dishonest:

From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

Carl Wunsch, one of the scientists featured in the programme, has said that he was "completely misrepresented" in the film and had been "totally misled" when he agreed to be interviewed. He called the film "grossly distorted" and "as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War Two." Wunsch was reported to have threatened legal action and to have lodged a complaint with Ofcom, the UK broadcast regulator.

People who deny the science on climate change are in the same boat as creationists and Flat-Earthers.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1)

watookal (1085275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085747)

This is NOT a BBC documentary, it was aired on Channel Four. Believe me, that makes a huge difference.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1)

boa (96754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085777)

Your surprisingly convincing BBC documentary isn't made by BBC, but by/for Channel 4.

The documentary has also been debunked by several experts and cross-edited participants, Just fucking google it [justfuckinggoogleit.com] for more and more accurate information, or just follow this link [google.com] .

It's amazing that your post now is +4 Insightful, -1 Troll is more appropriate IMO.

Re:Oy vey gevault. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085839)

1: That's Channel 4 (NOT the BBC), who currently appear keen to promote creating controversy regardless of its basis and relabelling it "thought provoking". 2: Many of the claims are based on conclusions torn apart by Laut et all a few years ago because of mathematical "errors", questionable selection criteria and some downright dodgy graph plotting. Including the central premise.

The simple fact of that documentary is that it panders to two things an ignorant audience LOVES. Firstly, the viewers can feel smarter than those silly scientists because there's actually one simple answer that they've overlooked and secondly, joy of joys, that answer is that everything's going to be all right. I hate to break it to you, but science is messy and it's hard, but it's not about conspiracies, just getting to the truth.

Not all good (3, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085369)

I live in the Netherlands. We are now taking measures to prevent the flooding of my country. But, recent calculations show that we can manage the extra water that we will have to cope with.

Re:Not all good (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085587)

We ment the countries that matter.

Re:Not all good (2, Funny)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085861)

We may not have oil, but we did make it into Pulp Fiction. I think you've mistaken us for Belgium.

Re:Not all good (5, Funny)

jonadab (583620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085719)

> I live in the Netherlands.

Here, let me translate that into English for you:

"I live on the ocean floor. We call it a polder, but it's pretty much seabed. We've built earthen walls around this section and continuously pump out the water, and we have a lot of experience doing this and are quite good at it now, with triple-redundant pumping stations and seven nines of uptime, but nonetheless flooding is not so much a _potential_ disaster as it is our inevitable, inescapable, pre-ordained fate, i.e., it's really a question of when (not whether) we'll be flooded."

HTH.HAND.

But most Slashdot readers would enjoy... (5, Insightful)

Tavor (845700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085371)

the increased popularity of scantily-clad women running around in bikini tops and shorts, due to the heat.

Re:But most Slashdot readers would enjoy... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085543)

More likely we will dislike the glare on our screens and lower clock speeds due to overheating of our laptops.

Re:But most Slashdot readers would enjoy... (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085701)

You're assuming that someone out there will run around and put up lots of outdoor webcams so that we can watch from our flooded basements...

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085375)

yes!

Mr President??? (1)

Artie_Effim (700781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085379)

Are you so bored that you are submitting to /. now?

Re:Mr President??? (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085585)

from TFA: ...each time the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel...

If it's the president, his punctuation is as bad as his oration.

Wait a minute... (5, Interesting)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085381)

Would the decrease in cold-related deaths be countered by an increase in heat-related deaths?

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085471)

certainly. but these heat-related deaths would most likely not be in Germany, and so www.spiegel.de doesnt care.

we've all heard the "but it's cold now, warmer would be better" argument before, but this is the first time i've ever seen anyone take it seriously.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085627)

At least it will improve traffic in Florida because old people won't need to move as far south.....

But seriously, is it a zero sum game? Will the number of cold deaths be offset by an equal number of heat deaths? Humans are extremely adaptable. Outside of the cockroach, how many other species have been able to thrive in just about any condition? I think this is really just "all part of the cycle". Sure, we are undergoing climate change and sure we are probably the reason that it has accelerated, but, we will survive it....and at some point, it will reverse itself and we will have another Ice Age (anyone else get tired of movie sequels after 2 or 3?). Let spend some effort cleaning up Venus....it's the perfect test bed. That will give us clues as to how to do it for Earth.

Layne

You! Shut up! It's HAPPY THOUGHT HOUR! (5, Insightful)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085551)

Sir, this is Happy Thought Hour!

Didn't you see the pictures in the article of pretty young ladies enjoying the sun?

Eliminate the negative! Accentuate the positive!

Visualize palm trees in Germany, and put out of your mind the massive droughts and desertification in the torrid and equatorial zones.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085845)

Heat related deaths are less common and cold related ones. Also they are easier to prevent. Humans are not very well adapted for cold we are better adapted for heat. If you are in an extream cold environment you need to produce more energy to keep warm, Shivering, foraging for extra clothing and or to make a fire to keep warm. For extream heat we reduce our energy move more slowly, find a place where there is shade, and keep hydrated. When we are healthy it is easier for our bodies to keep ourselvs cool then warm.

Media Coverage likes to cover deaths caused by exsessive heat waves like the ones in france because they have a change to bring up global warming. But there are a lot more people who die from freezing to death that doesn't get any coverage, usually homeless people, and combined that many homeless people drink to much it makes dealing with cold worse.

Why do you think kids usually go to summer camps during the summer and only older boy scouts go on winter camping trips. It is because it is much harder to survive in the cold then in heat. We can rough it much easer in heat then cold .

40,000 fewer deaths in Germany (2, Insightful)

Valar (167606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085389)

40,000 more somewhere else from increased range of tropical diseases and their carriers.

Re:40,000 fewer deaths in Germany (1)

crush (19364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085821)

Pfah! More negativism. There's another positive benefit to increased temperatures: we'll have more insects for more of the year, and insects taste FUCKING AWESOME! It's a good thing too, because they're going to eat all the crops unless we spray a lot more chemicals on them, which would make them poisonous. So it's a win-win, positive opportunity.

More paid-for "research" from special interests (0, Flamebait)

stevedcc (1000313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085391)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of "Global Warming's a Myth / Good for Us" stories in American Newspapers and on American websites.

A few thoughts:

How many times have you heard of scientists complaining because an government won't let them spread bullshit?

How many companies have a vested interest in ignoring/delaying/otherwise interfering in the result of genuine science when it doesn't suit their policies?

There will always be "scientists" who are willing to say what someone pays them to say. But when you get significant numbers of experts complaining about science being repressed, large scale international focus on the issue and dissenting countries with an administrations that have long standing and close connections to the oil industry, shouldn't anyone in their right minds be suspicious of such stories?

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085463)

Spiegel is a German newspaper.

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (1)

stevedcc (1000313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085515)

And Slashdot is an American Site. I know for sure I've heard of such stories being run in foreign countries to make them seam less biased

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085485)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of "Global Warming's a Myth / Good for Us" stories in American Newspapers and on American websites.

Um, no offense, but this is a German article.

And they said that it would good for some, not all - in TFA.

But you do have a point about some the articles that appear here in the States.

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (1)

LevKuleshov (998639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085569)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of "Global Warming's a Myth / Good for Us" stories in American Newspapers and on American websites.


Yes, but Der Spiegel is German.

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085595)

"How many companies have a vested interest in ignoring/delaying/otherwise interfering in the result of genuine science when it doesn't suit their policies? "

I would be more comfortable listening to anti-consumerism-because-of-global-climate advocates if such a large portion of them not had not earlier been anti-consumerism-because-of-various-reasons-#1-to- #10,000 advocates.

I would also be more comfortable if UN jobs were not quite as secure as they are and involved less paid-for dinners and less free travel.

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (5, Insightful)

Alethes (533985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085657)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of "Global Warming's a Myth / Good for Us" stories in American Newspapers and on American websites.

Hmmm, a German media outlet, Der Spiegel, a German author, Olaf Stampf, and a Swedish physicist, Svante Arrhenius. You really didn't read the article before you jumped on the Anti-Americanism bandwagon, did you?

As for your minority dissent argument (A few "scientists" must be heretics, because the majority disagrees), you might consider that Galileo was considered a heretic because of his accurate minority opinion.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the article, because I don't think we have a clue one way or another what the future holds, but you've completely written off a possibility simply because it doesn't fit in with your political agenda -- kinda like the oil companies from the other direction.

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085723)

Other people were nice but I'm not. Der Siegel is a fucking German paper you Flaming Fag Of Hell. Take your liberal bleeding ass and die. Ok, I'm done. Flame On!!!

Re:More paid-for "research" from special interests (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085741)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of "Global Warming's a Myth / Good for Us" stories in American Newspapers and on American websites.

And I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of idiots on the "Global Warming is going to kill us all" side. Case in point: this article isn't from an American Newspaper or an American website. It's from Der Spiegel. Name sounds kinda funny for American English doesn't it, like, maybe, because it isn't? As in, it's a German magazine. The article in question is about a German researcher.

A few thoughts:

Please spare us. Based on your opening comments, your thoughts aren't worth a lick of spit.

Only a fool counts costs and not benefits (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085795)

Errrr, climate change has both positive and negative effects. If the cost of reducing carbon emissions is greater than the sum of the positive and negative effects of global warming, why should we spend the money to reduce carbon emissions? Are you saying that scientists shouldn't do this research? Isn't that a rather faith-based idea? What's the difference between you and a believer in creationism? They don't question cretinism, and you don't question global warming. /me buys you a white coat so you can better pretend to be a scientist.

Tan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085397)

As long as I could maintain my tan...

Thanks,
Wayne Newton

Cold related deaths? (4, Informative)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085401)

Hate to tell you, but you can get the flu in summer. But all that aside, people die every year here in Texas because of the heat.

More heat related illnesses? (4, Insightful)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085403)

warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu
Wouldn't this also mean that there would be an increase in heat related illnesses and deaths like heat exhaustion?

Life finds a way (5, Insightful)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085425)

I don't know if you can call it good or bad, but life will adapt. Some species will die off others will thrive. Humans? We're the best adapters of them all.

Re:Life finds a way (1)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085801)

I don't know, I'm going to have to vote for the cockroach as best adapter. Those bastards won't die.

Re:Life finds a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085833)

Humans? We're the best adapters of them all.

No, we're terrible at adapting. Living in a cold climate? We don't evolve extra hair, we take fur from other animals and cover ourselves in it. Living in a hot climate? We don't evolve extra sweat glands, we build machines that run on electricity to cool us down and make ice.

Practically every invention since the dawn of time has been made in a concerted effort to not adapt. After all, adaptation is something your descendants benefit from, and we are far more selfish than that.

All Species? (1, Interesting)

brewer13210 (821462) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085427)

Global warming will be good for all species? I think polar bears, coral reefs, penguins and humans living near coastal regions might disagree.

Re:All Species? (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085567)

They improvise, they adapt, they overcome. Same as any other species whose overall fate is something other than "part of the fossil record."

Meanwhile... (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085451)

10 million Africans starve to death, half of Manhattan is underwater, Polar Bears become extinct and that stuff called "Snow" is now called "Sand" - but really, it's a good thing!

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085517)

have you been to manhattan recently? 1/2 of it being underwater would be an improvement as far as i'm concerned. would definately make traffic in/out/around the city more managable :)

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085849)

Even under the worst estimates, only about 5% of Manhattan is underwater. What else do you have wrong? Maybe all of it. Consider that you might have been misled by people with an agenda.

Re:Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085869)

However, those Africans would have starved (or died from AIDS) anyway, Manhatten is dirty and evil, and snow is only fun if you don't have to shovel it (frankly, I hate the stuff and don't miss that it hasn't lasted but a day in the last 2 years). I do feel for the polar bears, however.

This article paid for by... (0, Troll)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085489)

The GOP, [pick your favorite oil conglomerate], everyone who hates Al Gore.

Global warming? Promise? (2, Funny)

finlandia1869 (1001985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085491)

I remember watching a BBC newsclip once where one of their reporters was near Murmansk (northwestern Russia), talking to two Russian engineers working in the middle of a field of snow. He told them about the theory of global warming and they both visibly perked up. One asked him, "Really? How can we help?"

Needs to be said (2, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085501)

That talk like this will make Al Gore hot, but not in the sexy way.

Models (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085503)

When the weather isn't consistent with what models predict, it's the weather that's wrong, not the models.

this is where I lose karma. bring it! (3, Insightful)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085505)

Regardless of why the earth is warming (either man-induced or a natural cycle of the earth), I welcome it with open arms.

Milder winters are going to open up trade routes through the arctic.

I will potentially be able to grow stuff in my garden that won't grow there today. My tomatoes may become perennials as they are in their native habitat. And I could do with some citrus trees in my yard.

If the ocean levels rise, landmass on the North American continent will shrink as populations rise. The equity in my real estate investments will grow at an unprecedented rate.

Living in Raleigh, I will be much closer to the coast than I am today.

OK yes this does mean I will have less buffer from hurricanes, and the hurricanes may be more frequent and more violent than is typical.

Inuit may lose their traditional way of life, but they are sitting on vast chunks of currently frozen land that will become desirable temperate areas that the yankees will pay good money to move to once they start experiencing the kind of weather that is more typical of the southeastern US.

It's not all doom and gloom, folks. There will be extensive collateral damages, whole species will be lost, but life has a way of moving on. And Homo sapiens is one of the most adaptable vertebrates on this planet, so I'm sure we'll find a way to thrive through this.

Re:this is where I lose karma. bring it! (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085789)

Your tomatoes will be lovely, and you will still have magnificent Southern bacon, but when Raleigh creeps from Zone 7 to Zone 9, your lettuce is going to bolt before you even get the seeds in the ground. Think of the poor BLTs!

Re:this is where I lose karma. bring it! (3, Insightful)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085871)

It's not all doom and gloom, folks. There will be extensive collateral damages, whole species will be lost, but life has a way of moving on. And Homo sapiens is one of the most adaptable vertebrates on this planet, so I'm sure we'll find a way to thrive through this.


i notice that the ones that are comfortable with "collateral damage" are the ones who won't be -- or at least believe they won't be -- "collateral damage".

note that i'm not necessarily talking about, just making an observation in the general.

mr c

Cold weather related diseases! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085507)

How about warm weather related diseases like Malaria. We are starting to see bugs winter over that used to be killed by the frost. Anyway, many more people are killed by tropical diseases like Malaria than are killed by the flu. The flu mainly kills old people whereas Malaria kills mainly children. I would rather that my family get the flu. If I die a year earlier than I might otherwise have died I hope nobody will take it too hard. On the other hand, if my kid dies seventy years too early because he got Malaria ...

And? (1, Insightful)

Squalish (542159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085509)

40k fewer deaths to the flu, and 40k more to malaria in Ethiopia. Or 400k more to frostbite to Europe if the North Atlantic Gyre switches its course slightly.

The issue is not that it's gonna get hotter, damnit. It's that we're changing the world drastically in unpredictable ways. That means a mass exodus of people from the coasts, from the new deserts, from swampland that used to be permafrost. Global warming is a practical and moral issue for the world about whether they want to move a significant portion of their population, and everyone else's population, somewhere else, with all the horror that being forced off your land entails.

They said that Northern Europe (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085513)

would get a Mediterranean climate. I have been all in favour of global warming ever since so dont go telling me that prediction was innacurate.

Lengthy article, yes... (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085535)

Yes, it's a nice sizable article, featuring women in bikinis enjoying a nice drink on a hot day, quotes from important figures, official-looking charts, and subtext in places like "a warm future" under a simplistic image of warmer-colored earth.

The problem is that I don't see it citing many sources, and when it does, it seems to selectively quote them, such as limiting it's considerations to "gradual thawing of the Greenland ice sheet" only when considering sea level changes. I'm not going to call this a whitewash, but it seems to be a sales job for a point of view, rather than a well-founded findings of a respectable research effort.

Ryan Fenton

What a relief (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085545)

I'm sure it will come as a great relief to know the flu is cold related, especially for people in places like Vietnam or south China that of course never catch the flu - avian or otherwise - and who have been rightly upset that we persist in naming flu varieties after cities in their countries in direct defiance of the now obvious fact that it can't have originated from there. Any reports of flu in warm areas are complete fabrications, and dissembling disseminators will be summarily shot for a long time.

um.. say what? (0, Flamebait)

dangermen (248354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085563)

when the temperatures rise, areas that are good for farming will be too hot for crop farming. Areas that have ideal temperatures for growing crops will shift north towards Canada. Canada has crap soil, the glaciers and winds moved good soil to the US. Crops don't grow in crap soil. Less crops means less food which will equal bad no matter how your fricken spin it. BTW, the world stays on average about 4 months ahead in general food supply.

Global Warming Denier! (-1, Troll)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085573)

Global Warming is a FACT! It cannot be denied or questioned! Everything that can be done to prevent Global Warming must be done, no matter the cost to freedom or your pocketbook, even if there are other measures which could be taken which cost less and have greater effect. These article must be suppressed, lest it cause people to question the Truth That Everyone Knows Is True. You know, like that witches cause bad harvests, that weird old women are witches, and that witches float unless they sink, in which case they must be burned alive.

I'm old enough to remember when continental drift was a radical theory. Continents can't drift! That's ridiculous! You can't question Science! What if you're wrong? Where would Science be, then? Where would our absolute source of authority be? You must have faith in Science. All praise Science, from whom everything good comes.

Yep, cold related deaths down (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085593)

but remember, heat-stroke related deaths? UP!

That being said, evidence that I've read a while ago suggests that the earth was at it's peak biodiversity/total-biomas when it was 4 degrees celsius, on average, hotter than it was around 1995.

See the Atlantic Magazine, April 2007 (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085603)

April 2007 [theatlantic.com] (subscription probably required for back issues.)

Similar article in that the premise is accepted: global warming is real, and it's too late to stop or turn it back. So, on to the next question: who will benefit from it? How will market forces respond to higher sea levels, longer growing seasons, etc? And one big theme, and irony, is that the developed countries will likely reap large benefits, while the developing countries will be faced with the worst detrimental effects.

what about heat related problems? (2, Insightful)

9gezegen (824655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085613)

Article says the global warming will reduce 40,000 deaths because of the flu. However, what about heat related problems. Just a few years ago, thousands died in Europe because of heat waves. Also, the relation between flu and cold weather is not clear. As the temperature increases, we will see more A/C usage which will generate artificial cold. There are some scenerios about why flu spread more in the cold weather. The theories include cold force people to stay inside, creating a good means of transportation in the crowd and the dry weather helps the spread. Either will still be true when people stay inside because of heat and the air will be dry because of air conditioner.

But what is the author's point? (2, Insightful)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085617)

I've got friends who think that global warming is a big crock of shit and (in a very immature way) bring up Al Gore and say how he thinks he invented the internet as their basis for not believing anything he says.

One of my biggest annoyances with people who question global warming isn't that they think it's not happening or that it isn't us who are contributing to it, but rather the fact that they use these previous statements as an excuse to not do anything about it.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that carbon dioxide emissions really don't have any effect on global warming... does that mean that we should keep driving SUVs and not care about how much pollution we dump into the environment?

Although people who announce that the earth is doomed because of global warming and come across as being panicky appear to be crackpots to all them skeptics, it doesn't mean that we should ignore them. we should do what we can to conserve what we have. It's worth it.

I wish laymen would stfu about global warming (4, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085629)

The argument that "yay more sunshine, more warmth, what's the fuss, party!" is generally not considered a serious one.

Although arguing based on authority is something I don't usually do, but in the case of global warming most common people just display ignorance about the matter. That in itself is not a problem, but writing articles proclaiming truths which show signs that the guy didn't even bother to do basic research is bad. I wish people would try to inform themselves before trying to form the opinions of others.

Science is complex, deal with it. Naive, overly simplistic ideas set off my bullshit alarm, like in the case of "paranormal" stuff.

Sigh (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085631)

According to Richard Tol, an environmental economist, "warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu."

Yes, but higher temperatures also mean more tropical diseases, particularly malaria, and notably the plethora of parasites and other pests which are currently controlled by cold winter cycles.

My understanding (and it's limited, I admit) is that there is a reason the Northern Hemisphere has fewer problems with diseases, and that correlation is caused by the winter cold-cycle limiting the growth of aggressive and infectious disease. If that's true, and you take the cold-cycle away, there is nothing preventing these tropical diseases from growing here. Given this, I would expect that the savings in deaths due to the flu will be more than accommodated by the introduction of more aggressive diseases that are able to exist and persist in the newly temperate climate.

Part FUD, part legit (1)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085633)

While tfa is biased and has its far share of fud, the argument it makes (which others have too) is a valid point. There have been at least 2 super continents, thousands of ice ages and geographic and atmospheric changes we can't even phantom. 99% of all species to walk this planet are extinct, and man has very very little to do with that. If the history of Earth was a day, humans have only been around for the last 4 seconds so this brief snapshot of the planet we consider to be the ideal state isn't the way things have always been (considering you agree w/ science and not a certain book). The planet has an always will change and we need to deal it with. I'm not saying we're aren't contributing to it and doesn't it at a much faster rate, but change is inevitable.

Does this mean we shouldn't change our habits, absolutely not. But Global Warming doesn't mean it's time to prepare for the apocalypse. Adapt or die.

Good points yet a few problems (1)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085659)

I think this article brings up many great points, that global warming is not the end-all-be-all catastrophe that many portray it to be. Too much of the global warming debate is consumed by the dire predictions made by fairly alarmist scientists. I never really thought about the positives of global warming but it seems quite obvious. Hooray for the first Greenland-pioneer! I can see both sides of the debate from a personal level.


First-positives. I'm originally from upstate NY, a region not exactly known for its' pleasant weather. Winter lasts from November->April (I am not kidding) with severe snowfalls from January till April. Just two weeks ago, a snowstorm blasted through and canceled classes at many of my friends colleges. (Snow day with 2 weeks of classes left is pretty crazy) Oswego, NY had over 8' of snow on the ground at one point during the February storms this year. Obviously we could deal with warmer weather.


However, I go to college in New Orleans, and obviously with a warmer climate globally there would be a higher sea level. It is already difficult enough for this city with substandard levees, adding a few more feet to the height of the ocean and local waterbays would be catastrophic. For the Americans who say to hell with New Orleans, take a look at New York City. A rise in sea level would inundate the city, especially Manhattan and Brooklyn which both are low boroughs as well as directly in contact with the ocean.


Overall while there may be positives the eroding of our seashores, the centers of economic activity, would definitely outweight the positives. Still an interesting piece though.

The other winners: Canadians (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085679)

From the Der Spiegel article itself:

Climate change will undoubtedly have losers -- but it will also have winners.
Indeed, just five days before the Der Spiegel article, CBC ran a commentary Why Canadians may be cool to global warming warnings [www.cbc.ca] :

I have run the idea that some amount of warming doesn't seem such a great evil for Toronto past friends and neighbours, and their heads nod. "Oh, yeah," said one in a voice bathed in a vat of sarcasm heated to about 150 degrees. "Everybody here just loves long, cold winters. That's why so many of us go ice fishing on Lake Ontario."

What this means politically is that the climate debate in this country is going to have to be much more nuanced than elsewhere to make a lasting impact on the average resident. It is going to have to seriously take into consideration benefits. It's going to have to accept that some of the benefits are genuine improvements and not some oil company's propaganda.

Bent out of shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19085683)

I don't understand why everyone gets all bent out of shape. I admit, global warming is real, but it's NATURAL. The Earth has been doing this for as long as it's been around, and we have nothing to do with it. 99% of greenhouse gas is WATER VAPOR. There's nothing we can do even if we want to! Just chill out!

Under water? (1)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085685)

Many of the coastal cities/states/provinces may end up underwater. For example, Newfoundland, California, Vancouver... hmm, I'm starting to understand why life will get better!

Winners and losers (1)

grin (557894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085699)

Just a sidenote: Newsweek [Europe] ran a very well written column about "Winners and losers of the global warming", which tried to show objectively what is most probably going to happen. Basically the rich countries get richer (like new beaches in scandinavia, lots of income for modern capitalist companies running building and salvage operations on the deserting places) and, guess what, poor countries gonna suffer most. Middle of Africa won't be a nice place to be, small islands going underwater etc. (Niue photos, anyone? Hurry.) Overall: we won't die. But some of us, the poorer part, definitely will. (And it's not a hoax anymore.)

Know your source... (2, Informative)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085725)

The flagship publication of the reactionary publishing house Springer Presse puts forth an article in favor of heavy oil and coal consumption?

That's unpossible!

Global Warming Assumptions... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085727)

The "big 4" global warming assumptions:

1) The earth is warming due to an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
2) Humans are causing the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase
3) Humans can control the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
4) A warming earth will cause bad things for humankind

You have to fervently believe in all four of these to be a true believer. If you don't, you're just another mindless neanderthal who doesn't care about the planet. The article questions No. 4 and should be ridiculed and banned, of course.

That's the Mode on the Right (1)

Ophion (58479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085729)

They cite figures for places about which Western media care while ignoring the corollary--increased incidence of tropical and sub-tropical disease.

Catastrophic Migrations (2, Insightful)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085749)

No matter which positive aspects this warming trend has, I think it's also important to look at the flux of refugees that will eventually develop when (if?) most the southern hemisphere transforms into a desert. I'm sure we Europeans would be happy to welcome all North Africans on our shores because their arable land has completely dried out while you guys will embrace most of South and all of Central America moving to the States.

Okay, it's not a bug (3, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085751)

It's now a feature. I love how spinners work, first, it was not happening, then it was not humans really doing it, now the spin is that it is happening, but it's actually a good thing.

It's like a politician caught in a lie trying to turn it to virtue.

EuroCentric Scientific Racist (1)

macaca0339 (1100915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085811)

Just to remind everyone, there are countries near the equator that are warm enough as they are. For every person who survives a flu in Germany, please rest assured a few thousand will die of thirst (water sources drying up), hunger (food production will decrease), disease, floods and all sorts of pestilence that ultimately spring from the inability of the greedy SUV owning middle class westerners to limit their conspicuous consumption.

Sigh.... (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085813)

The article is a nice try to put some good spin on Global Warming. To some extent, they're right. There will be positive effects from an overall warmer climate: Siberia won't be quite so forbidding. Canada could get some better agricultural areas. Cold spells will kill hundreds less of homeless people in nothern latitudes.

The problem is that this is akin to talking about the positive effects of smoking: weightloss, fewer old people to draw down retirement benefits, etc. It's disingenuous and generally only used to mask the drawbacks. Is it a necessary part of the discussion? Of course. Does it change the negative aspects of Global Warming? No. Do the negative aspects of Global Warming outweigh the positive aspects? Yes. The cost of Global Warming is still going to be in the trillions, because people generally already accounted for this.

Fewer deaths from flu spells will be offset by increasing deaths by malaria (which is already migrating north). Actually, reading through the article, it seems that the author has no idea about what has already happened, and is content with merely posting speculation about what could happen. I'm reminded of the troll piece recently posted on C|Net about intellectual property. Same lack of content, same latching onto vague promises that have not materialized, same complete lack of evidence for their position.

I'm off to tagging the article flamebait.

"Better" is subjective (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085831)

It'd definitely be different. But "better" depends on what you look at.

The thawing of the Siberian and Canadian tundras could more than double the amount of arable land, providing more food than we could possible use, as well as provide land for trees which could halt the process. Done with some intelligence, we could "tune" the climate and the planet, and turn problems into solutions.

On the other hand, by the 2080's, the summer high temperatures in the southeastern US would average around 115. The energy use for the increased air conditioning could accelerate the process.

The simple solution is to move everyone from Flordia to Canada and and Siberia to become farmers. They'll have to go somewhere, because Florida will be almost entirely under water.

Plague, malaria, and the insect manace (1)

pjt48108 (321212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085857)

Already there are reports in Italy and Norway of an increase in non-native insects moving north into new territory. Sure, it might be nice to avoid frostbite due to global climate change, but at the expense of catching the plague or malaria, it ain't much of a bargain.
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