Using What You Know to Filter Through Climate Controversy | CAS Inquire
Dr. Mark van Roojen of the Department of Philosophy gave this talk on Oct. 10 for the CAS Inquire theme "Sustainable Futures."
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- [00:00:02.360]Hi, everybody.
So glad to see you here this evening.
- [00:00:05.880]Thank you for joining us.
- [00:00:06.720]Whether you're here in person
or joining us by a Zoom online welcome,
- [00:00:12.360]this is our second featured talk within
- [00:00:14.640]this year's CAS Inquire lecture series.
- [00:00:18.480]As you might know, the organizing theme
for the CAS Inquire series
- [00:00:22.720]this year is Sustainable Futures.
- [00:00:26.480]And this theme, we believe,
- [00:00:28.920]is the truly urgent one,
morally and existentially.
- [00:00:33.480]And I think it's thus appropriate
that we have a philosopher
- [00:00:36.000]in the house tonight
to guide us through some big questions.
- [00:00:39.840]Our theme, Sustainable Futures,
- [00:00:42.800]is one that I think also expresses
an important degree of optimism
- [00:00:46.760]and optimism that's inherent
in the very idea of human agency
- [00:00:49.920]and our shared abilities to imagine
and to enact futures that will
- [00:00:52.800]sustain, sustain
lives in all of its diversity.
- [00:00:56.640]And I think that message is also very much
at the core of
- [00:00:59.880]liberal arts and sciences.
- [00:01:02.200]In keeping with our Inquire
- [00:01:04.800]lecture series
and the very identity of the college,
- [00:01:08.120]which is nicely contained
within this series.
- [00:01:10.680]This year's
- [00:01:11.080]theme is going to be looking at this
this issue from a variety of diverse
- [00:01:15.480]ranges of points of view orientations
and disciplinary perspectives.
- [00:01:19.800]Our first lecture in September was from
Professor Bitterman and Geography, arguing
- [00:01:25.240]for a multi spatial analysis, a framework
for thinking about sustainable futures.
- [00:01:30.360]Upcoming talks
will feature faculty from Philosophy
- [00:01:34.160]tonight Physics in our next series,
Languages and Literatures.
- [00:01:37.560]French specifically and Geology.
- [00:01:40.200]And we look forward to folding all these
perspectives into our yearlong discussion.
- [00:01:45.720]But as I said this evening,
we have the distinct pleasure
- [00:01:47.760]of continuing this series
with a presentation
- [00:01:50.160]from Professor Mark van Roojen
from the Department of Philosophy
- [00:01:53.880]with a talk entitled Using What You Know
to Filter through Climate Controversy.
- [00:02:00.000]And the title alone is giving me
- [00:02:02.840]of our abilities
to navigate through some difficult issues.
- [00:02:06.480]Dr. van Roojen has had a distinguished
career in philosophy
- [00:02:10.440]since joining the faculty of the college
- [00:02:13.720]After receiving his Ph.D.
- [00:02:15.240]from Princeton University.
- [00:02:17.640]His extensive research into moral
rationalism, normative ethics and matter
- [00:02:22.320]ethics has been widely published
in numerous books and scholarly journals.
- [00:02:27.000]He's the author of the book Meta Ethics
A Contemporary Introduction.
- [00:02:30.480]Just translated into Chinese.
- [00:02:31.880]I learned it tonight.
- [00:02:33.520]He is also a faculty fellow with the
Nebraska Governance and Technology Center.
- [00:02:37.560]A past Lawrence Rockefeller, visiting
fellow in the Center for Human Values
- [00:02:42.680]and has received support for his research
from the National Endowment
- [00:02:45.720]for the Humanities.
- [00:02:46.960]So we're looking forward
to tonight's lecture
- [00:02:48.680]about 30 minutes with plenty of time
for Q&A and discussion.
- [00:02:52.280]So please now join me in welcoming
- [00:02:58.920]All yours.
- [00:03:01.680]I think the bike is on. Yeah. Okay.
- [00:03:04.800]So I'm going to try and advance the slide.
- [00:03:08.200]Well, that didn't work.
- [00:03:18.680]Where do I click to roll it down
- [00:03:25.560]or can either.
- [00:03:30.000]Okay, there's something.
- [00:03:32.760]All right, so there's a title slide
- [00:03:35.800]which you don't need to see, actually,
because it's we're past that.
- [00:03:41.040]So I'm actually going to talk mostly about
- [00:03:45.320]climate science.
- [00:03:45.960]I'll explain what the thesis about.
- [00:03:47.760]That's going to be in a minute.
- [00:03:48.680]But I was just looking at some actually
some some lectures about climate change
- [00:03:54.720]in general and people's
uptake of information by climate change.
- [00:03:57.960]And one of the big takeaways from that
- [00:04:02.200]when people feel like there's nothing
they can do,
- [00:04:04.880]they wind up often denying phenomena
that are probably going on.
- [00:04:09.600]And so I thought I would start
with a couple of bits of good news.
- [00:04:13.440]At least one of these made me feel
a whole lot better.
- [00:04:15.720]Last year.
- [00:04:17.360]So most recently there's been some stuff
in the news about Brazil, and
- [00:04:23.080]the new president is doing his best
to cut deforestation.
- [00:04:26.240]Quite a bit.
- [00:04:26.640]But even before that,
over the last 20 years
- [00:04:30.200]or more than 20 years,
- [00:04:32.160]Brazil has gotten the rate
of deforestation down
- [00:04:35.040]to about a quarter of what it was,
which is reasonably impressive
- [00:04:38.240]over that period of time.
- [00:04:39.840]And the United States has now pledged 500
million or Biden has pledged 500 million
- [00:04:43.960]and got to get Congress to go along with
it through Brazil to help them with that.
- [00:04:47.720]And so that's news
that's come out in the last month or so.
- [00:04:51.560]And that's that's good news.
- [00:04:52.840]And it's in the context
of where rainforest
- [00:04:54.880]depletion in general is going down, which
is another bit of relatively good news.
- [00:05:01.160]Last year when the so-called Inflation
Reduction Act was passed,
- [00:05:05.280]it has huge, a huge number of measures
- [00:05:07.200]to reduce United States's
contribution to climate change.
- [00:05:11.040]It'll get us about half way
from where we were to where we have to
- [00:05:14.200]go to meet the 2015
- [00:05:17.480]greenhouse gas
- [00:05:18.920]reduction promises that we made.
- [00:05:22.200]So it's not everything, but it's
and there's promises, of course, need to
- [00:05:27.080]is go beyond the promises.
- [00:05:28.280]But still, a year
- [00:05:31.320]and a half ago,
I was sure it wasn't going to happen.
- [00:05:35.040]And so that was in fact,
I mean, I was depressed
- [00:05:38.800]and there was really a bit of good news
when that passed.
- [00:05:42.360]And just last year for six months
that this year, compared to the first six
- [00:05:46.000]months of this year, the EU is down 17%,
the amount of fossil fuels it uses.
- [00:05:50.240]So it's
I mean, you read a whole lot of stuff.
- [00:05:52.560]A lot of the news is pretty bad,
but there's also some good news in there.
- [00:05:56.840]And so it's worth paying
- [00:05:57.800]attention to that too, just so you don't
get to depressed about it.
- [00:06:01.600]And now that I've told you that
and you're not too depressed about it,
- [00:06:04.560]you can watch the rest of my lecture
and we'll see what I have to say.
- [00:06:10.240]So the basic idea of the lecture is that
- [00:06:15.560]there's several basic ideas.
- [00:06:16.520]One is that we just already know
- [00:06:18.440]a lot of background stuff,
even like from elementary school,
- [00:06:22.200]that if you start to put it together,
sort of fits with the way
- [00:06:28.080]climate change works.
- [00:06:29.640]So it shouldn't be too surprising when we
- [00:06:32.840]come to understand exactly the mechanisms
that go into causing our climate
- [00:06:36.960]to change
and the way in which greenhouse gases
- [00:06:40.840]that we're responsible for
- [00:06:42.840]are changing the climate rather rapidly.
- [00:06:46.240]And so so that's just one idea.
- [00:06:48.000]You already know a lot.
- [00:06:48.920]You don't have to go very far
- [00:06:50.480]beyond my knowledge to actually understand
what's going on.
- [00:06:54.960]The last bit I'm going to talk about,
we'll take go go
- [00:06:57.920]somewhat beyond my knowledge,
but it's only the last bit.
- [00:07:03.240]The other thing is
- [00:07:06.240]sort of more general point
- [00:07:08.640]when you're trying
to we're all kind of stuck sorting
- [00:07:12.360]good information from bad information
based on what we already know.
- [00:07:16.320]And if you think if what you already know
is completely wrong,
- [00:07:20.400]it's really easy to go off
in the wrong direction.
- [00:07:24.720]I think as it turns out, one of the things
you find out by thinking about
- [00:07:27.960]this is a lot of the stuff we already
you know, I was taught in the 1960s
- [00:07:31.800]and seventies
and it's been around for a while.
- [00:07:35.000]It was long before there was
any real controversy about climate.
- [00:07:38.760]And I think most people
- [00:07:41.160]will at least be somewhat familiar
with some of the things I bring up and
- [00:07:46.920]that both hopefully might be a place
where people can go to try and,
- [00:07:51.600]you know, in their
- [00:07:52.760]of information, but also speaks
to the value of just public education
- [00:07:55.960]and making sure that people
actually get taught some things
- [00:07:59.600]in a systematic way early on.
- [00:08:02.680]So those are kind of the two morals. Okay.
- [00:08:05.280]And then more specifically,
in support of those two morals, I'm now
- [00:08:08.120]going to try to show you
that you already know stuff that
- [00:08:12.400]is relevant
to the issue of climate change.
- [00:08:14.240]And it's basically the story of how
what I'm trying to explain is
- [00:08:17.560]how do these gases that there's
not very much of except for water vapor
- [00:08:23.600]explain the way our climate is changing.
- [00:08:26.400]And it basically has four main
- [00:08:31.240]There's the inverse square law governing
how intense light is falling,
- [00:08:34.800]you know, falling on a surface, depending
on the distance it is from a points
- [00:08:39.360]or source, the further away
you get a less light falls on it.
- [00:08:43.080]That should be pretty common sense
goes a little bit more to it than that.
- [00:08:46.120]But it's basically
- [00:08:48.640]that how hot
- [00:08:49.280]things get is partly a function
of how reflective they are,
- [00:08:52.280]and that includes how hot the earth gets
and the Earth's atmosphere gets.
- [00:08:56.280]And so water is reflections of water.
- [00:08:59.520]The reflectance of the earth,
reflectance of ice
- [00:09:01.840]reflected to the atmosphere itself as
we're going to be playing a role in that.
- [00:09:05.480]That's something you already knew.
- [00:09:10.280]This is a little bit more esoteric,
but it wasn't that.
- [00:09:13.800]It's it's been known for at least
- [00:09:18.000]There's principles that govern
the relation between the wavelength
- [00:09:21.840]of light that comes off of a hot body
and its temperature.
- [00:09:25.360]Roughly, the hotter something is,
the shorter the wavelength of the light,
- [00:09:29.440]the cooler it is, the longer
the wavelength of light
- [00:09:31.960]that's going to play a role.
- [00:09:35.520]I think I learned that somewhere before
- [00:09:37.040]I learned about climate change,
but I can't remember how old I was.
- [00:09:40.280]And then the last thing
- [00:09:42.200]is more complicated
and probably what you don't already know,
- [00:09:46.960]which is that
- [00:09:48.280]different gases have different
transmission and absorption properties
- [00:09:54.880]at different wavelengths of light,
and they're not the same.
- [00:09:58.400]So you get I'll show you some graphs.
- [00:10:00.560]And part of what's going on
is that the reflection, the reflection
- [00:10:04.360]and absorption patterns and transmission
patterns of water vapor
- [00:10:09.120]interacts with those same patterns
for various greenhouse gases.
- [00:10:12.760]And that's partly
why those particular gases are important.
- [00:10:16.800]So that's kind of where
I'm going with this.
- [00:10:19.800]So here's some more demonstration that you
- [00:10:24.000]will not quite get.
- [00:10:25.360]This is the inverse square law slide.
- [00:10:27.680]I stole it from somebody,
but it was NASA's on the line to do that
- [00:10:30.640]because it's public domain, basically.
- [00:10:34.040]It just says that the
- [00:10:37.800]if you get twice as far away,
there's going to be one quarter
- [00:10:40.720]as much light
falling on the surface of whatever it is.
- [00:10:43.840]It's twice as far away as it would have
been at the original distance
- [00:10:48.520]if the light's coming easily
from a point source.
- [00:10:51.240]So and since the thing is both
- [00:10:54.360]half as tall and half as wide,
- [00:10:58.640]that means it's getting a half of a half
- [00:11:02.560]radiation falling on it as it would
- [00:11:05.080]were to be at the original distance.
- [00:11:08.080]So that's the inverse square law it's
been known for since, I think the 1400s.
- [00:11:13.000]There were versions of it out there.
- [00:11:15.960]It's kind of
whether, you know, the law exactly.
- [00:11:18.240]You kind of already know
just by being your sources of light
- [00:11:21.640]that the further away you are, the dimmer
- [00:11:24.280]That's not that complicated.
- [00:11:29.680]Here's my attempt to convince you
of some other things you already know.
- [00:11:33.280]So given the inverse square law,
you'd expect the planets
- [00:11:35.880]that are closest to the sun to be hotter
than the planets that are further away.
- [00:11:39.840]And that's largely true.
- [00:11:41.120]But it's not completely true because
- [00:11:46.040]you'd, first off, have to
- [00:11:47.280]adjust your predictions
for the reflectance of the planets.
- [00:11:51.440]Some planets are going to reflect more
radiation off of them than others will.
- [00:11:55.000]And so you're going
- [00:11:55.760]to have to take into account
what their services are like and so on.
- [00:11:59.880]When you put those things together,
- [00:12:02.440]you would get the following predictions.
- [00:12:04.840]So the planets go in the order of Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars.
- [00:12:08.040]There's more planets in that.
- [00:12:09.160]But for our purposes, those are enough.
- [00:12:12.080]So the first row is telling you
how many watts per square meter
- [00:12:16.560]are falling on the surface of each
of those planets, or at least on them,
- [00:12:20.360]or at least on the surface,
the atmosphere of the planets.
- [00:12:22.960]So Mercury 22,020 2290.
- [00:12:27.680]Venus 662.
- [00:12:29.920]Earth 342. Mars 145.
- [00:12:33.240]Next Column is a measure
of the reflectance with a higher number,
- [00:12:36.800]meaning more reflective, a lower number
meaning less reflective.
- [00:12:40.680]And when you put those two things
- [00:12:42.320]you get a kind of predicted temperature.
- [00:12:43.920]Mercury should be 163 degrees. C,
- [00:12:46.960]Venus should be -41, C, quite cold Earth
should still be pretty cool with -18.
- [00:12:52.040]C this would be average
temperature on Mars would be -64.
- [00:12:56.080]C So those are the predictions based on
just those two factors, factors
- [00:12:59.600]that should be relatively familiar.
- [00:13:04.600]But when they're able to measure
these things, that's not what you get.
- [00:13:10.240]With Mercury, it's pretty close.
- [00:13:12.080]They're only about four degrees off,
but it's a little tricky.
- [00:13:14.880]Mercury doesn't have an atmosphere, so
when they're measuring, they're measuring
- [00:13:17.600]sort of average of the surface
surface temperature of mercury.
- [00:13:21.280]The others, I believe,
are taken in a somewhat different way.
- [00:13:25.400]Venus turns out to be much hotter
than Mercury for her 62 degrees.
- [00:13:29.400]Earth is thankfully a bit warmer
than the prediction.
- [00:13:32.760]And Mars is,
I think, also a bit warmer, but not enough
- [00:13:36.120]to make a difference to me anyway.
- [00:13:39.840]So you can just see from this already
- [00:13:42.160]something's left out
that's not too hard to figure out.
- [00:13:45.840]And again, this is, I think, stuff
I learned in I want to say fourth grade,
- [00:13:50.280]but they were really big
on the space program when I look here.
- [00:13:53.360]So it might be later for most people,
but it was certainly
- [00:13:56.480]something you would know
by the time you went to high school.
- [00:14:00.280]So of course,
- [00:14:00.960]the obvious candidate
for what's different is
- [00:14:04.880]the effects of the atmosphere. Right.
- [00:14:06.440]And that's something
- [00:14:07.800]I learned that in school way back before
people were talking about climate change.
- [00:14:11.640]I'm old.
- [00:14:14.920]And so, so far
- [00:14:18.960]I think we're really in sort of common
knowledge territory still.
- [00:14:22.560]And what you get out of this is, well,
atmosphere is really going to matter to
- [00:14:25.520]what the actual temperature
- [00:14:27.560]on the surface of a planet
that you live on is going to be
- [00:14:32.280]Now, let me explain in slightly more.
- [00:14:34.560]This is a part
which gets a little more complicated.
- [00:14:36.800]So we bring in Blackbody radiation,
which scientists use.
- [00:14:40.320]I guess they use a
- [00:14:43.480]they pretend
the surface of somebody is black
- [00:14:45.680]because that affects to some extent
the amount of radiation coming off of it.
- [00:14:48.840]And then they sort of there's
there's there's formulas
- [00:14:51.680]that will tell you like at what
temperature, what wavelength of light
- [00:14:55.040]will be coming off of the surface
at that temperature of a black body.
- [00:14:59.560]So oversimplified explanation.
- [00:15:01.480]First with no atmosphere,
you get hotter bodies radiating shorter
- [00:15:06.360]wavelength, colder bodies
radiating longer wavelengths.
- [00:15:10.960]Sun's much hotter than the earth,
- [00:15:12.480]so it's sending very short wavelength
light down to the earth.
- [00:15:16.600]The earth does not get as hot as the sun.
- [00:15:19.320]And so it's radiating out into space,
- [00:15:22.560]longer wavelength light.
- [00:15:26.960]So but eventually, even though
the different wavelengths of light,
- [00:15:31.080]they're going to get into equilibrium,
going to be as much going in as going out.
- [00:15:34.400]Otherwise the planet will just continue
- [00:15:35.680]to get hotter
and hotter and hotter and hotter and
- [00:15:39.120]kind of not done that, which is good.
- [00:15:42.360]So that's sort of the first stage.
- [00:15:47.520]Now, adding the effects of atmosphere.
- [00:15:49.720]Still the same story
about wavelengths of light
- [00:15:51.720]coming off of different bodies
at different temperatures.
- [00:15:54.760]Still, the sun's hotter than the earth,
so its wavelength is still shorter.
- [00:15:58.440]The Earth's radiation going on in
space is longer
- [00:16:01.560]wavelength light,
but the atmosphere is now
- [00:16:05.720]filter wavelengths,
different wavelengths differently.
- [00:16:09.600]So we're short.
- [00:16:10.360]Wavelength light can go very easily
through an atmosphere and not all of it,
- [00:16:14.760]but more easily than longer
- [00:16:19.160]That means that it's going to be harder.
- [00:16:21.840]But at the same time, once it gets there,
the wavelength of light that both
- [00:16:26.160]comes off of the surface of the earth
and to some extent the lower atmosphere,
- [00:16:30.200]trying to get back out into space.
- [00:16:33.000]It's longer
wavelength and as it turns out,
- [00:16:35.960]the atmosphere is much harder for longer
wavelength light to go out through
- [00:16:41.440]than it is for short wavelength
light to go through.
- [00:16:45.040]So what happens is the temperature
of the planet heats up some
- [00:16:48.680]and eventually you get an equilibrium
- [00:16:51.400]But the temperature at which you get
that equilibrium is higher.
- [00:16:55.440]So you get the chart. We're talking about.
- [00:16:58.160]So mercury, which doesn't have much of an
atmosphere, doesn't get much difference
- [00:17:02.280]between the prediction
and the actual value.
- [00:17:04.800]Venus, which has a very thick atmosphere,
- [00:17:07.640]even though it's very
reflective, is still pretty darn hot.
- [00:17:11.800]We don't have
- [00:17:15.000]quite the atmosphere of Venus,
- [00:17:16.480]but it definitely has an effect on
to predict the difference
- [00:17:20.880]between the predicted temperature
and the actual temperature. So
- [00:17:27.000]still not about specifically greenhouse
- [00:17:30.080]I haven't said anything specific,
but I kind of think this is
- [00:17:33.360]the sort of thing
you would very quickly have.
- [00:17:37.280]I think I still learned this stuff
- [00:17:39.040]in grade school.
- [00:17:42.600]So now we're going to get into the well,
- [00:17:45.720]this is actually a we're not going
to get into anything to complicate it.
- [00:17:49.000]This is just a chart.
- [00:17:49.920]It's not just the surface of the earth.
- [00:17:52.120]It's reflecting and radiating
light out in space.
- [00:17:54.920]It's also the atmosphere itself.
- [00:17:56.880]So you also have energy moving
between the atmosphere
- [00:18:01.160]or the surface of the earth
and back up the other way.
- [00:18:04.280]And each of these bars
is kind of representing
- [00:18:07.560]some of the movement
in different directions.
- [00:18:10.240]A little black arrows show you
which way the light is supposed to go.
- [00:18:13.400]If you go online, you'll see a whole bunch
of charts that look roughly like this.
- [00:18:17.000]And since I couldn't
find one in the public domain,
- [00:18:19.640]I constructed one that looks roughly
like this, looks exactly like this.
- [00:18:24.720]Each of those chart, you'll find it
- [00:18:26.040]gets slightly different numbers
because they're based on measurements.
- [00:18:30.000]And not everybody
- [00:18:30.600]got exactly the same measurements,
but they're very close to one another.
- [00:18:34.160]If you add up everything coming in
- [00:18:36.960]on the upper right hand side
- [00:18:40.280]and subtract the amount
going out on the two big bars on the left
- [00:18:43.840]hand side, what you'll find is that
the number on the right is just slightly
- [00:18:47.720]bigger than the number on the left,
which is partly represents
- [00:18:51.040]the fact that right now
things are warming up
- [00:18:52.920]because more energy is coming
in, then it's coming out.
- [00:18:57.800]But anyway, that's basically
- [00:19:01.120]what's going on with with
- [00:19:06.440]for some reason
- [00:19:07.000]I have to have a several.
- [00:19:12.560]So if it's stable, you'd have the amounts
coming in and going out at me exactly
- [00:19:15.600]the same.
- [00:19:18.680]And again, I already said this.
- [00:19:19.720]It comes from both the surface of
the earth and from the atmosphere itself.
- [00:19:24.800]And no, the thing on the right is in fact
- [00:19:28.640]a little bit higher than the number
if you had the two things on the left.
So now here's where we go a little bit
- [00:19:35.160]beyond anything that I would have learned,
at least in high school.
- [00:19:40.600]maybe the most people in high school
- [00:19:43.920]some of the atmospheres made up of mostly
nitrogen, good percentage of oxygen.
- [00:19:47.720]Thankfully, some argon
- [00:19:50.280]a lot of water vapor in a way.
- [00:19:52.240]I mean, it's not that much by weight.
- [00:19:53.640]It's a quarter of a percent.
- [00:19:55.920]And then a bunch of trace gases
that are like in carbon dioxide,
- [00:19:58.560]which is the main one we're going to talk
about is just 400/400 of a percent.
- [00:20:03.040]So it's not very much in the total scheme
of all the other gases
- [00:20:06.200]in the atmosphere,
but it turns out to be pretty significant.
- [00:20:10.000]And this is where we go slightly
- [00:20:15.720]So this is
- [00:20:18.240]this graph is a graph
- [00:20:19.880]of the transparency or opacity,
depending on how you look at it,
- [00:20:24.920]of our atmosphere
in total with all the gases mixed into it
- [00:20:28.480]at different
wavelengths measured in microns.
- [00:20:31.680]So the axis,
because I never know which is X and Y,
- [00:20:34.840]so the horizontal axis tells you
- [00:20:38.160]microns and the
- [00:20:41.120]vertical axis tells you how much,
- [00:20:44.880]how much transmission you get.
- [00:20:52.400]So I'm going to walk over there.
- [00:20:57.440]So this is a big area where it's
relatively transparent, the atmosphere.
- [00:21:03.720]Here's another several.
- [00:21:05.720]This is basically opaque in here
- [00:21:10.400]and this is the range
from 0 to 15 microns.
- [00:21:13.720]And then down here
you've got the different gases
- [00:21:15.480]that are partly responsible
for blocking some of the light.
- [00:21:18.800]And there's
- [00:21:23.040]So that's a small chart.
- [00:21:24.320]It doesn't give you the whole spectrum,
- [00:21:26.480]Oh, by the way, visible light comes in
all the way over on the left, and that's
- [00:21:31.200]what we're able to see.
- [00:21:33.680]This is a longer chart.
- [00:21:35.080]It goes further this way, it goes to 30,
whereas the other one only went to 15.
- [00:21:39.600]So you got to kind of figure out the chart
you just saw has been stretched
- [00:21:44.720]from about here
- [00:21:47.400]to the end over there essentially.
- [00:21:51.280]And then we've added a bit more on.
- [00:21:53.880]So the
- [00:21:58.240]I don't know what color it's
- [00:21:59.520]I call it purple violet,
but it's kind of the
- [00:22:05.680]when you project the colors
- [00:22:06.840]never come out
quite the same as it look on the screen.
- [00:22:10.080]That's the water vapor
that's blocking, blocking what's being
- [00:22:18.000]what's able
to get out at those various wavelengths.
- [00:22:21.160]So that's important.
- [00:22:22.440]And what's really important is that
there's this big water vapor window
- [00:22:27.120]right here
where lots of energy can get out.
- [00:22:30.120]And there's also some of that over here.
- [00:22:34.160]And superimposed on that is
- [00:22:39.200]the passing chart for carbon dioxide.
- [00:22:43.560]And importantly about that, it overlaps.
- [00:22:46.840]So there's Windows
- [00:22:48.720]and so it's blocking,
it's making the atmosphere
- [00:22:51.520]more opaque to
- [00:22:55.640]daylight that's
- [00:22:56.320]radiated from the earth,
the longer wavelength light
- [00:22:59.600]precisely in places
where some would otherwise get out
- [00:23:04.440]and so that's really the main mechanism
of climate change,
- [00:23:08.720]except, of course, the primary oxide
isn't the only greenhouse gas.
- [00:23:12.240]So this is another public domain chart,
- [00:23:16.200]I'm sure still.
- [00:23:19.200]So down, down below you have different
similar to the one in the previous slide
- [00:23:26.040]for different greenhouse gases
like carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and
- [00:23:32.520]nitrous oxide.
- [00:23:34.040]And I don't know what reading
these gathering is, but there it is.
- [00:23:38.600]So anyway, this last bit is,
I think, relatively esoteric.
- [00:23:44.520]I know a tiny bit about it
because when I worked in a
- [00:23:48.360]law office where we did a lot of car
crimes, there were machines
- [00:23:52.040]that would measure your blood alcohol
by measuring your breath.
- [00:23:56.720]Alcohol in various ways were part
of the mechanism that they used with this.
- [00:24:01.560]But this is a little bit more esoteric.
- [00:24:07.040]And the only other thing
I think I'll just add, it's
- [00:24:10.200]just kind of a bigger picture again,
- [00:24:13.880]Obviously, carbon
dioxide concentration is the atmosphere.
- [00:24:16.520]I've been going up
since about the middle of the 1800s. And
- [00:24:21.280]at the same time, you see that the
- [00:24:24.760]so that's the dark line
going up to the right.
- [00:24:28.240]And then the blue and red bars are
- [00:24:32.480]the average global temperature over time.
- [00:24:35.800]And it's clearly going up a good bit as
carbon dioxide has gone up a bit as well.
- [00:24:41.960]So that's
- [00:24:43.800]so what you really have, I think here is
you got it like a theory based
- [00:24:46.440]on more specific kinds of science
about reflectance and
and all that stuff that would predict
- [00:24:53.040]something like this would happen
if carbon dioxide increases.
- [00:24:56.280]And then, in fact, you notice
that there's a correlation between carbon
- [00:24:59.400]dioxide increasing in temperature
- [00:25:02.640]at these predictions were made
- [00:25:05.000]already in the 1800s
by some scientists in 1860 ish.
- [00:25:08.960]A little bit
before that, there was a woman whose name
- [00:25:12.000]I can't
- [00:25:12.360]read because I had my glasses on
and then me and a couple of years later,
- [00:25:16.160]they seemed to independently made
some of these predictions based on water
- [00:25:19.040]vapor and carbon dioxide, not knowing
about the other greenhouse gases.
- [00:25:22.800]And then the stuff that the other
greenhouse gases kind of started to come
- [00:25:25.320]in, I guess, somewhat before the 1970s.
- [00:25:30.240]And then one more chart, of course,
because where's the so coming from?
- [00:25:34.600]Well, because the blue line is
- [00:25:38.880]atmospheric CO2
- [00:25:41.400]and the darker line is
- [00:25:45.720]annual emissions going back to about 1750.
- [00:25:48.400]And as you can see, the blue line goes up
- [00:25:50.200]as the darker line goes up,
which is not super surprising.
- [00:25:54.040]So somebody is trying to comment on what,
- [00:25:57.880]you know. Okay.
- [00:26:01.320]So that's really again,
what I want to say is partly just
- [00:26:05.560]there's a lot of stuff
we all it's common knowledge of a sort.
- [00:26:08.680]Not all of it is completely common, but
it's information that I think you can use
- [00:26:12.880]if, say, you're talking to somebody
in there somewhere
- [00:26:18.480]down to about stories about climate change
and whether they make any sense at all.
- [00:26:22.240]And one thing that, you know,
is kind of a sticking point for people is
- [00:26:25.280]how can a gas that's,
- [00:26:26.400]you know, a quarter of a percent of
the atmosphere make this much difference?
- [00:26:30.480]And I think
- [00:26:33.320]you can kind of grasp this
well enough to explain it to somebody.
- [00:26:37.000]And again, I think people who are like
going to deny it are going to deny it.
- [00:26:40.400]If it's really where they are, they're
probably not going to change their mind.
- [00:26:42.800]But people are genuinely,
- [00:26:46.080]There are think things you can say that
kind of fit with stuff they already know
- [00:26:49.800]to explain it to them as if they're kind
of really wondering about this stuff.
- [00:26:53.880]So that's kind of I'm
- [00:26:56.880]and remember that first point,
- [00:26:58.680]which is don't get them all depressed
first because then they're wanted tonight.
- [00:27:02.160]So that's kind of the second.
- [00:27:06.120]I think that's it
for what I have prepared.
- [00:27:35.840]And thanks, Mark.
- [00:27:36.800]I will be on.
I can hear I'm just worse for no reason.
- [00:27:41.240]One of the things that's interesting is,
is I wonder if you want to prepare
- [00:27:44.720]for the Gen two of this talk
when we have you back in a couple of years
- [00:27:49.280]is what I think we're all going to face.
- [00:27:53.400]Probably in the next five years or so,
is there's much good news coming out.
- [00:27:58.400]I mean, all electric vehicles are up and
solar power is up and you know everything.
- [00:28:02.000]And there are many things that are moving
- [00:28:03.280]in the right direction,
but there are many things.
- [00:28:05.800]There's a large momentum and a large
backlog still on the wrong side.
- [00:28:09.320]And so temperatures
are going to continue to rise for a while
- [00:28:11.960]some time and we're going to see that.
- [00:28:13.240]And as temperatures continue to rise,
there will be discussions about
- [00:28:17.640]and they will involve sort of common sense
kind of things as well
- [00:28:20.760]in terms of typically under the terms of
geoengineering or atmospheric engineering
- [00:28:25.080]that will say, well, normally we wanted
wouldn't want to do this
- [00:28:28.680]because it's really drastic,
like put zillions of particles in the air.
- [00:28:31.920]But we're going to have to
- [00:28:33.360]because, you know, we've dug a hole now
and we need to fill the hole.
- [00:28:36.520]And I wonder, do you think comment
I do think some of the same
- [00:28:41.000]principles, things that you talked about
today, will the population be equipped
- [00:28:45.880]to handle thinking and first principles
about some of those sort of big,
- [00:28:50.480]big solutions that are almost certainly
going to get thrown out as as necessary
- [00:28:55.320]emergency measures
in the next five or ten years?
- [00:29:00.640]I actually think a lot depends
on some empirical stuff
- [00:29:03.320]that I don't know here, but
- [00:29:05.920]but I also have a little bit of risk
- [00:29:07.680]aversion about, you know,
spreading particles in the atmosphere.
- [00:29:11.840]So one thing I would think is
this is a good reason to try to do
- [00:29:15.240]as much as possible as soon as possible
so that we don't have to think
- [00:29:19.560]about that
any sooner than we actually have to.
- [00:29:22.800]And that'll have two benefits
maybe we won't have to.
- [00:29:25.440]Another benefit is maybe we'll know
of some options that we don't know now.
- [00:29:30.480]So I do think that's kind of an argument
for they're really pushing hard
- [00:29:34.320]on doing something.
- [00:29:35.360]Problem is, politics now sucks.
- [00:29:37.200]I mean, I mean but it's like two years ago
- [00:29:40.320]and yet they did something
in the last year or so.
- [00:29:45.480]I do think
that's why we need to talk about it.
- [00:29:47.520]I do think this is why we need to talk
about people we don't agree with.
- [00:29:51.440]Although again,
if people adamantly disagree, it's
- [00:29:54.120]probably not worth
trying to change their minds about it.
- [00:29:57.240]I spent I, I joined a fisheries
conservation group like
- [00:30:02.440]14 years ago as president of the group,
did a huge conservation project
- [00:30:06.320]in western Nebraska, didn't
convince a goddamn person about anything,
- [00:30:11.920]partly because I think people are deep
- [00:30:13.600]into really wanting to it
- [00:30:17.440]They didn't convince anybody, but I think
I didn't convince enough people to feel
- [00:30:21.160]satisfied with that. I'm
- [00:30:24.560]so it's hard.
- [00:30:25.160]I mean, it is hard.
- [00:30:38.760]Is there somebody on the screen
who wants to ask question
- [00:30:47.480]So we're going to we're
- [00:30:48.920]online asked the giving person,
how do you help the general public
- [00:30:58.800]adjudicate between meaningful database
charts and outright misrepresentations?
- [00:31:04.600]Many of our students
- [00:31:05.400]and the general public
not discern the veracity of such charts.
- [00:31:09.160]And science literacy is declining
and as is competence in science.
- [00:31:14.040]So how do you kind of help sort of
- [00:31:18.040]discern the difference between meaningful
- [00:31:20.000]and misrepresent representative data?
- [00:31:24.480]Well, I mean, part of what I am
just saying here is
- [00:31:27.720]there are things, you know,
- [00:31:29.640]try to see how what people are telling you
fits with the things you know,
- [00:31:33.400]if you forget what you know, then anything
works just as good as anything else.
- [00:31:37.160]I had a hobby of restoring an old house.
- [00:31:39.920]I still have a hobby of it's
a lifetime thing.
- [00:31:43.320]And it was really interesting to me
to review these debates
- [00:31:47.040]about light on dense pack insulation
and whether it worked or not.
- [00:31:51.600]And if you listened long enough, people
would start saying stuff that you knew
- [00:31:54.840]was utter crap again
based on grade school science.
- [00:31:59.000]So there's some of that
that's only some of it.
- [00:32:01.960]I also think multiple sources
is always great, obviously,
- [00:32:04.200]but you do have to worry that it
all goes back to one place.
background knowledge really matters.
- [00:32:10.160]But then the other thing that I
- [00:32:13.160]this is speculation, but
- [00:32:14.880]I kind of think everybody knows
how to do it with some subject matter.
- [00:32:18.120]But we all use the internet now.
- [00:32:19.520]Nobody doesn't use the Internet
- [00:32:22.400]and most of us use it often for things
we're just interested in.
- [00:32:26.240]And we get good
at finding good information
- [00:32:28.560]about what we're interested
in. So people have hobbies.
- [00:32:31.000]They know how to sort good information
from that, information about hobbies.
- [00:32:34.680]They might not know how to do it.
- [00:32:36.600]It's a new domain,
but it's kind of the same thing, really.
- [00:32:39.600]It's just
- [00:32:41.160]checking things out
and seeing how it fits with things.
- [00:32:44.040]You're pretty confident.
- [00:32:44.920]Again, if you're comfortable,
wrong things, you're kind of lost.
- [00:32:47.400]But if you're a company and have enough
of the right stuff, you can crack.
- [00:32:53.280]So I do think people have
some of the skills needed to do it,
- [00:32:56.160]and they just have to kind of realize
that we've got
- [00:32:57.800]some of the skills
needed to use those skills
- [00:33:00.760]that that's all I can say with Stuart.
- [00:33:02.440]I mean,
- [00:33:04.200]we're all a little bit self-taught in this
and the Internet changes over time.
- [00:33:07.520]So the things I use ten years ago
to check information, I don't use it for
- [00:33:11.800]some of them, but I have to use new ones
because the way things work change.
- [00:33:17.760]It's always kind of adapting
to an information environment.
- [00:33:39.640]So I don't know.
- [00:33:40.680]I'm sure that you've heard of
there's like a Swiss company
- [00:33:43.240]that is making essentially
like a CO2 vacuums that then
- [00:33:49.120]like mix the carbon dioxide
with water and planet into the earth.
- [00:33:53.000]And I was just kind of wondering
what your thoughts on that are,
- [00:33:55.560]if it's like a cost effective solution
or not, that we can kind of put our hope
- [00:33:59.280]in or if that's almost too far fetched.
- [00:34:03.960]So you're just
I'm not an expert on any of that.
- [00:34:07.200]So I'll see what my subjective
- [00:34:09.800]But you shouldn't.
- [00:34:11.640]You should just
- [00:34:12.760]go through some actual research
without asking me.
- [00:34:16.440]And I think a lot of that stuff
is just really untested.
- [00:34:20.760]So we just don't really know how
well it's going to work out.
- [00:34:22.960]And again, I think there are things
we know are important to do.
- [00:34:26.000]I think cutting emissions
is the biggest thing you can do.
- [00:34:29.760]That doesn't happen overnight.
- [00:34:31.440]We're probably going
to need things to supplement it,
- [00:34:33.360]which are the things
that'll supplement it.
- [00:34:38.600]Actually, I didn't know about the part
about mixing with water,
- [00:34:40.760]but that kind of makes more sense to me
because a lot of the injection down into
- [00:34:44.640]I always worry
like you're going to inject it into a cab.
- [00:34:46.680]And I think, yeah,
and it doesn't have any holes in it.
- [00:34:50.640]So you could see we're mixing it with
water, might have some
- [00:34:54.680]greater ability to keep it there.
- [00:34:56.120]But on the other hand, is it really great
to have carbonated water?
- [00:35:00.520]We need water for other things too.
- [00:35:02.200]So I just think those are really
things you have to look into.
- [00:35:06.320]I think pipelines are going
- [00:35:07.440]to be a big issue if you're going to start
doing carbon capture
- [00:35:11.280]just the way they are
when you're trying to move oil around
- [00:35:15.280]some of the same problems going to people
- [00:35:16.960]don't want pipelines
going across their property.
- [00:35:19.560]Probably the reason
- [00:35:22.800]so a lot of the
- [00:35:24.280]so I guess what I think is
do the lower text of
- [00:35:27.600]first the lower tech stuff is useless.
- [00:35:32.120]However dioxide and methane
producing technologies quickly,
- [00:35:35.760]obviously today I'm still driving a car,
- [00:35:39.200]but that has to be done quickly.
- [00:35:42.480]And then, you know, it's
it's like Pat was saying, there's more
- [00:35:46.480]experimental stuff
we kind of have to see how do
- [00:36:02.480]is there a current in the
- [00:36:03.520]or was that still reading was coming?
- [00:36:09.880]I think that's the first one we had
- [00:36:19.640]you very much.
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