Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Red Flags

BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Stern assumptions 'implausible':
Some climate scientists were predicting 'another ice age' in the next 100 years, Lord Lawson added...
That's a big red flag. Once a person has repeated the canard about supposed past projections of an impending ice age I read no further. Where there's bullshit there's probably more bullshit.

Other red flags include inability to model climate given weather forecasting difficulties and derision of global warming based on cold weather here and there. There are others.

A week or so ago Larry King had an economist on who said, essentially, that we ought not burden the economy with carbon concerns because by 2050 the expanding economy would raise the average Bangla Deshi to a $30,000 standard of living, making them better able to adapt to the consequences of global warming like the flooding of their sea-level country.

Lord Lawson said Britain would see "great benefits" from climate change over the next 100 years.
Oh, OK then.


jj mollo said...

Actually, I'm not hearing from anyone what I would like to be hearing. The gloomsters say sea level will rise x number of inches, plus or minus, flooding such and such a land, melting this and that. They have faith in their models that show these predictable gradual changes. OK. I'm willing to agree that it's not like the weather. I certainly don't agree with idiots who say, "How can we know? These liberals are just dumping their paranoid fantasies on the world in order to make bucks for their pet institute." Fine. Maybe they're both right, both wrong, whatever.

My issue is this. You have certain knowledge that a signal feature of the atmosphere has changed, and is changing, in an upward trend line -- that would be CO2 concentration. Right there I am gloomier than the gloomsters. For one thing, this is already known to be an agent of change in closed environments. The concept of greenhouse gas was understood long before we noticed that CO2 was changing. It's not like, say, neon.

Second, you have probable cause to believe that climate is generated by a highly complex system involving vast movements of air, water and energy across the entire planet, and you know that we don't understand it completely. Maybe we don't even understand it fairly well.

Third, you have evidence of sudden climate change in the past.

Here it is. We can try to predict it all we want, but we're dealing with a dynamic system with multiple feedbacks and possible click-stop tipping points, conceivably irreversable. How do we know there are no positive feedback loops that would drive the climate clear off the charts? We are dumping stuff into the atmosphere that is unprecedented. No Wooly Mammoth population ever produced fluorocarbons and nanoparticles. Things are happening that have never happened before. Let us at least try to rein that in.

That's what I want to hear from the green side. I want them to be a hell of a lot more desperate to address this problem than they seem to be. You're not going to make any friends or any progress by putting gas-guzzler decals on SUVs. Get it into your heads that this is serious. We have to negotiate with the other side. What's it gonna take?

Steve said...

> What's it gonna take?

I don't think we have what it's gonna take, which is essentially a cure for human nature. Perhaps the early adopters in Kurzweil's enhanced generation will deliver that cure in a few decades, but I don't think the rest would like the cure at all.

I started to make a list of things that have never happened before to add to the fluorocarbons and nanoparticles you mentioned, but the first couple that came to mind were "no tech" and pointed back to the need for a cure for human nature.

Then I had to go to work.