[ExI] global warming again

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Mar 16 19:55:40 UTC 2009



	From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Dagon Gmail
	Subject: Re: [ExI] global warming again
	>...If you are right, I will at some time in the future be proven
wrong, and I will shrug and spend time on other things...

Hi G, this notion reminds me of Pascal's wager regarding the existence of
heaven.  But even if you are very young, you and I are quite unlikely to
live long enough to see any appreciable shift in climate.  Do read on

	>...If you are wrong, you will be on the record as a climate change
denier, for all the world, and as the millions die around you, some people
may be inclined to look you up and (proverbially I hope) string you up to
the nearest lamp post...

But G-meister, I am immune from angry mobs.  I own farmland which is
actively drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere at this very moment, making me
eligible for environmental sainthood.  Even with my 3/4 ton pickup and
Lincoln town car, my carbon footprint is waaay negative, far more negative
than the local vegetarian prius drivers.  Is yours?  {8-]  

Buy a farm, fight Gorebal warming.  Keep your day job tho, you will need it
to support your farming habit.

On the contrary, in any case.  Even the most pessimistic (but sane) global
warmers are not promising shriveling continents and starving millions.  Even
the pessimistic models predict that sea level rise is sufficiently gradual
that we would have *plenty* of time to move our great coastal cities inland,
and design the the durn things correctly this time.  Much of the sea level
rise prediction was based on the notion of the Greenland ice sheet melting
if the global temperature rise was 3C.  But more recently, the mainstream
science predicts the Greenland ice shelf can tolerate about a 6C rise, and
that the ice was present thru a previous 5C rise.


Hurricanes need not thrash economies and countries.  We Americans built a
huge city below sea level on the Gulf coast (why did we do that, fer cryin
out loud!)  One could go there and enjoy the novelty of looking up to see a
ship floating by on a river over head.  Well duh!  How stupid is that?
Cities shouldn't be built like that.  In Katrina that city took a beating,
then it became a major political football instead of an object lesson in the
stupidity and hubris of building there in the first place.

	...The stakes are very high for deniers, and they might up the
subject in mob violence...

Mob violence is a real threat, but I don't worry about it being because of
climate change.  Political leaders incite mob violence.  The climate?  Doubt
it.  How would the mob know when and where to attack?  Would they wait until
the next major hurricane and then go wreck a coal power plant?  But what if
they do?  Did any of them use electricity?  Burn gasoline?  Eat?  

We have had exactly one major hurricane hit the US since the really bad 2005
season.  Pacific cyclone activity is also down:

http://coaps.fsu.edu/  (second story down, titled "Study Shows No Long-Term
Trend in Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Activity"

So what happens when the next major hurricane smacks us and causes a lotta
damage?  Is it then angry mob time?  Do we have a big global warming rally,
go lamp-post-lynch the nearest Cadillac SUV driver with a faded McCain/Palin
sticker on her bumper?  What if someone in the mob points out that it has
been quite a while since the last major hurricane, and that the years since
2005 have actually been pretty hurri-calm, and that we were overdue for
another biggie anyways?  At what point do we have angry mobs disappointed at
the low hurricane activity?  At what time do we have thundering hordes
alarmed by decreasing temperatures?  Why is it that one result gives us
enraged murderous mobs and the other gives us faceless masses shrugging and
going off to do something else?  

This is an important point, because it seems so backwards to me.  We were
introduced to the notion of global warming during my own misspent youth in
1973, by the excellent and scary movie Soylent Green (do check it out.)  At
that time there was a competing theory of global cooling.  Back then we
could shrug off global warming, for it appeared to me that this planet is
about 5C to 10C cooler than optimal for human habitation (I grew up in
Florida.)  But cooling was the one I worried about, for it was easy to see
how just a little cooling could screw us bigtime.  Shorter growing seasons,
more killer cold snaps, more crop failures, more starvation, more New
Yorkers looking for winter homes in the neighborhood, (oh mercy).  

Humans live in every hot place on the planet (assuming they can get water)
but plenty of land on this planet is off limits to humans because of being
too cold.  We can deal with all the stuff they tell us will come with global
warming.  Mosquitoes?  We can deal with it.  Rising sea levels?  We can do
that.  Angry mobs?  We can handle those too.  But global cooling?  It isn't
clear to me how to combat that problem, and at what point we even recognize
that it is happening.  We still need to grow crops outdoors, and will for
some time to come.  Global cooling is really scary; warming, not so much.
And what if we do measure cooling?  Do we then intentionally emit more CO2?

That being said, I think we are seeing a major transition happening before
our eyes just in the past year.  Could be just my perception, but it seems
the scientific consensus on warming was in place a couple years ago, but is
not today.  Those ridiculing globaloney warming are showing up in greater
numbers and increasing boldness every day.  I am one of them.  On at least
some of the wilder notions, I am calling 1-800-bullshit.  Our current
president assured us in June 2008 that "...this was the moment when the rise
of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..."  The data isn't
at all clear, but there was an apparent temperature inflection point right
about late 2000, early 2001.  Was Gaia appeased by the election of W?


And perhaps another one right about late 2008, possibly back towards
warming.  Too early to tell.  The recent fad of blaming global warming for
global cooling doesn't work for me either.

All these notions depend on the span over which climate data is averaged and
how the data is measured.  We are forced to admit that we *still* don't
really know that much about long term climate trends.  We really don't know!
Still!  We know that ice sheets are retreating, but they have been for a
long time before the Goreacle uttered his first jeremiad, since before
humans mastered fire and appeared in significant numbers.


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