Friday, September 25, 2015

Nature Prepares to Launch the Black Helicopters


Implicit to any rational scientific understanding of climate change is the certainty that if the world continues on a business as usual course it will get bad, very bad indeed.  Don't Scare the Children Richard Betts reports

For a scenario of high GHG emissions, the earliest time of reaching 4°C above pre-industrial was around 2070, and the latest sometime after 2100. In the most extreme case, 6°C is projected by 2100 although most models do not show this. If feedbacks are stronger or weaker than in those simulations, the timing could be outside these bounds – but evidence for these would need careful examination before we could be confident in this.
He is telling us that not only will it get very, very bad, but it will do so in a very short time, within the lifetime of children born today.  When he says
Finally, even if the world does make major emissions cuts very soon, this will take time to filter through into tangible effects on global warming. There is already more warming in the pipeline which is unavoidable. Therefore anything projected for the next few years is already unavoidable. If “whole swathes” really will become uninhabitable “in a few years” then there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, however urgently we cut emissions.
Dear Dinosaurs, there is nothing you can do, go ahead munching the grass, the asteroid will hit in about 80 years and you will all be dead anyhow.

But what if the dinos could do something, then, of course Richard also has a word of advice
Secondly, if people come to believe that catastrophic impacts are only round the corner, this could lead to wrong decisions made in panic. A lot is being done to make us more resilient to the climate change we’ve already set in motion – new flood defences, plans for reservoirs and water supplies, and so on. But these are expensive, and doing these too early could cost billions. And if people are scared into moving away from their homelands because they think it will be uninhabitable, this would only add to the existing refugee crisis, for no good reason.
In other words:  Dear Dinos: You could do something by recognizing that there is an asteroid on the way, DASA might be able to help, but maybe you would waste a few dino dollars, maybe the initial response would not be perfectly, scientifically perfect.  If you break up the asteroid maybe some chunks might hit the planet.  Wait, and a miracle might occur.

Very EcoModernist.

Nico Stehr in Nature continues their tradition of finding ways to blame scientists for what they are not doing. ATTP discusses this, but IEHO misses the point,
More surprisingly, a similar impatience with the political elite is now also present in the scientific community. Researchers are increasingly concerned that no one is listening to their diagnosis of the dangers of human-induced climate change and its long-lasting consequences, despite the robust scientific consensus. 
True enough, but immediately following is this clanger
As governments continue to fail to take appropriate political action, democracy begins to look to some like an inconvenient form of governance. There is a tendency to want to take decisions out of the hands of politicians and the public, and, given the 'exceptional circumstances', put the decisions into the hands of scientists themselves.
Other than those who can don the Lab Coat of Power, this is a complete strawman.  What scientists fear is that when things get bad, very bad indeed, the response of the world will be to launch the black helicopters.  Pfft, there goes democracy and much else of value, well if you and yours have not previously disappeared in the crush.

46 comments:

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Fortunately, these people are incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial (hat tip to Burger). The solutions will indeed come out of the spectroscopy laboratories of the limp white lab coats of irreverence.

The only thing that is guaranteed from them is that they will make it as difficult as possible to implement any real solutions, delaying them.

Florifulgurator said...

Slowly but surely methinks the Pope understands best what mankind has to do. (Except for the contraception thing perhaps.)

Russell Seitz said...

His holiness is dun=mbstruck by the mysterium iniquitatis of sinful man aspiring to the place of Maxwell's Demon,

Meanwhile, on the Road to Paris

E. Swanson said...

Stehr's commentary misses the fundamental problem with "democracy", which is, most so-called democratic governments are really REPUBLICS, in which people vote to elect a small group to represent their concerns in making decisions. As with any small group of decision makers, the decisions tend to drift away from the concerns of the public over time. There's a wide variation in voter's intellect, education, experience and cultural biases, thus a long term problem like Anthropogenic Climate Change isn't going to be solved by individual voters' "YES" or "NO". If those who represent the public were Plato's "Philosopher Kings", then decisions regarding such long term problems might result, but that's not the way humanity appears to work in the real world. That's because of corruption and the tendency of people to resist the sort of oppressive restrictions which would be necessary to address the problem, even though such restrictions might be in their collective best interest over the long term.

Then too, there's no one world government, instead, there are many separate nations, each with their own local concerns and forms of government. The European "Union" group of states doesn't act with one voice and conservative politicians in the USA are still arguing about "States Rights", that is, the right to make their own choices. The Pope as the leader of the non-democratic Catholic Church apparently can't speak about population control, which is at the root of mankind's collective environmental dilemma. India's population has grown from some 350 million to about 1,300 million during my lifetime and their government wants to continue to burn coal. China is still a communist country, which has allowed them to develop rapidly and limit their population growth, but both required social controls which would be rejected by Western Democracies. With all the yelling and screaming about abortion and Planned Parenthood, there's been no national discussion about population problems in the US, a topic which is now apparently OFF LIMITS in the national media.

Will any of this change in time to actually do something to address Climate Change? I see little hope, after decades of watching and participating in the "democratic" political process of the USA.

Tom said...

On a probably irrelevant tangent, global emissions of CO2 were the same in 2014 as in 2013, the first time that had happened without an accompanying economic downturn.

Even more irrelevant, the U.S. EPA has announced a series of regulatory initiatives meant to reduce emissions by the U.S.

Completely off point, China is building 180 hydroelectric facilities and absorbing much of the domestic production of solar panels by buying them and putting them up in China itself, helping the industry survive and coincidentally helping them reduce emissions as well.

Carry on! Doom's just around the corner.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Tom - an interesting factoid, but unless it's reflected in the atmosphere does it really mean anything?

http://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/co2_400/mlo_full_record.png

When the atmosphere shows a flatline or decreasing trend, then we'll have made some progress. Until then you seem to merely have your head in the sand - or your nether regions.

Tom said...

Unless it's reflected in the temperature, sea ice extent, hurricane record, drought or flood index, then your panic is irrelevant. I'd make a comment about your head's location, but you seem to have misplaced it entirely.

Fernando Leanme said...

I'm going to make a standard cut and paste paragraph explaining why your business as usual high emissions case is science fiction. Maybe if I paste it 100 times it'll start to sink in.

Blogger profile said...

" Tom - an interesting factoid, but unless it's reflected in the atmosphere does it really mean anything? "

No, it doesnt. but Tom Fullerthanadunnywagon doesn't care about relevance. He's a tiny figure leaping up and down screaming "WATCH ME!!!! LOOK AT ME!!!! I'M HERE!!!!".

It's an idiot.

Blogger profile said...

I think you're taking Richard Bett's comments and making them fit a narrative that you think appropriate, Eli. There's bad blood between you for some reason and this ensures you are willing to take the road you think worse.

Try working out what YOU would have meant if you had said those words.

Blogger profile said...

As to this "labcoat of power", I think you're utterly wrong on this point.

Politicians are actively obstructing the reality for personal gain, just as the CEO of Texaco et al are.

In opinion polls, around 60-80%, depending on country, think their government should do more on climate change. Yet it isn't being done.

Indeed they're screwing hings up for renewables and giving fossil fuels extra help over and above the past history of massive government handounts they have enjoyed.

The people are for change.

The scientists are for change.

The politicians refuse to change and are going the other way. Apparently in spite, but probably to cash in as much as possible now before some change HAS to be made.

Removing the politicians is the only sane thing to do.

And it's not a coup, it's the public opinion, WHO THE POLITICIANS SHOULD BE SERVING that wants this done.

Blogger profile said...

"explaining why your business as usual high emissions case is science fiction"

Fern, your "explanation" is bullshit. It doesn't matter how many times to dump it out your arse, it REMAINS bullshit.

Tom said...

Blogger profile, please stay just the way you are.

Please also remember your comments here when you start talking about conspiracy ideation...

Nigel Franks said...

...the sort of oppressive restrictions which would be necessary to address the problem...

Humm, Germany's green transition costs the average German less than €60/ year and I'm not even considering the benefits. Is that so oppressive? Even if they're not doing it fast enough and you quadruple the rate that's still less than a dollar a day.

Bryson said...

I'm with Eli here. Scientists overthrowing the current (quasi-)democratic systems of government in the world's wealthier countries is a fantasy. But the collapse of those systems in the face of crop failures, flooding, wild fires and other climate chaos is a real risk. Meanwhile, the problem seems not to be overall public opinion, which broadly supports action on climate change, but the competing tangle of immediate issues and distractions. Right now our Mr. Harper is working hard to keep voters focused on those scary Muslims... and it may be working.

E. Swanson said...

HERE's a LINK to the the translation of the Pope's UN speech yesterday.

No mention of limiting population.

HERE's a LINK to a summary of the latest U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

No mention of limiting population.

The simple fact that more people on Earth means fewer resources per person is lost in the fog. Sustainable growth isn't...

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

That's because the pope is a very wealthy criminal con artist, who got very wealthy by donning idiotic clothes and conning the rubes out of their cash. You think that cash cow is gonna change for him? Not.

Bryson said...

When your ideological roots go back to times with no reliable birth control, male dominance in every aspect of social life and peasant workers at the foundation of economic power, it's hard to give up a penchant for seeing reproduction as a good thing, and the duty of all women. Times have changed, as Catholics across the developed world have come to realize-- but the leadership and the fanatics are still stuck where they were a very long time ago.

Hank Roberts said...

> Maybe if I paste it 100 times it'll start to sink

It's sunk. Killfile repetition.

BBD said...

Fernando

560ppm will be bad enough. Whether or not we can beat that is, in a sense, academic. Your concerns are misplaced.

jrkrideau said...

@ Bryson
Well yes but we "Old Stock" Canadians feel reassured. Well actually I'm more of "Molson"
Canadian but "Old Stock" will do in a pinch.

Russell Seitz said...

OpenID 8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...
That's because the pope is a very wealthy criminal con artist, who got very wealthy by donning idiotic clothes and conning the rubes out of their cash. You think that cash cow is gonna change for him? Not.

Show a little respect- 8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df:

You're making him sound like the organizers of Trick or Treat for UNICEF

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

The pope of the catholic church is far more evil than an evangelical megachurch preacher from Texas. Religion is THAT BAD for humanity.

The pope is a criminal representing a criminal organization no different than the mafia. He will get his day in court. Soon.

Nature is weird that way. It doesn't give a damn about the empty proclamations of a billionaire dressed up in funny clothes with his hand out for monetary tax free donations. The entire operation is for profit.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Symbol salad: The pope of the catholic church is far more evil than an evangelical megachurch preacher from Texas. Religion is THAT BAD for humanity.
. . The pope is a criminal representing a criminal organization no different than the mafia. He will get his day in court. Soon.

BPL: Are you getting any kind of counseling or therapy?

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EliRabett said...

This is an effing family blog. The bunnies have big ears. Keep it calm

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Awe, the truth hurts, oh tender bunny ears.

Reality and the future is going to be considerably more harsh on the poor bunnies than I. But I know how you have to keep up appearances.

I wish you well on your urgent problem solving by way of pleasant discussion. That will surely prop up the ponzi scheme a while longer.

E. Swanson said...

OpenID 8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...
Reality and the future is going to be considerably more harsh on the poor bunnies than I. But I know how you have to keep up appearances.


Pope Francis isn't like the previous inhabitants of that office and is making lots of waves. That said, I don't think he's quite got the full message yet.

Here's a by a post by another refugee from The Oil Drum who lays it out better than I: The Camp of the Saints.

Jeffrey Davis said...

I read somewhere not too long ago that Bangladesh is in negotiations to build coal fired power plants.

Despair? Greed?

Brian said...

Betts' concern that we may overprepare for climate change seems a little ridiculous. I suppose it's theoretically possible, but I also expect there few occasions where people overprepare for things they've not yet experienced.

Flood protection is a good example - in the US we are generally well underprotected for current flood risks, let alone what can happen in the future with climate change and sea level rise. And even you did 'overprepare' that just means you protect against 200-year flood or 500-year flood instead of a 100-year flood - hardly a terrible outcome.

Blogger profile said...

Tom Fullerthanadunnywaon, you STILL insist on posting meaningless demands.

You STILL refuse to say why.

Blogger profile said...

"No mention of limiting population.

The simple fact that more people on Earth means fewer resources per person is lost in the fog. Sustainable growth isn't..."

Just like EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has EVER brought up "population" has NEVER brought up that it would require massive euthanasia worldwide of billions to make it affect CO2 in the near future (within 25-50 years).

Moreover, per (de)capitation, it would be best to start off killing those whose per-capita CO2 production was highest. The first world wealthy, then the first world middle class, then the third world wealthy.

Moreover, NONE of you have the guts to admit why you REALLY push the "population" myth: so you can blame the developing nations whose population is still growing vigorously and avoid ANY blame for yourself, and negate any need for YOU to change.

Alternatively, we could halve the CO2 per capita emissions in the first world and save over a third of the CO2 production, equal to killing off 3-4 billion people taken at random from all around the world.

If Mr Swanson would like to be the first to sacrifice himself for the greater good, however...?

Blogger profile said...

"That's because the pope is a very wealthy criminal con artist,"

So no different from the thousands of televangelists in the USA.

But what REALLY has you wadding your shorts is the fact that this one, unlike many recent Popes, ACTUALLY HAS A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE.

And that scares you.

Because it shows up your lack of character.

So rather than admit error or even change, you decide to attack him so that you can remain "better" than he and do not have to feel bad.

Blogger profile said...

"I read somewhere not too long ago that Bangladesh is in negotiations to build coal fired power plants.

Despair? Greed? "

May be the WTO.

The big dam projects were all because the WTO financed big projects to "help" the developing world, but the projects were big and therefore could only be done by first world companies.

They insisted on big infrastructure like dams and this was pretty much a worldwide government handout of commercial welfare.

Of course, it would produce SOME benefit to the nations who used it, but most of the benefit of the scheme was felt in the first world. Doubly so when these schemes were done on a loan basis, and that loan is now paid many times over and still higher than before.

Of course, there was plenty of scope for some skimming by those in positions to make deals. So there was plenty of reason for limited corruption to ensure this continued to happen.

So it may be that the new projects are coal power stations, offered with a few sacks of cash in "campaign donations", and being done there because the market for the work is dropping like a stone elsewhere.

It's just a theory.

Tom said...

Ah, the smell of conspiracy in the morning. Better than coffee. Better than Robert Duvall stepping out of a (black) helicopter. Paging. Stefan Lewandowsky...

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Presenting a social conscience to the world is the pope's new marketing plan for the vatican. Fortunately there are people in the world with enough critical thinking skills to see that as a marketing plan and not anything that will add up to action, besides donating to the church.

Tax free revenue from disinformation and lies is a lucrative business. And of course, I fear the pope. That's why I criticize him. Sure, uh-huh. Nuttery knows no bounds, only profits.

EliRabett said...

All is well

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/09/28/washington-scribe

E. Swanson said...

BP guy said:
Just like EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has EVER brought up "population" has NEVER brought up that it would require massive euthanasia worldwide of billions to make it affect CO2 in the near future (within 25-50 years).
...
Alternatively, we could halve the CO2 per capita emissions in the first world and save over a third of the CO2 production, equal to killing off 3-4 billion people taken at random from all around the world.


Who said CO2 emissions were the only problem? Sustainability involves much more than that, especially food and water. Each of us needs food to survive and modern agriculture has been able to meet that demand by using ever more fossil fueled production technologies. As the fossil fuels are burnt and depleted, providing the required food to those billions will become ever more difficult. We already read reports about farmers in India who can not afford to buy fertilizer to grow enough food for their families, who then kill themselves. At the same time, China has surged ahead with their 1 child per couple policy, employing draconian controls on their population. It's been estimated that the population in China is around 300 million below what it would have been without those controls.

The liberals claim that educating women will lead to lower rates of reproduction, but that isn't happening in many developing nations. Don't forget that Russia has started a campaign to increase the birth rate, as their population has declined since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US population would be declining, absent immigration (legal or otherwise), as immigration represents about half our yearly population increase. The political attacks on Planned Parenthood are another symptom of the problem, as folks from the radical conservative side of the political spectrum worry that the US is becoming overrun by people from other nations, peoples who have much different cultures and historical perspectives. Given that we already have massive unemployment for young Blacks and Latinos, why is it OK for other low skilled peoples to migrate to the US?

As for your comments about euthanasia, I submit that it's better from a moral perspective that the children are not born in the first place, else the population will increase such that things will deteriorate to the point that those excess people will indeed die in the streets or be culled out of the herd by some authoritarian standard of an individual's social worth...

Blogger profile said...

" Ah, the smell of conspiracy in the morning."

Ah, the smell of someone who thinks that a conspiracy with evidence supporting it is the same as one with no evidence supporting it *and that fact used as evidence for the conspiracy*.

Sorry, you're full of shit, Tom.

Blogger profile said...

"Who said CO2 emissions were the only problem?"

Since we have enough food for 9 billion people, it's just that we waste it where we have plenty and corruption and incompetence (and prejudice) means we don't get to move it to where it's needed, then, yes, CO2 emissions are the only problem that population is an issue for.

Feel free to shuffle off this mortal coil, E Swanson. And cut the CO2 emissions AND food, water and energy use that is quite a bit higher than the world average.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

You seem somehow blind to the problems of stripmallothon, pavementotopia and wastelandia.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Speaking of black helicopters, here is one for you Eli.

http://www.pointlessplanet.com/2015/05/carson-revival.html#.VghHbW7VLwc

Religion and culture are so lovely, no?

EliRabett said...

Like it or not China's one child policy has had an effect and will have an effect going forward

Russell Seitz said...

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df27/9/15 11:20 AM

You seem somehow blind to the problems of stripmallothon, pavementotopia and wastelandia.


Welcome to Climateboria, Land of the Twee.

Blogger profile said...

" Like it or not China's one child policy has had an effect and will have an effect going forward"

It's taken forty years, though, to start.

And they still use less than the average, never mind the average European, USAian or Middle East wallah.

Blogger profile said...

"Welcome to Climateboria, Land of the Twee."

Welcome to the land of oldt imers disease. Where words don't have any meaning, but you don't know long enough to care.