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Discussion: A thread for global warming debates so it doesn't pollute orienteering threads

in: Orienteering; Off-Course

Feb 13, 2014 12:59 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
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Feb 13, 2014 1:00 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
The net is full of these debates, but apparently there are not enough of them. So here is the appropriate thread.
Feb 13, 2014 1:09 AM # 
tRicky:
Did your initial post get washed away by a tsunami?
Feb 13, 2014 1:24 AM # 
carlch:
nice try though I am not optimistic it will work
Feb 13, 2014 1:28 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
I know it won't work. I have my own views on anthropogenic warming issues, but I have learnt that the subject is so polarised on-line debate is pointless. Each side leaves the exchange further convinced of their own righteousness and the stupidity of the opponent.
Feb 13, 2014 1:39 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Love the word choice, InvisibleLog.
Feb 13, 2014 2:08 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Now this thread is going off-topic. Maybe I have to start a thread for the discussion of online-climate discussions. ;-)
Feb 13, 2014 2:48 AM # 
igor_:
My question is whether the Arctic is having it warmer than usual this winter.
Feb 13, 2014 3:07 AM # 
Iamstillhungry:
With melting glaciers and reduced snowfall what are the best prospects for new orienteering terrain?
Feb 13, 2014 3:08 AM # 
blairtrewin:
Haven't seen January numbers yet; December was generally warmer than usual in the Arctic, but the really spectacular anomalies were a bit further south in Siberia, which was up to 10C above average (much further above than the central US was below). There's also been some exceptional warmth in eastern and central Siberia in the last few days ('exceptional warmth' being a relative term to describe a record high February temperature of -12C in a place, Oymjakon, where the average at this time of year is about -45).

Incidentally, even in the continental US, when the final January number comes out I'm expecting it to be only slightly below normal; central and eastern states have been cold, but the west (especially California) was very warm.

And, going back to the original subject of the previous thread: according to a Facebook post by NOAA's head of climate monitoring, there's no evidence of a trend in the number of ice storms in the US, but there are indications of an upward trend in their maximum potential moisture (and hence peak ice accumulation).
Feb 13, 2014 3:22 AM # 
jtorranc:
@guskov - yes, it is.

@randy - if you want to engage in a substantive discussion of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, please start by telling me which organization's temperature data you trust and therefore relied on when you stated "This winter is 7% colder than the historical average." Please also tell me what geographic area that statement applies to (Hint: since all the major global temperature indices, from surface and satellite observations, already reported positive temperature anomalies for December and all those that have reported January numbers also came in positive, any credible answer will have to involve some area smaller than the whole globe).

If you just wanted to rant about the evil motivations you imagine lurk in the hearts of environmentalists, mission accomplished. I hope it felt good - I very much doubt it convinced anyone that your position is based entirely on careful, unbiased consideration of the available evidence and not at all on an emotional reaction to perceived unfair criticism of your lifestyle.
Feb 13, 2014 3:48 AM # 
bchubb:
Feb 13, 2014 4:02 AM # 
tRicky:
This thread is now 100% more informative than before (or perhaps 50% less informative) based on the following facts:

Previous number of posts when I last checked: 6
Current number of posts (not including deleted posts): 12

My brain has melted as a result. Can I attribute that to climate change?
Feb 13, 2014 4:09 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
How are the Slovenian forests looking?

I feel much better having finally been able to repay in kind... ;-)
Feb 13, 2014 5:13 AM # 
El Chucko:
The global warming fraud is a socialist conspiracy designed to drain wealth from the western world

*Goes back to working for Albertan oilsands producers*
Feb 13, 2014 5:49 AM # 
upnorthguy:
Debate? What debate? When you live north of 60 you very much experience the reality. Ask the First Nations people and others living out on the land.
Feb 13, 2014 5:59 AM # 
tRicky:
TIL is 59 so he's almost there.
Feb 13, 2014 7:46 AM # 
El Chucko:
What about those North of 70? All I know is I had some beauty weather working up there in Summer 2010 and 2011. Although in retrospect it should probably never be warmer in Inuvik than Miami.
Feb 13, 2014 2:13 PM # 
EricW:
Another weather day off from work where I live.
In this discussion I think it is essential to distinguish between "climate change" (easier to document and agree on), and "anthropogenic climate change" which is a very loaded term, involving cause and solution. The "anthro" version is where the debate legitimately resides, and research needs to continue.
I'll suggest that extremists on both sides detract from their own cause, by making easy targets for their opposition, on personal and rational levels.
Feb 13, 2014 2:16 PM # 
GHOSLO:
@randy. You said
"This winter is 7% colder than the historical average. Unlike global warming, that is an actual, documented fact that you can look up on this new thing they have called "the Internet". "
That is probably the strangest statement that I have ever read in connection with this debate.
Feb 13, 2014 2:25 PM # 
J$:
It's not surprising. Randy is stupid.

Yes, Randy, I am personally insulting you.
Feb 13, 2014 2:36 PM # 
Hammer:
Some good reading

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbi...
Feb 13, 2014 3:47 PM # 
j-man:
Among others, haven't Coase and Pigou given us a number of tools to address some of Monibot's concerns?
Feb 13, 2014 7:26 PM # 
Hammer:
Dunno aren't you the economist? ;-) Given that anthropogenic climate change is an issue that is multi-governmental, global in scale, multi-generational has uncertainties in projections which increase regionally I'd say it probably doesn't. But I'm not an economist so I'm curious to know the answer.
Feb 13, 2014 7:38 PM # 
El Chucko:
Here is some good reading for those who have all the answers but have no idea what the questions are:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Crash-Course-Unsustainab...
Feb 13, 2014 7:43 PM # 
El Chucko:
Sure global warming is real. But it is just a smokescreen to distract people from the real problems in the world, such as peak oil. Globalization and unconventional fossil fuels don't solve this problem, they just make the pot bigger until we are all in.
Feb 13, 2014 9:25 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
I am intrigued by the application of per cent measures to temperatures... Fahrenheit, Celcius or Kelvin. I suspect only the latter would make any sense as it has a meaningful zero measure. Seven per cent of that would be quite startling.
Feb 13, 2014 9:38 PM # 
GHOSLO:
That is only one of the things that I thought was strange. I resisted saying stupid but it did indicate something about the author's competence in discussing climate change.
Feb 13, 2014 9:43 PM # 
J$:
I value the damages to me personally caused by each ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 at (Dr. Evil voice):

1 BILLION DOLLARS (Canadian)

Prove to me that my valuation is unreasonable.
Feb 13, 2014 11:51 PM # 
El Chucko:
ExxonMobil profits 2012 $45 BILLION DOLLARS...

J$: Crank 'er up another 45ppm

...is the purpose of this discussion thread to be as inflammatory as possible? Because if it isn't I might be doing it wrong
Feb 13, 2014 11:54 PM # 
El Chucko:
J$: You could always invest in Bangladeshi houseboats, or oceanside property 10m above sealevel, or Siberian agriculture
Feb 14, 2014 12:38 AM # 
Tundra/Desert:
Thanks for the X in the rightmost column, Ken.
Feb 14, 2014 1:03 AM # 
tRicky:
Who is this Randy fellow and why can't I see him?
Feb 14, 2014 1:23 AM # 
GHOSLO:
tRicky, you may find the Randy Rant in the Slovenian Forest thread.
Feb 14, 2014 3:48 AM # 
jtorranc:
I don't think randy is stupid. He's quite smart though clearly not applying himself very much to the task of coming up with plausible sounding arguments why global warming is bunkum - it's not as though he'd even have to do any original thinking, just read what's already online, although admittedly it could be quite a lot of work finding the relatively sophisticated arguments among the vast swaths of commentary from scientifically illiterate people who are certain they know more about climate science than the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.

Following up on Blair's post, from NOAA via the Associated Press:

"For those who shivered through January, this may be hard to believe: Nationwide, the average temperature for the month was about normal because a warm West offset a cool East.

January in the Lower 48 states was the 53rd coldest of 120 years of record-keeping, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. The average was 30.3 degrees, only one-tenth of a degree below normal for the month."

Update, Feb. 14: NASA GISS just reported its January global temperature number, 0.70 degrees Celsius warmer than the average January from 1951-1980. That makes it the fourth warmest January in the GISTEMP Land-Ocean Temperature Index record. December last year was also the fourth warmest on record. The combined Dec-Jan period is the second warmest on record. Results may, of course, be slightly different in other global surface temperature datasets and somewhat more different in satellite-based temperature datasets.
Feb 14, 2014 4:06 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
An estimate of perceived national average temperature can probably be calculated by using a spatial population density weighting on top of what I assume is a usual kriging approach. In Australia a vast unpopulated and very hot interior might mean we would see important differences between the two estimates in some years. Not this year though. The vast hot interior has been a regular visitor to populated areas.
Feb 14, 2014 4:31 AM # 
jtorranc:
In this discussion I think it is essential to distinguish between "climate change" (easier to document and agree on), and "anthropogenic climate change" which is a very loaded term, involving cause and solution. The "anthro" version is where the debate legitimately resides, and research needs to continue. "

Research certainly needs to continue but this isn't quite accurate or it's at least overly simplistic - what debate there is within the community of working climate scientists isn't over "anthro" or not but over how much of the observed increase in temperature is anthropogenic versus caused by variation in other factors and how much more anthropogenic warming we should expect. Even the contrarian climate scientists Republicans invite to congressional hearings - the Richard Lindzens and Roy Spencers and so on - and people like Christopher Monckton and Bjorn Lomborg will concede that a significant part of the already observed warming was caused by human actitivity and that there is more of that yet to come. Their claim these days is that the warming still to come isn't going to be big enough to be worth a lot of effort and expense to avoid, not that there hasn't already been anthropogenic warming and won't be more in future.
Feb 14, 2014 12:20 PM # 
rf_fozzy:
Two problems with the "debate" on climate change:

1. There is this misnomer of calling it Global Warming, well yes it is, but people associate LOCAL temperature with Global Temperature and on such a short timescale. Climate Change is the better description.

2. General public understanding of science (and in particular statistical interpretation of data) is awful. Political posturing is often based on misleading statistics and distorted facts - partly because it's misunderstanding and partly because there are a lot of rich people/companies who stand to lose the amount of money they'll make in the next 50 years if we force the required rapid change in behaviour, so they exploit the public misunderstanding, and essentially throw enough mud to make it into a debate.
It's not a debate, climate change is happening - definitely - the data is clear on this. There is very, very, very good evidence for human-induced climate change, but there is still room for some doubt (which is normal in science - again this is a misunderstanding of how science works).

The issue is not whether it's happening, but whether we're going to do anything about it. Given the debates in the US, it seems that most of your politicians are worse than the lot in the UK, although we're rapidly swinging to the right in this country, where business is king and we worship the holy might of GDP at the expense of everything else.

Too much short term thinking from politicians and not enough long and medium term thinking.
Feb 14, 2014 12:23 PM # 
rf_fozzy:
By the way, I think we're pretty screwed to put it bluntly. We needed to make rapid change 10 years ago and we didn't. In fact, we're getting worse. The US (and Europe) have a lot to answer for in the lack of movement on this issue

Plus China is kicking in now and India won't be far behind.

Yep, we're a bit f***ed.
Feb 14, 2014 1:39 PM # 
tRicky:
It's okay; future generations can deal with it.
Feb 14, 2014 7:03 PM # 
chitownclark:
But isn't there anything we can do about Climate Change? Well speaking of "future generations" brings up a way all of us Americans can help reduce future Global Warming: by not having a future generation! Remain childless!

Sadly, the United States stands today as one of the eight countries expected to account for half of global population growth between 2013 and 2100. The other seven are: Nigeria, India, Tanzania, Congo, Niger, Uganda and Ethiopia. But citizens of those other seven countries burn very little fossil fuel compared with the average American. So for every American not born, vast quantities of carbon will remain buried in the ground instead of up in the atmosphere, warming the planet.

The US needs not only an Immigration policy, but a Population policy! But with current popular American sentiment, neither is likely to happen. Americans still love kids; each new birth is cheered and encouraged. Meanwhile Japan is held up as a failing country, partly because of its declining population and slow-growth economy. But an article in the New Scientist last month entitled Japan's aging population could actually be Good News disputed that notion.

...Japan has the world's oldest population, with a median age of 46 years, an average lifespan of 84, and a quarter of the population over 65. But this doesn't have to mean a gloomy future. What happens in the coming years might even point the way for other countries...Hard-working Japanese society has "embraced voluntary mass childlessness" One in four don't have children.

The conventional view is that this is bad news: shrinking numbers hobble economic growth and the ageing population is a major financial burden. But the proportion of Japan's population that is dependent on those of working age isn't unusual, it's just that it has almost twice as many over-65s as children. Consequently Japan spends less on education.

Japan's economy has been growing slowly for two decades now. But that too is deceptive. Thanks to the falling population, individual income has been rising strongly – outperforming most US citizens'....Fewer people in future will mean it has more living space, more arable land per head, and a higher quality of life. Its demands on the planet for food, [fossil fuels] and other resources will also lessen....
Feb 14, 2014 7:34 PM # 
El Chucko:
chitownclark: I think going childless is a little bit fatalistic and extreme.

I have no idea what makes you think Americans are having too many children

http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/06/news/economy/birth...

However, any attempts to address climate change that do not address population and global wealth distribution (which leads to high birth rates in third world rural areas) will be a total failure. High fossil fuel prices and carbon taxes might make some of these problems worse when they lead to escalating food prices because of the fuel costs of production and transportation.

Fighting global poverty and inequality, having a diversified energy policy that can shift away from fossil fuels, and car-free communities and lifestyles are all part of the solution.

Ultimately, we need a new global economy that rewards long-term thinking and strategy compared to the current one that rewards resource extraction, population growth, and exploitation of cheap labour. Properly pricing social and environmental externalities would cause this shift immediately.
Feb 14, 2014 8:07 PM # 
chitownclark:
El Chucko, we're honored that you've posted six of your 11 posts in the past 12-months to this thread. Thanks for your interest.

But your CNN article reflects old, flawed thinking that doesn't tell the whole story. While the birth-rate may be down for mature American women of child-bearing age, the population of the US continues to explode:



And I only wished to point out that each of us can affect this curve, whether in the Green or the Red areas, by simply finding other things to do with our lives than produce and baby-sit the hungry and sharp-toothed members of the next generation.
Feb 14, 2014 8:32 PM # 
edwarddes:
Feb 14, 2014 9:15 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
The relative stability of mating behaviour and the lags between demographic behaviour and demographic outcomes mean demography is perhaps one of the safer contexts in which to use extrapolation on human behaviour... unlike economics.
Feb 14, 2014 9:47 PM # 
bubo:
Interesting talk on population growth...
Feb 14, 2014 9:53 PM # 
Cristina:
Hans Rosling! Swoon!
Feb 14, 2014 11:41 PM # 
j-man:
Often on AP, especially in threads like this, I wonder what is the point? The perspective and arguments are so consistent, the ontic assumptions and experiences so similar, and the voice so uniform that semblances of an alternative viewpoint such as provided by Randy (or me, I suppose, should I forget my vows of monastic silence) are blown away like wisps of smoke from a candle.

Why bother putting together all these artful phrases? Why trawl so hard for obscure facts? Why try hard to advance valid arguments, supported by data? What is everyone rehearsing for if there is nothing more than preaching to the choir?

But then, thank God, chitown chimes in, and it all makes sense. Everyone else is so reactionarily paleothic in comparison.
Feb 15, 2014 1:14 AM # 
Hammer:
Sometimes I wonder what group does more damage to the climate change debate.
Passionate environmentalists that write a bunch of junk or denialists that write a bunch of junk. It almost seems that the more incorrect the denialist claims become (such as their incorrect statements that there has been no warming since 1998) the more extreme the passionate environmentalists statements become (such as creating or exaggerating or attributing crises). The denialists need these incorrect claims by the passionate environmentalists as their way to deliberately delay needed action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Why? Because the denialists have no logical argument against the climate science and therefore can no provide no logical 'alternative viewpoint' that makes any scientific sense (without breaking laws of physics of cherry picking data). So instead the denialists pick on the bad (and incorrect) 'off the cuff' remarks of environmentalists that get the science wrong. They then use that as a soap box to then make incorrect statements that there isn’t data to back up the climate science. By doing so they are either being untruthful or ignorant.

J-man is probably correct in his statement “what’s the point”? Each of these groups are most likely not going to change their manner or beliefs. Many are set in their ways. In many ways the denialists’ political beliefs may often be such that they MUST deny climate change. Similarly, the solutions that some passionate environmentalists propose are just not feasible. I just wonder where each of these groups go to get health and medical information? If they listen to medical doctors then why aren’t they listening to climate scientists? As rf_fozzy eloquently wrote above - the general public just doesn’t understand science and the scientific method. That ignorance is (and will continue) to cost society greatly. And by making that statement I’ll probably be labeled as an ‘elite’.

Looking back on the other thread (and from a science perspective) it is worth mentioning that it is indeed careless to attribute a particular weather event to global warming. BUT, it is important for readers to know that there are also good examples where particular extreme weather events, such as the 2010 heat wave and wildfires in Russia, that have been scientifically attributed to global warming. For example, Hansen et al. (2012) published a paper in PNAS where they wrote: "we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small."
Feb 15, 2014 1:46 AM # 
j-man:
WIth all due respect, and I may regret this, (jtorranc will pounce because I misstate an argument, I will open another can of worms after all those nematodes finally scurried away on a previous thread sometime ago, etc.) but I think we can try to do better than bandying about loaded terms to frame debates, e.g., denialists, homophobes, babykillers, birthers, whatever, because they deliberately ascribe beliefs, positions, etc., that the targets need not hold. On a different side of the debate than the one argued so convincingly here, there may be a group of people who have some views which could be described as libertarian and who just don't care about climate change per se, and therefore neither deny nor affirm it. It just doesn't affect them. While you may impugn them, belittle them, spit on them, or institutionalize them, it is not correct to paint them all with the brush of denialist. Also, I don't believe that a libertarian must deny climate change (implicit in my assertion that someone that has some characteristics of being one doesn't care, and is therefore not denying it), but I suspect jtorranc may be able to advance an argument why it is so.
Feb 15, 2014 1:53 AM # 
bshields:
Clem, if we can hypothetically suppose, for a moment, that you have a potentially terminal problem, it's hard for me to see how declaring that you "just don't care" is very much different from being a denialist. Please restate.
Feb 15, 2014 2:15 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
each new birth is cheered


Um...yeah, that's....awful?
Feb 15, 2014 2:24 AM # 
jtorranc:
@j-man - there no doubt are libertarians who rise above their general aversion to government impositions on their freedom to do whatever they wish to the point of including environmental issues among the legitimate wellsprings of government action, but surely it isn't controversial that libertarians, in general, have a strong aversion to government regulation. As to why this might compel them to deny environmental problems despite strong evidence of same, suggested reading is this - http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbi... (sic) - or, going to the source, http://mattbruenig.com/2011/12/21/environmentalism...

P.S. Not, as far as I can see and correct me if I'm wrong, that anyone in this thread mentioned libertarians or libertarianism before you did.
Feb 15, 2014 3:00 AM # 
jtorranc:
Also, setting aside for the moment some of the other terms you object to for a moment, how is "birther' a loaded term? As far as I'm aware, it didn't have any meaning in common usage before sometime in 2008 or 2009 so I assume you aren't claiming that it somehow constitutes likening people to Nazis, as the exceedingly weak argument against the use of the terms "denier" and "denialist" in a climate debate context generally does. If it qualifies as a loaded term, as far as I can see the load was placed on it entirely through the actions of people who against all evidence claim that the circumstances of Barack Obama's birth make him ineligible to be president - the same group of people to whom the term has, so far as I can tell, been narrowly applied as long as it has existed. I don't see where this ascribing beliefs to people that they don't necessarily hold you thing the use of the term entails is happening..
Feb 15, 2014 3:20 AM # 
jjcote:
I have no children, and therefore, unconcerned about what sort of world I'll be leaving to my nonexistent descendants, I burn fossil fuels with abandon and don't care if the climate changes and the sea level rises when I'm gone. Childless works for me. If only my parents had seen the wisdom of this...
Feb 15, 2014 7:04 AM # 
j-man:
@brendan: as I suggested, we've covered some of this ground in some other thread which I am too lazy to dredge up.

But, I will describe my thinking differently here instead.

There are a lot of smart people here, representatives of a corpus of smart people who apply their smarts in a the deterministic world of the physical sciences. They can proffer things like chitown, extrapolations, or something which feature much greater subtlety and perspicacity. They are quite able to determine the outcome of chemical reactions, physical processes, three body problems, etc…

I am not smart enough to do that, but that's OK. I flit through a world of human beings. I have seen in my profession smart people like those here import their toolkits to predict outcomes a few moments in the future. What do you think their margin of error is in a month, in a year? Let me assure you, there are far fewer people in the world who can predict the future than just the experts on climate change who are represented here.

And yet, when confronted by this alleged existential problem, I am expected to accept that the future can be predicted. That this incredibly indeterministic system (the interaction of a species with a planet over time), whose complexity exceeds that of weather and climate and everything else that experts here can be expert about? It is just so presumptuous.

Anyway, we can go on and on.

@jtorranc: am I Batman or the Joker? "What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, NO! No. You... you... complete me." Sorry, I digress. This post http://www.attackpoint.org/discussionthread.jsp/me... is technically before mine. Can I not assume if someone links to something it is supposed to be germane? Perhaps intimated to supplement one's own arguments? Maybe not, but I have to admit, when I make seemingly obscure references, they are rarely random.

@jtorranc2: yes, you got me. I was too lazy to come up with other loaded phrases. I knew birther wasn't a good one. I can assure you I have no dog in that fight. I'm sorry you had to expend more joules attacking it than it warranted.

@jotorranc3: there must be a lot I missed. Sorry.
Feb 15, 2014 8:24 AM # 
ndobbs:
@j-man: It is relatively easy to predict the distribution of gas molecules in a box a year in the future. It is impossible to say where a particular molecule will go moments in the future.

One can identify conditions likely to generate avalanches, hurricanes, typhoons etc without predicting their exact locations or paths. Is this predicting the future?

I find the following assertions believable:
- There has been non-negligible increase of average temperatures since the 1950s;
- some of this increased warmth (along with more acidic seas...) is due to increased CO2 levels;
- CO2 levels will continue to increase, so average temperatures are likely to increase;
- an increase in average temperatures leads to increased frequency of hurricanes, for example.

Sure, I have trouble believing that any particular climate model is rigorously justifiable, not just because I'm a mathematician. But, I can hope that the more egregious models get discredited, and that the remaining ones can be used to formulate a range of likely possible behaviour, so humanity can prepare for what may come.
Feb 15, 2014 11:37 AM # 
tammy:
I wonder what sammy's thoughts are on this government conspiracy to transfer wealth from
developed to underdeveloped countries is?
Feb 15, 2014 2:24 PM # 
jtorranc:
@j-man - okay, I'm not in the habit online of automatically following links offered with no description beyond "Some good reading", not even when Hammer offers them. Why do you disagree with that analysis? Do you not accept the premise that libertarians are strongly concerned with property rights? Do you not accept that pollution can impinge on other people's property? It's all very well to say Pigovian taxes could deal with the issue (I don't have any idea of Coase's contribution - I'll presume that may be worth a bit of my time at some point) but the actual libertarians or people who claim to be libertarians in the world don't, in general, seem to be championing them - saying their reflex is to deny that a problem exists that ought to be dealt with seems to me to accurately describe their actual behaviour. Please, enlighten us as to the errors of Breunig's thoughts.
Feb 15, 2014 2:34 PM # 
jtorranc:
@j-man - BTW, are you standing by "homophobe' as a good example of a loaded term? That whole objection looks very much to me like a case of, when the evidence isn't on your side, retreating to complaints that other people are being uncivil in saying the evidence isn't on your side (look up Ian Plimer's debate with George Monbiot for a more than usually pathetic example). What term would you suggest in its place? The trait of hating homosexuals definitely exists and a term is sometimes required to refer to people who exhibit it.
Feb 15, 2014 4:01 PM # 
j-man:
OK, clearly I'm the Joker around here. I guess jtorranc will have to be Batman.

@ndobbs--sorry I so inarticulately expressed my point. My point was not that I don't think that the scientists here or somewhere else can't predict climate change, and weather to some degree, but that their tools and derring do can't do anything to predict how the course of human history unfolds--over minutes, or decades. Which scientists anticipated the extraction of oil from the ground in Titusville just 150 years ago? What scientist then anticipated all that fission 90 years later? Sure, there were signs for some, but 10 years out? Let's be honest, those outcomes were highly speculative.

I know both of these things are scourges of the Earth, but come on, they are pretty transformative energy sources. Unless we start killing ourselves off (a la chitown) or retreating to our caves (an exaggeration of some other people's views) humanity has the ability to come up with alternatives. All things equal, a stronger America and China, with more people, IMHO, are better placed to develop those than eviscerated versions.

@jtorranc1: you don't speak for all environmentalists, do you? Otherwise, I will demand you defend everything chitownn says. Similarly, if I were a libertarian (I have intimated as much as I am inclined already about this point) I would not speak for all of them. In any case, I think acknowledging something like climate change and saying "so what" could be logically consistent with the librarian view, contrary to that guy's assertions.

@jtorranc2: do I have to respond to that? It has nothing to do with this. Wasn't it sufficient to illustrate a general point. Or, is it really just that you want me to say "uncle"--"YES! I am a denialist!"

@jtorranc3: Do you really see me as the Joker? Why don't you go after jj or someone?

Anyway, this all proves my point, or at least affirms my question much earlier? Why do you need to fluff your feathers so much to scare off little me, a single gadfly, a little faux-Socrates? Aren't you in the midst of people who need to hear this? Randy and I (jj, too) as profligate as we clearly try to be, aren't going to move the needle personally. Nor do we establish policy. So what is this all about?
Feb 15, 2014 7:14 PM # 
blegg:
J-man.... it just so happens, that I'm partly on your side here. I'm an environmental scientist. Not in the climate field... but close enough to appreciate how complex earth-systems are. My experience with science tells me to be very skeptical of our ability to predict what the climate will look like 10, 20, or 30 years into the future. I think that a lot of climate scientists would probably be willing admit the same, if doing so wouldn't empower those who are constantly attacking the validity of their work.

I would like to point out though, that while you argue that the uncertainty of scientific prediction dictates a position of "lets wait and see", I actually believe this uncertainty should be motivation for more dramatic, and rapid action.

That is a hard sell to the world's political leaders. In a modern economy that fetishizes maximum efficiency (probably a hangover effect for the national narrative about how capitalism won the cold war), scientists are now asked to present arguments for the economic cost of climate change. The assumption, I guess, is that world leaders should then cut back CO2 emissions just to the point that the cost-benefit ratio is minimized (and no further).

But now, I'm going to sell the idea to you, that the potential costs of ignoring climate change are far-far-greater than you ever imagined, and that you should be erring on the side of caution... rather than shooting for maximum efficiency.

I argue this, because the earth represents a "complex-non-linear system" (in science jargon). These systems don't behave like simple systems. In simple systems, you push it a little it budges an inch, push a little harder, it budges two inches. In complex non-linear systems, you can push a little and things stay put. You push a little harder, and all hell breaks loose. Human society depends upon climate stability... the moderate climate of the last two millennia has been fundamental to the development of modern civilization. But if we push the climatic systems too hard.... well, I sincerely hope that hell freezes over before we get another snowball earth .

Now, I don't expect another snowball earth (it's still controversial whether that even happened). However, I do think it's informative to look at recent geologic history and consider what scope of "phase transformations" are possible (likely?) to occur in a destabilized climate. Here it goes. Did you know that ~20,000 years ago the sea level was 300 feet lower than today, and much of our favored orienteering terrain (including Canada, New York, and Chicago) were covered by the Laurentide ice sheet... essentially uninhabitable? This is why scientists 30 years ago were so concerned about global cooling!!! Conversely, did you know that complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet (a possibility... not a probability), would result in sea level rises of >20 ft? When you start pushing around this particular non-linear system... you are playing with some serious fire.

J-man, I want to acknowledge, you are right that we shouldn't neglect our economic health entirely. Unexpected problems will arise, and economic strength will give us the power to deal with them. (For example, our economic vitality gives us the opportunity to prevent a asteroid strike). But when a system as large as the climate goes haywire, I don't know that any level of economic health is going to last very long. So I think we have come to very different perspectives on where the "safest" place to be sitting resides.

Frankly, I believe that "global warming type-problems" demand a fundamental reevaluation of how society makes decisions, especially with regard to how we evaluate of risk, and where we place the burden of proof.

Think about it.... CO2 is one of the most innocuous, harmless, naturally abundant molecules that exists. If you were to propose a substance to drive world-wide catastrophe, this one would seem laughable. And yet, there is indisputable science showing that human activity is now driving sufficiently large changes in CO2 concentrations, that we may destabilize the world climate. We have become something like a bull in the china shop.

You can argue that the climate scientists are wrong... and we haven't irreversibly damaged our climate stability yet. But you can't really deny that we're close to the edge. The basic mechanism of action is scientifically well established. Furthermore, you can't deny that these unexpected industrial side-effects are become are becoming a worrisome pattern for humanity. Hole in the ozone layer, anyone?

Indeed, despite our modern concerns for sustainability, we still haven't dropped our dreams for exponential economic growth. I don't know if these two concepts are compatible. This is not a Malthusian argument, but a concern about scales of risk and warning times. As economic activity scales up, so do the occasional screw-ups. Historically, these screw-ups were regional, and didn't have global consequences. However, we have now entered a period of globalization, and we are deploying new technologies at ever-increasing rates. Look at how quickly 90% of the US food supply went to GMO products... even when scientific debate on their safety is far from settled. When the next big problem arises... it can occur globally and virtually overnight. There will be nowhere to migrate when things go wrong. Thus, it will become imperative to adopt some serious policies of "first do no harm" and "look before you leap".
Feb 15, 2014 8:45 PM # 
ccsteve:
+blegg's paper above...

But really - if you're going to start throwing around kxcd, you have to either include the rollover, or give people a link to get it themselves...

http://xkcd.com/605/
Feb 15, 2014 8:51 PM # 
blegg:
And, J-man, I wanted to make clear that I almost always appreciate your contributions to conversations such as this. You always provide a unique perspective, and often cause me to think about things differently. Even if I do disagree with your conclusions. The reason I chose to mention you, personally, in my posting is because I think you've made points that are worthy of response.

And I don't necessarily think these discussions are a waste of time. None of us individually may appear to have very much worldwide influence. However, society (like the climate) shows the properties of a complex-non-linear system... the long term consequences of this debate are not easy to predict.
Feb 15, 2014 9:03 PM # 
bshields:
@Clem - the statement I object to is "I'm not a denialist... I just don't care." If you are a self-preservationist, as you seem to be, then declaring that you "just don't care" in the face of a possible existential threat is logically equivalent to denying that it is a possibility. Since you can't prove it isn't a possiblity (as you have admitted), you are obliged to either accept it or deny it. Insisting that you don't care means you don't care if this possible threat becomes a reality, which is to say, you don't care if your existence is compromised.

I would suggest that your position is more accurately summed up by the statement "I don't know what to do with the knowledge that there is a possible existential threat, so I'm going to carry on as before."
Feb 16, 2014 12:46 AM # 
j-man:
@blegg: your comments are informative, persuasive, and your tone and style much appreciated. It would be great if it were more broadly imitated.

@bshields: maybe, on your second point. It seems silly to keep trying to help me elucidate my position, because who really cares, and silly for me to keep trying to explain myself for the same reasons, and silly for me to argue here as it is silly for people to preach to the choir, but anyway…

I'm not a denialist, I'm agnostic, but willing to accept that climate change has happened and could continue to happen. I could take satisfaction (if I cared) that my carbon footprint is reasonable when compared to the average American, although inferior to many here (though quite possibly not by a lot.) But, as I see it, the greatest threat to my own survival is not climate change. I will survive OK. And my progeny (should I have some) I expect will be OK, too. I am confident in the power of human ingenuity to solve problems, as long as we continue to provide the infrastructure for it to flourish.

But, at one point, there will be an existential threat to human survival from whatever source, anthropogenic or not. And when that day comes, if we as a species are marooned on this planet, it is game over. Is this a pie in the sky fear? No. It is inevitable. All things equal, as a member of the human race, I want us to survive and achieve our highest purpose. Somehow, being bipedal terrestrial reality TV watchers doesn't strike me as our best final stage of development. I want eudaimonia on a species level. Retreating is not a way to achieve this.

I, for one, will burn my boats and bridges, in order to make it clear to everybody that I have no hankering after home.
Feb 16, 2014 4:59 AM # 
jtorranc:
@j-man - forgive me for lacking time to react to everything written since this morning. As I said might happen in the other thread, I was field checking in the snow much of today, though not on snowshoes - we didn't get quite enough for that to make sense

In response to the last volley addressed specifically to me:

@jtorranc1: you don't speak for all environmentalists, do you? Otherwise, I will demand you defend everything chitownn says. Similarly, if I were a libertarian (I have intimated as much as I am inclined already about this point) I would not speak for all of them. In any case, I think acknowledging something like climate change and saying "so what" could be logically consistent with the librarian view, contrary to that guy's assertions.

No, and I didn't ask you to speak for all libertarians. I asked you to identify specific flaws in that guy's reasoning - you had already told me you disagreed with it. Have I fallen through a rabbit hole into that Monty Python sketch in which Graham Chapman wants an argument and John Cleese is only willing to contradict him without developing any kind of case?

@jtorranc2: do I have to respond to that? It has nothing to do with this. Wasn't it sufficient to illustrate a general point. Or, is it really just that you want me to say "uncle"--"YES! I am a denialist!"

You introduced that issue of nomenclature to the discussion - if you didn't want to potentially have to defend what you said, you should have refrained. I take it you aren't eager to defend "homophobe' as a term that doesn't belong in civilised discourse. It seems to me that if in illustration of your desired general point, at least half, possibly more, of the first, presumably strongest possible set of examples you came up with are ones you aren't willing to defend, your general point may lack validity. Perhaps this is uncharitable of me but no one is forcing you to write comments here without thinking them over before you click "Add to Discussion".

@jtorranc3: Do you really see me as the Joker? Why don't you go after jj or someone?

jj has contributed exactly one comment, which I interpret as being entirely flippant. randy is presumably busy keeping his children from freezing to death or being eaten by wolves. Or perhaps he has no stomach for engaging further. I have responded to EricW but he doesn't appear to want to wade in again. I think that leaves you as the only person active in this thread I can argue with unless I want to start raising very minor points on which I disagree with people who are on my side of this debate.

As to whether debating this here is entirely pointless, it may be. Perhaps I'm just enjoying the novelty of arguing online about climate change with someone who isn't faceless and anonymous. It may be, apparently like bshields, I just don't see the humour in admitting to ignorance about a potentially existential threat to human civilisation but nevertheless insisting on arguing that nothing should be done to address it, at least not urgently, just because you have a Panglossian faith in human ingenuity.

Aren't you in the midst of people who need to hear this?

Puzzling. Are you suggesting I go down and picket outside Capitol Hill? Or seek audiences with Republican Senators and Representatives who are deniers of anthropogenic climate change and try to impress on them that they ought to be responsive to my concerns as a non-voting, non-citizen who doesn't live in their state or district rather than to the people who vote in GOP primaries, who are just as ignorant of climate science as you are, if not more so, but convinced they've seen through the lies of mainstream climate science? At least arguing on AttackPoint I'm only wasting a little bit of time, not a lot of time plus shoe leather.
Feb 16, 2014 5:58 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Arguing on attack point might be a waste of time, but trying to understand the position of those with a differing perspective might not be. I am interested in understanding the various strands of libertarianism, particular in its interactions with utilitariansim (probably the closest description of my position). What really intrigues me is the belief that liberarian policy will outperform utilitarian policy even when judged by utilitarian benchmarks. Such a position can generally only be held if one is impervious to evidence. Its much like the climate debate.

Speaking of the climate debate, I see that GMO in the food chain has been raised. Isn't climate enough? If not, perhaps another thread can be started. ;-)
Feb 16, 2014 1:50 PM # 
chitownclark:
jtorranc: +1

But you guys are real romantics...spending Saturday night on Valentine's weekend furiously posting on A/P! Guess we don't have to worry about you contributing to the population explosion. :-)

BTW the population graph I posted above really wasn't that hypothetical; in 2014 we are more than half-way across that graph. And the 343 000 000 Americans it "extrapolates" for 2020 doesn't seem like such a stretch: the US Census Bureau counted 308.7 million in 2010...which falls right on the line.
Feb 16, 2014 2:08 PM # 
jjcote:
That chart also seems to be saying that the projected growth is largely due to immigration rather than the birth rate. It's not babies, it's people like jtorranc and the wives of chitown and j-man moving here. Not that it really matters where somebody lives, it's all the same globe. The US population explosion is because this is a desirable place to live. (And as far as I'm concerned, I don't have any more right to be here than anybody else, just because my ancestors decided to sneak in a little over a century ago.) Forget that population graph, use a relevant (global) one to make your point.
Feb 16, 2014 2:38 PM # 
Hammer:
@blegg write "scientists 30 years ago were so concerned about global cooling!!!".
That statement simply isn't true. It is a myth. These statements were not part of the scientific literature at all. The only mention of global cooling were articles in magazines and not scientific journals (e.g., a 1975 Newsweek article titled ""The Cooling World"). It is incredible how often this statement that blegg wrote is mentioned in newspaper and denialist blogs today. As is nicely summarized at the link below, global warming actually dominated the scientific literature in the 70’s back then as well.
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BA...
Feb 16, 2014 2:43 PM # 
chitownclark:
...Forget that population graph, use a relevant (global) one...

OK. What you say is very true J-J...IF all global citizens produced an equal carbon footprint. But unfortunately when my wife immigrated from the nordic countries to the US, she bought a car...and immediately totaled it. Now she wants another, as do most immigrants. And a larger, air conditioned house, shopping with her nordic girlfriends, fancy imports, vacations in Europe and the Caribbean, etc, etc. I'm happy to oblige. But it is not surprising that Americans have the largest per-capita carbon footprint in the world, with Australians, Canadians and Saudis right behind:



So isn't it alarming that the US also has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world? We need both an Immigration Policy...and a Population Policy if this country is to get serious about controlling our carbon emissions.
Feb 16, 2014 3:08 PM # 
jtorranc:
@Hammer - you're exaggerating. From Skeptical Science's basic level rebuttal to the myth that the majority of scientists in the 70s were predicting global cooling - "The fact is that around 1970 there were 6 times as many scientists predicting a warming rather than a cooling planet.". There were papers in the scientific literature in the 1970s discussing/endorsing the possibility of global cooling - they were vastly outnumbered by papers anticipating warming but they did exist.
Feb 16, 2014 3:45 PM # 
ccsteve:
I'm curious - is part of this issue the use of "whole numbers" to represent variability?

Let me see if I can show this somewhat visually.

It we had an impact scale from "no impact" to "full impact" like this:

No -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Full

And we asked people to note their beliefs on there, they might put points on:

No ---------------------------------X---------------------------------------------------------------- Full

or

No -------------------------------------------------------------------------X------------------------ Full

But these single values don't seem to show the variability involved. While Mary leans towards No, but isn't sure.

Being required to take a single (and generally extreme) stance keeps people from seeing how close they might actually be. I'm interested in a Box-and-Whiskers approach that allows one to show Median, Standard Deviation, and 95th Percentile. (http://www.graphpad.com/faq/images/1176a.gif)

No ---------------!---------|-------X-------|-----------------------!-------------------------------- Full

or

No -------------------------------------------------!-----------------|-----X----|------!------------ Full

The idea being that without the absolutes of absolutely everything or nothing we might be better able to have a conversation....
Feb 16, 2014 4:50 PM # 
Hammer:
@JT: yes it appears I was. So lets reword that original statement to "SOME scientists 30 years ago were so concerned about global cooling!!!". The fact that so much research (as demonstrated by the link you sent) has gone in to find these few publications (not all global and not all natural causes mind you) shows just how effective the repeated use of '"global cooling" has been used by deniallists to sway public opinion.

@J-man wrote "So what is this all about?"
Well as a scientist, researcher and educator I would argue it is about educating the general public on climate science and as blegg nicely summarizes above the huge risks of ignoring climate change. There is a lack of knowledge on climate science and the cost to society of that ignorance is large. To solve a problem ones needs to first identify and accept that there is one. If we all didn’t care (like you have stated) then we wouldn’t be prepared for the issues that climate change will (and already is) causing.


@J-man wrote “I am confident in the power of human ingenuity to solve problems”.

I agree 100%. But I would argue that the human ingenuity is already there to solve the climate change problem by reducing our carbon energy intensity. We have lower and zero carbon emission energy sources already. The cost to make that change to those energy sources will be trumped by the cost of not making that change at all (through increased health care costs and extreme weather related costs) OR/ the cost differential will increase the longer it takes for serious carbon intensity reductions to begin. That is mitigation.

The other area where human ingenuity helps is in adaptation. Increasing individual resilience to decrease one’s vulnerability to climate change is easy if you only care about yourself and if you have money, but adapting to climate change gets a lot more complicated at a municipal or national level. Who pays for impacts on infrastructure, ecosystem services, food supply? Obama’s $1B Climate Resilience Fund announced yesterday is an example of federal adaptation to climate change. Is that the best use of taxpayer’s money? I'm not an economist so can't answer that question (heck I'm still waiting for an answer to J$'s question above) but for policy makers to make those decisions on costs of mitigation and increasing adaptation costs they need a range of expected climate change projections. As blegg nicely stated above "global warming type-problems demand a fundamental reevaluation of how society makes decisions, especially with regard to how we evaluate risk"

There has been some confusion regarding climate model predictions in the current and previous threads. The (many) climate models are used to model future projections based on a number of different emissions scenarios and/or socioeconomic scenarios. Here is an example from AR4 report from 2007 (sorry I couldn't find the link for the current report being released this year).

https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/...

Those letters and numbers on the right represent the different socioeconomic scenarios. The grey bars represent the range of model outputs (which may satisfy some of @nobbs' concerns about individual model justification) for each of the scenarios. The projections provide policy makers a range of options with an assigned uncertainty. When those uncertainties are assigned it becomes a prediction/forecast. Downscaling those range of temperature and precipitation changes to national, regional and municipal scale climate-mediated impacts increases that uncertainty even higher. The uncertainty may be enough for people to act or for others to dismiss the science and not care.

Speaking of not caring. Part of me really shouldn't care what people on Attack Point think about climate change. But for me personally I probably wouldn't have gone into environmental science and be examining the effects of climate-mediated disturbance on ecosystems if it wasn't for the sport of orienteering. Orienteering has had a big influence on me and my love of the outdoors. So perhaps I get more involved than I should when I see people not caring about climate impacts on nature. Perhaps IOF should change their motto from 'One with Nature' to 'Some of us are one with nature and some of us don't give a sh*t". ;-) I joke. But seriously earlier this year I promised myself I wouldn't get involved in debates like this which are summarized well with this all to familiar xkcd cartoon.

https://xkcd.com/386/

I failed. ;-) Much of my job as former associate director of the McMaster Centre for Climate Change was public outreach. You see the full range of positions on climate change in that role. Yes even more extreme than we have seen here. That is taxing so this will be my last post on this thread and I will use Ken's new 'x' to good use. :-)

Having said that as an environmental scientist that examines the effect of climate mediated disturbance on ecosystems I believe that we (as a sport) should be having discussions on how increased extreme weather and ecosystems impacts are having on (and access to) our 'natural arenas'.

For example, the Williams Lake Orienteering Club could speak to this given the devastation of interior BC forests by mountain pine beetle. Here in southern Ontario many of our local conservation areas close now on the ever increasing number of high wind and flooding days. There will be more threads on examples of the effects of increased extreme weather events like the Slovenian Ice Storm thread.
Feb 16, 2014 4:51 PM # 
AZ:
In games of prediction, isn't it best to be the bookie? Who cares what is going to happen - argue about that all you want - the bookie prepares for any outcome (by adjusting the odds he'll pay out) and survives and even prospers regardless.
Feb 16, 2014 5:28 PM # 
jjcote:
I thought this was just the gratuitous midwinter friendly bickering thread, in which some people pretend to be on the other side of the issue because the real people who feel that way aren't on Attackpoint. Maybe we should have picked some other topic like mandatory gun ownership.
Feb 16, 2014 8:13 PM # 
chitownclark:
Hammer wrote:
...J-man wrote “I am confident in the power of human ingenuity...” I agree 100%....We have lower and zero carbon emission energy sources already....

I note that Hammer deleted his response to AZ's post, so perhaps he's no longer reading this thread. But I'm afraid I'm not as optimistic as he and j-man. Because unfortunately few of those "low carbon energy sources" are worth much in terms of their NET energy output.

To understand, the ratio of ERoEI must be calculated...Energy Returned over Energy Invested. This ratio is figured without consideration of any monetary costs; it IS the "bottom line." Some sources require very little energy to tap into them, and deliver huge quantities easily; some net very little after all the energy expended to find, develop and tap them.

For example, strip-mined coal is just shoveled up and burned to produce 80 times more energy than it takes to develop the strip mine; whereas the Canadian tar sands only deliver 3 times the energy expended to mine, extract, refine and ship. And when you add in the energy required to build the XL pipeline infrastructure...and a portion of the steel mill that makes the pipes....aren't you Canadians just producing a lot of pollution that nets us nothing?

ERoEI.........Fuel
80....Coal
35....Oil imports 1990
18....Oil imports 2005
18....Wind
12....Oil imports 2007
10....Natural gas 2005
10....Nuclear
8.0...Current oil discoveries
6.8...Photovoltaic
5.0...Shale oil
3.0...Bitumen tar sands
1.9...Solar
1.3...Biodiesel
1.3...Ethanol from corn

So we can have all the ingenuity in the world...but unfortunately the "clean and easy" energy is rapidly disappearing. Note that it takes FOUR TIMES more energy to deliver a gallon of gas from recent petroleum discoveries than it did just 25 years ago.
Feb 16, 2014 9:00 PM # 
jjcote:
Wind and photovoltaic look pretty good on that chart. Especially if the energy invested comes from wind and/or photovoltaic. Although the chart doesn't specify one important thing: over what time period is this considered? You burn some coal, and the coal is gone. But a windmill keeps on turning. Is it over the expected mechanical life of the windmill? We're not going to be using up the wind, or the sunlight.
Feb 16, 2014 10:15 PM # 
ndobbs:
Those numbers ain't the bottom line, quite.

Wind power in large quantities requires storage, and storage isn't efficient. So if you have large amounts of wind energy, the 18 might drop to 10 or some such, I don't know.

And as for whereas the Canadian tar sands only deliver 3 times the energy expended to mine, extract, refine and ship. And when you add in the energy required to build the XL pipeline infrastructure...and a portion of the steel mill that makes the pipes....aren't you Canadians just producing a lot of pollution that nets us nothing?
Nope, three times a lot of energy is a lot of energy, and pipelines presumably are not much less efficient than shipping, otherwise why would they be built.

And... Note that it takes FOUR TIMES more energy to deliver a gallon of gas from recent petroleum discoveries than it did just 25 years ago
Four times a very small percentage is still a relatively small percentage, so I wouldn't care much about that. But four times four times is starting to get somewhere, and we may be there sooner than we would like.

Thanks to ctc,jman,blegg et al for all the fun.
Feb 16, 2014 10:47 PM # 
j-man:
This is really a good thread. Unfortunately, as I am currently using an iPad, a product of human ingenuity more oriented towards consumption than producing, I'm only consuming. But, props to all here for both interesting facts and some compelling personal testimonies. Please carry on. I need to regird myself to tilt with the Dark Knight.
Feb 17, 2014 12:42 AM # 
El Chucko:
jjcote: Maybe we should have picked some other topic like mandatory gun ownership.

We should have biathlon orienteering where you have random trail-o controls and you need to shoot the right one in order to move on
Feb 17, 2014 2:57 AM # 
jtorranc:
But, as I see it, the greatest threat to my own survival is not climate change. I will survive OK. And my progeny (should I have some) I expect will be OK, too.

The perfectly realistic possiblity that, to take one example, millions of Bangladeshis might starve to death or become refugees because sea level rises enough to make it impossible to farm where they currently do is notably absent from your threat assessment, j-man.

Also, regarding being willing to burn your boats and bridges in a quest to spread humanity beyond a single planet, a pro tip - it generally works better if you do it after the body of water is crossed, not before. Most people also settle for burning the boats and bridges and don't insist on reducing the home they left behind to a burnt cinder as well just to show how committed they are.
Feb 17, 2014 7:54 AM # 
j-man:
@jtorranc:

The perfectly realistic possiblity that, to take one example, millions of Bangladeshis might starve to death or become refugees because sea level rises enough to make it impossible to farm where they currently do is notably absent from your threat assessment, j-man.

Right, but what sort of welfare economic framework do you think I subscribe to that would cause me to care?

I think we need to call for a truce. Clearly, we have different views about distributional economics that are intractable. How much of my argumentation here has really said anything about science? When have I impugned climate science or disputed your facts and figures? I think I am clearly disputing the policy prescriptions, much as I would dispute most progressive recommendations about anything. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone here. I still don't know why I should be called a denialist.

Anyway, back to semantics just for a moment… why in English don't we call someone who doesn't like women a gynophobe? I guess I often fail at some things because I come at lots of issues from a conceptual analysis framework. I tend to know more than many about words. But, I don't know that much about all the relevant literature. Weinberg has provided a number of informative interviews that help to elucidate how he came up with his famous term. Such as here. Clearly, he is a clinician and knows his stuff, so I can appreciate some of the arguments. And certainly he is not responsible for how the term he coined became used in subsequent years. But, can you deny that this word, and in our current debate here, 'denialist', is used to political ends? Or, is it possible that everyone who is labeled a 'homophobe' to make a political point fits the clinical definition? I find that hard to believe. It strikes me as a word that has been coopted, and is being misapplied--intentionally or not--when a different term would be more generally relevant and true to English convention.

Again, the denialist thing irks me. Unless this is another term that has been coopted to political ends (and has a backstory that the in-crowd knows intuitively, but I do not) I don't think that describes me.
Feb 17, 2014 10:13 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Yep, no point arguing the science or the policy until we understand the ethical frameworks each brings to the "debate". I have trouble understanding how any ethical framework could be unconcerned about the Bangladeshi example, but I accept such might well exist. If anyone holds to such a position, climate change evidence is irrelevant. I think its more honest to not care and not argue against the climate science, than to be a "denialist". Might as well get back to orienteering discussions.
Feb 17, 2014 10:40 AM # 
gordhun:
Over the millions + years of the its existence the earth's continents have changed, its oceans have changed, its polar access has changed, its magnetic field has changed. So why should anyone be surprised that the earth's climate zones change/ shift as well?
I've spent most of my life living in an area that 20,000 years ago was covered in a sheet of ice over a kilometer thick and 10,000 years ago covered in a great sea of melted ice. The earth's climate (and its topography) has to have changed to now produce one of the most habitable areas on earth.
Limiting industrial and machine CO2 emissions is a laudable goal. However to promote that it will stop or even significantly affect global climate change patterns or stop the 20,000 year pattern of a disappearing polar ice cap is just plain fraud.
Feb 17, 2014 1:20 PM # 
Tundra/Desert:
Exercising and eating well is a laudable goal. However to promote that it will stop or even significantly affect death is just plain fraud. So why do you exercise and eat well?
Feb 17, 2014 1:35 PM # 
ndobbs:
@gordhun Just think, 500 years ago you had no earthworms.
Feb 17, 2014 3:10 PM # 
chitownclark:
...last week, President Obama cited [drought-stricken California] as an example of what could be in store for much of the rest of the country as human-caused climate change intensifies.... - from today's NYTimes

So now we have the President blaming current weather events on human-caused Global Warming. The article goes on to cite an interesting scientific study ten years ago that predicted these types of events by 2050....but they're happening much sooner:

...If a ridge of high atmospheric pressure develops off the California coast, it can easily push moisture-bearing winds to the north, so that the water falls closer to Seattle than Sacramento. Just such a ridge has been parked off California for much of the last three years. A decade ago, scientists published a tantalizing paper that predicted a greater likelihood of such a ridge. The lead researcher ran forecasts of what would happen in a future climate after a substantial melting of sea ice in the Arctic. The ice is already melting because of fast-rising temperatures in the region that many scientists attribute to human emissions.

They expected some sort of disturbance in the circulation of the atmosphere, but [they] were not prepared for the answer they received. “The surprise jumped out that, wow, all of a sudden it got a whole lot drier in the western part of North America,”

They said the loss of ice has allowed extra heat to escape from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere, disturbing weather patterns over vast distances. That, they said, has made extreme weather events of all kinds more likely in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly including winter extremes like the cold blasts hitting the East Coast these days.

The lead scientist suspects an element of coincidence, but he also calls the correlation “frightening.” If this kind of drought has indeed become more likely for California, that means the state — where some towns are now worried about running out of drinking water — is getting a glimpse of its future....
Feb 17, 2014 9:03 PM # 
upnorthguy:
"Darker Arctic boosting global warming":

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/darker-arctic-bo...
Feb 18, 2014 1:44 AM # 
jtorranc:
Right, but what sort of welfare economic framework do you think I subscribe to that would cause me to care?

I don't know - there are no doubt many to choose from. Do you in fact subscribe to a welfare economic framework in which you have no duty of care to avoid doing things the predictable consequences of which will harm other people?

Regarding homophobia, I didn't see a clinical definition of it in the interview you linked. His account of the origin of the term there was:

"I am very proud of being the one to have coined the word. I remember the moment in 1965 when it came to me with utter clarity that this was a phobia. I was preparing a speech for a homophile group, which set me to thinking about "What's wrong with those people?"
By "those people," I had in mind that day a few therapist friends who had liked a gay friend of mine, spoken well of her until I told them that she was a lesbian. Hearing that, they didn't want me to bring her to a party, as if she was a contaminant. "

Doesn't seem very clinical to me. Moving on, from the Wikipedia page for homophobia:

"Homophobia has never been listed as part of a clinical taxonomy of phobias, neither in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD); homophobia is usually used in a non-clinical sense.[24]"

In sum, I don't know what you're talking about with your apparent claim that the word is being grossly misused in common practice rather than properly according to its clinical definition.

May I suggest we don't call people who hate women gynophobes simply because, perhaps for no other reason than random chance, misogynist was coined first?

This will end up rather disjointed but a couple more points:

- I disagree that you've been disputing policy prescriptions. I think it is much more accurate to say you've been trying to cast doubt on the idea that any policy response should be undertaken. If you agreed a policy response was required and devoted your energy to making the cases for one response or set of responses and against another, that would represent considerable progress from your current style of argumentation as performance art.
- Are you asserting that some special set of rules applies to words used for political ends? Where are these rules written down? By whose authority are they promulgated?
- I'm still waiting for you to identify specific problems with Breunig's premises or reasoning. I'm not going to believe you can until you actually do - call me skeptical.
Feb 18, 2014 1:55 AM # 
iansmith:
Killing the open italics tag and missing div tag.
Feb 18, 2014 3:17 AM # 
j-man:
May I suggest we don't call people who hate women gynophobes simply because, perhaps for no other reason than random chance, misogynist was coined first?

I am disappointed Jon. No, not random chance. Because the term actually originated in ancient Greece, where you could count on them to know how to use their language.

Don't worry, gynophobe exists, and its meaning is exactly as you'd expect.

Anyway, why on earth do I need to critique Breunig's arguments? You and Hammer referenced him, not me. Do I have to fight the minions here and your angels in heaven, too?

That is why environmentalism is such a huge problem for libertarians, and it is no doubt why so many of them are skeptical of the effects of climate change or other environmental issues. Admitting that someone’s use of their own property almost certainly entails an infringement on someone else’s property makes the whole libertarian position basically impossible to act out in the real world.

That is the conclusion right?

Are libertarians skeptical of the effects of climate change? I honestly don't know. I don't spend any time reading their writings or conversing with them. Do you? Why do I have to defend them, too?

Anyway, there seems to be a problem in the logical structure. It is redolent of the illicit minor fallacy, although maybe not exactly. There are a whole host of reasons someone would be skeptical of the effects of climate change, but his post falls far short of the standards of logical proof.
Feb 18, 2014 3:36 AM # 
j-man:
Do you in fact subscribe to a welfare economic framework in which you have no duty of care to avoid doing things the predictable consequences of which will harm other people?

OK. Yes, your carbon footprint is probably smaller than mine. I have no idea. Because it is somewhat smaller you are a saint and I am a sinner? How have you managed to do such a great job minimizing your impact on other people so that you can flit through life like a demigod?

I breathe. I defecated. I defile the planet and harm other people. But, so do you.
Feb 18, 2014 3:47 AM # 
jjcote:
Misogynist? I thought that the English term for men who hate women was the girl with the dragon tattoo.

I have to wonder, if the weather were to get really bland, would that get blamed on global warming, too? I'm not saying that we're not having weather phenomena that are caused by increased CO2 levels, but you can't just point to arbitrary weather events and say, "See?".
Feb 18, 2014 3:50 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Reductio ad absurdum.
The policy debate isn't about whether anyone shits. Its about the need or otherwise for coordinated market and regulatory signals in recognition of the spillover effects we all contribute to, and in recognition of the improbability that voluntary change based upon moral argument will make any difference. Think of it much like the use of taxes to pay for shared sewerage systems.
Feb 18, 2014 4:15 AM # 
El Chucko:
As a rule, man is a fool.
When it's hot, he wants it cool.
When it's cool he wants it hot.
He always wants what it is not.

http://gsabulletin.gsapubs.org/content/121/9-10/14...

Could be worse
Feb 18, 2014 4:18 AM # 
El Chucko:
“The magnitude of the coming anthropogenic greenhouse pales in comparison with past greenhouse spikes at times of global mass extinctions.”
Feb 18, 2014 4:24 AM # 
yurets:
I do not see any good reason to get emotional here about this really trivial issue, what would happen to climate in 50-100-200 years. Who cares. Modern civilization will collapse much sooner, from depletion of fossil fuel reserves, well at least those with reasonable extraction cost. America particularly is doomed. Every little town with 20 thousand of population is spread on the area of half-Moscow. That fine movie I recall, The Road, or something ?, that’s the future.
Feb 18, 2014 4:35 AM # 
bshields:
There were weather events in the past, and there will be weather events in the future. Clearly the "weather event?" binary metric is not going to get you very far.

The theory is that as global warming ramps up, the weather will fluctuate more. So the more relevant thing would be to measure the weather variance, or perhaps to look for changes in the frequency domain. For example, it's supposed to rain a little bit more, on average (because there's going to be more water (instead of ice), and the temperature increase will make more of it water vapor), but it will rain less frequently and in larger amounts, and in different spatial patterns.

Consequently our current inability to predict things like freak ice storms will be more costly, because the storms will be more frequent, and often more violent. It will be harder for farmers to plan their water usage, and more of their crops will be destroyed by storms, so your food bill will go up. Or maybe you will even run out of food, just as many people have run out of salt of late. Of course we will continue to do battle with mother nature, but it will require better preparedness than we are used to. So, even if you have no moral dilemma in burning fuel and so forth, shouldn't you at least plan for a changing climate? Precisely because it's not fun to be huddling in the cold during an ice storm? The attitude that it's all very complicated and questionable so don't tell me this storm is a sign of global warming, etc., doesn't yield a high level of preparedness.
Feb 18, 2014 6:31 AM # 
simmo:
Meanwhile IL, this may or may not have anything to do with climate change, but are you involved?

Any Canberrans out there care to tell us if the rock garden has been mapped?
Feb 18, 2014 9:39 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
We have enough rocks here so we give them away to unfortunates like Canberrans. With enough donations they might be able to make a good map.
Feb 18, 2014 10:30 AM # 
markg:
I am ashamed that I wasn't aware we have a national rock garden ...

InvisibleLog, I've heard complaints of too many rocks on some of the maps near Canberra, I'm not sure more are needed. A few in SE Qld wouldn't go astray though, it would save having to drive to Stanthorpe. Perhaps we could swap some rocks for lantana, it will probably grow nicely in all the hot weather Vic is getting. Oops, back to climate change ...
Feb 18, 2014 1:12 PM # 
ccsteve:
For those that care, I'm confident Yurets point to Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior above.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max_2

A wonderful movie from down under actually... (The original Mad Max is very odd, and the squeal Beyond Thunderdome was ok but didn't have quite the right flair for me...)
Feb 18, 2014 1:15 PM # 
chitownclark:
I note that ken has "archived" the first 75 posts to this thread; a "show" button at the top gives access. I hope we're not jeopardizing his server with this important discussion.

And try as I may, I cannot find randy's several long posts, either on this or the Slovenian Ice Storm thread. So I guess he has thought twice, decided he was wrong....and deleted his contributions. Has he, in fact, seen the error of his denialst ways?

Are the denialists turning tail and running? Does this mean we've won?
Feb 18, 2014 1:23 PM # 
Jagge:
Yes, we have saved the world, no need to worry any longer.
Feb 18, 2014 1:38 PM # 
ken:
FYI, the "archiving" thing is automatic on long threads.
Feb 18, 2014 1:45 PM # 
chitownclark:
Good idea ken....thanks! A lot of needless scrolling has been eliminated.

And on another note, is there ever any "censoring" of these general discussion threads? Even when some of the comments might be taken as personal attacks?

I for one, would never ask for censoring. We don't HAVE to post here, and thus become targets for disagreement and personal attack. We do so willingly. As Harry Truman used to say, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!"
Feb 18, 2014 2:20 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
j-man:
OK. Yes, your carbon footprint is probably smaller than mine.


I never assume that an AGW alarmist has a small carbon footprint.
Feb 18, 2014 2:21 PM # 
ndobbs:
Threads have been deleted, or at least hidden, in the past, and rightly so. Most discussions on AP are remarkably civil, but there have been unpleasant exceptions.
Feb 18, 2014 5:51 PM # 
hughmac⁴:
I'm excited about the potential of CSP plants:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/making-sola...

Particularly if/when they integrate the phase-change-salt storage method. Still academic and boondogglish at this point, but pretty neat stuff. Similar with Gallium Arsenide PVs:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/is-it-time-...

Huge potential for that, even at the tiny personal level. I've been off-and-on looking at solar charging for backpacking for some time, and while there are a couple of solid products out there now, it would be superb (and I would certainly pay a premium) to cut the weight or size in half, or double the output (I would prefer the former, particularly the size).
Feb 18, 2014 6:26 PM # 
j-man:
@Mr Wonderful: I have too much respect for jtorranc to conflate him with Al Gore. However, I may not give such benefit of the doubt to my other foes ;) They may not have as much rectitude or ethical capacity.

In any case, in all religious debates, hypocrisy abounds.
Feb 18, 2014 8:57 PM # 
randy:

And try as I may, I cannot find randy's several long posts, either on this or the Slovenian Ice Storm thread. So I guess he has thought twice, decided he was wrong....and deleted his contributions. Has he, in fact, seen the error of his denialst ways?


Actually, Clark, I became disillusioned with the lack of empathy, civility and critical thinking in the thread, so I decided to take my marbles and go home. As Harry Truman once said, "if you can't stand the heat [or more accurately, aren't really interested in it], then get out of the kitchen" :)

BTW, no one is ever "wrong" when dealing with disparate, self-dogmatic axiom sets; that's how clueless most posters in this thread are, but, whatever. We are both right, Clark, but at least the data is consistent with my axioms.

In any case, all I can say is that I turned my thermostat up from 68 to 72, and I think of you every time a CO2 molecule wafts from my furnace into the atmosphere :) Have a nice day.
Feb 18, 2014 10:00 PM # 
ndobbs:
randy, what on earth makes you think you aren't a valued contributor to this and other threads? It feels like you are fishing for compliments...
Feb 18, 2014 10:13 PM # 
j-man:
I fish for spears and brickbats and my friends oblige me.
Feb 19, 2014 11:09 AM # 
GuyO:
The hyperactivity of this thread has put it on my "can't read" list. However, I do skim for specific posters, and randy is one of them...
Feb 19, 2014 6:59 PM # 
jtorranc:
I am disappointed Jon. No, not random chance. Because the term actually originated in ancient Greece, where you could count on them to know how to use their language.

Don't worry, gynophobe exists, and its meaning is exactly as you'd expect.


I fail to see why you're disappointed. Looking at your Gynophobia link and the equivalent page for Misogyny, gynophobe does indeed exist but is a fairly recent coinage from Greek roots, apparently in a clinical context, whereas misogynist is authentically Ancient Greek in origin. In what way does this contradict my conjecture that misogynist may dominate in current English usage, imprecise though that may be compared to the glory of Ancient Greek, for no deeper reason than that it had a head start and then the advantages of incumbency?
Feb 19, 2014 10:25 PM # 
jtorranc:
OK. Yes, your carbon footprint is probably smaller than mine. I have no idea. Because it is somewhat smaller you are a saint and I am a sinner? How have you managed to do such a great job minimizing your impact on other people so that you can flit through life like a demigod?

I breathe. I defecated. I defile the planet and harm other people. But, so do you.


My question wasn't about which of us has a large carbon footprint. It was:

"Do you in fact subscribe to a welfare economic framework in which you have no duty of care to avoid doing things the predictable consequences of which will harm other people? "

I know you were aware of that since you quoted the entire question as the introduction to your response. I think I've being quite clear that I don't subscribe to such a framework, i.e. that I do think you, me and everyone else on earth should feel obligated to try to avoid harming other people, wherever they may happen to live. Please could you give a straightforward answer to the question? If you respond in the affirmative, delving into the details of your framework could be enlightening (because I, frankly, find it incomprehensible how you could reject the Golden Rule - Wikipedia says the Ancient Greeks, for instance, were very big on it). If you respond in the negative, then we're basically on the same page on the ethics of this and then perhaps it would be productive to skip over discussing the inadequacy of any possible attempts you or I might make to reduce our personal environmental impacts and instead discuss how public policy could address the negative externalities you admit may well be associated with fossil fuel use. Is that too much to ask - a public policy discussion without you (and randy, earlier) reacting to the idea that our lifestyles may have to change to avoid bad things happening in the future as though it were a personal attack?
Feb 20, 2014 12:37 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
In theory most of us will subscribe to that Golden Rule. In practice we all overlook it in much of our daily consumer life. Some to a greater extent than others. You may take this as a personal admission of a degree of personal hypocrisy. I doubt none on this thread is free of this condition. If we accept this, then we can move on to the need for public policy intervention to limit our hypocrisy if as a collective we believe the situation is important enough.
Yes, I would like to hear an answer to Jon's question, not as a personal attack, but out of curiosity. Perhaps it will lead to a discussion about the balance between utilitarianism and libertarianism.
Feb 20, 2014 6:20 AM # 
j-man:
It seems beyond the pale to demand that I explicate my personal ethics, worldview, and ontic assumptions like this is some sort of trial. But, to bring closure to this...

My personal ethical framework is given structure through Kant, particularly the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. But, of course, one could say that this is indeed a recapitulation of the so-called Golden Rule, which itself is explicitly stated in my personal religious tenets.

As for a welfare economic framework--the closest I have to such a thing can be found in Hayek.

I will allow you to let me know how either of these are internally inconsistent or are inconsistent with one another. In any case, however they may enjoin me to live my personal life, they do not allow me to impose on others how to live theirs.

as though it were a personal attack?

Ceding my rights at the barrel of a gun or under the duress of facing the censure of legion would be a personal attack. A personal challenge would be to be hectored, often in a supercilious or bizarrely officious manner to explain myself, defend myself, defend my alleged co-conspirators, and/or defend myself against the arguments of the external Greek chorus. As I do repeatedly attempt to appeal to reason, the efforts are demeaned as being "argumentation as performance art." Sigh.

But, this strikes me as the way a trial in a place where there is no rule of law would work, so maybe it is good practice.

Finally, I suspect Randy (retreating under perceived unfair criticism of his lifestyle) and me, reminded yet again that some lifestyles are more equal than others, find the irony of these statements rich.
Feb 20, 2014 10:33 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
That is mostly too complex for me to understand, with the exception maybe the mention of Hayek, a man who (in my opinion) made claims of the utilitarian benefits of his philosophy without presenting much in the way of evidence. But that is the way of the Austrian school. As a research psychologist by training, my perspective is probably predictable.
I started this thread because I wanted to get the irrelevance out of the Slovenian forest thread. Starting from a position of mild displeasure, I veered towards bewilderment as the thread progressed. I remain in that state.
Feb 20, 2014 1:12 PM # 
j-man:
I appreciate that you started the thread and your measured, constructive questioning. Your professional background is especially relevant as this has devolved into something genuinely bizarre. As I am partially, but by no means exclusively, responsible for this, I apologize to you.
Feb 20, 2014 2:51 PM # 
chitownclark:
....Starting from a position of mild displeasure, I veered towards bewilderment....

Well Mr Log, I also appreciated the thread and all of the posters, as bewildering as some of their contributions might have been. The thread allowed me to discover new information about Global Warming and related topics:

• new scientific thought about the impact Arctic warming may already be having on the weather and future livability in the US: diverted rainfall, drought, severe ice storms, periods of extreme temperatures, etc

• the work of economist Arthur Pigou (thanks j-man) and the concept of Pigovian Taxes to help balance the negative effects of our carbon-based economy

• this cute video about some of the purely personal reasons not to have kids...while avoiding future Americans' massive carbon footprints on the surface of our Earth.
Feb 20, 2014 11:00 PM # 
jtorranc:
In theory most of us will subscribe to that Golden Rule. In practice we all overlook it in much of our daily consumer life. Some to a greater extent than others. You may take this as a personal admission of a degree of personal hypocrisy.

None of us have infinite time in which to thoroughly investigate every single thing we buy to determine whether its production or eventual disposal might produce consequences sufficiently adverse to outweigh the benefits of consuming or owning it.
Feb 20, 2014 11:53 PM # 
jtorranc:
It seems beyond the pale to demand that I explicate my personal ethics, worldview, and ontic assumptions like this is some sort of trial. But, to bring closure to this...

Asking you to explain your thinking is beyond the pale? In a discussion forum?

No matter - enough derision from me, however deserving or undeserving various things that have been written here may be of it. The attempt at closure isn't especially helpful to those of us who haven't read Kant or Hayek and lack time to anytime soon but I'm weary enough to abandon trying to understand your worldview. If there's anything specific you raised in our back and forth that I haven't addressed which you would like me to, please identify it. Otherwise, I'm disengaging.
Feb 21, 2014 12:00 AM # 
j-man:
I am also weary, so I am also disengaging. However, I was hoping someone would have commented briedly on this one before I climb out of here. I can come up with my own rejoinder, but others here are more capable.

Cited article is here: http://gsabulletin.gsapubs.org/content/121/9-10/14...

[it looks like the anchors don't work for messages in the collapsed portion of the thread.]
Feb 21, 2014 1:04 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Maybe my concluding comment [other than that the link above doesn't work for my browser].
I can accept a libertarian position that values freedom of choice over a utilitarian goal of maximising our community well-being [you can call this an economic welfare framework if you must]. I can't agree with it, but that is different.
I can accept and generally agree with a utilitarian ethical position of maximising welfare [you can use the word utility instead if you must, but I will debate what this actually means].
I cannot accept claims of the utilitarian benefits of a libertarian policy without the support of evidence. This is not a matter of values but of debatable fact. This is why I have little respect for Hayak. Wishful thinking at a crucial moment in history won him a Nobel Prize.
My motivation in all my posts was to try and disentangle value positions from contestable positions.
Feb 21, 2014 1:09 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
And a late admission.
I did start this thread with the aim of hijacking with slovenian forest discussion, but that failed miserably.
Feb 21, 2014 2:09 AM # 
bshields:
In regards to the cited article, here goes (I don't know what the general availability is from the link above, but the article is also available from the author's website if anyone has difficulty accessing it).

The article attempts to quantify historical levels of atmospheric CO2 based on something called the Ginkgo Stomatal Index. Basically, people have observed a relationship between CO2 levels and the incidence of stomata in Ginkgo leaves*. In particular, as CO2 levels increase, number of stomata decrease. The data establishing this relationship exists over a range of CO2 levels from 294-800ppmv, and for a range of GSI from ~6.5-14%. This data is plotted in Fig. 3 of the paper.

Correctly understanding the functional relationship between GSI and CO2 seems to be an evolving art. There are two main concerns:

1. It is not clear that the functional relationship between GSI and CO2 will be maintained over another, say, factor of 10 increase in CO2 levels. Who's to say Ginkgos just keep truckin' like that? The proposed relationship is (eq. 1):

CO2 = 294.1 + 1/(4.84e-10 * GSI^7.93) **

2. The relationship itself is prone to error at the low GSI / high CO2 end. This can be understood from Fig. 3, in which two different hypothesized functional relationships are superimposed on the data. The difficulty in extrapolating this relationship to lower GSI / higher CO2 levels is clear. Basically, the GSI/CO2 slope is very very tiny, so the error in predicting CO2 from a small change in GSI is huge. The error on the slope itself would also appear to be significant, as evidenced by the two different curves.

The author does not seem to address concern 1 in the present work. Fair enough, I guess; maybe it's hard to grow Ginkgo plants in a greenhouse at 7000ppmv CO2...***

In regards to concern 2, the errorbars on the quoted CO2 levels are, indeed, high. In particular, at the level of 7200ppmv CO2 (the highest claimed historical level in the paper), the errorbar is 3000ppmv. It seems that that error assumes the functional relationship is indeed as cited above, so that the resulting error is entirely due to propagating the GSI error through to the CO2 level, and not at all to error in determining the functional relationship.****

In any case, the indications seem to be that historical levels were high, even if there is much uncertainty as to exactly how high. I would argue that the fact that levels of 2000ppmv are correlated with mass-extinction events is a cause for concern, given that by the end of the century we are expected to be at ~50% of that level, and that the errorbars on 2000ppmv are also pretty high.

In regards to the second thrust of the paper, which seems to be to determine a correlation between CO2 levels and overall temperature and wetness, I don't think we can take away much in regards to weather. Climate, yes, but not weather. Nothing in his data makes any reference to severe weather events, only average wetness and temperature.

So... is that what you wanted to know?

* - "Stomatal index is the number of stomatal openings as a percent of epidermal cell plus stomate numbers"
** - actually, eq. 1 seems to have GSI^7.93 in the numerator, but that would not agree with the data, so I assume he made a parenthesis error.
*** - if so, then it's really questionable to extrapolate up to those CO2 levels.
**** - The author claims, "the standard error of this relationship (±37 ppmv)" (in reference to eq. 1). It's not clear what that means. Look at the two curves in Fig. 3 and tell me they don't differ by 1000s of ppmv CO2 at low levels of GSI.
Feb 21, 2014 3:26 AM # 
j-man:
Yes, excellent. Thanks. Signing off.
Feb 21, 2014 12:27 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
we can move on to the need for public policy intervention to limit our hypocrisy


What need? Lead by example. This is like my friend who always argues that I should be taxed into oblivion to pay for some program but he never opens his checkbook.

not to have kids


As if orienteers are reproducing at a rapid rate anyway! What havoc you seek to wreak on junior development.
Feb 21, 2014 1:41 PM # 
bshields:
Clark is just hoping to cut down on the number of lazy young upstarts who are paying for his medicare benefits.
Feb 21, 2014 3:44 PM # 
chitownclark:
Contributions from the "young upstarts" so far not needed. Medicare & Social Security programs have made money on me; my paycheck deductions many years ago, were much more than I've received so far, when even the most modest compounding is considered. Thanks to my a/p exercise log I hope to keep it that way.

And thank you bshields for the link to that 15-page paper supporting the reality of Global Warming and your humorous summary above. The graphs in the paper (p.1451) showing huge projected increases in temperature and rainfall by 2100 are certainly sobering. What is life going to be like with 50% more rain, snow and ice?
Feb 21, 2014 10:58 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Mr Wonderful. That makes no sense to me at all. Tax is about opening both yours and your friends cheque books if you collectively agree the cause justifies the measure. I can't see any other answer to his free-rider behaviour.
Feb 22, 2014 7:45 AM # 
ndobbs:
@TIL, you can't reverse hijack. You have to forward hijack.
Inishbofin is one of Ireland's finest orienteering venues.
Feb 24, 2014 5:32 PM # 
jtorranc:
What need? Lead by example. This is like my friend who always argues that I should be taxed into oblivion to pay for some program but he never opens his checkbook.

For some inexplicable reason everyone else on earth doesn't slavishly imitate my lifestyle choices. If they did, no one would own a car and CO2 emissions would therefore be lower. Also, everyone would be vegan. These facts lead me to believe that leading by my personal example isn't a sufficient response to major societal problems. It was also a clue when I refrained from killing anyone for my entire life to date and the murder rate didn't fall to zero.
Feb 24, 2014 8:36 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
@Ndobbs. Perhaps you can post a link to a map of the best terrain at Inishbofin.
Feb 24, 2014 9:07 PM # 
ndobbs:
http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~ndobbs/crap/bofin.jpg

There are a couple of palm trees on the island, but the white is open.
Feb 24, 2014 9:33 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
I am curious as to the course setting strategies used to link the areas of obviously interesting terrain. Also, is there a map of Craggy Island or Rugged Island? I hear the local inhabitants are quite amusing.
Feb 24, 2014 9:59 PM # 
ndobbs:
this is just up the road from the house (3 photos earlier in the album) which is in the Burren not on an island and is not mapped...

You can get a reasonable longish distance out of the two northern chunks.

It's not the only island to be mapped, http://omaps.worldofo.com/index.php?id=2780 for example, with one of the longer cliffs you will see on an orienteering map. It'll take a while to be submerged by rising sea levels, too.
Feb 24, 2014 10:52 PM # 
blegg:
Seriously ndobbs? You want to put a long-distance course on that map? At a scale of 1:10,000? Those beaurocrats over in IOF will probably try to organize some mass-start world-cup race there, just cause it's easier to set up TV cameras without the trees around. Don't even get me started on the blurry stacked-formlines.
Feb 25, 2014 12:05 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Has anyone used Parochial House as a sprint venue? If not, is there any risk this iconic cultural structure will be submerged by sea-level rise in the near future. How long can we wait?
Feb 25, 2014 8:02 AM # 
ndobbs:
The House is safe from inundation, unless maybe a new turlough pops up. Relax, TIL, and have a cup o' tea.
Feb 25, 2014 8:30 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Certainly Mrs Doyle.
Feb 26, 2014 12:34 AM # 
jjcote:
What's the largest island that has been fully mapped to ISOM standards? Anybody have any nominees?
Feb 26, 2014 3:02 AM # 
mikeminium:
Stripling Island at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch in north Texas is part of the Sid Richardson map. It is connected to the mainland by a long man-made causeway. I'd guess it is about 80 acres (27 ha). Of course, since it is in a lake, not an ocean, sea levels would have to rise quite a bit to flood it ...

Last year during TJOC, we did a 25 control memory O on the island. Great place for that activity. If memory failed, you had to run back to a master map.
Feb 26, 2014 3:28 AM # 
upnorthguy:
Newcastle Island in Nanaimo harbour, British Columbia is about 4 1/4 square km. There must be larger islands mapped in Scandinavia.
Feb 26, 2014 4:02 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
@jjcote. Possibly one of the Stockholm Archipelago Islands. Lidingö Hittaut map would be an example. Interesting project that lead to the map is described here.
http://okvaal.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/hittautnulid...
A couple of copies are sitting on my desk in faraway Australia and I quite enjoy wasting time looking at them. Folded out they could be called a small tablecloth.
Parts of the map can be seen here.
http://omaps.worldofo.com/index.php?st=lidingo&a=s...
Feb 26, 2014 7:09 AM # 
Jagge:
I think Stordøya, Norway, was mapped couple of decades ago(?) That would make something like 500..600 km2. Older ISOM standard of course.

This discussion thread is closed.