Friday, April 18, 2014

Paul Krugman on WGIII

Posted without comment

So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong?
Oh, wait.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...


Do you not realize just how crazy and delusional 'Savin the planet' sounds?

Jim Eager said...

Yeah, for sure it's a poor choice of words, but it only seems to be an issue raised by those who insist that there is no problem. Now that is truly crazy and delusional.

Anonymous said...

I think that's sort of a short for 'save the sand beaches of under 18 feet in height'.

dbostrom said...

I find the phenomenon of rhetorical tacticians constantly trying to change the topic of discussion from something important to something trivial to be truly crazy behavior. That would be you, #1 Anonymous

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

'Global extinction event' sounds pretty delusional and crazy too, but nevertheless they occur regularly in the paleorecord. Is it just the paleorecord that you disagree with?

Jeffrey Davis said...

"Saving the planet" is a metonymy for keeping the planet suitable for habitation by +7 billion of us. It isn't a difficult concept. Does Anonymous bristle when a reporter says "The White House said today ..." because building don't actually talk?

chek said...

I wonder if anyone recalls a book, maybe from about five or ten years ago which essentially had the rather bleak message that losing our present civilisation is likely for keeps?
That our rapaciousness in using all resources means no near surface mineral deposits to power any post-apocalypse Iron Age II or Industrial Revolution II.
At least, not with the oceans and continents in their current configuration.

Anonymous said...

" there is no problem."

I does help to speak specifically ( and falsifiably ) about what problem one expects ( and when ).

"'save the sand beaches of under 18 feet in height'."

At current rates, that would be in roughly two millenia - if you're signing up to solve possible problems two millenia from now, you have too much time on your hands.

"Global extinction event' sounds pretty delusional and crazy too"

Yes, I agree - particularly if you're trying to make the case that even a doubling of CO2
would cause extinctions.

"suitable for habitation by +7 billion of us"

What precisely do you fear is reducing habitability?
Humans inhabit all of the climates on earth.
This is an empty 'argument'.

There is a pretty good argument the economic development is
what's best for the environment
- it is in the developed world that population is stable or declining ( by choice )
- it is in the developed world that actual pollution is least

But I cannot abide the false ascription that CO2 and warmth are problems.

J Bowers said...

"Humans inhabit all of the climates on earth."

Better remove nonecumene from the dictionaries, and a third of Australia's arid and semi-arid regions from the atlases, then.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_uninhabited_regions

Wet bulb temperature. look it up.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

There is a pretty good argument the economic development is what's best for the environment

If you ignore the evidence, the entire bulk of scientific and technical knowledge, and the entire paleorecord. Your delusions are deep and irreversible. I wish extinction upon you and I'm convinced I will enjoy your mass dieoff in the very near future.

Enjoy your ongoing extinction event. Your species is not exempt.

Jeffrey Davis said...

"What precisely do you fear is reducing habitability? Humans inhabit all of the climates on earth. This is an empty 'argument'.

A few years ago Russia and Australia experienced huge drought related crop failure. The same year that Pakistan lost its season due to a bizarre extended monsoon.

It isn't difficult to imagine Canada and the US losing seasons to drought and heat. At that point, famine would decimate the populations of the most vulnerable among us.

We've only had .9C of warming. The world of 2C would be vastly different than ours. A public official hand-waving away the menace of drought and famine should be treated as a criminal.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous makes two points : There is a pretty good argument the economic development is
what's best for the environment
- it is in the developed world that population is stable or declining ( by choice )
- it is in the developed world that actual pollution is least


Both of which are (of course) merely regurgitating talking points without recourse to the actual data.:
The World Bank's 2012 listing of countries with declining populations : Micronesia, Moldova, Estonia, Cuba, Faroe Islands, Belarus, Greenland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Japan, Ukraine, American Samoa, Romania, Hungary, Portugal, Croatia, United States Virgin Islands, Serbia, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Latvia.

Not exactly a list of the world's developed countries. Japan is an obvious outlier and the only G20 nation in the group. The developed world does not have declining populations - they generally have *lower* population growth rates - but that is not the same as no growth or decline.

The second point confuses total emissions with trend. Higher income countries have a lower trend, but they still emit the most. It also ignores the fact that the reason they have a lower trend is they have outsourced many emission producing activities to lower income countries and then import the finished products.

Figures TS.4 and TS.5 of the WG III - Mitigation of Climate Change Technical Summary are instructive.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll,
CO2 and CH4 have caused at least one previous mass extinction event.

JonnieG said...

chek makes a good point. The problem with climate change is not so much humanity drowning or burning up, but the fact that it diverts our attention from the real problem facing humanity: depletion of natural resources on a timescale that humanity cannot react, namely decades, and the sudden collapse of the high-tech global economy. A new mathematical model for civilization growth, collapse and recovery has been developed, called HANDY (Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies) (http://www.sesync.org/sites/default/files/resources/motesharrei-rivas-kalnay.pdf). I find it a remarkable albeit top level model akin to early climate models. HANDY is based on four coupled differential equations that relate resources (natural and renewable), populations (2 types which I will called worker bees and drones to avoid preconceived notions) and wealth (that needed to maintain.feed the population and that squirreled away or of a type that cannot be turned into useful things to maintain the civilization). The applicability to model the qualitative aspects of the historical grow/collapse cycles I find impressive. The model unambiguously predicts the occurrence of irrecoverable collapse especially in a "closed" system. Chek is alluding to this so-called Type N collapse which, when looking at the model, qualitatively describes the state of the global economy today. Unlike previous recoveries, the recovery from a type N collapse will not have available to it the easily obtained energy sources (oil, coal, gas) that powered the growth (invention) of our current high-tech stuff nor the special natural resources (metals, K-based fertilizers and rare earth elements, etc.) needed to develop our current (magic) technologies. The best humanity might be able to do is to maintain a 18th Century economy and technology based on renewable biomass energy sources. Looking ahead a few dozen decades makes a meter or two of sea level rise just a nuisance compared to feeding 7+ b people. In such a scenario there won't be 7+ b people, though,very quickly. I suggest you take a look and read it even if you don't understand the equations. At least it will provide an interesting diversion from climate change models.

Anonymous said...

Bowers: Great - don't move to arid Australia.

Elefritz: What you... never mind.

Davis: Can you name a time in which there was not drought somwhere? Can you explain why you believe global warming would lead to drought?

O'Neill: It looks like this

dilbert ray: There is no plausible extinction case from CO2 in the foreseeable centuries ahead.
If you see one, you may be living in Colorado.

Mal Adapted said...

Anonymous Troll: "There is no plausible extinction case from CO2 in the foreseeable centuries ahead."

Ah, the good old argument from personal incredulity, also known as the argument from ignorance.

RR's tolerance for trolls means that we get to see just what kind of people deniers really are.

Anonymous said...

Mal - and you believe unsubstantiated hand-waving about extinction because - why?

Bryson said...

There's an 'epistemic community' effect here too: how better to build confidence in your 'truth' than to have it echoed by those you count as your peers? These 'facts' from the anonytroll are repeated over and over on the blogs preferred by the breed. Of course, it also helps to be able to play the Red Queen when it comes to the twists and turns!

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

unsubstantiated hand-waving

AKA - mathematics, physics and the geological paleorecord to the deluded anti-science denialist.

Who are you trying to fool, grandma? Even grandma ain't that dumb, and she has grandchildren to protect.

Anonymous said...

"What could go wrong?"

Religious fundementalist fucktards - that's what could go wrong. Embedded within governments, institutions and education. Morons with a death wish, hoping for "the end".

Humans are very, very stupid. They're incapable of separating themselves from superstitious nonsense and facts. They're also very greedy and ignorant to boot.

Ultimately, the combination of ignorance, superstitions, arrogance and greed commit the species to self-extinction.

The "evidence" of this fact is found in everything we do.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous says: O'Neill: It looks like this

Ummm ... can you read graphs? The link clearly shows the developed world's population is still increasing. (The dotted line has a little label on it marked 'Today') It is *predicted* to drop by 2050.

No defense for your second point? An admission of being wrong would seem in order.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous says: "There is no plausible extinction case from CO2 in the foreseeable centuries ahead."

In Has the Earth/'s sixth mass extinction already arrived? we find that the rates at which mammals, birds, and reptiles are going extinct today is as fast — and in some cases, much faster — than what led to the five major extinctions in the past.

You may wish to also consider Extinction Risk From Climate Change by Thomas et al, wherein the authors write: "...we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’."

Remember, those numbers are based on warming *only* through 2050.

I would say that it's not only plausible - it appears to have already started.

Mal Adapted said...

AT: "Mal - and you believe unsubstantiated hand-waving about extinction because - why?"

Oh, I don't believe unsubstantiated hand-waving. I conditionally accept conclusions that are substantiated by evidence.

The evidence is out there, AT. All you have to do is take the necessary basic and advanced courses, read the body of literature, master the methods of research, attend some professional society conferences, publish a few papers, earn the grudging respect of your scientific peers -- you know, the usual grind. How else will you know whether you're fooling yourself or not?

Or, if you don't want to put that much time in, you could become at least meta-literate in Science, so you'll know how to tell reliable information from DK-afflicted nonsense. It'll still take some work, but the alternative is having your proud ignorance made fun of on blogs like this one.

Jeffrey Davis said...

"Can you name a time in which there was not drought somwhere? "

That's beyond idiotic. There were murders before therefore there was no Holocaust.

What would a completely novel weather pattern look like? Actual cats and dogs falling from the sky?

bill said...

"Your Honour, members of the jury, the untainted historical record clearly shows that forest fires have swept across the surface of the planet, and this country, for millennia; long before our species arrived on the scene, let alone my humble client. And yet the prosecution, and a few activist 'forensic scientists', would have you believe him guilty of arson!..."

Anonymous said...

Elefritz - if you want to extrapolate ANY trend far enough in the future, you can imagine an extreme. NY City streets were once filled with horse manure - imagine at that time extrapolating horse poop with today's population. But people stopped riding horse because they preferred cars.

The next degree or two of global warming are probably beneficial to most life forms, including humans.

And if you're looking beyond two centuries, you're in ignorance of everything else that will change.

afeman (recovering badger) said...

Anon. has a point. As that Australian grad student cheerfully put it, we probably won't see the tropics rendered uninhabitable to mammals because before we got there civilization would probably collapse, ending significant anthropogenic carbon flux perforce.

Things take care of themselves, but not necessarily in the way that you might prefer.

Russell Seitz said...

Mr. Davis asks: "
What would a completely novel weather pattern look like? Actual cats and dogs falling from the sky?"

No, more like a portrait of the IPCC Summary Committee descending on Brussels.

Anonymous said...

"The link clearly shows the developed world's population is still increasing. "

Right - in the undeveloped world.
Economic development:
1. reduces population growth rates adn
2. increases the efficient use of resources

The irony is that, to the extent environmental movements reduce economic development, they worsen environmental impact.

But life is full of such ironies.

Anonymous said...

Badger is correct,

problems of unsustainability tend not to sustain.

I'm thinking the hysterical delusions about catastrophe and warming are also unsustainable.

Anonymous said...

Davis - can you name an era, century or even decade in which there wasn't a drought somewhere?

Why do you believe a warmer world means more drought?

It was surely not global temperature which gave us the 'Dust Bowl' - what did?

Ancient cultures making sacrifices to the gods were pretty convinced they were preventing disasters that had natural origins too.

Anonymous said...

Davis, how can you distinguish a drought toady from the ones that have occurred in the past? Why do you believe they have anything to do with global temperature?

Hank Roberts said...

> distinguish a drought toady
> from the ones that have
> occurred in the past?

Today's drought toadies are trying to sell fossil fuels.

Yesteryear's drought toadies were selling dryland real estate by claiming that "rain follows the plow."

Jeffrey Davis said...

"Davis, how can you distinguish a drought toady from the ones that have occurred in the past? Why do you believe they have anything to do with global temperature?"

Mous, I have no idea what you mean by "distinguish". The issue is a question of difference but of likelihood.

An increase in temperature increases all kinds of things. One of which is the rate of evaporation from the soil.

Jeffrey Davis said...

"No, more like a portrait of the IPCC Summary Committee
descending on Brussels."

Isn't that A Rene in Spain?

(Too tortured?)

Anonymous said...

"One of which is the rate of evaporation from the soil. "

And what about precipitation?

BBD said...

Anon.

And what about precipitation?

You'd have to ask the Hadley cells. They are expected to widen as the troposphere warms. This shunts the established mid-latitude precipitation polewards.

* * *

Zhou et al. (2011) Recent trends of the tropical hydrological cycle inferred from Global Precipitation Climatology Project and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project data

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010JD015197/abstract

Which supports J&F09 on widening Hadley cells:

Johanson & Fu (2009) Hadley Cell Widening: Model Simulations versus Observations

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008JCLI2620.1

See also NOAA (Seidel et al. 2007 – Fu was a co-author):

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071203_tropicalbelt.html


Russell Seitz said...

Ancient cultures making sacrifices to the gods were pretty convinced they were preventing disasters that had natural origins too.

Has Anonymous been watching Star Trek with Watts again ?

Anonymous said...

But also the monsoons widening?

Anonymous said...

Kinda speculative, but that's how one protects delusions - don't expose them to falsifiable claims.

Bernard J. said...

"But I cannot abide the false ascription that CO2 and warmth are problems."

Spoken like a true winner of a Darwin Award, even as his brain is exitting his arse through the agency of the experiment he swore was completely safe.

Jeffrey Davis said...

"But also the monsoons widening?"

Widening? I have no idea. Changing? Absolutely. Pakistan's crop failures (which I alluded to) extended to 3 years in a row. 2 due to flood. 1 due to drought. (What is Pakistani for "Pick a lane"?)

The menace due to temp and precipitation swings isn't confined to years of terrible catastrophe, but extends to the inability of farmers to plan for the future. Agriculture is the most conservative of industries because the most important input into the farmer's planning is the hope that this year will be like last year.

Our refuge so far, with +7 billion inhabitants, is how widespread agriculture is. A simultaneous failure of Russian and Australian agriculture wasn't as damaging as a simultaneous failure of American and Canadian crops. But we've only had .9C of warming. And it should be noted that one afternoon of record heat a couple of years ago killed corn in the field in Kansas.

Russell Seitz said...

The Indus valley has seen an assortment of civilizations, from Harappans to Huns, erased by water crises- hydraulic despotism has its limits , and if there isn't a drought or a flood, every know and again an earthquake will send a Himalaya or two crashing down into the valley way up North, shutting off the river for a year or three.