by Judith Curry
The issue of whether or not global climate change is causing more frequent or intense natural disasters is a red herring that is interfering with developing sane policies for reducing our vulnerability to natural disasters.
Perspective in the Quadrant
Last April, Wilson Tuckey wrote an excellent article in the Quadrant. Wilson Tuckey represented the West Australian seat of O’Connor for the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives from 1980 to 2010. Some excerpts:
The Australian continent is not Camelot. Extreme variations in climatic events are part of its very existence. They are not a product of recent times. They have been recorded since European occupation and in indigenous folklore. Events like cyclones and flooding usually give enough notice of their arrival to allow communities and government leaders to take preventive action to reduce the consequent damage.
Yet those governments and communities continue to ignore the lessons of history. In fact, they frequently defy them, as we have seen in Victoria and Queensland and Western Australia in recent months. This article attempts to show why, with the exception of the Lockyer Valley flood, every recent Australian “disaster” was predictable and preventable at well below the financial cost of the subsequent restructuring.
Climatic events only become disastrous when they damage the infrastructure humans have created. During my early years in Carnarvon most cyclones simply crossed the north-west coast at sparsely inhabited areas, maybe blowing over a few windmills or some sheds, and were often barely mentioned in the media. Today, such areas support major industrial activity, and population growth has concentrated in cities where a view of or proximity to the river or ocean is almost an imperative.
The winds blow no stronger, the bushfires are as frequent and the rivers flow no higher. The problem is that they now arrive where people live or work or retire. The associated industries demand that infrastructure be constructed in climatically hazardous areas.
So what is the response of the political classes? In nearly every occasion it is to wait for the disaster, then appear on television with the occasional tear, then call upon the generosity of the wider community who often have their own financial difficulties and then, of course, impose some new taxes—and finally demonise anyone insensitive enough to say it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
No amount of tears or posing in the rain with television interviewers can excuse Queensland’s many years of dereliction of public policy, which was all potentially correctable during the period that the incumbent Premier has served in parliament. That her government chose to save money by not taking international insurance over its infrastructure is the height of arrogance. The quote of the state Treasurer that it was not value for money is political-speak for, “Why bother, if we can bludge on the generosity of the Australian people and the underwriting of the Australian taxpayer?”
n 2002-03, as Minister for Regional Services in the Howard government, I became alarmed at the open-ended nature of the federal and state governments’ Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA). It is a process that encourages the states to ignore their responsibility to mitigate natural disaster outcomes or, in some cases, not to spend their own money on international insurance cover simply because it is cheaper to have the disaster and let the federal taxpayer pay for 75 per cent of the reconstruction including new for old. It is time the NDRA is managed upon a risk-related basis and that a form of “no claim bonus” applies. Risk rating would either reduce assistance to state governments who failed to implement disaster mitigation in forests or from cyclones and floods, or provide incentives for those who did.
Ninety per cent of the damage to property, loss of life and public infrastructure in recent years would not have occurred if reasonable expenditure in known preventive technology had been implemented. In my view, the cost would be less than the necessary reconstruction and far less than the associated loss of economic production.
Forest wildfires are often the result of politicians seeking preferences from radical minor parties. Yet they defy 60,000 years of history and kill hundreds of people not because of where they chose to live—such as in towns that had survived the traditional bushfires under the private management of the forest products industry—but because politicians put their election to high office ahead of a safe environment. We have media frenzy after every forest wildfire, searching for arsonists or a spark from some electricity transmission system. Yet even deliberate acts of lighting a fire would have no disastrous effects on life or property if there was no deliberately accumulated fuel load to feed and sustain a fire.
We are harangued about rising ocean levels (in centimetres) and more serious storm surges, yet half of the nation of Holland would be under the ocean were it not for the preventive intervention of a wise government. If people seeking an ocean-front lifestyle are prepared to pay millions of dollars for the block of land, plus a further million or two for the boat, why is it not a financial responsibility of the developer to provide the necessary safe environment that protects the development and those luxury cruisers from the predictable and recurring climatic events for which the region is notorious? They don’t bother, of course, because the public, either through their taxes or increased insurance premiums, will foot the bill. Why demonise insurers for declining to accept a bet on a certainty, which is tantamount to insisting a bookmaker accept bets on a one-horse race?
Why does the nation now have a body of uniformed suppression bureaucrats totally committed to extinguishing fires, putting tarpaulins over unroofed houses, ordering people from their homes which they know are at risk, because of their failure to implement even short-term preventive measures to make those people safe in their homes from impending climatic events?
From my experience, quite simple measures during construction will make a house cyclone-resistant, whatever the intensity of the wind. There are also short-term initiatives that can be implemented before an impending cyclone arrives that will save a vulnerable house or premises. Moreover, building standards for cyclone protection need not be
However, the appropriate effort and expenditure in prevention is not nearly as satisfying for the media or premiers seeking to resurrect their political careers. Imagine the dissatisfaction for our news media if a cyclone passes with no loss of life or property, or a flood is contained by adequate levee banks and stormwater drainage, or the trains and trucks keep rolling on properly elevated roadways, or an arsonist’s attempts to start a bushfire fail for lack of fuel in the forest. There are some people who have a vested interest in natural disasters, so there is a battle of ideas on this front that still needs to be won.
U.S. Public Policy Options for Changing the Federal Role in Natural Catastrophe Insurance
The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report in 2007 with the above title. The objectives of the study were
In recent years, much attention has been focused on the roles that the private sector and federal government play in providing insurance and financial aid before and after catastrophic events. In this context, GAO examined (1) the rationale for and resources of federal and state programs that provide natural catastrophe insurance; (2) the extent to which Americans living in catastrophe- prone areas of the United States are uninsured and underinsured, and the types and amounts of federal payments to such individuals since the 2005 hurricanes; and (3) public policy options for revising the federal role in natural catastrophe insurance markets. To address these questions, GAO analyzed state and federal programs, examined studies of uninsured and underinsured homeowners and federal payments to them, identified and analyzed policy options, and interviewed officials from private and public sectors in both high- and low-risk areas of the United States. GAO also developed a four-goal framework to help analyze the available options.
As Congress reevaluates the role of the federal government in insuring for natural catastrophes, Congress is faced with balancing the often-competing goals of ensuring that citizens are protected and limiting taxpayer exposure. This report examines seven public policy options for changing the federal government’s role, including establishing an all-perils homeowner insurance policy, providing reinsurance for state catastrophe funds, and creating a mechanism to provide federal loans for state catastrophe funds. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, especially when weighed against competing public policy goals. For example, establishing an all-perils homeowner policy is a private sector approach that could help create broad participation. But low-income residents living in parts of the United States with high catastrophe risk could require subsidies, resulting in costs to the government. Similarly, federal reinsurance for state programs could lead to broader coverage, but could displace private reinsurance. GAO also identified several policy options for tax-based incentives for insurance companies, homeowners, investors, and state governments. But these options, which could help recipients better address catastrophe risk, could also result in ongoing costs to taxpayers. While some options would address the public policy goals of charging risk-based rates, encourage broad participation, or promote greater private sector participation, these policy goals need to be balanced with the desire to make rates affordable.
Such events place enormous stress on insurance markets and governments, carry huge costs, and have raised concerns about who ultimately bears the costs and receives the benefits of government disaster insurance programs. For these reasons, debate has arisen about the appropriate role for the federal government in insuring against and in recovering from natural catastrophes. While many public policy observers agree that the federal government does and should play an integral role in disaster relief and infrastructure recovery, some other public policy observers have asked whether the government’s current role is the most appropriate and have suggested alternatives. Some have argued for more federal involvement, but others believe that the federal government may be doing too much, crowding out private insurance and reducing the private market’s ability and willingness to provide insurance-based solutions.4 Public policy observers have raised moral hazard concerns, noting that generous federal disaster relief may discourage homeowners from purchasing natural catastrophe insurance.5 These observers have also pointed out that government catastrophe insurance programs are vulnerable to adverse selection, in that homeowners who are at the most risk are also the most likely to buy catastrophe insurance.
We identified various options for altering the role of the federal government in catastrophe insurance by looking at bills before the current and previous Congresses as well as other options that were not included in current legislative proposals—for example, a proposal before a committee of NAIC. After fieldwork for this report concluded, we were informed that additional public policy options not considered in this report were being discussed before a committee of NAIC. We sought out both supporters and critics of each option, and our discussion of the third objective presents mainly advantages and disadvantages that they have identified. We developed a four-goal framework that was based on challenges faced by current government natural catastrophe insurance programs and used the framework to analyze current options for changing the federal role in natural catastrophe insurance. We developed these goals by drawing insights from the following: past GAO work, legislative histories of laws that changed the roles of state governments and the federal government after disasters, bills before the current and previous Congresses, interviews with public and private sector officials, and refereed articles written by academics in insurance economics. Although we identified numerous possible goals that could assist our analysis, we believe the four goals that we chose accurately capture the essential concerns of the federal government. The congressional policy choices ahead involve striking an appropriate balance among these goals.
The federal government and some states have developed natural catastrophe insurance programs that supplement or substitute for private natural catastrophe insurance. For example, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) currently insures crops for losses from multiple perils, and NFIP insures against flood losses. Although these programs were created to provide affordable insurance coverage, by design they are not adequately funded—that is, the premium rates do not cover the government’s exposure—and rely on postfunding mechanisms to cover catastrophic loss years. Unlike private insurers that base premium rates on the risk of loss associated with properties, these programs offer legislatively mandated premium subsidies to encourage participation, and Congress appropriates funds for emergency disaster relief as needed. Similarly, some state governments have intervened when private sector insurance became prohibitively expensive or was not widely available, offering state-sponsored catastrophe insurance programs. For example, California created an earthquake fund in 1996 when private insurers significantly reduced the writing of homeowner earthquake coverage following the Northridge Earthquake. Likewise, Florida has created the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Florida Citizens)—the largest home insurer in Florida—to provide state-backed insurance coverage, including for wind damage, for homeowners who cannot get coverage in the private sector. The natural catastrophe insurance programs in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and other states are funded through a combination of premium payments and postevent assessments and bonds. Like the federal programs, some state natural catastrophe insurance programs have been criticized for not charging premiums sufficient to cover risks. After the 2005 hurricanes, for example, some of these programs faced large accumulated deficits and required substantial public funding to continue operations.
As Congress and the industry continue to reevaluate the role of the federal government in insuring for natural catastrophes, Congress is faced with balancing the often-competing goals of limiting taxpayer exposure and ensuring that citizens are protected. We identified seven public policy options for changing the role of the federal government in natural catastrophe insurance, including a mandatory all-perils homeowners insurance policy, federal reinsurance for state catastrophe funds, a federal lending facility for state catastrophe funds, and several tax-based incentives to encourage greater participation by insurers and homeowners in managing natural catastrophe risks. As shown in figure 4, each of these options has advantages and disadvantages. As part of our evaluation, we weighed each of the options against four public policy goals that we identified for federal involvement in natural catastrophe insurance programs: (1) to have premium rates fully reflect actual risks, (2) to encourage private markets to provide natural catastrophe insurance, (3) to encourage broad participation in natural catastrophe insurance programs, and (4) to limit costs to taxpayers before and after a disaster. We found that a mandatory all-perils policy, for example, could help create broad participation and provide a private sector solution. But this option could also require subsidies for low-income residents and thus potentially create substantial costs for the federal government. Similarly, while federal reinsurance for state catastrophe funds could lead to greater participation by private insurers, it could also displace the private reinsurance market. Also, a federal lending facility could also help state catastrophe insurance funds with financing needs after a catastrophe but could also expose the federal government—and taxpayers—to the risk that a loan might not be repaid. Given the often-competing purposes of many public policy options, some options may be more appealing than others, but all warrant discussion as part of the current debate. While some options would address the goals of charging rates that reflect the true risk of catastrophic loss, encourage broad participation, or promote greater private sector participation, these goals must be balanced with the desire to make rates affordable.
JC summary: there are many commonsense actions that can be undertaken a the household and community levels to reduce the adverse impacts of natural disasters. Some of these actions are in expensive, while others are quite costly (although much less expensive than recovery from the cumulative disasters). The challenges facing national governments are not simple. The strategy undertaken by the U.S. GAO is exemplary in terms of understanding the scope of the problem, describing the values and overall policy objectives, laying out a broad range of policy options, and assessing the pros and cons of each. These are issues that need to be confronted. Even if Kevin Trenberth turns out to be correct in terms of his views regarding the role of AGW in worsening extreme weather events, even extreme mitigation measures would have no impact until the latter half of the century. Spending our efforts on discussing the links between AGW an extreme weather events is academic at best and misleading at worst.
I know a lot of people who will be alive in 50 years. I also feel very strongly about inter-generational ethics. Calling these concerns academic is ridiculous and insulting. If we are not discussing ” links between AGW an extreme weather events” now, right at this moment, we no longer deserve to be stewards of the future and should pass this on to the next generation as soon as possible.
Frankly, until we are willing to follow basic scientific principles – and not rank research grants ahead of them – we delude ourselves by pretending “to be stewards of the future.”
Finally this month – years after Climategate exposed that data had been hidden, ignored, manipulated to support the myth of CO2-induced global warming – the American Physical Society announced the establishment of a “New Topical Group on Climate”
To seek “a better understanding of the mechanisms, magnitudes, and timescales by which anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic processes affect climate, including for example, greenhouse gases, solar variability, and unforced influences such as internal modes of variability.”
The June 2011 APS announcement is here:
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Take that, Wegman!
Oliver: [Some discredited nonsense based on misrepresenting cherry-picked stolen emails.]
Me: Tell us another one.
Robert, we are here to discuss and debate. That you think that discussion and debate is wrong is noted. We choose to continue.
The question of links has been discussed ad nauseum, and those who are claiming there are links are shown, every time facts are used, to be wrong.
A bigger crime against the future would be to wreck it wasting trillions on bogus CO2 management polices that even Fred has been unable to show have any record of success.
The insult is that academics who make good money off of climate science keep claiming there are links.
“If we are not discussing ” links between AGW an extreme weather events” now, right at this moment, we no longer deserve to be stewards of the future and should pass this on to the next generation as soon as possible.”
But grypo, we ARE discussing the subject and in extensive detail. It’s just that we bother to actually look at the evidence and exercise rational analysis. For a lot of us, this is how we think stewards of the future should act — by exercising the power of logic on the best available evidence.
if you care about the next generation, then do not encourage them and subsidize them to live in disaster prone areas. Encouraging people to live in areas that will only be safe IF we stop global warming looks downright evil to me.
So today, if your child were going to build a house on the beach at 20cm above sea level, would you encourage them to, subsidize them to? insure them? or would you say “i’m not so certain we will stop global warming, why not pick a different place to build”
“i’m not so certain we will stop global warming”
Thing about this postion is that disasters will still happen even if you “stop” Global Warming. (I’m so gagging on the stupidity of the above quote, I can hardly finish this comment.)
Steve is correct
We are changing the planet in ways we cannot yet predict. If theory is correct, these “disaster prone areas” will be less confined than they are presently and threaten years of infrastructure. I obviously wouldn’t encourage people to live in these areas, but I am surely unable to make them leave. And the ethics aren’t that simple. We cannot knowingly contribute to “disaster”, then simply tell people where they can and cannot live. So your false choice:
doesn’t really effect how I believe our responsibility to do what possible to prevent “disaster”.
That’s a nice try in assigning blame to people who want to mitigate. By not attempting mitigating policy, what we are essentially doing is taking that choice away from them completely. It is an obligation to do so, especially taking into consideration that many of those who are at most risk have little choice if where to live, and very likely had nothing to do with causing the problem.
But this is all “academic”, so don’t worry about it.
“We are changing the planet in ways we cannot yet predict”
This doesn’t even make sense. “Changing” is present tense. You can’t predict something that is happening right now. And you can’t specify what the changes are , so it’s evident you don’t know what you are talking about.
By not attempting mitigating policy, what we are essentially doing is taking that choice away from them completely.
What “mitigating policy” are you advocating? Be specific. The words “mitigating policy” indicate a vagueness in your thinking that I would find unacceptable in any argument. They are non-specific, undefined handwaving that sets off flashing red lights and alarm bells and makes me think of multi-thousand page pieces of legislation that contain unknown consequences that “we’ll all find out about AFTER it’s become law.”
It is an obligation to do so, especially taking into consideration that many of those who are at most risk have little choice if where to live, and very likely had nothing to do with causing the problem.
I’m “assuming” you mean mitigation there. If not please reword you thought. I HATE assumptions – they’re the root of much, if not most, of the stupidity in the world.
“Assuming” I’m right, that thought is pure arrogance. You “assume” that it’s your “right” and “responsibility” to make decisions that will affect future generations in ways you cannot predict for reasons you cannot quantify and that exist only as fuzzy feelings of dread, an overdeveloped sense of guilt and the output of computer models that have both known and unknown errors in their concept, code, inputs and outputs. And you want the rest of us to buy into your guilt trip.
As has been said before – where’s the beef? IOW – where are the numbers, the data, the code – the evidence? What I see is a lot of hand waving, a lot of assumptions, a lot of uncertainty about some of the most important parts of the science. AND a lot of cat-like behavior in covering up the stinky parts.
And then you expanded the conversation to many of those who are at most risk have little choice if where to live – which is nothing more than an emotional appeal for the application of The White Man’s burden to the debate. I won’t dplaythe race card here even though you put it in play. But I will ask why you think you know better than the people and government of, say, India, what should be done for their people now and in the future? This is the same arrogance that presumes to tell the people of Idaho, Montana and Arizona that they should be driving hybrid cars that won’t do what has to be done and in many cases, can’t even negotiate the local roads rather than pickup trucks that CAN do the job. It’s the arrogance of applying your standards, ideas and prejudices to situations you don’t have to live with, don’t know anything about and mostly can’t even imagine.
What you are talking about may be academic, but for some of for us it’s not academic at all, but rather a matter living – or in some cases, a matter of survival.
Survival? Yes. If gasoline is $2 /gal, life is not easy in some places. At $3 /gal, it becomes “hard”, at $4, life becomes marginal – and at $6 /gal it’s no longer life, but rather “How can I survive?” You may not have seen that yet, but I have – over large areas of the US and Canadian Western States. So when you get to talking about “mitigation”, I want to hear more than just soft fuzzy wind blowin’ up my leg. You best have something solid in mind – and it better not be anything I’ve seen run around this barn before.
Who is putting what in play, now? Vulnerability has to do with access to resources to adapt to a changing climate. This has to with location, age, gender, race, socio-economics, future generations, etc. But mainly it’s about where you are and what you have to deal with the problem. It’s established that the most vulnerable are children living poor countries or poor children living in any country. It is compounded, ethically, when those most vulnerable had nothing to do with creating the problem. These are the ethical dilemmas I’m discussing. Hopefully, your attempt to downplay to a race card issue will be ignored. Once we establish what the problems are, mitigating proposals can certainly be discussed.
What you are talking about may be academic
I’m doing the exact opposite. Don’t fall for Curry’s rhetoric.
Instead of feeding your anger, just tell me what you’ve seen around the barn.
Who is putting what in play, now?
Let’s see – you present the White Man’s Burden as an “ethical” argument and then can’t provide reasonable arguments to the questions (What do you call “mitigation”? What’s the cost? Where’s the evidence”? Why the arrogance? ) so you throw out the trump card – the children. Well, I’ll add another question to the list for you – over the last 20 years, specifically what have YOU done for the children? Not the children of 50 or 100 years from now, but the children that need help and are dying NOW – TODAY. Have you done hands-on volunteer work in Haiti or Costa Rica or Uganda? Have you given money to, for example, medical missions in any of those places? In 2009, the death toll due to malaria was between 781,000 and 1.1 Mil – most of them children. Where’s the angst for them? The only thing I’ve heard from your side of the dance floor has been defensiveness about the defacto ban on DDT. Playing the “children” card is a really bad move for your side. Unless you, personally, are heavily invested in the children of today then your concern for the children 4 generations from now is just hot air. If your “ethics” only apply to the future, if they don’t involve personal, hands-on action, then they’re academic and not worth much in the real world.
Ethical dilemmas? Where’s your ethical concern for the people whose lives would become a struggle for survival if some of the presently proposed mitigation strategies were implemented? The present operating strategy in the UK is having wonderful effects – fuel poverty, high food prices, out-of-sight energy prices with more increases coming.
Carbon taxes? Don’t be silly – that might provide the politicians with more money to squander on social programs to buy votes, but it won’t have any practical effect on GW, whether real or imagined. Or haven’t you paid attention to Mancaker’s estimates of the effects of carbon reduction?
Cap and Trade? Carbon markets? Is nothing more than a scheme to extract more money from the economy in order to make a few people very rich – or didn’t you pay attention to the results of CCX? The founder walked away with over $90 Mil. How much did Gore walk with? How much actual “mitigation” was accomplished?
Carbon sequestration? Has more problems that Carter has peanuts. Come back in 20 years.
Alternative energy? Is a different world – and has been discussed in a previous thread. And is largely untenable until either the acceptance of nuclear or the development new energy sources.
I asked what you thought were valid, realistic mitigation strategies – and you failed to answer. Do you have any answers – and if not, why are you claiming that mitigation is the answer when you have no practical mechanism to accomplish it? And where is your estimate of the effect of your preferred mitigations scheme – and it’s cost estimate?
Actually, it was a call to right the wrongs of those who caused the problem. It had nothing to do with race. While it is a factor, your hysterical response is more about your obsession with it.
Once again, these aren’t cards. These are ethical dilemmas. If you are not in place where you can rationally discuss them without intruding on my personal endeavors, perhaps you might not want to just forget about it.
btw…let me thank publicly my father, as he didn’t sit down in 1976 trying to solve my problems of 35 years later.
Come to think, neither he nor anybody alive and adult at the time had any clue whatsoever about what would be afflicting us today. Apart from the Middle East conflict, that is.
Actually, it was a call to right the wrongs of those who caused the problem.
Actually, not you, not the US, not the entire Western world has the power to do that. In large part because the majority of the “wrongs” were self-inflicted by those you believe to have been wronged. And you cannot fix that.
BTW, I don’t do hysteria, I don’t give a flying $%&* about race and my ethics don’t allow for interference in the internal affairs of other countries – which is specifically where I interpret your remarks to be headed. I could be wrong, but one of your compatriots spoke specifically a couple days ago wrt pressuring/forcing other countries into massive CO2 reductions. It’s an idea whose time has come – to be buried.
Once again, these aren’t cards. These are ethical dilemmas
The “children card” is supposedly the ultimate weapon of the progressive left. It is played when the argument has become inconvenient and there are no answers to the questions. Been there before – many times.
Are you doing that? I don’t know – I started with more respect for you than to believe you were doing it, but the evidence……. pointed in that direction.
FYI – I’ve spent a lot of money and considerable time supporting a medical mission in Haiti that saves a lot of the children you express so much angst about. The problems are NOT in the future – they’re NOW.
I’ve been told repeatedly that we MUST Stop Global Warming and that we MUST pour an undisclosed and unending amount of capital into the effort. No cost:benefit analysis needed. And that smells like the scams that I learned about nearly 60 years ago – except on a much larger scale. YMMV
Enough – If you’ve got answers to the questions, I’ll listen. If not, have a good day anyway.
You write: “Cap and Trade? Carbon markets? Is nothing more than a scheme to extract more money from the economy….”
IMO, it is a bit more than that: Political Power. See
The Politics of “AGW” (topic started 10/28/2008)
cautioned that “Cap And Trade” (and its variants) descend into “The Command Economy”. The President Obama and the EPA confirmed this view after the Congress refused to authorize Cap and Trade legislation. The EPA turned to regulation rather than law.
So many wrong things here:
“We are changing the planet in ways we cannot yet predict. If theory is correct, these “disaster prone areas” will be less confined than they are presently and threaten years of infrastructure. I obviously wouldn’t encourage people to live in these areas, but I am surely unable to make them leave.”
Interesting. You plead ignorance about our ability to predict and then accept a prediction. Further, you argue that you are unable to make them leave. But, somehow we are able to make people stop using fossil fuels. Or at least you might think that is possible. ‘You’ are obviously unable to make people leave. ‘You’ are also unable to push people to use renewables. Your personal capacity is not the issue. the issue is the policy. Do we encourage people to continue development ion land that is <1m above sea level, KNOWING that we may not be able to stop global warming. This is my version of the precautionary principle.
"And the ethics aren’t that simple. We cannot knowingly contribute to “disaster”, then simply tell people where they can and cannot live."
We surely can tell people this. We can surely say, "look, you simply cannot rebuild New orleans, for several reasons. It's in a disaster prone area already, if theory proves correct there are more disasters IN THE PIPELINE, and we have no great hope of controlling the problem. we cannot compel china to change, but we can say dont build here.' we surely CAN tell people this and we should tell them this. The science is settled on that. ethics is simple when they are your ethics.
"That’s a nice try in assigning blame to people who want to mitigate. By not attempting mitigating policy, what we are essentially doing is taking that choice away from them completely."
People have been at the business of trying to mitigate for some time. Yes, I hold them accountable for demanding a global solution when it was clear that such an approach would be very difficult to achieve. I hold them accountable for demonizing people who suggested adaptation. We have been attempting a mitigation policy. enough already. At what point does your concern about future generations outweigh your desire to be right about the costs of mitigation versus the costs of adaptation? In my mind its simple. While adaptation may be more costly, it's far more politically doable on a local level. But we dont even get to make that argument without being called 'deniers', delayers, or evil.
The only thing I have not accepted is your interpretation that you know exactly where “disaster” will strike. Somehow, this seems implausible. Please draw up the map so we know.
I cannot, not do I ever claim to. Your insistence on making my argument something it is not isn’t helping. I say it is an ethical responsibility prevent disasters, where possible. I can only make my case why we should mitigate, as well as adapt.
So I see this is your map, then? You’ve drawn the line here.? Nothing about agriculture, infrastructure, air quality, wildfires, drought, flooding rivers, water shortages, etc. You’re only argument is about New Orleans? Or is everyone in the world just going to abandon their cities, just to avoid mitigating fossil fuel use with a carbon tax? I get that this is going to have to happen, but the only way to slow the melting, is to draw down emissions. Anyway, your 1M is already old news. Time to draw us a new map. This time include all the other problems problems associated with the planetary energy imbalance.
As I’ve already said, that sounds like a great idea. Yet your suggestion that people not live in a certain place does not guarantee anything. I have no idea why you think this is that easy. Nor does it guarantee that whatever place you send these people to will not suffer it’s own “disaster”. You are placing certainty in baffling ways. You can’t adapt to everything. The uncertainty surrounding this only highlights my point.
These are all great arguments is they were true, but I’ve never actually heard anyone who favors mitigation, say they don’t favor local adaption. This is actually starting to happen, BTW, although woefully inadequate. In fact, they always go hand in hand. What do you think is going to pay for all that adaption? The problem isn’t in our house. The problem is that these adaptive solutions do not fix the underlying problem, without a gradual reduction in emissions even those who adapt on still in serious risk, and all the ethical I raised are still there. The idea that we can’t make global agreements on economic trade is proven wrong by years of history. If adaption fixes all the risks we are incurring, then no one has ever made a compelling case for it.
“The only thing I have not accepted is your interpretation that you know exactly where “disaster” will strike. Somehow, this seems implausible. Please draw up the map so we know.”
Seriously, where do I say that. For starters, given that our best knowledge predicts a average sea level rise of half a meter or so, I’d say any coastal location below a meter has ample warning right now. True we dont know the exact rise in every location, but uncertainty is no bar to action. Love the way that twist of the argument works here.
“So I see this is your map, then? You’ve drawn the line here.? Nothing about agriculture, infrastructure, air quality, wildfires, drought, flooding rivers, water shortages, etc. You’re only argument is about New Orleans? Or is everyone in the world just going to abandon their cities, just to avoid mitigating fossil fuel use with a carbon tax?”
Well the argument is not about just new orleans. You claimed we could not tell people to move. And I’m saying that we can.
Further, I focus the discussion on those things we actually can know more about. When a GCM outputs something about agriculture, then we can address that, for your other concerns. air quality? switch to nukes. wildfires? ask people who want to control the build up of fuel load. droughts and floods? sure I support better water management.
“The idea that we can’t make global agreements on economic trade is proven wrong by years of history.”
seriously, I’m talking about the failed effort to control carbon. How much longer should we let people like you fritter away the political capital it will require to make the tough changes we will have to make to adapt. You’ve had your chance. We need to act now on adaptation, future generations depend upon us. You’ve had your chance to convince skeptics and you’ve failed. You’ve had your chance to control carbon and you’ve failed. At what point will you even consider the possibility that you might be wrong. I used to support emissions control, but its clear to me that the only moral path is adaptation. And people who delay the change in approach are more dangerous than deniers.
Our best knowledge, backed up by the Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009 and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program Report 2011, is that we are looking 2M by 2100. This doesn’t get into the Eemian paleo research which is looking at 15 ft beyond this century.
It is in this case. This is pretty basic risk assessment.
Not without a draw-down of forcing.
It seems your plan is based on downplaying risk, somehow using uncertainty as a positive element, then having a lot of hubris on our future ability to deal with these risks.
Yes, this would the mitigation plan for the near future.
Yes, adaption for the near future is something everyone agrees with and gets everyone nodding. Yet, no mitigation is an abject moral failure to future generations.
Well the argument is not about just new orleans. You claimed we could not tell people to move. And I’m saying that we can.
We don’t even need to tell people to move, we just need to tell them that we will no longer serve as their insurer. If they can find insurance or accept the risk on their own, then have at it.
It’s not just New Orleans. It’s a significant agricultural area and ocean harvesting area. It is also the nation’s largest port area (runs from New orleans to Baton Rouge,) which requires the maintenance of infrastructure. The New Orleans area exists because the country demands it be there, and that demand requires that a large number of people live there to do the work.
Or, I guess they could commute in from that wonderland that is free of natural disasters. International Falls?
JCH: Then let the agricultural, ocean harvesting and transportation/port industries pay for the needed maintenance, infrastructure and risk (insurance premiums) and price their products/services accordingly.
The country does not demand that New Orleans be there. The only proof of such would be customers that are willing to pay a premium for the products and services of the poorly sited flood prone city.
Yes, the country did demand it be there. That is why it is there. An export economy demands ports, and the New Orleans area is the largest port in the United States. It serves a huge geographical area because two huge river systems feed to it.
We are a littoral species. It’s not about beach houses. It’s how human beings sustain themselves. 7 billion of us would not do well as mountain toppers. We have Brisbanes for a reason.
In economics, it is very difficult to self-insure by pricing products to cover the costs of rare events. Too many competitors would elect not to do that, and their lower prices would determine the market price, which is what has happened.
Speed beat me to it. His answer would be mine as well.
Or, I guess they could commute in from that wonderland that is free of natural disasters. International Falls?
or, I guess you could respond seriously rather than trying to score snark points.
We are a littoral species. It’s not about beach houses. It’s how human beings sustain themselves. 7 billion of us would not do well as mountain toppers.
So we either live below sea level or we live on a mountain top? Please. The idea that our only choice is to subsidize people living in an untenable area is ludicrous.
New Orleans, for at least the next 20 years, is not untenable.
Since 1960, it has lost approximately half of its population. As seal level goes up, it will lose more and more. Until then, our economy demands it be there. When it’s time to move it, our economy will pay to move it. And as energy prices continue to go up, the reason New Orleans became so large may come back: manual labor.
Practically the entirety of Louisiana is susceptible to natural disasters. Big ones: Mississippi River flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and sea level rise. The economy will continue to demand it be a port, a significant food producing area, and a significant energy and chemical production area, and we will continue subsidizing it because we need it. Your pipe dream of pricing the products to cover the costs of natural disasters will never happen. The poor will look miserable on TV, and the public will throw money at them.
New Orleans, for at least the next 20 years, is not untenable.
A bowl shaped piece of land located between two bodies of water in the heart of hurricane country sounds tenable to you?
the reason New Orleans became so large may come back: manual labor.
I think you’re ignoring the role of history and inertia. When the city was founded, it was a sheltered area near the Gulf with access to a major river. As time went on, that river became a major artery for moving people and goods, making the city that much more valuable. Then the railroads came and river transport became less important. However, since the infrastructure was there, why move it?
The economy will continue to demand it be a port, a significant food producing area, and a significant energy and chemical production area, and we will continue subsidizing it because we need it.
Of the items you listed, only the last two are really true. There are other port facilities and fishing towns on the Gulf. The refineries are the main things that would be difficult to relocate (mainly for political reasons).
You’re also ignoring what I originally said: businesses and people are free to stay. They should just be made aware that the government will not cover them in the event of a disaster.
Your pipe dream of pricing the products to cover the costs of natural disasters will never happen.
They’re certainly free to roll the dice. That’s their choice.
The poor will look miserable on TV, and the public will throw money at them.
You’re assuming infinite patience on the part of those paying the bills. That’s becoming a longer shot by the day.
JCH said, “the New Orleans area is the largest port in the United States.”
Port of New Orleans is number seven in total tons of trade and number nine in foreign trade (2004). Number one is the Port of South Louisiana (which does not include New Orleans) which handles almost three times the tonnage.
JCH goes on saying, “In economics, it is very difficult to self-insure by pricing products to cover the costs of rare events.”
In business it is the rare and expensive event that is not self-insured against. That is what large insurance companies are for. Any company which doesn’t buy insurance and is hit by a catastrophic loss deserves to go out of business.
And finally, JCH says, “Since 1960, it [Orleans Parish] has lost approximately half of its population.
45% actually. I rest my case. It is a dying city.
Regardless of anything to do with global warming, its a dumb place to build a house. Always has been, always will be.
I’d point this out, treat my child as an adult and let them take the consequences of their decision.
I’d point this out, treat my child as an adult and let them take the consequences of their decision.
That’s all you can do – and all that needs to be done. You can’t change their minds or run their lives. You can only advise – and hope you raised your children to be “thinking” human beings. This isn’t always the case.
The answer is to raise smarter children. But that’s another discussion.
A problem for your child is “changing the rules in the middle of the game”. The bushfire issue is a good example. Your child builds in a safe area, free from fire risk. Then years later a new paradigm sweeps into power and your child is prevented from fuel reduction burning even on their own land.
Then years later a new paradigm sweeps into power and your child is prevented from fuel reduction burning even on their own land.
My reaction to that is first, anger; second – asking how and why those people were given the power to do that; third organization to get those people out of the way (and preferably, into a loony bin); and, if all else fails to clear it anyway. IIRC, one man did that and paid a big price for it. But he also saved his home. Never did hear the follow-up on that one.
Those are my reactions. I suspect my children would follow the same pattern.
yes. Thats why Id call it a no regrets policy.
The issue is these people DONT bear the responsibility for their choice, because they are routinely bailed out when disaster hits.
what no regrets policy would you advise for inhabitants of earthquake prone areas say such as San Fransisco?,what has been learned ? what mitigation policies have arisen from say local or state government.
With respect to earthquakes or global warming?
“what mitigation policies have arisen from say local or state government.”
For Earthquakes: Enforced building codes. Provision of shelters and emergency planning.
Earthquakes,say what changes have been implemented that would mitigate risk
Or leave it to the insurance industry?
That’s not quite right. We could mitigate for black carbon and tropospheric ozone – 50% of radiative forcing – quite quickly. Literally days in the atmosphere.
Restoring agricultural soils absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Rich soils we badly need.
We could treat and eliminate diseases like TB and malaria. We could educate – in cricket, maths, science, industry and business.
The 14.77micron band of the Earth’s thermal radiation is already well over 80% saturated from current levels of CO2 so the maximum possible further effect from CO2 is an additional 20% of the 3.3°C greenhouse effect possibly attributable to atmospheric CO2.
This is only 0.66°C and with the 18ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2 occurring since 2002 with all five global temperature datasets showing global cooling since 2002 any possible significant further effect from CO2 is a virtual impossibility.
This is confirmed by satellite measurements of OLR which show only increase in response to global temperature with absolutely zero observable decrease from the enhanced greenhouse effect as projected by IPCC climate models.
Simply put there is zero physical evidence for any AGW so all mitigation efforts based on this clearly false hypothesis are a complete waste.
Science works on facts; politics works on conjecture. The world is cooling and will likely cool for at least the next 22 years until the end of solar cycle 25, so what exactly is the purpose of government action to reduce CO2 to stop global warming because someone says that we are causing extreme weather from our CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
Welcome to the “deniers club”, Judith. You do understand why adaptation has always been the child of a lesser Climate Change god since the IPCC inception, don’t you?
Judith might, but I don’t. Please explain.
Don’t talk in riddles …it just gives everybody else the impression that you haven’t the faintest clue what you are talking about, but want to pretend that you have deep insight.
AGW as an adaptation problem is simply not a political problem.
There is not much for Governments to do regarding adaptation than adopting much that is basic common sense. There are no votes to gain from that, nothing spectacular to show, no new powers to acquire, no new taxes to impose, no lifestyle changes to promulgate.
It’s all a different story concerning mitigation, that scores full marks on all fronts.
It is for this reason that little or no money is spent for adaptation, and work done about it is zilch compared to mitigation’s. You’ll even and easily find people arguing that adaptation is some kind of cop-out from the “real problem” (a capitalist society).
That’s why merely mentioning it is enough to qualify as a “denier”.
“It is for this reason that little or no money is spent for adaptation”
So what about the Thames Barrage, or the proposed new improved Thames Barrage? Worldwide, billions of dollars are planned to be spent on improving sea defences. Projections of future sea level rise are often the motivating force for these constructions.
Forgot to insert a relevant link, about the Japanese mayor who was laughed at for building a huge sea wall – until his village was left almost untouched by tsunami.
Mitigation can be the route to power. Adaptation is the route to ridicule.
So if a Mayor builds a seawall because CAGW indicates his harbor may be exposed to as much as 6 ft of seal level rise by 2100, you’ve got his back?
or over the next 90 years the people of the city should slowly move to less dangerous areas, whichever makes more sense to them-
And if a Mayor built a screen to protect from green cheese falling from the moon, you would have his back?
Even 6 feet per century is still less than 1 inch per year. Seawalls take a few weeks to build. There is no need to do anything for about 30 years….by which time the likelihood or otherwise of the 6 foot rise will be apparent.
In truth there is no credible regional-level climate modelling as yet, so even the “projections” would be as good as any random guess. The idea that a mayor would have any information from climatologists about the potential additional storm surge at a local level, is preposterous.
What is far more logical is for mayors the world over to adapt by learning lessons from the past making sure no old disasters is repeated. So that would be a step forward: launch a UN adaptation program, say, to protect Bangladeshi people from a repeat of every year’s killing floods.
In that respect, adaptation has the “defect” that it doesn’t need politicians building consensus, or environmental leaders, or social scientists. Every mayor of however small a community can do the first and most important steps just by hiring a historian.
And a historian would tell him about the medieval warm period and so shake the foundations of any misguided belief in ‘unprecedented AGW’.
Since the people of Bangladesh have shown no inclination to make the changes necessary to adapt to the floods, is there any reason to believe that a UN programme would be either welcome or successful?
At 1st read, I was going to disagree, but on 2nd read I generally agree. The part I would say needs further consideration is a review of what prevents infrastructure from being built in places like Bangladesh. I suggest that is a local issue, with local greed being the largest problem, not CO2.
From what I know about the place, it’s a struggle for most farmers to get food enough to sustain the family, and to pay taxes. Not sure many people have the time and the money needed to adapt even to what is a fairly recurring event.
Lack of infrastructure in India is due greatly to corruption. This is true is Banglasdesh to a lesser degree only because there is less money available to corrupt local officials.
I have done very large amounts of business in the region and fully understand the local economics.
So a UN adaptation programme would just bring more opportunities for corruption while not fixing the problem?
I would go as far as to write that. I would say that if UN funds were provided, they would need very close controls on what they were spent.
Historically, the funds/loans provided to India, Pakistan, and Bangledesh were spent poorly and did not result in infrastructure improvements
Historically, the funds/loans provided to India, Pakistan, and Bangledesh were spent poorly and did not result in infrastructure improvements
IIRC, historically, that statement is true of ALL funds and loans provided to ANY government in that part of the world – with the exceptions of Japan and Taiwan.
Rob Starkey, 6/5/11, 6:09 pm, 6:27 pm, disaster sanity
Lack of infrastructure in Bangladesh and India?
Maybe they’re libertarians.
In the specified region itis very common to have less than 20% of funds to go to the project in question and 80% going to corruption. This is much higher than in eastern Europe or South America
Corruption applies to mitigation too, but at least with adaptation there is the odd chance that for whatever reason some of the funds get spent well, with tangible results rather than an estimated avoided warming of 0.00001C
Folks I agree with the goal, but I suggest proceeding with caution in providing funds. I suggest having stringent controls on the spending of funds. This will get tremendous pushback from local officials.
In the specified region itis very common to have less than 20% of funds to go to the project in question and 80% going to corruption.
Yup – I have friends who live in Thailand. I listen to them.
What we call corruption is nothing more than a way of life in places like Africa, South America, the MidEast, etc. It’s not called corruption there – just business as usual. I spent some time in Haiti (and other less inviting places) and it was a first hand, low quality education. Irritating part is that it’s also invaded the US. But we won’t go there.
Just for info. re: the corruption comments below, this story looks interesting. Good to see the power of transparent exposure:
“Bribery in India: A website for whistleblowers”
if a Mayor builds a seawall because CAGW indicates his harbor may be exposed to as much as 6 ft of seal level rise by 2100, you’ve got his back?
six feet of seals? you’re damn right I’d have his back. those things are mean.
omnologos, 6/5/11, 12:26, disaster sanity
The story about the Japanese mayor of Fudai might have been on point if he had built a wall against Godzilla.
Godzilla is still here. They just call him The Uncertainty Monster now, to scare ignorant adults.
It is academic. That’s why academics are discussing it. It’s a question about the nature of the physical world. Some academics are trying to understand it using reason and observations from said physical world. You know, science.
The popular press cares because natural disasters are an emotional issue for people.
You seem to be among a number of “skeptics” who don’t want to discuss the link. I would suggest that is not because it is academic, but because:
1. Given the basic physics of the greenhouse effect and the atmosphere, there is a link in many (not all) instances, and it will become more and more accepted and understood as it is investigated and described for different kinds of extreme events.
2. People may respond more strongly to fear of natural disasters than they do to more abstruse dangers like ocean acidification, species loss, declining agricultural productivity, or declining water tables. “Skeptics” do not want the issue of global warming making an intense, visceral connection with the voters, unless it is via their own tropes of corrupt elites, overweening government, and leftist international organizations dominated by scheming foreigners who hate America.
You have missed Dr. Curry’s point, or at least not responded to it. But I agree in a way, that resolving climate change policy is distinct from worrying about natural disasters. AGW-based climate change policy is a mistake at best, while natural disasters are very real.
In fairness to me, her point is less than clear.
She quotes some absolutely bland and undisputed stuff on preparing for natural disasters.
She then pivots to Trenberth and calls the link between AGW and extreme weather a distraction from preparing for disasters, as if PhDs doing attribution studies really ought to be out in the field filling sandbags.
The notion that investigating the causes of natural disasters is a distraction from preparing for them is so stupid that I hesitate to attribute it to Dr. Curry; in any case a counterargument is hardly needed.
The choice between mitigation and increasing resilience is a false dichotomy. As Dr. Curry points out, we have a lot of warming locked in and feedbacks such as sea level rise that will continue to play out for centuries. We need to do both.
Except you’re not trying to investigate the causes of natural disasters, but rather trying to link them to AGW. That’s not the same thing at all, and detracts from really investigating the causes.
In effect, what you’re doing resembles the witch hunts which, hundreds of years ago, almost invariably followed natural disasters.
Someday I hope you will embrace the implementation of policies that actually will help vs. trying to promote religious like fears without evidence. Those who fear AGW should logically be promoting the construction of large numbers of modern nuclear plants in the US. Currently all I hear being promoted is adoption of policies that make no logical sense
Someday I hope you will address the position of the person you are actually talking to, rather than a “green” straw man you have created in your own head.
I like nuclear. My plan for promoting nuclear would include:
* Streamlining the approval process for new plants in the US from 60 months to 12.
* Carbon emissions taxes, increasing the profitability of all non-fossil-fuel sources.
* Accelerated research and deployment of micronuclear reactors like the one planned for Galena, Alaska.
In general I oppose any effort to “pick winners” in terms of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Price carbon appropriately, don’t overregulate nuclear, and let the market decide.
I stand corrected then in regards to your position on nuclear. I believe I have previously shown your ideas on a carbon tax do not make much sense except from a revenue raising standpoint
I won’t ask you to rehash the whole argument, but remind me why you feel a carbon tax does not make sense?
In the US it would not be possible to implement a carbon tax that would have enough of an impact on temperatures for the tax to be meaningful. If it were possible to implement such a tax in the US it would be a VERY bad idea economically to do so since it would make the US less competitive in international trade as compared to those nations that did not implement a similar tax.
” Carbon emissions taxes, increasing the profitability of all non-fossil-fuel sources.”
As I wrote in my thread
The direct result of what you suggest is an increase in the price of other fuels. The UK govt is creating what they call a level playing field for renewable energy (primarily wind) by artificially raising the price of carbon based fuels.
We are therefore seeing the real world effect of carbon taxes which is creating a whole strata of people who have become energy poor and can not afford to keep warm, whilsy impacting on the competitiveness of business.
This is coupled with higher taxes on air travel to reduce carbon and an increasing number of environmental taxes that help make our gas some of the most expensive in the world at around $10.50 Per gallon.
If you think carbon taxes are such a good idea can you please let me know your address so I can send you my energy bills in future? Alternatively just send large amounts of money.
On the nuclear issue we agree on two-out-of-three points.
The tax will stand as a point of disagreement, because the Congress has proven itself incapable of applying a tax in year one and not stealing or misappropriating the money in 1+n.
n = 3
With streamlining or rational regulation there really are no other incentives needed for nuclear. Production style reactors (small modular or medium site built) are a lot less expensive and safer than the mega scale custom builds with reasonable regulation.
As far as micronuclear, the small (50 to 100 megawatt) seem to have the best value for the buck.
I believe what Dr. Curry meant by academic was that disasters natural or otherwise, need to be dealt with in a more common sense manner. Pooh Pooh occurs, if you will, despite the best of plans. Common sense goes a long way in reducing the degree of damage.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I do hope you don’t mean me! :-)
“The challenges facing national governments are not simple.”
You are correct, Centrally Planning the lives of millions of people creates challenges that are much more than ‘not simple’, they are quite impossible. The Do Gooder central planners engage in the coercion (good intent) of millions of individuals and have ended up paving a Super Highway to Hell. That of course has to be repaved every couple of years to stimulate the economy.
Luckily here in the US we technically have Federal Gov’t rather than a National one. While returning to the actual practice of a Limited Federal Gov’t may be a decade or so away, the conversation about why and how to do it is getting increasingly louder and more refined.
One of these “National” challenges that the US gov’t has undertaken is FEMA. Why the Federal gov’t continues to bail out the Natural Disaster zones that get devastated every few years is beyond me.
One of the earliest North American Spanish explorer’s priest and scribe wrote as they travelled through Florida that he was amazed that these stupid savages failed to build their settlements on the coast where the land was very suitable to prosperity. Later in the journal, he wrote that he figured out why the, not as stupid as he first thought, savages built their settlements inland. Hurricanes.
There are hundreds of more examples of why a National gov’t should limit itself with regards to the planning of LOCAL livelihood. There are sure to be some that seem to require it, but hundreds or better yet thousands of INDEPENDENT communities is far better than hundreds if not thousands of DEPENDENT communities.
Your Summary is great. Thanks.
… even extreme mitigation measures would have no impact until the latter half of the century.
Yeah, let’s postpone that. We need the money now, the kids will pay later.
From a US perspective, the issue is whether you borrow money now to pay for steps that MAY slightly improve a situation that in the future may prove to be of no concern to US citizens.
Please describe the specific policies that you wish the US to implement, what you believe they will cost, and what you believe will result from the policy implementation.
I have seen you ask that question so many times, Rob and they never answer it.
Do you expect other nations to pay the bill for 20ton CO2 per year US citizens?
What mythical bill are you talking about? How many mythical dollars is it? Who gets the money?
So, either you haven’t even started thinking about the cost of emission reduction or you claim there are no cost or is it you do not see the need?
arcticio–actually I have considered the issue quite alot. That is why I have reached the stated conclusion(s).
The (CO2 reduction idea) that I believe makes the most sense for the US is the construction of large numbers of modern nuclear facilities to standard designs and regulatory processes. It makes sense for multiple reasons.
I also suggest that construction of proper infrastructure is the 2nd key issue. The US does this much better than most nations where it is not a high enough priority (bribes are often much higher). In the US we do still tend to build in areas where there is a high probability of storm damage. This issue can be taken care of via insurance premiums if state government stays out of the process, but that has not been the case so far in places like FL
Don’t think some nuclear pills will fix the problem. The US burns too much carbon and may consider to change lifestyle.
I am saying there is no way to know what that cost is. Even if was known there would be no way to know who pays it and who get paid.
Besides a warmer planet is probably better for humans – summer supports us better than winter does.
1. Please explain why you think 20 ton CO2 is the right number to use. Please cite experimental evidence to confirm your estimate. Also compare and contrast this number with others that you deem relevant, and with the total mass of the earth’s atmosphere. (you may if you wish work in moles note Kg for convenience).
Only if you have successfully completed question 1, attempt question 2.
2. Please explain your view of the ’20 ton CO2 bill’. Please cite how you will estimate the size of the bill..breaking it down into its major categories. And make estimates of ‘who’ will incur the costs you cite and when it will fall due.
“As long as nobody explains the problem to me I’m going to burn fossil fuel.”
Strong position, reminds me of kindergarten.
That has to be one of the greatest non sequiturs I have seen in a while.
You have asserted that there will be some sort of ‘bill’ to be paid associated with ’20 ton CO2 emissions’. I asked some simple questions to see how strong the evidence for your unsubstantiated assertion is …and you avoid the subject like a scared cat.
I conclude that you have no evidence to backup your statement and that your assertion should be ignored as fantasy.
lol…if other nations wish to send the US money, we should accept it
Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way around. Did Dr Curry just admit that climate sensitivity is far higher than “skeptics” think?
The argument would be:
1. If mitigation makes no difference, it is because a substantial amount of warming is “in the pipeline.”
2. If substantial warming is in the pipeline, given a net forcing of 1.0-2.0 W/m^2, then climate sensitivity must be higher than 1-2C/doubling.
For example: 0.8C + 0.8C (0.2C/decade until 2050) = 1.6 C
If 1.6W/m^2 (for simplicity), then 1 K(W/m2)−1, so: 3.7C/doubling.
yeah, if the climate is that simple to forecast, then you are perfectly correct in everything you state. </sarcasm off
Judith writes “The challenges facing national governments are not simple.” True, but they are very well known. I used to work for the Emergency Measures Organization in Canada, many years ago, and at that time we completely understood what the challenges were. What you do about them is a political, not a scientific, problem.
I am going from memory, but there was a classic example in a high priced housing development outside Anchorage, Alaska. This was devastated in an earthquake, and the city decided to prevent a reoccurrence by declaring the area as a park. This lasted for precisely 17 years. Rich citizens wanted to build there again, and the city wanted to collect the taxes from the expensive homes. The same logic applies over and over again with all types of natural disasters all over the world.
However, Judith then tries to tie this to CAGW. This is, once again, a complete red herring. Since there is no such thing as CAGW, it cannot possibly have anything to do with naturally occurring disasters.
There are a lot of people with different opinions about global warming, but one thing we all seem to be agreed on is that whether or not we do smart disaster preparation (we should) has nothing to do with Trenberth or attribution of extreme weather events.
Sure it does. You have to do important things like disaster preparation for the right reasons not the wrong ones.
Regarding your comment about smart disaster preparation.
I think the best documented effect we have of humans causing an unnatural warming of their environment is through UHI. This was recognised back in Roman times when the heat started to become unbearable and the citizens implored Emperor Nero to build tall houses that shaded each other.
I don’t buy into CAGW but I certainly believe in Uhi and that in many cities(but not all) the additional warming may be problematic, as it may be up to 6C in certain circumstances and so smart disaster planning would be sensible.
In my opinion, if you want to start mitigating human heat effects it should start with sensible building policies that examine how heat islands can be minmimised-for example by more parks and less ashpalt in driveways etc.
Good to see a sensible and implementable suggestion that can help to solve a real problem in the real world.
Therefore I’m sure the climatologists will hate it.
One of the potential roles of private insurance rates is as a signal of risk. If the hurricane risk is high, the price should be high. The effort to shield everyone from high prices creates moral hazard and removes price signals of true risks. Medical insurance rates for a motorcycle should be higher than for a car. Insurance to live by the beach in florida should be higher than in Ohio. These reflect the true costs of living in different locations. Removing these price signals encourages more people to live in dangerous places–but we then blame people for living there. Also, the government should not be “making sure” people have proper/adequate insurance. The assessment of risk should be a personal decision–but then the person without insurance should not be bailed out. While one must have car liability insurance for the other driver, one need not have collision insurance, and some people take that risk (esp if car is old) and are happy with that choice. The premise of the debate is wrong.
Another point is the government rules against “price gouging” during emergencies (e.g. hurricane) encourage people to stockpile things more than they need and leave not enough for others. They discourage outsiders from making the difficult and dangerous journey into a stricken area with supplies. Sure some volunteers will come in, but without allowing price to reflect shortages, recovery is delayed. For example, after a hurricane, Florida is very harsh with out of state roofers, but since such people must pay to live in a hotel and be away from home, they won’t come unless they can charge more. The rules prevent them, so roofs in Florida after a hurricane are covered with blue tarps for many months. We are preventing the market from fixing disasters by applying inappropriate models of “justice” and “fairness”.
If the link between AGW and natural disasters is too uncertain to make policy then why do we have any reason to suppose there’s a need for new policies at all?
The only thing we need to is let people seek what is best for themselves, to seek a world wealthy enough to continue good adaptation polices, and to seek ways to reduce and remediate real pollutants.
“The only thing we need to is let people seek what is best for themselves”
Oh yes indeed! When the flood waters rise let people pull themselves out of it by their bootstraps!
Since when did people doing what is best for themselves exclude helping others?
Maybe I am uncertain about making uncertain policies to deal with the uncertain link.
Certainly, you can agree with that uncertainty
Not sure if the quickfire-Robert of today is the same individual recently trying to stir up controversy and a flame war also by using a scurrilous vocabulary.
Anyway…if linking between AGW and extreme weather were just “academic” then few scientists would waste their time in policy-relevant IPCC.
Actually, if that kind of linking were really only an academic problem, we would read a lot less rubbish in newsmedia and learned journals to the world over. But that is a different point.
Let us be hopeful.
Dr. Curry has by way of her careful cutting sent me some messages on civility I am attempting to apply. Perhaps Robert is seeking self-improvement as well.
The taming of the hunter???
“Even if Kevin Trenberth turns out to be correct in terms of his views regarding the role of AGW in worsening extreme weather events, even extreme mitigation measures would have no impact until the latter half of the century.”
I’m not sure that’s correct. Sea level rise in general, and steric sea level rise in particular, are fairly immediate consequences of the rate of temperature change. A higher starting sea level portends a higher storm surge from a tropical hurricane/typhoon of a dangerous category 4 or 5 magnitude. All other things being equal, one can calculate that even a few millimeters of higher sea level will translate into tens or hundreds of billions of tons of extra storm surge water over the extent of land likely to be inundated by storm surges over the course of a decade or more, with a consequent increase in potential human, animal, and property losses. It seems to me that if there are already existing reasons to prepare for this type of devastation, they create an imperative to limit future damage by both mitigation and adaptive measures.
I tend to agree with Robert that mitigation vs adaptation is a false dichotomy, not only for unborn generations but for many alive today who will live through many more decades. I won’t invoke the “grandchildren” argument here because it has become a cliche. Rather, I would state that mitigation and adaptation are synergistic, because adaptation always presumes a particular level of hazard at a particular location, and if the hazards and locations are changing too rapidly, adaptive measures will either become maladaptive within decades, which is wasteful and inefficient, or will require exorbitant current expenditures to protect against hazards that won’t be realized for two or three decades, which is also wasteful and inefficient. The most efficient solution compatible with avoidance of serious harm to people and other things is to ensure that identifiable climate hazards are increasing at minimal rates if at all, so that protections we install today will be appropriate for tomorrow’s dangers and similar dangers fifty years from now.
Not having much sophistication in economics, I won’t try to assess how much cost we should bear to avert how much human suffering and property damage at what level of probability, or whether those costs will cause more human harm than the harm they avert. I have my views on that subject, but I’ll reserve those for a different comment or thread.
Speaking of mitigation, should we still hope for the list of successful mitigation policies?
Every dollar spent on mitigation instead of adaptation is a wasted dollar.
Every time mitigation is used as an excuse to delay reasonable adaptation policies is a time when bad choices are made.
There is no hope at all that mitigation is achievable, practical or effective in the real world.
Fred writes in avocation of mitigation policies:
“one can calculate that even a few millimeters of higher sea level will translate into tens or hundreds of billions of tons of extra storm surge water over the extent of land likely to be inundated by storm surges over the course of a decade or more, WITH A CONSEQUENT INCREASE IN POTENTIAL HUMAN, ANIMAL, AND PROPERTY LOSS. (caps by me)
1. I would like to see the analysis showing the increases in damages predicted and the probability of those increased damages. I greatly doubt that it is at all significant.
2. The other major point is that mitigation policies would not stop any rise or lessen it by any meaningful degree.
If you disagree- please point out the specific mitigation policies you advocate being adopted, by what nation– and what you believe they will accomplish and cost. Please don’t state “oh I posted that before”, as I have not read such an analysis that made sense.
Rob – I don’t know the answer to your first question, but storm surges entail a racing wall of water that tends to devastate whatever is in its path. I am simply presuming that if we add tens to hundreds of billions of tons of extra water to the top of that surge, we will cause death and damage that is more than negligible. When I applied this to Typhoon Nargis of a couple of years ago, I estimated an extra human death toll of probably a few thousand from that one event alone out of about 180,000 estimated total deaths, but I have no idea of the economic damages.
Regarding your second point, I believe the major energy-consuming nations should try to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions so as to ameliorate temperature increases by a 1 deg C difference or more, with the U.S. taking seriously its role as a setter of examples, without which no other nation would attempt to fulfill its own role. It is certainly feasible from the vantage point of physics as long as our estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2 are roughly accurate, and so the relevant uncertainties are social, political, and economic – within and across national boundaries, which is much too broad a topic to address in a few comments. You can find a variety of CO2 scenario estimates that are relevant, including the IPCC SRES. I also addressed a somewhat similar issue at CO2 Mitigation. The question was not exactly the same, but similar enough to demonstrate feasibility in terms of the CO2/temperature relationship. The physics are not really in doubt, despite some claims to the contrary in these threads, but I’m afraid I’m not qualified to offer a well-informed opinion on the economics.
I’ve complied with your request for a direct response regarding our ability to limit temperature increases, even though it’s been said before, and so I would have not seen a need to bring it up if I had not been asked. In turn, I request you not to repeat past arguments on this subject, although if new evidence has emerged that has not been mentioned in these threads, that would always be worth noting.
Sometimes your logic seems strange. A rise of a few millimeters of water makes oceans a few millimeters deeper and perhaps a few centimeters wider. For the storm damage that means that the water flows a few centimeters further ashore, but that doesn’t appear particularly threatening.
To get a more meaningful estimates it might be better to think, what 50 cm higher sea level would do and divide that by 100 or 200. Because the rise of sea level takes time, the real effect is that people will move elsewhere from the present low-lying areas loosing habitat, but the the damage from storms are not likely to change, when the natural adaptation is taken into account. Other factors may make the storms more severe, but the sea level rise is not a good argument.
Translated into the extra weight of water combined with its momentum (the most devastating element of the surge), I believe the potential for severe damage is high, but I will have to give you a more precise estimate after calculating some relevant areas that might be affected.
A rise measured in millimeters will of course do less damage than one of 50 cm or more, but the harm is still likely to be substantial. In the case of Nargis, a surge driven by winds of various speeds but exceeding 200 km/h in some locations came ashore at heights in some locations exceeding 4 to 5 meters – Storm Surge . If the surge height was 5 mm higher than otherwise, and dissipated itself over a total area of almost 10^4 Km^2 – Nargis Floodwater, then an averaged excess height over the flood area of about 2 mm, descending to ground level from 4-5 meters total surge height at landfall, would add about 20 million tons (almost 20 billion Kg) of water to the momentum of the surge, with particularly large effects at the coast, where the surge was highest and fastest, and the added water height was greatest. We can also think of 5 mm excess height as slightly more than 0.1% of total surge height, but with disproportionate impact because it exerted its effects from the top of the surge rather than an average height. Considering the total devastation from the surge, that quantity is significant. Multiplied by total strong cyclones over the globe during decades, I would suggest that the extra potential harm deserves not to be neglected, along with protective adaptations.
When Nargis struck, I roughly estimated extra deaths measuring perhaps in the thousands, but based on the foregoing, I would revise that downward to the hundreds. For a single severe tropical storm, that is still not trivial.
With all due respect-
The earlier post related “admitting mistakes” seems to be appropriate in reading your recent posts.
You seem unwilling to be analytical or admit when your points do not meet a test of reasonableness. Please Fred- step back and fairly evaluate your position.
Rob – Rather than a general rejection, I would be interested in specific comments on my analysis of storm surge impact and the effect of prior sea level rise on elevating the final height of the surge. In my view, the consequence of a rise measured only in millimeters is likely to be neglected because much of the literature on the effect of sea level rise on storm surge height and impact addresses the issue of flooding. This is mainly a function of volume, and a small change in surge height would have little fractional effect on the flood volume of a surge that is already meters high. My emphasis has been on the momentum effects, which multiplied by millions of tons (or more over the course of decades), might do serious harm to living creatures or vulnerable property in the path of the surge. In terms of lethality, this is very difficult to quantify, but I believe my estimates are reasonable unless shown quantitatively to be inaccurate.
From the point of view of storm, the difference is only in the surface area of the ocean, The mass increase happens almost totally as increase of water at depths totally insensitive to the storm activities. The additional water at the top means that all other water is a little further from the surface.
The shallow areas move a little, but their share doesn’t change much.
Coming back to my proposal to estimate, what 50 cm would cause and to divide that by 100 or 200. The basis for this proposal is in the fact that every millimeter may be decisive under some specific circumstances. Neglecting that, we would conclude that we may add 50 cm by adding 1 mm at the time ending up with no effect from 50 cm rise in sea level. Therefore we must start from something large enough for making estimates meaningful, but still small enough to allow using the assumption of linear response to the rise in sea level. I picked 50 cm to represent such a starting point for the estimate.
Pekka – As you state:
“every millimeter may be decisive under some specific circumstances… we must start from something large enough for making estimates meaningful, but still small enough to allow using the assumption of linear response to the rise in sea level. I picked 50 cm to represent such a starting point for the estimate”
Your first point was one of the reasons for my comments, and your second point is one I also agree with, although as I started looking into storm surge modeling, I became aware of how nonlinear the responses are, as well as how imprecise any attempt at quantitative estimates would be.
The video linked to below illustrates the power in a surge, but also makes another point relevant to added surge height. In the video there is a seawall, and surge water below the seawall fails to reach land. Where that happens, the difference in water coming over the seawall between a lower and a higher surge starts at the top of the seawall. As an unrealistically extreme example, if a seawall were 5 meters high, and the surge also 5 meters, no water would reach land, but if the surge then became 5 meters plus 5 millimeters high, 100 percent of the water reaching land would be due to the extra 5 mm. This illustrates one of the challenges of adaptation to natural disasters and/or their exacerbation by climate change – it will be necessary to invest resources sufficient to protect against estimated magnitudes in both the near and distant future, and if the magnitudes change too rapidly, adaptations will too quickly become inadequate.
With all that extra water causing havoc just for 2mm, how on earth do they exist in places where they get an inch of rain (or more) in a day?
I was once in Texas when they had 6 inches (150mm) in a day. Surely the extra weight of all that water must have crushed Texas through to Australia on that day?
It is the “surge” aspect, with its speed, height, weight, and momentum (from wind and gravity) compressed into a solid wall of water racing inward over a very short interval that does the damage. Spread out as rain over many hours and directed downwards, the same volume of water would have far less impact.
You were wrong…the addition water as a result of potential global warming is a VERY minor issue to the overall issue—admit it
The storm surge in Galveston from Hurricane Ike was 15 feet above mean sea level.
The city was evacuated. Lol, they don’t evacuate it for a heavy rain.
Ike, interestingly, landed as a Cat 2, but ranks 3rd in terms of damages caused by Atlantic hurricanes. Wind damage versus flood damage, you figure it out.
The Galveston sea wall was started after the 1900 storm. By 2008 mean sea level in Galveston was probably around 40 to 50 cm higher than in 1900.
And your point is what? That infrastructure preparedness is often inadequate or that it should not be done…….or that mitigation is a better path???????
On point 1– I agree (preparedness is often inadequate), on point 2 —I do not agree (it, infrastructure preparedness; should be done, it is simple often not done due to factors other than need—-on point 3 I strongly disagree—this is simply stupid- it is very expensive with poor results.
On refelection this argument is, of course, complete rubbish.
A strom surge of 5.0 m is still a storm surge of 5.0 m. It is measured relative to the surface of the sea, not to where the sea meets the land. No more water, nor momentum, nor energy is involved whether sea level is going up, going down or staying the same.
You can show this simply. Sea levels used ti be considerably lower than they are today because water was tied uo in glacial ice was tied up. When they were 5.0m less than today, Fred’s argument woudl suggest that a 5.0 m surge would have had no effect at all. And if they were 10.0 m below today then the effect would be ‘negative’.
Fred…you have failed to analyse the problem correctly. Changes in sea level do not influence the energy involved in storm surges or tsunamis.
Latimer – You should consider why storm surges at high tide are known to be much more damaging than when the tide is low. This is a sea level effect, because it means that any person or structure at a specified location on land will encounter a higher wall of water if the sea level was higher before the surge struck.
Your analysis explicitly says that the sea level rise will increase the momentum (and hence energy) of the storm surge. It does not. Your analysis is wrong.
Standing nearer to the surge is a different thing. It is not a good idea to be near one..whether the sea level is 50 feet more or less than today.
The added water would be a very, very minor point. The link here is how to do the math.
Rob – That article on the impact of a wave lasting 0.01 seconds on a massive concrete wall is interesting, but I don’t see the relevance to the vulnerability of humans or flimsy dwellings to a continuous pounding by a hurricane storm surge over the course of an hour or more. It may be more relevant to the construction of protective concrete barriers, but only if it accounts for both force and duration of impacts.
Yesterday I wrote that your analysis was wrong when you tried to show that a small increase in the depth of water due to potential sea level rise would result in a large increase in damages to those on shore.
You asked how one does the math to determine the difference in the force of a storm surge. Here is another link since I can not paste formulas.
Can you acknowledge that you were wrong in your analysis?
Rob – This article doesn’t seem much more relevant than the previous one. It concerns itself with a fishing pier with 2 foot diameter piles, a modest storm surge from a 20-year event, the force (considerable) of individual waves (duration measured in seconds), and not with the vulnerable humans and dwellings at risk during the hours of a category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone. I don’t think their vulnerability is much in question, but I was trying to point out that because of total water mass and momentum considerations over thousands of square kilometers, even small changes in surge height can make a significant difference in impact when a large population is at risk.
Regarding your 1st point, I believe it is completely flawed.
The percentage of change in sea level that would be due to global warming would be a VERY minor factor in determining the damages resulting from a storm. The resulting damage is overwhelmingly determined by infrastructure preparedness and communication. Changes in sea level are largely due to other factors.
Regarding your follow on, since ALL NATIONS ARE ENERGY CONSUMING; is there a global per capita level of emissions you believe is appropriate?
I read your link and what you have posted before, but you again completely fail to address the simple truth of the economics. You post long winded arguments that actually do not address the issue.
The issue is as preciously stated-please point out the specific mitigation policies you advocate being adopted, by what nation-or in this case the United States– and what you believe they will accomplish and cost.
Please don’t state “oh I posted that before- as you did again here”, as I have not read such an analysis that made sense, and your link certainly did not.
I should have written –Changes in sea level are largely due to other factors than CO2
Rob – Regarding sea level and storm surge damages, please see my above comment. I agree that preparedness is an important ingredient of future efforts, but I also know that even with the best intentions, nations won’t prepare adequately, and as I suggested before, mitigation and adaptation are synergistic because the former enhances the efficacy of the latter.
I also agree that I have not addressed the economic aspects of carbon mitigation, because I don’t feel particularly well qualified to offer an informed opinion.
Ignoring me will not make me or my question go away.
That you decline to engage on mitigation is your choice and speaks quite a bit.
If I am being ignored for something I said previously, I apologize for the offense.
Mitigation has been from my perspective, a great white whale- existing in myth and assumption, but not so much in reality.
I would be pleased to be wrong.
If mitigation has worked, I would like to hear about it, and I bet others would too.
If mitigation could be better than adaptation, that would be most worthwhile as well.
Until you respond, I will patiently ask the question until you do.
” I would be pleased to be wrong.”
Hunter, if I had known that, I would have responded a long time ago. I didn’t for two reasons. First, you were the only one asking the question, and second, I had the impression that nothing I could say would make any difference in your thinking. I therefore thought a response from me would lead nowhere.
However, I’ll try to mollify you with a brief response now. An example of a climate mitigation action deemed successful by most observers is the cap-and-trade program initiated in the U.S. under the Clean Air Act with the goal of mitigating acidic industrial emissions (mainly sulfate) responsible for acid rain and its associated damage to forests and lakes. Before its inception, the plan was strongly condemned by some as one that would be unaffordably expensive, a job killer, and incapable of reducing acid rain. All three criticisms appear to have been wrong in the views of most who have examined the results. Some critics contend that the acid rain reduction has not led to the expected recovery of the lakes and forests, and that remains to be determined, but it’s separate from whether the program achieved its immediately intended goal. A few have argued that the reduction in industrial emissions would have happened anyway, and the cap and trade program had nothing to do with it. That’s probably wrong, but I don’t wish to engage in an extended argument about the point. Even though a small number of individuals still refuse to acknowledge the benefits of that program, I believe you would have trouble convincing most of the knowledgeable public that the original condemnations and predictions of failure were fully justified.
I’m not attempting to relate that cap and trade program to those recently proposed for greenhouse gases, but that wasn’t the question you were asking.
Regarding mitigation and adaptation, few suggest that mitigation is “better” than adaptation, but most knowledgeable climate scientists have concluded that both are necessary. As I argued above, they should be seen as synergistic. They also operate at timescales that are overlapping but not identical.
Fred writes:” I would be pleased to be wrong.”
My response: Fred is very happy
Fred—you should be very pleased- I have always hoped to have a meaningful exchange with you on realistic proposals that could be implemented in the Unithed States regarding the issue of climate change. You always seem to duck the discussion.
Fred writes:” An example of a climate mitigation action deemed successful by most observers is the cap-and-trade program initiated in the U.S. under the Clean Air Act with the goal of mitigating acidic industrial emissions I’m not attempting to relate that cap and trade program to those recently proposed for greenhouse gases.
Fred writes about what he acknowleges is meaningless to the issue of (CO2 emissions today.
“Regarding mitigation and adaptation, few suggest that mitigation is “better” than adaptation, but most knowledgeable climate scientists have concluded that both are necessary. As I argued above, they should be seen as synergistic. They also operate at timescales that are overlapping but not identical.
Fred– PLEASE be specific. You never offer anything in terms of mitagation that really makes sense from an economic standpoint.
An example of a climate mitigation action deemed successful by most observers is the cap-and-trade program initiated in the U.S. under the Clean Air Act with the goal of mitigating acidic industrial emissions (mainly sulfate) responsible for acid rain and its associated damage to forests and lakes. Before its inception, the plan was strongly condemned by some as one that would be unaffordably expensive, a job killer, and incapable of reducing acid rain.
This is a fine example of a complex system response ie a paradox viz a vez Le Chatelier .
If a chemical system at equilibrium experiences a change in concentration, temperature, or total pressure; the equilibrium will shift in order to minimize that change.
Firstly China is set to overtake the US in one important respect. With a couple of years it will become the world’s biggest CO2 emitter, beating the US a decade earlier than expected. And of that output, nearly two-thirds will be derived from coal. China is believed to have little oil and gas, but coal enough to power its economic surge for at least another century. It has 13 percent of the world’s coal reserves.
Unfortunately much of China’s coal is high sulphur, and puts out masses of sulphur dioxide, soot, and other nasty stuff. Since they are opening coal-fired power stations at the rate of one a week, and expect to double their energy consumption by 2020, this is not good news. Some reports suggest that 1,000 new coal-fired stations are planned.
Now we have an interesting paradox. China and India both high users of high sulphur coal are also the world’s biggest producers of rice and are the largest emitters of methane from wetland rice fields .
Since 1990 the worlds methane levels are stable to slightly decreasing,this in conjunction with a ten fold increase in those countries in energy consumption,what has happened?
Wetlands are a potent source of the radiatively important gas methane (CH4). Recent findings have demonstrated that sulfate (SO4 2 ) deposition via acid rain suppresses CH4 emissions by stimulating competitive exclusion of methanogens by sulfate-reducing microbial populations. Here we report data from a field experiment showing that a finite pulse of simulated acid rain SO4 2 deposition, as would be expected from a large Icelandic volcanic eruption, continues to suppress CH4 emissions from wetlands long after the pollution event has ceased. Our analysis of the stoichiometries suggests that 5 years is a minimum CH4 emission recovery period, with 10 years being a reasonable upper limit. Our findings highlight the long-term impact of acid rain on biospheric output of CH4 which, for discrete polluting events such as volcanic eruptions, outlives the relatively short-term SO4 2 aerosol radiative cooling effect.
Gauci, V., N. Dise, and S. Blake (2005), Long-term suppression of wetland methane flux following a pulse of simulated acid rain, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32,
So what happens when we reduce sulphur in a system that has adjusted to the higher levels of acidic rain.
Acid rainfall in the Appalachian Mountains has decreased in recent years and organisms in its streams are thriving. But the environmental comeback could be creating new problems of its own, scientists say.
A drop in nitric and sulfuric acid levels in the streams is changing biological activity in the ecosystem and hiking dissolved carbon levels, scientists reported at the American Geophysical Union conference last week in San Francisco.
Dissolved carbon dioxide occurs as a result of organism respiration and decay of organic matter. It is a key source of acidity in pristine water.
“These are unexpected results,” said David DeWalle, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University. “Rising amounts of carbon dioxide in streams and soil could have implications for the forest ecosystem, and the carbon balance in general.”
Thank you for your kind reply.
Perhaps I was not clear. I was looking for a list of mitigation policies that have worked.
The problem is you can only show how mitigation might work.
There is no record of mitigation working.
And the US cap-n-trade is acknowledged to have been unable on its own to change world climate at all. The US contribution is not enough, and taking it to cap-n-trade levels would not have changed enough CO2 to, even if the understanding of the AGW consensus is correct on climate, make any real difference.
Adaptation, on the other hand, has a track record.
From the Netherlands to Galveston, Texas, adaptation has been shown to work.
‘I believe the major energy-consuming nations should try to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions so as to ameliorate temperature increases by a 1 deg C difference or more’
Please explain why you think that doing this for the reason you give would be desirable. Both in principle and quantitatively.
Several years ago, there was a terrible flood on the upper Mississippi. People living in the area had been encouraged/begged/bullied to buy flood insurance. Some did, others, knowing the risk, refused. So when the big flood happened and wiped them all out, what happened? The government covered the losses of those who had not bought the flood insurance. Talk about moral hazard!
So why did the rest of Congress go along with this pure income redistribution project? ‘There but for the grace of God.’ Because if it was their district, they’d want to buy votes as well.
Our natural disaster policies are rotten to the core. When it comes to moral hazard, the perverse choice is always preferred. The marginal effects of anthropogenic warming over the long term is the least of our problems. If there is a need to deal with those hypothetical, marginal effects, it is certainly less than the need to deal with the current, systematic ways in which we make natural disasters worse than they have to be right now.
Climate Etc., 6/5/11, disaster sanity
Tuckey’s article casts no light on a connection between global warming and natural disasters. It is one of a dozen or more such articles that could be written on recycling, wind farms, green industry, energy tax, CO2 footprints, ethanol fuels, power plant shut downs, banning incandescent bulbs — lessons lost, irrational behavior, subjectivity trumping objectivity, waste and the unintended consequences produced by strong central governments. Instead, we have FEMA encouraging people not to insure, to build in flood planes, not to bother with tornado shelters or evacuation plans or substantial building practices from home roofs to levies. Preparation for disaster works when it begins with individual responsibility.
What Tuckey does teach is how acute scientific illiteracy is among the public and politicians, and specifically that forest management, once a science, has evolved into another facet of environmentalism, this time forest mismanagement.
The problem starts in grade schools, which have substituted environmentalism for science, imaginary self-esteem for knowledge, and activism for republican self-government. Today, our leaders aren’t even aware that science excludes subjectivity and belief systems. We have scientists toying with nonsense like Popperism, Taleb probability distributions, post modernism, subjective probabilities, consensuses, and the precautionary principle of policy. Instead, they should be dedicated to the advancement of their models from conjectures to theories. That or run for office.
Dr. Curry’s summary paragraph suggests common sense actions at the local level (trial and error, the unique success of the federal principle), then applauds central government policy actions (error by fiat, sans trial). She suggests that broad policy questions should be assessed, then calls the attribution of extreme weather to AGW academic at best and misleading at worst. Doesn’t AGW exist through a coalition of big government, i.e., the UN plus unauthorized EPA orders, coupled into academia with its advocacy journals? Should these questions be assessed by academics publishing subjective Bayes decision analyses?
To prepare for natural disasters, minimize involvement of central governments, and maximize local responsibility.
I read Wilson “Iron-bar” Tuckey’s piece and thought it was rather good. I didn’t see any evidence of scientific illiteracy, but perhaps you can direct me to the parts of the paper in which he exhibits it?
TomFP, 6/7/11, 7:40 am, Uncertainty, risk
Agreed on the quality of Tuckey’s piece. But I did not say that Tuckey EXEMPLIFIED scientific illiteracy. His subject was titled “Towards a Sane Policy … “, meaning, as he explains in great detail, and that present Australian and American policy is insane. I agree again.
The implemented policy of restricting timber harvesting, tree thinning, and debris reduction, e.g., protecting the Spotted Owl in old growth, is borne of environmentalism, the belief system that public schools substituted for much of science, and the science of forest management in particular. Al Gore’s books and video are actually teaching aids. This is one of a class policies, more ignorant than insane, each with multiple unintended consequences. The substitution has lead to generations of scientifically illiterate citizens and politicians in the Gore mold, vulnerable to the polemical AGW model.
It was rather a shame that Tuckey put CO2 emissions into his equation. After all, CO2 is a benign, beneficial greening agent, one that warms Earth’s climate by at worst an immeasurably small amount. But all that comprehension takes science literacy.
Skeptics have been looking at extreme weather events rationally.
I am hopeful the AGW believing community will decide to join in.
But then I am an optimist.
Even as a former CAGW campaigner I always carried a somewhat uneasy feeling that ‘climate change’ was mostly an angst experienced by those in the west. Personal anecdotal evidence seemed to suggest that those struggling on less than $2 a day, struggling to feed a family of 8 without running water, electricity, sanitation or any form of government social support really didn’t have the inclination let alone the energy to contemplate a warming globe. Indeed, if I were to put myself in their shoes; homeless, jobless, daily undernourished, exhausted and sick while having to provide for a family of 8, I doubt my concern for those 50 years hence would rate particularly highly.
Even as we express dismay for our descendants 50 years from now:
1. a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria
2. 17,000 children per day die of hunger
3. 280,000 childeren died of AIDS related diseases in 2008
4. 1.5 million children die of diarrhea yearly
And on and on with the statistics…
While I am no means averse to addressing the potential impacts of our changing climate, first and foremost the world must address the immediate challenges facing so many of our human kin. By doing so I have no doubt that in 50 years the globe as a whole would be in a far better state. FWIW
Perspective! It’s worth a lot, Ian. Well said.
A little DDT goes a long way to solve malaria …
But environmentalists kept the ban going and 100s of million died.
And I think they did that on purpose because they believe humanity needs to be punished for their sins.
The whole point of AGW is to destroy our modern industrial society, kill off a few billion people and make us all pay for our sins.
As Ted Kaczynski said:
“The industrial revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in ‘advanced’ countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilled, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world.”
Unless someone is suggesting that disaster migitation was perfect in the past, and is now sub-optimal due to a focus on AGW, then it is Judith’s argument that is the biggest red-herring of all.
Walk….chew gum….at the same time!
You can do it!!
Since any response to AGW involves both mitigation and adaptation, any money spent on mitigation is automatically not spent on adaptation. It’s actually even worse as thanks to the IPCC governments the world over are convinced that climate policies mean AGW policies, and nothing else.
Has disaster mitigation ever been perfect?
So trying blame AGW for it’s inadequacies is, at best, disingenuousness.
At any rate, a AGW driven focus on extreme weather events is very likely to help with improving mitagation strategies.
After records floods in Australia there is renewed focus on the adequacy of flood mitigation.
The spectre of future AGW is driving the push for better mitigation.
Walk and chew gum – you can do it!!
I can get on board with this. Mitigation that involves adapting to real changes sounds like a good idea. Of course, most folks would simply call it adapting.
Michael, what disaster?
I adapt to 50C temperature fluctuations each years THANKS to fossil fuels that allow me to heat my home in the winter, cool it in the summer, cook warm nutritious food that isn’t spoiled because it is refrigerated and produce hot water so I can bathe and I can drive to work etc etc.
You want me to give that up and rely on wind turbines that don’t work when it is really cold out and maybe have power in between brown outs?
What I would prefer is that people like you who really, really believe in global warming is:
Stop producing CO2. Period. Take a vow like a monk. No more Co2.
If you and a few billion well meaning greenies actually act, you will save the planet.
Go now. Sign off. Unplug the computer. Spend you savings on solar panels and disconnect you house from the grid.
Convince the Cate Blanchetts of the world to give up their private jets and 7 mansions like Al Gore.
Walk the walk.
All the electricity and heating and cooling in the world will have zero impact on metres of muddy water rushing through your house.
Oh, and I’m accessing the internet courtesy of the PV system on my roof.
Walk and chew gum.
I think you may mean adaptation, not mitigation. Adaptation has probably never been perfect, but as the residents of Queensland recently found to their cost, it has certainly deteriorated since the myth of CAGW has held sway.
Sometimes it’s best to just clear the drains.
This debate seems to focus on mitigation vs adaptation. Bob Carter (Climate Change: the Counterconcensus) has sensibly proposed preparation in the form of contingency planning together with adaptation as the most cost-effective path.
“Mitigation” in this context seems to mean reduction of CO2 emissions by whatever means. Building nuclear power stations while phasing out coal-fired ones would also seem logical.
The question of carbon tax/ETS/cap-and-trade is, however, extremely vexed. The simplistic view is that all countries should simultaneously go down this path and everything will be OK. The realities are starkly different though. Nations have their own individual priorities. For example the billions of people who do not have access to electricity cannot be expected to postpone achievement of decent living standards because of pronouncements from the IPCC. Even among developed nations, the situation will vary depending on details of their individual economies. Australia is alleged to have very high per-capita CO2 emissions. More detailed analysis, however,
reveals that most of those emissions are on behalf of other nations and are pivotal to Australia’s economy. Moreover, drastically reducing Australian CO2 emissions will simply cripple the Australian economy and probably export the emissions to other nations which do not regulate emissions.
In summary, it seems extremely unlikely that the nations of the world will agree to the extent and timing of any coordinated global action to reduce CO2 emissions. Piecemeal economic interventions by individual nations will not only be economic vandalism but will also be ineffective in reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
“The issue of whether or not global climate change is causing more frequent or intense natural disasters is a red herring that is interfering with developing sane policies for reducing our vulnerability to natural disasters. “
Nowadays, climate science shows that attribution of a single event to either climate change or a long-term natural climate cycle is a red herring.
However, that the science shows climate change will make or is now making extreme events more destructive and more frequent is anything but a red herring. Without the understanding that CO2 from human activity is increasing these risks, ‘sane’ policies for the future will not include emissions reductions to reduce the effects and try to avoid overwhelming the natural cycles.
“even extreme mitigation measures would have no impact until the latter half of the century”
Yes, that is what climate science shows. Hopefully, you have done a good enough job of discussing science on this site that no one is surprised by this.
However, reasoning against undertaking this mitigation just because benefits are in the future is literally overflowing with logical errors.
Applying your fallacious reasoning to e.g. quitting smoking, would look something like this:
JC Summary ‘Why bother? Even if medicine tells us that there is a strong link between smoking and lung cancer, and that the risk of lung cancer is cumulative and increases the longer you smoke, and that the sooner you quit smoking the better your chance of lowering your risk… since you’re not likely to have any real risk reduction until several years after you quit and you’re not likely to get lung cancer for a few decades — why quit? Instead, focus on relieving your chronic cough and breathing trouble using an inhaler, adapt to your reduced mobility by using taxis instead of walking, and just generally hope or pray for the best. If you don’t have money for medicine or transportation — too bad, so sad. And please don’t worry about exposing your neighbours or children to second-hand smoke. Who cares? If they get lung cancer, it won’t happen for awhile, and it could be for other reasons. :-(
‘that the science shows climate change will make or is now making extreme events more destructive and more frequent is anything but a red herring.
Please outline the scientific case for this. To do so effectively you will need to:
Define what you mean by an extreme event.
Esatbalish at when ‘climate change’ began to occur
Establish a statistical baseline for the frequency of extreme events prior to the onset of ‘climate change’.
Show that the frequency of such events has increased since ‘climate change’ occurred.
Propose some physical mechanisms that explain how extreme events occur and discuss how these mechanisms are affected by ‘climate change’, both positively and negatively. And show that the physical effects will net out to an increase in the severity and number of extreme events.
If you can do all of these things, then I’ll agree that you have a case to argue that
‘the science shows climate change will make or is now making extreme events more destructive and more frequent is anything but a red herring’
Up until then, you – and anyone else making such a claim – are expressing an opinion and the science has not (yet) shown it to be true.
If you are looking for evidence you could do worse than start with this.
As the author points out “The vulnerability of the developing world to increased hurricane activity and sea level rise raises not only the obvious humanitarian and economic issues, but potential regional instabilities associated with mass migrations raise serious international security issues.”
There were 70ish hurricanes in period 70/74 and the same number in 00/04. This does to show an increase in ‘extreme weather events’. Even assuming that a hurricane is sensibly categorised as such.
Your case fails at the first hurdle.
“The vulnerability of the developing world to increased hurricane activity and sea level rise raises not only the obvious humanitarian and economic issues, but potential regional instabilities associated with mass migrations raise serious international security issues.”
it is actually doing no more than listing some possible nasty consequence the author speculates may occur. But it is not scientific evidence that they will occur.
I also note that the expected 50 million people migration so loudly speculated about a few years back has definitely NOT occurred. So the track record of predictions in this area coming true is already poor.
I think Dr Ryan Maue would be considerably surprised at your increased hurricane activity.
I also think you missed the previous discussion wrt “mass migrations” – or rather lack thereof.
Jim Owen and LA,
Its not my case which has failed. Neither is it my “increased hurricane activity”. Read the link again – more carefully this time. Take a look at who has said what.
My case would be that questions of increased, or even decreased, hurricane activity, are valid and should not be considered red herrings.
I don’t really believe very much in judging a work by its author.
Whoever was the author of the piece you linked to, it did not show increased hurricane activity.
Mr. Alder, supporting your comment:
I’m grateful for your links.
Any alarmist who witters on about ‘increased extreme events’ will have to explain this evidence showing the exact opposite as far as hurricanes are involved.
Both the absolute number of hurricanes, and the total energy in them has decreased since the 1970s…the period when AGW is supposed to have been most influential.
How can these observations be reconciled with Martha’s assertion that
‘the science shows climate change will make or is now making extreme events more destructive and more frequent is anything but a red herring’
when they seem to show the exact opposite?
The science has outlined the scientific case.
Judith knows this. Do you actually think she doesn’t? It’s why she is understandably very focused on disaster emergency preparedness and actions to reduce risks especially for the most vulnerable populations in American coastal communities such as Florida and California.
Interestingly, the recent Seung-Ki Min et al paper discussed here suggests that precipitation increased 7% in the past 50 years, outside of natural trends in variability. Of course, data and analysis for all the floods last year (Pakistan, Australia, Brazil) are too recent to analyse in context of trend. Also as discussed here, it is a red herring to focus on detection/attribution of specific events since these days they are combination events (climate change plus natural cycles). What we can discuss is scientific indications of an increase in certain types of extreme events e.g. precipitation. That does not necessarily mean present observation of an historical linear trend. If you are following this blog, you understand this, and that the main mechanism for storms involves the condensation of water vapour releasing energy/heat. Temperature differences create instabilities, which become storms. Some climate models as well as physics-based analysis shows increased incidence and severity of certain types of extremes is likely with conditions of climate change in combination with natural cycles. While recognizing our incomplete knowledge of complex systems and how uncertainty works, you can try reading and understanding some domestic climate science research and reports:
Deconvolution of the Factors Contributing to the Increase in Global Hurricane Intensity (Hoyos, Agudelo, Webster and Judith Curry, 2006) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/312/5770/94.abstract
It may be worse than models predict:
Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes (Allan and Sodan, 2008). Brian Sodan is in Florida.
Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate – Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands
What is the evidence that CO2 is causing global warming?
Just in case there are any doubts about anthropogenic influence in atmospheric CO2
Does CO2 correlate with temperature?
The CO2 problem in 6 easy steps http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007 …
Yet more CO2 http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/yet-more-co …
A role for atmospheric CO2 in preindustrial climate forcing http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/10/di …
Calculating the greenhouse effect http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006 …
Too lazy to read?
Climate Change — isn’t it natural?
Sense from Deniers on CO2? Don’t hold your breath….
Only the first two of your links work. All the others give ‘page not found’ errors.
But even at the first hurdle I set, you seem to be defining ‘extreme events’ very narrowly as ‘hurricanes impinging on the coast of the USA’.
Which is a very very very long stretch from a generalised worldwide study of ‘extreme events’. And you shouldn’t pretend that discussion of the former is actually that of the latter.
Just to be clear. In your assertion that
‘the science shows climate change will make or is now making extreme events more destructive and more frequent is anything but a red herring’
exactly how are you asking us to understand your term
How is it defined? What events are you claiming are included? And excluded?
It is important that we have an agreed understanding. Because we had a couple of bad flash floods in UK recently that got a lot of attention. And two (by our standards) cold and snowy winters in London. In UK, where hurricanes are not a big part of our weather, we would probably classify the floods and teh winter as ‘extreme’
But if you were using a different meaning, then confusion could arise. And that would be unfortunate. So please define your term so that we are agreed. Thanks
Not to put too fine a point on it, but you are very silly.
On rereading after a good night’s sleep I saw this gem in your text
‘What we can discuss is scientific indications of an increase in certain types of extreme events e.g. precipitation’
Are you including ‘its raining’ as an ‘extreme event’?
How about ‘The sun’s out’?
‘Temperatures were 1/1o th of a degree above normal today’
‘Temperatures were 1/1o th of a degree below normal today’
Regret that I have to endorse Hunter’s observation that your writings can be very very silly.
And meteorology has a different take. Warm, moist air mass impinged upon by cold air mass produces rain. (Add spin along a jet stream and one gets tornadoes.)
Note the cold air mass along the west coast and in Canada and the position of the cold fronts moving south. Note the high pressure around Bermuda pumping warm, moist air into Dixie and the south.
So where did the heat come from? Consider three or more decades of Solar Grand Maximum accumulating heat in the Gulf, followed by a decade of cooling during the transition between solar cycles 23 and 24.
I anticipate Joe Bastardi saying, “I told you so!”
Except to actually compare CO2 to a smoker, you would have to change it so there is no way this smoker can stop cold turkey because we can’t do that for CO2 emissions. So smoke will need to continue in this persons life if it were anything at all like CO2 emissions. Then you would have this person cut back from 24 cigarettes a year to 16 a year. Then you would make this person do all sorts of nonsensical new age cures and you would increase taxes.
No one said anything about going cold turkey. There’s gum, the patch, counseling, , etc. to help get there. ;-)
And all the doctors say he already going to get cancer by 2100 anyhow.
Preparing for natural disasters (no matter the causes) and figuring out ways to mitigate the worst of their effects is just good solid policy. And if Kevin Trenberth turns out to be correct, and the intensity, frequency, and character of climate related natural disasters is being affected by AGW, then that fact will be far more than just academic, and hardly a distraction, but rather it will be one of the most important facts in human history as it will mean that we are indeed altering the generally mild climate of the Holocene and that truly the anthropocene has begun as many would already posit. The generally mild climate of the Holocene is the basis of our civilization, for without it farming would have never developed nor the rise of the city state. If Trenberth et. al turn out to be correct, then the Holocene and it’s civilization conducive climate have come to an end and we are entering unknown territory in the Anthropocene. If this turns out to be the case- how could such a significant event be considered as academic or a distraction? For the first time in the history of homo sapiens, rather than just riding along with the changes in the climate, we will have been the cause.
And if the guy (Clamping) had been correct, the world would have ended about ten days ago.
Why should I believe Trenbeth any more than I believed Clamping?
The answer ‘because he’s a climate scientist’ is not sufficient. You need to provide sound reasons why you think he is right.
I also note that you say
‘The generally mild climate of the Holocene is the basis of our civilization, for without it farming would have never developed nor the rise of the city state’
But we can see that both farming and cities exist across a pretty wide range of average temperatures (Canada to the equator) without major problems. And individual cities and farms survive where temperature ranges within a single year are pretty wide (70-80C).
I don’t believe that a change in the average of a few degrees is going to bring about the end of either cities or farming when they have managed to survive for 6000 years already.
Please present your case as to why you think my analysis is incorrect.
“I don’t believe that a change in the average of a few degrees is going to bring about the end of either cities or farming when they have managed to survive for 6000 years already.”
Mainly cities have managed to survive above sea – level. There are a few areas which have, for whatever reason, disappeared under the water and they haven’t fared quite so well
Just a “few degrees” could melt a lot of ice and raise sea levels by many metres.
Re-read your history.
And cities move and change according to all sorts of influences. MY own large City, London started where the Thames could be most easily crossed. Under the influence of the prevailing winds (avoiding the stench) it first spread westward for many of its purposes (law, politics, church, media), while finance and commerce stayed in the original centre. But the Port of London spread east to allow a huge dock area to be built. Now the docks have declined in importance the finance and media sectors have moved to take over the docks area. This history is easy to trace (just read the street names) and typical of many. Cities evolve in response to new challenges and opportunities. They are not static constructs.
Since even the most alarmist prediction is for sealevel rise of an inch or so per year, I am very confident that most cities can survive that minor little hiccup by evolution. I’d also remark that many European cities were effectively destroyed completely (Coventry, Berlin, etc etc) in WW2 by bombing, fighting, fire, starvation and politics. Less than seventy years later they are thriving once more.
A little bit of sealevel rise spread over a century is not going to destroy these cities. And you are either very naive or extremely impractical to think that it will.
Capitalisation of ‘MY’ was accidental, not egotistic. Sorry!
There is sense in your logic if you don’t expect to live much past the year 2030. I doubt you’ll be too inconvenienced by AGW in the next 20 years or so.
Always disaster tomorrow? Just suitably far away for its proponents never to be brought to account?
But do you actually have anything to say about cities? Or do we just assume that you agree with me and that they will evolve to meet whatever minor challenge a few inches of sealevel rise produces in a century or so?
“disappeared under the water”: Try subsidence as a contributor to drowned cities.
“Just a ‘few degrees’. ‘many metres [sic]‘”: Requires a significant positive feedback, a conveniently-placed icecap and a considerable period of time.
R. Gates, the Eemian was warmer than the Holocene and farming and city states didn’t arise then(at least that I know of) so why do you think its the basis for civilization? Even if you really do, do you think the Holocene is going to go on forever?
Ever farmed? There’s this weird thing that happens. Believe it or not, sometimes droplets of water fall from the sky. When I was a kid I noticed the plants liked that. Well, unless they were rotting from it. But that’s another story.
Yes I have farmed in a cold and arid climate. Some fields have lots of water other land don’t. We plant accordingly. Farms are also in warm climates and wet climates. The warmer wetter ones are more productive. The Holocene is no more responsible for civilization than religion is.
Some might argue the human brain evolved, though there is apparently some room for doubt.
obviously, your false arguments don’t evolve.
Yes its worth sudying the Eemian period. Temperatures just 1 or 2 degrees warmer than in the Holocene and sea levels 4-6 mtrs higher. Expensive beach front real estate may not be such a good long term investment.
Will the Holocene last for ever? That’s an interesting question. In the absence of human influence, a return to glacial conditions could have been expected on a 100k year cycle. However, the next geological period, or even the current one, may be described as the Anthropocene.
How long will that last? An even more interesting question.
Lets say Trenberth is correct. Even Trenberth is not predicting order of magnitude worst disasters; at most an incremental increase. Hurricane intensity (probably the one most easily tied to warming) is expected to increase a few percent, while the overall frequency of hurricanes is expected to decline. The issue of flooding and water scarcity is dominated in most places by land use and population growth rather than by climate changes. And so on. Thinking that we are going to mitigate against the adverse effects of hurricanes, floods and droughts by reducing CO2 ignores the relative magnitude of the possible increase compared with the magnitudes of current and historical extreme events and also the very substantial confounding factors of land use and population increase.
“Hurricane intensity (probably the one most easily tied to warming) is expected to increase a few percent, while the frequency of hurricanes is expected to decline.”
Any chance of reference to support this assertion?
I guess you didn’t read the post linked to in my previous response, here it is again
I clicked on your link did a search on the word ‘decline’ and nothing actually came up.
Look, I guess you could look at the record over just a few years , say since 2005 (the year of Hurricane Katrina) to the present, and find some decline. Hurricane frequency is a quasi random statistic, just like global temperature, and the skeptic/denier argument that AGW stopped in 1998 is based on the same type of ‘statistical’ approach.
However, it is possible you are right and the degree of increased danger due to AGW from, not just hurricanes, but all kinds of tropical storms, including cyclones and typhoons, has been exaggerated. If you can genuinely show this to be so, then of course it would be welcome news. Worthy of a paper in Nature maybe?
“Worthy of a paper in Nature maybe?”
FYI, every time a Warmer suggests that information has to be published in Nature to be valuable, it’s a tipoff that in general Warmers do not know how to judge information themselves, but rely on fallacious appeals to authority to declare to them what is correct and what isn’t.
This is not a scientific approach.
Not necessarily Nature. There are many other good publishers of scientific information.
Speculation about the effects of AGW, or anything else, and it doesn’t matter who it comes from; Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry or James Hansen, rightly doesn’t count for much in scientific circles. It does have to be backed up by evidence, and published through the normal channels.
“It does have to be backed up by evidence, and published through the normal channels.”
If the evidence is presented, why does it matter where it’s published?
Dr Ryan Maue tracks hurricane statistics and strength. Go to WUWT and search for his most recent summary.
tonto m. (f. tonta, m plural tonti, f plural tonte)
stupid, silly, dumb, foolish
the prediction that Judy is describing was in a Nature Geosciences paper here, published last year.
The authors also pointed out that while they predict decreases in frequency and increases in intensity of these storms, no trend correlating can be found in the data so far.
So much for your innuendo.
…that should read ‘correlating global warming to these storms’. Sorry for any confusion.
Hurricane frequency over the record, adjusted for better reporting techniques, is flat.
If you go the paleo-record, about 4000 years ago hurricanes were stronger more frequently and more frequent in general.
Sure! See above.
Click the links to Dr. Ryan N. Maue’s graphs.
Maue, Dr. Ryan N. 2011. Global Tropical Cyclone Activity (2010 Update). Scientific. Florida State University. http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/
Here’s some general thoughts about IF Trenberth et. al. are correct, and AGW will bring about enough of a climate change to warrant the designation of the end of the Holocene and the beginning of the Anthropocene.
First, with the exception of the 8.2 kyr event, the Holocene has been the most stable climate the earth has seen since at least the Eemian. Furthermore, even during the Eemian, CO2 levels did not reach what they have in the past few hundred years. So it is the relative stability and consistency of the Holocene climate that created the foundation of human civilization. Even with periods of drought or the relatively minor periods of cooling (compared to how harsh the climate was during the last glacial period), the Holocene provide relatively consistent enough weather patterns for farming on larger and larger scales to take place. It was farming that allowed for the rise of the city state, the specialization of labor, and all the other elements that go into making up a civilization.
Second, If that Holocene climate is changing, and the primary cause is anthropogenic, and specifically the 40% rise in CO2 (and related feedbacks) in just a few hundred years, then it means that a stable system that exhibits spatio-temperal chaos is being perturbed by a forcing that it has not been seen in at least 800,000 years, and probably much longer than that. Such a forcing to a chaotic system will likely lead to very unpredictable results and so if this causes the system to become more unpredictable (i.e. the Holocene ends) then what is a stake is of course the stability of the world’s food supply which relies greatly on relatively predictable weather patterns. It is not a coincidence that during the most significant and disruptive weather events over the past few years, that it is the effects on farming and crops yields that seem to be hit the hardest (think of the Russian heat wave and the Pakistan and Australian floods of last year). I’m not saying that these events were caused or exacerbated by AGW, but they do indicate the kinds of disruptions to the food supply that could occur if the Holocene is replaced by a climate that is much more variable and less kind to the large scale agriculture so essential to feeding the 7+ billion humans on earth.
So probably, in terms of preparations for climate change, certainly the disruption to the global food supply has to be at the top of the list. Food prices are already exceeding the projections made by the IPCC when considering the effects of AGW, and if the frequency and severity of disruptive climate events continues or accelerates from the pace we’ve been seeing over the past few years, I think a great amount of preparation and focus of resources needs to be on looking at alternative farming techniques and other ways of providing food for our rather large human population.
In conclusion, Trenberth’s assertion of AGW leading to increased frequency and intensity of severe weather disruptions is hardly academic if it means that hundreds of millions or more may starve because of disruption to the food supply. Preparing for that food supply disruption should perhaps be a top priority with the greatest focus of resources, with a second priority being the adoption of mitigation practices that don’t drain resources from the stabilization of the food supply.
I’m planning a post on food, maybe will get it up later this week. the dynamics of food security are quite complicated, with the importance of climate varying regionally.
I very much look forward to reading that post!
There was a recent quite long article in the NY Times on this, that I hope you are aware of.
Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels.
I read the first page – and found that little beauty. And then they went into the usual “climate change is to blame” mantra. So let’s take a look at this.
First, there is some truth in the article. But it doesn’t tell you what REALLY needs to be said. At one time there were huge stockpiles of grain – so much that some of the surplus was stored in the holds of WWII Liberty ships moored in the Hudson River outside of New York – hundreds of them. But that didn’t stop starvation in the USSR in the early 70’s – because the Russians wouldn’t admit that their grain crops had been devastated by disease and the same kind of weather pattern that they got last summer. Was last summer climate-related? Let’s not get stupid here.
So – why the shortages now? The answer is no more complicated than the words “Government interference in the market”. First, you have the “subsidy” problem – when a farmer is paid to not grow grain and when he’s penalized if he grows it anyway, then the grain doesn’t get planted – or grown – or eaten. When farmers get paid by the acre to not grow grain then the more acres you have in non-production the more you get paid. So… how many millions of acres of US farmland are in “non-productive mode” – and how many millions of your tax dollars a being paid to some well-known names (Ted Turner comes to mind) who have never run a farm and never will, but own “farms” that have never been farmed, and are being paid big money to do what they don’t want to do anyway. Remember – the US was once the “breadbasket of the world” – and it was the US government that took much of the land out of production. So people starve.
Bu that’s not all. Consider the fact that the US Congress is contributing to the problem by mandating “renewable” fuels – which is where most of the expanding corn crop has been going for a number of years. Consider that the ethanol that you put in your gas tank is derived from corn (or soybeans) and that in the absence of the ethanol subsidies, the land that corn is grown on would likely be used for either other food crops – or for corn for human consumption – OR the corn would be used as feed, which would result in more and cheaper beef at your local grocery. IOW, the ethanol subsidy is a multi-pronged threat to the food supply and the economy. Again, unintended consequences from the “green” side of the dance floor.
And then there are GM foods. IIRC, there are places (like the EU??) where they are banned. Even though they provide more nutrition, are disease resistant, higher yield and are bred to be raised in the the places that are experiencing (or supposedly will experience) extreme weather. Ideal for those places where the alarmists are so concerned about starvation. Now tell me why there are “green” organizations in villages in Mexico and Central America and Africa telling the people not to plant them, that they’re poison, that they lack nutrition, that they’re “unnatural”, etc. And so people starve.
I wonder how many people here realize that the grain that they believe to be “natural” is also GM – it just took a lot longer to develop through selective breeding.
There are reasons why demand has outstripped production – but “climate change” is probably not one of them.
This may sound a bit callous, and please don’t think that I am immune to human suffering. However, in my view we have to accept our place in nature – whether that is at the top of the tree or not. When populations get too big for their environment,they implode and we will be no different. Think of termite mounds when they get too large. The population is already too big so losing a few will allow things to come back into adjustment, and I am sure the earth will heave a sigh of relief (figuratively speaking).
A realistic post
” Thinking that we are going to mitigate against the adverse effects of hurricanes, floods and droughts by reducing CO2 ignores the relative magnitude of the possible increase compared with the magnitudes of current and historical extreme events and also the very substantial confounding factors of land use and population increase.”
Judy – There are certainly many confounding factors as you mention, but again, it’s not an either/or circumstance. We can attempt to mitigate what we can’t fully adapt to, and adapt to what we can’t fully mitigate, with the two approaches synergistic as I suggest elsewhere in this thread.
You are also right that reducing CO2 emissions will have only small impact on each individual phenomenon you mention over the next half century, but there are many phenomena, and they add up. The reduction will probably affect hurricane damage only slightly, but globally (more or less; there are exceptions). It will probably reduce floods only slightly, but globally. It will probably reduce disease incidence only slightly (on average, with regional variations in either direction), but globally. It will almost certainly reduce drought to an extent that is probably more than slight, and globally – drought is an enormous threat not easily adapted to in less affluent nations, and the combination of population increase and water shortage is likely to be quite dangerous. It will unequivocally reduce ocean acidification, probably significantly, with substantial global consequences, and if for no other reason, this creates a strong imperative to limit CO2 emissions.
I would defer to Paul Haynes elsewhere in this thread for his specific expertise regarding how different cost/benefit scenarios can be evaluated, but I find it hard to see a rationale for minimizing the need for mitigation based on the conclusion that it is not a complete solution.
while I don’t doubt that mathematically what you are saying is correct, I do doubt whether it’s physically it’s meaningful in two ways.
First, as I read your comment, and you are more than welcome to correct me if I am wrong, mitigation and adaptation should be on equal footing. That is, given the current state of the resources, say half should be spent on mitigation and half on adaptation. Maybe you’d say even more than half should be spent on mitigation. I’d be interesting in your thoughts on the topic in fact.
As Judy correctly points out, however, on a community level, mitigation of CO2 is likely to have a negligible effect for any time in the foreseeable future. That is, any difference a community on the Mississippi River experiences in the amount or intensity of floods will not have a strong component from a human-forced increased to the globally average greenhouse effect.
Those communities, and many like them all over the world, are going to need help with resources and strategies for adapting to the wide range of variability that exists in the natural behavior of their region and local climate. Not the global climate.
Therefore, while I in principle agree that there should be some emphasis on mitigation, I believe that a much larger piece of the pie should be going to adaptation. Because under any scenario of warming there is will be extreme weather events and impacts from those extreme weather events. Without the necessary investment to reduce the risk that communities face with respect to extreme weather, what’s the point in reducing the risk associated with marginal, if not undetectable, changes in those weather events due to global warming?
Second, and I’m sure I’m not the first to point this out to you, no community or network of closely-lying communities live in the ‘global’ world. There is in fact globalization, but that has yet to affect weather and climate on the regional and local level. So pointing out that there will be increases in sea level, droughts or tropical storm intensity when those events are appropriately averaged for the surface of the earth does not help a single community cope with whatever, completely random extreme weather is coming their way. Nor will mitigation strategies of any kind ensure that, for that community, storms don’t get stronger or floods don’t get deeper. There is simply no way to know what is coming down the road.
So to attempt to sell mitigation strategies as a way to stop extreme weather on the regional or local scale is not only wrongheaded since we cannot reliably predict how they will affect specific communities, it’s also simply wrong because you’re painting a physically incorrect picture of how the measurements we make with respect to global warming correspond to impacts on the average person’s life.
Maxwell – As I mentioned above, I would defer to the expertise of Paul Haynes and his colleagues regarding cost/benefit analyses. From the scientific perspective, I doubt that adaptation is feasible, not to mention affordable, on a scale that would obviate the need for vigorous mitigation efforts as well. There are too many phenomena we simply can’t adapt to very well. The best example is probably ocean acidification, which poses threats to human welfare equal to or perhaps exceeding those from global warming.
The problem, as you imply, is that mitigation efforts at a local or national level will spread their benefit worldwide, so that its local/national impact is diluted and delayed unless other energy-consuming nations contribute their appropriate level of effort – it’s likely to be an example of the Tragedy of the Commons writ large. On the other hand, local adaptation pays off locally, and the results are observable. It is therefore realistic, again as you suggest, not to expect mitigation to have the same political appeal as adaptation. I consequently expect that the major players – particularly the U.S. and China – will fail to undertake adequate mitigation efforts (whether their adaptation efforts will live up to their potential may also be questionable but they will probably come closer). I also expect the ultimate result of this over the coming decades will involve significant human suffering and economic loss, but the severity is still a question mark. I’m not optimistic the future will be benign, but I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised.
Once more, a question – specifically what mitigation efforts do you think should be taken and what efforts do you think will be taken?
thanks for the reply. I’ll definitely check out Paul’s take on my questions when he and I both have time.
More to your comment, however. We’ve now changed the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by a factor of two and the oceans (globally averaged), have shown an increase in pH of less than 2%. That is assuming that the oceans are the dominant sink with respect to our emissions.
Moving around in the ocean from basin to basin, there are changes in pH of between 5 and 10%. So again, while I don’t doubt the correctness of the fundamental claim (CO2 emissions change ocean pH), but I do doubt the level of meaningfulness to ascribe it in this context.
As far as the larger issue of adaptation/mitigation is concerned, while I can respect your opinion, I am not of the attitude that a problem will arise that I cannot handle. From that perspective, adaptation is always an option, if not the preferred option given its flexibility when applied on the local/regional level. Given you have also deferred the specifics of cost/benefit analysis to someone else, I find your claim that adaptation strategies to be ‘much more expensive’ than mitigation strategies rather puzzling.
And as far as human suffering is concerned, over a billion people on this planet are currently living on the brink. Without the stabilization that comes with cheap energy (whatever its source), it’s likely not going to get better. To me, that seems like a much larger concern than CO2 mitigation that will likely save less than 10% on the effects of extreme weather events.
Maxwell – I don’t feel confident in my ability to make cost/benefit assessments, except to say that the cost of failing to undertake vigorous mitigation efforts, however much the world adapts, will almost certainly be huge. I agree that this conclusion doesn’t completely answer the question, but I also suggest that in answering it, we have to ask “costs for whom?” and “benefits to whom?”, because this is a social/moral issue involving the likelihood that rational and fair mitigation efforts will involve a higher cost/benefit ratio for affluent societies who must bear most of the burden of reduced fossil fuel emissions than for the poor societies who will be most harmed by inaction and who will not need to reduce their carbon footprint very much if at all. Again, though, this is such a huge topic, and others are so much better informed on it (check with Paul), that I won’t dogmatize.
To some extent, this also addresses Jim Owen’s question, because I believe the world’s biggest total and per capita CO2 emitters should attempt to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% over the next 40 years, while the very low emitters need take few steps and/or be partially subsidized by the big emitters, with the high total/low per capita emitters somewhere in between. I have no expectation that this goal will be realized, but I would settle for half measures. Maybe quarter measures. Maybe less, if it’s more than nothing.
Regarding ocean acidification, it’s a very significant threat that is poorly represented by pH figures. Current ocean pH averages abojut 8.1 (with both regional and temporal variability as you suggest), but with unabated CO2 emissions, it might drop as much as 0.3 pH units over the next century – to about 7.8. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but that’s because pH is logarithmic. A decline of 0.3 units signifies a doubling of hydrogen ion concentration, with potentially severe effects. One useful reference to this subject is at
Here is another, earlier one that discusses food chain impact in greater detail – Impact of Ocean Acidification on Marine Fauna.
The only problem with the fear promotion use of OA is that it is only a stage prop.
There is no evidence that holds up under reasonable scrutiny that CO2 increases in the atmospehre to any degree that is realistic will hold any significant risk to the marine ecosystem.
In an alkaline solution, the predominant ion present is the hydroxyl (OH-). The nasty stuff that goes into drain cleaners. The main component of caustic soda.
All that happens as the pH approaches 7.0 (from either direction) is that the water has fewer nasty ions in it at all.
The effect of more dissolved CO2 (if actually detectable at all in reality which has yet to be convincing;y demonstrated) is better called ‘ocean neutralisation’, since it moves from a slightly alkaline solution (pH 8ish) to a even less alkaline solution (pH a bit less than 8). But it is still, and will remain, alkaline, not acidic.
Please learn a little chemistry before pontificating in a misleading way about hydrogen ions. If the concepts are too hard, think of pH 7 as being at the bottom of a valley…where all is safe and secure and the land flows with milk and honey. And deviations from 7 (in either direction) put you up the hill on one side or another where things are not so good.
“think of pH 7 as being at the bottom of a valley…where all is safe and secure and the land flows with milk and honey. And deviations from 7 (in either direction) put you up the hill on one side or another where things are not so good.”
Latimer – What would happen to you if your blood pH dropped to 7.0?
‘Latimer – What would happen to you if your blood pH dropped to 7.0?’
Answer. I have no idea, but I doubt it would be good for me. The human nervous system works on having lots of good ionic salts around to transmit electrical impulses. That is one of the reasons that table salt (sodium chloride) is popular…incidentally the root of the much over word ‘salary’. At pH7, there would probably be some problems in this area.
But interesting though your question might be to discuss over coffee in a biochemistry lab, for the life of me I fail to see its relevance to the topic of ocean neutralisation.
Please enlighten us. (Briefly)
Sorry – forgot one word in my essay on pH. As you move towards pH7 the chemistry gets safe and secure..and boring!
Use of the misleading term ‘ocean acidification’ conjures up ideas of lakes of acid fizzing away and giving off noxious fumes. Of dead bodies being digested down to nothing and of Beaker’s chemistry lab in The Muppets. And that’s the misleading bit.
As you get to pH7, there are fewer and fewer interesting ions to do anything. It is the low point of chemical reactivity. From a chemistry point of view it is dull.
And that is why ‘neutralisation’ is not only technically accurate while ‘acidification’ is misleading. It also gives the right connotations of tedium.
I guess I would go for blood chemistry as well if I was losing the topic of the conversation.
How about if we add in Isaac Asimov’s great b-classic,
“Fantastic Voyage”, and think about how Raquel Welch would have looked if the pH went to 7.0?
At least we would then have something worthwhile to look at……..
Fred Moolten, 6/7/11, 10:57 am, Uncertainty, risk
Regarding ocean acidification, it’s a very significant threat that is poorly represented by pH figures. Current ocean pH averages about 8.1 (with both regional and temporal variability as you suggest), but with unabated CO2 emissions, it might drop as much as 0.3 pH units over the next century – to about 7.8. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but that’s because pH is logarithmic. A decline of 0.3 units signifies a doubling of hydrogen ion concentration, with potentially severe effects.
Obviously Fred supports the notion (less than even a conjecture) that the surface layer of the ocean is in thermodynamic equilibrium, and hence that equilibrium chemistry and the Bjerrum solution to the stochiometric equations applies, giving us acidification.
And as a bonus, Fred believes in the Revelle Buffer, accounting for a build-up of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, absent a similar theory for natural CO2. This follows because the surface layer again is in thermodynamic equilibrium, cannot be a buffer to hold excess molecular CO2, and hence, closure — pH must shift.
The whole theory rests on the ludicrous assumption that the surface layer is in thermodynamic equilibrium. For interested readers, that means that it is simultaneously in mechanical, chemical, and thermal equilibrium. The dynamics of waves, entrained air, a dynamically stirred mixed layer must all be fictions. The dominantly diurnal heat into and out of the surface layer is a fiction, too. And, of course, the coup de grace, the chemical layer is in equilibrium to shift acidity at glacial speeds as CO2 seeps into the layer according to space for CO2 provided by the biological pumps.
And of course, Henry’s Law of dissolution has newly minted Henry’s Coefficients, no longer dependent in the first order by water temperature and atmospheric partial pressure, and in the second order by salinity, as physicists used to think, but now all demoted to make room for a new first order effect: a previously unknown measure of surface layer state, or disequilibrium, or perhaps pH. It’s all quite fantastic.
But, gosh, the greenhouse effect is not strong enough in response to CO2, so we can’t scare everyone about ACO2. So we manufacture just what is needed: the Revelle Buffer, accounting for only ACO2. We’ll imagine that Henry’s Coefficients can make the distinction, that they also depend on isotopic weight, or failing that, that ACO2 molecules have some kind of tag distinguishing them from nCO2 molecules. Now ACO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere, and we can attribute the bulge at MLO to ACO2!
But nuts, that still isn’t enough greenhouse effect! So let’s invent a water vapor amplifier! This is triggered by heat INITIATED by ACO2. NOW we have it. ACO2 is not only acidifying the ocean, killing all the little fishes and coral, but it is overheating the atmosphere to promised catastrophic levels, promising to kill off farm land and melt the ice caps, and flood New York City.
This is what experts, like the Fred and Pekka tag team, teach, and IPCC would have us believe.
According to the dialog on this blog, We, the powerful leaders of all mankind, must mitigate a benign, beneficial greening agent, and mitigate the loss of humanity with all the little children that that portends.
The truth, that is, the rational processes for which no contradictory evidence exists, is that greenhouse effect exists, but the bulge in CO2 at MLO is (1) regional and (2) natural, the solubility response to global warming caused by the Sun coupled in ocean circulations. Further, the ocean and not the atmosphere is a buffer to hold excess molecular CO2. The atmosphere is a byproduct of the ocean. The excess dissolved molecular CO2 is a buffer that feeds the solubility pump and the two biological pumps according to well-established physics and biology known outside climatology. And if any global acidification or basification exists, its cause is as unknown as the effect.
Latimer and Hunter – the two references I linked to above address the chemistry and its biological consequences in detail. The pH, CO2, carbonate, and bicarbonate changes have all been documented by observational data at various depths.
Jeff – I can see the medication isn’t working.
Fred Moolten, 6/7/11, 12:58 am, Uncertainty, risk
Jeff – I can see the medication isn’t working.
Perceptive of you. That explains my fractured html tag. Apologies to all. I’ll try to do better.
Now you’re working in your field, but your diagnostic prowess is the same. See if you can find a substantive argument.
Since you obviously know these papers in detail, perhaps you;d like to summarise their main points for the casual reader who doesn’t have either the time, or the background to understand them from scratch?
Because the way I read the conclusion of the first paper, it is just a very long-winded way of saying…
‘we haven’t actually found anything bad happening. But we’re sure that there will be later on’
which isn’t something I’m going to lose sleep about.
Your view may differ…please explain.
Ph levels have been lower (more neutral) than present caustic Ph levels over most of the past 50 million years, yet corals and shelfish continued to thrive.
The idea that the current caustic ocean Ph levels are somehow optimum is not supported by the paleo records. It is alarmist nonsense that ignores evolution and natural selection.
Caustic environments are much more a threat to living tissue than are more neutral environments.
OA is a red herring that does not seem to hurt the red herring, no matter the evidence.
There is no evidence of harm from CO2 ni the atmosphere towards the marine environment.
There are rigged models and and poorly executed models that are used as stage props for scary stories.
There is no evidence.
Go to a good marine aquarium shop and find out what they bubble in to the the tanks to get plants and coral to grow better.
Think about many corals using algae to capture the benefits of CO2 in the sea water.
NASA has a satellite whizzing around someplace that measures evidence of biomass- chlorophyl, if I recall- and the world’s biomass is increasing from the latest data.
The real question is why the fixation for something that has no real evidence of existing, and proposing policies based on things like mitigation with zip track record of working?
As well, the term Ocean Acidification is non science. CO2 is neutralizing the oceans, not acidifying them. This is the sort of hockum baloney you get when Climate Scientists try and practice chemistry.
You will notice that only “Climate Science” needs to add the term “Science” to their name. All other sciences are recognized for what they are, true sciences. Climate Science is as much a science as the Peoples Democratic Republic is a democracy.
Fundamental to Climate Science is the notion that CO2 drives temperature. However, the paleo records have now shown that temperature leads CO2. Any real science would have gone back and questioned the theory once this was recognized. We might as well say that the energy generated by the planets circling the sun is the dynamo that generates the sun’s gravitational field.
Until and unless there is clear evidence found in the paleo record that CO2 leads temperature, there is no reason to believe that the current increase in CO2 will increase temperature.
Based on the paleo records, the more likely explanation is that the increase in temperature following the LIA is causing an increase in CO2, and this warming has coincidentally lead to the development of modern industrial society.
In other words, Climate Science has casuality reversed. That warming is driving both CO2 and industrialization, and since no one knows what caused past warmings or coolings, we cannot say what is causing the current warming.
thanks again for the response.
I do agree that there is much more unknown with respect to what combination of the adaptation and mitigation will be necessary to ensure the safety of as many people as possible. I do not agree, however, that the costs of mitigation will ‘certainly be huge’. Those costs may even be negative if there are economic benefits from the discovery of carbon-free sources of cheap energy. Again, there is more unknown than known.
On the ocean acidification front, I still think you’re painting a rather crude picture, but ultimately incorrect physical picture. Yes, pH is a logarithmic scale, so small changes in pH can correspond to larger changes in concentration. But it’s not as though the logarithmic scale was chosen arbitrarily.
pH is the most meaningful measure because acid-base chemistry obeys first order rate law kinetics. Therefore, the rates of specific acid-base chemical reactions (like those involving carbonate in the ocean) are linear with the logarithm of the concentration of the hydrogen atoms in the ocean.
Given pH is the log of H+ concentrations, we should care about measuring pH and not H+ concentrations.
So yet again, while I do agree that what you are saying is factually correct from a scientific perspective, you’re clearly missing the correct physical context for that information. pH is the measure of concern if we are worried about dissolving the shells of crustaceans. Doubling of atmospheric concentrations of the CO2 since the industrial age has increased global ocean pH by less that 2%. Natural spatial variations in pH are several times larger.
So stop worrying. The basic science shows pretty effectively that it’s not worth your concern.
“Since you obviously know these papers in detail, perhaps you;d like to summarise their main points for the casual reader who doesn’t have either the time, or the background to understand them from scratch?”
Latimer – regarding that comment, and in response to you and others who have demurred here, I would say that I have very briefly (and in all probability insufficiently) summarized some of the content of two very comprehensive articles, but that any readers who wish to understand the concerns inherent in ocean acidification should take the trouble to read the articles themselves, as well as other published material on the subject (e.g,. from Ken Caldeira et al among others – searchable via Google, but here is one source: Ocean Acidification and CO2 ). There is an immense literature on the subject, and the major conclusions as well as the remaining uncertainties are well documented.
It is perfectly reasonable, in my opinion, for someone not to wish to take that trouble, but individuals making that choice should be careful not to make dogmatic pronouncements about the danger or lack of danger from ocean acidification.
As a small point – I mentioned before that a blood pH of 7.0 would constitute a very dangerous, potentially lethal “acidosis” in medical terminology. The use of the “acid” prefix here has no political or ideological connotations, and has endured in the medical literature simply to indicate that hydrogen ion concentrations have increased to unacceptable levels, regardless of the relationship to a neutral pH or 7.0.
Please reread my comments
I have made no dogmatic pronouncements about the danger or lack of danger from ocean acidification.
I have advised you about some basic chemistry tof water hat seems to have escaped you, and commented on the paper you directed me to read. I also invited you to explain where I was wrong. No dogmatic pronouncements there mon brave.
But I’d boldly venture to suggest that your content-free post merely saying that the conclusions are ‘well-documented’ leads the cynic like me to believe that you haven”t really much of a clue about it, despite your attempts to show off your supposed wide-ranging knowledge. Like many alarmists, you believe that as long as you throw in links to a couple of papers we will all just assume that you know what you are writing about.
In this case, and it seems in your debates with PP, I do not buy it. You’ve talked a good game, but now its time to walk the walk. Are you up to it?
“Spending our efforts on discussing the links between AGW an extreme weather events is academic at best and misleading at worst.”
I would have thought a university professor shouldn’t be too keen to use a phrase like “academic at best”.
If we can see significant effects from 0.8 degC of warming what will we see from 2 or 3, 4 degrees of warming. They are valid questions, surely?
There is a link on this page
referring to congressional testimony you gave on the topic of “dangerous climate change”. It doesn’t seem to work. Any chance of fixing it?
I’d be interested you read what you’d said.
tonto, I think you mean that you would be interested in reading “more into it” than what she said – as per your usual method of operation.
‘If we can see significant effects from 0.8 degC of warming’
Can we? What are they?
Note that a simple list of ‘gosh that’s unusual’ events does not show that there are significant effects from any supposed warming.
You also have to show that those events would have been less severe or not have occurred at all without that warming.
You ask “Can we? What are they” These are questions that people like Judith Curry should answer to the best of their ability in the scientific press.
She used to do that. Now she thinks these are irrelevant , or “red herrings”.
But, I would disagree with Judith and agree with you. They are good questions.
Thanks. We agree on something – that they are good questions. Don’t assume that this will become a habit though.
Seems to me that there has been a great lack of intellectual rigour from those advancing the alarmist case, and too little direct challenge from the sceptics.
We have been too diffident to ask the fundamental difficult questions that a lawyer would look at when faced with an opposing case: What? where? why? how? when? And a little too willing to fold over when somebody makes claims about ‘Smithers and Burns, 2008’ . My guess is that 80% of the time they haven’t read the frigging paper anyway and in the 20% who have, the claims are wildly exaggerated to bolster their advocacy position.
It is always worth going right back to the basics of what has is known and how. Keep on asking those fundamental questions and eventually the ‘truth’ will out. Get the alarmist to explain their point – at about the level of A level maths and physics. Reasonably rigorously…and with some sums as well. This is supposed to be science..it should have observations, figures and maths! It is not a humanities subject with feelings and opinions to the fore.
The IPCC signally fails to do this. In its desire to show every time that ‘things are much worse than we thought last time’ it bigs up all the claims way in advance of the evidence. And all the IPCC’s acolytes do so too. Most of the time they do no more than parrot the received wisdom with no understanding of the science (if any ) behind it.
That link works for me.
Is testimony to Congress given under oath? I’m just wondering.
Regardless I’d just like to see exactly what it was. I don’t believe I have ever exaggerated anything previously so I hope you can trust me to do the same this time too!
Try congress. There’ll be an official record of its proceedings.
An even more fascinating thread than usual. And there’s enough red herrings to get into the fishmonger business.
Amazing how people can still argue for mitigation even if (a) all proposals so far can only promise at best an amelioration of hundredths of degrees; (b) mitigation can quickly get bogged down in attribution discussions; (c) all quick-wins in the mitigation areas have been studiedly avoided, such as cutting down on black soot, with CO2 reigning supreme at all levels of policy making; (d) there is no credible cost-benefit analysis on mitigation even for climate-crazed Governments such as the UK’s; (e) “mitigators” are hard to tell from socialists of old. Etc etc.
Climate mitigation is increasingly looking like the war on drugs, ineffectual, expensive, mad, counterproductive, just a cynical political ploy to “look busy” by perpetuating what might or might not be a problem when left on its own.
The economics of mitigation is not as simple as you suggest. We do much more than develop a simple cost benefit analysis – we develop scenarios on the basis of different policy instument combinations. Our m0delling suggests a cost for mitigation, but far less than the cost of adaptation (or of the losses from not intruducing many such adaptations. The issue you mention about the practice is an interesting one – I am cyncial about why the USA does very little mitigation when it is the biggest producer of CO2 (and close to the top per capita) and why the Republicans are so set against doing anything. Failure to get the USA to do much will not help, but unlike the war on drugs, mitigation can be part won (the less CO2, the better). Adaptation is paid for locally, so I guess it is perceived of as in the (short term) interests of the developed world to choose adaptation rather than mitigation. We clearly need both. By the way, people I work with are both left and right of the political spectrum (and economists on the whole are more likely to be right than left) but you are right in that there are certainly SOME socialists who are using the issue to push their agenda.
“I am cyncial about why the USA does very little mitigation when it is the biggest producer of CO2 (and close to the top per capita) and why the Republicans are so set against doing anything”
They want to destroy the world. Did you have another motivation in mind?
kdk33: Who is “they”? Republicans are about 50% of the US population. Are you claiming that we want to “destroy the world”?
China took over the top spot in 2006.
If the US mitigates … and that increases the cost of doing business … then even more jobs will end up in China … and more CO2 will be produced be China’s energy mix is more CO2 intensive. They like coal.
China gets 70% of its electricity from coal – the US gets 46%.
The USA does very little mitigation because a lot of people are skeptical of the threat.
being sceptical about it being a threat is what I am cynical about (people in the Maldives are not sceptical at all).
As for destroying the world – I’m sure noone wants to mess things up (unless you think that the rapture is just around the corner), but obviously the republican DNA includes a more laissez faire attitude to business interests and a more explicit “American economic growth first” approach to short term policy making.
Paul, why are you cynical, as opposed to merely disagreeing? Are you suggesting we skeptics are dishonest? As for policy, growth is very important, especially as we are struggling with a major economic downturn. But I have been a skeptic for 19 years.
The best sign of a reactionary analysis is when someone places all blame on one group.
Blaming Republicans for the inability of the AGW community to pass mitigation legislation is a perfect example of this.
And attributing to Republicans a cynical desire to destroy the world is, to say the least, a comic book depth of analysis.
1) I am not blaming one group
2) I am not attempting to blame the Republican for not passing legislation – I see Republican politicians as being cynical in their motivation for being sceptical (as I mentioned above) and this is a position I am happy to defend – take the way Mitt Romney or John McCain have changed their mind on an issue because it doesn’t pay well to the polls (Democrats do the same but not on THIS issue).
3) the best sign that someone is reactionary is that they wish to restore some state that previously existed, or “being conservative” in a moment when small changes are being implemented. I am the opposite of reactionary in that I wish to have policies that address global problems and don’t serve the interests of one constituency – call me “radical” if you are using this particular spectrum.
4) this blog works well because we (generally) assume good faith rather than putting words into the mouths of people we disagree with. In particular don’t put into my mouth the words of someone else in a separate comment, as that could make you look a little disorganised. I agree with your comment: ” attributing to Republicans a cynical desire to destroy the world is, to say the least, a comic book depth of analysis” but Kdk33 might not mean it literally and the context of the comment might give a few hints.
You decided to make the word choice yo udid,
and you actually only dem onstrate that in your world view the only reason for Republicans to object to stupid AGW policies is cynicism.
No, yo uare exactly reactionary, and on a hubris-filled global scale.
You seem to actually believe sincerely that somehow managing CO2 will return us to a weather paradise of peaceful clime and fewer dangerous weather events.
Now THOSE are the good ol’ days.
which just happens to be about as reactionary as it gets.
Governments aren’t into mitigation, mitigation doesn’t produce any income from taxes, cap ‘n’ spend.
Mitigation means that Governments have to spend money on practical issues, it means that they can’t employ more people on non-jobs, who’ll vote for them, to retain their non-job.
Mitigation also doesn’t get invites to conferences in nicer (For nicer, read warmer – funny that isn’t it!) parts of the world (I bet they’ll be no more conferences in Northern Europe in winter months!).
Mitigation also means admitting that they can’t do a damned thing about the underlying issues, Governments don’t like admitting that they can’t do a damned thing about something, it means that they can’t make up a few more rules, regulations & laws. Also, it means the opposition can say they have the policies to “do something” and out of power goes the current Government.
Taxes and (rationing) caps are two of the primary mitigation strategies.
Governments have to have a rosy outlook so investor can be attracted and stay with the country.
Lord help them if they ever told the truth!
I think you’ve got your approved vocabulary reversed.
“Mitigation” is fixing the climate.
“Adaptation” is adjusting to and coping with it.
“Some of these actions are in expensive,” also cheap and inexpensive.
Funny how “moral hazard” seems to kick in every time government gets involved in “solving” problems; the insurer of last resort swiftly becomes insurer of first resort.
It is about being in the spot light and showing that you care(even when you don’t know them and will forget them the next day).
Every community is regional in nature and the political clout is usually the lobbyists with the deepest pockets.
When politician become accountable for their decisions, nothing will get done due to having to understand every angle to their decision.
Currently being unaccountable, has made it easy to make a decision without looking at the future impact.
Many studies are biased towards whatever outcome is being sought.
Some countries have introduce massive policy changes that have impacted on the cost of companies being competitive with countries that have not.
Then politicians wonder why companies are failing to be attracted to their country.
Joe – this is a bit confusing but part of what you say makes sense and some things I disagree with.
Politicians are accountable in many ways in most countries. The least accountable countries do indeed seem to do more BUT they have more of an eye on future impacts, because there are fewer short term political hurdles. The problem is that in some countries there is an asymmetry – it is difficult to create non-partizan legislation, but easy to remove the structures that support it (Italy and Israel are a great examples of this).
Studies are often biased when a lobby group needs/produces a report – academic studies, although having some bias, are generally sufficiently clear about where areas of bias might be and where they fit in the broader debate.
Countries do indeed compete for firms, BUT innovation in high tax economies, such as scandinavia are much higher than low tax economies (such as Italy or Spain) and these counties don’t lose firms because they choose to pay lower taxes – having a highly skilled, highly educated, reliable, efficient and young workforce is more important than short term tax gains. Attracting a few larger blue chip companies by offering tax incentives or having low wages is a 1980s strategy (like creating business clusters was for the 1990s) that had some successes for a few regions and is certainly not sustainable.
Ed Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, where he also serves as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He studies the economics of cities, and has written scores of urban issues, including the growth of cities, segregation, crime, and housing markets.
Why not give each one a wind turbine to have their own income from the subsidies the government would pay for the over priced power?
Again bad thought process in a crisis moment.
JFI they are wind mills. They are not turbines.
Turbines enclose the fluid within a casing and allow a multi-stage draw off of power. eg gas turbine, water turbine, turbo jet.
Do not be fooled by the attempted rebranding. Today’s windmills still use the same basic technology as was pioneering in the 14C and became obsolete at the start of the 19C
Windmills they are, and windmills they remain.
Look you guys, I know you can’t get it right on the climate but you should at least be able to do a bit better with your engineering definitions.
A windmill is a wind operated mill. Usually in the sense that it mills wheat or corn into flour.
A wind pump as traditionally used, for example, in the Netherlands uses energy extracted from the wind to pump water.
A wind turbine is a generic name which would include not only both the above but also a device used to generate electricity. A turbine extracts energy from a fluid flow – moving air , the wind, being considered to be exactly that.
A wind turbine is a generic name which would include not only both the above but also a device used to generate electricity. A turbine extracts energy from a fluid flow – moving air , the wind, being considered to be exactly that.
Sorry to tell you this (not really), but regardless of what Wiki says, a turbine that definition is inadequate – and wrong. Allow me to correct your defiinition –
A turbine is a rotating machine with internal blades which either extracts energy from a fluid flow (usually water) or produces thrust by combustion of injected fuel.
Note the internal blade qualification.
A windmill is a windmill whether it’s constructed of wood (14th C) or metal (21st C).
Yes, I’m an engineer – Aerospace Systems type to be precise.
No, I think windmill works better, and is more honest about the legacy of failed tech it is built on.
And here are a few views of windmills:
And we skeptics are right about the great climate issue:
There is no crisis.
Sorry but you’re wrong as usual. Just because you think a turbine needs to have internal blades, and therefore an external case, doesn’t make you right.
For instance, nothing about that here
Joe Lalonde was perfectly correct to refer to a wind turbine. As are all the manufacturers of wind generators who do refer to their wind turbines.
Perhaps you’d like to present some evidence that the Oxford English Dictionary have an incorrect definition? ;-)
The wind turbine has had a singular history among prime movers. Its genesis is lost in antiquity, but its existence as a provider of useful mechanical power for the last thousand years has been authoritatively established. …
A windmill is still a windmill regardless what you call it.
And an idiot is still an idiot !
Yup – and everybody takes their turn. This must be yours.
If they are windmills then what exactly are they milling?
Yup – A windmill is still a windmill regardless what you call it.
It was so in 1941 , it was so in 1980 when GE tried to draft me to work on the windfarms in CA, and it’s still so today.
And today those GE windfarms are shut down tight – along with a lot of other, later ones. .
‘If they are windmills then what exactly are they milling?’
Big fat taxpayer funded subsidies. We know this because there wouldn;t be any f…g windmills without the subsidies,
Jim Owens beat me to it.
Windmills by GE and Siemens etc. mill tax payer money into private profits.
Paul Haynes -if there is a cost-benefit analysis of any kind you should send it to the UK government as they couldn’t locate any last time they checked.
Anyway…you’re describing mitigation in even more nightmarish tones than I did. Somehow it doesn’t address the needs of any particular constituency, it’s poison to some, it’s in direct opposition to growth and prosperity.
IOW it’s a dead end unless you can convince people to vote against motherhood and apple pie. In fact the only reason it’s still alive in Europe is because none takes it seriously and the giant power companies have made money out of free credits (yes I prefer EU waste to WW-III).
So what’s the wisdom of protecting grandchildren by pursuing a dead end again?
Using the “sane policies” hook as justification, I’d like to refer readers to an article on Ross Garnaut’s latest report by my favourite economist, Henry Ergas, whose policy proposals are always sane; unlike, alas, the once-admirable Garnaut’s in recent years.
Another way to pose this question may be to ask:
Can mitigation offer any sort of sane response to the Earth’s changing climate?
The topic here is “Towards sane policies on natural disasters”, although I see we have drifted off from this.
The “most sane” policy on natural disasters is the old Boy Scout motto: BE PREPARED.
It has been shown that there are no actionable mitigation proposals that could make a perceptible change in our planet’s global temperature: be these shutdown of coal-fired power plants in the USA (Hansen et al.) or carbon capture + sequestration (CCS) schemes proposed for USA (earlier thread here).
Secondly, we have not been able to demonstrate that global warming from AGW has been the cause for any increase in either the intensity or frequency of severe weather events, so we are even further away of being able to “mitigate” against these.
What we can do is plan “adaptation” measures such as increase heights of dikes or levees if rising sea level or flood tides threaten to become a problem, etc.
Implementing direct or indirect carbon taxes will have no impact on our climate – no tax ever did. Let’s spend our money more wisely on adaptation measures IF and WHEN they are needed.
That would be my simple answer to “sane policies on natural disasters”
Unfortunately the simple answer is often the wrong one too. Yes, adaptation will also be needed in addition to mitigation, and more mitigation now will mean easier adaptation in the future. No mitigation now will mean that future adaptation will be impossible in many regions, no matter how much money is “wisely spent”.
I really had enough of these empty statements. Unless and until somebody (ANYBODY!) demonstrates that mitigation is economically feasible, every other word about it will be…unmitigated rubbish.
And look at the reluctance of those pushing mitigation to engage and discuss defend or promote mitigation at length.
I’m still waiting for answers from at least 3 people wrt what mitigation policies they would propose along with cost/benefit analyses for those policies. I strongly suspect that those answers are not coming.
I invited tonto52 to calculate a CO2 mitigation cost/benefit analysis with me on the ‘futility’ thread… actually I followed up a question that tonyb asked to tonto52. He never took it up, but Robert did. We made some progress… but when it started getting interesting (assigning the percentage of potential temperature change mitigated due to 50% fossil fuel combustion reduction strategy) he lost interest. I invited him to resume the calculation on a subsequent thread… no dice. I simply wanted to see what the difference in such an analysis might show compared to Hoskins analysis. I wanted the analysis to come from numbers and data agreed to by the ‘convinced’ POV. I’m still waiting too.
I think we’ll both be waiting for a long, long time. I won’t comment on Robert except to say that I did follow your progress there and was not surprised at the ending.
John – I’ll respond, with the caveat that I haven’t the economics expertise to offer you an accurate overall cost/benefit analysis. Instead, let me suggest one of the difficulties of such an analysis.
If you are a relatively well off resident in a high energy society, and some predicted global warming consequences are hotter temperatures, coastal flooding, and reduced food yields, the cost to you of mitigating some of that would be higher energy prices that dig into your budget but are not unaffordable. What will be the benefits to you in terms of harm averted that can’t be achieved by affordable adaptation? I would argue that they are almost non-existent. To avoid floods, you can move to higher ground. To avoid heat waves, you can turn up your air conditioner, and to avoid being deprived of choice foods, you can pay more (but you will have been spared the energy costs of mitigation, so you won’t suffer a net deprivation). In other words, mitigation would offer you almost no benefit, and at some cost.
On the other hand, if you are a subsistence farmer, herdsman, or fisherman in parts of Africa, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and less affluent parts of South or Central America, and you and your nation are low CO2 emitters, the cost to you of an international effort at CO2 mitigation involving the major emitters will be nominal, because little direct sacrifice will be asked of your homeland, and what is needed can be alleviated with appropriate international aid. However, the benefits in terms of harm averted – particularly loss of land and income but also heat-related problems – will be substantial, and at the risk of exaggeration, will in some cases be lifesaving. Here, the benefits are great, and the costs are those that themselves can be mitigated depending on policy decisions. Some adaptive measures will be possible if someone pays for them, but substituting a turned up air conditioner or a move to the mountains will not be one of your options. Even in this case, you will have costs, but the cost/benefit balance should be strongly in your favor, or could made so.
Given these disparities, how do we calculate a meaningful cost/benefit ratio for a mitigation/adaptation strategy, and compare it with adaptation alone? The answer depends on one’s sense of communal responsibility, where “communal” refers to the world rather than your neighborhood. It also depends on timeframe, because with more than a few decades, even the more affluent societies would begin to feel some pinch from unmitigated climate change.
I would like to see a concerted international effort toward a serious combination
of mitigative and adaptive strategies, and I earlier suggested an 80% CO2 emissions reduction for the major emitters by about 2050, which should give time for alternative energy sources, increased energy efficiency, and conservation measures to be scaled to non-frivolous societal needs even if not yet cost competitive with fossil fuel energy. And if we work vigorously toward that goal but it takes longer, that is all right. However, I don’t think it will happen. Rather, those societies that can afford it will take advantage of the principle that adaptation alone and/or inaction is a better strategy for them even if not for the people who are most vulnerable.
In rereading what I wrote, I realize I should have emphasized that what I predicted will happen will be accurately perceived as self interest only in the short term. Over many decades, almost no nation would be better off if an international mitigation/adaptation effort is not undertaken. Mitigation should be in everyone’s long term self interest.
The short answer here is that you have still failed to define the meaning of mitigation. In your mind what is it – exactly. What policies, what actions? Until that is defined, none of your words have any real meaning.
We have discussed mitigation to death, but nobody has offered anything that even vaguely resembles a realistic, practical approach.
You are number 4.
I have more to say here, but not now. Hmmm- and I’ll likely be offline for most of tomorrow. C’ya when I get back online.
What do you mean the cost to low CO2 emitters are nominal? You just condemned them continual low incomes.
Thanks for picking it back up. I too don’t have the economics background, so we are even there. I appreciate what you have to say about the differences between 1st and 3rd world economies, but I think there is a flaw there. What the calculation will likely show (we should verify) is an aggressive (80% reduction vs my 50% reduction) strategy will still only impact a fraction of the potential warming expected. Regardless, the majority of the warming will still occur along with whatever consequences might ensue. The 3rd world really won’t notice it too much (my hypothesis). I am not suggesting that we keep things ‘business as usual’, but a very aggressive (80% reduction) may not really be cost effective vs a 50% or even 30%. Let’s pick up the calculation back at the ‘futility’ thread… tomorrow… cause it’s late for me now and I have to work tomorrow. You can start if you want and I’ll catch up with you.
Pick up the analysis from this point
John – Regarding the link to the previous thread, about 45% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions remains in the atmosphere, but I don’t think that should be confused with the conclusion that almost 100% of the 39% rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic in origin, mostly from fossil fuel combustion, but also from land use changes and a small amount from cement manufacture. The anthropogenic contribution can be derived independently by industrial records as well as data on changes in C12/C13 and C12/C14 ratios, and on atmospheric oxygen concentrations. Hoskins appears to have confused the two concepts, but I don’t think CDIAC contradicts any of the above conclusions.
In essence, over the future decades of this century, warming mediated by CO2 increases can reasonably be equated with warming attributable to anthropogenic activities, although interval fluctuations in CO2 due to changes in volcanism or solar intensity might also mediate small deviations.
As I suggested elsewhere in this thread, CO2-mediated ocean acidification (increases in ocean hydrogen ion concentration), which is potentially a serious concern for its impact on the ocean food web, will also be attributable to human activities.
Again you have missed the point about teh pH of seawater.
The big change as the pH tends towards 7 from 8 is not an increase in hydrogen ion concentration, but the huge decrease in the hydroxyl ion concentration.
You are being misled because the definition of pH is arbitrarily focussed on hydrogen ion. It could equally well be focussed on hydroxyl. They are ‘ying and yang’. And anytime the pH is higher than 7 (as in all existing seawater and all possibel projections) there are more hydroxyl than hydrogen. The overall chemistry of such a solution is alkaline chemistry, not acidic. Seawater will always be alkaline..the question is just whether it is a mild alkali (as now) or possibly an even milder one.
at pH7 you have equal numbers of hydroxyl and hydrogen ions, pH7 is not acheiveable by any conceivable amount of CO2 in seawater…teh acid produced just ain;t strong enough,
These are not matters of opinion, they are physical chemistry..in this case a very well understood bit of science.
CO2 does not react with OH- ions. It reacts with water to make carbonic acid. From there, carbonic acid dissociates hydrogen ions. Thus, any CO2 mediated increase in pH is due to increases in H+ ion concentration.
On the larger note of water acid-base chemistry, you’re even more incorrect. For water solutions, pH+pOH=14, meaning there is an equilibrium between H+ and OH- ions in water solutions. That equilibrium shifts the individual values of the pH and pOH depending on the other ions present in the water solution, ie Cl-, SO4-2 and so forth. Therefore, if there is a change in OH- ion concentration, there will also be a change in the H+ ion concentrations, thus changing the pH. One will not change independently of the other.
What’s even more astounding is that you claim that pH can measure changes in the concentration of other ions. It is tied to different equilibria, as I have point out above, The definition of pH, however, is based only on the concentration of H+ ions. Therefore, if the pH decreases, the concentration of H+ ions HAS to increase, by definition.
That’s actually physical chemistry.
Latimer – Hydrogen ion concentration plays a critically important role in the potential damage to marine calcifying organisms essential to the food chain, through the reaction, CO3(–) + H+ HCO3-. This reduces the carbonate (CO3–) concentration. Because of this, the reaction, solid CaCO3 Ca(++) + CO3(–) is driven to the right until sufficient CaCO3 dissolves to restore the equilibrium based on the solubility product constant for the reaction. Under increased hydrogen ion conditions, many organisms cannot maintain their calcified shells and are lethally damaged. This includes microscopic organisms at the bottom of the food chain, but also corals that are a home to many marine species. Details are provided in the links I’ve cited. The relevant pH is not 7.0 but the pH necessary for the organisms to maintain viability, which is significantly higher than 7.0. Damage to individual species can be severe even if the species does not become extinct and could eventually recover (a process that has in the past required millennia for many species).
For convenience, I’ll make a point here about your comment in the other thread regarding sweating because it wasn’t very relevant to the discussion there on ocean heat transfer. Sweating is a response to heating. If you think about sweat as an extension of total body tissues and fluids, your increased temperature – the fact that you are hotter – is what causes more evaporation (as I stated in the other thread). In turn, the evaporation leaves behind molecules that are cooler than those that evaporate, as you correctly stated, and so you feel cooler than before the evaporation, but you are still warmer than before exposure to whatever caused you sweat in the first place. Wind chill, which you also mentioned, is a different concept related to the point I made about the ability of wind to cool via removal of local water vapor. Of course, if you expose yourself to wind after sweating, you can actually feel chilly, but in the absence of significant airflow, sweating merely ameliorates some of the warming. (All this is somewhat of an oversimplification because it neglects the cooling effects due to diversion of internal body blood flow to the surface, where it can release heat to the environment).
1. You have only told half the story. After the H+ ions have dissociated from the carbonic acid, you will see that there a lot of hydroxyl ions floating about in our alkaline solution, all keen to soak up those hydrogen ions to make pure water,
The equilibrium H+ + OH- H2O gets is disturbed on th elhs by the presence of the new hydrogen ions,and so moves to the right. The hydrogen ions react with the vastly dominat numerically hydroxyl ions to form pure water.
The overall effect of the dissolution of CO2 in an alkaline solution is to soak up the free hydroxyl ions, lowering the pH. In the mechanism show above, free hydrogen ions act as an intermediary only. The solution has fewer hydroxyl ions and moves towards neutrality (pure water)
2. I have no issue with your remarks about the relationship between hydrogen/hydroxyl. Indeed I tried to address this in simple terms with my comment re ying and yang. You can;t have one without the other.
3. I made no claim whatsoever that pH measured anything other than the concentration of hydrogen ions. And on careful rereading of my several posts I can see no point where (even by misunderstanding) such an interpretation could be made.
4. And though your post is technically correct that decreasing pH increases the hydrogen ion concentration, it misses the overall point. Its late, I;m sick and I can’t do the exact sums but to illustrate,, At Ph7+x, there are 1000 hydroxyl ions for every hydrogen, At pH7+x-1 there are 100 for every hydrogen, At pH 7+x-2 there are 10 hydroxyl for every hydrogen. The dominant ion in any alkaline solution is the hydroxyl. At ph7 the numbers are equal and below 7 the hydrogen ions become the dominant force – in the exact mirror image of the example I have posted.
Concentrating only on the small numbers of hydrogen ions in an alkaline solution while ignoring the overwhelming majority of equally reactive hydroxyl ions is missing seeing the wood for the trees. And both you and Fred seem determined to do so.
Because of html idiosyncrasies, the equilibria in my previous comment were not depicted as I wrote them. What I wrote was that hydrogen ion (H+) plus carbonate (CO3 double minus) is in equilibrium with bicarbonate (HCO3-), and so more H+ reduces carbonate ions. Solid CaCO3 is in equilibrium with the calcium and carbonate ions, and so more CaCO3 must dissolve to restore carbonate ion concentrations. This is the dissolution that threatens the integrity of the calcifying microorganisms and the corals.
Take a watch glass. Pour a volatile solvent (ether, MEK etc) form a bottle at room temperature into the watch glass (also at room temperature). Allow the solvent to evaporate, Touch the watch glass, It will feel cold..colder than room temperature.
No heat has been applied…all were at room temperature. And yet the evaporation of the solvent has removed heat from its surroundings, The watch glass is cooler.
You rather lost me in the extraneous physiological detail of the seating discussion, but the net effect is exactly the same. The sweat evaporates, cooling the body.
re calcium carbonate
No doubt we will be observing the effect you describe anywhere where there are chalk (CaCo3) cliffs next the sea. By chance I am sailing from Dover on Saturday morning so will be able to check whether the famous white cliffs have disappeared yet or not,
But on a more serious point, we know that there have been historic times when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was much higher than today (in excess of 2000
ppm). So presumably the seawater was considerably less alkaline than it is today, How then did the sea creatures get by that have bequeathed us their fossils? Because I seem to know that fossils started as calcium carbonate..just like seashells today.
“No heat has been applied…all were at room temperature”
Of course heat has been applied – the room is not at zero K. Otherwise there would be no evaporation. You are restating the obvious – that evaporation leaves cooler molecules behind – but that is not at issue. The question is whether applying more heat to increase evaporation will cause the temperature to rise or fall. The answer is that although it will increase evaporation, the temperature will rise, because that rise is necessary for the increase in evaporation.
I would add that with a very volatile solvent (not water), evaporation can be so rapid and the escape of vapor into the atmosphere so complete that even almost negligible airflow can exert a net cooling effect,but you still can’t use that principle to cool an object by heating it. If you reread my comments in the other thread, you will see that they are entirely correct. Some of them are a different way of saying some things you say here, and others correct certain erroneous impressions you have.
Actually, even without airflow, simple diffusion would suffice in an unenclosed space with a very volatile solvent, because of the severe disequilibrium between the liquid and vapor phase. In an enclosed space, with equilibration between liquid and vapor phases, even a volatile solvent won’t cool when equilibrium is reached, and if you heat it, the entire system will warm up.
again, you’re wrong. It’s not the reaction of H+ and OH- ions that’s decreasing pH. pH is a measure of the concentration of H+ ions in a given solution, by definition. Therefore, by definition, when the pH is decreased the concentration of H+ ions has INCREASED, by definition. The shifting of different equilibria with respect to that increase in the concentration of H+ ions will depend on the concentrations of all of the other important Lewis acids and bases that can react with H+, as well as the equilibrium rate constants for the pertinent chemical reactions.
But there can be no a priori equating a decrease in pH with a decrease in the concentration of OH- ions. One has to examine the pKa and pKb and concentration of each and every Lewis acid and base that takes part in the chemistry of the ocean.
What we can say with certitude is that if the pH decreases, then the concentration of H+ MUST INCREASE since that is the chemical definition of pH.
I mean really, this high school chemistry.
I hope this ends up linked to the discussion on pH.
Stating that pH is only an issue with H+ is not the case, according to the engineering handbook:
“The mathematical definition of pH is a bit less intuitive but in general more useful. It says that the pH is equal to to the negative logarithmic value of the Hydrogen ion (H+) concentration, or
pH = -log [H+]
pH can alternatively be defined mathematically as the negative logarithmic value of the Hydroxonium ion (H3O+) concentration. Using the Bronsted-Lowry approach
pH = -log [H3O+]”
It depends on how much energy you’re adding. It takes a certain amount of energy to evaporate water and a certain amount to warm the surface. So those extra joules could disappear from the surface with the vapour. If there’s enough left behind to warm the surface then the surface warms.
Why are you saying that pH isn’t just about H+ ions when the link you provide says that pH is JUST ABOUT H+ IONS?! Because the source also uses the commonly understood complexed version of the reactive H+ ion?
From a acid-base perspective, there is nothing chemically distinct between a H+ and H3O+ ions. They react exactly the same way. They affect acid-base equilibria the exact same way. They are essentially the same thing.
That’s why your source equates them.
More than that, in the context of the actual discussion a contributor was claiming that pH was somehow a measure of OH- ion concentrations. From your definition, that’s clearly not the case, as I have extensively stated already.
So there’s nothing new there.
Peter – To increase evaporation (at a constant wind speed), you must increase the fraction of molecules with sufficient kinetic energy to escape from the liquid, but that requires an increase in the average kinetic energy of the entire set of molecules, including those left behind in the liquid – in other words, the liquid must become hotter. The molecules left behind will be less energetic than the ones that leave, but they will still have been energized – i.e., warmer. There is no physical means of increasing evaporation without making the liquid warmer if all other factors are held constant. As mentioned in the other thread, it is possible to increase evaporation, with a net reduction in temperature, by increasing the rate at which molecules are removed from the vapor phase – a strong wind can do this – but you can’t increase evaporation through heat addition without some of the heat remaining in the liquid phase.
Note that in the example of solvent evaporation cited above by Latimer, the increased rate of vapor phase removal was accomplished by taking the solvent out of a closed bottle and placing it in an unenclosed space from which molecules could quickly dissipate.
So you add a little bit of extra energy, just enough to heat the surface slightly. You say that this has to result in extra evaporation. But extra evaporation requires extra energy, which tends to cool the surface – the flow of energy away from the surface increases, so the net flow may be away from the surface. But if the surface doesn’t warm, according to you there can’t be extra evaporation.
You can’t have it both ways.
Put it another way. You have water boiling in a pot on a hot stove. What happens to the temperature of the pot when the water has boiled away?
Peter – If you review my explanation, I believe you’ll find it both correct and logically consistent. The extra energy for evaporation adds heat (raises the temperature of the liquid). Extra energy added to a liquid does not cool it. The energy evaporating molecules gain to escape comes from the extra heat.
This pH thread is out of control. I hope this shows up somewhere relevant to the topic.
Why do you say the link says nothing about OH- ions when the second half of the article is about how to measure pH using OH- ions?
But enough of this part of thread. It has reached the point of unwieldiness. Perhaps we can discuss it more elsewhere?
When I left this thread last night, I thought perhaps Fred and I would take up the mitigation calculation on the ‘futility’ thread, only to return today to read a blow up about pH and evaporation. I don’t get it.
Being a chemist myself, I would like to offer a comment about pH.
Latimer is correct in saying the term ‘acidification’ of an alkaline substance is wrong. The correct term is ‘neutralization’. The pH scale has three distinct and separate regions; acid, neutral and base. Neutral is a separate and distinct part of the scale because in no other part of the scale is [H+] = [OH-]. Only at this spot, neutral, does this occur. If you are in the basic part of the scale and you add acid… you are neutralizing, not acidifying. You must pass through neutral on your way to acid, it cannot be bypassed. Conversely, if you are in the acid part of the scale and you add base, you are not ‘alkalinizing’… you are neutralizing. When you are moving toward neutral, it is called neutralizing. Once you pass through neutral in either direction, you are then acidifying or alkalinizing at that point, but not until then.
This can also be thought of as an object in motion. If you are moving backward but you want to go forward, you do not say you are going to ‘forwardize’ the to go forward, you say you are going to ‘stop’. ‘Stop’ = no motion and you must go through ‘stop’ on your way from backward to forward. In this way ‘stop’ and ‘neutral’ can be thought of equally.
Max is correct in the definition of pH. pH = 1/log [H+], therefor the concentration of H+ is used to determine it. Conversely, pOH = 1/log[OH-] and [OH-] determines it.
As for Fred, I would have to look at the dissociation constants of carbonic acid, of which there are two, one for the dissociation of each proton, as well as the change in [H+] in the ocean due to a few ppm change of CO2 to determine what affect CO2 absorbing into the ocean would have in the further dissociation of carbonates. This will take looking at the problem in much more depth.
Now, what happened to working on the mitigation problem Fred?
John – I revisited the “futility” thread comment as you suggested, and responded here. Regarding ocean acidification, I’ll defend the term. Semanticists tell us that words have no inherent meaning, but derive their meaning from the way humans use them. Lexicographers, being conservative, don’t accept a new meaning simply from its use by a few members of a fringe group, but once a term is consistently used by responsible individuals most concerned with the relevant concepts, that term derives its meaning from their use. For that reason, an increase in ocean hydrogen ion concentration is properly called ocean acidification, because that is the term consistently used to describe it. As I pointed out to Latimer, though, a long-standing precedent is the medical use of the term “acidosis” to refer to blood pH below 7.4, with a pH of 7.1 constituting a severe, life-threatening acidosis. I think “ocean acidification” is here to stay, and as they say in a bad movie, “Surrender. Resistance is futile.”
Yes Fred… it will not be the last time a term gets mangled, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
Fred, I don’t want to get mixed up with how much CO2 increase is due to humans. For the sake of the calculation I will accept 100% of the increase from 1850 is due to human activity. What I want to agree on next is; what portion will we agree is due to burning of fossil fuel? The CDAIC says 14% of the 390 ppm is due to fossil fuel combustion or 64% of the increase is due to fossil fuel combustion. Agreed on that?
By 2050 at a 50% mitigation strategy, another 60 ppm will be added to the atmosphere… do you agree with that? If so, would you accept 64% of the 60 ppm increase can be assigned to the burning of fossil fuel (38 ppm)? If not… how do you want to determine what percentage of future increase in [CO2] will be due to fossil fuel? (as this is the component mitigation will address) And can we assume cement and land use changes will remain constant?
if one searches Google Scholar for soil acidification, you get hits that got back way before WW2. My hunch is oceanographers adopted the terminology from soil science. The oldest article I can find using ocean acidification is from 1961.
The first article I can find that discusses soil alkalinization is 1983. What was it called before that?
John – There has been a 110 ppm rise in CO2 to 390 ppm, so that anthropogenic CO2 probably accounts for about 110/390 or 28% of the total. According to the CDIAC, fossil fuel combustion plus cement manufacture have accounted for about 8.4 PgC/year, with Cement Manufacture representing about 4.5% of that total, and recent land use changes have accounted for about 0.9 PgC/year. With the probable exception of cement manufacture, all of these sources are subject to mitigation – i.e., about 96% of the anthropogenic sources, with what appear to be encouraging recent results on the land use data.
I will be away for several days, but can continue this discussion after that.
And can we assume cement and land use changes will remain constant? – John Carpenter
I don’t think so. Obviously it’s totally dependent on human behavior. The ratios of the last decade(s) would make more sense to me. The 112 ppm since 1850 includes the age of mules, which finally ended ~WW2.
Fred Moolten, 6/8/11, 11:03 pm, towards sane policies
There has been a 110 ppm rise in CO2 to 290 ppm, so that anthropogenic CO2 probably accounts for about 110/390 or 28% of the total. According to the CDIAC, fossil fuel combustion plus cement manufacture have accounted for about 8.4 PgC/year … .
While ACO2 emissions were running about 8.4 PgC/year, natural emissions were running about 90.6 PgC/yr (AR4, Fig. 7.3, p. 155) from the ocean, about 120 PgC/yr (TAR, ¶220.127.116.11, p. 191) from terrestrial sources, and 270 PgC/yr (id.) from leaf water. What is probable is that man contributed 8.4/480 = 1.7% of your 110 ppm bulge. IPCC lost the leaf water in its bookkeeping, so with that error, the contribution is 8.4/210.6 = 4.0%.
As I wrote to you previously (where you questioned my medications), IPCC NEEDS the bulge to be ACO2, and even that proved inadequate for the too weak greenhouse effect. So it simply manufactured the necessary data.
Keeling’s measurements on Mauna Loa in Hawaii provide a true measure of the global carbon cycle, an effectively continuous record of the burning of fossil fuel. They also maintain an accuracy and precision that allow scientists to separate fossil fuel emissions from those due to the natural annual cycle of the biosphere, demonstrating a long-term change in the seasonal exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere, biosphere and ocean. Later observations of parallel trends in the atmospheric abundances of the 13CO2 isotope (Francey and Farquhar, 1982) and molecular oxygen (O2) (Keeling and Shertz, 1992; Bender et al., 1996) uniquely identified this rise in CO2 with fossil fuel burning (Sections 2.3, 7.1 and 7.3). AR4, ¶1.3.1 The Human Fingerprint on Greenhouse Gases, p. 100.
It shows those “parallel trends” in AR4, Figure 2.3, p. 138.
Only US 9th grade algebra is necessary to comprehend that the trends are parallel because IPCC graphed them that way. It picked the scale factors and offsets for, say, the right hand ordinates to, as Captain Picard (the second most popular science fiction after AGW) would say, “Make it so!” They are NOT parallel. The decrease of O2 and the cofactor increase in CO2, and the global emissions and its cofactor of the decrease in δ13C, are missing assessment with ordinary mass balance analyses. IPCC relies on visual correlation instead of numerical correlation, and on chartjunk. These fingerprints are misrepresentations — scientific fraud, a hoax, and a lie.
Thanks for expressing very clearly what I have been struggling to say about neutralisation.
The use of ‘acidification’ is to be deplored since (apart from being scientifically wrong) it has it also has emotional connotations that are misleading and unhelpful. Perish the thought that those peddling the alarmist story are doing so deliberately.
Fred and anyone else interested in pursuing the mitigation cost/benefit analysis, I suggest we move that discussion over to the ‘futility’ thread where it belongs. I will start a fresh thread at the bottom for anyone interested.
Fred, please post any new replies there for continuity (what’s left of it at this point).
p.s. this is a copy of a post I errantly placed below, sorry, it belongs here.
Why do you think mitigation is in anyone’s long term short term or rational self interest at all?
Except for those who profit off of promoting or implementing the mitigation, no one benefits.
That sort of benefit is generally described, accurately, as profiteering or rent seeking.
No I never did take it up. You don’t believe that excess CO2 in the atmoshere will cause any harm to start with.
So, naturally, yours and Tonyb’s position will be that any money spent to fix a none existent problem will be wasted.
OK I understand that. End of discussion.
Please don’t let any preconceived ideas you have about me interfere with the exercise. I am more interested in the exercise, you seem to be looking for an excuse not to follow through. Once the exercise is complete, then we can argue the merits. Of course your welcome to observe if you wish.
I’d be happy to discuss the economics of mitigation and adaptation with anyone who started off from the position that CO2 build up was very likely to, cause serious problems. We could then have a sensible discussion.
But I can’t see how its possible with those who don’t accept the mainstream scientific consensus. We all know exactly they’ll say. In fact they’ve already said it. That it’s a waste of money. Show me a climate denier/skeptic who’s said anything different.
“I’d be happy to discuss the economics of mitigation and adaptation with anyone who started off from the position that CO2 build up was very likely to, cause serious problems. We could then have a sensible discussion.”
Ok, but that is quite a caveat to expect here and you won’t likely have that type of discussion at this site. As you have found out, you will probably encounter more discussion here about defining what ‘serious problems’ means and how one arrives at that conclusion.
Lots of problems we encounter look as though there are no possible solutions. If you take the position it’s no use talking about it b/c you already know what the response will be then it will be a self fulfilling prophecy. You are right, there are many who will never argue a different POV, but you have to keep looking for those that are more willing to make compromise. Some take the position that compromise is ‘giving in’ to an opposite POV and as such is a defeat to their cause and therefore will never compromise on any given issue. There is no helping that mentality. To be honest, there are some opinions I have (not climate related) that I would take that POV. Both sides of the debate need to look for the middle ground and work from there… we are not going to agree completely, so you can’t start from that position otherwise… you end up where you are right now.
Fred and anyone else interested in pursuing the mitigation cost/benefit analysis, I suggest we move that discussion over to the ‘futility’ thread where it belongs. I will start a fresh thread at the bottom for anyone interested.
Fred, please post any new replies there for continuity (what’s left of it at this point).
You have no evidence to show you are offering anything more than an assertion of opinion.
Adaptation has been proven to work and to work very well.
Not one mitigation policy offered so far will change the Earth’s temperature to any significant level at all. Not one mitigation policy can be shown to work better than adaptation, and will do so at much greater cost than adaptation.
Your mother would probably agree with, not just my opinion , but the opinion of every serious study of the issue. (Start by looking up the Stern and Garnaut reports)
Didn’t she ever tell you that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’?
I promise not to talk about what your mother said about you the other day if you promise not to put words in my mother’s mouth.
Again, mitigation is a fantasy. It does not exist, and even those who push it admit it will not impact CO2 levels significantly nor will it modify the climate in any meaningful way.
Deal with that some instead of dissembling into putting words into the mouths of people you do not know.
Who are these people who “push it” and “admit it will not impact CO2 levels significantly”. Yes, significant impacts are exactly what are required. No responsible scientist would say anything different.
It seems that you, and many others, are essentially saying that even if we do have a problem, there is nothing much that can be done about it. So, let’s just pretend there isn’t a problem. This is the both the worst form of defeatism and the worst form of circular logic.
Ill just sign off for now by posing the following question:
Suppose intelligent aliens visited Earth and told us that they too had faced a similar problem of increased greenhouse gases on their planet. Therefore we’d better listen to the IPCC and they certainly weren’t exaggerating the situation.
What then? Would you still argue that mitigation was impossible?
When they do, I’ll take their view into account. And if they were truly intelligent, I;m sure that they had developed a better scientific mechanism to analyse the problem than the IPCC which – as its name and processes suggest – is a political organisation masquerading as a scientific body.
Until then, I’ll remember that the best argument you can muster for us to listen to the IPCC is to believe in Martians. No doubt you’re big on Roswell and all that stuff too.
Suggestion: When you return how about providing some positive arguments about why we should take your views seriously rather than confining yourself to slagging off others for their (supposed) opinions.
You might even get to persuade somebody that you have some good points to make.
Until then……..please send my best regards to Ford Prefect, Zaphod and all your fellow Zogians. I wish you all peaceful healthy and happy lives, untroubled by alarmist ‘climate activists’
You don’t have to actually believe in Martians or Intelligent Aliens. Just consider it a sort of “thought experiment”. A sort of “what if”. These sort of exercises are not as silly as they might first appear.
Look, I’m just as skeptical about alien life as you are but I’ll go first.
For instance if they said the IPCC had it all wrong, and if it was obvious their technology and experience was greater than ours, then I would just say “Oops! How did that happen? How embarrassing that those dickhead skeptics were right all along!”
Now its your turn. But this time with the original question.
If aliens show up then they’re obvviously more advanced than we are. We can’t even get back to the Moon. But that doesn’t mean they’re more “inteligent” – or vice versa. So …
The first question to ask is – how does your drive system work? (IOW- how can I get on of those cool toys!)
THEN – maybe – with our present atmospheric composition and planetary history, does CO2 have long term effects on temp?
Then – did this happen on your home planet? WAS it a problem? If so, what is the composition of your atmosphere and how does it compare to ours? If the two are comparable, how did you resolve it? If not a problem, why not?
Which then leads to – within what temp range is your race comfortable/survivable? (how does that compare with ours, which is roughly -40degF to +110degF)
You could, of course, re-order the questions.
Talking about the IPCC is nonsense – and useless. They’ll likely not be interested in our political wrangles.
And then there’s the bottom line – What makes you think they’ll be friendly/willing to talk rather than unfriendly and willing to wipe us out?
I have already given my answer to your question.
‘When it occurs, I’ll take their views into account’
and see no reason to explore this avenue any further.
I think that the BBC;s lawyers will be after you for revealing the plot of the next Dr Who series.. mind your back.
tonto – Will the aliens tell us what exactly to do wrt mitigation or simply wave their hands to make it a point of principle?
Fred- “how do we calculate a meaningful cost/benefit ratio for a mitigation/adaptation strategy“. What is there of meaningful in doing something that has not been shown to be effective at all?
No they just let us decide for ourselves. They might not have hands as such , but nevertheless they do confirm that the IPCC is correct.
Those aliens should be tried for Crimes Against the Community of Sentient Beings then as they’re only good at spreading alarmism without offering any solution.
You’re apparently still unaware that the problem is not the concept of “mitigation” but how such a concept is translated into something practical, feasible, effective, all of that at technological, political, social, economic level.
And no, there is nothing the IPCC has written that has demonstrated much of that. Stern famously had to manipulate economic principles to get his figures in order, thereby ruining his argument. The UK Government, once more, has no published analysis on costs and benefits. Etc etc.
So should we do mitigation? Why not. The trouble is: what, when, how, by whom, at what cost. Until that is clarified, adaptation is the only way forward.
The IPCC is correct? About what?
Your reply makes no sense.
You claim significant impacts are exactly what is needed.
Based on what?
Do you know how much temperature difference supporters of Kyoto claimed Kyoto would have if fully implemented?
I am saying that the problem we are facing in the future is not going to be significantly different from the climate we are facing today.
I am saying that managing CO2 to manage the future climate change is a losing strategy in reality and that it belongs only in science fiction books and movies.
Suppose the aliens visited us and laughed at our childish hubris that we could control the climate by managing CO2?
If, and that’s a VERY big if, that should happen, then we should be sure to ask said aliens how to mitigate without suffering extremely serious consequences and side-effects. Because it’s very clear that nobody on earth has a clue.
Well my point wasn’t so much about aliens but all your underlying motivations for opposing mitigation.
Omnologos’s made a telling comment:
“Those aliens should be tried for Crimes Against the Community of Sentient Beings then as they’re only good at spreading alarmism without offering any solution.”
So my hyp0thetical aliens don’t offer a solution but their science is good and they have the same problem on their planet. Which raises the question of should climate scientists be offering a solution? Should science keep quiet even if there really is no solution? Most scientists would say not I suspect. Although, it would certainly have a devastating effect on society if the consensus scientific position was that the problem was so bad and there was just nothing that could be done about it.
I suspect that the real motivation for opposing mitigation efforts is an underlying feeling on the part of many deniers that we are in exactly that situation, and it’s just about impossible to reduce CO2 emissions to anywhere near the level required. As Hunter puts it “mitigation is a fantasy.”
I guess if you really do think that, denialism may be the only way of staying sane. It would be just too painful to think we were inevitably heading for a climate calamity.
No, I think the position held by many people is that mitigation is goint to be prohibitively expensive, for extremely little effect (even assuming worst-case predictions are true)
And we’ll find that we’ll then have to spend a fortune on adaptation, which we’ll probably have to do anyway even if CC were entirely natural in cause, but we’ll be impoverished due to our futile attempts at mitigation.
Given that ‘climate change’, even under the most alarmist prediction is going to be a very slow process (in my lifetime the temperature has changed less that 1C, and nobody has actually noticed any bad things happening, what is the urgency fro doing anything right now?
Delaying a further twenty-five years until the bad things (if any) are more noticeable seems to be exactly the prudent thing to do.
Persuade me otherwise.
The aliens say that the best solution is to use the removal of a proton from both Sulfur and Calcium, in an exothermic fission reaction to produce more Phosphorous and Potassium for fertilizer production, using the small compact reactors to replace piston engines, and then work on genetically modifying all of the ocean life forms that form shells and corals. This will prevent CO2 and O2 starvation due to ongoing limestone sequestering that will starve the planet to death. Optimum O2 levels of 25%+ and CO2 levels of 1,500 ppm was what worked best for them.
By the way, tonot52,
You and others here have been asked many times to show us a specific mitigation policy that has been proven to work.
We can show you levees, sea walls, dikes, the Netherlands, Galveston, etc. etc. etc. showing that adaptation works just fine.
Show us one thing that does not involve aliens saving the day.
Mitigation policies that have been proven to work?
Smoke from coal fires used to be a major killer in London. Adaptation would have required the population to be fitted with respirators to filter out the pollution. Mitigation has meant there is less pollution.
Similarly with Sulphur dioxide pollution in North America and Northern Europe. A cap and trade scheme, initiated by the US has made considerable progress, although there may be a way still to go yet.
Phasing out CFC’s has started to have a measurable benefit too. There are lots of examples when you think about it.
Just curious, how would one adapt to heart disease and how would one mitigate heart disease. To me adaptation would be things like stents, bypass surgery, pacemakers, etc. The disease is present, the patient adapts to it by those sorts of means. To mitigate heart disease would be to change behaviors to lessen the possibility of getting it: diet, exercise, stress, etc.
Anyway, in medicine it would seem there have been a large number of successful mitigations and successful adaptations.
Recently the press has run many stories about women with certain family histories who undergo mastectomies to avoid getting breast cancer. Mitigation or adaptation? It can be seen both ways.
Smoke from coal fires used to be a major killer in London. Adaptation would have required the population to be fitted with respirators to filter out the pollution
OK – but …. mitigation in your terms would have required that all coal fires be permanently extinguished. Which would have made smoke from coal fires a minor killer.
Phasing out CFC’s has started to have a measurable benefit too.
Really? What’s your basis for that statement? AFAIK, as of several months ago there was no evidence to support that contention.
For SO2, you have a minor point – but SO2 is NOT CO2. They are different worlds and that scheme, if used for CO2, would make your coal fire smoke major killer into a minor footnote.
Focus now tonto52.
Please explain the CO2 mitigation strategy you would have us adopt first. Pleas provide details of the costs, the amount of CO2 that will be prevented from accumulating, the amount of warming that will be avoided, and what the resulting “global temperature anomaly” will be both with and without adoption of the strategy.
Please show all you work.
And even with mitigation, if it were to actually lower the amount of CO2 significantly, we would still have storm, drought, flood, sea level change, storm surge, famine and heat waves to deal with.
Mitigation is a waste of time, a dead end, and the sooner AGW believers admit it, the faster we can approach sane policy.
People still die in road accidents despite us imposing speed limits, the mandatory use of seat belts and competency tests for drivers. Is it therefore futile for us to impose such restrictions?
Not when it is shown they help significantly.
Cars could be made much safer, but would be to expensive to operate or buy.
Show us one mitigation policy that is as reasonable as a seat belt, airbag or antilock brake.
Now you’ve changed the argument – claiming that there are no viable mitigation policies is different from claiming that even if there were it would make no difference, which was your original argument.
You do make one fair point though, we could indeed further reduce casualties from motoring accidents but people are not prepared to pay the cost, either in terms of monetary cost, inconvenience or restrictions on their freedom. But we do accept certain costs and restrictions at the moment in the interest of the greater good.
The same principle no doubt applies to policies on climate change, there will always be a point at which the cost of further gains will be seen to outweigh the benefits. Of course the really difficult question is where that line is drawn, and this is especially hard when the benefits of any actions and the costs of inaction are years, decades even, into the future. This tends to make inaction a more attractive policy, especially so when, as Fred points out above, those paying the costs are not neccesarily those who will most reap the benefits.
You are of course right that any predicted bad consequences are a long way in the future while the costs of mitigation would have to be borne now.
This is already an unattractive political position to sell for our leaders. Bread and water today so that our great great grandchildren can have bread and water too.
Do you think that the climatological profession’s complete lack of any track record of successful predictions in the short to medium term and their near pathological aversion to allowing any outsiders access to their work and methods is likely to increase or decrease the public’s appetite to pay these bills now?
I think the hooha in the blogosphere about the supposed secrecy of climate scientists (which you and others greatly exaggerate in any case) has had very little effect on public perceptions.
As for failed predictions, which particular ones did you have in mind?
I think the hooha in the blogosphere about the supposed secrecy of climate scientists (which you and others greatly exaggerate in any case) has had very little effect on public perceptions.
Well, if you get all your information from the left side of the blogosphere you might think that. You should really get out into the real world more. And pay attention.
But… keep thinking that – it makes it much easier to demonstrate your errors.
No, I just don’t confuse “the public” with people who argue on blogs.
No, I just don’t confuse “the public” with people who argue on blogs.
I didn’t say “go to xxxxxx blog” although it would be a good idea to find out what your opposition is saying . I said –
You should really get out into the real world more. And pay attention.
meaning you should get out of the bubble you’ve been living in and find out what real people are thinking and saying.
I didn’t say that they had made failed predictions. I said that they had no track record of successful ones.
AFAIK they have carefully avoided making any predictions that can actually be verified by subsequent observation. I’d have more faith in their long term abilities if they had some recent successes to their name.
As to public perceptions, there has been a steady decrease in support for ‘climate change’ policies in many countries. The Climategate shenanigans – and the total failure of Copenhagen and Cancun – contributed to this. As the bills hit the doormat, I foresee ever greater scrutiny of the tenuous case for AGW. And hiding/destroying the basic data will not do the case any good at all
OK, I see the distinction. First of all I think there are some pretty obvious phenomena which are entirely consistent with what is expected – sea level rise, reduced arctic ice cover, melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, retreating glaciers etc. Global temperatures have been relatively flat the last few years but the last decade was significantly warmer than the one before and last year was either the warmest or second warmest on record depending on which measure you use.
There are other measurements which are consistent with expectations but will be less meaningful to Joe Public – the increase in the height of the tropopause, a decrease in OLR at the frequencies absorbed by CO2 and an increase in downwards LR, temperatures increasing more at night than during the day for example.
So I don’t think it’s fair to say that we can’t compare what’s happening with what is predicted by the science. I don’t know what specific kind of predictions you have in mind – maybe related to extreme weather events?
Umm. Being ‘consistent with expectations’ is not much of a track record at all. To be a good and credible forecaster/tipster you need to be able to put some definite numbers on many things and bring them home year after year after year.
But instead you come up with some banal generalities and claim these as forecasting successes.
Regarding the sealevel rise, I could have done that with a sheet of graph paper and a ruler, needing no ‘climate science’ at all. Just carry on doing what the sealevel has been gently doing for a long time..and at about the same rate. No points for successful prediction there.
Reduced Arctic ice cover…maybe..but did they get the increased Antarctic ice cover as well? 1/2 point as I;m feeling generous. But little on the how much, where and when front.
Melting of ice sheets and glaciers? Well – if the world is warming up that is pretty much a given. How much, where, when? No comment form the climatologists.
I follow football (soccer) in UK and am confident enough to predict that – taken over a ten season timescale – the clubs that spend the most money on players and facilities will tend to be more successful than those who spend less. But I can;t tell you whether Manchester United, Brighton or Aldershot Town will win the Premierhsip in any given year. I don’t claim to be a forecaster or a tipster. And nobody would take any more notice of me than of the other Joes down the pub.
But it seems to me that climatology”s track record is no better than mine. We could probably all agree that the world is warming a bit and so it’ll be likely be hotter in the future. But that simply isn’t good enough to persuade anybody of anything.
That’s what I mean by predictions…a set of quantifiable, reliable and verifiable numeric statements that can be judged for their accuracy. Not hand-waving banalities ‘consistent with expectations’. Anything can be ‘consistent with expectations’ as long as you’re asked about it after its occurred.
Not at all.
If seatbelts cost $50,000 per car, no one would use them.
I have asked for climate mitigation policies that work.
One no one can afford is not going to work.
Mitigation of CO2 so far is one that profits its promoters greatly and do no good now or in the forseeable future.
It is fun to speak of traffic safety, but there are well established mature markets to insure auto risk and well established tools to mitigate the safety hazards.
Yes, the gonvernment ahs and should be involved in setting the standards, but we actually knew going in that
1- people do get hurt and killed in car accidents
2- the nature of specific points of control that lead to auto injuries.
3- that mitigation should be reasonable in cost and benefit
Climate science and and AGW movement offer us none of that to date.
And while I and others here ask for it, as you, Robert Fred tonot52 and others demonstrate, you still cannot meet those baisc reasonable standards:
That a problem reasonable exists
the points of damage and risk
the tools to intervene and mitigate those risks
The scientific case that there is a problem and that there are real dangers involved is out there for anyone who is interested in understanding it and very many people are in fact persuaded by it. That you decide to dismiss it out of hand is your choice but don’t pretend that the case has not been made.
It’s a similar thing with mitigation policies – you claim policies have failed or are not viable without any evidence to back it up. There are alternatives to using fossil fuels – some are used at the moment and generate non-trivial amounts of power, others need more development. We can certainly use energy more efficiently than we do. Putting a price on carbon either through cap and trade or carbon taxes can create market based incentives for both of these things (and as Fred pointed out above have been proved to work in the case of sulfate emissions) and at worst can help address the externalities of fossil fuel use.
But if people refuse to accept there is a problem or claim that mitigation won’t work, or even if it does it won’t matter then why do they expect to be involved in the serious discussions about specific policies?
You don’t get it. I do not dismiss AGW out of hand, I dismiss the extremist fear mongering after years of believing it and seeing the bs as bs.
The case has been made as a religious tenet, and your defense of AGW follows religious lines of argument.
Except for nuclear power, and hydro power, all other alternative sources of power are in fact trivial.
Putting a tax on carbon will simply allow more profiteering and rent seeking of bogus crap like windmill power. No thanks.
Mitigation will not do anything, which is what Kyoto, Rio, Bali and Copenhagen prove eloquently. Kyoto fully implemented would have crippled economies and done absolutely nothing.
I think there is a climate problem. There always has been a climate problem and always will be a climate problem. The AGW community in its misplaced non-factual faith based reasoning has made those problems more difficult, not better.
There is no meaningful distinction between dismissing AGW out of hand and accusing those who make the argument that it is real and is a genuine threat of “extremist fear mongering” and following a “religious line of argument”. You say “there always has been a climate problem and always will be a climate problem” which indicates that you don’t take any specific threat from AGW particularly seriously.
And can we dispense with the silliness that because people may make money out of something it is therefore suspect. I mean I certainly think of myself as on the left politically but that attitude is reminiscent of the kind of hardcore socialism which went out of vogue donkeys years ago. The rationale behind carbon trading is to provide market based incentives for reductions emissions. Whenever you you introduce market-based solutions to problems then people will find ways of making money out of them – that’s the point, to harness the profit motive for a greater good. Your claim that it will achieve nothing is merely an assertion without evidence.
The fact that efforts to reach meaningful international agreement on emissions have not been a great success (although neither have they been a complete failure) merely demonstrates that such things are difficult to achieve politically, well that’s hardly a surprise – welcome to the real world. The fact is though there is still broad agreement internationally that there is a problem which needs to be addressed, so it is not impossible that the neccessary agreement can be reached, although this will require a change in the political situation in the US. Your claim that implementation of Kyoto would have crippled economies is yet another evidence-free assertion and another example of the alarmism which the skeptics so often resort to regarding the costs of any action to combat AGW.
Finally, you accuse me of “dissembling” about motoring accidents. If you cast your mind back to the start of our discussion you will remember that I made the argument specifically to show the lack of logic in your comment that even if we achieved large cuts in CO2 emissions through mitigation then bad things would still sometimes happen. You haven’t defended this comment, merely changed the subject, so can I take it that you concede the argument on that point?
You can dismiss my points out of hand because you
1- do not have any counter argument
2- deep inside I think you know that if you actually critically reviewed the critiques of AGW, you would come to unpleasant conclusions about your gullibility.
It’s a similar thing with mitigation policies – you claim policies have failed or are not viable without any evidence to back it up.
And you seem to be claiming that there are policies that have worked and/or are viable without any evidence to back it up.
So… what policies have worked or are viable at anything approaching a realistic cost? Given that Kyoto was a failure (witness the recent withdrawals), CCX is dead, Cap and Trade is dead in the US, the EU ETS is failing, CCS is not only expensive but unproven, wind/solar is a minor note in the debate and will continue to be so, nuclear makes sense but is politically not viable (witness Germany) – precisely what policies do you believe would work ?
Unless you have a solution(s) in your back pocket, I’d suggest that you’re just blowin’ smoke.
Mitigation is like Socialism, great in theory and poor in practice, promising heaven and delivering hell, always a failure and forever expected to be better next time around.
Hastur is demonstrating why Trenberth’s deception with the null is so bad.
Hastur is free in his mind to claim that we do something that has no existence in reality and then relies on automobile industry safety issues to dissemble from the topic.
Trenberth’s phonied up null makes this sort of stuff tenable to the believers.
I agree. But they’ve also made themselves vulnerable in that even if there were a major problem, they have no answers except the same tired old ideas like Kyoto. They’re stuck in a rut and can’t get out except by political and possibly physical force. Think about Robert’s fantasy that we could pressure Japan, China and India into major carbon cuts that would leave their people destitute and starving – REALLY? And just how would he propose we do that – 3 more wars maybe?
Or just financial pressure? And how would that work out considering the amount of US debt that China holds. I’ll assume you know that Japan holds even more of our debt than China. But I suspect that Robert & Co have no clue how vulnerable that makes the US. Like all the “ideas” that have come from that side of the dance floor, they’re compounded idiocy.
So… I keep on asking how they propose to accomplish their desired mitigation. And they keep on dodging the question and talking about how the “science is settled”. Well, as someone wrote on another blog today –
The same person wrote this –
Somehow they apparently aren’t capable of understanding that. And that does not inspire great confidence in the intelligence or pragmatism of those who would tell us how to run our lives.
Hastur is #5 on the list of those I’ve asked the same questions in the last several days. Specifically –What mitigation do you propose and where’s your cost/benefit analysis? So far nobody has ventured a real-life answer.
hunter, 6/8/11, 7:54 pm, towards sane policies
Hastur is free in his mind to claim that we do something that has no existence in reality … .
In the news today is the story of a police emergency search for 25 to 30 dismemberbed bodies, including Little Children, in rural Texas. It involved the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, cadaver dogs, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, and the FBI. The tip came from a psychic.
Was this boondoggle authorized under the Precautionary Principle?
Is the Precautionary Principle open ended? How far does it reach before one may begin to push back on the source? Is it proportional to cost? Better would be just reason.
Firstly, yes some things are politically difficult to achieve. I mentioned internation agreements in my reply to hunter, nuclear is currently out of favour (although I think this will change out of neccessity), and as long as the Republicans are able to block any action whatsoever on AGW or environmental issues generaly then cap and trade is a no-go in the States (by the way the ETS is not failing). But hopefully that will change in a couple of years and it is not wrong to advocate action because it is difficult to achieve politically.
The problem with your question about policies which have a realistic cost (not unreasonable in itself) is that we also have to take into account the costs which will be incurred from continuing with BAU, but the likes of you and hunter will not accept that there will be any substantial costs.
Hastur claims the ETS is not failing.
Here are some people who disagree:
and note this the *third* attempt. And it is failing. Badly.
Just likethe believer claims that the world is facing a climate crisis, just like the believer reliance on everyone taking assertions about mitigation on faith, the ETS is garbage as well.
Note how hastur relies on wicked Republicans to block the good bills in the US, ignoring the fact that when the democrats had clear filibuster majorities, they could get nothing through….becuase not enough democrats actually believe the AGW garbage to vote on it.
But just like the promoters of blood libel claims in the past, AGW believers cannnot function a clearly defined demonic force. In this case, republicans.
How pitiful and shallow the world of the believer is.
What next, a pogrom against Republicans?
What next, a pogrom against Republicans?
Why not? It’s been seriously proposed in more than one country.
Truthfully, I didn’t even read it all. I’ve seen enough of the alarmist “let’s just paint those deniers as crazy/stupid/whatever so we can ignore them” garbage.
Firstly, yes some things are politically difficult to achieve. I mentioned internation agreements in my reply to hunter
Yes – and you apparently have the old kumbyah attitude that everybody will eventually do a group hug and agree to allow their people to continue to live in the poverty and disease ridden world that they’ve lived in for the last several thousand years. You don’t need to talk to me – go talk to the Chinese, Indians, and Brazilians. Convince them to give up their expansion plans that will modernize their countries and bring their people out of a depth of poverty that you’ve never known. Or convince the Japanese to give up their cities, industry and expanding economy that’s providing a better life for their people than they’ve ever known before.
You have the wrong end of the stick – some things are not worth achieving – politically or any other way.
nuclear is currently out of favour (although I think this will change out of necessity)
Nuclear would be good – it’s one of the few options for the near term (30 – 50 years). But I’m sure you’ll excuse me if my contempt shows for those on your side of the dance floor who have delayed (and tried to destroy) the nuclear option for the last 50 years. And are still doing so. I find it ironic that those who spent so many years whipping up fear wrt nuclear are now just beginning to realize that nuclear is the answer to their latest scare campaign.
Nor do I buy into the idea that attitudes will change in the foreseeable future. You’ve got 3 generations of nuclear fear to deal with. That won’t change in the next 10 or 20 – or 50 years.
as long as the Republicans are able to block any action whatsoever on AGW or environmental issues generaly then cap and trade is a no-go in the States
Horse puckey. It took Democratic concurrence and votes to kill cap and trade.
it is not wrong to advocate action because it is difficult to achieve politically.
No, but it’s dumb to advocate action that won’t work and will exacerbate the situation and delay real solutions.
The problem with your question about policies which have a realistic cost (not unreasonable in itself) is that we also have to take into account the costs which will be incurred from continuing with BAU, but the likes of you and hunter will not accept that there will be any substantial costs.
The problem with your statement is that you don’t have costs – whether realistic or not. There IS NO believable cost/benefit analysis – nor do y’all have realistic/pragmatic proposals to offer. As for BAU – we DO know the costs of adaptation and of dealing with extreme events. We’ve been doing that for the last 5,000 years.
What you want is for everyone to jump off the cliff with you into costs that are known’ to be VERY LARGE and still unknown, but have no/zero/nada/zip assurance of doing what you claim – even if you were to be right about the reason for doing so (which is, itself, more than questionable).
Did you read my previous list of the non-solutions that have been offered? There’s nothing on that list that hasn’t been talked to death on this blog. But if you insist we can repeat the eulogies for any or all of them.
“The scientific case that there is a problem and that there are real dangers involved is out there for anyone who is interested in understanding it and very many people are in fact persuaded by it.”
Oooooh look! A Warmer got on the Internet and made an assertion! These guys are toooo clever! ;)
“These guys are toooo clever!” Clever? That’s not an adjective used too often to describe deniers!
Are you claiming that anyone who really wants to understand the scientific case for AGW canot very easily find the information from any number of sources?
Maybe that’s why skeptics are so ill-informed – they don’t know how to use Google.
“The scientific case that there is a problem and that there are real dangers involved”
My counter-Internet claim is that it’s only a scientific-*sounding* case designed to deceive the weak-minded. Prove me wrong.
I’m supposed to prove that thousands of scientific papers were not actually written with the intent of deceiving weak minded people?
Anyway, my point was that the scientific case has been made clearly and is easily available for anyone who is interested. I didn’t say you had to agree with it, although you are coming close to conspiracy theory territory, which is just downright silly.
It’s both – faulty mitigation for a faulty problem.
“There are alternatives to using fossil fuels – some are used at the moment and generate non-trivial amounts of power, others need more development.”
You will have to give some examples of a serious economic alternative in the foreseeable future. Nuclear is the only real one, and its not something that can be phased in rapidly.
Sure – nuclear will take time to phase in. So will renewables. I don’t claim that we can stop using fossil fuels overnight, but we can at least start making the neccessary preparations now.
“I’m supposed to prove that thousands of scientific papers were not actually written with the intent of deceiving weak minded people?”
No, I’m satisfied with the implied admission that you can’t.
Indeed I can’t prove it. But then that’s the joy of conspiracy theories – it is extremely difficult to prove there is no conspiracy and this is taken as yet more proof that the conspiracy exists.
“Indeed I can’t prove it. But then that’s the joy of conspiracy theories – it is extremely difficult to prove there is no conspiracy and this is taken as yet more proof that the conspiracy exists.”
Except that I don’t take it as proof of anything. It simply means that if there was a conspiracy, you couldn’t illustrate the difference between it and any actual science.
Of course that would be the case if it were an effective conspiracy.
Having said that, it would need thousands of scientists the world’s most respected scientific institutions, all of the monst notable peer-reviewed journals and the world’s political leaders all to be in on it. Forgive me if I err on the side of it being a bit unlikely.
Bad Andrew is making fun of you and you do not seem to notice.
Have you had that medical procedure known as ‘humorectomy’?
By the way, you should read some history of how bad ideas gain popularity and lead to bad policiy results.
Conpiracies play no real role.
Doubting predictions of doomsayers, politicians, and ideologues is hardly a conspiracy theory. Just because someone thinks a group of people are wrong doesn’t mean they have a conspiracy theory.
And to get back to the time involved, if you know it will take time then just be patient and solutions will present themselves (once the problem is known first of course). People are working on making life better all the time thanks the way things are, you can’t make drastic changes based on uncertain assumptions.
Go out and invent something yourself if you are so alarmed by it.
“Having said that, it would need thousands of scientists the world’s most respected scientific institutions, all of the monst notable peer-reviewed journals and the world’s political leaders all to be in on it. Forgive me if I err on the side of it being a bit unlikely”
You are appealing to the authority of Scientists, Institutions, Journals and Political leaders. A scientific-minded person would not resort to this fallacy to determiine whether or not something is “likely.”
You believe there is a problem and state that the case has been made to support you belief.
Unfortunately, from your perspective the case that was made to show it is a problem has not been accepted by a significant portion of the population in the US. The “not accepted case” means the actions you believe justified are not being implemented.
You wrote regarding climate mitigation policies and “bad andrew’s comment “ claim policies have failed or are not viable without any evidence to back it up.”
Climate mitigation policies have been repeatedly demonstrated to have not been worthwhile in terms of a cost benefit analysis. As an example (and there are many) examine the cost to shut down all US coal powered electrical generation facilities and replacing them.
A recent NASA-GISS paper in Env. Sci. Tech., co-authored by James E. Hansen calls for the shutting down of all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, in order to avoid the global warming caused by the emitted CO2.
What effect would this specific actionable step actually have on global warming?
The paper tells us that 1,994 billion kWh/year were generated from coal in 2009 and that the average CO2 emission is 1,000 tons CO2 per GWh generated.
So by 2030 Hansen’s plan would reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 2 GtCO2 per year.
Roughly half of this “stays” in the atmosphere (with the rest disappearing into the ocean, the biosphere or outer space) so the annual reduction after 2030 will be around 1 GtCO2/year and over the period from today to year 2100 the cumulative reduction would be 80.5 GtCO2.
The mass of the atmosphere is 5,140,000 Gt.
So the net reduction in atmospheric CO2 would be around 16 ppm(mass) or 10 ppmv.
If we assume (as IPCC does) that by year 2100 the atmospheric CO2 level (without Hansen’s plan) will be around 600 ppmv (“scenario B1”), this means that with Hansen’s plan it will be 590 ppmv.
Today we have 390 ppmv.
Using IPCC’s 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C we have:
Case 1 – no Hansen plan
600 ppmv CO2
ln(600/390) = 0.431
ln(2) = 0.693
dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.431 / 0.693 = 1.99
Case 2 – Hansen plan implemented
590 ppmv CO2
ln(590/390) = 0.414
ln(2) = 0.693
dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.414 / 0.693 = 1.91C
So Hansen’s plan will result in a total reduction of global temperature by year 2100 of 0.08C.
But what will this non-measurable reduction of global temperature cost?
The total, all-in capital cost investment to replace 1,994 billion kWh/year capacity with the least expensive alternate (current nuclear fission technology) is between $4,000 and $8,000 per installed kW (say $6,000 on average). [Note: If we replace it with wind or solar, it will cost several times this amount per generated kWh, due in part to the low on-line factor.]
1,994 billion kWh/year at a 90% on-line factor represents an installed capacity of:
1994 / 8760 * .9 = 0.251 billion kWh
This equals an investment cost of 0.251 * 6,000 = $1.5 trillion
Globally some 6,700 billion kWh/year are generated from coal (around 3.4 times as much as in the USA).
So shutting down all the world’s coal-fired plants by 2030 would cost $5 trillion and result in 0.27C reduced warming by year 2100.
I think it is pretty obvious why Hansen and his co-authors do not run us through this cost/benefit analysis.
And that is the real dilemma. There are no viable actionable proposals to reduce global warming – because we are unable to do so.
Bold off. OK?
I hereby declare that anybody that can come up with a mitigation plan different than “a shot in the dark ruining us and the children for sure and with a slight chance of getting the grandchildren marginally better” will get my unconditional support.
I don’t think such a plan exist, otherwise black carbon would already be a thing of the past.
“Delaying a further twenty-five years?” Yes that would make sense for anyone over about the age of 50.
But there is an argument for intergenerational equity. The present generation shouldn’t knowingly leave the next generation to clear up our mess.
I would just make the point that it is a human tendency to react to problems as they arise and then deal with them. Generally speaking we are good at doing that. Every crash of an airliner is thoroughly investigated, lessons are learned, and so each new generation of airliner is safer than the last.
With climate change it can’t work like that. Its a slow acting geological process, and the longer it is left the harder it will be to reverse. If we wait until the effects become so bad that even people like yourself can no longer deny the scale of the problem then it really will be too late.
Repeating the generational responsibility claim is great except for the lack of evidence.
You claim skeptics are willing to sacrifice our children for the sake of gasoline and coal.
This argument of your is in effect a blood libel against skeptics.
You have no evidence at all that holds up under any reasonable scrutiny that we are facing a climate crisis caused by CO2.
You simply repeat the blood libel that we are not only denialist scum, but that we want to in effect kill our children.
How boring, and unpleasant and shallow of you and your fellow believers.
Skeptics cannot simply be wrong in good faith. We have to be Earth hating, life destroying child murdering monsters who are obviously beneath contempt.
History has a name for people who do what you do.
So evoking “generational responsibility” is equivalent to a “blood libel” – wow, you really jumped the shark with that one. And you complain about the supposed holocaust denial connotations in the use of the word “denier”.
I guess you are similarly outraged by claims that us alarmists want to kill millions of people in the third world by depriving them access to affordable power generation?
I don;t think that you necessarily want that to happen. But you haven’t thought through the implications of your policies enough to see that that is a likely consequence of them.
I guess you are similarly outraged by claims that us alarmists want to kill millions of people in the third world by depriving them access to affordable power generation?
Well, that IS what would result from some of the mitigation policies that y’all have trotted out and supported. Just as it has been the result of previous policies based on environmental scares.
You guys jumped the shark years ago.
Here is what one of your guys wrote:
Yes, alarmists in your midst want to destroy civilization.
And, btw, Hansen said it is a great book with an important message.
“Blood libel” fits right in with what your opinion leaders and following sheep are using.
Even now you cannot state the obvious, that skeptics care about their children as much as believers, and that skeptics are not really interested in destroying the Earth.
You guys started down this path, so you get to decide when to return to civility.
Look in your own pool.
Never mind the third world. In Britain we already have the poor and elderly having to choose between eating and heating their homes. Many real, flesh and blood people are dying – now.
With climate change it can’t work like that. Its a slow acting geological process,
Don’t be silly – the geologists know better –
What geologists actually say “The Geological Society of America concurs that “greenhouse gases have been an increasingly important contributor [to global warming] since the mid-1800s and the major factor since the mid-1900s”. The Geological Society of London states that “evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater”.
from http://www.skepticalscience.com/Geologists-climate-change-denial.html with links to the source of the quotes
1. Your AMS quote is actually wrong. It not what their position statement says.
Please check it and repost what they actually say, not what you might like to think they say.
2.London Geological Society: ‘Is consistent with’ is not a ringing endorsement. ‘May lead to’ is not a ringing endorsement, Looks more like sitting on the fence to me.
Latimer – please read again. The Geological Society of America is not the AMS – I did not quote the AMS, I quoted the GSA and will do so again for those who appear to find this difficult.
Here, from the GSA website “The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s.”
OK – I just followed the link in sceptical science that you pointed us all to.
So you didn’t actually read what I’d posted but you thought you’d critise it for being incorrect anyway.
and that’s how you ‘do’ science?
Nope, I read bithe your quotes, and having dealt with alarmist before I thought I would go back to the source, found two links very close together in the sceptical science article that you pointed us to, and (erroneously perhaps, but understandably) assumed that these two would be the source of your quotations.
Mea culpa for following your instructions…..but they did give a strong probability of error. It is usually considered to be the responsibility of the poster to make the links work, not that of the reader.
My father-in-law is a geologist. He doesn’t agree with your view. I know about a dozen other geologists who disagree with you. They’re all in the US. And they all agree with hunter’s view.
Not the GSA or the AGU or NAS, but enough.
Umm…your two quotations still differ. Which do you want us to believe is the true position of whichever society it is?
To clarify. I followed the link in sceptical science to the GSA. The quote therein did not match the one quoted by Louise.
I was in error to misprint the GSA as the AMS. Apologies – these societies are not institutions I am very familiar with. But the thrust of my comments remains. The first of Louise’s remarks does not reflect the views of the GSA as seen on their website. The second, slightly less ‘alarmist’ does.
No, that is what policital hacks who run the professinal organizatins claim.
Louise, 6/9/11, 1:48 pm, towards sane policies
Isn’t that a shame? Their statement is entirely wrong. The Geological Society of America can join the collection of maybe a hundred, nearly unanimous, similarly misguided societies. See the Wikipedia entry, Scientific opinion on climate change . Did any of these put the matter to a vote of its membership? Or did a handful of functionaries speak for memberships of hundreds to thousands? Wikipedia reports none.
Safe to say, not one of these organizations bothered to investigate the validity of the easily falsified AGW model.
Those that can, do: those that can’t, teach, or maybe run professional societies.
On the substantive question of scientific opinion, Wikipedia relies on Naomi Oreskes’ conforming review of “global climate change” found in the scientific literature. Wikipedia said,
A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change. The essay concluded that there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. The author analyzed 928 abstracts of papers from refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, listed with the keywords “global climate change”. Oreskes divided the abstracts into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. 75% of the abstracts were placed in the first three categories, thus either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, thus taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change; none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position, which the author found to be “remarkable”. According to the report, “authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.” Bold added.
Oreskes’ fallacy is plain on its face. She did not sample scientists, and so cannot draw any valid conclusion about a consensus or other statistic on the opinions of scientists. What she surveyed was published papers in professional climate journals. What can be concluded from her study is that these journals do not publish papers challenging the AGW dogma. Why journals do not publish dissent is explained in the following two papers.
First is Donald W. Miller, Jr. MD, The Government Grant System, J.Inform.Ethics, Spring 2007, pp. 59ff.
The safest way to generate grants is to avoid any dissent from orthodoxy. P. 61.
Peer review enforces state-sanctioned paradigms. P. 64.
When inconvenient facts challenge paradigms the state promotes, it justifies them by consensus. P. 65.
Paradigms in the biomedical and climate sciences that have achieved the status of dogma are: … • Human activity is causing global warming through increased CO2 emissions. Pp. 62-3.
And this is from Richard Horton, MD, editor, The Lancet:
The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.
Professional societies along with advocacy journals and the professionals who publish in them are pigs wallowing in a common trough of government grants. The thousands of AGW beneficiaries – societies, journals, IPCC climatologists — speak with one purchased voice.
Well, let’s start by you showing me some effects at all, let alone ‘so bad’ ones.
In a hundred years of supposed warming by less than 1C, what bad things have happened? What is it about our global climate that is demonstrably ‘worse’ than the climate in 1911? Please list your top 5 things.
I honestly do not know of any catastrophic things that were predicted to happen by/before 2011. I certainly have not been expecting any.
Will someone please turn of the BOLD setting?
Also, the comments screen is not clearing after messages.
Intergenerational responsibility would make sense if it wouldn’t imply certain suffering for the children alive today for uncertain improvements for the grandchildren yet to be born.
hastur, tonto – would love to hear your response to Rob Starkey’s cost analysis.
$5 trillion to reduce global warming by 0.27 C… or $18.5 trillion per degree C. What do you think of that cost/benefit ratio?
Or put another way, basically the world would have to spend the equivalent (actually slightly more) of the GDP of the United States for every degree C to be reduced? How practical is that mitigation strategy?
Has anybody noticed, the GSA statement is compatible with the IPCC’s. The Nobel Peace Prize winners did insert “very likely”, the GSA pretends all the work about uncertainties did not exist.
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