Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Wildfires, Drought Down In Georgia

Clearly the effects of AGW are appearing more quickly than predicted, and in a more severe form than predicted, and this obvious fact will inspire political change commensurate with the shift in weather patterns, don't you think? Well, not so fast, argues philosopher Stephen M. Gardiner: abrupt climate change, as opposed to the gradualist version, may in fact make the forces of inertia greater than they already are.

In making his case, Gardiner outlines several scenarios in which abrupt climate change might inspire an "intergenerational arms race", wherein mitigating the phenomenon's immediate effects might involve increasing emissions (it takes energy to, for example, build sea-walls around your coastal towns), thus insuring that future generations will be faced with even more severe consequences of warming. In fact, Gardiner envisions scenarios in which such behavior is morally acceptable:

"Where the present harm from not emitting is conspicuous enough, we would be unrealistic, unreasonable, and maybe even irrational to expect present people to allow present harm and suffering to visit them or their kith and kin in order that they might avoid harm to future people. In these cases, we may with good reason speak of having so strong or so rationally compelling a reason to emit that, in spite of the harm these emissions will cause to (future) others, we are excused for our maleficence."

We seem then to have uncovered a way in which abrupt climate change may lead to a form of the [problem of intergenerational buck passing] that is actually worse in several respects than the one suggested by the Gradualist Paradigm. First, abrupt climate change might increase the magnitude of intergenerational buck passing, by increasing the presence of front-loaded goods. If a current generation can protect itself more effectively against an abrupt change through extra emissions that harm the future, then it has a reason to do so. Second, a severe abrupt change may make taking advantage of such goods not simply a matter of self- or generation-relative interest (which might be morally criticized), but morally justifiable in a very serious way. Hence, abrupt change may make buck passing even harder to overcome.

...which line of reasoning calls into question using the value of waving around "tipping points" as a means of motivating political action. Framing the narrative in terms of abrupt, catastrophic change may have the opposite of its intended effect.

And on the same day, Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner argue in Nature for increased efforts at adaption based precisely on Gardiner's line of reasoning:

Many climate activists seem to assume that slowing greenhouse-gas emissions has logical and ethical priority over adapting to climate impacts. But the ethical issues cut both ways. Current emissions reductions will mainly benefit future generations, whereas the momentum already in the climate system drives the near-term. Faced with imminent warming, adaptation has a faster response time, a closer coupling with innovation and incentive structures, and thereby confers more protection more quickly to more people. It is not clear to us that the interests of millions of people in poorer countries who depend on marginal ecosystems are best served by an exclusive preoccupation with mitigation. Indeed, such a narrow focus is likely to be a fatal error. Mitigation and adaptation must go hand in hand.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

California wildfires are caused by AGW? What kind of idiotic connection is that?

I guess there were never any wildfires before in California. No drought in the Williston Triangle in the mid-1800s. No tornadoes, no hurricanes, no heat waves, no cold spells, no snow, too much snow, blah blah blah.

When you attribute EVERYTHING to AGW, people stop listening to your idiotic prattling.

Bruce said...

NOW I get it...global warming causes arson...

Who knew?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the latest edition of Nature? "Time to Ditch Kyoto"? Apparently the Nature Publishing Group is, like New Zealand, following Stephen Harper's bad example.

It's actually a pretty good commentary and makes alot of sense. A good read.

Ti-Guy said...

When you attribute EVERYTHING to AGW, people stop listening to your idiotic prattling.

AGW causes widepread wingnuttism.

Holly Stick said...

Well gosh, since spring comes earlier to the western US and the fire season is over two months longer than it was 20 years ago, meaning that the snow melts sooner and everything dries out sooner and for a longer period of time, only a rightwing fool would argue that it is not a result of AGW. Who do you blame, Al Qaeda? (rolling eyes)

Anonymous said...

Ti-Guy said...

"AGW causes widepread wingnuttism."

Belief in Anthropogenic Global Warming is actually the symptom of the enviro-mental illness commonly referred to as Green.

Anonymous said...

No, I blame socialism.

Do ALL Liberals Lie ??? said...

" California Wildfires, Drought Down In Georgia
Clearly the effects of AGW are appearing more quickly than predicted, and in a more severe form than predicted,"

stupid !! you left out hurricanes.

Remember what Goebbels said about propaganda "Always Lie BIG"

Anonymous said...

Correction:

Palliser Triangle is the name of the geographic area; Williston Basin is the geological name for roughly that same area.

No new religions said...

read 'em & weep suckers . . . aces high


October 25, 2007
SCIENCE: Earth climate is too complex to predict
James Lewis
SCIENCE magazine just published a critical review of climate models by Professors Gerald Roe and Marcia Baker of the University of Washington, Seattle. It is echoed in the New Scientist magazine (October 25). As New Scientist puts it, "Climate is too complex for accurate predictions."

The Roe and Baker article is a statistical analysis to see if any model of the climate can make useful predictions. It is called, "Why is Climate Sensitivity so Unpredictable?" It begins:

"Uncertainties in projections of future climate change have not lessened substantially in past decades." (Italics added).

Specifically,

"... it is evident that the climate system is operating in a regime in which small uncertainties in feedbacks are highly amplified in the resulting climate sensitivity. We are constrained by the inevitable: the more likely a large warming is for a given forcing (i.e., the greater the positive feedbacks), the greater the uncertainty will be in the magnitude of that warming." (italics added)

Just think about that: After hundreds of millions of dollars spent on climate modeling, and decades of screaming headlines, we have no more certainty today about Global Warming prediction than we did decades ago. What's more, that is a provable inherent limitation of the data and models.

That is a scientific scandal by any measure.

An accompanying commentary by Miles R. Allen and David J. Frame puts the conclusion bluntly enough:

"Atmosphere: Call Off the Quest."

"An upper bound on the climate sensitivity has become the holy grail of climate research. As Roe and Baker point out, it is inherently hard to find. It promises lasting fame and happiness to the finder, but it may not exist and turns out not to be very useful if you do find it. Time to call off the quest." (Italics added)

Meanwhile, an entire Global Warming fraud industry has grown up, based on years of pseudo-scientific false alarms, and feeding scare headlines without end around the world. But the science is finally clear: Any reasonable evidence is not only missing, but can in principle not be obtained in a system as complex as the earth climate.

End of story --- at least among scientists with a shred of integrity left. The science establishment will have a big black eye from this outrageous fraud for years to come. Global Warming will go down in history along with "cold fusion" and other science fables that fooled some of the people some of the time. Except that in this case, the scientific establishment allowed itself to be taken for a long and very expensive ride.

People like Al Gore and the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and all the political scoundrels who have exploited dubious science, will no doubt keep going, like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, scrambling in thin air over the deep abyss. Whole reams of Hollywood actors will have to learn new lines --- and maybe a little bit of humility. The Democrats will be in denial, but even among the demagogues, the fun will go out of the Global Warming racket soon: It was always garbage in, garbage out.

Now maybe we can pay attention to some real issues in the world?

Anonymous said...

The Goreacle is outed . . .

Duluth weather anchor calls Gore a "left-wing nut"

TV meteorologist Karl Spring's characterization of former Vice President Al Gore as a "left-wing nut" has taken on a life of its own in the blogosphere. Spring, chief meteorologist at KBJR-TV, Channel 6 - the Northland's News Center - made the comment on a local radio show the day Gore's co-selection for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was announced.

Once a year, KUWS News Director Mike Simonson invites a panel of meteorologists on his weekly show "Final Edition" to talk about what the year's weather might bring. This year's conversation, on Oct. 12, grew unusually spirited when the topic turned to the Nobel Committee's announcement about Al Gore and the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Simonson's guests began debating not so much whether global warming is real but about the science portrayed in Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." "This debate is being driven a lot by politicians," not by scientists, said Kyle Underwood, meteorologist with WDIO/WIRT, Channels 10/13.

Spring then dropped the "left-wing nut" comment and said that, although he hadn't seen the movie, he believes Gore "takes facts and extrapolates them to such extremes" that they don't make any sense, and project "a doomsday scenario." "He used this movie for a political agenda," Spring said.

After Simonson sent a segment of the program to the Wisconsin Public Radio station in Madison, from which it was broadcast across the state, he started getting complaints. Simonson said his station has received about a dozen calls and e-mails about the conversation, "and that's a lot, for us," he said.

Blogged discussions about the radio show have blossomed on the Minnesota Monitor Web site, a left-leaning political blog, and on the local Web site www.perfectduluthday.com. Reactions mostly center on Spring's "left-wing nut" comment.

Spring said on Simonson's show that Gore exaggerates the impact of global warming. Later in the program, Carol Christenson of the National Weather Service and KQDS FOX-21 forecaster Todd Nelson added their views. The News Tribune and Fox-21 have a news-sharing partnership.

"Whether you like Al Gore and his politics or not, he probably has skewed a lot of the statistics quite a bit,

Anonymous said...

The fires in California are due to other human choices, not AGW.

Holly Stick said...

As if you would know that. You idiots can preach your denialist religion all you want; reality left you in the dust long ago.

Anonymous said...

They are poor, not because of marginal ecosystems, but far more likely because they are living under a socialist/communist government, which eschews capitalism and freedom of trade and labour for corruption and tyranny. Hey, Stalin et al knew a good thing when they had it! So do these other 'progressive' leaders.

Ti-Guy said...

but far more likely because they are living under a socialist/communist government, which eschews capitalism and freedom of trade and labour for corruption and tyranny.

Jesus, you former Trotskyists are really tedious...

Anonymous said...

ti-guy, you need to invest in some untwistable panties. Your's are CONSTANTLY getting all knotted up.

Anonymous said...

No New Religions:

I am going to take it that you did not read the actual paper but picked up your opinion from some "review" since your analysis does not seem to match the paper. This is a shame because it is a very interesting paper.

The paper does not say that the current predictions are not correct. It attempts to explain why we have not been able to narrow the projected range more in the last 30 years.

However it does imply that within this range things are more uncertain than we thought. Unfortunately since the climate sensitivity probability function is skewed to the high end, this means we are not so sure that we will not face the large temperatur predictions (e.g. 8C).

To quote from the paper

Our results imply that dramatic changes in physical processes are not necessary for dramatic changes in climate sensitivity, provided that those changes in processes can all align in the same direction toward increased sensitivity.

Regards,
John Cross

Anonymous said...

I love that one; global warming causes more arsons! Add that to the list, Al!