[ExI] Existential hysteria

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Jul 25 14:20:35 UTC 2014



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Rafal Smigrodzki
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:57 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Existential hysteria


On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:13 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:


It might be a Tetlockian sacred value: to libertarians freedom is essentially the only sacred thing that must not be traded for anything secular.


### Can't speak for other libertarians but for me the reason I became a climate realist was pure outrage at lying, not fear for liberty.


Back in the 90s I provisionally accepted the warmist story, since I do take science seriously and I didn't know enough to form an informed opinion. Then Science Daily published a post summarizing the Jasper Ridge studies on the influence of carbon dioxide on plant growth, claiming that CO2 *reduces* plant growth by 40%. Huh? That really surprised me, so I read the original article in Science and that got me f..ing angry. Turns out the data showed increases in plant growth of 40 to 80% with CO2 compared to baseline controls - only if you selectively compared some CO2 conditions to other investigated conditions (added water, added nitrogen, increased temperature) was there a reduction - basically, pouring water, nitrogen *and* CO2 on plants made them growth less well than with water or CO2 alone (but still more than the baseline condition i.e. today's climate). The dirty rotten liars didn't fudge the data but they bent over backwards to completely invert the meaning of their findings in their editorial. …




Excellent post Rafal, all of it, thanks for writing.


The notion of global warming was introduced to the public in the 1970s but back in those days, there were more strongly competing theories.  It wasn’t clear then if we were going into a new ice age or heading into a Soylent Green world.  As we warmed to the warming side, we began to see what looked like obvious logical contradictions, such as the very common assertion that global warming would cause climates to become more inhospitable everywhere: dry places would get drier, flooded places would become more flooded, etc.


In all that, people fortunate enough to have scientific sophistication can see that indeed CO2 levels do rise with time and human activity contributes to that, and CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and positive feedback mechanisms are plausible.  Clearly there is truth mixed with the nonsense.  The theory was expounded for at least two decades that AGW would cause hurricanes to get stronger and more common.  Anders’ offered a very reasonable observation that hurricanes are driven by thermal gradients, so if the entire column warms uniformly, there are not more or stronger hurricanes.  That last part was left out.


In all that debate it was clear enough that political considerations were driving the narrative, and all of it was distracting from a much more immediate emergency to mankind: energy availability.  It is clear enough that we are using up the easily available low cost energy sources, and it is clear enough even to libertarians that humanity will need to work together to drive our species towards energy sustainability.  We know we can’t have the kind of existence we want without a lot of low-cost energy.  We know that the technology exists, even if it is costly.  Keith Henson’s notions of doing space based solar are technologically feasible.  Even if that flies, we know we are going to need to sacrifice huge swaths of desert to collect solar power, and we know it will be costly, the resulting energy will be costly, the environmental costs will be severe, we get all that, but we also see now that we need to go there.  We need to build the nukes, put in the ground based solar, put up space based solar if the rich countries like China and Japan decide to go there (the USA will not and cannot) and yes we will need more of the old fashioned drill-baby-drill even if we know that is only a temporary solution, we get all of that.  


We need to stop letting political considerations get in the way.  We can have governments everywhere acknowledge that the need for energy is critical.  So take every company everywhere which is creating any form of sustainable energy and have governments stop blocking their progress; make politicians clear the path.  Make every form of sustainable energy immune from the risk of EPA raids, from the EPA in general.  Make sustainable energy companies invulnerable to lawsuit when it comes to wildlife protection.  This is coming from a big fan of birds, for we know ground-based solar is bad for birds, but we also know we need it anyway, for otherwise a hungry and capable species will devour all the birds.  After the birds are gone, we start on the dogs, then the rest of the beasts, and after they are gone, we know what happens, and we are told that humans taste terrible.  Vote against politicians who say unkind criticisms of sustainable energy companies and elect those who are cheerleaders for those companies.  


We can see what needs to happen.  The near-term future of humanity is all about energy availability.  The global warming notion was a distraction at a critical time in history, even if it is correct.



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