We can't wait 50, 60, or 80 years. Things are changing too fast. While the magnitude of the current change may not seem like a lot, the rate is highly unusual. Comparing the fossil record to historical rapid shifts in climate of this rate, you find a disturbing correlation between extinction events and major climate shifts.
CO2 is definitely causing some part of global warming. That part is basic physics. Yes, there's more research to be done to fine-tune things, but it is well-established now that CO2 is the major driver over the last 50 years or so. (first half of the 20th century had a major solar influence also, sun was increasing output)
You said you don't know. You have two options:
1) Read the scientific literature yourself and come to a conclusion. (there's a lot, so put some time into it!)
2) Accept what other people tell you.
If you're going to do (2), that's fine. Listen to who you like. But don't you think that a 97% agreement between experts in this field is good enough to take action on?
One of you will end up here next!
I have a question for all of you who believe that global warming is an imminent threat. Could you please provide a timeline as to bad events that will occur and the approximate year in which each event will occur? Thanks.
The identification of trends on a long-term timescale (20+ years) does not require or imply a specific predictive ability on so fine a scale. That should be self-evident.
"A witty saying proves nothing." Voltaire
As for NYC specifically, realistically it won't ever go under water. It's worth too much. They'll build dykes and whatnot for real estate that valuable. But it will cost them many billions of dollars to deal with the impact of sea level rise. New York City alone has 600 miles of coastline and 4 of the 5 boroughs are islands. It is almost all built very close to sea level. So, the cost of a project like that would be enormous. They're currently predicting up to 23 inches of sea level rise by the end of the century in New York. That may not sound like much, but it means hundreds of miles of dykes, massive changes to drainage and water treatment systems, etc. And that is just for the sea level rise. The heat in general means much larger demands on its electrical grid in summer, public health problems related to heat, moving critical infrastructure further away from the shore line to make it less vulnerable to hurricanes and whatnot, etc. Just for New York City alone, we're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the effects of global warming.
As for predicting when, that question doesn't really line up with the facts. Some costs have already begun to show up. It isn't like one day it will be above water and everything will be great, the next it will all be flooded. The water level will raise by a fraction of an inch per year. The very lowest areas will have a bit more damage in storms than they would have otherwise, then maybe they'll start improving drainage systems, then eventually they'll have to build a couple dykes, then a few more, etc. But, by the end of the century they're looking at massive costs from it.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that AGW doesn't work like we can cut carbon emissions and then the next day everything is back to normal. The effects last many decades. Changes in our behavior today more than our behavior at the end of the century, determine how things will be climatalogically at the end of the century.
But, that's just one city. The costs nationwide will be much higher. By the end of the century they are projecting that nationwide we will face around $1.9 trillion/year in global warming costs if we do nothing to abate the problem at all.
Last edited by teamosil; 09-08-11 at 02:56 PM.