[ExI] "Up against the warming zealots"...hmmm

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 12:02:44 UTC 2007

On 23/07/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 04:53:51PM +0930, Emlyn wrote:
> > Is anyone else as confused about Global Warming as I am? I can't get a
> > clear idea of whether it is real or not, and if so, whether it is
> This sounds as if you didn't have the time to hit the primary
> literature, and now are asking for popular press sound bites
> or consensus to help you figure out what is real or not.

Well, this stuff is certainly well outside my educational background
(comp + maths), so the primary literature is something I'm not really
aware of, and probably not well equipped to understand. Possibly I
should bone up on this stuff :-)

As to popular press, you're giving the exi list more credit than it
deserves here, or less, depending on your point of view. I was
actually hoping someone with more of a clue than me might have
something to say. But also, I was equally hoping to get a feel for
whether others are feeling similarly confused.

> I suggest you take your time to read the primary literature.
> There is really no alternative to that.

Yes, I think you're correct. Somehow, this issue, which seems pretty
clearly a technical one, has been hijacked by politics (people seem
now to attach a "left" or "right" tag to the various positions, a dead
giveaway), which means that pretty much all the secondary analysis you
can find becomes suspect. Bugger.

> > caused by human CO2 emissions or not. It's clearly important to get
> > this right, because
> > - if it's not real, we shouldn't be doing all this carbon emission handwringing
> High-amplitude outcomes are *never* a good idea to dismiss out of hand.
> > - if it is real and human caused, lowering carbon emissions is a good idea
> > - if it is real and not human caused, we still have a very scary
> > period ahead in which we need to do something else entirely to cope
> > with future rising sea levels and temperature increases.
> How about we just seize this huge opportunity (when was the last time
> everybody was interested about the environment?) to get away from burning
> dead dinos?
> We certainly do have the money to burn on frivolous war-making.
> So if we want to make it happen, we can. Do we want to make it happen?

Well, hang on. Burning fossil fuels has some bad consequences, but
also has some benefits. Global warming should only count as a minus if
it actually is. If it isn't a problem and we act as though it is, not
only could we be rushing away from fossil fuels without it being
necessary. I think it probably is a good idea to get away from them,
so I'm not so worried about that.

However, I'm more interested in the possibility that global warming is
not human generated. If that's the case, and we're busy decreasing
carbon emissions, it's still going to happen. If the consequences of
global warming are what they are touted to be, and I've no reason to
suspect they're not, then we need to do something about it, regardless
of whether it's man made or "natural". Natural disasters are still
disasters, after all.

(I do think a clue to the suspect nature of the anti-global warming
camp is that there seems to be an effort to show that global warming
is not man made, and the inference made that therefore there is no
problem. That inference is what you would make if you were just trying
to refute someone's position, rather that if you were dispassionately
trying to assess the state of things)

If warming isn't caused by people, but is due to natural cycles, we've
got a whole new problem - bad stuff coming, and no clear idea of how
to fix it.


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