Global warming – are you a denier or believer?

Newell Normand
Thursday, September 14th

Global warming – are you a denier or believer?  We’ll look at natural cycles versus human influence.

This segments guest:
Dr. Bob Thomas - Director of the Center of Enviornmental Communications for Loyola University


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

We're back and were would doctor Bob Thomas director of the center of environmental communications floor Loyola university and we're gonna talk about it. The first off the greenhouse effect and what that means as it relates to global warming and actual let me just set the the the platform here right out of the box. The greenhouse effect is not necessarily a negative thing actually it's a positive thing infected disk that's what describes our atmosphere. That allows us to be able to suitably live. On planet earth. And there is is what's called I believe the goldilocks principle. That can be summed up this basically saying Venus is too hot. Mars is too cold. Earth is right in between and that's why it's suitable for human life and for us to be able. To sustain ourselves on on planet earth. And you know a lot of times that the term weather. And climate. People who use them interchangeably. And that's not really appropriate. The fact is whether is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time and climate is. How the atmosphere. Behaves over longer periods of time. Is that correct that's right now in other words whether as what's outside today. In the climate is the way we describe. New Orleans. Brought sort of the summations of the weather. So I just wanted to put those definitions out for the purposes of this conversation and that for the listening audience that they understand. So wanna start with this question so what is the difference between the climate change that we hear about all the time. And global warming. That's a great way to started and it and it words are really important in this whole discussion because. I listen to show a lot I hear people call in talk about their belief systems and what they believe what they don't believe. And oftentimes are realists they don't know the definitions of words in and that simple there's a lot of areas in the world but I don't understand definitions of words. So I think it's real important to understand that first of all the weather climate thing is real obvious. And obviously different. But in terms of we used to call this global warming when we first started seeing all the markers. This suggested that there were changes happening. And dive and scientists understood that it was part of of a cycle. And alternating cycle and we can talk about that if we have time and wanna get into it. But. But then it got changed climate change because what they realized after they started. The model sort of working in other words they came open models that were predictable that were that they felt comfortable way. First models for this new models and they made mistakes and we always do that as we progress in our knowledge. But the thing is that we thought it was warming the reality is it's changing. And so the reason ways climate change is not to delude anybody who missed mislead them it's to say that. That where we're heading right now is an alteration of the climates around the world so that places that are dry and now. Sometime in the future could be wet. The great plains of central United States to grow so many of our food crops. Could become drier and all of a sudden we would have over a role to a sharper at tab 304050. Years. We could have major changes in availability of food. Especially when those you know you think about you'd say well we could be made noble cause for grow the grains. That we feed to cattle whip in the central United States so so that's why when you watch the news. And you see that we're having a really really really cold winner somewhere in the country. Somebody somewhere will say so much for global warming ha ha ha. No that's symptomatic of climate change. With these unpredictable changes over time. So just to make us. Real simple. Because as I said earlier. I'm confused. The fact of the matter is is that these changes could have a positive effect on some parts of the Earth's. Surface. Around the world absolute and could have a negative effect in other areas. But it doesn't mean that overall. In the earth as a whole that it's all gonna be negative are all going to be Posner. That is correct but well I think what are our concerns should be at a time when human population continues to grow. But leaps and bounds. We are gonna experienced changes in availability of resources solicits. You can imagine food when I say that are energy or something like that. So as these changes happen if they happen in big population centers. And they're negative and those senators it's gonna cause pandemonium and those populations. Whereas it might start to get better in a place where there are fewer people. Now they human response system be able to move into the places where their resources but that's a whole dynamic. That we would have to deal with as a species. So getting back to them this greenhouse effect in the green house. Is basically the atmosphere contains. Gases. And we hear this talk about carbon dioxide all the time right. And the current level of carbon dioxide. Is at an all time high and so we can measure that right and that's so that's a fact that. That it is what it has so they can use the analogy off there. When our reach into my pocket and I've got a twenty dollar bill in my pocket that's a fact I got a twenty dollar bill pocket. So but what we don't really know is the affects. Of that increasing carbon dioxide that's there in and serves a good purpose as a relates to the greenhouse effect. In the absorption and deflection of heat and things of that nature that could Sig significantly impact. Our weather and our climate over a longer period of time as it comes from the sun. And also as it is it is expressed from the earth out into the atmosphere correct. Yeah and and in my and might help for the audience understand greenhouse gases or because you're right we always say carbon dioxide everything is sort of that's sort of the standard that we look at and we talk about it and so some people I know believe it that's the only greenhouse gasses out there are several reality he has. There's lots and in the biggest one week that we can do nothing about. Is humidity in the air and we don't want to do anything about that we want that humidity and our water the water vapor exactly. And but we do have carbon Knox and we also have methane. This naturally produce an artificially produced. We have nitrous oxide which is it's you know strange thing that most of us don't know about but we also have. A bunch of different things out there that have floor rides them. And and it and that's foreign to most people. But there in the air and there there are pretty small quantities and most of all as far as I know produced by a man. So that sort of compounds the issue that you get is you've you've got to soup. Around our heads and Wear only think in about carbon dioxide the reality is we have to look at. The impact these things haven't as an example at what what what we use and teaching. Trying to get a handle on these things and how important they are since a bomber in voters. Small quantities. How do you compare things that are in large quantities of high quantities. If you take carbon dioxide and just say okay we're gonna make that the standard so we're gonna compare everything. Toward carbon dioxide does because. We're talking about it we're sort of demonizing. Fossil fuels because that's what replaces humans are releasing it in there so let's look at methane. Methane if you compare it. It's every little fatigued due to equal. Parts of methane and carbon dioxide the methane will have a 25. Times higher impact. On. Climate change if you look at nitrous oxide. Equal amounts 298. Times as powerful as carbon dioxide. And in the flora has one albums 141800. Times and the other one is when he 2800. Times. Fortunately there's just a little bit out. But that's why you have to be concerned sometime about you meeting small amounts of something if you don't know what level. Of concern that break we have a good question let's. The caller from home Tom on line one time. Oh we see out. From those that are naturally occurring. I guess. It really be are out in that. Can't go back and cheap out and why are we. And so that the case for global warming. And and while still achieve the process will sign the journal and degrees that being out. Well that. I'm glad you brought that out because that's something that most people see purely as a thing where scientists were cheating. And the reality is that the evidence came from looking at emails in the weight colleagues were emailing one another about things in the that they were realizing that there are things that we need to emphasize more. And they would say we need to be able to emphasize these data more. In our publications. Two non scientists that would look like what we need to make up data. The reality is a scientist or worse saying among themselves generally. We need to emphasize other things that will be more obvious to the public and to the decision makers. So it was really taken out of context. Sarwan. What actually pollute the key and I bet that they that they disagree. On. You know that's exactly the way it appeared and and I'm convinced it. Say yeah. Well people the thought that yeah. They were. Isn't that actually happened in almost every independent every don't we say independent study yet I mean we. India independence. Right hectic has abroad to finish defendant and a case but Tom let's go back to your original question can we differentiate between man made. Carbon dioxide. And hinges there where it's naturally made through the processes. And. Well what we can do you can't differentiate carbon dioxide is carbon dioxide but we know that there's a baseline a man out there that mother nature produces through the way. The way plants produce their food. And that's good because as you said earlier in the show if we didn't have this blanket of greenhouse gases around us. Then we would this. Life as we know burnout so that's sort of our safety. Net around us. But the thing as it we can calculate. How much carbon dioxide. Is being released into the air from the use of fossil fuels and have been buried for the odds. And that's the addition it has the scientific community concerned. Is it were pumping it in while it would it would be like it would be like if I like to go down to Mike what what we're just experienced it if I liked a good end of that by you. And it's you know 200 yards from my house and I looked good and go fishing and look at nature. And then a big storm comes in all of a sudden there's eight feet of water in my house. That's an unnatural. Event usually in this case of the pumps and everything. And so that's not desirable. But having met by you there is desirable and having that small about it. Carbon dioxide zone.