Uncertainty in health impacts of climate change

by Judith Curry

Health risks arise from the interaction of uncertain future climatic changes with complex ecological, physical, and socio-economic systems, which are simultaneously affected by numerous other changes, e.g. globalisation, demographic changes, and changes in land use, nutrition, health care quality. Policymaking on adaptation to health risks of climate change thus faces substantial uncertainty. – Wardekker et al.

Health risks of climate change:  An assessment of uncertainties and its implications for adaptation policy

JA Wardekker, A deJong, L vanBree, WC Turkenburg, J van der Sluijs

Abstract

Background: Projections of health risks of climate change are surrounded with uncertainties in knowledge. Understanding of these uncertainties will help the selection of appropriate adaptation policies.

Methods: We made an inventory of conceivable health impacts of climate change, explored the type and level of uncertainty for each impact, and discussed its implications for adaptation policy. A questionnaire-based expert elicitation was performed using an ordinal scoring scale. 

Experts were asked to indicate the level of precision with which health risks can be estimated, given the present state of knowledge. We assessed the individual scores, the expertise weighted descriptive statistics, and the argumentation given for each score. Suggestions were made for how dealing with uncertainties could be taken into account in climate change adaptation policy strategies.

Results: The results showed that the direction of change could be indicated for most anticipated health effects. For several potential effects, too little knowledge exists to indicate whether any impact will occur, or whether the impact will be positive or negative. For several effects, rough “order-of-magnitude‟ estimates were considered possible. Factors limiting health impact quantification include: lack of data, multi-causality, unknown impacts considering a high-quality health system, complex cause-effect relations leading to multi-directional impacts, possible changes of present-day response-relations, and difficulties in predicting local climate impacts. Participants considered heat-related mortality and non-endemic vectorborne diseases particularly relevant for climate change adaptation.

Conclusions: For possible climate related health impacts characterised by ignorance, adaptation policies that focus on enhancing the health system‟s and society‟s capability of dealing with possible future changes, uncertainties and surprises (e.g. through resilience, flexibility, and adaptive capacity) are most appropriate. For climate related health effects for which rough risk estimates are available, „robust decision-making‟ is recommended. For health effects with limited societal and policy relevance, we recommend focusing on no-regret measures. For highly relevant health effects, precautionary measures can be considered. This study indicated that analysing and characterising uncertainty by means of a typology can be a very useful approach for selection and prioritization of preferred adaptation policies to reduce future climate related health risks.

[Link] to online paper.

Excerpts:

Health risks arise from the interaction of uncertain future climatic changes with complex ecological, physical, and socio-economic systems, which are simultaneously affected by numerous other changes, e.g. globalisation, demographic changes, and changes in land use, nutrition, health care quality. Policymaking on adaptation to health risks of climate change thus faces substantial uncertainty.

For example, quantitative (health) risk approaches handle statistical uncertainties quite well, but fail to tackle other types of uncertainty. Resilience-oriented approaches, on the other hand, can cope well with ignorance and surprises, but are less appropriate when statistical uncertainty prevails. Thus, the level and nature of uncertainty have important implications for selecting appropriate adaptation approaches and for policy choices regarding their implementation.

Level of Precision Scale

1 Effective ignorance: Knowledge of the factors that govern this effect is so weak that we are effectively ignorant.

2 Ambiguous sign or trend: Some effect is expected, but its sign or trend is not clear. There are plausible arguments either direction (effect could be positive, could be negative; could increase or decrease).

3 Expected sign or trend: It is clear what the sign and trend of the effect will be. However, there is no plausible or reliable information on how strong it will be.

4 Order of magnitude: It is possible to give a rough indication of the magnitude of the effect, a qualitative scoring (e.g. 1–10 scale), or a rough comparison with other effects.

5 Bounds: It is possible to estimate the bounds for the distribution of the effect, e.g. its 5/95 percentiles (effect is only 5 % likely to be more than … and only 5 % likely to be less than …). However, the shape of the distribution, or best-guess estimates, cannot be provided.

6 Full probability density function: It is possible to provide a full probability density function; the bounds as well as the shape of the distribution.

Notes on the expert elicitation methodology:

A list of 33 potential health impacts of climate change was identified and grouped into eight health themes. Level of precision scores were elicited from 21 participating experts (see Methods section). 

As respondents were asked to what extent they were able to estimate the risk, it is relevant to explore whether the score resulted from the state of knowledge or from the respondent‟s personal level of knowledge, skills and familiarity with risk assessment techniques such as modelling, statistical techniques, and expert elicitation. Personal lack of knowledge or skill was explicitly checked in the argumentation as potential bias. It appeared to play a minor role, with lack of knowledge appearing only on a few occasions for scores of 2 or 1. Another measure to the same end was to track scores by generalists and by subject-matter experts separately. These scores corresponded fairly well. However, most of the argumentation focused on the availability of basic data and models, the degree to which the system dynamics are understood, and the knowledge gaps and complexities that exist. As such, the scores should be interpreted as whether it is appropriate to quantify the health risks for specific effects given the state of knowledge, rather than whether it is possible to produce a number in one way or another. In a few instances, for low scoring effects, respondents made arguments that the impacts could be low or high considering e.g. constraints posed by the high quality healthcare system or considering the current incidence. Consequently, it may be possible to further scope some low scoring risks, at least to some extent, using for instance imprecise, ordinal or qualitative/comparative approaches. Further investigation would be required to assess the scope to which this is possible and appropriate.

Scores and arguments for the relevance of effects varied between experts, although the general ordering and, for the high-scoring effects, the general line of reasoning is relatively clear. Results should be seen as indicative, as they may vary over time, group of respondents, and country. An interesting issue, for example, is the potential influence of recent (extreme) events. Such events may influence public perception and therefore the societal salience of effects. Current public perception played a role (although not a major role) in the arguments for heat-related effects, referring to the 2003 European heat wave. It also played a role for vector-borne diseases, although the arguments related to the potential role it could play due to e.g. the “fright factors‟ associated with the effect, rather than current public perception due to recent events. Recent events might also influence expert scorings when they reveal vulnerabilities that had been unknown or not sufficiently perceived before. Again, this seems to play a role for heat-related effects in reference to the 2003 heat wave. This certainly is a valid reason to consider the effect relevant, and one that may remain relevant over time.

Being based on expert elicitation, results should be treated with some care. The sample of participants is always a limited subset of the total expert-population and situational factors influence the composition of the panel (e.g., who is well-known in the field, who has time to participate). Therefore, results are not necessarily representative. Rather, they give an approximation, and the lines of reasoning behind the scores provide valuable insights into the issue studied. Given the broad coverage of relevant subfields, relative consistency in scores and arguments for most health effects, and consistency with the literature, we consider the findings robust enough to support the general conclusions.

Conclusions

Knowledge regarding health risks of climate change is characterised by large gaps and deep uncertainties. Planned adaptation to these risks requires profound understanding of the level of uncertainty of available knowledge of anticipated health effects. This study presents a systematic exploration and appraisal of uncertainties regarding climate change-related health risks. Using a six point scale, experts were asked to indicate the level of precision with which health risk estimates can be made, given the present state of knowledge. The study focussed on The Netherlands.

The experts assessed that, for most of the 33 (potential) health effects identified, it is possible to indicate its sign of change, but not its magnitude. Individual scores varied, generally between being unable to indicate the direction of change and being able to calculate the rough “order-of-magnitude‟ of the impacts. Factors that were often indicated to limit quantification include: limited data (in general and country-specific), the multi-factorial nature of the health issues (many important non-climatic drivers of change), and unknown impacts considering a high-quality health system.

For some effects, rough estimates of the order-of-magnitude were deemed possible: heat- and cold-related mortality, the oak processionary caterpillar, microbial contamination of swimming/recreation water, flood-related mortality and air quality-related effects. For these effects, data and impact assessment models are available. However, the availability of locally-specific data is relatively limited, there are many confounding factors, present-day response-relationships may change, and changes in local extreme weather events, such as heat waves, are still difficult to project for the future.

For allergic eczema, flood-related exposure to dangerous substances, wasps, UV-related weakening of the immune system, and epidemics of non-endemic vector-borne diseases it may not be possible to even indicate the direction of change. The latter, however, differs per specific disease: for some, effects are unlikely, for others, unknown. In addition to the difficulties noted above, the cause-effect relations of these effects are often highly complex and impacts are likely multi-directional.

These results suggest that, among various alternative approaches to climate change adaptation under uncertainty, approaches that focus on enhancing the health system‟s and society‟s capability of dealing with changes, uncertainties and surprises (for example by increasing resilience, flexibility, and adaptive capacity) are most suitable for adapting to the health impacts of climate change. Furthermore, we advise assessing the availability of “no-regret‟ options, which make economic or societal sense due to co-benefits or health benefits in the current climate, and the „climate and health‟ co-benefits of adaptation policy on other policyissues.

For more quantifiable effects, we recommend exploring the robustness of various policy strategies under a range of plausible outcomes, at least in a qualitative/semiquantitative way. Such analyses can contribute to setting preferred levels of ambition for adaptation efforts. For highly relevant effects, precautionary measures and other highly specific, costly or rigorous adaptations are also a relevant option, although it is advisable to enhance the flexibility of such options and to assess the associated risks (e.g. of these options becoming an overinvestment or resulting in detrimental side-effects).

Because nature, extent and rate of climate change and its health impacts are uncertain, understanding the relative level of relevance and uncertainty is crucial to making rational choices in adaptation policies and for possible adjustments if climate change effects occur slower, faster, or just different than earlier expected. Similar to e.g. Ebi [34] we argue that, to reduce climate change-related health risks, flexible, adaptive, multilevel and dynamic adaptation strategies should be developed. This study indicated that analysing and characterising uncertainty by means of a typology can be a very useful approach for selection and prioritization of preferred adaptation policies to reduce future climate related health risks.

JC comment:  This paper comes from the Dutch postnormal science group.  Postnormal science is a particular view of the interface between science and policy for complex problems with deep uncertainties that are associated with value commitments and involvement of an extended peer community (see this previous post).

This paper is an excellent example of application of postnormal science ideas to policy making.  Relative to the UNFCCC/IPCC model, this method places uncertainty front and center, uses a carefully crafted expert elicitation (rather than a group consensus building process targeted at a specific policy, and matches the policy options to the level of uncertainty/ignorance.

Based upon the comments on the previous postnormal post, many of you do not ‘get’ postnormal science and think it condones pseudo science as a basis for policy. This is absolutely not the case, and I hope this paper will clarify the methods of postnormal science.

320 responses to “Uncertainty in health impacts of climate change

  1. People prefer to live in warmer climates. Chart of population density versus temperature shows people prefer warmer. Chart of population density versus latitude shows people prefer warmer.

    So, what is the problem with warmer?

    Most of the warming would be in high latitudes, with only minor warming in the low latitudes. Furthermore, most warming in the mid latitides would be in winter and at night (therefore longer growing season)

    So, what is the problem with warmer?

    • Furthermore, It seems we are much healthier now than we would be if we were still in the Little Ice Age. Since it seems the amount the planet has warmed since the LIA is good for health, why should we assume that more warming isn’t even better for health, wealth and happiness?

      • With similiar rigorous logic, I suggest that a warmer world will be a poorer world.

      • Michael, certainly it will be a poorer world if we implement the mitigation strategies advocated by CAGW alarmists.

      • IPCC says different

      • Michael,

        I suggest you try your hand at something else.

      • Given this study depends on survey results, how did the researchers deal with the natural human bias to weigh more heavily threats and not foresee the opportunities of change?

        I also wonder how group think influenced by two decades of CAGW scaremongering has influenced the responses. I raise this because it is clear that the CAGW scaremongering has influenced the economists who responded to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Risks 2012’ survey. Without two decades of scaremongering I’d suggest global warming would not have rated anywhere on that survey. So I wonder what effect CAGW scaremongering has had on the respondents to this survey. How did the researchers remove that bias?

      • Note, none of the policy responses have anything to do with mitigation, which is what the scaremongering has focused upon. This is about adaptation.

      • Major cities in the US did grow in the North, before Air Conditioning was invented. Since Air Conditioning was invented and became affordable for a large percent of people, the cities are growing in warmer climates and jobs are growing in warmer climates. Here in Houston, a lot of people do like this better than shoveling snow.
        You should not worry about the warmer climate, the oceans are warm, the snows have started and cooler, not warmer, is in our future as we move toward the next cool cycle.

    • Easy answer. The problem with warmer is many people don’t like warmer, and demonstrate their dislike by living where it’s not warmer. Pollution advocates need to convince these people warmer is better, but it won’t be easy. For example, if you tried to convince me warmer is better, my response would be ” Ha Ha Ha.”

      • Max,

        Where do you come up with such a nonsense statement like this? First off, the majority of people on this planet have little or no choice on where they live. Second, in the US at least (I’ve never bothered to look at any of the other developed countries) demographics have clearly shown a movement of people from north to south.

        If in general people preferred cold to warm, places such as Canada, Siberia, Lapland, etc would be tourist and vacation mecca’s, with places such as the Riviera, Florida, Southern California, the south of Spain, the Caribbean islands, etc would be among the backwater, economically depressed regions of the world.

      • timg56, in North.America, the migration is from the South to the North, much to the annoyance of some of the North’s old timers. I hear something similar is happening in Europe.

        This migration is driven by economics. Warmer places do not have good economies, so job seekers move to cooler places where opportunities are better.

        I’ll make it simple:

        Cool place = good economy

        Warm place = poor economy

      • Sure Max,

        Which would explain this data:

        1From 2000 to 2010, regional growth was much faster for the South and West (14.3 and 13.8 percent, respectively) than for the Midwest (3.9 percent) and Northeast (3.2 percent)

        Source: US Census Bureau

      • For heaven’s sake, timg56, get out your map, and be careful not to hold it up-side-down. when people migrate from Mexico to Mississippi, that’s called moving North, not moving South. And keep in mind, some of those migrants are Census shy.

      • Max,

        You are going to have to try harder not to sound like an idiot. Do you really want to claim that all of the population growth in the South and SW is due to immigration, whether legal or illegal?

        And have you taken a moment to consider the impact of your last statement on some of those immigrants being Census shy? As in if true, then they won’t show up in the Census data.

      • Max – you are confusing correlation with causation. People move from Mexico to the US due to the higher concentration of wealth there. Duh.

      • timg56 said on September 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm
        “Do you really want to claim that all of the population growth in the South and SW is due to immigration, whether legal or illegal?”
        _____
        Nah, I’m claiming you don’t know how much of the actual growth is from migration from within the U.S. and how much is from outside the U.S., the latter being primarily from South of the U.S. Border.

        Then timg56 … for reasons know only to him … asks:

        “And have you taken a moment to consider the impact of your last statement on some of those immigrants being Census shy? As in if true, then they won’t show up in the Census data.”

        Yes, timg56, that is my point.

      • jim2 said on September 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm
        “Max – you are confusing correlation with causation. People move from Mexico to the US due to the higher concentration of wealth there. Duh”
        ——
        Yes, economic reasons. Cooler climates have better economies. Ever wonder why?

      • Max,

        As for what I might know or not about immigration.

        You are partially correct on knowing how much is from immigration. That is because I find all sorts of numbers. The best I can determine from a brief search is that immigration has accounted for anywhere from 30% to 70 % of US population growth the last decade. I suspect the percentage is probably closer to the higher end.

        But that one piece of data still does not support your argument that most of the increase is from south to north. For example, the Pew Hispanic Center announced that net migration from Mexico to the United States had stopped and possibly even reversed. The center noted that from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico. Source: CNN June 15th, 2012.

        Or the fact that in 2012 Asians surpassed Hispanics as the largest enthic group immigrating to the US. Source: NY Times, June 18th , 2012.

        Or that the majority of internal migration in the US is from north to south.

        Your argument is akin to me dropping a heavy weight on my foot, then later getting laid by Mary Jo Franklin and reaching the conclusion that the latter was due to the former. Granted, there is some possibility of it being so. The sympathy factor at work. But only an idiot decides to drop said weight on his foot every day in the hope of getting laid.

      • timg56, I Google imaged “Mary Jo Franklin” to see what she looks like. Turns out there are lots of em’, so I can’t comment on your taste.

        Anyway, the question is do people prefer warmer climates? Some might. Retirees with aching joints and ailing hearts may, for example, prefer Florida to Maine, and an aging population could explain some of the migration from the North to the South in the U.S. But I believe working people migrate primarily for better job opportunities, not because they want a warmer climate. I have lived and worked in seven States across our nation, and never relocated because of climate.

      • Max,

        To be honest, Mary Jo just sort of popped into my mind. Sort of like that dude Jody the drill instructors would tell us about.

        Which reminds me of the time I commented to a friend who also knew one of my brothers about the birth of their 4th child. When relating the name of my newly minted niece, I said “Who names their kid Mary Francis?” His response was that was his mother’s name. The elder Mary Francis enjoys reminding me of that foot in mouth moment.

        (In the interest of full disclosure, the junior Mary is a student at Georgia Tech. )

      • “The problem with warmer is many people don’t like warmer, and demonstrate their dislike by living where it’s not warmer”

        The English weather was probably the greatest colonizing force in history. Note that Greenland and Antarctica are not British colonies.

      • Not much for the Brits to steal in those places.

    • Spartacusisfree

      The assumption that the World will warm from CO2-AGW is fatally flawed:

      1. The assumption of black body surface IR emission as ‘back radiation’ augments IR is a breach of Poynting’s Theorem, the most fundamental axiom in physics. There can only be net IR energy emission. The ‘positive feedback’ in the IPCC models is the artefact of bad physics.

      2. Real atmospheric IR absorption is ~5x lower than the 2009 ‘Energy Budget’, water vapour side-bands not in ‘self-absorption’. This energy can only be thermalised at clouds hence their IR spectra are very different from clear sky.

      3. Reduced surface emissivity is because convection uses the same sites and GHG bands are switched off by thermal IR from the atmosphere, standard heat transfer physics now forgotten. IR emission shifts to the ‘atmospheric window’, surface temperature rises, the real GHE. There is no CO2-AGW because its surface IR is switched off.

      So, what’s really happening? The World is cooling, shown by the jet streams moving nearer the equator hence bad winter weather in the south and the north. Extreme weather is the result of this cooling. The Arctic events were the result of weather mixing deep with surface water so higher surface salinity melted ice faster. The Arctic is re-freezing very rapidly now because the subsurface water is cold from that mixing.

      By 2020 we’ll be seeing reduced grain yields, a dramatic food crisis tempered only by higher CO2 levels increasing growth to cope with the shorter growing season. This will worsen until the 2040s when the process will reverse.

  2. In the UK people from the industrial city of Birmingham retire to Spain and in the US people from Chicago retire to Florida. These people have voluntarily accepted to undergo the type of temperature increases that are projected by the IPCC models. Has anyone though to study the health of these groups relative to cohorts who stayed put.

    • That would be an interesting study. My guess is the healthiest are retirees who summer in the North and Winter in the South, as I would expect mobility and wealth to be health indicators.

      • I think that’s a reasonable assumption.

        I also think it may be incorrect. I have come to the conclusion that genetics is by far the dominant factor affecting a person’s health and longetivity.

      • Genetics is definitely a factor in health and longevity. Unfortunately, you can’t change your parents, but you can better your chances for long and healthy life with diet, exercise, and health care, and by avoiding the heat, ozone, and diseases found in warm climates.

      • Since I posted my comment I’ve though a bit more about it.

        I think the problem would be with the control group. Those who can afford to migrate would also be able to pay for better health care, a better diet etc. It might also be that those who migrate do so because they are healthy enough to expect several years of additional life to justify the expense.

        My guess is such as study will never be done as it would be likely to show that warmer temperatures are good for you; not the message that ‘climate change’ funding agencies are looking for.

  3. This article is a great argument for mitigation; we know so little about the potential health impacts of AGW and the resources required to deal with it, that we’d be nuts to knowingly go down that road.

    • Michael,

      This article is a great argument for mitigation

      I’d suggest the article supports adaptation, not mitigation. We’d be nuts to waste our wealth and limited resources on mitigation strategies that have not been tested and not shown they will work. In fact, they have almost no chance of delivering the benefits expected of them. Carbon taxes and ETS have virtually no chance if being implemented globally; therefore, they wont work. Renewable energy is an enormous waste of money that has little effect on emissions. Kyoto Protocol was a failure. Clearly, the mitigation policies proposed so far by the CAGW alarmists are a massive waste of money. Are you advocating more of the same?

    • Actually, this article implicitly provides strong arguments against mitigation, since the level of uncertainty of the problem and impacts of the solution are high.

      • Well, that would be rather difficult, since it makes no distinction between the magnitude of impacts; hayfever and heat-related mortality are simply one item each on their inventory. The impact of the these items are likely to differ by orders of magnitude.

        That doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting addition to the literature – it is, but it provides no objective basis for arguing agianst mitigation – ZERO.

        It covers, health and only health, impacts for one small, developed country with a highly educated and urbanized population.

        The situation for the other 99.7% of the worlds population may be a little different.

        Anyone who thinks this is ” strong arguments against mitigation” might need to consider if they aren’t buried up to the wazoo in confirmation bias.

      • “The impact of these items are likely to differ by orders of magnitude.”

        This seems like an unsupportable assumption. Do you have a rationale for this statement? Can you provide an example?

        “The situation for the other 99.7% of the world’s population may be a little different.”

        It certainly would be different for them if they couldn’t afford the energy necessary to operate their health care systems. This kind of risk apparently wasn’t analyzed in the paper, but it’s one of the risks of doing too much.

        Now, that would be an interesting topic: how can we estimate or wrap our arms around the cost to society of doing too much to counter a threat that doesn’t materialize? For example, how many beneficial drugs might never be developed because of high energy costs or high taxes to support uneconomic energy?

      • “This seems like an unsupportable assumption. Do you have a rationale for this statement? Can you provide an example?” – Jimmy,

        I’d be interested to see the argument that increased hayfever is a greater health problem than an increase in deaths related to heat.

      • Aren’t the levels of uncertainty high for any alternative action–mitigation, adaption, …? That is, the level of uncertainty of the problem and impacts of the solution are high for all alternatives and hence one can argue against all alternatives, and that seems to go nowhere in the bigger picture. Am I missing something in your comment?

      • Actually, this article implicitly provides strong arguments against mitigation, since the level of uncertainty of the problem and impacts of the solution are high.

        No, it doesn’t. As many bright and patient people have tried to explain to you, your concept of uncertainty and risk is completely backwards.

      • Robert,

        I can’t speak to how bright I may or may not be, and I most certainly do not possess much in the way of patience, but as someone who was at one time a maintenace & component reliabilty engineer at a nuclear plant, familiar with Root Cause Analysis and Risk Management, I’d say Dr Curry has no problem with her understanding of the concept.

      • “I can’t speak to how bright I may or may not be,”

        Then allow me: you’re an idiot. Trust me, I’ve made a study of your ilk.

        Your incoherent appeal to your nonexistent authority is noted, but, sadly, is totally unpersuasive.

      • Robert

        RE “my ilk”. One can click to the Denizens page and at least glean something about me. What about you?

        And while on the topic of “ilk”, I recall you demonstrating what sort of person you are by trying to paint me as a homophobe, sadist and murderer. About as classy as one can get.

    • Curious from Cleathropes

      Really? We know so little about something that we need to spend loads of money now rather than waiting until we have better information and adapting?
      – There is a chance of Avian fly pandemic – solution spend loads of money now (just in case)
      – There is a chance of an asteriod hit – solution spend loads of money now (just in case)
      – Aliens might come and destroy is – solution spend loads of money now (just in case)
      . . .

      Thankfully when it comes to policy decisions (at least in a democracy) you get one vote – just the same as me ;-0

      • Astroid hit is actually a pretty real risk with devastating consequences.

        We could spend about $500,000,000 on that problem and it would acutally address a significent risk. Not my $500,000,000 but it could help and would be more technical fun than shutting off the coal fired power plants. See B612foundation.org

        Scott

    • Michael,

      Interesting how you can read an article that clearly points to adaptation and come to the conclusion it is great for supporting mitigation.

      Either you didn’t read it or you have no interest in keeping an open mind. At least it isn’t one of your usually braying variety comments. Kudos for that.

    • Given that there is no viable alternative to to going down the AGW road, given that the science tells us that we have warming in the pipeline, the science and the pragmatic politics of the situation tells us that we better start adaptation now. We are already ,mal adapted to the weather we have today, the heat in the pipeline will come out, better adaptation is first and foremost.
      then we might have the resources to attempt mitigation.

      • Agreed. Although there are no regrets mitigation actions such as potentially building nuclear power plants or improving the infrastructure for power transmission that could also be implemented.

      • Aggressive mitigation is the cornerstone of any serious effort at adaptation.

        The first step to coping with a self-inflicted disaster is to stop making the problem worse.

        Adaptation without mitigation is like writing condolence letters to the widows of soldiers killed by friendly fire while you continue to shoot at their unit.

        I suspect we’re going to need all of the “big three”: adaptation, mitigation, and geoengineering.

      • Robert,

        Aggressive mitigation is the cornerstone of any serious effort at adaptation.

        The first step to coping with a self-inflicted disaster is to stop making the problem worse.

        The case for ‘self-inflicted disaster’ is far from established. The case is weak. It seems to be much more to do with belief than science.

        The first priority should be to do no harm. That means, do not implement policies that will very likely cause a ‘self inflicted disaster’ (I am referring to the economic damage – i.e. damage to human welfare – the mitigation policies advocated by the CAGW alarmists would cause) without high certainty that the advocated policies will have the desired results.

        Therefore, ‘the aggressive mitigation’ policies advocated by the CAGW Alarmists are definitely not what we should be doing.

        I still find it highly concerning that CAGW alarmists, like you, advocate ‘aggressive mitigation’ with no apparent consideration of the consequences. Furthermore, many of your ilk, in fact the vast majority, strongly oppose the best policy options (like remove the impediments preventing us from getting low cost nuclear power). Yet you do not come out strongly and advocate to those who share your beliefs that they change their policy position. Instead you post masses of silly one line comments calling people ‘Deniers” and attacking people who seem much more balanced and reasonable than you are.

  4. Judith, you write “Based upon the comments on the previous postnormal post, many of you do not ‘get’ postnormal science and think it condones pseudo science as a basis for policy. This is absolutely not the case, and I hope this paper will clarify the methods of postnormal science.”

    Speaking personally, I tried to read the paper, but try as I might, I found it to be a complete waste of time. So, no, I am sorry, but this paper does not change my views of post-normal science. Post-normal science is, I am sure, something, but IMHO, it is not science.

    • Postnormal science is NOT about science qua science. It is about the science-policy interface: how do you use science to make policy decisions? this is what the contribution of postnormal science is.

      • Jim, it’s just a new name for something old.

      • Thanks, Michael. As I have noted before, during WWII, it was routine to use what now seems to have been given this title of post-normal science to make life and death decisions. That is nearly 70 years ago. Why the same techniques dont apply today, I have no idea

      • Idle thoughts of an idle fellow. Is Operations Research a close relative to post-normal science? Operations Research was how to make science operate in the real world.

      • Your explanation indicates to me that post-normal science (PNS_ is really just applied science and/or engineering. I think what many skeptics view as PNS is academic pure science directly driving policy.

      • Judith said

        Postnormal science is NOT about science qua science. It is about the science-policy interface: how do you use science to make policy decisions? this is what the contribution of postnormal science is.

        On reflection, I posted comments on this thread too quickly last night (Australian time). I agree it is very important to improve the science-policy interface. If that is what ‘postnormal science’ means, and its objective is to improve the provision of policy relevant science and the communication of it, then that is a step in the right direction. However, I doubt the name ‘postnormal science’ is helpful.

        Overnight I have had many thoughts on this. Following are some.

        I like the objective. But I am not sure the term is appropriate or helpful.

        I like that the approach youy are advocating may help to open up the closed-door, politicised science of IPCC and its ‘in crowd’ such as is displayed by the ‘Hockey Team’, the science academies’ political policy statements and the editorial biases of the science journals.

        I believe science should be science. I believe the ‘soft science’ disciplines should not be include as science.

        Regarding post-normal science being established to improve the interface between science and policy, I believe policy must be informed by many inputs, including: law, economics, applied science, engineering and other disciplines. I suggest applied science should respond to the needs of policy, not the other way around. That is why I’ve been advocating that climate science needs to be directed to provide the information policy needs. In the case of providing the information needed to inform climate mitigation policy, I’ve been arguing:

        1. Nordhaus has shown what are the most important parameters needed for making policy decisions about mitigation policies (such as carbon pricing). And he shows which parameters are causing the greatest uncertainty in the projections of costs and benefits of carbon pricing (e.g. Table 7-2 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf), They are (IMO):
        a. Damage Function – ‘DamCoef’
        b. Climate sensitivity – ‘T2xCO2’
        c. Decarbonisation rate – ‘g (CO2/GDP)’ (I’ve included this for reasons I’ve explained in previous comments)

        2. Climate science has spent two decades focused mostly on trying to determine and reduce the uncertainty of climate sensitivity. Much less attention has been directed to the other two critical parameters – ‘Damage Coefficient’ and ‘Decarbonisation rate’. I suspect if more work had been directed to reducing the uncertainty of these two parameters we would not have spent so much time, effort and resources advocating high cost, ineffective, economically-irrational policies – like renewable energy and carbon pricing.

        I don’t understand how postnormal science will be conducted. Three recent examples illustrate the problem. All three used surveys of selected groups and all three seem to suffer from issues of bias.

        1. Lewandowski’s recent survey. Supposedly scientific but highly biased.

        2. World Economic Forum Global Risks 2012. The inclusion and rankings given to CO2 emissions and global warming risks I contend demonstrates there is bias – caused by the massive public hysteria, blanket media coverage and scaremongering over the past 20 years. My contention is supported by Box 1 the evolving risk landscape at the end of the Executive Summary here: http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2012/#/=&= . The climate risks didn’t even rate until 2011. Clearly, the response to this survey has been influenced by the scaremongering.

        3. The study discussed on this thread: Health risks of climate change. How did the researchers deal with the natural human bias that we give far more weight to perceived downside risks than to upside risks (benefits and opportunities) of changes?

      • Clarification to this part of my previous comment:

        [These] parameters are causing the greatest uncertainty in the estimates of costs and benefits of carbon pricing policies (e.g. Table 7-2 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf), They are (IMO):
        a. Damage Function – ‘DamCoef’
        b. Climate sensitivity – ‘T2xCO2’
        c. Decarbonisation rate – ‘g (CO2/GDP)’ (I’ve included this for reasons I’ve explained in previous comments)

        I’ve included ‘Decarbonisation rate’ in the top three because if we solved this (and we can) the problem of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels problem will be largely addressed (over several decades).

        We can fix it (decarbonisation rate). And we can do so without restricting economic growth. In fact, we can give a boost to economic growth by moving to a fuel that is four to six orders of magnitude more energy dense than fossil fuels. Each time man has moved to more energy dense fuels in the past, there has been a leap in human well-being.

        Nordhaus shows in Chapter 5 that a ‘cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ (he calls it the ‘Low-cost backstop’ policy), is by far the least cost and best way to address CO2 emissions. It is far cheaper and better than the ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy.

        How much better is the ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy than the ‘Optimal carbon price policy’?

        The analyses published in Nordhaus (2008) [2] show the ‘cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy (called ‘Low-cost backstop policy’) is far better than the ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy. In fact, it is better by 3 times, 5 times, 5 times and 49 times for Benefits, Abatement Cost, Net Benefit, and Implied Carbon Tax rate. Details summarised below. Table numbers refer to Nordhaus (2008). (Costs are in 2005 US $ trillion)

        Benefits (reduced damages), ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
        Optimal carbon price policy 5.23
        Low-cost backstop policy 17.63
        ratio 3

        Abatement cost, ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
        Optimal carbon price policy 2.16
        Low-cost backstop policy 0.44
        ratio 5

        Net Benefit, ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
        Optimal carbon price policy 3.37
        Low-cost backstop policy 17.19
        ratio 5

        Implied carbon tax, ($/ton C) (ref. Table 5-1)
        Optimal carbon price policy 202.4
        Low-cost backstop policy 4.1
        ratio 49

        CO2 emissions in 2100, (Gt C/a) (ref. Table 5-6)
        Optimal carbon price policy 11
        Low-cost backstop policy 0

        CO2 concentration in 2100, (ppm) (ref. Table 5-7)
        Optimal carbon price policy 586
        Low-cost backstop policy 340

        Global temperature change in 2100, (°C from 1900) (ref. Table 5-1)
        Optimal carbon price policy 2.61
        Low-cost backstop policy 0.9

        Abatement cost per $/°C avoided

        The ‘cost per °C temperature change avoided’ is calculated from the present value abatement costs and the projected global temperature change for the mitigation policies listed in Table 5-1. The costs are in 2005 U.S. $ trillion. The temperature increase is from 1900 to 2100.

        Policy Trillions $/°C avoided
        No controls
        • 250-year delay
        • 50-year delay 4.71
        Optimal 4.89
        Concentration limits
        • Limit to 1.5xCO2 18.79
        • Limit to 2xCO2 6.81
        • Limit to 2.5xCO2 4.89
        Temperature limits
        • Limit to 1.5°C 17.36
        • Limit to 2°C 10.66
        • Limit to 2.5°C 8.12
        • Limit to 3°C 5.92
        Kyoto Protocol
        • Kyoto with United States 4.83
        • Kyoto w/o United States 7.00
        • Strengthened 8.76
        Stern Review
        • discounting 18.01
        Gore proposal 21.59
        Low-cost backstop 0.22

        Clearly, the ‘Low-cost backstop’ policy (i.e. cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels) is the least cost way to reduce emissions by far.

        [1] http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/ , Figure 6.

        [2] http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 5-1 and and 5-3

  5. “Postnormal science is a particular view…”

    I’m curious, Dr. Curry. Can you list briefly the tenets of this view?

    Andrew

  6. To add to the normal dodgy sample of online denizens, I felt I already got post-normal science, to my own satisfaction, and this application is going to fill out the gaps. It’s without doubt a great improvement on the current UNFCCC/IPCC model. Thank you for plugging away at these matters Dr Curry.

  7. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Based upon the comments on the previous postnormal post, many of you do not ‘get’ postnormal science and think it condones pseudo science as a basis for policy.

    I think it’s just an unfortunate name for public policy discussion and debate.

    That said, the the feature paper looks like a good start to public policy discussions about the health effects of climate change. There are a lot of references to my favorite topic: unknowns. Also, to the fact that, with or without global warming, there are many health risks that need to be addressed robustly. It is heartening to read, after a generation of warnings about the spread of malaria, that effects of warming on vector-borne diseases can not be predicted, even as to sign.

  8. A healthy love life is considered a good thing by its beneficiaries.

    A “love life” decided by, chosen by, and inflicted by strangers without consent is a very bad thing. The more “adaptations” forced on the “beneficiary” by strangers, the more very bad a thing it is.

    While one man’s poison may be another’s cure, if you go around poisoning strangers and then bill them for your unsought medical services, you get thrown in jail; why not the same attitude to and approach for CO2 pollution?

    Why would anyone have to point out that, while warmth can be good, the cost of cooling a building is about triple the cost of heating it the same amount, and in much of the world the cooling costs dominate heating costs substantially? Why do the trespassed-against have to justify their umbridge at the trespassers?

    What arrogance gives people any foundation for asserting benefit unconsented as part of any argument or study whatsoever?

    • Robert…over

    • Bart,

      When talking about something being forced on people by strangers, how does it make any difference if it is adaptation or mitigation?

      • The difference?

        If you’re arguing mitigation, you’re Todd Akin supporting “legitimate” force. If you’re pro-adaptation, you’re Rodriguez, Jr. promoting enhanced interrogation.

        See the difference?

        Imposing CO2E pollution on others without consent is a coercive trespass; there is no moral way to justify it.

        Demanding the government subsidize you to do it? There’s a word for that, too.

      • Bart,

        I’ll have to google Todd Akin as I don’t recognize the name. As for Rodriguez Jr, I suspect there is more than one Mr Rodriguez named after his dad. No idea which one you are referring to.

        As for imposing CO2 pollution on people – first one has to demonstrate the harm. That is what I’ve been asking for, a demonstation of how human beings are being harmed by CO2. The best our EPA could do is refer to the IPCC conclusions, fail to do any research of their own, violate their own procedural requirements and declare that the harm is from warming.

        As for demanding government subsidies – where or when have I done that?

        I asked a very simple, straight forward question. How does the equation change when you go from employing force to achieve adaptation to that of employed it for mitigation?

      • Let me help you with that:

      • And Jose Rodriguez Jr.:

      • timg56 | September 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

        As for imposing CO2 pollution on people – first one has to demonstrate the harm. That is what I’ve been asking for, a demonstation of how human beings are being harmed by CO2. The best our EPA could do is refer to the IPCC conclusions, fail to do any research of their own, violate their own procedural requirements and declare that the harm is from warming.

        If there’s a trespasser in your house, do you have to demonstrate they were doing harm before you pulled the trigger?

        And I’m afraid your summary of the EPA’s best (http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/air-emissions.html) does not match the views of the US Supreme Court. Who am I to believe, especially given I can actually go and check on the veracity of the claims?

        Here’s one demonstration I do not recommend: take a one gallon or less plastic bag and cover your mouth and nose, exhaling and inhaling into it repeatedly. Measure how long before you sense harm from CO2?

        Sure, no one’s claiming the CO2 levels you get from your own breath are what’s being discussed, but as the millionaire’s punchline goes, “We already know what kind of girl you are; now we’re just negotiating over the price.”

        Increasing a Risk is in and of itself a harm. It entrains higher insurance and reduces willingness to invest. Somewhere between this minimal harm level and the plastic bag is where the harms fall. But it’s not for the harmed to demonstrate how much harm they experience; it’s for them to determine how much compensation they deem reasonable before they provide their consent to the harm.

        As for demanding government subsidies – where or when have I done that?

        I didn’t mean to be unclear about who was demanding government subsidies. Those demands come from the fossil fuel and biofuel industries, on the “Cheap Energy Welfare Model” argument. It goes like this: if you could reduce the price of any one good to obtain the most benefit for consumers, it would be energy (true premise), therefore if government pays fossil fuel companies to keep doing what they’d do anyway then consumers benefit (faulty conclusion). With tax expenditures, grants, infrastructure spending that skews the Market, the “Cheap Energy Welfare Model” is the single costliest mistake the US government makes. Which says a lot.

        I asked a very simple, straight forward question. How does the equation change when you go from employing force to achieve adaptation to that of employed it for mitigation?

        It’s a faulty question. Both are reprehensible.

        I’m not proposing use of force at all in any new way; indeed, I’m saying to remove the coercive application of taxation on the many to subsidize the few in the fossil (and biofuel) industry. It’s the government’s job to create and enforce standards of measures for the Market, something it already does, except that it does not measure the Carbon Cycle, because for no good reason it has not privatized this scarce resource, though every tenet of Capitalism demands it.

    • Bart misses a key argument in Coase’s Nobel-winning 1960 article “The Problem of Social Cost.” Forcing people to stop burning fossil fuels is every bit as coercive as forcing them to adapt to climate change. Asking ugly people not to show themselves is every bit as coercive as asking observers to bear the aesthetic “pollution.” Every “externality” story is about conflict between two or more human purposes, and which one should take primacy cannot be derived on the basis of physical invasion stories. There is no moral high ground for blocking fossil-fuel combustion, no matter how many times Bart reasserts this canard.

      • stevepostrel | September 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

        You haven’t been paying attention to my thesis. I’m not into forcing people by coercive means. I’m not in favor of command and control regulation. I’m looking for people to pay a fair price for what they get. See, there’s makers in the world, and there’s takers in the world. Get it?

        Let’s hear from the world’s most successful maker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaF-fq2Zn7I

        The Carbon Cycle is patently valuable. It demonstrates scarcity, in that it does not show the quality of limitlessness — CO2 levels have risen since the dawn of the Industrial Age, are above the level of CO2 seen in 15 million years (look it up), and are that way because of human industry. The Carbon Cycle is rivalrous — once entailed, that share of the Carbon Cycle will not naturally restore itself for many human generations, so once used it is effectively used up. The Carbon Cycle is excludable, in that governments have an administratively practical (and cheap) way to restrict lucrative entailment by retail fees based on CO2E of carbon emitting materials in the Market. Do you follow?

        You forget that Thomas Payne established who a just society imbues with the sole power of coersion: the government.

        And you have it backwards: burning fossils is patently coercive (as is enforcing the good order of a fair Market) as it entails a share of the Carbon Cycle which every being who draws a breath has an equal share in and inalienable right to. Burning fossils for commercial purposes is by definition beyond personal needs, being a lucrative exchange of surplus resources for value.

        Commerce is not merely defensible but in principle for the prosperity of the nation laudable and necessary.

        However, personal survival rights trump excess profit. Coersion sides with the trespasser, not the trespassed against by the doctrine of self defense, and it is solely the government that has the right to coerce.

        So by arguments of the lesser of two Evils, of justice and good order, of Market Capitalism, and of course let’s face it, you’re just trying to pull the Chewbacca Defense maneuver, we can dismiss your claims.

      • Bart doesn’t favor coercion. If you don’t want to pay the massive energy tax he always pushes, he believes there should be no consequences.

        Riiiiiiight.

      • > If you don’t want to pay the massive energy tax he always pushes [...]

        Citation needed.

        And that other one about him beating his wife too.

      • Bart,

        RE Thomas Payne

        Have you forgotten who the Constitution imbues with final authority and power?

        In case you forgot, here are a couple of reminders from the folks who gave it to us.

        “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.
        – Patrick Henry –

        Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
        George Washington

        A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
        ……..Thomas Jefferson

        Which is why we have this:

        A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

      • GaryM | September 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm |

        I don’t favor coercion. But I’m much less fond of being trespassed against, so like any civic-minded citizen, I’m well acquainted with the how-to.

        See, I don’t want a massive tax to line the government’s pockets. I want the government to get on the ball, do its duty, privatize the Carbon Cycle into the Market and stop the takers from picking my pocket. If you want to use my stuff, compensate me.

        I want my money.

        Why don’t you want yours?

      • Bart,

        I am willing to follow your lead, once you show me exactly what stuff of yours and mine is being taken.

      • timg56 | September 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

        In British Columbia, recipients of dividends from the Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax at a government-imposed level of approximately 10% of what the Law of Supply and Demand would give them still get hundreds of dollars a year.

        Over 70% of them get significantly more than they pay in Revenue Neutral Carbon Taxes, even indirectly.

        As a result, BC has had a 15% drop in CO2 emission in just 4 years, mainly attributable to just the Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax, which in and of itself reflects the other benefits of economic efficiency and reduced waste, as seen by BC’s strong economic performance through the Great Recession, and despite its many other disadvantages.

        So, that’d be thousands of dollars out of your pocket and mine every year, plus a sloppy and wasteful economy. That’s the stuff.

      • timg56 | September 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

        And yet, http://www.bartleby.com/73/1065.html reminds us this well-regulated militia is intended specifically for those times tyrants threaten the liberty of the nation. This is why the republic is founded on a proscribed military, restrained by every measure with the intention of limiting foreign adventure and domestic tyranny.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      Bart R,

      The part of the global warming problem that no one disputes is that free people everywhere choose to burn fossil fuel. Almost without exception, they believe that it improves their health, wealth, longevity and quality of life. This includes such disparate uses as poor rural villagers using kerosene lamps to read by, middle class folks driving to work and to the doctor, farmers using fertilizers and machinery, you and I using the internet, and rich people flying to exotic locations for conferences and vacations. The only coercion in the whole system is the attempt by factions to restrict or tax elements of the process: extraction of the fuel, transportation of the fuel, purchase of the fuel, refinement of the fuel, burning of the fuel.

      Because the CO2 is created by free people everywhere making the decisions that they believe enhance their lives, it is worth serious consideration whether the net effects of the CO2 are good, bad or indifferent. Only if the effects are demonstrably positively bad should there be interference in these free choices. You could argue that everyone is wrong, and that the burning of fuel has not enhanced anyone’s life, but that is not a justification for coercion, no matter how smug it might make the arguer feel.

      The state clearly preferred by free people is to continue to burn fossil fuel. If you want to use force to stop that fossil fuel use, you have to present a strong enough case to persuade lots more people than have yet been persuaded.

      • Outstanding Matt.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler | September 21, 2012 at 11:47 am |

        ..no one disputes is that free people everywhere choose to burn fossil fuel.

        I dispute that.

        Free people make short term rational decisions mainly in their own best interest, generally.

        These short term rational decisions are informed by the price signal they receive from the Market, which is meant to indicate to them factors about what most efficiently improves their health, wealth, longevity and quality of life for a given individual budget.

        The price signal is skewed by government interference, anti-democratically hiding substantial information about the actual cost of decisions to the individual short-term decision makers.

        These decisions are harming the decision makers, but they have limited power to overcome the short-term rational imperative in each individual buying choice because the Market is designed to enforce the decision made rational by the price signal, not by the actual long-term need.

        The “coercion in the whole system is the attempt by factions to restrict or tax elements of the process: extraction of the fuel, transportation of the fuel, purchase of the fuel, refinement of the fuel, burning of the fuel” canard is simply not true, nor if true would be the bulk of the coercion: Free Riding is. Extraction of the fuel where, for example, that extraction is known by science to cause earthquakes — which government of Canada scientists knew about fracking three years ago but were forbidden to disclose until last month — or poisoning of water and air without compensating or even recognizing the victim’s claimes leaves that extration underpriced and does not improve health, longevity or quality of life.

        Expropriating land under eminent domain coercively for pipelines does not increase the health, wealth, longevity or quality of life of the displaced. Crashing tourism and fishing industries with oilspills? Also not improvement, and not figured into the price signal when the government pays much of the bill for the clean-up. Did you know BP actually gets tax cuts for every penny it pays over the Deepwater spill in the Gulf? The price signal is buried by tax expenditures.

        “Cheap energy” apologists might argue cheap energy is good, (it is, if not achieved by the coercion of subsidy) “but that is not a justification for coercion, no matter how smug it might make the arguer feel.”

        Free people are not made more free by government making oil people more rich.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Bart R: Free people make short term rational decisions mainly in their own best interest, generally.

        That certainly is something that I can agree with. And everywhere you look, they are choosing to burn fossil fuel.

        I like your example of eminent domain. It can be an abuse of power, but in the uses of eminent domain to support fuel delivery, there are large majorities in support. Even people who oppose this or that particular project are willing (not eager!) to pay $4.00 per gallon of gasoline, and they expect some project to deliver it to their favorite gas station; they have their diverse reasons for choosing to make those purchases and burn that fuel.

        The uncoerced choice of almost all of mankind is to burn fossil fuel because of the recognized benefits.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler | September 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

        Again, you repeat falsehoods.

        And everywhere you look, they are choosing to burn fossil fuel.

        Uh, no. Otherwise you wouldn’t be seeing people riding bicycles, walking, taking public transport where the public transport runs on electricity or hydrogen or, startlingly is just more efficient, or indeed where the drivers of conventional fossil fuel vehicles are driving more efficient vehicles because they’re choosing to burn less fossil fuel.

        Oil-powered and coal-fired power plants? Other than in command economies, no one builds new ones of these anywhere. Clearly, the most universal personal choice is away from fossil fuel. How much more of a movement would it be where a substantial portion of the true price signal not hidden by government failure to privatize the Carbon Cycle?

        .. in the uses of eminent domain to support fuel delivery, there are large majorities in support. Even people who oppose this or that particular project are willing (not eager!) to pay $4.00 per gallon of gasoline, and they expect some project to deliver it to their favorite gas station; they have their diverse reasons for choosing to make those purchases and burn that fuel.

        And they are all of them deceived. Gasoline as a form of one ring to rule them all is simply a lie.

        Is your evidence of large majorities from some study (if so, cite please) or from the inference that because gas stations have customers, therefore people support China kicking US citizens off the land of their forefathers through a Canadian tar company? People who buy gasoline have been shown to choose what the price signal tells them in the short term based on their tastes and diverse wants, which is not the ideal Market condition of Capitalism when the price signal is manipulated by the government.

        The uncoerced choice of almost all of mankind is to burn fossil fuel because of the recognized benefits.

        Just try to hold back the portion of your tax payments that goes to subsidizing fossil fuels and hiding the privatized price of the Carbon Cycle, and see how long you go “uncoerced” by the government.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Bart R: Just try to hold back the portion of your tax payments that goes to subsidizing fossil fuels

        Those are tax credits. The net flow of money is from the commerce in fossil fuels to the government.

        And they are all of them deceived. Gasoline as a form of one ring to rule them all is simply a lie.

        Sez you.

        Oil-powered and coal-fired power plants? Other than in command economies, no one builds new ones of these anywhere.

        Where natural gas is available cheaply, it is preferred over coal. However, coal fired plants are constructed where coal is cheaper, as in contemporary India. In Japan, though there are no new plants under construction, the consumption of coal has increased dramatically since they closed down the nuclear power plants after the tsunami; and they definitely choose to import and burn natural gas.

        Otherwise you wouldn’t be seeing people riding bicycles, walking, taking public transport where the public transport runs on electricity or hydrogen or, startlingly is just more efficient, or indeed where the drivers of conventional fossil fuel vehicles are driving more efficient vehicles because they’re choosing to burn less fossil fuel.

        That’s a bunch of jumbled up stuff. Bicycles (reminder: these are products of burning fossil fuel) are not the preferred choice anywhere for hauling ore, transporting fuel, flying or other long distance travel, or powering cell phones or the internet, or for lighting or powering sewing machines. Burning fossil fuels efficiently is preferred over not burning fossil fuels at all. Most of the electricity for public transport comes from burning fossil fuel.

        Fossil fuels are burned because the burning is almost universally perceived to bring health, wealth, longevity and better quality of life. You say that results from deception. But the benefits are real. It is the long-term negative consequence of CO2 accumulation that is hypothetical.

        I hate to make this personal, almost, but most of the electricity to power the internet and to make communications devices including personal computers, comes from burning fossil fuels. Like almost everyone else, you are choosing to avail yourself of this benefit. To argue in the abstract that people do not choose to avail themselves of the wealth provided by burning fossil fuels, while concretely choosing so yourself, is a contradiction. Almost everyone who has choice, chooses to benefit from the burning of fossil fuel.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler | September 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

        The net flow of money is from citizens to the government, too. So what?

        The fossil industry encumbers so much land, so many resources, costs so much in opportunities for other businesses, that taken together with everything else the Economy sacrifices in Externalities and hidden explicit costs both we are seeing an extraordinary skewing of the Market by the actions of government. That is intrinsically a cause of Market inefficiency — as a first year Economics teaching assistant to explain to you why — and harms us all.

        Fossil fuels in raw form are the most economical source of plastics, nitrogen fertilizer, many pharmaceuticals, and the majority of industrial chemicals. Burning them increases the costs of all these. Burning them so much they actually are constricting the supply of these goods is insanely stupid.

        And sez me? No, that’s Tolkien who said so.

        Natural gas? Sure, hey, if the fossil industry came clean about natural gas and its actual costs, that’d be great. Natural gas has many times lower CO2E when burned than when emitted into the atmosphere, and many times more energy when burned per CO2E than coal or oil emit.

        The rest of your sophistic argumentation is simply too incoherent to address. Maybe if you took a bike ride to clear your head, it might help.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Bart R: So what?

        So there is not a net subsidy of fossil fuels by governments.

        You have not disputed my claim that people freely choose to burn fossil fuels. You have shown that some choices might be suboptimal (burning fuel instead of saving it for plastics and fertilizer), and that not everyone uses every fossil energy form (bike riders benefit from the fossil fuel used to make their bikes, but do not use fossil fuel while riding them.)

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler | September 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

        You’ve lost the thread.

        “Net subsidy” is not the issue; indeed, if it were not a net subsidy, it would still be a relative subsidy. Do you think the computer industry has so much subsidy? The farm sector (not even close, outside of corn ethanol)?

        Name another sector with nearly so much subsidy skewing the Market and robbing individual buyers and sellers of individual democratic control of their own decisions at ever exchange.

        Subsidy at all — not “net subsidy” (whatever that may be) — kills innovation and destroys economic efficiency. And if you were going to subsidize something under a pragmatic scheme (like you Socialists always say you’re doing), why would you give it to the least effective, least improving, most inefficient, wealthiest greasiest manipulators on the planet over any other more practical option?

  9. There is certainly one illness that can be entirely ascribed a belief in greenhouse theory.
    Chronic hypertensive unresolved anxiety condition.
    The problem is linked to the climate doing its own thing and refusing to follow the climate models.
    The only remedy offered at the moment is to refuse to read newspapers and news items on television.

    • Google: “Hot World Syndrome” to see How has society come to this? The answer is clear… and, you’re right on the money.

    • It’s interesting that deniers project “anxiety” onto pro-science folks. Yet science denial at its core comes from people so afraid of the reality of the physical world that they cannot face it. And many deniers exhibit outright paranoid delusions about world government, conspiracies of scientists, manipulation by “powerful banking families,” and economic catastrophe should society dare to tax carbon emissions.

      Fear is the warp and woof of climate deniers — people who lack the simple guts to confront the world and act responsibly.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        No. No. No! You’ve got it all wrong.

        Bloggers are the “extended peer community” and are defending the integrity of science by carefully rejecting those parts of science that don’t fit nicely into the “extended facts”.

        Denialists are not reality-fearing cowards – They’re the brave and innovative creators of alternate paradigms!

        That’s why the old-fashioned “normal” scientists are all so worried.
        They’re not worried about the Earth’s climate – but about all those un-believing bloggers.

        A scientific revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.

      • Bernard, is that you?

      • Robert,

        This is BS. I have a science degree*. I have 15+ years mentoring students in science. Hell, I’m even a steely – eyed killer of the deep. My guts are just fine (and they don’t even hang over my belt buckle).

        * technically I have 2, but the other is basically an MBA, with a focus on science and technology. I don’t really count that one as a “science” degree. The math needed for Financial Accounting doesn’t come close to that needed for Atmospheric Physics.

      • “Hell, I’m even a steely – eyed killer of the deep.”

        No one who is actually a steely-eyed killer has ever described themselves that way.

        “The math needed for Financial Accounting doesn’t come close to that needed for Atmospheric Physics.”

        Just to be clear, are you claiming to have a degree in Atmospheric Physics? Color me skeptical about that.

      • Robert,

        How would you know what a submariner would say about themselves? When your choice for a motto is “steely eyed killer” or “silent, but deadly”, it’s not difficult which one to choose.

        And no Robert, I am not claiming to have a degree in Atmospheric Physics. I was referring to course work. . Instead of popping off from that high horse of yours, you might try clicking over to the Denizens page.

        Try not to be such a dick, Robert. Even though you have a talent for it.

      • Robert –

        Yet science denial at its core comes from people so afraid of the reality of the physical world that they cannot face it.

        The linkages between climate “skepticism” and extremist political ideology aside – do you really believe that description generally applies to “skeptics”?

      • John Carpenter

        Not that I’m answering for Robert, but he explicitly uses the term ‘denier’ not ‘skeptic’ in that comment…. perhaps what you meant to say was ‘do you really believe that description ALSO generally applies to skeptics?’ ….of which I would also be interested in his answer.

      • The linkages between climate “skepticism” and extremist political ideology aside – do you really believe that description generally applies to “skeptics”?

        I do. Denial is different from extremism. Extremism says “Abolish the Federal Reserve.” That’s impractical, but not delusional. Denial says “I am a sovereign citizen and the courts have no authority over me.” That is someone whose hatred and fear have grown to the point that they take refuge in fantasy.

        An extremist is someone who says “No abortions ever, even in the case of rape and incest. Forcibly impregnating someone is horrible, but the baby should not be punished.” Denial says “Women don’t get pregnant from rape.” It’s a world of difference.

        If you believe in your ideology, in your worldview, you should be able to cope with reality, face facts and explain how your ideology would cope with those facts. Take Gandhi, for example. An extreme pacifist. People said, well, what about the Holocaust. And Gandhi said: without pacifism, they are all dead. With pacifism, if they sacrifice their lives, they would still be dead, but it would mean something.

        You may or may not find Gandhi’s answer persuasive (I don’t) but he faced the facts and confronted the reality with a strategy that was compatible with his values.

        Climate deniers won’t do that. Fundamentally, they fear the reality of AGW as something that requires coordinated government action to address. They hate that. But rather than face the problem and find the best way of dealing with it according to their own worldview, they deny the problem exists and attack the scientists who are dealing them about the world.

        In my view that’s cowardly.

      • John Carpenter

        Robert, you seem to compare ‘denialsts’ with ‘extremeists’ rather than ‘skeptics’ which is what I believe Joshua was asking. You still stand by your answer?

      • Yes, John – that is what I was asking.

      • “Not that I’m answering for Robert, but he explicitly uses the term ‘denier’ not ‘skeptic’ in that comment….”

        But believers that human activity will cause dangerous changes in global climate, call people who are skeptical as deniers.
        So this derogatory term, denier is suppose to suggest that any expressed doubts regarding gospel of “the Team” or labor of UN’s IPCC involving “thousands of scientists” who spend years crafting doctrine as good as thousands of scientists can possibly make it, which is at least ten times more perfect than the Koran- and that any such comparison as actually insulting as far more superior beings are involved [who doing science for gosh sakes- and not just stoned out of their minds on some low quality drugs!].

      • “Take Gandhi, for example. An extreme pacifist. People said, well, what about the Holocaust. And Gandhi said: without pacifism, they are all dead. With pacifism, if they sacrifice their lives, they would still be dead, but it would mean something.”

        Gandhi was wrong. The camps were still full of people slated to be killed when they were liberated. With millions more planned for extinction. Killing those who were killing the Jews, and Gypsies, and Slavs and homosexuals, saved untold numbers of lives. Pacifism would not have saved one,

        Pacifism is a wonderful and morally superior tactic when facing a human, civilized adversary. The United States benefited tremendously from Martin Luther King’s advocacy of non-violent resistance to the institutionalized racism the Democrat Party had been fomenting since the Civil War.

      • projection?
        that’s not supported by any evidence i’ve seen.
        I think they may overgeneralize the anxiety they witness in some AGW folks. The anti science pro AGW folks. That’s right, the anti science pro AGW folks.

        you can find all manner of them. They attack the science from a different perspective.. not being alarmist enough.

        randomly read here

        http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/09/signs-of-arctic-climate-change.html#comments

      • “The anti science pro AGW folks. That’s right, the anti science pro AGW folks.”

        Who is shocked by this? Of course there are such people. Typically these are the people that want some social change or other and embrace every new problem as proof that they were right all along. Don’t you see, this is why capitalism is doomed. Don’t you see, this is why we have to stop eating meat. Don’t you see, this is why we need to cut taxes on the rich. Whatever.

        The difference I see is that anti science pro AGW folks get policed pretty aggressively by the pro-science folks. They don’t get to dominate the discussion. When they step beyond the science they get put down pretty hard.

        On the other side anti-science folks are the pillars and the mouthpieces of the movement, and are relatively unchecked. Senators flatly deny the science and invite other science deniers to address Congress; you do not see liberal Senators claiming the seas will rise 50m in ten years or such.

        You are a very rare exception in that I’ve seen you confront “skeptics” who are denying basic science. More people “on the inside” need to start policing their own in that way.

      • Robert

        It’s interesting that deniers project “anxiety” onto pro-science folks. Yet science denial at its core comes from people so afraid of the reality of the physical world that they cannot face it.

        Is this all you have left now – screeching insults at people who do not accept you beliefs?

        I see Joshua, Fan, BartR, and a number of others have given up trying to argue their case and have resorted to silly, simplistic meaningless comments loaded with value statements and insulting comments like this. It is clear your case has run out of steam.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Robert: It’s interesting that deniers project “anxiety” onto pro-science folks. Yet science denial at its core comes from people so afraid of the reality of the physical world that they cannot face it. And many deniers exhibit outright paranoid delusions about world government, conspiracies of scientists, manipulation by “powerful banking families,” and economic catastrophe should society dare to tax carbon emissions.

        Do you have evidence for any of that?

        Consider for example your use of the psychoanalytic word “projection”: James Hansen has publicly and frequently announced his fear for the future climate his grandchildren my have to endure; an unconscious motive by everyone else to attribute this to him is totally unnecessary. Similar comments apply to the persistent gloom and doom of Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren.

        Efforts of “world government”, conspiracies of scientists, economic harm (if not outright catastrophe) are not far-fetched: there is evidence for all of them.

    • Bus #36. Row 25. Aisle seat.

      One coke and a bag of pretzels complimentary. We have a variety of refreshments and snacks for sale. We do take credit cards.

      • That’s science from Joshua. My comment to Robert @ September 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm applies to Joshua too.

  10. “What is wrong with us…”

    Herein lies the moral danger behind global warming hysteria. Each day, 20,000 people in the world die of waterborne diseases. Half a billion people go hungry. A child is orphaned by AIDS every seven seconds. This does not have to happen. We allow it while fretting about “saving the planet.” What is wrong with us that we downplay this human misery before our eyes and focus on events that will probably not happen even a hundred years hence? We know that the greatest cause of environmental degradation is poverty; on this, we can and must act. (Philip Stott)

    • I’m always a little sceptical fo those who are suddenly concerned about the worlds poor when it comes to AGW…….more so if they champion adaptation – the thing the poor will have the least capacity to implement.

      • Robert…out

      • Then, think of yourself. The title of the paper brings up another more important issue – a matter that subsumes all other issues: including concerns about health (e.g., “Health risks of climate change: An assessment of uncertainties and its implications for adaptation policy”).

        How many fears can a society entertain before it is fear alone that is the most destructive of well-being? What rings your bell?

        As with Hot World Syndrome, the politics of fear is being used to condition us to salivate on command. If you live in the real world do you believe that those who don’t want to get messy should have a claim on the earnings of those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirt on their hands to get the job done?

      • Michael, I doubt AGW skeptics in general give a damn about the poor, since most are conservatives who think the poor get what they deserve.

      • The truth: communism is The Hunger Games: an abject failure that has been the sower of so many millions of graves. A Democrat candidate like Hubert Humphrey would by today’s pathalogical Left would be conservative too, Who isn’t? Al Gore. Obama. Castro, Chavez. Ward Churchill. Mao…

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Yeah verily, it is written: God did sacrifice his only-begotten son so that the good citizens of the USA might avoid the hellfire of collective bargaining and the damnation of universal healthcare.

      • Really hitting the nail on the head Max.

        No, wait. Agreeing with Michael is more like pinning the tail on the donkey. Anything else you want to say while you have that blindfold on?

      • “Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

        People who reject the idea that ‘government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality’ give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.”

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

        It isn’t what progressive drones don’t know that makes them so hilarious. It’s what they know that just ain’t so.

        When a conservative wants to help the poor, he gives his own money to them. When a progressive wants to help the poor, he votes for a politican who will take someone else’s money and give it to them. And then the progressive goes and gets a government or NGO job where he can get paid for redistributing other people’s money.

      • GaryM,

        You highlight one of the motivations that got me into volunteer work years ago. If I was going to support reducing the amount of my money going to the federal government, I also knew I had to support local tax levies and donation of my time and/or money to helping my community.

        It is interesting in the debate over Romney’s tax returns that no one talks about how much money he has donated to charities. Romney doesn’t talk about it himself, but he gave away his entire inheritance.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        People have adapted fine for millenia.
        Only a fool or an AGW true believer (but I am repeating myself) would think that idiocratic wastes of resources on bs like mitigation would somehow be beter.

      • Well you should know that some of us who promote adaptation have always had a concern for the poor and actually work on the problem.
        The solution, of course, does not require anything of the poor.
        Take adaptation to sea level rise. As you know in coastal US the income levels are well above normal. The rich live in malibu. Limiting development in areas that are likely to be underwater in 2100, requiries nothing of the poor. it requires the rich to stop developing on land that will be under water. Ending the subsidies to those who already live in risky areas requires nothing of the poor. They dont get those subsidies.

      • Promoting adaption does show a concern for the poor.

        Beach dwellers have lots of money, residents of low country don’t have as much.

        Adaption to some climate-related changes isn’t very satisfactory. For example, warmer means more ozone, particularly in densely populated areas. Staying indoors in an air-conditioned environment is a very confining adaptation.

      • Mr. Mosher,

        Your points about adaptation and mitigation are useful. however, I regret that several of your comments above about the lack of impact on the poor seem overstated to me, most particularly “The solution, of course, does not require anything of the poor” and “Limiting development in areas that are likely to be underwater in 2100, requiries nothing of the poor.” Development restrictions on the coast will indeed affect many many poor households.

        Although income levels are definitely above average in the aggregate at coastal US sites,there are concentrations of very wealthy people in some areas (e.g., Malibu) but large numbers of low-income people in others. Example of low-lying areas in which incomes are quite low include coastal Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. The proportion of wealthier households on coasts is surely larger than the average for the US as a whole, but a significant portion of households on the coast are quite poor,

        One study, written from the policy perspective that the US flood insurance program overly benefits the wealthy but nevertheless demonstrating that a significant number of poor are within coastal flood plains (from NYU Law School’s Institute for policy Integrity), can be found here – http://www.policyintegrity.org/documents/FloodingtheMarket.pdf.

        While higher-income households would be disproportionately affected in the US by a sea level rise, that by no means supports a blanket statement that nothing is required of the poor who also live on US coastal flood plains. I trust your statements to the contrary were merely rhetorical.

        Also, by-the-by, much of Malibu is actually not beachfront, despite what Hollywood, The New Yorker, and primetime TV would have us believe. Residential Malibu includes a very large number of people who live north of the Pacific Coast Highway in the Santa Monica Mts (see http://www.malibu.org/maps for a topo map :-) While Malibu is famous for its 21 miles of beach, parts of Malibu reach elevations of almost 3,000 ft. above sea-level and great portions are on the slopes of the mountains rising from the sea (indeed, those mountains sweeping steeply from the sea are why Malibu is so beautiful). As the Malibu Chamber of Commerce explains on their website, ” Malibu’s combined incorporated and unincorporated areas … [are] 27 miles long and one to eight miles wide. Within these boundaries are a variety of climates and terrain including beaches, mesas and canyons that create a unique environment. The population is approximately 13,000.” Homes on the slopes up from the beaches will not be directly affected by sea level rises at all.

        Regards from an Angeleno in exile,

        MK

      • David Springer

        If sea level rises much more than anticipated the rich coastal dwellers will become poor coastal dwellers and poor coastal dwellers will remain poor coastal dwellers. Thatch huts on the beach cost a lot less to relocate to higher ground than mansions.

      • People in Bangladesh will be thrilled by our commitment to adaption.

      • adaptation

      • Is it your opinion that the people in the US are responsible for building the infrastructure to protect the poor in countries like Pakistan? What poor people are you referencing? Many governments put a low priority on the building of proper infrastructure to protect its citizens from severe weather. Many people die each year as a result. That is a problem for each nation to address.

  11. Background: Projections of health risks of climate change are surrounded with uncertainties in knowledge. Understanding of these uncertainties will help the selection of appropriate adaptation policies.
    ———————————————————-
    Huh? Sorry, but this comes from the School of the Bleedin’ Obvious, funded by the University that Common Sense Forgot.

    Let’s get our ducks in a row.

    The climate changes. Der. But, for some reason, this is being conceptualised in terms of ‘risks’ – presumably, otherwise, no grant moneys would be forthcoming. I mean, just saying that the climate will change but since we don’t know how or when, trying to address some boring but immediate problems is nowhere near as sexy.

    It’s like if, as an individual, someone came along and conducted a taxpayer funded study on the likelihood that weeds would grow in the garden, and what the ‘risks’ associated with that might be. The study includes a made-up and superficially impressive table of pollen parameters and unsightliness uncertainties.

    Oh, dear.

    • Der.

      The only accurate part of the comment above.

      There should be a special term for moronic deniers who pretend to be morons “ironically.”

      • Perhaps some derivative of the term for moronic? May I suggest Bobby?

      • I like ‘Roberta’.

        Andrew

      • Robert: We are all morons if you believe Socrates and Nietzsche and have ever bothered to accomplish something difficult in an oxidizing environment, blasted by radiation and subject to gravity. Do you deny your own inner moron? That’s the apex of cowardice. Most deniers are ignoramuses, therefore, they cannot be cowards by your so very sophisticated definition.

        You are quite correct, however, irony is so 20th Century. Now is the time to sit down, shut up and take your thioridazine (kickin it olde school).

    • I am neither moronic or a ‘denier’. If ad homs like this are the best you can come up with, things are looking good from here.

      Having spent many of the best years of my life (fortunately, being paid for it) reading voluminous reports about hypothetical disasters in health, housing, the arts (amazing, but true!), child welfare, native plants and animals, domestic pets, building subsidence and every other issue you can imagine due to climate change or cuts in government funding, I saw this one coming a mile off.

      People who fall for this nonsense need to spend a couple of months working for a busy Minister for anything. According to many heavy tomes of ‘research’ that I was forced to read, the world should have ended twenty years ago. This piece of nonsense says that we don’t know anything about anything, but thanks for the grant.

      Sheesh. To think that people had to go to work and produce wealth to finance the meanderings of these mediocrities.

      • I think Robert will be along shortly to say something stupid.
        he hates losing to a girl. he has a knack for it, but hates it.

      • David Springer

        Not as much as anonymous misogynist coward Joshua.

      • David,

        There are a lot of ways to describe Joshua, but your choice is way over the top. Comments like this one put you on par with people like WEB and Robert. That is company I recommend you avoid.

      • Nice to see all you men rating yourselves in regard to your interactions with women.

        steven, please review evidence, documented in comments, that it is you – not Robert or Joshua – with one of the worst track records, in this regard.
        And given ‘johanna’s’ frankly stupid input combined with your little men’s group defense of this, you are all suffering from white knight syndrome – one of the more tedious manifestations of sexism and even misogyny, when you actually examine it.

      • Keep your fork, there’s pie.
        ===========

      • Martha,

        Yr: “Nice to see all you men rating yourselves in regards to women.” etc.

        Martha, as always I value your candor and bold willingness to take on this blog’s disproportionately large “whiteboy ol’ coot” contingent, often single-handedly. Indeed, your style is one I admire and I hope to provide a rejoinder worthy of your opening pitch.

        First, let me say I noted with interest your denunciation of something you term the “white-knight syndrome”–most especially the ingenuity with which you used that made-up-out-of-thin-air, pop-psychology, useful-to-the-hive-agenda invention to tag the previous discussion with the show-stopper zinger “misogyny.” This is quality agit-prop, Martha, and a refreshing change from the incompetent, hive-bozo, clap-trap propaganda-boogers one typically encounters on this blog.

        And, Martha, I also noted in your remarks, again taking pleasure in your well-crafted drive-by, the brazenness with which your own comment flaunted a lefty, feminist version of the just-denounced “white knight syndrome” as you jumped to the defense of dear Robert (who needs all the help he can get, we all agree). Again, superb work, Martha, that recalls the left’s glory days when its double-standards, chutzpah, false-flags, play-the-victim hype, and selective outrage set world-class standards for such things.

        And, it further seems to me that your above comment seeks to establish a certain “rule” for “women” commenters on this blog and men’s reponse to the same. In particular, the “rule” you seem to be devising is that “men” are forbidden (under the threat of being labeled “white-knight-syndrome-sexist-pig schweinhunds”) favorable words in support of women who might offer comments on this blog that are unfavorable to the hive’s ever-morphing agenda items. Rather, any responses to such comments are to be the exclusive prerogative of the whip-cracker, bully-girls of the gal-pal politburo (and their harmless, exotic pets, like Robert, of course). The object of such a rule? To ensure nothing stands between women on this blog and the hive’s girls-only, don’t-want-no-stinkin’-men-gettin’-in-the-way-of-our-brutally-enforced-dicisipline-of-“women”-who-step-out-of-line, rule-the-roost-and-push-the-CAGW-scam Philosopher-Queens. At least, that’s my guess, Martha.

        Nice try, Martha. But I mean, like, I could be wrong but it kinda, sorta seems to me the once-surefire, lefty-feminist, “Misogynist!”, power-and-control sucker-punch has lost its nuclear sting. That, and us whiteboy-old-timers” could care less what you call us–we plan to continue running our mouths regardless. And let me add that, just maybe, its also the case that other women just aren’t intimidated any longer by you old-line, lefty “martinettes” tellin’ ‘em what’s what.

        But you do have a point, Martha, that women can have it tough as they pursue their careers. I mean even a women who is a courageous, think-out-of-the-box, world-class leader in the climate science field has to put up with some remarkable crapola, now-a-days. Don’t believe me?–just google: “greenfyre’s climate etc.sciency spice” and see what I mean (I urge the reader to check-out the above article–it’s a heck of a read–and note the author).

  12. Judith Curry,

    A quick look at the measures governments have implemented that have led to the dramatic increase in survival over the past 100 years are almost all located in the domain of public health.

    At the turn of the 19th to 20th Century the mean age of survival in the USA was @ age 45. Governments built water and sewer facilities and connected these to the growing masses of urban dwellers.

    The 19th Century introduction of small pox vaccinations; the introduction in the 1930s of vaccines for Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus, and more recently Measles, Mumps & Rubella all have made substantial impacts on human morbidity and mortality. (prior to 1937 there were 7000 deaths due to Pertussis; i.e. whooping cough, and 225,000 serious sequelae each year in the USA).

    The introduction of the Balanced Diet for every day consumption: fruits, vegetables, some carbohydrates, protein & fats (think arachidonic acid) and getting away from the carbohydrate concentrated diet (think rice), there was a 1 FOOT gain in height and improved immunity where the Balanced Diet was introduced. (think Japan, and now India & China) In the book Nectar In A Sieve, Kamala Markandaya describes “good famines” and “bad famines” where good meant many people died so that there was enough food left for the rest of the people so that they were not starved and debilitated, and “bad” famines where not many died so everybody starved, their bodies stunted and debilitated. Productivity foundered.

    Dramatic improvements in oral health and reduced tooth and gum disease have allowed people to keep their teeth instead of moving onto dentures. People can now chew their foods. Governments adding fluoride to drinking water has reduced tooth decay.

    I am reminded that people still live above the Arctic Circle. People still live at the Equator. It is likely that Homo Sapiens will continue to adapt.

    In a warming world there will be more anchovies and sardines in Monterey Bay; salmon runs will be thicker; and the current version of Genetically Modified wheat (Monsanto) will tolerate more heat, need less moisture and less often.

    If the scaremongers and pre-disposed climate modelers are spectacularly wrong and we enter an ice age, the last time that I was above the Arctic Circle, there is not a big agricultural industry and no plans for one soon.

    Cold kills.

    • Follow the money. The Catastrophists will always be for the idea of ending catastrophic global warming caused by everyone but themselves, if all it means is curing a non-existent problem with taxes on the guilty—and, more taxes to fund government employee pay raises and pensions—and even if it means paying for government jobs that curtail the production of life-sustaining energy.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      In a warming world there will be more anchovies and sardines in Monterey Bay; salmon runs will be thicker; and the current version of Genetically Modified wheat (Monsanto) will tolerate more heat, need less moisture and less often.

      That’s some amazing crytal-ball gazing.
      Especially if you like Round-Up with your pizza.

      I only hope you didn’t use any unvalidated models to reach those conclusions.

      Also – Can I have a pony?

    • Public health is a wonderful success story. So is trauma care; but you should still wear your seatbelt.

      I am reminded that people still live above the Arctic Circle. People still live at the Equator. It is likely that Homo Sapiens will continue to adapt.

      Much like Dr. Curry’s description of 4C warming as “not apocalyptic” this begs the question. Because you can survive something does not mean that it is a good idea to inflict it on yourself.

      In a warming world there will be more anchovies and sardines in Monterey Bay; salmon runs will be thicker . . .

      Those are just fantasies. Science is different from fantasy. Just making stuff up is not a counterpoint to scientific research.

      • Agreed, a little tongue-in-cheek; however, the discovery of the PDO was based upon fisherman catching more salmon at one phase and poor catches in another phase. This applies to anchovies, sardines, and a host of sea-life. Warmer is better. Cold Kills.

      • “Warmer is better. Cold Kills.”

        Another fantasy.

      • Warmer is better. Cold Kills.

        And heatwaves kill. Warmer is an entirely relative term – warmer than what? And by how much?

      • andrew adams

        Warmer is better. Colder Kills.

        Almost 1/3 rd of world population lives in the narrow band around the equator. This is a “hot” environment; an environment with sustained heat average of 27 C, rarely over 33 C, and a diurnal variation of 3 to 7 C. The “European Heat Wave 2003″, a week of 40 C, @ 15,000 people died, mostly elderly in the South of France which has a very long tradition of mild summers. Air conditioned heat shelters, water, and people looking out for the elderly mobilized late. Equatorial people rarely experience temperatures >33C and diurnal variations are usually 3 to 7 C. Yes, an abrupt heat wave can and did negatively impact a vulnerable population unaccustomed to heat stress. The Equatorial elderly do not suffer the same fate, even with temperatures reaching those in France in 2003. Acclimatization is Adaptation.

        Cold waves, like the Year without Summer 1816 and, incidentally, several other years in the 1810’s before and after Tambora’s eruption, precipitated abnormal global rainfall and floods, global crop failures, famine and widespread death.

        The differences between cold and heat is the types and quantities of resources needed to adapt. Fuel needs to be consumed to combat the impacts cold. Shelter and water are needed to survive heat. Inuit people eat blubber for their caloric furnaces. Bedouin rely on their tents and dark clothing to shelter themselves from heat.

        What is true, to withstand cold, high quantities of fuel are needed to survive cold. To survive a warming climate: water and shelter from heat during daytime is needed.

        Warmth is better. Cold kills.

      • RiHo08,

        Sure, cold kills – if we were going to get a 2-3C colderer climate then that would certainly be cause for concern. But we’re not going to get that. As I said above “warmth is better” is meaningless unless you say how much warmer.

      • Robert,

        Do you know anything about salmon? Other than how to cook it I mean.

        That 15+ years I mentioned above – mostly aquatic ecology in salmon habitat.

      • “Do you know anything about salmon?”

        Yes.

        “That 15+ years I mentioned above – mostly aquatic ecology in salmon habitat.”

        Then perhaps you would like to explain to your fellow denier why warmer is not better for spawning salmon.

      • Robert,

        Salmon do have a relatively narrow range of water temperature for spawning. What you apparently want to ignore is that no where has it been shown that higher temperatures in inland or coastal streams are due to “global warming”. Do you even have an idea as to what are the causes for warming waters in spawning habitat?

        Warmer water is just one of the limiting factors for salmon. Sedimentation is one, as is loss of spawning grounds due to flooding. No, not flooding from “extreme” weather events, but from dams.

        You also choose to ignore that the original commentor was talking about ocean temperatures, which I’ll bet you think all that “missing” heat is being stored. Care to enlighten the rest of us about the impacts of warmer ocean waters on salmon populations? You’d probably become famous if you can, as fish biologists basically know squat about salmon behavior or factors which might impact them in the ocean.

        Keep trying Robert. A brave, courageous person like you should have what it takes to prove what sniveling, brain dead cowards us “deniers” are.

  13. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (BEST):
    The strongest correlation is observed between the estimates of the average land temperature Tavg and AMO, the Atlantic Multidecadal oscillation

    According to my pedestrian research based on two independent sets of data, the 100 years of the instrumental atmospheric pressure measurements in the Azores and Iceland, and the 300 years of the English temperature records the average global land temperatures are forecast to go down not up.</b
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Fc.htm
    ignore or consider the above, it makes no difference, the natural changes underpin the climate change past, present and future.

  14. Failed to lose capitals

  15. lurker, passing through laughing

    Certainly this is a product of the Daily Onion?
    There is no way that serious researchers could be claiming that ‘climate change’ (or whatever the climate clowns call their obsession this year) is going to offer healthcare system challenges discernable from what we already have.

  16. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    These people must write for the Onion too!

    http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm

    Idiots. Obviously.

  17. Max_Ok writes: “Easy answer. The problem with warmer is many people don’t like warmer, and demonstrate their dislike by living where it’s not warmer. Pollution advocates need to convince these people warmer is better, but it won’t be easy. For example, if you tried to convince me warmer is better, my response would be ” Ha Ha Ha.”

    I don’t call attention to this because of it’s manifest silliness, but because it rather typifies the sloppy thinking we often see from the warmist side. Honestly and truly, I find it equal parts sad and scary.

    • In other words, you can’t deal with the logic, so you are reduced to saying it’s “silly” and “sloppy.”

      I used to live in Vegas. I left because the summer heat and pollution was unhealthy. Also, I got bored with the place.

  18. Health is not something that flows from government. You don’t improve health by selectively abandoning the scientific method to attack capitalism: doing that is the ideology of the 47%’rs and the global warming establishment. The ‘victims’ of global warming blame problems they do not have on those who are employed by businesses to produce and pay taxes to provide all of the goods and services the 47%’ers and global warming catastrophists enjoy everyday and would march in the streets like Greeks if they were told they’d have to do without. It is the outsiders–i.e., those who refuse to buy into the free enterprise system—that are free to indulge in their practiced art of self-defeatism and then insist that they be insulated from the consequences of their behavior at the cost of the life’s blood, liberty, property, investments and futures of productive.

    • Those 47% ‘s include our Armed Forces. Your dissing of men and women in uniform is disgusting.

      • The military is in the bag for Democrat candidates? Good to know.

      • It also includes those who benefit from Social Security and Medicare, and even some millionaires.

      • …and, Socialists (that is, anti-capitalist Leftist Ideologues); Secularists (that is, atheist fundamentalists, anti-Judeo/Christian contra-cultural hedonists and abortionists); Enviro-Wackpots (trust fund liberals and liberal Utopians); purveyors of anti-Americanism (that is, the haters of the ideals of individual liberty and personal responsibility—i.e., Marxists); Academia (that takes in the Government-Education Industry); and, all unelected, unaccountable government bureaucrats, employees and unions of govenment employees).

      • Obama will want to make sure and count their votes.

      • Waggy, you waste a lot of words. You could say what you mean more simply: as a fascist, you hate non-fascists. There you go. You have all these elaborate and fanciful labels for people who aren’t brownshirts — but you end up with a lot of labels, because most people despise fascists.

        You should just call the people you hate the anti-brownshirts. More accurate and much quicker to type.

      • What is it about America you despise the most?

      • 47% do not pay federal income taxes. None of the US military fall into that catagory.

      • Rob, that’s wrong. Enlisted personnel and warrant officers in combat zones do not include their military pay in gross income for tax purposes.

        http://www.irs.gov/uac/Military-Pay-Exclusion-%E2%80%94-Combat-Zone-Service

        Those troops in combat zones are among the 47% of Americans who Romney said he doesn’t care about.

      • Max

        You did make a less than idiotic point in that the small percentage of US military personnel who are in an active combat zone are not required to pay federal taxes. The vast majority of the military do pay federal taxes.

        http://williamaarkin.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/40-percent-of-u-s-military-personnel-have-never-deployed-to-a-combat-zone/

      • Max,

        This one I can agree with you. While the 47% number is factual, one has to understand it’s components. It is not simply the portion of the population “free-loading”.

        While I’m pretty sure Romney understands this and was simply generalizing to a receptive audiance, it was a pretty dumb comment.

      • Max,

        RE whether or not the military make up a part of the 47%.

        You may want to confirm that is a fact. Yes, pay while serving in a combat zone is exempt from taxes. That does not automatically mean it was included in the calculation of the 47% number.

        I can attest to the fact my pay had taxes deducted when I served.

    • “Health is not something that flows from government.”

      Teh stupid, it burns.

  19. Very interesting and logical approach.

    The paper can be found here:
    http://www.ehjournal.net/content/pdf/1476-069X-11-67.pdf

    Policy implications
    Different adaptation approaches (see Additional file 1: Table S1) are suitable under different levels of uncertainty, such as statistical uncertainty, scenario uncertainty, and recognized ignorance and surprise. This framework, proposed by Dessai and Van der Sluijs [5], links the type of uncertainty that characterises the available knowledge to the suitability of various adaptation approaches (in terms of their capacity to cope with the uncertainties). If statistical uncertainty dominates, well-coping adaptation approaches focus on classic quantitative risk analysis, optimization, and „safety margins‟. Approaches focusing on dimensioning adaptation measures using scenario-analysis or on exploring the robustness of policy strategies under uncertainty cope well with scenario uncertainty. Under ignorance and surprise, well-coping approaches focus on enhancing society‟s (or a policy strategy‟s) capacity to tolerate disturbances, to cope with changes and surprise, and to adapt and be adapted.

    • I don’t understand why this is an example of post-normal science. It appears to be an excellent example of qualitative research.

      • Its the policy interface that makes it ‘postnormal’

      • Thanks for the response.

        Potential problem analysis uses triggers and contingencies. The triggers are typically implemented based on probability of occurrence/certainty. When considered as a whole, the process becomes a policy which can occur at a very granular level. I guess this is now considered to be ‘postnormal’.

        I was checking the WHO site for any trend analysis related to Natural disasters and heat related mortality. I didn’t find very much.

        WHO Report Aug. 2007
        Natural disasters
        • Affected 134.6 million people and killed 21,342 in 2006.
        • Threatened already stretched health systems.
        • Caused infectious disease epidemics, acute malnutrition, population displacement, acute mental illness and the exacerbation of chronic disease.
        http://www.who.int/whr/2007/media_centre/slides_en.pdf

      • (WHO 2008, 2009)
        Extreme weather: Annual death rate 30-60k
        Malaria: Annual death rate 900,000
        Diarrhoea/Water Supply: Annual death rate 2 Million
        Infrastructure: Annual death rate 2 Million due to indoor air pollution
        Food Supply: Annual death rate 3.5 Million

        So we’re wasting Billions on climate change when we should be addressing 5 fundamental issues in Africa and SE Asia.

  20. This post reminded me of an editorial comment by the editor of the BJM (British Journal of Medicine about a year ago. Dr Godlee declared that climate change and global warming represented a threat to mankind greater than “all communicable and non-communicable diseases combined”.

    Think about that for a minute. Communicable and non-communicable disease accounts for more than half of the leading causes of mortality in the world. To date, how many people has climate change killed? Perhaps that is why we have such a hard time finding those 50 million climate refugees. They’re all dead.

    Max, Michael, Robert, lolwot and others here apparently want us to believe that Dr Godlee knows what us science denying, quivering in fear types don’t. That by merit of her position she is far more capable of decerning the truth (and predicting the future) than the rst of us. These folks KNOW what is going to happen. When you KNOW, uncertainty becomes a non-issue.

    • Who is smarter, Dr. Godlee or “science denying” types?

      My money would be on Dr. Godlee.

      • I take it this is some of that money that will still be yours, even should you lose the bet.

        How about addressing the point Max? Care to defend the proposition that global warming is a greater threat than communicable and non-communicable diseases ?

      • You want me to compare her “represent a threat” comment to your ” is anyone dead yet” question ?

        OK, I’ll try to clear this up for you. Drinking two quarts of moonshine every day could “represent a threat to my health, even kill me. Am I dead yet? No, because I don’t drink that much moonshine.

      • From unsupported claims to idiotic arguments to being obtuse.

        Congratulations Max. You finally hit on a strategy that works. I can’t tell wtf you are trying to say here.

      • Simply, that something doesn’t have to have already happened to be a threat. Even household pets understand that.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        After all of this time here, Max is still stupid to think that skeptics are ‘anti-science’.
        Perhaps it is genetic on his part, but I bet it is really (lack of) nurture.
        Clown on, Max.

  21. JC said: This paper comes from the Dutch postnormal science group. [http://www.nusap.net/] Postnormal science is a particular view of the interface between science and policy for complex problems with deep uncertainties [...]

    Wow. Just reading the abstracts on the front page of that site made me think I had just dropped into a Jehovah’s Witnesses world. The end is nigh.
    For example:

    It is now obvious that there is a problem of possible massive failures of the various systems on which modern society, indeed all of civilisation, depends. Thanks to climate change and instability, we must reckon with the prospect of at the very least the disruption of our civilisation, quite possibly its serious damage or collapse, and indeed the real possibility of an extinction of species on a scale that takes us back to early in the history of life on the planet. Should we escape from any of those fates, we still must reckon with the fragility of many other global systems.

    There are many ways to end life-as-we-know-it and send us back to the stone age, or the dark ages at least … and climate change is not one of the most pressing.

  22. International migration is South to North. See Table 1 in link.

    http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/452/13/PDF/N1245213.pdf?OpenElement

    Migrants know cooler places have better economic opportunities.

    • You are an idiot

      • A point Max seems to want to prove beyond all doubt with the responses he’s posting.

      • David Springer

        +1

      • Once again my posts have reduced you to name calling.

      • Max,

        As long as the subject is name calling – have you considered having a word with Robert? That seems to be his one trick pony. At least he manages to execute it with impressive arrogance.

        btw – I can’t tell if this is just a fun exercise for you, or you lack experience in debating, but I can say that you do not exhibit the arrgoance many do.

      • OK, I’ll take back my comment implying household pets have better instincts than you.

      • timothy gasser

        I missed the bit about household pets.

        Must be getting old.

        Also checked out the link below concerning warming and ozone. I need to research further as to whether CO2 mitigation has more going for it verses other mitigation efforts. Until then I’ll have to put health risks from ozone increasing in a warmer world as a real risk. (With the caveat that the degree of risk is still rather model dependant.)

    • Max_OK

      For the real reason why “cooler places have better economies than warmer ones”, I suggest you read David S. Landes’ excellent book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations – Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor .

      Max_(not from OK)

      • Thanks, Max_(not from OK). Based on the free pages at Amazon.com, this is a book I would like to read. I’ll see if my library has it.

  23. The thing about adaptation for climate change is that it is pretty much the same as adaptation to the weather extremes already suffered quite regularly. There should be no argument about resource allocation because In the long run preventing flood, drought or storm damage saves lives and money and resources. And now we are global, crop failures affect everyone. So unless you have an anti-human, anti-growth agenda you should be for it. Even if they use wild projections for impacts reports, the fact remains that contemporary extreme events are plenty scary and very costly.

    • True, JamesG, but adaption doesn’t always work as well as prevention.

      • Good Lord Max,

        Do you just post whatever thought that pops into your head? How about providing an example, preferably relative to climate?

      • Well, I already did. OZONE !

        Can you adapt to more ground level ozone? Sure. Stay indoors and run the AC, contributing of course to even more of the … COUGH… wheeez … GAG .. nasty stuff.

        OR

        Wear a gas mask while outdoors.

        Pollution advocates may like ozone, but I dont. I’m for healthy air. I like to run around outside without a gas mask.

      • Ok Max,

        Now I’m going to have to pull out my old text books for this one, as I can’t remember for sure off the top of my head. I thought ground level ozone was a result of chemical reactions – not involving CO2 – and not about global warming.

        If you are saying that mitigation is the preferred means for dealing with problems caused by nitrogen and sulfer oxides, then I can readily agree with you.

    • The thing about adaptation for climate change is that it is pretty much the same as adaptation to the weather extremes already suffered quite regularly.

      Actually, it’s quite a bit more complicated than that. You also have to adapt to sea level rise, ocean acidification, species extinction, ozone-depleting thunderstorms, the spread of tropical diseases and parasites, and so forth and so on.

      But adapting to extremes is part of it, and our infrastructure with that is lousy and critically needs improvement.

  24. David Springer

    Why not just compare North Dakota to South Dakota. That should approximate global warming over the next century. Want to know about sickness? Compare average number of sick days taken by employees, pubic school students of all ages, and medicare. Per capita mortality, lifespans, cost per mile of road constructed, this seems like pretty simple actuarial study. Grunt work that only requires time not particular expertise beyond data mining and asking the right questions of the data.
    You can compare money spent mitigating weather related stuff, agricultural cost efficiency for same crops, all kind of crap. All actuarial. All the data needed should already be hanging around in various gov’t repositories.

    • David Springer

      Actually compare North Dakota to Nebraska to Oklahoma. Each step has about 2C of temperature difference. Put me down for wanting to live in North Dakota only if it warms up to what Oklahoma is today. That’s 4C of warming. I probably shouldn’t make any relocation plans just yet.

    • Yes, SD has extensive ocean beaches, so we can see what happens when rising sea levels spill over to landlocked ND. Moreover, SD’s abundance of water make it ideal for rice cultivation, while dry ND is known for growing wheat, so we can see how warming effects yields of these two important grains.

  25. If better health really was a key concern the Left would be the biggest proponent of capitalism. Poor health is the result of poverty.

    If the countries of dead and dying Old Europe were states in the US they would fall among the five poorest states in the union—this according to their respective GDPs. The Left is doing its best to run the economy of California off a cliff. But not that many years ago California was considered a very conservative state. Based on GDP California produces as much as the entire country of Italy. But now, Leftist Stonkernomics has it headed toward bankruptcy

    THE US THAT THE LEFT WANTS TO FIX COMPARED TO EVERYBODY ELSE presents an interesting picture when you consider that the Left wants us to adopt Europes Leftist ideology. A map produced by The Economist shows that North Carolina’s economy alone is equal to that of Sweden, and that of Iowa equals that of Algeria, and that Louisiana equals Israel.

    • “If the countries of dead and dying Old Europe were states in the US they would fall among the five poorest states in the union”

      Wrong, they would be the richest.

      • When in comes to concern for health the Left obviously cares more for the wellbeing of pigeons than people. The National Park Service asks of us, PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. Why? Do they hate the animals? No—the reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. The Irony here is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is so proud of the fact that the Food Stamp Program that it administers is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps in history.

      • Comparing people to animals. Sounds like a great idea for a Mitt speech.

      • The Left loves its pigeons.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        As a disinterested observer – Romney off the cuff statement on the culture of dependency mirrors events here with indigenous policy – not to mentions the generations of welfare dependent Australians generally. In indigenous affairs there is a growing awareness that the culture of entitlement leads to more disfunction in communities. People are taking responsibility for themselves leading to transformations that many billions of dollars of government money has not achieved over decades.

        The culture of entitlement is more the problem than the solution.

      • True, true — even if our 47%ers do not feel like they have the mindset of simply wanting to soak the paychecks of taxpayers to get what they want, still they will vote in a New York minute for huge bond measures even if roundly opposed by everyone else who will actually pay them off, plus interest. It’s a fact of life if you don’t actually pay the interest, borrowed money seems like free money… It doesn’t take long before the Lenders begin to wonder — not about the earners that are to pay off the loan – but about the borrowers on whom the loan will be blown. It’s no wonder the U.S. has been given its first-ever credit rating downgrades–two in the last 3.5 years.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There is a running gag from an economics commentator I listen to on responses of markets to ‘quantitative easing’ and bailouts. Everyone loves free money.

      • Yup–The Meaning of TINSTAAFL–e.g., being anti-nuke is just more of the same: superstitious fearmongering. It’s a crime the way lazy and superstitious useful idiots of the Left continue to torch the culture…

      • What I’ve gathered from this illuminating discussion so far is that Pensioners are Animals and we should stop feeding them.

      • If they didn’t earn it I think it would be a good idea if they knew they were receiving welfare instead of being told they earned it just by being alive. But, that’s just my opinion. I think the prevailing opinion is that they earn it by voting for a Democrat candidate.

      • lolwot

        Living in (what Churchill once described as) an “island of sanity” in the middle of Europe (Switzerland) I see the “dying Old Europe” a bit differently.

        Switzerland is fortunate to not be a member of the EU, but is so small (and so dependent on trade with the EU) that its politicians often allow themselves to be bullied or strong-armed by the EU. Still, Switzerland is not suffering a recession, unemployment is very low, its currency is very strong (to the dismay of the exporting industries), and it is not directly being asked to pay for bailing out Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, etc. (as is its northern neighbor, Germany)..

        The excesses in Greece (and to a lesser extent in the other “PIGS” nations) were overspending by the government, no effective tax collection system, way too many people on the government payroll, excessive pay increases for everyone with too little “added value”, etc. Plus, of course, corruption across the board. Some blame this bubble on “over-socialization”.

        The USA (especially some states or regions) may suffer from a lot of the same problems (especially now during the recession, with the high levels of unemployment), but I do not believe that the problem there is as critical as (for example) in Greece. Unemployment levels are much lower, to start off with. There may be too much spending by the federal government, but there is no rampant corruption and there is an effective tax collection system in place, all of which is different in Greece.

        But “dying Old Europe” has reinvented itself many times in the past Even if it appears to be headed for self-destruction by overindulgence, don’t count it out just yet.

        Just my viewpoint, of course.

        Max

      • At fault in Europe is a single contradiction in the EU ideology: the politicians want a single Europe but they all want their own countries too. Europe isn’t ready for workable integration yet and probably won’t be for dozens more generations. The politicians are too eager and self-confident. They will proceed to push through attempts like a single currency even though it’s unworkable without single economic policy (which is what they can’t agree on now there’s a crisis).

      • California is fast headed for the Leftist-liberal graveyard and like Spain it does not have a printing press to churn out dollars or it would be doing just that… And, there is no hope there that a Left of Left governor and legislature that take their orders from the unions of government employees will do anything to avoid financial disaster.

      • lolwot,

        Now that is an excellent description of the central problem in Europe. Rephrased, the Europeans are not ready for the complete centralizatin of power that the politicians are pushing toward. The problem is the same, though less advanced, in the U.S.

        I suspect we differ on whether the current rejection of the drive toward ever more centralization of power is a good thing. Now or in the future.

    • “A map produced by The Economist shows that North Carolina’s economy alone is equal to that of Sweden”

      GDP of Sweden: $538.237 billion
      GDP of North Carolina: $439.862 billion

      What’s ten thousand dollars per person per year among friends, eh?

      • It’s not just about health and it is a lot more than about health. The Founders had our backs. Who has our backs now, the Left?

        Info at http://www.timbro.com (EU VERSUS USA by Fredrik Bergström & Robert Gidehag)–e.g.,

        “IF THE EU WERE A PART of the United States of America would it belong to the richest or the poorest group of states?

        …THIS REPORT IS ABOUT THE FACT that per capita GDP is lower in most of the countries of Europe than in most of the states of the USA. That France, Italy and Germany have less per capita GDP than all but five of the states of the USA…”

      • Wagathon

        What the very right wing and simplistic ‘Timbro’ link you posted has omitted to mention is US debt.
        http://www.usdebtclock.org/

        It amounts to 683,000$ per family.So you might have a high gdp but the US standard of living is based on money borrowed from other countries.

        The scary levels of US debt is not something that can be ignored as it impacts on the whole of the West.

        tonyb

      • True, true and in that respect we will watch the EU being flushed down the toilet before we go down. Or, perhaps we will learn from their example and avoid that fate…

        The only thing you can do to save dead and dying Old Europe this time is to help them help themselves by turning your back on the failed course they took.

      • tony b

        The high US federal debt is not only “borrowed from other countries”, it is “borrowed from future generations of Americans”.

        Max

      • Wagathon

        I speak as a friend of America and no enemy of you . The US is very important to the global economy but it has hopelessly and comprehensively overborrowed and lived far beyond its means, whilst transferring many of its manufacturing assets to China, which might have helped to get itself out of the mire.

        In the great scheme of things it doesnt matter too much if the Greeks or Irish overspend but unless the US curtails its spending it will spell catastrophe for the West.

        Neither Obama-who is a windbag-nor Mitt Romney-who created a very poor impression of himself when over here in the UK recently-seem to have any answers or the willingnress to tackle the problems.

        I am not protecting the EU who I thoroughly disapprove of, but if you go down so do we all.

        tonyb

      • I appreciate your earnestness but in general (not aimed at you personally) I could care less about the opinions of Europeans becasue they cheered the election of Obama and before that stabbed George Bush in the back. This time around the Euros won’t have the US to peon — but, good luck

      • Wagathon

        I am British NOT a European!

        tonyb

      • Hang tough tonyb–Brazos!

      • tony and manaker,

        Way to depress me.

        I occasionally wonder if I’m the fool for foregoing material gratification in order to save and invest for retirement. Perhaps the guy who dies deeply in debt is the smart one, enjoying the trappings of gross consumerism on other peoples money.

      • Did you hear the story of the two German brothers? One worked hard and saved all his life. The other was a drunk and had nothing but empty whisky bottles in his front yard to show he lived. Then came the inflation. This was before WWII. Workers pushed their wages through the fence to their wives to buy groceries before the prices went up. While the money soon became worth nothing the drunken brother was rich because he had glass whiskey bottles to sell.

  26. The flaw with adaptation is that democratic populations will reject it in the event a climate disaster does happen.

    People only accept adaptation to disasters if man isn’t to blame. If man is to blame then people seek vengeance and mitigation.

    Such is what happened after 9/11. Imagine after 9/11 preaching about damage functions and how cost/benefit analysis to the economy suggested adaptation to terrorism was better than mitigation.

    Adaptation only works if disaster doesn’t happen, thus it’s little different from a pure gamble. Adaptation is hoping for the best, mitigation is averting the worst.

    • lolwot

      The Netherlands is a prime example of how “adaption” to climate or environmental changes works in actual practice.

      When sea levels start to rise (for what ever reason) dikes are raised or new dikes are built.

      Very rarely there are major storms resulting in dike breaches and local flooding (the last significant one was in 1963), but the dike is soon strengthened and raised to prevent a recurrence in the future.

      Adaptation works in actual practice.

      Another very simple example in the USA is the tornado warning systems that have been put into place, greatly reducing loss of human lives from tornadoes.

      Mitigation does not, for one simple reason: we are not able to change our planet’s climate perceptibly no matter how much money we throw at it.

      Max

  27. GaryM,
    @ September 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm
    http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/20/uncertainty-in-health-impacts-of-climate-change/#comment-242551

    When a conservative wants to help the poor, he gives his own money to them. When a progressive wants to help the poor, he votes for a politican who will take someone else’s money and give it to them. And then the progressive goes and gets a government or NGO job where he can get paid for redistributing other people’s money.

    The following might help explain (for non Australians reading this substitute ‘Conservative’ for ‘Liberal’ and ‘Progressive’ for ‘Labor’)

    History Lesson

    Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundations of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

    1. Liberals, and

    2. Labour.

    Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor the aluminium can had been invented yet, so while our early ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.

    Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is now known as the Liberal Party. Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the Liberals by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Labour party.

    Some of these Labour men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy Labour achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that Liberals provided.

    Modern Labour-ites like imported beer, but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard Labour fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury lawyers, journalists, dreamers in the Arts and group therapists are Labour.

    Liberals drink domestic beer, mostly VB. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Liberals are hunters, jackaroos, loggers, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, servicemen, and generally anyone who works productively. Liberals who own companies hire other liberals who want to work for a living.

    Labour-ites produce little or nothing They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. They believe Europeans are more enlightened, which is why most of them remained in Europe when Liberals were emigrating here. The Labour camp crept in after the Nation was settled and the Outback tamed and created a business of trying to get something for nothing.

    Here ends today’s lesson in world history:

    It should be noted that a Labour reader may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Liberal will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more Labour-ites just to piss them off.

    • Woops, mistake in code closing the bold after “History Lesson”

    • Peter Lang,

      You should publish a history text book. Your grasp of the evolutionary nuances that differentiate conservatives/liberals from progressives/laborites is robust.

      Just watch out for the science deniers who will reject your thesis out of hand.

    • And, the Scotts were satisfied although their brew was exposed to peat smoke and ruined in the opinion of anyone with a brain. So, the Scotts made a pretense of the fact that they really liked the taste of peat and went so far as to go out of their way to increase its peatiness whereas the Irish knew that while distinctive Scotch was disgusting and so they invented Irish whiskey.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      +1

  28. This is an interesting approach to solving problems that aren’t amenable to experiment.

    Nonetheless, I’m not sure how it would work beyond this experimental format. The knowledge level and period of outlook (the time over which the effects are expected to occur) seem to demand periodic reviews, perhaps every five years. Then of course there’s the question of how “experts” are selected and the number of “experts” available. It seems to me that the process would need to be formalized and, in so doing, there’s still a danger that it would become nothing but another IPCC-like political football.

    The real problem gets back to one question: who’s an “expert”? Imagine that a similar survey had been given to “climate experts” in, say, 2005. Would McIntyre have been selected as a “climate expert”? Or, imagine a survey on economic matters. Should we consider Warren Buffet an “expert” on economics? Or would his lack of formal credentials mean he’s not qualified?

  29. Like John of CA [John from CA | September 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm] I had difficulty seeing this paper as a PNS paper. I still do. To me the paper is interesting and useful but not a PNS paper because I do not see a complete extended peer community or EPC component, and for me that very thing (EPC) is what might truly distinguish the activity as post-normal. Maybe this view comes from years in nuclear (and chemical) impacts assessment where it is a given that one was grappling with a number of larger uncertainties and one had real difficulty in assigning values to certain variables/parameters. Contenting with problems in those areas provided some of the motivation of PNS and the EPC is the one really novel component/tool of PNS. (PNS represents neither the first nor only attempt at dealing with uncertainty, ignorance, and the science-policy interface.)

    This paper is not PNS because the EPC is truncated. If I read the available material correctly the survey was directed at domain experts and generalists*, i.e., no local impacted stakeholders were included. (The actual listing/description of the participants is not available at this early stage of publication.) Inclusion of impacted stakeholders on the EPC is much tougher than inclusion of other, non-science domain experts, and so getting that done is a big deal. (Success stories will be of great interest.) This omission is not surprising because here the paper is a 40,000 foot flyover–a generic study illustrating some concepts in the approach and presenting important content in a convenient form.

    Being picky about the EPC might seem like a quibble, but I make the point on the EPCs because I think that the tough sell of PNS (or similar constructs) in the traditional science community will evolve in part around the EPCs. Call it guarding the gates of the temple, territorial imperative, or whatever, acceptance of EPCs like entities will be contentious. It is curious that discussion in this post and the previous post hardly touch on EPCs. I suspect a comfort issue for a lot of people who consider themselves as scientists.

    For the record, I am something of a traditional scientist and I have some concern about the EPC in regard to the potential for its abuse. But we should concentrate on what might work and not on what might fail.
    ———————-
    * There are references in the paper to generalists, but I took them to be individuals having cross-disciplinary experience (technology/law/business/government) relevant to the topic, and not to be generic representatives of impacted communities.

  30. Hello Judith Curry
    Uncertainties in assessing future climate impacts also arise from the limitations of climate impact models including (i) structural uncertainty due to the inability of models to capture all influential factors, e.g., the models used to assess health impacts of climate change usually neglect social factors in the spread of disease..
    Thank you

  31. mwgrant,

    Interesting comment. Your background suggests your further contributions would be valuable.

    Maybe this view comes from years in nuclear (and chemical) impacts assessment where it is a given that one was grappling with a number of larger uncertainties and one had real difficulty in assigning values to certain variables/parameters. Contenting with problems in those areas provided some of the motivation of PNS and the EPC is the one really novel component/tool of PNS. (PNS represents neither the first nor only attempt at dealing with uncertainty, ignorance, and the science-policy interface.)

    • I appreciate that Peter. I am still getting my sea legs and looking for a comfort zone in climate-change blog world. I do think even casual participation requires a degree of masochism.

  32. I don’t want anyone to take this personally. Well, I do, but Dunning-Kruger tells me I’m not going to get my way.

  33. Chief Hydrologist

    This is ludicrous. I have never seen such as bunch of self important, pompous, opinionated, sorry arse w@nkers in all my life. All of you white males of the chattering and more chattering class I presume. It is amusement of sorts – but horribly and excruciatingly unedifying. Most of you with a pet monomania or simply a lack of self assurance that insists that you prove – in your own minds at least – that you are smarter than some other schmuck. I think you are collectively smarter than dog doo basically – and about as empathic.

    How can we have a subject of human health and welfare – even ludicrously linked to climate as it is – without imagining a starting point today for accelerating the glacially slow response to hunger, disease and poverty. We know what the cost is. For the 0.7 of GDP pledged by developed nations – we could go a long way to providing health and education, safe water and sanitation while eliminating much malaria, dengue fever, dysentery and cholera along the way. We could conserve ecosystems and restore farmland – sequestering 500 billion tonnes of carbon in the soil, feeding the world and conserving water. We could free up trade at huge benefit to ourselves and export democracy, good governance and free markets. This is mitigation and adaptation and doesn’t start tomorrow because western nations are too stupid and duplicitous to match actions with committments.

    Why the hell are you thinking in such nonsensical abstracts when there are such concrete needs. The future certainly won’t be improved by leaving an ongoing legacy of starvation and needless disease. Fatuous and contemptible is about the best that can be said.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      0.7% of GDP as committed to the Millenium Dvelopment Goals.

    • Bravo. Sentiment well expressed.

      And if “we” could figure out that “we” aren’t the solution, “we” aren’t the question, “we” don’t lack a plan to remedy the problem, “we” aren’t the plan, “we” aren’t the remedy, and “we” have zero relationship to the problem, then “we” will be at a starting point.

      You don’t committee the Economy into efficiency. You don’t Expert the smart into the world. You don’t give, grant, lend, impose, advise, or force your wisdom down from above. You don’t unite and organize to make it come about.

      The tighter you close your fist around it, the more it flows out of your grasp.

      You don’t charity. You begin at home.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We focus on what we can do.

        http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Indeed as Bill Gates does in his philanthropic work.

        ‘We have 20 years to invent and 20 years to deploy’.

        No one objects to super cheap energy. In the meantime there is improving soil fertility on agricultural lands, recducing black carbon an tropospheric ozone, restoring and conserving ecosystems, reducing population pressures through health and education services, advancing communities with models of governance and democracy, freeing trade so that economies have markets, etc, etc.

        Bart – I often wonder why you say nothing in so many words.

      • Chief Hydrologist | September 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

        We focus on what we can do.

        Which will be why “we” will fail spectactularly.

        If the crew of a ship pick just the top 10 priorities out of a list when priorities 11-20 are enough to sink them, they have guaranteed they will sink.

        When the people picking the top 10 priorites are the passengers from First Class, they’ll just sink all the faster.

        Should 0.01% of the technical experts from the shipping company’s Accounting department be the ones to pick the top 10 priorities? Replace “Accounting” with Engineering, or Sales, or Human Resources, or Catering, it gets no better. Combine any number of experts from any number of departments, it gets no better. Throw in 50 children or 300 children or 200 dog catchers, it gets no better.

        How do we know this? We know this because it’s always failed before.

        Informed ranking of solutions is just wheelspinning. Adding bells and whistles to the ship is not going to prevent it from sinking.

        This plan “we” have made up is just http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv1pvRDFFqs

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Motivated and informed co-operation has always worked. ‘Contemporary research on the outcomes of diverse institutional arrangements for governing common-pool resources (CPRs) and public goods at multiple scales builds on classical economic theory while developing new theory to explain phenomena that do not fit in a dichotomous world of “the market” and “the state”. Scholars are slowly shifting from positioning simple systems to using more complex frameworks, theories, and models to understand the diversity of puzzles and problems facing humans interacting in contemporary societies. The humans we study have complex motivational structures and establish diverse private-for-profit, governmental, and community institutional arrangements that operate at multiple scales to generate productive and innovative as well as destructive and perverse outcomes (Douglass C. North 1990, 2005). In this lecture, I will describe the intellectual journey that I have taken the last half century from when I began graduate studies in the late 1950s.’ Elinor Ostrom

        It is spectacularly effective.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8582353.stm

      • Bill Gates on energy, climate and Innovation

        Being an very intelligent, obscenely wealthy and spectacularly successful computer geek does not directly qualify anyone to muse about energy and climate (although this man can surely talk about innovation).

        OK, when it’s Bill Gates (and a hidden sales pitch for GE) it may make some sense.

        So let’s go through it.

        His starting premise is that “the climate is getting worse

        Increased CO2 => temperature increase => negative effects

        This is presumptive (and highly questionable), but it’s his “starting point”

        “Innovating to zero (CO2)” is a good slogan and (hey) it may even be a good idea, if we can develop something less costly than fossil fuel.

        “Getting rid of world poverty” and “innovating to zero CO2″ are two different goals.

        As such, they may require two different strategies – but Gates has now lumped them together (sort of like “motherhood” and “apple pie”).

        He then lists some of the inherent problems of solar/wind:
        l- very large surface area is required
        – supply is intermittent (max 30%)

        So we need a very large land surface area plus super-batteries (that do not exist today) if intermittent supplies are to be a significant part of total.

        We would need lots of companies to develop these.

        We also need innovations in nuclear as well. Here there are safety and waste concerns, but the technology for solving these essentially already exist

        – fast-breeder technology exists as prototypes today
        – could be developed to essentially use present nuclear waste and U238 directly as fuel

        Using the “CO2 leads to worse climate” starting argument, what should our report card look like?

        According to Gates:

        – 20% less co2 in 2020
        – 80% less co2 in 2080

        And we need “half the cost with no co2″ as innovative goal.

        Gates feels that taxpayer-funded innovation subsidies must be part of the equation I’m sure GE likes that one)

        He thinks that “cap and trade” or a “carbon tax” could also help, but does not explain how this would reduce the cost of the “no co2″ solutions.

        IMO he got off his topic with this last remark, but he may see this as the “source” for the tax-payer funded innovation subsidies. To me it seems like simply a move to make fossil fuel based plants “less competitive” rather than making non-fossil fuel based plants “more competitive”, so is actually counterproductive in the long run.

        If one accepts his starting premise, his talk all makes sense, except the very last few sentences, where he defends a direct or indirect carbon tax.

        And it was an excellent sales pitch for GE.

        Max.

        .

    • True, true… at least with Roosevelt — although sound financial analysis shows that all of the government spending actually prevented what would otherwise have been an earlier recovery — America at least got something out of all the fiat currency that was printed, mineted and spent by Father Knows Best–e.g., Hoover Dam. The country has nothing to show for the cash-for-clunkers Democrat Stonkernomics of the last ~4 years. With all of those trillions that was wasted America could have brought clean water to Africa. That at least would have been something.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Chief,
      Precisely. Every dollar spent considering how cliamte change impacts health is a wasted opportunity to actually do somethign to help.
      But do not forget that the uber extremist climate kooks want a nice xenocide to trim down the human infestations around Gaia. you know, “Time’s Up!” , “Earth in the Balance”, “The POpulation Bomb” and the other Ehrlich / Schneider lies.

      • Every dollar spent considering how cliamte change impacts health is a wasted opportunity to actually do somethign to help.

        Spare us the crocodile tears. It is perfectly possible to do both.

        But do not forget that the uber extremist climate kooks want a nice xenocide to trim down the human infestations around Gaia.

        Now you’re just being a c*nt.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Increasing the resilience of human societies and reducing or sequestering greenhouse gas emissions can indeed be two sides of same coin. We can sequester all of the emissions to date by increasing organic content in agricultural soils by 1%. Restored soil fertility has increased productivity by up to 100% from the same area of land – as well as reducing input costs. It is also conserving water and reducing flooding.

        Concern for an imagined future starts now. We should stop fantasising about the future and start making it.

      • > We should stop fantasising about the future and start making it.

        Amen to that.

        On the other hand, there is also this latest post by Judy on which we could comment, and we should not deemphasize the uncertainties that we’ll have fun doing so.

        But that does not mitigate our will to meet up there in a near future.

    • In a long line of unintentionally ironic posts, I do believe that this one takes the cake:

      I have never seen such as bunch of self important, pompous, opinionated, sorry arse w@nkers in all my life. … Most of you with a pet monomania or simply a lack of self assurance that insists that you prove – in your own minds at least – that you are smarter than some other schmuck.

      Apparently, Chief also thinks that his sh-t doesn’t stink.

      • No. He thinks you and your *fellow travelers* are focused on the maybe harm of the future at the expense of the real harm of the here and now. His inelegant wording is an expression of frustration digesting and combating all of the posts against his view.

        Since no one is trying to persuade their opposite numbers to a new view, 99% of the posts are a waste. Everyone knows this in their bones, but has so much invested in this silly comedy, keeps marching on laying down the same treatise over and over again.

        It reminds me of why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday:

        and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog. And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry, ’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us.

    • Why the hell are you thinking in such nonsensical abstracts when there are such concrete needs.

      1. They are not nonsensical abstracts.
      2. There are lots of problems in the world, addressing one of them does not mean abandoning all of the others – Kyoto and the MDG were signed within three years of each other. Anyway the people who are calling for action on climate change are generally the same people who supported Jubilee 2000 and the Milennium Development Goals.

    • Just to undeline my point, when our government came to power it promised to ring fence spending on foreign aid and to take strong action to fight climate change. They were criticised on both these fronts by exactly the same people.

  34. Here’s a certainty.
    Cold weather leads to an increase in mortality.

  35. Just an abstract from a 2006 paper by Ravetz. Might as well throw it into the pot. First three sentences and a half are interesting in the present context. [The paper is behind a paywall.]

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1476945X07000037
    Post-Normal Science and the complexity of transitions towards sustainability
    Ecological Complexity
    Volume 3, Issue 4, December 2006, Pages 275–284
    Complexity and Ecological Economics

    The theory of Post-Normal Science is now approaching obsolescence; it needs to be renewed and enriched. In historical perspective, PNS evolved from a criticism of Probabilistic Risk Analysis, and put the essentially political idea of Extended Peer Community at its core. Establishing the legitimacy of the EPC requires a review of the methodology of science in the policy process. The time is not ripe for a modification of PNS, and so the best move forward is to raise the issue of Sustainability. For that I sketch a theory of complex systems, with special attention to pathologies and failures. That provides the foundation for a use of ‘contradiction’ as a problem incapable of resolution in its own terms, and also of ‘characteristic contradiction’ that drives a system to a crisis. With those materials it is possible to state the characteristic contradiction of our modern industrial civilisation, and provide a diagram with heuristic power.

  36. ‘Projections of health risks of climate change are surrounded with uncertainties in knowledge.’ (Wardekker et al) So what do you do ‘when the facts are uncertain, values in dispute,stakes are high and decisions are urgent?’ (Ravetz.)

    Well, seems ter me, that given that the facts are uncertain, how can we say fer sure that decisions are urgent or that if we make decisions they’ll be the right ones fer a black swan event? Several denizens here have pointed out we’re at the high end of the interglacial and climate change could well mean a transition into an ice age. Temperature charts and CO2 emission graphs are not in sync … seems like its not easy predicting future climate.

    Stakes are high? Hmm, sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease? Exchanging efficient energy sources fer costly, inefficient and intermittant renewables affects people’s livelihoods and productivity. And how “bad’ would be global warming of a possible couple of degrees anyway? Say, cold can be pretty “bad’ for human communities. Paleo- history – records periods of climate deterioration in the Middle Ages, between the 4th and 8th centuries and particularly The Black Death of 1348/9 paint a bleak picture of societies decimated by famine and plague. The period after The Black Death saw social upheaval in France and Flanders and The Peasants’ Revolt in England.
    (The Oxford History of Medieval Europe edit G Holmes.)

    Human distress took many forms. H Zisser in ‘Rats, Lice and History’ mentions epidemics of dancing mania in the Middle Ages, common after The Black Death, known as St John’s dance, St Vitas’ dance, which appeared not to be diseases of the nervous system but rather,
    ‘mass hysteria brought about by terror and despair in populations oppressed, famished and wretched to a degree almost unimaginable today.’

    The last European famine since the Industrial Revolution was, I believe, the Irish potato Famine of 1845, a cool, wet summer in Ireland. Since then, despite Erlich’s predictions industrial high tech nations have been able to keep food production in step with population growth.

    So what about future insurance?. If we don’t know where we’re heading with the great climate seesaw, what can we do ter give us the best odds of dealing with whatever unknown challenges the climate throws at us?
    Should we rely on central committee high – tax – outlay 5 year plans and 10 year plans, based on uncertainty? … Or should we should we promote and encourage free market innovation and enterprise, restricting government taxes ter fostering education and basics that government does best. Amen.

  37. Please help me understand if I have this right:

    Adaption is air conditioning, dike construction, move up to the hills, farming in Siberia, etc.

    Mitigation is Geo-Engineering

    Remediation is Zero (or near-zero) Carbon energy and transport.

    • tongue in cheek…

      adaption is free enterprise

      mitigation is socialism

      remediation is totalitarianism

      • adaption is natural

        mitigation is guilt

        remediation is vengence

      • Thanks, these are all helpful.

        To continue with the nonsense:

        Wag is right about adaption.

        Mitigation is “Oh $hit, Michael Tobis was Right after ALL !!!”

        Remediation is not gonna happen (this should include CCS as well)

    • Howard,

      Thanks for initiating one of the more enjoyable strings in this post.

      • Thanks, but it was a serious question that I really don’t know the answer to. It’s hard to keep up with all the terms of art when you are ADD and dyslexic.

        It’s the basic form used in contamination risk assessment for the main responses when there are potentially complete exposure pathways.

        Adaption would be building/use restrictions in a landuse covenant (LUC)

        Mitigation would be a long-term pumping or venting system along with a LUC

        Remediation is source removal with or without a LUC

      • The fact it was serious was one of the reasons I enjoyed it.

        As an aside, where I born a decade or two later, I’m pretty sure I’d have been pumped full of drugs and diagnosed as ADD and hyperactive. I also figured out I was slightly dyslexic when it came to numbers. Thank god it did not extend to words and letters. I enjoy reading too much.

  38. I should add : “one must desire more than one has in order to become more.” For this is the teaching which life itself preaches to all living things : the morality of Development. To have and to wish to have more, in a word, Growth that is life itself. In the teaching of socialism “a will to the denial of life” is but poorly concealed…

    (Nietzsche)

    • That’s just as lame as a warmista quoting Vonnegut while wearing a beret and sipping a fair-trade soy-mocha latte.

      • There are choices and socialism is the most gutless. No one can work in a free enterprise economy without caring of others, being optimistic about life and giving totally of one-self: the capitalist must actually provide something of value to someone else or the capitalist does not eat.

      • You are right. We need to eliminate all vestiges of socialism because pure free market is the way. First, we do away with the socialist fire departments, then the sewer treatment (let Enron do it!). The effing socialist military just protects all those rich corporations, let’s get rid of that.

        I agree that free enterprise is a great thing, in the right environment. Libya is currently enjoying the wonders of free enterprise, you should move there.

        But that’s not the point.

        Quoting someone famous out of context to support your addled opinions is a sign of weakness.

      • I only said your most gutless choice not a forbidden choice. Even dogs cooperate. Cooperation, however, does not mean you have a right to whatever I have in my wallet even if the three dudes you are with agree with you.

      • Sorry Wag. I can’t pay you anymore attention for fear of whiplash as you keep moving the goal-posts. However, just a friendly tip: Liberal Fascism is an oxymoron.

      • When people agree that patterns and relationships between things are not well understood no one is surprised that events are unpredictable. When we run into problems is when people like — for example, Al Gore a seminary school dropout, Leftist, lifetime politician coming from a background of entitlement and privilege — is allowed to make the case (for political and ideological purposes) that everything is very well understood and anyone who cannot appreciate that fact is an idiot. That is when everything becomes Oh so predictable. And, that is what has lead to the sacrifice of individual liberty on the altar of self-interested government action against CO2 and the attempted takeover of energy and by extension the economy. That is what liberal fascism is all about.

  39. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The medical literature of denialism is fascinating:

    A British Soldier in Afghanistan
      Has a Baby Without Knowing She Was Pregnant:
        How Is This Possible?

    The story that a British soldier, who did not realise she was pregnant, has recently given birth ‘on the front line’ in Afghanistan, is a more common enigma than generally realised.

    Pregnancy, particularly late pregnancy when a mother is close to giving birth, would seem an utterly obvious condition. Yet obstetricians repeatedly encounter women who even deliver at full term, without being at all aware they were pregnant.

    Before we jump to the conclusion these women are stupid or insane, denial of physical illness is very common. Indeed it is almost normal following a life-changing diagnosis such as cancer or severe heart disease.

    Such denial frequently leads to not following medical advice and this is even a norm in many serious physical illnesses.

    Perhaps denial of climate-change is not much different from denial of pregnancy?

    Does this medically explain the psychological paradox, that climate-change denialism is becoming more prevalent, as climate-change rationally becomes more evident   :?:   :?:   :?:

    Does this dynamic explain, for example, why Anthony Watts/WUWT have just posted its thirteenth   :!: (or is it fourteenth?) feature story on the Lewandowsky study? Yikes   ;)   :?:   :grin:   :?:   :lol:   :?:

    Hmmm … in light of the medical literature on the complex psychology of denialism, perhaps we should not “jump to the conclusion these repetitive Lewandowsky-centric WUWT posts are stupid or insane”, eh?   :!:   :!:   :!:

    Conclusion  Climate-change denialism and its increasing prevalence may itself be a medical condition that is caused by climate-change.

    • Exactly. Deniers have all of the psychological characteristics of obese, red-neck, trailer-trash women abused by men. Read the comments at WUWT to confirm.

      The warmistas are similar, but have a slightly different *bent*: skinny, city-dwelling, liberal-leaning, tramp-stamped with *booger-hooks*, single, men-hating one-night-stand mattresses abused by men, but think they themselves are the abusers.

      After a fifth of Jack, you are starting to look pretty good there Miss Fan. Me love you long time!

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Howard, scientific studies of medical denial disconfirm the socio-economic prejudices that your comment so vividly expresses.

        However, there exists a strong correlative association between anger, abuse, and alcohol abuse.   :shock:   :shock:   :shock:

        Conclusion  You may feel less anger, Howard, once the Jack Daniels wears off.   :(   :(   :(

      • Liberal fascism isn’t something that comes and goes–when it comes it stays… which of course is why Jefferson said, A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

      • Please, tell me more. Provide more links that I won’t read because the words are too big and obvious. But thanks anyway. I had no idea that liquid courage increased anger. Is that a peer reviewed study published in a top-shelf journal? I only form opinions when it is in an elite publication that all of the best people approve. You see, deep down, I’m a hyper-rational type 2 thinker like you.

        Maybe you can help me. The oldest story known to Man is about Chicken Little and Henny-Penny. What is the psychological impairment that this story highlights that is responsible for your condition and what shall we do to fix it?

        Thanks!

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Howard, that story teaches more than one lesson, eh?   :lol:   :lol:   :lol:

      • More Fan:

        Sorry, I don’t do Trekkie. I hear the Tea-Baggers and Chicken-Hawks love it though. Same Same at WUWT. Mosher too. Those are your psycho-bros. Find something from Strangelove and I might be amused ;^)

      • Careful Howard,

        I do not believe 14 is of consenting age in any state.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Do not woryy, timg56 … *my* feelings are almost completely healed!   :)   :grin:   :lol:   :!:

    • fan,

      I have to give you credit. Your ability to continually raise the bar for posting non-relevant, off topic links is impressive.

      You know the stuff I’ve said about you posting like a 14 yr ord girl? Well, I left out the ADD part.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Finding the right answers is important in science …

        … and asking good questions is far more important, eh?   :)   :)   :)

        The above conclusion Climate-change denialism and its increasing prevalence may itself be a medical condition that is caused by climate-change. is the right answer to a good question, eh?   :!:   :!:   :!:

      • fan,

        finding data that supports hypothesis is what is important in science. At least that is what we try to present to students. Form a hypothesis, go out and collect data, analysis the data and compare it to your hypothesis, synthesis a response to it and present it to your peers (ie fellow classmates in this case).

        Is this any different from what you would advocate?

        If you are truly interested in either science or education, I invite you to spend a day out in the field with me. You may find it being a bit more substansitive than Star Trek clips.

  40. Liberal Utopia is just a short time away.

    The peoples’ workers will never be stripped of their official party positions by fat businessmen in white shirts. Not even a government astronaut that uses the port window of a shuttle to moon the global village on a fly-by can be fired or deprived of their natural right to free… whatever… (and the most equal among us can even cut in line at the local hospital forever).

    Now that our latest state program is in place outsourcing to China (i.e., sewing US flags on the bottoms of old trousers) we never need worry about ever hitting bottom again. We all are perfectly free to secretly enjoy singing anti-American, pro-capitalist folk songs at the local yerba maté bar where young people secretly gather in dark basements to watch old 50’s TV shows.

    Speaking of… Yerba maté sales certainly have increased of late after the Party raised coffee taxes again to help pay for more global warming research and soaring health care costs.

    President Fidel promised that despite rising coffee prices at the government food bank, yerba maté prices will stabilize, if the lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.

    Government economists have given their assurances that overall, it is very likely that inflation is nearly certain to be very much under control for the foreseeable future. They pointed out that, for example, the removal of underarm skin-tags at the local hospital costs less than a pack of cigarettes, or about $42,000.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Wagathon “Liberal Utopia is just a short  time  distance away.”

      Fixed yer typo, Wagathon!   :)   :grin:   :lol:   :!:

    • To A Fan of MORE Discourse:

      You don’t need no stinking studies. Wag here proves your point. His damage is pretty mild compared with others here and is relatively normal when compared with the WUWT commentators.

      For you, reading Wag must be like looking in a mirror. That’s why you work so hard trying to flip the image you see.

  41. Judith Curry

    As you have emphasized

    none of the policy responses have anything to do with mitigation, which is what the scaremongering has focused upon. This is about adaptation.

    And that, in a nutshell, tells me that all proposed policies are basically “let’s wait and see…” policies (as the word “adaptation” implies).

    These (whether in “normal” or “post-normal” science), make sense.

    In climate adaptation we have such obvious examples as building or raising dikes if and when it looks like rising sea levels or increased local hurricane activity might require this.

    Another excellent example is improving early warning methodology and systems for tornado warnings, in regions where these might occur.

    On another thread you have discussed similar adaptation schemes for droughts, floods or extreme weather events.

    When it comes to the “uncertainty in health impacts of climate change” we have a double “uncertainty” at play.

    First of all, we are “uncertain” just how climate will change over the next 20 years or so – will the warming of the late 20th century resume or will the current slight cooling continue or will there be no real change at all? The uncertainty increases exponentially as we increase the forecast time period. By 2100 “it’s anyone’s guess”.

    The “docs” can’t help us much with that one and even renowned climate scientists, such as James E. Hansen and Richard Lindzen cannot agree whether or how our climate will change. A dilemma!

    There have been some rudimentary studies on the health impact of colder (i.e. winter) climate versus warmer (summer) climate in several northern and southern European countries. Similar data exist for the USA. These data show that a much greater number of humans die of health-related causes (primarily respiratory and cardio-vascular related) in the winter months than in the summer months.

    These studies would tend to tell us that a modest warming of our climate, which is projected by climate models to a) occur primarily at higher (i.e. colder) latitudes and b) in winter (rather than summer), would be generally beneficial to human health.

    The question of vector diseases has also been studied. Malaria outbreaks, for example, have occurred as far north as Siberia. There are no statistics AFAIK, which would indicate that the incidence of these diseases has increased as global temperatures have risen since 1900, for example.

    So we are left with uncertainty on top of uncertainty, but with the slight evidence suggesting that a marginally warmer world would most likely be a slightly better place for humanity, health-wise, than a colder one.

    Let’s add to this the ability to feed a growing world population (estimated by UN to grow by 50% until 2100).

    A slightly warmer world, especially with shorter winters in higher latitudes means increased agricultural land surface area, longer growing season and increased crop growing potential.

    Some studies have also shown that most crop plants grow better at slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels, so this could actually be another plus.

    One just needs to look at the period 1970-2010, when yield of major grain crops increased by 2.4X, while population increased by 1.9X.

    Over the same time period atmospheric CO2 increased by 20% and global temperature rose by around 0.5°C.

    Relating this to human health, over the same period starvation rates were reduced significantly and average life expectancy increased.

    We are now facing a ~90-year period, during which we project that population will increase by 1.5X and CO2 will increase (let’s take IPCC’s “Case A1T” involving “no climate initiatives” to reduce CO2) to around 610 ppmv (or another 55% above today’s level).

    How will this impact warming and health?

    From 1970 to today we had 0.5°C warming with CO2 increasing from 324 to 392 ppmv. If we assume ALL observed warming was caused by CO2 (IPCC says “most” was “very likely” caused by human GHGs) we would get another 1.1°C warming from 392 to 610 ppmv, using the logarithmic relation.

    So we would have a world with 55% more CO2 and 1.1°C higher global temperature (occurring mostly in higher latitudes and in winter).

    Looks to me like a pretty benign place, but we would certainly need to be prepared to adapt to any medical challenges this “more benign” world could present, if and when they might arise.

    But let’s say it doesn’t warm in lockstep with added CO2 but (shudder!) cools off instead (due to some presently poorly known natural phenomenon that totally “overrides” the “CO2 signal”).

    Well, we’d better figure out how to get higher crop yields in a shorter growing season with slightly reduced agricultural growing land surface in order to adequately feed that increasing population.

    And then we’d better look at how we can respond with medical adaptation schemes suited to a colder world.

    Just my thoughts on this, of course.

    Max

    • One of the (many) problems with papers like this is that the record of prediction for health priorities has been lamentable, for ever. Besides, health priorities vary enormously between countries, regions in those countries and sub-populations across and between them.

      It’s voodoo, although pleasantly profitable voodoo for those who persuade grant funding agencies that their version of reading the entrails is going to advance the sum of human knowledge. Creating a new bogus ‘typology’ like the one in this article has been done many times, with a net benefit of zero. Management gurus like this technique also. It makes them appear scholarly.

      As I said way above, for my sins I’ve read a lot of papers like this one, and there is nothing new in it. The real advances in health tend to come from people working on or near the ground – the old-fashioned but boring approach of going from the known into the unknown. Most of the things that would make a big difference are well known, but lack resources and/or political support, like clean water and proper drainage, and immunisation.

      If I had a dollar for every paper and plea I’ve read predicting doom and demanding money, I would have a solid gold computer mouse and a generous retirement fund. If I had 50c for every paper I’ve read saying – we’re not sure, but we should be worried – ditto.

      Maybe the reason nonsense like this gains credibility is because scientists have not had enough exposure to advocacy, paranoia and special pleading in the real world.

      • +1 johanna

        I figured out long ago a simple truth. Life is hard and then you die. Whether or not one believes in God or some other spiritual being, doesn’t really change this simple fact. It may impact how you deal with it, but not the basic truth of it.

        Knowing this, I’m not very impressed by those who want to predict doom and gloom. Firstly, it becomes readily apparent that the predictors of doom rarely live a life that is hard. At least in comparison to the bulk of the world’s population. Secondly, it also becomes obvious that they are only stating the obvious. Yes doom is coming. To all of us as individuals. And for most people the gloom part is already an everyday aspect of their lives. Except that most human beings do not see it as gloom. Instead, it is just life. Rather than focus on their “gloom”, mankind’s nature is to have hope for their children.

        I’d like to pose the question “who shows more concern for children”? A 70 year old Chinese couple who are rural peasants raising their grandchildren while the sons are off in the city looking for work, or some one like David Suzuki, with an income equal to several of us, who imbues his kids with a fear of the future?

      • Johanna,

        Thank you for your excellent comment too. My comment to Max applies to you too.

    • Max,

      Excellent comment. Thank you. It’s hard to understand why some of the trolls, at least the ones who think they are smart and educated, can’t (or won’t) engage seriously with these very sensible comments.

  42. max manacker on uncertainty and UN population estimates of 50% global population increase by 2100. There’s good news from census data, Max.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html

  43. In case you are interested in how the US courts do, or do not, play a role in allocating the costs of proposed adaptive measures, see “Appeals court rules against village in global-warming suit, http://www.adn.com/2012/09/21/2634170/appeals-court-rules-against-village.html, reporting as follows on a decision released last evening by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

    “A federal appeals court has ruled against the Northwest Alaska village of Kivalina, which sued energy companies over claims that greenhouse emissions contributed to global warming that is threatening the community’s existence.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a U.S. District Court ruling that Kivalina didn’t have standing to sue oil, coal and power companies.

    The eroding village sought monetary damages to help with the estimated $400 million to relocate.”

    The Court of Appeals decision, like the lower court decision it upheld, is based on issues of “standing,” not on the substance of whether there is a sea level rise or it is attributable to human conduct.

    The full appellate decision can be downloaded here – http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/09/21/09-17490.pdf.

    I hope this is useful.

    MK

  44. I am one of the many who does not understand why we need a concept of ‘post normal’ science. The problem is that we know how to do science, we know proper ways of taking account of uncertainty in decision making. We do this stuff all the time. For some reason people want to do things differently in some areas of public policy. Maybe because they do not like the answers that the usual methods give? Don’t know.

    We then have a debate, in which the defenders of this alleged new ‘post normal’ science carefully explain to us how it does not differ in any way from our traditional methods. It is just as rigorous, it is just as factually based, it considered uncertainty in exactly the usual well established ways.

    Good, glad to hear it. Very glad to hear it. I had the impression that we were introducing some new way of making decisions which did not require us to be as certain about our hypotheses as previously we had, but am pleased and relieved to know that ‘post normal’ science is just properly doing science.

    Tell me again, what exactly is post normal about it, and why do we need another expression for what appears to be just business as usual, without any of these crazed precautionary principles and other fudges to give us bad reasons for what we want to do on instinct?

    Take a particular example if you disagree and show us. Take a case where ‘normal’ science would advocate doing one thing, and where ‘post normal’ science would advocate doing a different one, and explain to us why the second is a better bet. Then we can all see its merits. I am betting you can’t do this, and neither can anyone else, because rationality and proper method is unitary. There is only one way to do it right. Calling this by multiple names just leads to confusion. Or worst, not doing it right while pretending to.

  45. Pingback: Weekly Weather and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  46. So how does “Health risks of climate change: An assessment of uncertainties and its implications for adaptation policy” compare with “Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet”?

    As we’ve often discussed, Uncertainty has an asymmetrical impact on Policy: the more uncertain of a good outcome, the poorer the reward of investing in it; the more uncertain an adverse outcome, the poorer the reward of investing to quell it but at the same time avoidance of adverse outcomes is obligatory, while obtaining benefits is a matter of choice.

    Many of the outcomes claimed by DARA’s calculus — somewhat more rigorously derived than the fluff Bjorn Lomborg has been distancing himself from for years but Jo Nova and the (mainly Australian) like have produce — leave a lot of room for skepticism and Uncertainty. Avoiding adverse outcomes in the DARA report, however, remains obligatory for those who, y’know, DARA says are dying. As who wants to die horribly because some fat zitfaced teenager wants to drive an SUV or some rich coal baron likes to send poor people into the mines because it reminds him of the good ol’ days before Abe Lincoln ruined everything?

    If we had a head-to-head, category-by-category, comparison of these various reports and their uncertainties, how would they hold up, and how would it affect Policy?