Climate Change - Impacts, Part II


#561

Well, what are you afraid of?

Of the Earth changing, exploding, disappearing, imploding, growing, shrinking, heating up, cooling down (please choose the right answer)?
Yes, it will.

Of us losing our comfortable body with two eyes, one nose, one mouth, a heart, a stomach, a few limbs and nerves (please choose the right answer)?
Yes, we will.

So… what exactly do you want to save? The earth or your comfortable physical life?

What have every one done for the earth? for our soul?


#562

[quote=“keroliver”]Well, what are you afraid of?

Of the Earth changing, exploding, disappearing, imploding, growing, shrinking, heating up, cooling down (please choose the right answer)?
Yes, it will.

Of us losing our comfortable body with two eyes, one nose, one mouth, a heart, a stomach, a few limbs and nerves (please choose the right answer)?
Yes, we will.

So… what exactly do you want to save? The earth or your comfortable physical life?

What have every one done for the earth? for our soul?[/quote]

Keroliver quick! A dinosaur-killer-sized meteor (asteroid?) has just been spotted, and it’s on a collision course with the Earth. Do you advocate:

a) meh. Exctinction-level meteor strikes have always been happening. Let’s just let it play itself out.
b) fucking DO SOMETHING!!!

Fact is, environmental policy has been used in the past to address problems caused by our collective behavior. Think: leaded gas. CFC’s (thanks, Reagan!), acid rain, asbestos etc.

This whole “it’s all out of our control” argument is basically just the naturalistic fallacy made policy. Whatever happens by random occurrence or knee-jerk behavior is supposedly “good”. No idea why that should be the case… it just is. Because God, I guess.

What’s ironic is that, even if climate change turned out to be natural - which it most definitely isn’t, in this case - humanity would ~still~ have to figure out what to do about it (Republicans would probably be just ~itching~ to try some geo-engineering!) - but because it is ~not~ natural and has implications for policy and ideology, we instead try to deny it and make silly arguments.

As for me personally, I and my carbon sins are not the topic of the discussion, but feel free to read the Oklahoma fracking thread if you want a big eye-full of that.


#563

And it’s about time!!! I have long called for URGENT ACTION NOW!!! to address this URGENT ISSUE!!! I have been doing so for 35 years!!! THIS TIME THOUGH THE WORLD REALLY WILL END IF YOU DON’T SEND ME TO RIO OR PARIS!!! REPENT NOW!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


#564

And it’s about time!!! I have long called for URGENT ACTION NOW!!! to address this URGENT ISSUE!!! I have been doing so for 35 years!!! THIS TIME THOUGH THE WORLD REALLY WILL END IF YOU DON’T SEND ME TO RIO OR PARIS!!! REPENT NOW!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!![/quote]

Um, you’ve been “calling for urgent action” since before the IPCC was formed? Now that’s dedication. Also, there are plenty of specific “somethings” that can be done about the problem. You won’t of course agree with any of them, but at least stop pretending no one has offered any solutions. Even if the only solution were to just learn more about the problem, that would still be better than sitting there denying it ~is~ a problem at all (and slandering those who study it).


#565

Check out the EPA study from 1983… October or so… 33 years later… We are living the disaster that was predicted. CLEARLY!


#566

Oh, you were just pointing out that scientists have been predicting this for a long time? Sorry… mistook that for sarcastic criticism instead of praise for the mark of good science.


#567

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how science became a “moral” issue. Go to church, light a candle, do 30 hail Mary’s but stop engaging in this self-flagellation in public. It is embarrassing.


#568

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how science became a “moral” issue. Go to church, light a candle, do 30 hail Mary’s but stop engaging in this self-flagellation in public. It is embarrassing.[/quote]

What, you never use the word “good” to describe something in a non-religious sense? Making testable predictions which hold up over time is one quality of good science. Was twisting all language away from its actual intent your major in college or something?


#569

Slippery slope. You should take the weekend off and avoid posting online. In fact, because I care, I am not going to engage on this for a week. I am here to help. Step away. Just for one week :slight_smile:


#570

Not Bangladesh. Not southern China. Germany, yesterday:


#571

One week is kinda sorta up so…

[quote]Ask a Washington dinner party full of moderately well informed people what will happen with Iran over the next five years, and you’ll end up with a consensus that gee, that’s tough. Ask them what GDP growth will be in fall 2019, and they’ll probably converge on a hesitant “2 or 3 percent, I guess?” On the other hand, ask them what’s going to happen to the climate over the next 100 years, and what you’re likely to hear is angry.

How can one be certain about outcomes in a complex system that we’re not really all that good at modeling? Anyone who’s familiar with the history of macroeconomic modeling in the 1960s and 1970s will be tempted to answer “Umm, we can’t.” Economists thought that the explosion of data and increasingly sophisticated theory was going to allow them to produce reasonably precise forecasts of what would happen in the economy. Enormous mental effort and not a few careers were invested in building out these models. And then the whole effort was basically abandoned, because the models failed to outperform mindless trend extrapolation – or as Kevin Hassett once put it, “a ruler and a pencil.”

Computers are better now, but the problem was not really the computers; it was that the variables were too many, and the underlying processes not understood nearly as well as economists had hoped. Economists can’t run experiments in which they change one variable at a time. Indeed, they don’t even know what all the variables are.

This meant that they were stuck guessing from observational data of a system that was constantly changing. They could make some pretty good guesses from that data, but when you built a model based on those guesses, it didn’t work. So economists tweaked the models, and they still didn’t work. More tweaking, more not working.

Eventually it became clear that there was no way to make them work given the current state of knowledge. In some sense the “data” being modeled was not pure economic data, but rather the opinions of the tweaking economists about what was going to happen in the future. It was more efficient just to ask them what they thought was going to happen. People still use models, of course, but only the unflappable true believers place great weight on their predictive ability.

This lesson from economics is essentially what the “lukewarmists” bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects. Because climate scientists, like the macroeconomists, can’t run experiments where they test one variable at a time, predictions of feedback effects involve a lot of theory and guesswork. I do not denigrate theory and guesswork; they are a vital part of advancing the sum of human knowledge. But when you’re relying on theory and guesswork, you always want to leave plenty of room for the possibility that your model’s output is (how shall I put this?) … wrong.

Naturally, proponents of climate-change models have welcomed the lukewarmists’ constructive input by carefully considering their points and by advancing counterarguments firmly couched in the scientific method.

No, of course I’m just kidding. The reaction to these mild assertions is often to brand the lukewarmists “deniers” and treat them as if what they were saying was morally and logically equivalent to suggesting that the Holocaust never happened.

Climate Change

If you’re not familiar with the lukewarmist case, I urge you to read the nine-part series by Warren Meyer has written at Coyote Blog. I am not urging you to read it because I agree with every part. (In particular, I’m much more eager to ensure against even a small chance of climate catastrophe, just as I would support even a very expensive system to detect and deflect massive asteroids that might hit our planet. We’ve only got the one planet so far, and it would be a shame if something happened to it.)

But I urge you to read it because it is a calm, measured, very thoughtful laying out of the lukewarmist case by a very smart person who has put a lot of time and effort into thinking about the subject – much more time and effort than 99 percent of the angry people on both sides who shout over dinner tables and type in all caps.

The series is also a model of how to talk about the subject. Meyer says “this is what I think, and this is why I think it.” People can certainly disagree with his conclusions, and I would be very interested to see climate bloggers engage with Meyer’s series in like manner: refraining from calling names or questioning motives, and instead calmly laying out the reasons that they think warming is likely to be catastrophic.

But vanishingly little of the debate is conducted in those sorts of terms. Skeptics are accused of being ideologues, or in the pay of the fossil fuel industry, or simply selfish monsters who care nothing for future generations. The other side – who expect big temperature jumps and catastrophic consequences – are accused of being ideologues, or interested in making an alarmist case in order to further their own careers as climate change activists, or authoritarian monsters who are less interested in saving the planet than in forcing their own left-wing economic order on the rest of the world.

Many of these claims about motives are probably not entirely false – it’s difficult to change your mind when you’ve built a career around a certain set of theories – but they’re certainly not entirely true, and they’re largely beside the point. If Joseph Stalin tells you that the sky is blue, he’s right, even if he’s wrong about nearly everything else, and an authoritarian monster to boot.

The arguments about global warming too often sound more like theology than science. Oh, the word “science” gets thrown around a great deal, but it’s cited as a sacred authority, not a fallible process that staggers only awkwardly and unevenly toward the truth, with frequent lurches in the wrong direction. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me that they believe in “the science,” as if that were the name of some omniscient god who had delivered us final answers written in stone. For those people, there can be only two categories in the debate: believers and unbelievers. Apostles and heretics.

This is, of course, not how science works, and people who treat it this way are not showing their scientific bona fides; they are violating the very thing in which they profess such deep belief. One does not believe in “science” as an answer; science is a way of asking questions. At any given time, that method produces a lot of ideas, some of which are correct, and many of which are false, in part or in whole.

There is a huge range of possible beliefs that go into assessing the various complicated theories about how the climate works, and the global-warming predictions generated by those theories range from “could well be catastrophic” to “probably not a big deal.” I know very smart, well-informed, decent people who fall at either end of the spectrum, and others who are somewhere in between. Then there are folks like me who aren’t sure enough to make a prediction, but are very sure we wouldn’t like to find out, too late, that the answer is “oops, catastrophic.”

These are not differences that can be resolved by name calling. Nor has the presumed object of this name calling – to delegitimize thoughtful opposition, and thereby increase the consensus in favor of desired policy proposals – been a notable political success, at least in the U.S. It has certainly rallied the tribe, and produced a lot of patronizing talk about science by people who aren’t actually all that familiar with the underlying scientific questions. Other than that, we remain pretty much where we were 25 years ago: holding summits, followed by the dismayed realization that we haven’t, you know, really done all that much except burn a lot of hydrocarbons flying people to summits. Maybe last year’s Paris talks will turn out to be the actual moment when things started to change – but having spent the last 15 years as a reporter listening to people tell me that no, really, we’re about to turn the corner, I retain a bit of skepticism.

Unfortunately, when you rally your own side with these sorts of tactics, you also rally the other tribe, and if they’re as numerous as you are, this can lead to defeat as easily as victory. It would be a lot better for everyone – including the planet – if we left off the tribalism and the excommunications and went back to actually talking about the science: messy, imprecise and always open for well-grounded debate.[/quote]

bloomberg.com/view/articles/ … g-it-wrong


#572

Ugh. Another clueless journalist coming at this issue having swallowed the PR-industry framing hook, line and sinker and with no historical perspective at all. Oh yes, they’re so reasonable, these tiny, tiny minority of climate experts she calls Luke-warmists. Isn’t it interesting that they are the only ones constantly being called for testimony by Congress - even though their records have been mostly dismal?


#573

…while, I should add, run-of-the-mill climate experts are having their emails plundered, getting put on trial, getting death-threats. Meanwhile, what, half the GBR is dead? Texas and southern Germany are underwater. Canada is being incinerated. But nah… this issue is totally balanced, with extremists on both sides on equal proportion and the truth lying safely in the middle.


#574

Game. Set. Match!


#575

There has been a little disagreement about the extent of coral mortality on the GBR. A follow-up story in the news today:

Agencies say 22% of Barrier Reef coral is dead, correcting ‘misinterpretation’


#576

[quote=“antarcticbeech”]There has been a little disagreement about the extent of coral mortality on the GBR. A follow-up story in the news today:

Agencies say 22% of Barrier Reef coral is dead, correcting ‘misinterpretation’[/quote]

Yes thank you. I was being hyperbolic (hyperbulous?), not making an exacting statement. I should’ve said, “half the largest, most pristine section of the GBR is dead, more than half of the entire 2,000+ reef is severely bleached.” While I’m at it, let me add that not all of southern Germany and Texas are literally under water, and not all of Canada is literally being incinerated.

But yes, Michael Mann was forced to twice endure politically-motivated hearings about his work, yes climate scientists’ emails have been plundered (and the government is trying to plunder them legally again on another fishing expedition for smear material), yes they receive death-threats for doing their research - and yes, the politically-correct (in the Republican sense, meaning they are free market fundamentalists) luke-warmists are the only ones Congress asks about the subject… even though their views are very much in the minority among experts on the subject.


#577

You should not hyphenate adverbs (ending with ly).

Does Michael Mann make political/policy pronouncements based on his findings? For a minute, I misread this and thought you were referring to Michael Moore but then quel est la difference? ne c’est-pas?


#578

Back then, no. Then the problem was just Republicans didn’t like the message his research was sending. And you know what tends to happen to the messengers, in such a case.

And just another typical flood story for people to wave their hands at…

[quote=“Slate”]At one point on Thursday, flash-flood watches covered more than 183,000 square miles of Texas, an area about the size of Germany and England combined. More than 15 inches of rain fell just northeast of Houston in a span of 12 hours on Thursday, just a few days after more than 20 inches fell in two days northwest of the city—the region’s second 100-year rainstorm in less than a week. (Statistically, a 100-year rainstorm is a rainfall event that has a 1 percent likelihood of occurring in a given year based on that region’s climate history.) The Brazos River west of Houston has crested more than four feet higher than previous record levels.

Five soldiers died on Thursday at Fort Hood, north of Austin, when their military vehicle overturned in floodwaters during a training exercise. Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 31 Texas counties to help speed the flow of aid. Last month, Austin’s rainfall was 390 percent of normal, and heavy rains there on Thursday exacerbated the situation.[/quote]

slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/ … texas.html


#579

Damn global warming for making them participate in that training exercise! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!


#580

Funny. Now comment on the sentences in bold text.