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Author Topic: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?  (Read 1157 times)

Brian556

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Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« on: December 25, 2018, 09:53:14 AM »

Natural gas leaks cause fires, explosions, deaths, and disruptions all the time. Is it even worth it to use natural gas as an energy source? What are the benefits vs costs/dangers? How much would it cost to stop using it and convert everything to electricity?

This article states "The series also documented widespread damage. Leaking natural gas lines operated by Atmos Energy in North and Central Texas had led to explosions that blew up more than two dozen homes since 2006, killing nine people and injuring at least 22."
https://www.dentonrc.com/news/dallas-lawmaker-seeks-reforms-to-prevent-the-next-deadly-gas/article_400f1d9d-2f8d-5bc5-bca5-7d8aeba49066.html

Also there was the incident in the northeast recently where tons of houses in three towns were blown up by an overpressurization accident.


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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2018, 10:09:02 AM »

Also there was the incident in the northeast recently where tons of houses in three towns were blown up by an overpressurization accident.

I was working at Stop & Shop when it happened. Fortunately, the town I live and work in (same one) is adjacent to at least one of those three, so nothing happened to us. Someone from Atlanta called my mom to ask if we were safe. A phone call we got on our home phone said that our town has had no incidents, and that nobody should call the police unless it actually happens.

Columbia Gas was at fault; my town uses National Grid exclusively.

Several businesses were closed for weeks. They're all open now.

(For those who have forgotten, the three towns affected were Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover; I'm not giving away mine.)
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2018, 10:48:54 AM »

All forms of energy are dangerous. There's no way to get around that.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2018, 10:54:01 AM »

Electricity requires another layer of complexity  -complex generating plants.  Efficiency would also suffer.
Gas can accommodate usage surges much better due to easier storage - it is much easier to cope with a cold spell with heaters running on gas compared to electric AC straining the grid on  a hot day.
Electricity - like any other energy product - is not 100% safe. There is enough direct impact - electrocution; and quite a few fires starting from damaged/overloaded wiring.
Last, but not the least - with price of copper going up and availability going down, things may become interesting for the grid..
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2018, 02:36:25 PM »

Like '1', I live bordering the 3 towns affected by the Columbia Gas explosions/fires. Hasn't changed my opinion one bit, outside of the stronger judicial ass-kicking needed for the people that let easily-avoidable accidents happen.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2018, 02:41:56 PM »

Like '1', I live bordering the 3 towns affected by the Columbia Gas explosions/fires. Hasn't changed my opinion one bit, outside of the stronger judicial ass-kicking needed for the people that let easily-avoidable accidents happen.

Yeah, the problem is not the danger of natural gas itself, but rather what happens when we allow infrastructure to crumble and/or regulations to be ignored.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2018, 10:43:27 PM »

How many people are electrocuted or die in fires caused by electricity?  This question doesn't really address whether elimination of gas would be safer, but it shows that electricity is not safe, either.  How many more people would be electrocuted or burned if we converted to all-electric heating and cooking?  Is it more or less than the number of people killed by gas?  There would be more wires, and more wires carrying higher voltage (since the appliances probably run on 240), and more electric heating elements.  Each of these is another point of danger.  Aside from practical concerns, we'd need some studies to determine if the conversion would even be likely to make things safer.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2018, 11:21:17 PM »

Just make sure that your furnace is serviced once a year, and the gas lines and meter inspected.  The furnace needs it for cleanliness and efficiency reasons aside from the safety issues.  Your gas supplier will do that for a fee.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2018, 12:56:44 AM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

But if natural gas must be used, I have heard that liquified natural gas (LNG) is better than regular natural gas for things like safety, transportation, cutting carbon emissions, and more than regular natural gas.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2018, 02:36:21 AM »

“I have heard that” the fire that wiped out Paradise, CA (among other places) was due to poor maintenance by PG&E of their electrical infrastructure. As has been noted, nothing’s safe if it’s not maintained.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2018, 06:25:50 AM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal.

Sounds like the discredited "peak oil" theories, based on projections that keep getting undermined by new discoveries and extraction technologies. There might be reasons not to use some or all of those sources, but not that we're using them up faster than we can find more.

Quote
But if natural gas must be used, I have heard that liquified natural gas (LNG) is better than regular natural gas for things like safety, transportation, cutting carbon emissions, and more than regular natural gas.

Major costs (including energy consumption) from the process of refrigerating natural gas to -260F to turn it from gas to liquid, and keeping it frozen. Major LNG use is for bulk transport of natural gas across oceans, where it's impractical to run pipelines to transport at normal temperatures.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2018, 07:07:08 AM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal.
Sounds like the discredited "peak oil" theories, based on projections that keep getting undermined by new discoveries and extraction technologies. There might be reasons not to use some or all of those sources, but not that we're using them up faster than we can find more.

Sounds also like the theory that it comes from "fossils" (as in dead dinosaurs) when in fact there is research that indicates that hydrocarbon compounds (natural gas, oils, kerosenes, etc.) are continually being created by natural processes deep within the crust of the Earth, research reinforced by the new discoveries that keep occurring.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 07:10:55 AM by Beltway »
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2018, 11:32:27 AM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

But if natural gas must be used, I have heard that liquified natural gas (LNG) is better than regular natural gas for things like safety, transportation, cutting carbon emissions, and more than regular natural gas.


The city of Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec and Energir (formely known as Gaz Metro) experiment a source of natural gas from biomethanation plant.
https://www.energir.com/en/about/media/news/local-renewable-natural-gas-available-in-energir-network/
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2018, 11:57:23 AM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

But if natural gas must be used, I have heard that liquified natural gas (LNG) is better than regular natural gas for things like safety, transportation, cutting carbon emissions, and more than regular natural gas.


The city of Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec and Energir (formely known as Gaz Metro) experiment a source of natural gas from biomethanation plant.
https://www.energir.com/en/about/media/news/local-renewable-natural-gas-available-in-energir-network/
THere is a lot of work methasne extracted from all sorts of waste, from sewage to trash. I doubt there is enough to cover all the use, humans don't shit enough for that (even when cows are added into the equation). Something is better than nothing, though.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2018, 01:28:02 PM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

{...trying to think of a snarky comeback to another "sky-is-falling" global warming Chicken Little that won't get the thread locked...}

 :bigass:

And I thought we were supposed to use nuclear energy to eliminate that deadly carbon dioxide (without which plants can't survive, and produce the oxygen that we need to survive).
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2018, 05:47:45 PM »

And I thought we were supposed to use nuclear energy to eliminate that deadly carbon dioxide (without which plants can't survive, and produce the oxygen that we need to survive).

The atmosphere should contain between 180 and 300 parts per million carbon dioxide as part of a balanced cycle. However, it is unbalanced, containing 400 parts per million right now, and it continues to increase. Excess carbon dioxide warms up the Earth. (So do other gases, but they're found in much smaller quantities.)

Nuclear energy is an improvement on fossil fuels, but it isn't as good as wind or solar energy.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2018, 05:56:46 PM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

{...trying to think of a snarky comeback to another "sky-is-falling" global warming Chicken Little that won't get the thread locked...}

 :bigass:

And I thought we were supposed to use nuclear energy to eliminate that deadly carbon dioxide (without which plants can't survive, and produce the oxygen that we need to survive).

 :banghead:  :banghead:



Unless Chicken Little has morphed out of the realm of fiction, cloned himself, and impersonated millions of concerned civilians, credible climate scientists, and a large group of world leaders, then I don't think this is some laughable joke. Whether you believe it or not, it is scientific fact that is indisputable. This is the mess that me, my peers, and our descendants have been left with. This is the mess that we will now have to clean up after over a century of mass irresponsible treatment of the planet. And the importance of this cannot be undermined. I and my fellow citizens must be considerate to future generations. It frustrates me immensely that this is such a divisive issue, and that doubt and denial is as widespread as it is, when it really shouldn't be. We need to all come together, and take action immediately, because this is very serious.

Yes, while nuclear energy emits far, far less CO2 than the other fossil fuels, it is still very unsafe to use in the grand scheme of things for other reasons. While the chances of something like Chernobyl happening are indescribably slim, there's still massive danger for this form of energy. When incidents like that do happen, the effects are truly horrific. The Chernobyl disaster has caused severe suffering and problems for the people of that area, and it will also be uninhabitable to humans for tens of thousands of years. On a more widespread, frequent scale, nuclear energy always causes certain problems when it is used. Nuclear waste must be stored in very specific, obscure places underground - also where it cannot contaminate groundwater - and it may take thousands of years to decompose. Also, nuclear power plants can negatively affect aquatic life for a ways around the plant location. All in all, it would really be best to not build any more nuclear power plants anywhere - it will simply be much safer that way.

Also, while, yes, plants consume carbon dioxide, saying that more CO2 will help those plants immensely is a major oversimplification of science (borrowing words from a very good article I read on global warming recently). Plants must have water to live, but too much water is not good for those plants, such as when severe floods come through or there is simply just too much rain in a short period of time. The same is true with CO2. Excesses of CO2 emissions will ultimately just cause bad thing after bad thing as climate change would accelerate. Also, global warming may decrease crop production by 30%, so that is certainly not good for plants.

I'm really not trying to start conflict here (and this issue should never be divisive in the first place), but the magnitude of this issue cannot be undermined, and it is real, whether you believe it or not.


« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 06:02:46 PM by adventurernumber1 »
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2018, 07:17:57 PM »

I think the above post outlines how I feel pretty well. I only disagree in that I think nuclear power is the best option moving forward, but getting the government to fund it will be next to impossible. Anyone who thinks climate change due to global warming isn't important or doesn't exist is just making the problem worse.

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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2018, 07:31:31 PM »

Preferrably we should stop using natural gas (or at least regular natural gas). In order to increase safety and cut carbon emissions, it would be best to cut coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy use to practically zero. Also, since they are fossil fuels, they are going to run out soon anyway with the current rate of consumption (with the exception of nuclear energy). IIRC, we have approximately 50 years on oil, 125 years on natural gas, and 300 years on coal. But using these sources of energy in the masses we do now for even one more decade could have detrimental effects for the planet. While they're not perfect, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy are generally the way we want to go.

{...trying to think of a snarky comeback to another "sky-is-falling" global warming Chicken Little that won't get the thread locked...}

 :bigass:

And I thought we were supposed to use nuclear energy to eliminate that deadly carbon dioxide (without which plants can't survive, and produce the oxygen that we need to survive).

 :banghead:  :banghead:



Unless Chicken Little has morphed out of the realm of fiction, cloned himself, and impersonated millions of concerned civilians, credible climate scientists, and a large group of world leaders, then I don't think this is some laughable joke. Whether you believe it or not, it is scientific fact that is indisputable. This is the mess that me, my peers, and our descendants have been left with. This is the mess that we will now have to clean up after over a century of mass irresponsible treatment of the planet. And the importance of this cannot be undermined. I and my fellow citizens must be considerate to future generations. It frustrates me immensely that this is such a divisive issue, and that doubt and denial is as widespread as it is, when it really shouldn't be. We need to all come together, and take action immediately, because this is very serious.

Yes, while nuclear energy emits far, far less CO2 than the other fossil fuels, it is still very unsafe to use in the grand scheme of things for other reasons. While the chances of something like Chernobyl happening are indescribably slim, there's still massive danger for this form of energy. When incidents like that do happen, the effects are truly horrific. The Chernobyl disaster has caused severe suffering and problems for the people of that area, and it will also be uninhabitable to humans for tens of thousands of years. On a more widespread, frequent scale, nuclear energy always causes certain problems when it is used. Nuclear waste must be stored in very specific, obscure places underground - also where it cannot contaminate groundwater - and it may take thousands of years to decompose. Also, nuclear power plants can negatively affect aquatic life for a ways around the plant location. All in all, it would really be best to not build any more nuclear power plants anywhere - it will simply be much safer that way.

Also, while, yes, plants consume carbon dioxide, saying that more CO2 will help those plants immensely is a major oversimplification of science (borrowing words from a very good article I read on global warming recently). Plants must have water to live, but too much water is not good for those plants, such as when severe floods come through or there is simply just too much rain in a short period of time. The same is true with CO2. Excesses of CO2 emissions will ultimately just cause bad thing after bad thing as climate change would accelerate. Also, global warming may decrease crop production by 30%, so that is certainly not good for plants.

I'm really not trying to start conflict here (and this issue should never be divisive in the first place), but the magnitude of this issue cannot be undermined, and it is real, whether you believe it or not.
There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2018, 07:36:17 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.

Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2018, 07:39:47 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.

Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
It really depends on how you define science. What is the definition you are using?
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2018, 07:50:20 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.
Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
It really depends on how you define science. What is the definition you are using?

The scientific method -- observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable.  None of that can be utilized to evaluate "global warming", which is based on computer models with many variables.  There just isn't a way to scientifically prove what happened 10 thousand years ago, or a million years ago, etc.
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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2018, 07:59:31 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.
Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
It really depends on how you define science. What is the definition you are using?

The scientific method -- observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable.  None of that can be utilized to evaluate "global warming", which is based on computer models with many variables.  There just isn't a way to scientifically prove what happened 10 thousand years ago, or a million years ago, etc.

Even using data starting in around 1850 when temperatures started being recorded, it's clear that global warming exists.
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adventurernumber1

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  • David Carson

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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2018, 08:08:24 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.
Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
It really depends on how you define science. What is the definition you are using?

The scientific method -- observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable.  None of that can be utilized to evaluate "global warming", which is based on computer models with many variables.  There just isn't a way to scientifically prove what happened 10 thousand years ago, or a million years ago, etc.

Even using data starting in around 1850 when temperatures started being recorded, it's clear that global warming exists.

Exactly.

Also, there are just blatant observations such as the fact (I can't remember the exact wording) that all of the years since the year 2000 except one have set records for being some of the hottest years since temperatures started being recorded. The other year that set a record was in the 20th Century (the 1900's) - so not long ago.
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kalvado

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Re: Is Natural Gas an Unreasonably Dangerous Energy Source?
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2018, 08:27:17 PM »

There are no scientific facts which are indisputable. Either it is indisputable religious fact, or a scientific theory open to discussion.
Global warming is open to discussion. This is why there are many different estimates for what will happen in 2100, and why people disagree on what the best solution is. However, people claiming global warming doesn't exist are not making their claims based on science.
It really depends on how you define science. What is the definition you are using?

The scientific method -- observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable.  None of that can be utilized to evaluate "global warming", which is based on computer models with many variables.  There just isn't a way to scientifically prove what happened 10 thousand years ago, or a million years ago, etc.

Even using data starting in around 1850 when temperatures started being recorded, it's clear that global warming exists.
You're behind the curve. It is now called climate change.
And talking about falsiifiable... There is a nice passage Popper has about science and wanna-be science...
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