WHO?

I seem to be spending a lot my time at the moment going “I really can’t be bothered, I’m losing interest, and it’s not worth all the effort” and then making the mistake of visiting, for example, the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Forum website and going “WTF!”. What I found there today was a report called Unhealthy exaggeration, by Indur Goklany, which is claiming that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is exaggerating the impact that climate change will have on human health.

Now, I don’t actually know much – specifically, at least – about how climate change will impact us as a species and would quite like to know more about it. Goklany’s report, however, starts with

Firstly, it uses climate model results that have been shown to run at least three times hotter than empirical reality (0.15oC vs 0.04oC per decade, respectively), despite using 27% lower greenhouse gas forcing.

What, where does this come from? Yes, we’ve had a slowdown in surface warming in the last 10 years or so, and it may be as slow as 0.05oC per decade, but it could still be as high as > 0.1oC per decade (Cowtan & Way, 2013) and the uncertainties, when considering such short time intervals, are really too large to state – with confidence – what the trend actually is. If you consider the last few decades, the trend is around 0.175oC per decade, which is lower than the mean model trend, but only by 20-30%, not by a factor of 3. Also, where does despite using 27% lower greenhouse gas forcing come from? Is he just making stuff up?

The very next paragraph says,

Secondly, it ignores the fact that people and societies are not potted plants; that they will actually take steps to reduce, if not nullify, real or perceived threats to their life, limb and well-being. Thus, if the seas rise around them, heatwaves become more prevalent, or malaria, diarrhoeal disease and hunger spread, they will undertake adaptation measures to protect themselves and reduce, if not eliminate, the adverse consequences.

What, how do we do this? Yes, of course as a species we may be able to take measures to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate change, but it’s not trivial. There are millions, if not billions, of people who live near the coast. The spread of disease is not something you combat with ease (unless you include getting ill and subsequently dying as an adaptation strategy). This just seems like an absurd suggestion. It completely ignores that anthropogenic emissions are changing our climate at a rate that is faster than at any time in human history. Humans have existed during a period of relative climate stability [Edit : Okay, this isn’t quite right H/T Victor.  The last 10000 years has been a period of relative stability, but humans – as a species – have been around for more than 100000 years. We do, however, appear to have thrived during this period of relative stability].  The reason we’ve adapted to changes is because, by and large, they’ve been gradual. Yes, we’re a clever species who can adapt to our environment, but that also includes being clever enough to decide that it would be best not to have do so in the first place. I know that some adaptation will be unavoidable, but suggesting that we should simply be aiming to adapt seems nonsensical.

So, as I said above, I would like to know more about the how climate change might impact our lives in the coming decades and centuries, but I doubt I’m going to learn much from someone who writes such nonsense at the beginning of their report, or from an organisation that promotes it. Of course, it is possible that the rest of the report was better than the beginning, but I didn’t bother reading it to find out.

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265 Responses to WHO?

  1. Humans have existed during a period of climate stability.

    Small correction: human civilisation was build up during a period of climate stability. Humans have lived a bit longer under barbaric circumstances.

  2. Victor,
    Yes, true. I think I forgot that the Holocene was only about 10000 years long and we’ve existed for > 100000 years. So, good point.

  3. Michael Lloyd says:

    I am currently working my way through Craig Dilworth’s book: Too Smart For Our Own Good, the ecological predicament of Humankind

    It is certainly a hefty tome, some 450 pages and covers a broad perspective. However, for some time I haven’t been convinced that either mitigation or adaption is going to be easy and moreover I wonder whether we are inherently capable of doing so.

    I think you are wasting a lot of time on GWPF, WUWT, Bishop’s Hill blog posts etc. for little benefit. Time to move on?

  4. Michael,

    However, for some time I haven’t been convinced that either mitigation or adaption is going to be easy and moreover I wonder whether we are inherently capable of doing so.

    Yes, this is one of my concerns too and there seem to be a number of people who are making this kind of argument. We’re changing our climate at a rate that is faster than at any time in human history, but not fast enough that we really notice. It might simply be the optimally worst rate; slower and we’d have more time to adapt, faster and it would be more noticeable.

    I think you are wasting a lot of time on GWPF, WUWT, Bishop’s Hill blog posts etc. for little benefit. Time to move on?

    Yes, you’re absolutely right and I am trying 🙂

  5. andrew adams says:

    Secondly, it ignores the fact that people and societies are not potted plants; that they will actually take steps to reduce, if not nullify, real or perceived threats to their life, limb and well-being. Thus, if the seas rise around them, heatwaves become more prevalent, or malaria, diarrhoeal disease and hunger spread, they will undertake adaptation measures to protect themselves and reduce, if not eliminate, the adverse consequences.

    Yes of course they will, that’s bleeding obvious. The whole point of analysing potential impacts of climate change is that we are prepared to take these kinds of measures or to decide whether the costs and practicalities are such that we should try to prevent them from being necessary.

  6. John says:

    This reminds me of a post made here by a contrarian a couple days ago, stating that in the future people will have better technology so they will adapt more easily. He closed the comment by stating that people could live on Antarctica if necessary, due to modern advances. I’ve read similar comments on HW and elsewhere.

    First of all, the mental disconnect is staggering. Second, this seems to be the latest iteration in contrarian talking points. Many of them are coming to accept that it DID warm up (not just UHI), and some are even reluctantly accepting that humans are partly the cause. Now they seem to be acknowledging that the long term outlook might be bad, but it still doesn’t change their opinion that we should do absolutely nothing about it. They would rather see drastic changes occur within our climate system, rather than make gradual, manageable changes to our energy consumption/production.

    Also, one last thing: When the subject of changing oceans is brought up, a frequent contrarian response is that sea creatures will “adapt.” I wonder what kind of Lamarckian view of evolution they must have to believe that this so-called “adaptation” would involve anything other than a mass die-off of species?

  7. andrew adams says:

    “If we’re going to have sex we should use protection.”

    “But you haven’t considered that I’m fully prepared to fulfil my fatherly responsibilities and support you and the baby in the event that you get pregnant”.

    “Woah, goodbye!”

  8. andrew adams says:

    Above comment is a follow-on to my previous one. John’s comment snuck inbetween.

  9. andrew adams says:

    John,

    Yes, those who blithely say “we can adapt” don’t seem to consider that it’s not only us who have to adapt.

  10. Andrew,
    Indeed. The other really frustrating aspect of such an argument is that it makes it seems as though it will be easy to adapt to whatever changes there are to our climate, but adapting to a different economic model (or one where fossil fuels don’t dominate) is not even worth considering. There are a number of people who complain that some won’t even consider adaptation as an option (which is a little odd given that some is going to be unavoidable) but are silent whenever people argue that any form of mitigation (even considering it) is ridiculous.

  11. I’d love to know how people will adapt in those areas where wet bulb temps might exceed levels where the human body can survive. Stay indoors and turn up the air-conditioning I assume? Does air conditioning work in 100% humidity?

    Seems to me that people like Matt Ridley and this guy are too clever for their own good. Completely lacking in nous.

  12. john,
    Yes, I’ve wondered the same. Air-conditioning is fine but do you really want to live somewhere where there would be times when you’d need an air-conditioner to survive? You’d be hoping that you didn’t have a power failure.

  13. An after thought to my last comment.

    Thinking we humans will adapt also misses the point that many species won’t. Most mammals don’t have the ability to turn up the air conditioning, so can you imagine what high wetbulb temperatures will do to the primates and other species? There will be a lot of rotting carcasses around the first time it occurs.

  14. @attp: a power failure would produce survival times similar to losing the house roof in Antarctica with no clothing available.

  15. BBD says:

    Of course Goklany is making stuff up. He’s a right wing ideologue and that’s what they do.

  16. andrew adams says:

    So he’s a DDT “troofer” as well. Quelle surprise.

  17. Andrew,
    And it seems that Ridley is also on a similar path. Unless I’m misreading his recent writings, he’s been downplaying the significance of the ozone hole and, today, neonictinoids. Or, maybe, more correctly suggesting that some scientists were scheming to get neonicinoids banned and were working hand-in-glove with environmental activists. Seriously, how can anyone trusts scientists who care about the environment?

  18. andrew adams says:

    Yes, I saw Ridley’s comments about neonicotinoids. My impression has been that the extent to which they have been responsible for the reduced bee population was the subject of some dispute amongst scientists and it’s possibly less clear cut than some environmentalists are suggesting, but he goes much further than that and it’s quite a strong allegation of scientific misconduct he is making. I don’t know enough about the subject to categorically say he is wrong but given that the other two example of “misconduct” he gives are obvious nonsense I’m inclined to disbelieve him.

  19. Andrew,
    Yes, that was rather my thoughts too. I don’t know enough about neonictinoids or quite what happened with regards to scientists working with environmental activisits, but his other two examples were pretty poor examples. Also, the first article I could find that referred to the neonictinoid issue was by James Delingpole, so that didn’t bode well.

    It seems that he’s trying to create a narrative that suggests that whenever science is policy relevant, it’s more likely that policy preferences by scientists is driving the science, than scientific evidence is driving the policy response. Given that we’d like to live in a world where policy is evidence-based, I think these kinds of narratives are very poor without watertight evidence, unless your goal is to live in a world where ideology trumps actual evidence.

  20. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    I think the narrative Ridley is trying to create is

    1) that Matt Ridley and his social circle are entitled to rule over the rest of us
    2) that laissez faire economics with minimal regulation is always the best option
    3) anyone who disagrees with either of these is a lying scumbag

    That Ridley’s time of chair of Northern Rock didn’t convince him otherwise of all three of these tells you everything you need to know the man.

  21. vtg,

    That Ridley’s time of chair of Northern Rock didn’t convince him otherwise of all three of these tells you everything you need to know the man.

    Yes, I tend to agree. I got a bit of flack from some for mentioning that in a previous post, but I can’t see how one can be a central player in that kind of disaster, not really ever show any remorse, continue to promote the same basic ideas that lead to the disaster in the first place, and not be judged for doing so. That’s not to say that one can’t also directly criticise what someone is saying today, but that doesn’t mean whitewashing the past.

  22. verytallguy says:

    That Ridley, head of the most culpable single institution in the country for the crash, given the public feeling about bankers, feels entitled to put himself up for “election” by a tiny subset of the most priviledged people in the world, and as a result can now vote in our legislature is nothing short of a national disgrace. The man has no shame.

    In my humble opinion.

  23. vtg,
    Yes, I largely in agreement. I don’t know if you read his most recent article, but I did find this remarkably ironic

    Most of the people in charge of collating temperature data are vocal in their views on climate policy, which hardly reassures the rest of us that they leave those prejudices at the laboratory door. Imagine if bankers were in charge of measuring inflation.

  24. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    I haven’t read his latest, and doubt that I will.

    Your quote from it is an astoundingly brazen piece of brass-necked effrontery which leaves me struggling for words to express my amazement.

    Surely it’s not real – did you make it up?

  25. vtg,
    Almost wish I had, then maybe it wouldn’t be so clear that Matt Ridley has no shame. It comes from here.

  26. Steve Bloom says:

    Goklany has long, long form. He’s a DC RWNJ “think”-tank apparatchik going back to the ’80s, having written (inexpertly and with little regard for the facts) on many subjects aside from climate and DDT.

  27. anoilman says:

    I seem to recall that adaptation is already factored into the medical data. I believe we have Vinny to thank for pointing that out (read the paper John referenced);
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/what-am-i-missing/#comment-37368

    ‘Cause this is more funny than Lol Catz.

  28. anoilman says:

    Anders… Imagine if Bankers were in charge of investing? They’d be vulnerable to ignore bubble conditions and might take our economy to the brink!

  29. verytallguy says:

    ATTP, 

    Well,  thanks a lot ATTP.  A more loathsome example of self righteous doublespeak could not be wished for.

  30. numerobis says:

    What gets me is the disconnect between “why worry, we’ll adapt, we always have” and advocating against any adaptation or mitigation.

    Of course, the same people are typically DDT truthers and CFC truthers.

  31. Harry Twinotter says:

    Matt Ridley has no shame – I see what you mean. No references in his article. And using Rutherglen as evidence of scientific data handling. Mud slinging at it’s worst.

  32. pbjamm says:

    numerobis: Exactly. The people arguing that we will adapt really mean that future people will have to adapt because they sure are not going to change their lifestyle!
    As for adapting to high Wet Bulb temps the only answer really will be to move, either out of the tropics or underground. Temperatures would be much more stable underground and lessen the concern about blackouts killing the AC (and the residents).

  33. pbjamm,
    I didn’t think about the possibility of moving underground. Maybe Goklany thinks everyone could move to the Shire and live next door to Bilbo and Frodo. I guess, we’d also quickly evolve to be smaller, have large hairy feet, bigger ears, and magic would suddenly become possible.

  34. Joshua says:

    An interesting comment in Ridley’s article:

    ==> “As somebody who has championed science all his career, carrying a lot of water for the profession against its critics on many issues, I am losing faith. Recent examples of bias and corruption in science are bad enough. What’s worse is the reluctance of scientific leaders to criticise the bad apples. Science as a philosophy is in good health; science as an institution increasingly stinks.

    There have been some interesting discussions at Dan Kahan’s blog broadly related to the use of the term “anti-science.”

    Who is anti-science? What is the evidence used to make that determination? What does the term actually mean?

    But beyond all of that, what does it mean that as a prominent spokesperson for an influential institution, Ridley says that science, “as an institution increasingly stinks?”

    Is Ridely throwing out his computers, cell phones, and GPS devices? Is he uniformly rejecting the outcomes of institutions of medical science? Does he reject, across the board, the advice of institutions of public health w/r/t issues such as Ebola?

    Is he building a technology-free shelter, a scientific institution-free zone, and stocking it up with fruits and nuts so that he can move there and remove himself from the dangers of corrupted institutions of science?

    Since he sees institutions of science as being increasingly malodorous, what does he propose to rely on as an alternative resources as we move forward? Religious institutions? Political institutions? Financial institutions? Or perhaps, an institution-free Utopia, such as humans enjoyed during the Stone Age?

    Or perhaps, just maybe, Ridley is cynically exploiting scientific institutions, which inherently reflect the uncertainties and mistakes of the very “philosophy of science” – for the sake of holding them hostage to some notion of “pure science?”

    Maybe Ridley is using rhetoric to leverage “institutions of science” to pursue a political agenda?

    If that were the case, some might consider it to be ironic.

  35. Joshua,
    I think I just have an automatic negative reaction to anyone who starts with “As somebody who has championed science all his career”. Partly, I think it’s just obvious that we should all be championing science, but also it just seems like a form of putting oneself on a pedestal while criticising those around you. Judith Curry is another who seems to use a similar form of rhetoric. I think it’s somewhat similar to those who go “I’m not a ….. but …..”.

  36. toby52 says:

    There is a whiney note in Ridley’s comments on science – he sounds like someone who feels insufficiently appreciated by the scientific world.

    Perhaps he should talk to some of the old age pensioners who had their savings in Northern Rock? I am sure they are ready to share the love.

  37. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I understand your point, but In all fairness, his starting clause could be a proactive attempt to address attacks that he is “anti-science.”

    What engenders a negative reaction from me is the “alarmist” rhetoric which reflects his inability to see the over-the-top aspect of his claim of loss of “faith” in “the institution of science,”

    Or how about the title at the GWPF link: “Beware the corruption of science” ” which I think better exemplifies the self-appointed, holier-than-thou, “Champion of Science” and concern about ethics line of rhetoric. And then there’s the subtitle: “Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology, rather than seeking the truth.”

    “Alarmism” fused with identity politics.

  38. Joshua,

    his starting clause could be a proactive attempt to address attacks that he is “anti-science.”

    Oh sure, I agree. However, more often it simply comes across as someone implying that they’re beyond reproach and can somehow see all sorts of issues with the behaviour of a large group of other people. There’s a vast difference between being critical of specific events (I don’t know enough about neonictinoids, for example, to know if his criticism has merit) and using a small number of apparent issues (some of which aren’t) to imply something more fundamental.

    What engenders a negative reaction from me is the “alarmist” rhetoric which reflects his inability to see the over-the-top aspect of his claim of loss of “faith” in “the institution of science,”

    Yes, you make a good point. There are numerous examples of people using alarmist rhetoric to complain about alarmists.

  39. Joshua says:

    ==> “There’s a vast difference between being critical of specific events … and using a small number of apparent issues…to imply something more fundamental.”

    Indeed. That’s “alarmist.” It’s cynical and exploitative.

    Not to mention ironic.

  40. pbjamm says:

    “Is he building a technology-free shelter, a scientific institution-free zone, and stocking it up with fruits and nuts so that he can move there and remove himself from the dangers of corrupted institutions of science?”

    I hope they are not canned. Too much science involved in the pasteurization process.

  41. Lucifer says:

    Small correction: human civilisation was build up during a period of climate stability.

    I saw where Neanderthals existed for 400,000 years or so – spanning multiple glacials and interglacials.

    Modern humans, roughly 30,000 years – from last glacial maximum through the Holocene Optimum to today.

    The Mesopotamian Era coincided with the Holocene Climatic Optimum which orbital variation and proxys indicate was around 2C warmer than present.

    It goes further than that, however. Northern Hemisphere insolation was greater in summer ( hot summers ) and lower in winter. The HCO was optimal in that glacial ice receeded but actually extreme in seasonal variation.

    Fortunately, ancient civilizations were smarter than we are today and went about succeeding instead of imagining disaster.

  42. Lucifer,
    Any idea how many humans were alive at any one time prior to the start of the Holocene? Also, if you think that people are concerned about the complete extinction of the human race, you’d be wrong. People are concerned about the planet being able to support in excess of 7 billion people with standards of living similar to – or even better than – we have today.

  43. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    Modern humans, roughly 30,000 years – from last glacial maximum through the Holocene Optimum to today.

    Anatomically modern humans have been around for about 200ky IIRC.

  44. BBD says:

    The Mesopotamian Era coincided with the Holocene Climatic Optimum which orbital variation and proxys indicate was around 2C warmer than present.

    I think this is a gross exaggeration, even for the NH where the HCO was most strongly manifest. Reference backing the 2C global claim please.

  45. Doug Bostrom says:

    Fortunately, ancient civilizations were smarter than we are today and went about succeeding instead of imagining disaster.

    Archetypal IB. See Indus Valley Civilization, others.

    We’ve not lost the art of magic; we’ve never had magic in our toolbox.

  46. Steve Bloom says:

    And whatever became of early Mesopotamian civilization? I seem to recall a climate change-induced collapse around 4200 years ago. The Egyptian Old Kingdom went down too.

  47. anoilman says:

    Anders… the real Lucifer would know.

  48. Infopath says:

    So, according to Indur Goklany, the WHO report is ‘fundamentally flawed’ (in part) because “…it ignores the fact that people and societies (…) will actually take steps to reduce, if not nullify, real or perceived threats to their life, limb and well-being.”

    In other words, the report is fundamentally flawed, in part, because something will happen (for a fact, in the future) that will prove that the report is fundamentally flawed.

    Brilliant!

  49. Infopath says:

    OTOH, Thank You, independent scholar Indur Goklany, for pushing ATTP into writing another post! 😀

  50. Willard says:

    > Fortunately, ancient civilizations were smarter than we are today and went about succeeding instead of imagining disaster.

    They did both.

  51. Meow says:

    And once again I am puzzled by the idea that we cannot adapt to somewhat higher energy prices today, but we’ll have no problem adapting to food shortages, epidemics, depleted oceans, overheating, flooded coasts, and more extreme storms tomorrow.

    It doesn’t pass the, um, smell test.

  52. PG says:

    [Mod : Yes, a fair illustration, but given that this has become something of a sensitive topic that I’m trying to avoid mentioning for the moment, I’m not going to allow this.]

  53. Lars Karlsson says:

    “…it ignores the fact that people and societies (…) will actually take steps to reduce, if not nullify, real or perceived threats to their life, limb and well-being.”
    The irony is that people like Goklany are arguing against taking such steps (i.e. reducing emissions).

  54. victorpetri says:

    Great report, thanks for the link. I always appreciate Goklany’s work. Illustrates clearly how important it is to focus on economic growth.

    “Secondly, consider that in a mere span of 12 years, from 2000 to 2012,
    global death rates from diarrhoea, malaria and undernutrition declined by
    40%, 42%, and 28%, respectively. On longer time frames, say, 60 years, the
    reductions are even more astonishing. For example, they were reduced by
    80% for malaria and 95% for all extreme weather events.
    These reductions are a product of the fact that, unless inhibited by institutions
    or excessive costs, human beings will employ whatever machines, techniques,
    management methods, knowledge or other skills (collectively labelled
    ‘technology’) that they can access or invent in order to reduce adverse impacts,
    whatever their cause. In other words, to adapt is human nature; it is
    business as usual. But because human nature asserts itself all the time, human
    beings and their societies adapt perpetually. With the march of time, existing
    technologies spread more widely through societies, becoming cheaper and
    more effective.”

  55. victorpetri says:

    @vtg @ATTP
    “ATTP,

    That Ridley’s time of chair of Northern Rock didn’t convince him otherwise of all three of these tells you everything you need to know the man.”

    The giddy excitement with which anything Ridley says is discarded because he worked at a bank during the 2008 crisis in which countless banks were bankrupted and countless more were nationalised around the globe is poor ad hominem.
    Btw, the faillure of poorly run companies is essential for capitalism and free markets to work. In fact it is it greatest strength. Well run companies create wealth, thrive and expand, poorly run companies destroy wealth, contract and disappear. If you feel certain companies are unfit to play by these rules, than not leave it to the market, but leave it done by the government.

  56. vp,
    Seriously, you think it’s a good report? Are you sure? The reason I ask is because it’s very hard to take anyone seriously who thinks a report that starts as this one did is good.

  57. vp,

    The giddy excitement with which anything Ridley says is discarded because he worked at a bank during the 2008 crisis in which countless banks were bankrupted and countless more were nationalised around the globe is poor ad hominem.

    Rubbish. The reason most of what Ridley says is discarded is because most of it is crap. That he was Chairman of the first bank in the UK in more than 100 years to have a run on its finances is simply more evidence that one should not take his views seriously. Try thinking about this a bit Victor, because your last two comments have not been particularly impressive in terms of their intellectual content.

  58. BBD says:

    victorpetri

    Yes, the transfer of technology and wealth from developed to developing economies by the IDA under the auspices of the World Bank is having results – although there is a very, very long way to go before the MDGs are met.

    But you yourself said that this kind of wealth transfer was impractical and wrong. Indeed, every right wing ideologue I’ve ever discussed this with fervently believes that such redistribution of wealth is wrong.

    But you can’t have the progress Goklany trumpets without it. I think you – and IG – are very badly confused.

  59. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    The Mesopotamian Era coincided with the Holocene Climatic Optimum which orbital variation and proxys indicate was around 2C warmer than present.

    I asked for references.

    You have greatly exaggerated this claim. Here is a summary of the standard view of the HCO:

    It appears clear that changes in the Earth’s orbit have operated slowly over thousands and millions of years to change the amount of solar radiation reaching each latitudinal band of the Earth during each month. These orbital changes can be easily calculated and predict that the northern hemisphere should have been warmer than today during the mid-Holocene in the summer AND colder in the winter. The paleoclimatic data for the mid-Holocene shows these expected changes, however, there is no evidence to show that the average annual mid-Holocene temperature was warmer than today’s temperatures. We also now know from both data and “astronomical” (or “Milankovitch”) theory that the period of above modern summer temperatures did not occur at the same time around the northern hemisphere, or in the southern hemisphere at all.

    In summary, the mid-Holocene, roughly 6,000 years ago, was generally warmer than today, but only in summer and only in the northern hemisphere. More over, we clearly know the cause of this natural warming, and know without doubt that this proven “astronomical” climate forcing mechanism cannot be responsible for the warming over the last 100 years.

  60. izen says:

    The Neonicotin narrative that Ridley presents is only one half of the whole story.
    The other is that the Agri-chemical business funded much of the research into neonicotinoids and were looking for evidence that their product is effective and that conveniently found it was not harmful.

    In both versions of the story scientists either distort the science because big Pharma/agri-industry funds them to absolve their products from criticism, or the scientists distort the science because they have an ideological antipathy towards big business. Expressed as ‘Environmentalism’.

    The history of bad science in the services of industry, especially the Pharma and Agri-chemical industry is well enough established to justify the scepticism that is directed at claims by organisations that will profit from the outcomes.
    On that history even the anti-vax and anti-GMO crowd have a point.

    But the Ridley article tries to put mainstream climate science into the ‘anti-science’ category along with the environmentalists that want to stop agriculture using an effective product because it MIGHT harm bees. And use bad science to justify their advocacy.

    And yet mainstream climate science is also attacked as big power funding science to get the answers they want for political as well as financial reasons.

    In both perspectives notice that scientific accuracy is the first casualty, and never even considered to be a possible survivor. It’s the Hulme perspective. the ideological/political/economic impact of any statement is its primary quality, fidelity to physical/chemical reality is a subsidiary consideration.

    Meanwhile the reason for the very significant changes in the bee populations, and the impact of agri-chemicals, is still a matter of dispute.
    One alternative hypothesis is that the ever warming temperatures are a contributory factor…

  61. victorpetri says:

    @ATTP
    Yes, great report:
    Yet another source of overestimation is that to estimate mortality from undernutrition
    in children under 5 years, the WHO developed relationships using
    regression analyses between mortality and a set of independent socioeconomic
    variables, namely:
    • GDP per capita
    • years of education at age 25 years (a proxy for human capital)
    • time (a proxy for health benefits arising from technological developments).28
    But then it effectively freezes technology at the 1990 level for Africa and other
    lesser developed areas and ignores technological change thereafter (emphasis
    added):
    “The projection regression equations were recalibrated so that back projections
    of child-mortality rates to 1990 matched observed trends for
    World Bank regions. In the recalibrated projections, the regression coefficient
    for human capital was left unchanged and the regression coefficient
    for time (a proxy for technological change) was set to zero for low-income
    countries in the WHO African, European, South-East Asia and Western
    Pacific regions.”
    But these are precisely the areas where the vast majority of mortality from
    undernutrition would occur. The same flawed methodology is applied for mortality
    from higher temperatures and diarrhoeal diseases.

    If you extrapolate the negative effects fossil fuels, the CO2 emissions correctly, but not the positive effects, e.g. the creation of wealth and technological improvements, no wonder you always end up claiming we should discard fossil fuels.

    I do not particularly feel to need to be intellectually impressive to you guys, as I am not in the least bit insecure about my intelligence, I am simply giving my opinion.

    @BBD
    Your insistence to misrepresent my opinions continues to amaze me. To be clear, my position on intellectual property rights is a quite radical one, I am in favor of abolishing those. I do however at this point feel it indeed to be impractical to do so. Luckily it would unnecessary, because it is very clear that it is free trade, globalism and capitalism that is bringing wealth and progress to the developing world.

  62. vp,

    Yes, great report:

    Fine. Personally, I would find it hard to describe a report that has numerous errors on the first page as “great” but YMMV. Ideology trumps accuracy?

  63. vp,

    If you extrapolate the negative effects fossil fuels, the CO2 emissions correctly, but not the positive effects, e.g. the creation of wealth and technological improvements, no wonder you always end up claiming we should discard fossil fuels.

    I’ve never said we should “discard fossil fuels” and I don’t think it is something that is actually said here very often (if ever) either. If you want to be taken remotely seriously (and I’m starting to wonder why anyone would) maybe try to interpreting what people say in a manner consistent with what they actually said, not in a manner consistent with what you think they were trying to say.

  64. BBD says:

    victor petri

    Your insistence to misrepresent my opinions continues to amaze me. To be clear, my position on intellectual property rights is a quite radical one, I am in favor of abolishing those.

    WTF are you on about now? Who is paying for the MDGs? There’s no intellectual property rights on mosquito nets and poverty-stricken African countries do not have the infrastructure to manufacture and distribute antimalarial drugs etc.

    You are irritating me again.

  65. BBD says:

    I do not particularly feel to need to be intellectually impressive to you guys

    Well that’s a relief.

  66. vp,

    I do not particularly feel to need to be intellectually impressive to you guys

    I wasn’t really asking you to try and appear intellectually impressive. I was suggesting that maybe you could stop trying to appear intellectually unimpressive (I’m assuming, here, that that is what you’re trying to do – I could be wrong).

  67. victorpetri says:

    @ATTP
    It can be very time consuming to be very precise, and I expect a bit of interpretation when reading my remarks. The sentence about discarding fossil fuels would be:
    If you extrapolate the negative effects of fossil fuel use, the CO2 emissions and its effect on global warming correctly, but you do not correctly extrapolate the positive effects of the use of fossil fuels, for example the benefits in wealth creation and the accompanying technologic developments, than cost benefit analysis will end up to pessimistic on fossil fuel use, probably invoking policies that will reduce its use, although it would be suboptimal for mankind.

    This, I feel, is the main argument of Goklany, and an argument that is very valuable. Now you can discard the whole argument because of the errors you encountered on the first page, which in my eyes actually will be similar to sceptics discarding Mann’s work because of perceived statistical errors in his ‘Hockey stick’ graph. And so both sides aim to shoot down easy targets and can disregard essential arguments from the other side.

    @BBD
    I apologize for misinterpreting you, whilst at the same to blaming you for misinterpreting me.
    I am missing your central point I feel. MDGs are being met thanks to economic growth, which is due to capitalism and trade. Charity is only marginally beneficial to achieving these goals.

  68. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Confusion, I suspect. I was responding to victorpetri’s words here:

    I do not particularly feel to need to be intellectually impressive to you guys, as I am not in the least bit insecure about my intelligence, I am simply giving my opinion.

  69. BBD says:

    victorpetri

    I am missing your central point I feel. MDGs are being met thanks to economic growth, which is due to capitalism and trade. Charity is only marginally beneficial to achieving these goals.

    The MDGs are funded by the IDA, not by recipient countries.

    As I mentioned in our previous discussion, the idea of African development is to a certain extent a self-serving and false narrative spun by developed economies engaged in exploiting developing economies:

    From late 15th century England all the way up to the East Asian Tigers of recent renown, development has generally been taken as a synonym for “industrialization.” Rich countries figured out long ago, if economies are not moving out of dead-end activities that only provide diminishing returns over time (primary agriculture and extractive activities such as mining, logging, and fisheries), and into activities that provide increasing returns over time (manufacturing and services), then you can’t really say they are developing.

    What’s striking about the two articles cited above [Time Magazine; The Economist] is that they don’t mention manufacturing, or its disturbing absence, in Africa. And that, in turn, confirms once again the extent to which the idea of development as industrialization has been completely abandoned in the last few decades. Free market economics has come to advise poor countries to stick with their current primary agriculture and extractives industries and “integrate” into the global economy as they are. Today, for many champions of free markets, the mere presence of GDP growth and an increase in trade volumes are euphemisms for successful economic development. But increased growth and trade are not development.

  70. jsam says:

    It could just be me, of course. But I find it odd that those who say we will grow richer tend to also be those who think we need austerity. So to grow richer we need to first be poorer. I shall have a lie down and hope it passes.

  71. BBD,
    Indeed, I meant to put “vp” (as I’ve now done) at the start of my comment, but copied the text from your comment, which then confused me. Probably teach me to not try and be snarky 🙂

    vp,

    If you extrapolate the negative effects of fossil fuel use, the CO2 emissions and its effect on global warming correctly, but you do not correctly extrapolate the positive effects of the use of fossil fuels, for example the benefits in wealth creation and the accompanying technologic developments, than cost benefit analysis will end up to pessimistic on fossil fuel use, probably invoking policies that will reduce its use, although it would be suboptimal for mankind.

    Except, this is not the correct way to do a risk analysis. If continuing to increase our emissions carries some risk, then that risk should be balanced against the risk/cost of avoiding increasing our emissions (or, avoiding a particular emissions pathway). Also, you see to be assuming that the benefits of fossil fuel use and the damage due to increased emissions are somehow independent. They’re not. If the projections are correct there is a future emissions pathway that will be catastrophic. We can’t have continued economic growth under such a scenario.

    Your argument seems to be a bit like suggesting that you shouldn’t replace your balding tyres just yet because you can take the money you’d save, invest it, let it grow, and then replace the tyres later when you’re certain they’re dangerous. What a sensible person would do would be to replace the tyres when the cost of doing so is worth it to avoid what might happen if you were to have an accident due to having balding tyres.

  72. BBD says:

    ATTP

    No worries 😉

  73. victorpetri says:

    @ATTP
    Why again is that not a correct way of doing a risk analysis?

    The car metaphor would be that you are driving a bad car, where not only the tyres need replacing but also the brakes, the lights, the exhaust and many other parts, and you have only 200$ to spend on it, all the while it could be hit by a meteor at any time, so the NASA continuously claim you should actually spend all resources on scanning the sky.

  74. vp,

    The car metaphor would be that you are driving a bad car, where not only the tyres need replacing but also the brakes, the lights, the exhaust and many other parts, and you have only 200$ to spend on it, all the while it could be hit by a meteor at any time, so the NASA continuously claim you should actually spend all resources on scanning the sky.

    Sure, but you’re still doing a cost benefit analysis. I didn’t say you had to replace the tyres, just that you should compare the cost of replacing the tyres against the risk associated with not replacing the tyres.

    What you seem to be unwilling to accept is that there is a future possible emission pathway that many accept has a high chance of catastrophe (more than 4 degrees by 2100 and as much as 10 degrees by 2200). You also seem to assume that there is no viable alternative to fossil fuels and that any attempt to reduce emissions would be catastrophic. So you seem to be favouring a pathway that will almost certainly be catastrophic so as to avoid a pathway that might be catastrophic but based on a view that that it is virtually impossible to have a viable economy without fossil fuels (in which case we’re screwed sometime in the future anyway).

  75. verytallguy says:

    Victorpetri

    The giddy excitement with which anything Ridley says is discarded because he worked at a bank during the 2008 crisis in which countless banks were bankrupted and countless more were nationalised around the globe is poor ad hominem.

    Parliamentary Investigation into Northern Rock

    The directors of Northern Rock were the principal authors of the difficulties that the company has faced since August 2007. The directors pursued a reckless business model which was excessively reliant on wholesale funding.

    (my emphasis)
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmtreasy/56/5603.htm

    Northern Rock was NOT typical of financial institutions. Matt Ridley chose to take it in a direction which disregarded risk in favour of laissez faire economics. The exact same analysis applies to his approach to climate change,

    Research shows that sharing Ridley’s economic ideology predicts rejection of science.

    Yous say “giddy excitement”, I say sober examination of the facts

  76. victorpetri says:

    @ATTP
    High chance for a high catastrophe is worrisome, as I indicated earlier, this part of your argument I understand and acknowledge. This is something to definitely keep in mind as we manoeuvre our societies through the climate problem.
    I don’t state that any reduction in emissions is catastrophic (“If you want to be taken remotely seriously (and I’m starting to wonder why anyone would) maybe try to interpreting what people say in a manner consistent with what they actually said, not in a manner consistent with what you think they were trying to say. “) I stated that there are disadvantages to limit fossil fuel use, which you should take into account when making projections into the future.
    An example would be as mentioned by Goklany projected increases in Malaria and deaths due to extreme weather events due to warmer climates; economic growth that increases the resilience of a developing country is very likely to trump any negative effects of global warming.
    To not take this into account by WHO is just incorrect.
    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

  77. vp,
    Okay, so accept that high-end risks and accept that we can reduce emissions without catastrophe. One issue, though, is that we are currently following a high-emission pathway, as per the figure below.

    Now consider the following. Given the current evidence, the only pathway that gives us a good chance of staying below 3 degrees is RCP4.5. The peak emissions for that pathway are essentially where we are today and 3 degrees is still 1 degree more than many think we should be aiming for. The longer we spend on our current pathway (i.e., heading towards RCP8.5) the harder it will be to avoid the high-end risks. So, I’m certainly not suggesting that we do anything truly drastic today, but I do think we should be considering the evidence that suggests we need to constrain our total emissions (since, in some sense, it’s the total amount that we emit that matters, not how fast we choose to do so). The more we emit now, the faster we’re going to have to change in the future if we wish to avoid the high-end risks. Acting today allows for a more gradual adjustment than doing nothing today and hoping that something magical happens in the future. None of this carries no risk, obviously, but I think you should consider that your preferred option carries a significant risk of it’s own and also carries the risk that we end up leaving things so late that serious consequences become unavoidable.

    What you should also consider is that there are ways to proceed that allow for economic growth in the developing world, while the developed world commits to technology development and weaning itself of fossil fuels. I believe, having suggested this before, that you think that the developed world carrying any burden will just damage the developing world too. I think that’s mainly because we’re all fundamentally selfish.

  78. victorpetri says:

    @vtg
    Bankruptcies are an integral, essential part of laissez faire economics. It is exactly the bankruptcy of wealthdestroying companies that is its strength. One can be part of a company that has been destructed and still be in favor of such a system.
    I do however, take your point that Ridley may be a high risk, high reward type of person which might make him not risk averse enough in the global warming story.

  79. Andrew Dodds says:

    vp –

    As a matter of fact, it’s trivial to show that we CANNOT develop the whole world using fossil fuels.

    Let’s take Europe as a benchmark. About 7.7% of the world population, meaning we can scale EU consumption up by a factor of 13 to see what the world would need. Note that this scenario implies that the USA reduces consumption quite sharply..

    Anyway:

    Oil: The would would need about 240 million barrels a day. About 2.5 times current world production, which is out of the question technically, but even ignoring that it would blitz the entire resource – tar sands, dubious OPEC overstatements, fracking, the lot – in 20 years, max. Not gonna happen.

    Gas: 520 TCf a year – slightly more than a tripling of current production, and again, even if it was possible we’d have perhaps 15 years.

    Coal : 17 billion tonnes a year – Roughly doubling, because the EU isn’t that heavily into Coal use. But if we are telling developing countries to use coal instead of nuclear power, this figure rises. Still, it’s at least semi-feasable for a few decades, assuming that you can persuade the USA and China to scale their coal use back strongly. Otherwise not. And again – this does require that coal resources are high. As the oil and gas dropped out and we substituted coal, we could hit 100 billion tonnes a year, for a decade or two.

    CO2 emissions would more than double, to say nothing of the sulfate, particulate and heavy metal pollution from the coal. We’d blow through 500ppm CO2 by 2040.. But the message here is really that fossil-fueled development has pretty much run it’s course. The developing world can’t have our petrol cars or natural gas power stations because the resource is not there. All we might end up doing is spending a huge amount of capital building fossil fueled infrastructure that goes out of use in a couple of decades, whilst causing a huge amount of ‘normal’ pollution – killing millions – and completely fekking the climate.

    I’m not sure that this is the optimal outcome.

  80. victorpetri says:

    @Andrew
    Your back of the envelope calculation is really completely meaningless with respect to my argument, in which I never stated “we should develop the entire world with fossil fuels”.
    There is also no need to argue fossil fuels have run it course, as arguing won’t change a thing of how much of it will be produced. Markets will decide when and how it will run its course.

  81. vp,
    Except, Andrew’s argument appears to suggest that there may be advantages to developing alternatives beyond those associated with reducing climate disruption. So, the basic issue I have with what appears to be your argument is that it’s not based on any suggestion that we actually do anything to help the developing world. It seems to be based on an ideological view that the best way to help the developing world is to let them participate in the global marketplace which does not really mean that they will necessarily be helped at all, and may simply suggest that those who are already wealthy get wealthier. It appears to essentially be an argument that goes along the lines of “This has worked really well for me. We should allow others the opportunity to benefit too. However, I’m going to do nothing to actually help them benefit and, if I can, I will continue to benefit myself and will not accept that I need to make any sacrifices whatsoever”. Feel free to correct my interpretation.

  82. victorpetri says:

    @attp
    “What you should also consider is that there are ways to proceed that allow for economic growth in the developing world, while the developed world commits to technology development and weaning itself of fossil fuels. I believe, having suggested this before, that you think that the developed world carrying any burden will just damage the developing world too. I think that’s mainly because we’re all fundamentally selfish.”
    Yes, economic contraction in the developed world, has a very negative effect on the economies in the developing world, just as our economic growth has a growth effect on those economies.
    Putting policies in place that affect our economy negatively, would mean spending extra money to negate that effect for the developing world, which can be politically very difficult.

  83. BBD says:

    Markets will decide when and how it will run its course.

    Markets aren’t competent to make that decision. That’s why climate policy is required. Fantasies of free market competence are very dangerous indeed, never more so than now. Lord Stern expressed it perfectly:

    The science tells us that GHG emissions are an externality; in other words, our emissions affect the lives of others. When people do not pay for the consequences of their actions we have market failure. This is the greatest market failure the world has seen.

  84. BBD says:

    This is getting beyond a joke, victorpetri:

    I stated that there are disadvantages to limit fossil fuel use, which you should take into account when making projections into the future.

    An example would be as mentioned by Goklany projected increases in Malaria and deaths due to extreme weather events due to warmer climates; economic growth [from unlimited fossil fuel use] that increases the resilience of a developing country is very likely to trump any negative effects of global warming.

    To not take this into account by WHO is just incorrect.

    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

    And:

    Yes, economic contraction in the developed world [caused by limiting the use of fossil fuels], has a very negative effect on the economies in the developing world, just as our economic growth has a growth effect on those economies.

    But from the same mouth and in the same breath:

    @Andrew
    Your back of the envelope calculation is really completely meaningless with respect to my argument, in which I never stated “we should develop the entire world with fossil fuels”.

    Yet according to you, no reduction in fossil fuel use can be countenanced in either developed or developing economies without severely negative effects.

    We should be less charitable with such rhetorical suppleness.

  85. victorpetri says:

    @bbd
    I’m not against internalizing externalities.
    2. That you dont understand me, doesnt make it inconsistent.

  86. Andrew Dodds says:

    victorpetri –

    No – at least with respect to oil and gas, geology has the last word on how much is produced.

    And part of that word is simple – it says that there isn’t enough, not for a whole world to be prosperous. It says that if we go down the path of fossil fueled development we will hit some fairly hard limits. It would be better to follow development paths that had no limits on energy consumption (at least geological limits).

    Economics won’t help us, because even ignoring the problem of externalities, it has very little visibility of the future. Decisions are based on today’s prices – or perhaps 10-year-futures, if you are being really prudent – for problems where 10 years is a short timescale.

    As for your obsession that any action on CO2 emissions being automatically strongly negative – I’d ask for evidence.

  87. BBD says:

    vp

    2. That you dont understand me, doesnt make it inconsistent.

    I understand the words you wrote. Those quoted above. I understand that you have once again failed to answer a direct criticism – with examples – of you intellectually dishonest rhetoric.

  88. BBD says:

    I’m not against internalizing externalities.

    But…

    Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

    What self-serving tripe this all is. Enough already.

  89. Andrew Dodds says:

    vp –

    Umm, how does a link demonstrating the relative paucity of fossil chemical energy ad weight to the argument that it’s the best fuel for development?

    It’s a slightly bizarre argument that seems to be developing. To paraphrase: Humans are endlessly adaptable, ingenious and capable of taking advantage of a large range of energy sources. But if we slightly reduce the amount of coal burnt, civilization will collapse and we’ll all have to live in caves again.

  90. Willard says:

    > With the march of time, existing technologies spread more widely through societies, becoming cheaper and more effective.

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/future-is-bright/

    You might also like:

    “When media outlets paint a picture of omniscient science and unconditional and ongoing progress, one consequence may be that people become passive and less motivated to behave in environmentally friendly ways,” University of Amsterdam researchers Marijn Meijers and Bastiaan Rutjens write in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

    “Looking more critically at the power of science and the limits of progress could—somewhat ironically—encourage people to take matters into their own hands and make environmentally friendly choices.”

    http://www.psmag.com/navigation/nature-and-technology/faith-scientific-progress-decreases-eco-friendly-behavior-87692/

  91. verytallguy says:

    vp

    Markets will decide when and how it will run its course.

    Markets are not a force of nature. They are the result of human decisions.

    We are not powerless to influence to what extent markets decide.

    Some markets must be essentially entirely free and unregulated or otherwise controlled, although I struggle to think of a real example.

    Some markets are lightly regulated (electronics, commodities), others very heavily (pharmaceuticals, utilities)

    Some services are provided almost entirely without a market mechanism (education in the UK, healthcare in the UK)

    You are presenting your ideology as fact. Your arguments would actually much more convincing if you acknowledged that.

  92. anoilman says:

    victorpetri: “Bankruptcies are an integral, essential part of laissez faire economics. It is exactly the bankruptcy of wealth destroying companies that is its strength.”

    Umm.. No… Only if you’re stupid. I’d rather see businesses die from natural business causes, like competition.

    Canada did just fine in the global meltdown thank you very much. We legislated out stupidity and it worked. Our current libertarian Prime Minister (Harper) deregulated for about 1 year before the melt down only causing marginal damage to the economy.

    Anyways, I’m really glad that Britain has decided to hire some Canadian know how to fix its economy damaged by the likes of Matt Ridley.

  93. Willard says:

    > Yes, economic contraction in the developed world, has a very negative effect on the economies in the developing world, just as our economic growth has a growth effect on those economies.

    Indeed, it’s very important that Norwegians increase their HDI so that Ghanians make pennies more per year:

    http://www.globalsherpa.org/development-developing-countries-developed

  94. victorpetri says:

    @BBD I would answer, if you can make clear what you do not understand of my point of view.

    @Andrew
    I dont know exactly how to respond, because everything you claim I said, I haven’t.
    “But if we slightly reduce the amount of coal burnt, civilization will collapse and we’ll all have to live in caves again.” Nope, haven’t said that.
    “to the argument that it’s the best fuel for development?” Nope.

    So you propose then, a sort of all knowing entity that can chose the right energy source and implement in a multi year plan? I am always very sceptical about “smarter than the market” entities.

  95. anoilman says:

    jsam: “It could just be me, of course. But I find it odd that those who say we will grow richer tend to also be those who think we need austerity. So to grow richer we need to first be poorer. I shall have a lie down and hope it passes.”

    Wise words I think… Their prevailing belief I think is that if they keep constraining the public coffers (social services.. to essential services) that it will magically make us all better off. i.e. they want to relive the glory days of Thatcher.

    I think the real issue is that there are no more low hanging fruit for libertarian ideologues to go after. Undaunted they mindlessly repeat their mantra.

    Where I am now, if they gut government by 10% would I be better off, and how? They’d cut police, education, and of course health care. (We don’t have much more in Canada.) I’d be looking at higher crime, ruinous education bills for my kids, and hospital closures when the system is already bursting at the seams. I’d make $6,000 more a year, but all of that would probably go to my Sister In Law who’s already struggling to provide care for a low functioning autistic child. ($6k wouldn’t be nearly enough..)

  96. vp,

    I am always very sceptical about “smarter than the market” entities.

    Except if you accept that there are risks associated with climate change, if you accept that these risks become more severe the more CO2 we emit, if you accept that we are currently following a high-emission pathway, if you accept that we should internalise externalities, then all you’d need to do to satisfy your concerns is to support a suitably large carbon tax.

  97. BBD says:

    @BBD I would answer, if you can make clear what you do not understand of my point of view.

    I understand that you are being systematically intellectually dishonest. I have demonstrated this with quotations. I also understand that your intellectually dishonest reaction to this exposure is to pretend that you I don’t understand something.

    Quite how much longer you will be permitted to get away with this behaviour remains to be seen, but you have crossed the red line with me again.

  98. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    Seriously, your quotations are unclear to me, I am as of yet still unaware of any inconsistency.

    “This is getting beyond a joke, victorpetri:

    I stated that there are disadvantages to limit fossil fuel use, which you should take into account when making projections into the future.

    An example would be as mentioned by Goklany projected increases in Malaria and deaths due to extreme weather events due to warmer climates; economic growth [from unlimited fossil fuel use] that increases the resilience of a developing country is very likely to trump any negative effects of global warming.

    To not take this into account by WHO is just incorrect.

    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

    And:

    Yes, economic contraction in the developed world [caused by limiting the use of fossil fuels], has a very negative effect on the economies in the developing world, just as our economic growth has a growth effect on those economies.

    But from the same mouth and in the same breath:

    @Andrew
    Your back of the envelope calculation is really completely meaningless with respect to my argument, in which I never stated “we should develop the entire world with fossil fuels”.

    Yet according to you, no reduction in fossil fuel use can be countenanced in either developed or developing economies without severely negative effects.

    We should be less charitable with such rhetorical suppleness. ”

    Andrew made a calculation that we would need 240 million barrels of oil if everybody would be like the EU. But I never claimed everybody should use oil at the same rate.
    And any serious reduction in fossil fuel use, due to policies, will have a great cost to economic growth.
    So again, if you want a reply, and I am really trying here, make clear what you see as inconsistent.

  99. BBD says:

    You are contradicting yourself at every turn, victorpetri. Read your own words and stop being disingenuous.

    I’d be grateful if any mods present would keep an eye on this.

  100. victorpetri says:

    @anoilman
    Pff, seriously, austerity is really very sensible.
    Obama for example did great and reduced public spending. Now US has the fastest growing economy of the big developed economies. To spend at random would be insanity. Governments can spend, but it must be worthwhile.

  101. vp,

    An example would be as mentioned by Goklany projected increases in Malaria and deaths due to extreme weather events due to warmer climates; economic growth [from unlimited fossil fuel use] that increases the resilience of a developing country is very likely to trump any negative effects of global warming.

    To not take this into account by WHO is just incorrect.

    Two things. Why do you think it likely that economic growth will trump negative effects from global warming and why do you think that the WHO did not take this into account? Actual references would be appreciated as it appears that you’re basing this on a report by someone who couldn’t even write the first few paragraphs without some serious errors.

  102. vp,

    Pff, seriously, austerity is really very sensible.

    Why do a number of senior (in some cases Nobel Laureates) Economists disagree with this simple statement?

  103. victorpetri says:

    @vtg
    My comment on the markets I meant as follows:
    I often read people with calculation on why fossil fuels are not economically viable. On shale gas, or oil, on EROI and such and something like what Andrew wrote.
    You can argue all you want how unviable you think it is, in the end, markets decide if something is viable or not.
    And you know that I am not the only one with an ideology here, right?

  104. Willard says:

    > I am always very sceptical about “smarter than the market” entities.

    Here are two such entities:

    Why again is that not a correct way of doing a risk analysis?

    If invisible hands are to be left alone for their magic to operate, then no risk analysis or devising on them are required.

  105. victorpetri says:

    @ATTP
    “Why do you think it likely that economic growth will trump negative effects from global warming and why do you think that the WHO did not take this into account? Actual references would be appreciated as it appears that you’re basing this on a report by someone who couldn’t even write the first few paragraphs without some serious errors.”
    Basically, because this happened in the past, despite predictions of the contrary.
    Goklany has references, also to WHO link, if you do not trust Goklany, check it out yourselves, I will not.
    “Why do a number of senior (in some cases Nobel Laureates) Economists disagree with this simple statement?”
    I am not saying endless austerity is good, and as I said a government spending wisely is good, but spending just for the spending, that definitely is not good.

  106. Willard says:

    > And you know that I am not the only one with an ideology here, right?

    Spot the tu quoque.

    The problem is not ideology, but what one does with it.

    One does not simply use an ideological standpoint as an argument.

  107. victorpetri says:

    @Willard
    Hence my ongoing scepticism.

  108. verytallguy says:

    VP,

     in the end, markets decide if something is viable or not.

    Victor, that’s merely an assertion  of your ideology.

    It is trivially disproven; just for instance the elimination of CFCs was not a market driven process. 

     And you know that I am not the only one with an ideology here, right?

    I agree with you

  109. Willard says:

    Scepticism can’t follow from positing free markets as omnipotent beasts.

    The very idea of a free market is dissolved with a modicum of scepticism.

  110. BBD says:

    victorpetri

    Your rhetoric is this:

    No reduction in fossil fuels either in developed economies or in developing economies is acceptable because (you assert) there will be severe negative impacts on growth.

    But at the same time you claim that Andrew’s argument is invalid because you did not say that the world should use FFs to develop simultaneously to European levels.

    But you don’t allow any reduction in FF use in either developed or developing economies under any circumstances.

    So your dismissal of Andrew’s argument was specious.

    Your general rhetoric is specious because it all depends on your assertion that any reduction in FFs will be entirely deleterious and can have no positive ramifications (eg. reducing climate change impacts).

    I hope this is clear enough for you to understand why your position is neither intellectually honest nor coherent.

  111. victorpetri says:

    @vtg
    Andrew claimed fossil fuels have run its course.
    I state it is not his call to make, and that the market will decide when fossil fuels will have run its course.
    I think this is a valid point.

    You say we could simply illegalize fossil fuels, just like CFCs, and you are right, we could, but we won’t.

  112. anoilman says:

    victorpetri: Huh? Are you for real? You really think this;
    “Obama for example did great and reduced public spending. Now US has the fastest growing economy of the big developed economies. To spend at random would be insanity. Governments can spend, but it must be worthwhile.”

    Get real… He spend years printing money. To make up for a financial disaster because no one was paying attention to the economy.

    Fastest growing ‘recovery’ could very well be true. Wouldn’t it be better not to screw up and fail in the first place? Why would you brag about the failings of conservatives like George Bush?

    And NO. Spending is not random. You have no evidence for that spacious lie.

  113. Willard says:

    > You say we could simply illegalize fossil fuels, just like CFCs, and you are right, we could, but we won’t.

    Citation needed.

    This one could fit here:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/do-no-harm/

  114. verytallguy says:

    Victor

    You say we could simply illegalize fossil fuels

    No, I did not.

    Give it a rest, it’s tedious.

  115. verytallguy says:

    For Victor.

    Especially, but by no means exclusively, no. 2

  116. BBD says:

    Also #4, in spades.

  117. vp,

    Basically, because this happened in the past, despite predictions of the contrary.
    Goklany has references, also to WHO link, if you do not trust Goklany, check it out yourselves, I will not.

    Careful, you made the claim, not me. I was hoping you might actually back it up.

  118. austrartsua says:

    Human’s are much better at adapting to the climate today than we’ve ever been before. The number of climate-related deaths has been falling all century. The developed world is much safer than ever before – see Indur Goklany’s book: “the improving state of the world”. Or, read Julian Simon’s “the ultimate resource”.

    Given the horrible future we stand to inherit according to the zeitgeist, at some point in the near future this trend will reverse. Or will it?

    But why are climate deaths dropping in the first place? That’s obvious. Wealth and Technology.So I ask: Why can’t this trend continue?

    ATTP says we’ve lived in a basically stable climate for 10 000 yrs. Maybe this is true, I don’t know. But you are forgetting the obvious. Civilization in the 21st century is not the same as it was, even 300 yrs ago. We (at least most of us) live in free democracies, free economies. We can solve problems and adapt in ways that hunter gathers 5000 yrs ago obviously couldn’t.

    Ultimately it is not enough merely to adapt. Humans don’t just adapt. We thrive. We succeed, we multiply. And we will do it again in the future. And this is precisely what environmentalists fear the most. Because thriving humanity means more of us. And environmentalists, above all else, hate people.

  119. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    that’s#8. Shall we play bingo?

  120. anoilman says:

    Willard: That’s an awesome site… the Contrarian Matrix.
    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/

    It sums up my last 6 years concisely. Is it your site?

  121. austrarta,
    We can’t live outside in regions where the wet bulb temperature exceeds 35oC.

    AoM,
    Yes, that’s Willards. I was planning to write a post about that, but don’t think I ever did.

  122. anoilman says:

    austrartsua: Umm… No. Increasing deaths because of Global Warming already factors in adaptation. But I guess you don’t fear someone else dying?

    But more to the point… who’s doing the adapting? Oh that’s right… poor people without money are supposed to do that. Not us. Are you planning to ship bigger boxes for them to live in any time soon?

    As I like to say, its one thing to see starving dying people on TV, but its quite another to know I did that to them.

    As for adaptation I’m curious to know how you plan to adapt to less and less food with more and more people?

  123. jsam says:

    Is that a new Libertarian chant, “Environmentalists hate people”. Four legs good, two legs bad. Who gave austrartsua the conch? 🙂

    Adapt or die. Mind you adapting also implies moving. Bring on the immigration!

  124. Lucifer says:

    Thinking we humans will adapt also misses the point that many species won’t.

    So, above we had some discussion of humans being around for hundreds of thousands of years.
    Most speices present today have existed much longer, which means members of the specific populations have been through countless glacials and interglacials and all ilk of short and long term variations in climate. This means that those genetic elements which were highly sensitive to climatic fluctuation were selected out of the gene pool long ago.

    I live in the SW where frequently the difference between day and night is 20C.
    The difference before and after cold front passages is 20C.
    The difference between the coldest night of winter and the hottest day of summer is around 60C.

    Slow progression of a temporary 2C change is not significant.

  125. Lucifer,

    Slow progression of a temporary 2C change is not significant.

    It is, though, because – globally – it is 10 times faster than at any other time in human history.

    Just to be clear, the concern is whether or not the human species will survive and whether or not there will still be life on the planet in 500 years time. The concern is whether or not we can support a human population larger than it is today and with a standard of living similar to, or better than, we have today. In the previous glacial period the human population was about 5 million and temperatures rose about 10 times slower than the are today. This is unprecedented, whether you like it or not.

  126. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    “No reduction in fossil fuels either in developed economies or in developing economies is acceptable because (you assert) there will be severe negative impacts on growth.”

    I did not say it is unacceptable, I said it was a consequence that needs to be thought about.

    “But at the same time you claim that Andrew’s argument is invalid because you did not say that the world should use FFs to develop simultaneously to European levels.

    But you don’t allow any reduction in FF use in either developed or developing economies under any circumstances.”
    Yes, I do, as I stated I allow CO2 tax.

    My argument was that the positive effects of FF use, which are plenty, should be adequately extrapolated, along with the negative effects.

    “Your general rhetoric is specious because it all depends on your assertion that any reduction in FFs will be entirely deleterious and can have no positive ramifications (eg. reducing climate change impacts).”
    Did not say that at all.

    @vtg
    That I should hear this, whilst continuously being at the receiving end of such commentaries is quite comical.

    @an oilman
    “Get real… He spend years printing money. To make up for a financial disaster because no one was paying attention to the economy.
    Fastest growing ‘recovery’ could very well be true. Wouldn’t it be better not to screw up and fail in the first place? Why would you brag about the failings of conservatives like George Bush?

    And NO. Spending is not random. You have no evidence for that spacious lie.”
    Why would I brag about the failings of conservatives indeed?
    What are you blabbering about? What spending do I call random?

  127. Lucifer says:

    As for adaptation I’m curious to know how you plan to adapt to less and less food with more and more people?

    Evidently, that’s not the problem.

    Everyone’s gettin’ fat except Mamma Cass.

  128. verytallguy says:

    Victor,

    Glad to have brightened your day.

  129. Lucifer says:

    ATTP:

    It is, though, because – globally – it is 10 times faster than at any other time in human history.

    That’s both erroneous and irrelevant.

    It’s erroneous because ( go see ) the 1910-1945 global average temperature rise was quite comparable to the recent decades warming

    It’s irrelevant because individuals don’t live in a global average, they live in a local environment where rates of change are routinely 20C in 12 hours which approaches a million times faster than ostensible global warming.

  130. BBD says:

    vp

    I did not say it is unacceptable, I said it was a consequence that needs to be thought about.

    Same mouth:

    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

    Etc.

    This is what I mean by intellectual dishonesty. You keep saying something and then, when challenged on the logical fallacy of argument from assertion, you claim – falsely – that you *didn’t* say it.

    Over and over again.

  131. BBD says:

    Here’s Lucifer committing the logical fallacy of argument from assertion:

    Slow progression of a temporary 2C change is not significant.

  132. Lucifer,
    I’m talking about the 20th century relative to pre-industry.

    It’s irrelevant because individuals don’t live in a global average, they live in a local environment where rates of change are routinely 20C in 12 hours which approaches a million times faster than ostensible global warming.

    This just shows your ignorance. A change of 1oC globally is much more significant that the variation in temperature locally. For example, if we increase global temperatures by more than 7oC (which is possible) there will be substantial regions of the planet where the wet bulb temperatures will exceed 35oC for extended periods of time and, hence, where mammals can no longer survive without technology. Is that the same as a 7oC shift overnight where you live?

  133. BBD says:

    4. Thou shalt NOT argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true.

  134. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    ” I did not say it is unacceptable, I said it was a consequence that needs to be thought about.

    Same mouth:

    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.”

    Stop being so unreasonable. I say SERIOUS reduction will come at great economic cost, and thus called in economically unviable.
    You exaggerate and say that I say that ANY reduction is unaccceptable (number 2 in vtg’s list)
    You’re the one who is being very dishonest.

  135. verytallguy says:

    Aus,

    I thought your erudite comment deserved repeating, lest some readers missed your wise words.

    And environmentalists, above all else, hate people.

    On second thoughts, I think that deserves more

    And environmentalists, above all else, hate people.

  136. vp,
    Maybe it would be worth clarifying what you’re actually suggesting. Saying things that may be true, but doesn’t necessarily reflect your own views or may not be that relevant, makes discussions quite difficult.

  137. BBD says:

    I’m not being dishonest. Your entire position here has been that fossil fuels must remain substantially unrestricted both in developing and developed economies or the consequences will be severe. Don’t nit-pick. You argue constantly from this assertion then deny it when challenged. You are doing it again, now.

  138. BBD says:

    This is what vp is saying:

    Also, what do you mean by viable? Economically viable? Any serious reduction in fossil fuels will come at great cost to economic growth and thus this can be considered unviable.

    Any serious = any meaningful from a climate policy standpoint.

    So no emissions policy.

    That is what vp is saying. Over and over again. I cite this thread as evidence.

  139. Willard says:

    > Most speices present today have existed much longer,

    Most [have] more limited cognitions too.

    Little by little, we’re getting there:

    “There are greater differences on environment and science questions between Tea Party supporters and non-Tea Party Republicans than there are between non-Tea Party Republicans and Independents,” says sociologist Lawrence Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire, who co-authored the paper with his university colleague Kei Saito. “As far as I know, that hasn’t been found before, and we found that standing out in our data analysis.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/02/tea-partiers-and-traditional-republicans-are-split-on-science/

  140. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    This is the very first time ever that you represent my views correctly.
    “Your entire position here has been that fossil fuels must remain substantially unrestricted both in developing and developed economies or the consequences will be severe.” This I can agree with.

  141. Willard says:

    > I say SERIOUS reduction will come at great economic cost, and thus called in economically unviable.

    If it happens that there were no great economic cost after all, that will because the cuts will have been not SERIOUS enough.

    That’s a SERIOUS argument we got there.

    We ought to make it a law or something.

    I ought to write a book about that one.

    And then I could tell anyone who’d quarrel over my law [that] they have not read my book.

  142. BBD says:

    vp

    Yes, I do, as I stated I allow CO2 tax.

    Please link to or quote the comment. I cannot find it.

  143. Rachel M says:

    How does anyone here get any work done when you’re all commenting all afternoon 😉

  144. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    “Any serious = any meaningful from a climate policy standpoint.

    So no emissions policy.”
    We have discussed in this thread the possibility of reductions in CO2 emissions that could be both meaningful, as in to avoid high end emissions, whilst not being overtly damaging to the economy. As I said, CO2 tax to drive markets in that direction I consider to be a good idea. (and no, this does not contradict with the term substantially unrestricted = for a large part unrestricted).

  145. BBD says:

    vp

    This I can agree with.

    Then why have you been denying it repeatedly?

  146. BBD says:

    As I said, CO2 tax to drive markets in that direction I consider to be a good idea

    Where did you say this, vp? I cannot find it. Please link to or quote the comment. Thanks.

  147. verytallguy says:

    Rachel,

    It’s part of environmentalists’ plot to crash the economy to reduce emissions. Something we’re doing because we hate people.

    Obviously.

  148. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    victorpetri says:
    December 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    @bbd
    I’m not against internalizing externalities.
    2. That you dont understand me, doesnt make it inconsistent.

  149. victorpetri says:

    BBD says:
    December 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    vp

    This I can agree with.

    Then why have you been denying it repeatedly?

    I deny denying it.

  150. Willard says:

    Think of how many Ghaneans we kill just by slowing down economic growth with all these comments, Very Tall.

    Out [of] moral decency, you ought to put ads, AT.

  151. verytallguy says:

    Yeah, but my hatred for them drives me to it Willard. I feel compelled by my hatred.

    How ’bout you?

  152. BBD says:

    I’m not against internalizing externalities.

    Is not, by any stretch of the imagination, this:

    As I said, CO2 tax to drive markets in that direction I consider to be a good idea

    Further deterioration.

    * * *

    I deny denying it.

    The evidence is there for us all to read.

  153. Rachel M says:

    If Victor Petri supports a carbon tax then let’s embrace it and not worry too much about whether he’s changed his mind or contradicted himself or we just haven’t understood him. Do you support a carbon tax, Victor?

  154. verytallguy says:

    Victor, let me get this straight.

    Genuinely, your position seems to be that serious reductions are not viable,  but a CO2 tax to move towards them is a good idea.

    What would the point odd a Co 2 tax be if not to effect serious reductions?   ‘Cos trivial reductions would have a, well, trivial effect on future temperatures. 

  155. verytallguy says:

    Ferrcrisakes Rachel, this is the INTERNET. The point is to feel morally superior, not to celebrate common ground. Sheesh!

  156. BBD says:

    There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
    I love not man the less, but Nature more,
    From these our interviews, in which I steal
    From all I may be, or have been before,
    To mingle with the Universe, and feel
    What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

    Lord Byron

    h/t George Monbiot 🙂

  157. BBD says:

    Rachel

    If Victor Petri supports a carbon tax

    I see no evidence at all that vp supports a carbon tax. He’s just being slippery, as per.

  158. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    The remark to internalize externalities is conceptually the exact same as using CO2 tax to drive markets in a direction.

    Do you have anything interesting to say for yourself as well, or is this just what you do? Nitpick through remarks and find minor inconsistencies and than blabber on endlessly about it, whilst being both insulting and very annoying.

  159. Rachel M says:

    haha, VTG. You’re full of jokes today 🙂

  160. Rachel M says:

    Victor Petri,

    Do you support a carbon tax?

  161. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Non sequitur.

    ‘Non sequitor’ means something like ‘Thou shalt [sic] not follow!’ or ‘There shall be no following!’ – it’s an instruction for the future. ‘Non sequitur’ is a description of the present.

    I’ll forgive the ‘”it”‘ in #9 because it’s in something about non sequit[u]rs, so might have been deliberately nonsensical.

    But #10 is a complete mess. The ‘premises’ probably indicates mere carelessness when typing – unfortunate in a very short list of very short instructions but not fatal. The ‘therefore’, however, throws #10 under a burning bush. The ‘because’ has already got the consequence thing covered, therefore the ‘therefore’ is unnecessary. It might just about have been justified stylistically without its trailing comma; with it, one is left with the ineradicable notion that whoever compiled that list of commandments can’t think straight.

    #8: ‘he’, not ‘him’.

    #7: extraneous ‘that’.

    #6: tautological ‘down’.

    #5: opaque.

    #4: fair enough.

    #3: opaque.

    #2: fair enough.

    #1: a comma after ‘character’ would clarify.

    Must do better. See the games mistress after after class.

  162. izen says:

    @-Lucifer
    “It’s irrelevant because individuals don’t live in a global average, they live in a local environment where rates of change are routinely 20C in 12 hours which approaches a million times faster than ostensible global warming.”

    Your error is in assuming that the global metric that is used as a measure of AGW can be converted BACK into a simple local change in climate.
    Things shift about a lot more than you might expect. During the last time global temperatures were just a couple of degrees higher than the present there were hippos in the Thames and the Amazon rainforest kept catching fire. Sea levels were 10 ft above the present, which would render the last 2000 years of developed coastal infrastructure useless.

    I often suspect that those in the rich Northern temperate zones translate AGW into the weather in their favourite summer holiday destinations moving north. Londoners could enjoy the French Riviera and New Yorkers Florida.
    Hardly seems a threat when framed like that.

  163. Steven Mosher says:

    “Genuinely, your position seems to be that serious reductions are not viable, but a CO2 tax to move towards them is a good idea.”

    Precisely.

    there are many reason why this makes sense.

  164. verytallguy says:

    Mosh,

    just one would be helpful, oh great inscrutable panjandrum.

  165. Vinny Burgoo says:

    victorpetri, of BBD: ‘Do you have anything interesting to say for yourself as well, or is this just what you do? Nitpick through remarks and find minor inconsistencies and than blabber on endlessly about it, whilst being both insulting and very annoying.’

    The latter.

    I recommend asking him some questions and insisting that he answer them. That should sort things out.

  166. anoilman says:

    Rachel M: I’m an over paid, under worked, super genius and semi retired at 46.

    What I can’t figure out is why we listen to these guys;
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/aug/29/libertarian-ideology-natural-enemy-science

  167. BBD says:

    vp only supports a carbon tax that does nothing noticeable to the economy:

    This is the very first time ever that you represent my views correctly.
    “Your entire position here has been that fossil fuels must remain substantially unrestricted both in developing and developed economies or the consequences will be severe.” This I can agree with.

    A carbon tax that does nothing is, as VTG and I both agree, not part of emissions policy as it is generally understood.

  168. anoilman says:

    Vinny Burgoo: Its never worked with you… 🙂

  169. BBD says:

    Vinny

    What did you just do? Think now 🙂

  170. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD: Gosh! Did I just nitpick?

    Ouch!

  171. victorpetri says:

    @Rachel
    As I am in the habit of repeating myself, yes.
    Let’s not forget what the main topic is here. A critique on the WHO by Goklany where he points at an incorrect extrapolation of fossil fuel use, namely extrapolating the disadvantages, but keeping the benefits, of which there are many, static.
    Now I feel there is an optimum here, it definitely is not a serious reduction in fossil fuel use, as it would be too damaging, and it is not the use of it without restriction. A policy should focus in my opinion on the highest possible economic growth, and avoid the very high risk high cost scenarios.

  172. izen says:

    @-victorpetri
    “Andrew claimed fossil fuels have run its course.
    I state it is not his call to make, and that the market will decide when fossil fuels will have run its course.”

    I have been trying to think of even one single example when markets decided on when a finite resource had run its course.
    I can think of examples where regulation became necessary because of market failure, (CFCs, Lead Asbestos).
    I can think of several examples where market decisions resulted in a ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ failure as has engulfed the fishing industry. Other finite and even renewable resources have failed more catastrophically from what the market decided.

    Do you have a real world, concrete example of markets deciding when a finite resource had run its course? And NOT just been a puppet of mismanagement, short term expediency and very suboptimal exploitation of that resource in response to the finite and diminishing returns on actual resource exhaustion.

  173. verytallguy says:

    Rachel,

    what sort of bee makes the most milk?

  174. verytallguy says:

    Victor,

    so your position is that optimum CO2 emissions are what they are today, and should be restricted to that by a CO2 tax?

    Is that correct?

  175. BBD says:

    Now I feel there is an optimum here, it definitely is not a serious reduction in fossil fuel use, as it would be too damaging, and it is not the use of it without restriction.

    Just tokenism so minimal as to have no actual effect on emissions*. Which given the physics is likely to end very badly for all concerned. In order to argue for no effective regulation – as you do, so please don’t deny this – we have to deny physics. We have to pretend that high emissions will not cause rapid and dangerous climate change. This is not a rational stance.

    *

    This is the very first time ever that you represent my views correctly.
    “Your entire position here has been that fossil fuels must remain substantially unrestricted both in developing and developed economies or the consequences will be severe.” This I can agree with.

  176. vp,

    Let’s not forget what the main topic is here. A critique on the WHO by Goklany where he points at an incorrect extrapolation of fossil fuel use, namely extrapolating the disadvantages, but keeping the benefits, of which there are many, static.

    No that isn’t the main topic. The main topic is that Goklany wrote a report for a policy foundation that has so many mistakes in it that I couldn’t be bothered going beyond the first page. If someone can’t even get the basics right and appears to use these errors as key points in his argument, then I’m not going to pay much notice to the rest of what he says.

  177. victorpetri says:

    @izen
    Yes, but we should not use different definitions of run its course.
    Fossil fuels will be produced for as long as there will be civilization, how important it will be as a resource, will change.
    Wood was once the dominant energy source, and peat, as well as wind, and water, end of 19th century coal was it, later oil, soon possibly gas. Later perhaps solar.
    The “decision” to end these runs, was all made by the market.
    Something with that Stone Age not ending because of a lack stones.

    @vtg
    No, the optimum should be decided by weighing all future benefits and costs of FF use correctly.

  178. BBD says:

    VTG

    so your position is that optimum CO2 emissions are what they are today, and should be restricted to that by a CO2 tax?

    Can’t be because vp sez neither developing nor developed economies can be subjected to restrictions on the use of fossil fuels because in both cases economic growth will be hampered. But economic growth without emissions policy means more CO2 emissions.

  179. victorpetri says:

    @attp
    And thus luckily I did that for you, and we found some interesting stuff.

  180. BBD says:

    vp

    We’ve been through this. The market has already failed to do the invisible hand thing. You are already proved wrong. You ignored my earlier comment, so here’s Lord Stern’s remark again:

    The science tells us that GHG emissions are an externality; in other words, our emissions affect the lives of others. When people do not pay for the consequences of their actions we have market failure. This is the greatest market failure the world has seen.

  181. anoilman says:

    victorpetri: How do you conclude that its too costly to heavily cut down of fossil fuel consumption, when it costs more than renewables already?

    Page 6 has the numbers you’re looking for;
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/

  182. vp,

    And thus luckily I did that for you, and we found some interesting stuff.

    No, I don’t think we did. We discovered that you’ll probably accept what someone says if it suits your ideology, even if much of what he bases it on is complete bollocks.

  183. Michael 2 says:

    Reply to John: “a frequent contrarian response is that sea creatures will adapt. I wonder what kind of Lamarckian view of evolution they must have to believe that this so-called adaptation would involve anything other than a mass die-off of species?”

    Evolution has discarded more species than now exist. Yes, a mass die-off of species seems certain if the AGW catastrophe does actually materialize. Life will continue, many species won’t. I wonder why this bothers some people. Had it not been for the demise of dinosaurs, it is unlikely you would exist to be making this complaint.

  184. Lucifer says:

    For example, if we increase global temperatures by more than 7oC (which is possible) there will be substantial regions of the planet where the wet bulb temperatures will exceed 35oC for extended periods of time and, hence, where mammals can no longer survive without technology. Is that the same as a 7oC shift overnight where you live?

    Why stop at 7C?

    If there is a trend and you extrapolate into the future far enough into the future, you could ask – what happens when we raise the temperatures 1,000,000C?

    But warming rates are around 1.5C per century so a 7C would appear to be a 400 year prediction – likely to never verify.

  185. Lucifer,

    But warming rates are around 1.5C per century so a 7C would appear to be a 400 year prediction – likely to never verify.

    No, because if we increase our emissions, our warming will accelerate. I’m sure I’ve explained this to you before, so really can’t be bothered trying again.

    M2,
    I’ll post your comment, just so others can read it in wonder. Just to make clear, we’re not concerned about the survival of the species, or the survival of life on Earth. We’re concerned about the possibility of supporting in excess of 7 billion humans with standards of living the same as – or better than – we have today.

  186. verytallguy says:

    Rachel,

    Yes! One for Nigel F there. But I’m disappointed you already knew it.

    Knock knock…

  187. Andrew Dodds says:

    vp –

    We use more coal, oil and gas than ever – probably more wood/biomass and wind as well.

    The ‘market’ did not decide anything. Just as it didn’t ‘decide’ to replace whale oil with inferior mineral oil, it was just that there were no whales left. Stones, not being an energy resource, are not subject to these problems.

    Experts can indeed to better in markets in certain classes of problems – Medicine is an obvious one (Homeopathy survives due to market forces, does this mean it works?). Classes of problem where judgement requires significant technical knowledge and there is a well defined set of solutions will be better solved by relevant experts than by markets. Markets can be viewed as a short-to-medium distance optimizing function. You don’t use something like that if you can calculate a solution analytically.

    Your logic also seems to be along the lines of ‘whatever happens as a result of free-market economics is by definition the best possible outcome’.. which is a classic example of ‘assuming the conclusion’.

  188. Lucifer says:

    BBD:
    The science tells us that GHG emissions are an externality; in other words, our emissions affect the lives of others. When people do not pay for the consequences of their actions we have market failure.

    So, if CO2 from my driving to work make your tomato plants produce more, will you pay me for the fertilizer you’re taking for free?

  189. pbjamm says:

    Wow. I thought it was stated earlier that it was the environmentalist that hated people and then along comes Michael 2 and turns that on its head!

  190. verytallguy says:

    vp,

    @vtg
    No, the optimum should be decided by weighing all future benefits and costs of FF use correctly.

    for fucks sake vp, can’t you just spit it out? This is like drawing teeth!

    What is your judgement of this careful weighting,. Is it

    a) a tax which allows CO2 emissions to rise
    b) a tax which will overall leave CO2 emissions unchanged
    c) a tax which will significantly reduce CO2 emissions
    d) a tax whose rate and effect will remain forever obscured in free market jargon

  191. verytallguy says:

    pbjamm,

    it’s hard to keep up isn’t it. I think we’re now at

    “environmentalists hate people but libertarians want the scum to die right now”

    Doubtless the free market is the best arbiter between these views, and all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

  192. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says (December 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm) “Undaunted they mindlessly repeat their mantra.”

    As do you. Libertarian mantras do not exist. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  193. BBD says:

    Even if the extra CO2 did up the yield a bit (and this only happens when water, temperature and nutrient inputs are optimal) the damage done to the environment is going to cost more than a few grammes of tomato flesh.

    When are you going to give me a reference supporting your claim that the HCO was 2C warmer than the Holocene? Or are you going to acknowledge that you exaggerated that claim? Either will do, but one or the other is required to demonstrate good faith.

  194. Rachel M says:

    Nigel probably wouldn’t get it, VTG. Who’s there?

  195. Lucifer says:

    No, because if we increase our emissions, our warming will accelerate.

    ATTP, as one invoking physics, surely you know the radiative forcing of CO2 is logarthmic in nature.

    Thus CO2 forcing requires an exponential increase just to maintain a constant rate of increase of forcing.

    Given the trends of declining and near declining population in most countries and lower rates of emissions in the developed world, it is more likely that warming will decelerate, not accelerate:

    Indeed, that’s what we’ve observed with temperature trends. The 34 year NCDC global average temperature trends peaked around 1.9C per century for the period ending 2006 and have decelerated to 1.5C per century for the period ending 2013:

  196. Lucifer says:

    Linkys:

  197. BBD says:

    La Nina 2008; La Nina 2010 – 11 ‘double-dip’. Pick me no cherries, Lucifer.

    Where’s my reference?

  198. BBD says:

    Given the trends of declining and near declining population in most countries

    UN demographers estimate ~9.6bn by mid-century.

  199. anoilman says:

    verytallguy: I did a Knock Knock joke when I met Matt Smith;

    Me: “Knock Knock”
    Matt: “Who’s there?”
    Me: “Doctor…”
    Matt: “Doctor Who?”
    Me: *snicker* *snicker*
    Matt: “Oh! You never! arg!”

  200. pbjamm says:

    Sure is nice that we wont have to do any adapting. It is too difficult and expensive for us to do so but all other species and future generations of humans will certainly be up to the task.

  201. Willard says:

    > Given the trends of declining and near declining population in most countries and lower rates of emissions in the developed world, it is more likely that warming will decelerate, not accelerate:

    We can thus predict a increase in damages due to piracy.

  202. Lucifer,
    Yes, I’m well aware that the forcing response is logarithmic. However, the most extreme emission scenario would double CO2 more than twice (relative to pre-industry). With a mean TCR values of just below 2oC and a mean ECS value of around 3oC means that once we’ve doubled twice we’ll could have warmed by more than 4oC and will ultimately reach more than 6oC, and that would be prior to 2200.

  203. anoilman says:

    Michael 2: You seem sensitive to the fact that I keep pointing out libertarian failings. First you’d identify with them, then you started distancing yourself from them. Any port in a storm I bet.

    In Libertarian eyes Spock is some sort of ‘Libtard’, ’cause you know.. logic.

    Libertarianism is a religious belief, nothing more. Its as valid as Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.

    If a 40 year old man came in and said he still believed in Santa Claus you’d sit him down and tell him the truth.

  204. verytallguy says:

    Given the trends of declining and near declining population in most countries and lower rates of emissions in the developed world, it is more likely that warming will decelerate, not accelerate

    Well, fuck me backwards with a pitchfork., It took lucifer just six minutes from my prediction for his repetition. Whouda thunk,

    Voltaire would be proud

  205. verytallguy says:

    Rachel,

    “Big stick heap”

  206. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Has anyone mentioned yet that the WHO’s 2014 CC death projections excluded changes in cold-related mortality? The WHO justified this exclusion by citing AR5 WG2 Chapter 11, which cited a handful of studies about US and European cities to justify a conclusion that increases in heat-related deaths due to climate change will ‘outweigh’ or ‘greatly outweigh’ decreases in cold-related deaths.

    The obvious problem with those justificatory studies is that they concentrated on wealthy and urban parts of the world. Less obvious is that their logic was questionable. They compared cities in different climatic zones and found that people who live in cities with milder winters are less able to cope with winter than those who live in cities with harsher winters: more deaths from milder winters. They then applied this counter-intuitive geographical finding temporally: as winters get milder, people will get worse at coping with winter and there’ll be little if any reduction in winter mortality.

    Seems like bollocks to me. Any experts out there?

    If Chicago’s winters turned into Houston’s over a generation or two, some of Chicago’s inhabitants might gradually forget their heritage and stop buying winter woollies, but they’d still have most of their winter-fashioned infrastructure, no?

    (More generally, projections like the WHO’s are pure mathturbation. Various people want guesstimates of climate change mortality, so various organizations deliver them, even though they must know that they’re picking lint out of noise. 250k deaths a year is less than half a per cent of annual deaths from all causes.)

  207. Lucifer says:

    BBD,

    The replacement rate of fertility for the developed world is 2.1.
    52% of the world’s countries have a TFR of 2.1 or less and the rates are falling nearly everywhere:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html

  208. Lucifer says:

    Well, fuck me backwards with a pitchfork., It took lucifer just six minutes from my prediction for his repetition.

    Lucifer has a pitchfork.

  209. BBD says:

    ~9.6bn by 2050. Take it up with the UN.

    Where’s my reference?

  210. verytallguy says:

    Lucifer has a pitchfork

    And isn’t afraid to be cliched in his wielding of it

  211. Rachel M says:

    VTG,

    Big stick heap who?

  212. verytallguy says:

    Rachel.

    EUURRRGH! YUCK!!!!

  213. Rachel M says:

    Haha, I’ll tell that to my kids. They’ll like it.

    Have I missed something or has the discussion in this thread degenerated to sodomy?

  214. I hope you’ve missed something 🙂

  215. Lucifer says:

    When are you going to give me a reference supporting your claim that the HCO was 2C warmer than the Holocene? Or are you going to acknowledge that you exaggerated that claim? Either will do, but one or the other is required to demonstrate good faith.

    As I said, the HCO was around 2C warmer globally. That’s according to the borhole proxy.

    The NOAA link includes the other proxies:

    Had you actually read my posting above, you would reflect on the context, in which I state and you echoed that the warming was most in the Northern Hemisphere ( where Mesopotamia was located ) and during summer. Summers were much hotter and winters were somewhat colder with a net warming, but the point is that climate was MORE EXTREME ( in addition to being overall warmer ) then.

    We understand this from orbits. This is the insolation 10k ago, not 6 but a similar pattern was in place:

  216. Rachel M says:

    Ok, I’m going to sign out for the night then. Play nicely folks!

  217. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    I quoted the text from that link for a reason upthread. Now I’m going to do it again:

    It appears clear that changes in the Earth’s orbit have operated slowly over thousands and millions of years to change the amount of solar radiation reaching each latitudinal band of the Earth during each month. These orbital changes can be easily calculated and predict that the northern hemisphere should have been warmer than today during the mid-Holocene in the summer AND colder in the winter. The paleoclimatic data for the mid-Holocene shows these expected changes, however, there is no evidence to show that the average annual mid-Holocene temperature was warmer than today’s temperatures. We also now know from both data and “astronomical” (or “Milankovitch”) theory that the period of above modern summer temperatures did not occur at the same time around the northern hemisphere, or in the southern hemisphere at all.

    Read. The. Words.

  218. BBD says:

    As I said, the HCO was around 2C warmer globally.

    This is a false claim. Please admit your mistake now.

  219. Lucifer says:

    ~9.6bn by 2050. Take it up with the UN.

    BBD, you can believe the UN if you want ( you’ve already committed yourself to doing so ).

    But there are people with skin ($$$) in the game.

    Deutsche Bank says peak pop 8.7 billion at 2055.

    David Merkel says peak pop 8.5 billionby 2030.

    Fertility rates are still falling, though not quite as rapidly as they were:

    2.90 in 2006

    2.50 in 2011
    2.47 in 2012
    2.45 in 2013
    2.43 in 2014
    ———————————
    2.30 is replcement rate in the undeveloped world.
    2.10 is replacement rate in the developed world

    TFR falling at about 0.02 per year.

    That’s 7 years ( 2021 ) until undeveloped replacement rate.
    That’s 17 years ( 2031 ) until developed replacement rate.

    There is uncertainty because Africa is the lone place where TFR is still high.

    But those are the global numbers.

  220. Lucifer says:

    BBD – see figure 1. ( hint: it’s the first one ).

  221. Lucifer,
    Fig 1 shows temperatures in the Arctic. How can you use that to claim that global temperatures then were higher than now?

  222. pbjamm says:

    Lucifer – figure 1 is labeled “Terrestrial Arctic Environments” and that is clearly a map of the Arctic. Last I check that was not the entire globe.

  223. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    Read. The. Words.

    And yes, Mesopotamia is not in the Arctic.

    * * *

    BBD, you can believe the UN if you want

    FFS Lucifer. It is considered to be the reference source.

    I even linked to the press release not the bloody report to make life easy for you and *still* you are too lazy to read:

    13 June 2013 – The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to a United Nations report launched today, which points out that growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half in Africa.

    “Although population growth has slowed for the world as a whole, this report reminds us that some developing countries, especially in Africa, are still growing rapidly,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo in a press release on the report.

    The report, World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision, notes that the population of developed regions will remain largely unchanged at around 1.3 billion from now until 2050. In contrast, the 49 least developed countries are projected to double in size from around 900 million people in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.

    Compared to previous assessments of world population trends, the new projected total population is higher, mainly due to new information obtained on fertility levels of certain countries. For example, in 15 high-fertility countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated average number of children per woman has been adjusted upwards by more than 5 per cent.

    “In some cases, the actual level of fertility appears to have risen in recent years; in other cases, the previous estimate was too low,” said the Director of the Population Division in the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, John Wilmoth, during a press conference in New York.

    Read. The. Words.

  224. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    But Pangloss.

  225. BBD says:

    VTG

    Yeah.

    Does this ever give you a headache?

  226. pbjamm says:

    Lucifer – As BBD has pointed out repeatedly the NOAA source you linked to contradicts you claim. Do you have any other sources to back you up?

  227. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    I rarely engage with deniers any more. It’s dull.

    BBD = British Bull Dog?

  228. BBD says:

    That’s what Willard used to call me 🙂

  229. Lucifer says:

    Wow. Can no one read anymore?

    Figure 1 of the borehole proxy of Huang and Pollack, 2009 clearly indicates that global temperatures ( as far a global proxy can indicate ) were around 2C warmer than present during the HCO.

  230. BBD says:

    He’s got Huang et al. (2008), which employs a synthetic methodology of uncertain reliability. As far as I can find out, nothing else supports the ~2C global figure.

  231. anoilman says:

    verytallguy: Back to Pirates and CPW?

  232. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    We crossed. You need more than H08. I thought that was clear.

  233. anoilman says:

    BBD: I’d also want to see more than one or two proxies…

    Lucy obviously has some ‘splaining to do about his inability to read the NOAA website.

  234. Lucifer says:

    Oilman, your biases are evident.

    Check the date on the NOAA cite – 2008.

    BBD and oilman – check the date on the paper 2009.

    If you guys want to continue denying the peer reviewed literature, have at it – you don’t need me to do that.

    But you’re just proving to me that you’re every bit as close minded as the denialists.

  235. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    BBD and oilman – check the date on the paper 2009.

    I did. From your own link:

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L13703, doi:10.1029/2008GL034187, 2008

    […]

    Received 31 March 2008; revised 21 May 2008; accepted 27 May 2008; published 4 July 2008

    This is a waste of my time.

  236. BBD says:

    But you’re just proving to me that you’re every bit as close minded as the denialists.

    Nope. I’m just not prepared to accept a single study that is apparently at variance with the rest of the field. Especially as I can’t see how H08 gets a global +2C when the HCO was spatially and temporally discontinuous and only manifest in the NH.

  237. Lucifer says:

    Great – so we agree that the borehole proxy indicates that HCO temperatures were 2C warmer than present ( given that ALL proxies are uncertain ).

    And that this makes sense, given the increased solar load on the Northern Hemisphere where the majority of low heat capacity land masses are.

    And that the Mesopotamian region, like all of the Northern Hemisphere received some 30 W/m^2 greater insolation during summer, so summers were hotter.

    And that winters were longer given the reduced insolation.

    And together that made the climate more extreme ( greater winter-summer difference ).

    And yet, somehow, just somehow, human beings thrived.

  238. anoilman says:

    Lucifer: I need to see more than one paper to convince me of anything. A peer reviewed paper is merely a properly formed argument. Nothing more. I don’t jump on the “I found a new paper” bandwagon ever. Cowton and Way… good to see, but I’d like to see more.

    But if all you (personally) need is a single paper then here’s one of my favorites;
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022

    Yup… global warming is continuing unabated for the last 18 years. Yup sir. My My My we should do something about that.

  239. BBD says:

    Lucifer

    Great – so we agree that the borehole proxy indicates that HCO temperatures were 2C warmer than present ( given that ALL proxies are uncertain ).

    We do *not* all accept H08 as being an accurate or definitive reconstruction. Furthermore, given the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the HCO, it’s difficult to see how a global peak of 2C above the late Holocene (1961 – 1990 instrumental mean) is even physically plausible.

    Like VTG says, this is boring.

  240. BBD says:

    And yet, somehow, just somehow, human beings thrived.

    As very slow, multi-millennial-scale climate changes unfolded across the Holocene.

    Speed is the problem with AGW. There is no comparison with the HCO and on that basis alone your argument breaks down into what looks very much like straw.

  241. anoilman says:

    From Lucifer’s Link;
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/holocene.html
    “In summary, the mid-Holocene, roughly 6,000 years ago, was generally warmer than today, but only in summer and only in the northern hemisphere.”

    Any who… there is more than one paper on this subject and when you look at it all.. Lucifer lies.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/drafts/fgd/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter05.pdf

    What I find interesting is how much like a wall the current temperature change looks like;

    Seriously.. who trusts Lucifer?

  242. verytallguy says:

    victor

    re https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/policing-science/#comment-39530

    Your position now is crystal clear to me

    You outright refuse to articulate your own position, whilst contimually hinting about what it might be,

    Then you whine about being misrepresented when others attempt to understnad what it actually is.

    It’s boring. I’m done.

  243. victorpetri says:

    @vtg
    I am very clear on my position. Don’t be so hateful.
    What would your answer be then?

  244. verytallguy says:

    Hateful? Victor, I’m done.

  245. victorpetri says:

    @vtg
    No way? Nagging me endlessly to answer the question, and than not answering it yourself?
    a, b, c or d, simple question, simple answer

  246. BBD says:

    vg

    Your position is clear, despite your increasingly desperate attempts to hide it by responding to questions with questions:

    This is the very first time ever that you represent my views correctly.
    “Your entire position here has been that fossil fuels must remain substantially unrestricted both in developing and developed economies or the consequences will be severe.” This I can agree with.

    We went through all this yesterday and the physics denial, free market fundamentalism and intellectual dishonesty is just as unwelcome today. You are now pissing on your already soaked shoes.

    Goodbye.

  247. victorpetri says:

    @BBD
    So my position IS clear. vtg was complaining that is wasn’t.

    ” the physics denial, free market fundamentalism and intellectual dishonesty is just as unwelcome today.”
    Bla bla bla bla bla. I have seldomly seen anyone with your relentless endurance in insulting people.

  248. anoilman says:

    VictorPetri: With all your staunch support for fossil fuels you neglected to comment on the fact that they cost so much. Care to comment?
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/

  249. anoilman says:

    VictorPetri: Personally I think we should end heavy heavy subsidies for oil and gas. Globally, Tankers are essentially uninsured. I think you will find the cost of such insurance back breaking.

  250. Okay, maybe we can tone down this discussion, or maybe actually end it.

  251. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    How it affect our lives? Well, we’ll get plenty more productive agricultural land in Siberia!

  252. Joseph says:

    “I say SERIOUS reduction will come at great economic cost, and thus called in economically unviable”

    The good thing about policies is that if they turn out to be damaging to the economy, we can always modify them or end them. I think Pekka has mentioned about gradually raising a carbon tax. So you then measure the impact on the economy and slow down if necessary. On the other hand, if the skeptics are wrong about climate change, we will be in no position to reverse the changes. I think ATTP has made that last point on many occasions.

  253. Eli Rabett says:

    “And yet, somehow, just somehow, human beings thrived.”

    Survived. You have a funny definition of thrived.

  254. Michael 2 says:

    “Yes, a mass die-off of species seems certain if the AGW catastrophe does actually materialize. Life will continue, many species won’t. I wonder why this bothers some people.”

    And, *of course*:

    Lucifer says:

    “But warming rates are around 1.5C per century so a 7C would appear to be a 400 year prediction – likely to never verify.”

    To which ATTP replied:

    “No, because if we increase our emissions, our warming will accelerate.”

    Thank-you, ATTP.

    As for the comment by Michael 2 further above, all of the following:

    Perhaps some people who are not bothered by the implications of global warming catastrophe (which is catastrophe regardless of whether the warming is caused by humans) do not understand the magnitude of the horror that this world moves toward with an ever-increasing probability. We’re talking about a nightmarish future in which we have very bad heat waves or even a typical summer afternoon over large parts of the planet approaching 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

    We face a very real possibility and an ever-increasing probability that humanity will turn this planet over the next two or three centuries into a setting suitable for a dark science fiction nightmarish horror in which the tropical and subtropical zones of this planet are dead zones devoid of all warm-blooded land life (with remaining humans driven out) and even devoid of almost all life because of the global food network sufficiently disrupted – all mammals and birds utterly killed off by heat waves that become ever worse until they get to heat indexes of close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, with these ranges of heat indexes even eventually becoming what we would see on a typical summertime afternoon in these dead zones. And by this time there probably will have been a major nuclear war over what little inhabitable land is left for whatever is left of human civilization.

    By the way, I’m happy that some like ATTP and others speak at least indirectly about that 2010 NAS paper in question. It laid out what this world’s future may very possibly be. (Side note: (I think that more of the general public can relate to a heat index of close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit rather than a wet bulb temperature of at least 35 degrees Celsius.) Read my comment
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/curry-for-dinner/#comment-32289
    for direct links to this paper and articles about this paper, which include interviews of the authors. That paper said that a 5 degree Celsius global temperature increase will be all it will take to render some of the planet uninhabitable as dead zones due to these heat indexes of close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and that paper says that a 10 degree Celsius global temperature increase will render half of the inhabited world uninhabitable as dead zones due to such heat indexes.

    I am of the opinion that this could happen to a sufficiently nightmarish degree over some of the planet even with less than a 5 degree Celsius global temperature increase, since even a single very bad heat wave of this severity over, say, an entire continent would kill off that entire continent and turn it into a dead zone devoid of all outdoor mammalian and bird life. This of course includes all people and cats and dogs and other domestic animals unlucky enough to not find technologically supported shelter, never mind that suicide terrorists could blow up the power plants during such a heat wave and kill off hundreds of millions of people in one fell blow. (Sorry, but any type of meaningful human civilization in these kill zones of this nightmarish future is not viable even with technology. Power failures at the wrong time are too probable.)

  255. victorpetri says:

    @anoilman
    I was actually still waiting for a reply from your side on
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/who/#comment-39318

    “VictorPetri: With all your staunch support for fossil fuels you neglected to comment on the fact that they cost so much. Care to comment?”
    This is tiresome, people can calculate all the want, markets decide what is viable.
    Calculating capital costs is something for investors, to base their investments upon. In Europe e.g. the largest part of newly installed kwh is renewable.
    Btw, with oil prices down 40% since July, this report is outdated.

    And, on subsidies, I agree. Subsidies should not be a part of government expenditure, not for anything, they are a severe market distortion. You must be silly to presume someone who is in favor of letting the market decide which energy to use, is in favor of subsidies to a particular energy source. You are aware however that the largest part of subsidies is provided in developing countries to appease the people by populist politicians?

    Which leads me to think, that you think I am in favor of fossil fuels per se, but I am not, I am only in favor of it when it is the most cost efficient.

  256. Andrew Dodds says:

    KeefeAndAmanda –

    Have to point out that Birds can generally tolerate heat a bit better. Probably why the Paleogene/early Eocene was the ‘Age of Birds..’.

    I’d also add – it’s probably not a sharp limit. Heat stress can kill in the UK, and we are never going to see 35 degree wet-bulb. You’ll see steadily increasing mortality from heat waves. Probably once it goes much above perhaps 32, people may start dying indirectly because physical activity will be so difficult. Not a fun prospect.

    I’m dubious about reaching such conditions – we’d have to keep burning coal on a very large scale in the face of large scale and obvious climate change – and when I say obvious I mean ‘Rapid-WAIS-Collapse’ obvious. At some point the players behind organised denial will stop, not because of a damascene conversion but because their wealth and power are being directly threatened by global warming. Then a crash program will cut 90+% of emissions within a couple of decades and – shockingly – the economy will fail to collapse as a result. Because the biggest single myth about global warming is that it’s a hard and expensive problem to fix.

  257. BBD says:

    You are aware however that the largest part of subsidies is provided in developing countries to appease the people by populist politicians?

    You have this in mind, I presume:

    – $630 Billion in Consumption Subsidies in Developing Countries (International Energy Agency)

    – $45 Billion in Consumption Subsidies in Developed Countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

    – $100 Billion in Producer Subsidies in Developed Countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

    – $80 to $285 Billion in Production Subsidies in Developing Countries

    – $15 to $150 Billion in Financing from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and National Development Banks

    – $50 to $100 Billion in Financing through Export Credit Agencies (ECAs)

    – $20 to $500 Billion for Securing Fossil Fuel Supplies (Military Subsidies for Fossil Fuels)

    In total, this adds up to as much as $1 trillion annually in fossil fuel subsidies.

    Which leads me to think, that you think I am in favor of fossil fuels per se, but I am not, I am only in favor of it when it is the most cost efficient.

    Ha ha. See above.

    But you refuse to factor in plausible costs for climate impacts. So you always ‘win’ your own argument but are in effect talking only to yourself inside a mirrored bubble of ideology. That’s not an argument as understood by the rest of us, hence the friction here.

  258. BBD says:

    Andrew Dodds

    I think you are too sanguine. I agree that it may well take real climate shocks before serious policy change gets underway, but by then the latency in the climate system will ensure much more warming despite the most aggressive climate policy we might enact.

    Population this century is expected to rise to >9bn by 2050 during a period of increasing and essentially unstoppable climate disruption of world food security.

    Second, we may well already be committed to a ~5m sea level rise over the next few centuries (eg. Rignot et al. 2014 and Bougamont et al. 2014). A little-aired point is that SLR driven by the WAIS will help float the GRIS outlet glaciers off their grounding lines and vice versa.

    So all our other woes could well be continually amplified by the remorseless inundation of coastal cities and agricultural land around the world. A ~3C world.

  259. Andrew Dodds says:

    BBD –

    Well, sanguine about mass dieoff due to wet-bulb temperatures.

    Not about the ice sheets. I doubt that the GIS and WAIS are stable at current CO2 levels, never mind CO2-doubling. And the consequences are pretty drastic – you can start at Kolkata in India, and then trace around the Asian coast all the way to Shanghai, and practically every major city on the coast along the way will either have to be either partially or fully evacuated. Shanghai – pop 25 million – is almost entirely within 5 meters of sea level.

    My position is that we will reach this stage before we bake-in the warming required for mass temperature related die-offs, and once we do there’s a good chance of a sudden change in attitudes. There will still be die-hard denialists, no doubt, but once their backers drop them they’ll suddenly find themselves in the same bucket as – for instance – 9/11 ‘truthers’ – noisy but ignored.

    Or maybe it’s my congenital optimism…

  260. BBD says:

    Andrew

    I’m inclined to agree with you on the ‘superheated’ scenarios – I failed to make that clear at all in my previous comment – sorry.

    It does seem that denialism and its industry-sponsored enablers will cause untold human and ecological harm before being elbowed out of the way by reality. If the WAIS really has passed a tipping point already as is suggested, then we can agree that almost incalculable damage is already done. And denialism and its sponsors are still very much with us and hard at work subverting democracy.

  261. anoilman says:

    victorpetri: So Victor, we can count on your support to end subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear? Oil Tankers currently operate with little to no insurance by design. Its the same for nuclear reactors. Its all capped by law baby.

  262. Andrew Dodds says:

    “KeefeAndAmanda –
    Have to point out that Birds can generally tolerate heat a bit better. Probably why the Paleogene/early Eocene was the ‘Age of Birds..’.
    I’d also add – it’s probably not a sharp limit.”

    I agree that it’s probably not a sharp limit. This is a point I tried to make. It’s not “If you’re not dead, then you’re OK.” A situation that is close enough to not being survivable is close enough to being as bad as not being survivable. We can still have dead zones or partial dead zones form even if we do not reach the numbers the authors of that paper talked about. Please see further below for more on this.

    Modern birds? They are easily killed by heat, just like mammals. If one leaves a bird inside a closed car on a hot summer day in the sunlight with the sun high in the sky, then one can easily kill that bird – just like any mammal – with heat indexes similar to or even much less than what the authors talked about, depending on the time in the car (even just 15 minutes can kill a bird). Check out such as
    http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-diet-and-health/bird-care/bird-heat-stroke.aspx
    http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-diet-and-health/bird-medical-conditions/bird-medical-conditions-2004-08-30-5703.aspx
    for more on this.

    The authors of that study said that these wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees C (heat indexes of close to 200 degrees F – the authors said 176-196 degrees F) have not been seen naturally on Earth for more than 50 million years. I think that 50 million years of evolution has probably yielded a different animal in terms of heat handling capacity, especially since the more recent parts of that 50 million have been relatively quite cool. (I’ve lived in the sweltering heat and humidity of the hotter parts of Florida all my life save one year, and occasionally one reads about birds killed by the heat in local heat waves, especially in such places as chicken farms. To others who have concern for the welfare of animals, I know, such conditions bother me very much, too, and I would like to see much change.) In addition, I’m not convinced that birds during those hottest times 55 million years ago lived in the hottest parts of the world without having some microenvironment into which to escape these heat indexes when they occurred. I mean, we’re talking close to 200 degrees here. And to top it off, what’s really scary to me is that the dry bulb temperatures don’t have to be that much higher than today to get to even close to this level of heat index. See further below for more on this.

    Perhaps those who have lived in cool climates all their lives have a different personal perspective than those who have lived in hot climates all their lives on the possibly very terrible prospects for the future of people and animals in already hot climates. With this calculator
    http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/heatindex.shtml
    we can see that a heat index of 130 degrees F is achieved by a dry bulb temperature of 97 degrees F with 70 percent humidity. This may have been the heat index I experienced an afternoon in 1998 when the temperature was 97. (I did not know the humidity that day, but it is not unusual during the summer to see it at around 70 percent. But it would be very rare to see it with that high a dry bulb temperature. I shared this before in a prior post in another thread.) This was a scary experience. Even though I was well hydrated, I felt that I would have needed serious medical attention after hours of that if I couldn’t have escaped into a cooler environment. (And I am one who can handle the heat and humidity very well, at least physically. Up until a few years before that episode I was a runner who could handle and even enjoyed running five miles in the summer heat and humidity at the hottest time of the day with 4 big dogs under good voice control – three were Rhodesian Ridgebacks (it’s a good big dog breed to be a around children):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodesian_Ridgeback
    Pointers for running in such high heat and humidity: Drink at least 40 ounces of fluid and let it settle in the stomach for about 5 minutes before taking off. And for the dogs? I stirred half a cup of whole milk into a quart of water in each of four big bowls, and sat back as I drank, watching their bellies grow as they drank their special treat all down. The smell of the milkfat induced them to drink, but never fear, it was sufficiently diluted. Five minutes later, and we were off. I miss them. They were good companions.)

    By the calculator above, only a 10 degree increase in the dry bulb temperature from 97 yields an increase of the heat index from 130 degrees F to 177 degrees F. Given the scary experience I had, this latter heat index is unimaginable – and terrifying – to me regarding the future, even if it maxes out at less than 177 degrees F, since it might take much less than actually reaching 177 to get catastrophe. I don’t think that enough people appreciate enough what may be in store for the hotter parts of this world over the next two or three centuries.

    Of all the things the authors said, the following hit me the most:
    http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html
    “The wet-bulb limit is basically the point at which one would overheat even if they were naked in the shade, soaking wet and standing in front of a large fan.”
    Now combine that with this:
    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoregulation”
    “Humans may also experience lethal hyperthermia when the wet bulb temperature is sustained above 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) for six hours.”

    What I tried to convey in my last post is that a warming less than and perhaps much less than what the authors wrote about could be enough for catastrophe.

    To see what I mean, first look at this pdf of the paper itself:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/21/9552.full.pdf
    Some important quotes:
    “Thus while central estimates of business-as-usual warming by 2100 are 3-4 degrees C, eventual warmings of 10 degrees C are quite feasible and even 20 degrees C is theoretically possible……A shift of 5 degrees C would allow T_W_(max) to exceed 35 degrees C in some locations, and a shift of 8.5 degrees C would bring the most-common value to 35 degrees C.”

    What’s important to note is that T_W_(max) is defined to be annual maximum wet bulb temperature. It is *not* defined to be the maximum wet bulb temperature that could occur in a very bad occasional heat wave, the frequency of its occurrence being of course much less than annually. The focus therefore was to find what global increase would bring about heat indexes of close to 200 degrees F being the expected maximum each and every year in hotter parts of the globe.

    This means that we may need less – perhaps much less – of a total long-term global warming than what is said in this paper to start to see some parts of the world slowly become dead zones or just partial dead zones via large enough percentages of human and animal populations killed off in severe enough heat waves that happen often enough, where their severity may not need to actually be at the wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees C, but just close enough to it. We may not need to see the world actually reach this “magic” number of 35 to see the formation of dead zones or partial dead zones. And thus if the world ever does get to the point of heat indexes close to 200 degrees F as the expected maximum each and every year in the hotter parts of the globe, those parts of the globe almost certainly would already have become dead zones.

    Has anyone tried to calculate just how much less of a total long-term global warming than what is said in this paper to start to see some parts of the world slowly becoming dead zones or partial dead zones? How much less could it be?

    I don’t think enough people are taking seriously enough the future heat index problem in terms of risk assessment for the long-term future for people and animals in the hotter parts of the globe and by extension the rest of the globe because of the need for mass migration and sufficient disruption to the global food network.

    It’s already hot enough in these places during the summer.

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