Are We Standing on the Edge of the Climate Change "Abyss"?

Reason’s science correspondent sends a third dispatch from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban.

(Page 2 of 2)

In 2009, I looked back at the projections made by a much-ballyhooed 1980 National Academy of Science (NAS) report, Energy in Transition, 1985 to 2010. That report took four years to assemble and involved 350 of America's smartest energy researchers, engineers, and economists. How did they do? Not too well. In the NAS economic growth scenario that most closely matched what actually happened, the experts projected that the U.S. energy consumption would rise from 80 quads to more than 130 quads of primary energy by 2010, a 60 percent increase. (A quad is a quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) which is equal to the amount of energy in 45 million tons of coal, or 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or 170 million barrels of crude oil.) Instead U.S. energy consumption rose to 98 quads, an increase of 22 percent.

Did government energy efficiency policies lead to the steep reduction in projected energy use? Again, not really. A 2004 study by the Washington, D.C., think tank Resources for the Future found that energy efficiency programs reduced annual primary energy consumption by 4 quads below what it would otherwise have been.

Of course, it is possible that our ambitious 21st century energy policy experts armed with faster computers and more complicated models are right this time in their energy production and consumption projections. At least, that’s the economic bet that the climate activists and negotiators here in Durban want the rest of us to make.

Note: This is the third daily dispatch from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban. Since tomorrow is the penultimate day of negotiations, face-saving efforts to make the conference a “success” will begin being bruited about. I will be reporting from the conference until the bitter end. 

Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Did they play Kansas as his intro music?

  • ||

    Is that a Supernatural reference? If so, well done, sir.

  • ||

    I'd like to leave you impressed, but sadly no.
    I was referring to this mid-70's drek:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60A1yKc2hi4

    I don't even know what you mean by Supernatural. Probably not Peter Green's masterpiece.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoasUjXBkm8

  • ||

    This.

  • Major Johnson||

    love that one but I'd forgotten it, thanks for the reminder

  • ||

    The same actor that played Jacob on Lost plays Lucifer on Supernatural?

    If you are going to be typecast; immortal super-being is probably the best choice.

  • fyngyrz||

    "Are We Standing on the Edge of the Climate Change "Abyss""?

    No.

    Wait -- unless by that you mean where the sky-is-falling crew push us off the financial edge by further screwing with the tattered remnants of our industrial base. That could certainly happen.

  • ||

    So I guess if the world doesn't do something in the next couple of years these people will shut the fuck up and go prepare for the apocalypse?

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    If only.....

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Humanity is going to destroy the environment and, with it, itself. The point of no return is reached and environmental policy makers should accept the resultant burning atmosphere as a just dessert that is sweeter than any magical, massive wealth transfer that was apparenly needed to stop it.

    Or, more likely, tweak the models to push the point of no return back a few more years and buy some time.

  • anon||

    I almost cried with joy just thinking about the prospect of these religious zealots shutting up.

  • ||

    It's never going to happen, unfortunately.

  • tarran||

    They'll go back to peddling their ice age warning as they did in the 1970's.

    The solution, of course will be the same; reduced standard of living as wealth is diverted to fight the apocalypse.

    And like all previous doomsday cults, the prophets will point to new revelations or miscalculations (reasonable ones that they can't be held culpable for) that point to a new date or catastrophe.

  • ||

    ^This.

  • anon||

    It's actually a lot like libertarians with Skyrim.

  • ||

    No one of you libertarians wackos does actually read the studies, but believes blind in those who distort the facts beyond recognition, who tell you to go on with wasting natures resources. America is a disgrace to itself now.
    No wonder 40% of americans don´t know that evolution is a fact and that co2 driven global warming is a fact.

  • ||

    What happened to the carbon cycle that we were taught in public school 5th grade . . . or the water cycle? We have a closed atmosphere on the earth. What we have is what we have always had. I trecycles itself. In addition I do read the the studies and the footnotes and the bibliograpies , if any, and they tell me that predictions don't come to pass. I'm right, you're wrong EOM

  • Jeremy||

    Neither are facts, but both are scientific theory.

    Evolution is one of the most solidly established tenets in all of modern science. It is the foundational principle of both modern pharmacological study, and biologoical classification.

    The reason Evolution is so well trusted is because it meets all the prerequisites of acceptance through the scientific process - evidence, experimentation, falsifiability, peer review and ability to predict.

    Catastrophic human-caused global warming, as a scientific theory, has risen to very few of these standards.

    Scientists agreeing on something does not make it fact. The scientific process is where we learn, not in the concensus of the individuals testing the science.

    Until you can build a solid model that works for observed behavior or predict future behavior (or even explain current behavior), demaninding public acceptance, and the modification of society based upon that acceptance, is futile, and is the height of anti-science. It's simpel demagoguery, and nothing more.

  • Bill||

    No. I'm predicting they will still be bitching, moaning and making a nuisance of themselves.

    Oh yeah, and crying.

  • DJF||

    I will start believing its an abyss the day these people start acting like carbon is dangerous and stop having these huge carbon producing conferences, stop staying at 5 star hotels, stop driving around in limo’s, stop flying all over the world in carbon spuing jet planes.

  • #||

    reducing cabon is just like liberals and taxes - "oh i meant other rich people need to be taxed more - not me"

    Al gore emitted multitudes more CO2 than I do.

  • ||

    And this smear proves that co2 driven climate change is a lie?

  • Juice||

    It proves that these very concerned people aren't REALLY concerned.

  • Realist||

    I will start believing its an abyss the day these people start acting like carbon is dangerous and remove it from their bodies.

  • sarcasmic||

    The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide. Mountains sit in a line
    Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev. Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
    Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
    You symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.

  • ||

    I've often wondered what the hell the words to that song were.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here ya go!

    http://bit.ly/vIo0RO

  • ||

    Thanks!

  • Joel Robinson||

    With a pickle mind
    We kick the nipple beer;
    Steady as a goat
    We're flying over trout.
    Ghetto down the highway
    At the speed of light;
    All I wanna feel now is the wind in my eyes.
    Sack of monkeys in my pocket,
    My sister's ready to go...

    Hear the engines roar now!
    Idiot control now!
    Hideous control now!
    Ninny on the road now!
    Minnie in control,
    Wheels on fire,
    Burning rubber tires!

    Near each other rolls now!
    Hitting Lesley Gore now!!
    Ninny inches bore down!
    Pityin' a poor boy!
    Hear the engines roll,
    Bees on pie,
    Burning rubber tires!

  •  ||

    Seems to me that the Durban Climate Change Conference ministers' strategy is to wreck their own economies and hope the less sacrificial, "selfish" nations vote to join them in economic suicide. If all nations suffer equally, they reason, no one nation will have an advantage. Happily, China and India and the U.S. have opted out of the suicide pact. So far.

  • NotSure||

    I once read that the climate conference in Brazil in the early 90's were also the last chance to save the world. Being able to visit exotic locations all over the world for climate conferences, I am sure that there will be many more "last chances" declared to save the world.

  • ||

    I don't deny that the earth has probably gotten warmer, on average, you know since the last time the ice caps extended all the way to Oklahoma. My question is why is this a big deal? 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit means that if the average 100 years ago was 90, it will be 94 in a few years.

    That doesn't seem unreasonable to me seeing as how we are traveling around a giant star that grows bigger every year (if I remember my middle school science classes correctly). It definitely doesn't beg for some all powerful solution from the government to be forced on everyone.

    Also, carbon dioxide is NOT the same thing as acid rain or radioactive material. If you can call that pollution than every time you breath out you are polluting.

  • sarcasmic||

    Since AGW is a religion, isn't legislation respecting it in violation of the 1st Amendment?

  • Tony||

    No, that's free market fundamentalism, the thing that is forcing you to deny scientific fact with absolutely no justification except your feelings.

  • sarcasmic||

    Consensus based upon computer models is not "scientific fact".

  • ­­Tony||

    You're required to believe it.

  • sarcasmic||

    As I said yesterday, a century ago there was a consensus among the scientific community that you, being a homosexual, should be sterilized and locked away from society.
    This consensus even influenced the government to do exactly that, and tens of thousands of people were indeed forcefully sterilized in mental hospitals (homosexuality was considered a mental illness) in this country.
    You could very well have been one had you been alive at the time.
    That continued until some German dude took the idea to its logical extreme.

    Consensus is a tool of politics, not science.

  • Joe||

    Yeah, What he said.

  • ||

    Agreed.. It is likely that the models left out the cloud forming effects of cosmic rays on water vapor in the atmosphere. Taking that into account would turn this whole thing into a not particularly interesting academic exercise.

  • ||

    What sarcasmic said.

  • jtuf||

    Tony, I can easily find a computer model that says I'm a 6th level wizard with the ability to shoot lighting from my finger tips. That doesn't make it true.

  • KDN||

    Only level 6? You should be closing in on beating the game by now, not barely getting to Winterhold. Get it together, man.

  • ||

    Come now. One doesn't "beat" a game like Skyrim.

    One merely watches, with great sadness, while the list of incomplete quests diminishes to nothingness.

  • Joe||

    And you only need to be level 5.

  • ||

    find a computer model that says I'm a 6th level wizard with the ability to shoot lighting from my finger tips.

    It is called Skyrim

  • jtuf||

    One team of scientists from China and the American heartland published an article showing that a plant species has enough variation to survive climate change ( http://www.environmentalgraffi.....te-regimes ). The consensus might turn.

  • ||

    Should be quite interesting to see how that all turns out in the end.

    www.ano-toolz.tk

  • Alexander Thesoso||

    Ban Ki-Moon wants $100 Billion to protect the environment.
    Ok, There are 7 Billion people. I'll do my part. I'll kick in $15. Just as soon as 3.5 Billion other people do.

  • ecian||

    Ok, but what are these dire consequences of the planet warming 2 degrees Celsius? I keep hearing AGW alarmists saying a 2 degree rise is going to be the end of humanity but I still don't know how. I thought this article was going to explain that but instead showed how unrealistic and stupid climate change activists are (which I knew already).

  • Fluffy||

    The problem is that a specific answer to that question would reduce, not increase, the desire of the average American to pay to fight global warming.

    Because whenever I go looking for such an answer, I find a lot of vague claims, most of which boil down to "Nothing much will happen to the US or Canada but slight daytime high temperature increases and maybe an increase in the duration of droughts in marginal areas. But Micronesia is really fucked."

  • ||

    The Mousterian Pluvial period is what would happen if the Earth warmed. The Sahara was a garden (possibly the Garden of Eden).

  • Tony||

  • ||

    You know, instead of being a hack you could admit that the climate is huge and unpredictable and there's no way to accurately predict what effects, if any, will occur.

    Oh and CO2 is not pollution.

  • anon||

    That's not entirely true; at some point in the future we'll be able to predict with certainty what the weather will be. That point is far far far far far into the future though, and will lead to us being able to control the climate anyways.

  • ­­Mr. Spock||

    I will be able to tell with my sen-sores.

  • ||

    A weather controlling device? I need to get me one those.

  • Tony||

    If there's no way to accurately predict, how do you know things won't be worse than people think?

    What entitles you to believe the rosiest possible scenario?

    I'd ask what entitles you to think you're smarter than the experts, but the trend around here is to pick and choose which experts to believe, based on whether they agree with your beliefs.

  • ­||

    Things can't be worse than predicted because that would also be contradictory to the consensus and thus not allowable.

  • ||

    I admit that I'm not an expert and it is possible that the outcome could be more dire. Cause I'm not a hack that holds dogmatically to the view that I am right and you are wrong.

    All of that is besides the point Tony. Every single time your so called experts have yelled "OMG the sky is falling", it miraculously hasn't. So either they aren't experts after all, or their is a vast world conspiracy that keeps thwarting them at every turn just to discredit them.

    Consensus is not part of the scientific method.

    CO2 is not pollution.

  • Tony||

    Who said "the sky is falling" right now in a way that would convince you? There have already been changes to weather patterns that can be reliably attributed to climate change.

    You can say consensus is not science, but when 98% of scientists in a field say something, you have to have a damn good reason not to believe them, don't you think?

    I'm not sure what you think you're getting at with this semantic business about pollution. According to the EPA it is a pollutant. Of course it doesn't matter what words you use, it is a greenhouse gas. Do you deny that?

    You seem to be claiming that it doesn't matter how much extra CO2 is put into the atmosphere, contrary to the laws of physics it will have no effect on anything. That burden of evidence is squarely on you.

  • ||

    Oh, so because some government agency, that has a vested interest in calling something a pollutant to further it's power and institute new taxation schemes, says it is then it must be so.

    Of course it is a greenhouse gas, that's basic middle school science. You are the one that wants to claim it is a pollutant and that people (obviously you mean the rich and corporations) should be taxed on how much they produce. Every single time you comment on one of these climate threads you talk about how I don't have the right to pollute your property with CO2. It's not fucking semantics, that's what you call it. I'm calling bullshit.

    And no, the burden of proof is on the "98% of scientist" to follow the scientific method and have hypotheses and experiments that are verifiable and reproducible. Not flawed computer models that haven't accurately predicted dick.

  • Tony||

    Have you ever read a credible source on this subject?

  • Restoras||

    You haven't so why should anyone else?

  • Joe||

    If being a greenhouse gas makes it a pollutant, then water vapor is too.

    The scary thing is that given half the chance, the EPA would declare it so and tax boiled eggs.

    Of course, then the FDA would have its say once you did that. Then OSHA. Then every other regulatory body. It's a nice little setup they have, being able to do anything they want without anyone's approval.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if there was a consensus among the experts that, to promote a clean gene pool, homosexuals should be sterilized or killed?

    Because that is exactly what the experts were saying and doing a hundred years ago.

    There was a consensus among the experts. Who the fuck are you to think you're smarter than the experts?
    They're fucking experts!

  • Tony||

    Does this pass for cleverness in your circles?

    Do you get to reject any scientific finding precisely because it is believed by an overwhelming majority of scientists?

    We can get into the data if you wish, but you'll just ignore it. So this is a matter of common sense. On my side is the global scientific community, including NASA. On your side is Rush Limbaugh and similar characters. Who do you think is more likely to be right on this issue?

  • sarcasmic||

    Consensus.

    Is.

    Not.

    Science.

    I don't care who believes it and who doesn't. It doesn't matter who believes it and who doesn't.

    You either have a verifiable hypothesis or you do not. It doesn't matter who believes the hypothesis. If it can't be verified it then it does not pass the scientific method, and it isn't science.

  • Tony||

    So Rush Limbaugh is more likely to be right than the entire scientific community, on this scientific matter?

    It seems an awful lot like people are right because they agree with you.

  • sarcasmic||

    Science is not a popularity contest.

    Science is about having a testable and verifiable hypothesis.

    Without that it isn't science.

    AGW lacks a testable and verifiable hypothesis, therefore it is not science.

    It doesn't matter what the credentials are of the people who believe in it, it isn't science.

  • Tony||

    A little education is sometimes worse than none at all. And you've clearly had very little.

    Here.

    We're well past the hypothesizing stage. There have been many observations, and none of them has suggested that increasing the concentration of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere has no effect. You are making a claim too, the far more outlandish one. You're just claiming you're right by default because you say so.

  • sarcasmic||

    Now you're switching the burden of proof.
    You're just full of fallacies (not to be confused with phallices) today!

  • Restoras||

    Very poor straw man. D-

  • Joe||

    Phrases like "the entire scientific community" makes me giggle every time. Keep digging Tony!

  • KDN||

    You can say consensus is not science, but when 98% of scientists in a field say something, you have to have a damn good reason not to believe them, don't you think?

    You mean like the fact that the models they've used that the whole scare is based on have consistently failed to be accurate? Or the fudging of evidence and suppression of dissent in pursuit of their cause? Not good reasons, eh?

    So Rush Limbaugh is more likely to be right than the entire scientific community, on this scientific matter?

    He may be pushing the line of the "2%" because he recognizes that the policies pushed by the 98% to remedy this issue happen to look an awful lot like the policies that their ilk have been pushing since 1880 to remedy every issue, that doesn't make him wrong if the 2% happen to be right. Once anybody says "the science is settled" it's a big red flag that they simply don't want to answer any additional questions on the subject and that everyone else should just shut up and listen.

    It seems an awful lot like people are right because they agree with you.

    Pot, kettle. This is true of everybody, it's human nature.

  • Tony||

    You mean like the fact that the models they've used that the whole scare is based on have consistently failed to be accurate? Or the fudging of evidence and suppression of dissent in pursuit of their cause? Not good reasons, eh?

    You have no idea what you're talking about. It's so depressing when people employ brainpower to memorize talking points that could be used to read, like, science reporting.

    Pot, kettle. This is true of everybody, it's human nature.

    And science is the process of eliminating bias and discovering facts. The claim that science isn't working here is an extraordinary one, and you have to do better than a few lame, totally disproved talking points to back it up.

  • sarcasmic||

    And science is the process of eliminating bias and discovering facts.

    That eliminates AGW.

  • Tony||

    You go around lecturing people about assuming conclusions?

    Until you provide any reason at all for anyone to believe that you have better information than current science, you're just an ignorant hack.

  • sarcasmic||

    Now you're using ad hominem attacks.
    Fallacy (not to be confused with phallice) hat trick!

  • ­­Tony||

    It's "phallus". If anybody should know, it's me.

  • KDN||

    You have no idea what you're talking about. It's so depressing when people employ brainpower to memorize talking points that could be used to read, like, science reporting.

    Of course, the exact same could be said to you re: economics, word for word. I have read plenty of "science reporting." It's almost always overwrought scaremongering to push a preexisting ideological claim, much like reporting in every other field. I'm not a scientist and I don't presume to know the answer here (unlike you), but the groupthink going on amongst those pushing a climate change crisis agenda is obvious.

    And science is the process of eliminating bias and discovering facts.

    And it's this process that seems to be missing to many outside observers. They've seemed to move past the point of accepting new data that goes against the existing conclusion and are instead jumping to implement changes while also ignoring any potential adverse consequences from said changes. This is a problem for a multitude of reasons, but you don't care because these changes happen to align to the path that you'd prefer even if there was no crisis.

  • Tony||

    Yeah scientists long ago accepted GW as fact... that's not bias, that's you being ignorant of where the facts are.

  • BigT||

    Literally hundreds of refereed (peer-reviewed) papers refute AGW:

    http://www.populartechnology.n.....rting.html

    Anyone who shouts consensus is BOTH ignorant of the situation, and disregarding the scientific method.

  • ||

    If there's no way to accurately predict, how do you know things won't be worse than people think?

    We don't. Which is fine. Because without an accurate prediction of any kind, there is no basis to take action. And we don't want to take action in the absence of an accurate prediction.

    See how this works? We aren't looking for quasi-scientific pretexts to implement our long-standing goals of wealth redistribution and economic control, so it makes no diff to us.

  • Tony||

    Not changing anything is to act in the most radical possible way. Changing the chemical makeup of the atmosphere unchecked is the radical action here. Attempting to mitigate it is the conservative action.

  • sarcasmic||

    You are using your conclusion as your premise.

    This is called circular reasoning, otherwise known as begging the question, and is a logical fallacy (not to be confused with phallice).

  • Tony||

    Yeah I had Logic 101 too. Curious that you had that class but missed 5th grade science.

  • anon||

    Guessing you didn't do too well in that class.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was there in 5th grade science when they taught about this crazy thing called the scientific method.
    You must have missed that class.

  • ||

    Not changing anything is to act in the most radical possible way.

    You can make any wild prediction and then say that. By your "logic" Bush was right to invade Iraq.

    You're just going to have to give up on the idea that the future can be predicted via the political process. Wrecking the world's economy just to salve your fears is not practical.

  • Tony||

    Who wants to wreck the world's economy?

    Why is an economy based on finite fossil fuel resources the best possible world?

  • Neu Mejican||

    You should read your Nassim Nicholas Taleb more carefully.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That was aimed at RC Dean.

  • tarran||

    Every statement in the second paragraph of that page you linked to, Tony, is false:

    1) Sea level rise is not accelerating if you look at the raw data.

    2) Droughts are not getting longer and more intense

    3) And the glaciers that are shrinking tend to be shrinking for local reasons - and there is no wholesale melting going on.

  • tarran||

  • KDN||

    But it's from the government. No way it could be incorrect in any way. They are always great and perfect and know what's best, by golly.

  • anon||

    And dude, consensus!!!111one

  • ||

    2) Droughts are not getting longer and more intense

    The hockystick team (a group of about 2 dozen people whom tony describes as "the entire scientific community") have admitted to this:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/1.....more-15181

    Overall, multiple studies suggest that current drought and flood regimes are not unusual within the context of last 1000 years [(e.g., Cook et al., 2010; Seager et al., 2008; Graham et al., 2010)].

  • Neu Mejican||

    Joshua,

    If their reconstructions are not able to be used to support the AGW hypothesis, why are they able to answer this question?

    ;^) *

    *They are much different questions and would use much different types of information.

  • ecian||

    Even if the assertions in the link Tony provided are true (the prospect of which I find dubious), I don't see anything on there beyond human beings' ability to adapt or anything worth sentencing the world's poor to a low-energy perpetual poverty and destroying our economy.

  • Tony||

    What else does NASA get wrong that you are so better informed about?

  • Fluffy||

    If NASA is right, in your link, then North America has nothing to worry about and I suggest that the regions that will actually have negative impacts from global warming get busy figuring out how they're going to solve the problem without our assistance.

  • Tony||

    So much for nonaggression.

    You guys aren't about freedom at all. You're about maximizing profits for the the underwriters of your silly beliefs, period.

  • anon||

    Come on, Tony. Every man is about maximizing his or her own perceived profit. The only thing silly about the situation is your refusal to believe this axiom.

  • ||

    Not helping someone who is being beat up IS NOT FUCKING AGGRESSION. You can argue that it is immoral and not a very nice thing to do, but the only ones committing aggression are the ones actually doing the beating.

  • Tony||

    The US is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and you're saying to the less culpable victims "tough shit." It is aggression. You favor polluting the environment we all share and not paying to clean it up. You are advocating looting on a massive scale.

  • anon||

    What pollutants, specifically?

  • Restoras||

    We could start by only growing enough food to feed ourselves. Or would that be aggression too?

  • ||

    Hence why I keep repeating that CO2 is NOT FUCKING POLLUTION.

    Greenhouse gas yes. Pollution no.

    It really is that simple.

    (Oh and, not that it matters but, China emits more than the US and has for something like the last 3 years)

  • anon||

    Yeah, that's pretty much where my argument was going, but Tony realized his shitty argument was shitty and quit posting.

  • Tony||

    So what's your point? You can disagree with the body charged with defining pollutant if you like, but so what? As a greenhouse gas it has certain effects. Do those not count because your personal dictionary is slightly different from that used by policymakers?

  • anon||

    A pollutant would be the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms.

    There's -zero- evidence that co2 does any of this. Quite the contrary, increased co2 levels promote vegetation growth.

    Further, there's little evidence that co2 is the cause of any warming, and to the contrary co2 increases actually are an effect rather than a cause of climate change.

  • Tony||

    CO2 is a waste gas produced from the burning of fossil fuels, a human action. By any dictionary definition of pollutant, it fits. I'm still not sure what the point of this line of reasoning is.

    CO2 is naturally present in the atmosphere and is essential to the life cycle... therefore there is no such thing as too much?

    Geez you guys deserve automatic PhDs for that insight.

  • anon||

    How, specifically, does co2 harm anything in its environment?

  • anon||

    See, to be a pollutant, it has to actually -harm- something. The only evidence of co2's effects on its environment are actually beneficial.

    Would you consider fluoride a pollutant? How about Oxygen?

  • sarcasmic||

    Water is the other component of hydrocarbon combustion.

    Is water is a pollutant?

  • ||

    Those effects cannot be accurately pred...fuck it this is just going to go in circles ad nauseum. I've explained all of this before, and answered your posts as honestly as possible. You are either willfully being obtuse or you are just trying to get everyone to hone their responses.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony thinks that not taking equals giving, and not giving equals taking.
    So it stands to reason that he would believe that doing nothing equals aggression.

  • Restoras||

    Right, I forgot about that meme of his.

  • Fluffy||

    Tell me, Tony, where's my check from Greeks for the deforestation of the Greek hills?

    Where's my check from Iraq for the salinization of the Tigris and Euphrates irrigation zones?

    Where's from check from the Maya for the impact of slash and burn agriculture on Caribbean rain patterns?

    By definition all human action has some impact on the climate. But nobody owns the climate, and therefore no one has an actionable claim if it changes.

    The climate has never been stable. Your argument that I owe somebody dollar damages for altering the climate would require that a stable climate be the default state - that it be something that other parties could reasonably expect - and it has never been that and can never be that.

    You also cannot, by your scientists' own admission, guarantee me that if we take corrective action X Micronesia won't still sink beneath the waves. That's because coastline conditions are PARTICULARLY unstable, and islands and beaches routinely are exposed or swallowed up due to normal climate and geologic variation. So all of this "Act now and Bangladesh will be saved from erosion" stuff is just nonsense. Let's not act now and let conditions change the way conditions have always changed. Act of God, baby doll.

  • Tony||

    Fluffy a true accounting of environmental damage can never be done, that's true. That doesn't mean anyone who wants to pollute it has license to do so forever with complete impunity. This is a variation on the argument from ignorance. "We can't know everything, therefore we must do nothing." As if doing nothing is not a choice with consequences. (In this case, the most radical possible choice.)

  • fyngyrz||

    freedom != nonaggression, silly person.

  • picassoiii||

    Apollo 1, Apollo 13, Challenger, Columbia. A couple of unmanned probes...

  • jtuf||


    Are we capable of delivering? Attribution is difficult and it will be important not to undermine the credibility of a system by prematurely attributing events. However, climate science has advanced to the point where it is possible to assess some types of weather event. For example, the European heat wave of 2003 was consistent with an increased risk of extreme weather caused by climate change, whereas the cold U.S. temperatures of 2008 were not—instead being linked to the La Niña phase of the El Niño.

    For other events, such as hurricane Katrina and last year's devastating Pakistan floods and Moscow heat wave, the cause remains uncertain. But the development of an attribution system should help drive further improvements in the forecasting models by continually confronting real world examples of extreme weather.

    We at the Met Office—the U.K.'s national weather service—are keen to take this idea forward, and have begun to put together an international collaboration of scientists called the Attribution of Climate-related Events Initiative, or ACE for short. Our aim is to understand when we can reliably estimate the odds of particular types of extreme weather events and for which types of events further improvements are required. We hope to have a prototype attribution system up and running in two years.

    Should another Category 5 hurricane make landfall on the U.S. mainland, its attribution will be tough. But scientific understanding is developing all the time. Were an attribution system established and its strengths and limitations well understood, a future judge, journalist, or local resident, interested in who—or, indeed, what—to blame, would know where to go.

    Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/.....ingle.html

    So NASA says we know the effects of Global Warming and the Met says we don't. At this point, the scientific community can't agree on how certain our predictions are, let alone on what those predictions should be.

  • jtuf||

    In Tony's world, a consensus of 1 is absolute proof.

  • Fluffy||

    From Tony's link:

    North America: Decreasing snowpack in the western mountains; 5-20 percent increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture in some regions; increased frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.

    AAAIIIIiiiiiiiieeee!!!! Run! Run!! Run from the peril before we hurtle into the ABBYYYSSSsssssssss.......

  • ||

    Don't you understand? Wine country will move north! Omg it's the end of all things.

  • KDN||

    I'll start worrying once we can get quality wines from Labrador. Oh wait, even that wouldn't be unprecedented.

  • ||

    Wine country will move north!

    Global warming is happening faster then we ever would have thought!!!

    http://www.gotastewine.com/all-wa-wineries.php

  • Gray Ghost||

    1-2 degrees C will probably will change viticulture lines; change Pinot country to Cab, that sort of thing. I don't know whether the stretch of vintages of the century in difficult places like the Mosel & Champagne are due to warmer climates or better viticulture/vinification. I do know that I like them, if future vintages will taste like the 2007s in Alsace and MSR have so far.

    When those Washington vineyards move west of the Cascades, Joshua---instead of most of them being around Yakima---then I'll start believing in rapid global warming. Good stuff. Need to go pick up some Andrew Will that's on discount near me.

  • jtuf||

    Well, they argue that the sea levels will rise, thus flooding parts of our historic coastal cities that are currently underpopulated because few people currently want to live in them.

  • ||

    Really. Shit, having Washington D.C. obliterated by a flood would be a dream come true.

  • Canman||

    The alarmist claim it will have dire consequences for agriculture. This is one area where ecodoomsters have a terrible track record (especially Paul Ehrlich). It's also an area where goverment action tends to be particularly terrible. Witness ethonol subsidies, Soviet grain harvests, scientific socialism in Ethiopia.

  • Bill||

    From a video I saw, the chimps will start to hang themselves and the polar bears will jump off cliffs it will be so bad.

    I'm convinced. They looked so sad.

  • ­||

    Have they ever held one of these global warming powwows in North Dakota in February?

  • jtuf||

    No, but they once held a Climate Change conference in Russia during the winter and concluded that it's Bush's fault the Russian winters are cold.

  • ||

    In Soviet Russia, Bush Climate Change's fault.

  • Restoras||

    Weather isn't climate, except when they so so.

  • Scott||

    I think the reason we might be on an abyss is because of feedback loops from greenhouse gases embedded in permafrost and in the ocean.

    See:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....28-08.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....hypothesis

    I'm not claiming these are final proof... I'm just concerned and trying to make sense of it all, but the reality is it could be a lot worse even than the "alarmists" of IPCC are making it out to be.

  • ||

    If, and that's a big IF (considering it appears we will be headed towards the valley of a sine wave soon), feedback loops are real and things are much worse there isn't a damn thing we can do to stop it. The best we can do is prepare for some kind of cataclysmic event. Destroying the economy with some kind of carbon tax scheme doesn't make sense either way.

  • Scott||

    If the feedback loops are real, and 2 degrees is the point of no return, then most people would want to do everything in our power to get there. I mean a full wartime-economy redirection of resources forcing us to use renewables (when possible via taxes to leverage private sector ingenuity).

    The economy is going to be ruined anyway if civilization collapses.

    The U.S. could take the lead and yes, if China doesn't follow along we're still screwed... but if the U.S. is going to need to do this anyway, then we should.

    So yes, this is a big IF... but it seems like a real enough risk to act on to me.

  • ||

    The thing is, renewables are not a viable solution to the problem (if there is one). Most people might say they want to do something, but if it means giving up driving their cars to ride bikes and not being able to buy cheap products, you can bet they are going to change their tune.

    And just a word to the wise, endorsing action (at least on the part of the government) on a libertarian website isn't going to get you very far.

  • A Whiner is You||

    True - Renewables are not a viable alternative to our current unsustainable lifestyles. But that just means that we need to change the way we live, so we are not forced to find a renewable that will replace our current fossil fuel usage 100%.

  • ||

    So let the market figure that out instead of having the government shove it down our throats.

  • ||

    So, if these feedback loops can be triggered by warmer temperatures, there should be evidence of that from those periods when the Earth was warmer than it is now.

    Didn't RTFAs, so I'm asking: do they show that these loops have been triggered in the past?

  • Scott||

    I think at this point it's fair to say that it's a concern, but not viewed as a relative certainty that the feedback loops will happen.

    It just seemed to me that it was notably absent for Ronald Bailey, in asking:

    What's so terrible about exceeding
    those two degrees..

    to not even consider the possibility of feedback loops. In fairness, I don't see your typical global warming establishment figure making that much of a fuss about these loops either (not that I watch this establishment as a full-time job).

    Still, worth mentioning, and I couldn't disagree more that there's nothing we could do about it.

    For one: institute a high carbon tax.

  • ||

    Why not a water vapor tax as well, seeing as how that is also a by-product of burning fossil fuels?

  • ||

    yes that is also a good tax. A water tax will also help the oncoming problem of water insecurity. We cannot ignore the fact that our drinkable water is a disappearing, but we like GLOBAL taxes better and water is more of a local issue...therefore we push the global carbon taxes.

  • ||

    now your arguing with scientists again and I simply won't stand for it....catastrophic warming is coming our way...the tipping point is real...so caleld "negative feedback loops" are conspiracy theories like the bilderberg group.

    We must move forward with carbon taxes!

  • ||

    I share Scott's concern, fortunately I know the solution. A carbon tax paid to the IMF/UN and Bank of International Settlements will give us better climate.

  • Mr. Mark||

    Again, I offer my services to make the climate gods happy and end their climate wrath.

    I want one of these.

    It's your planet - think about it and let me know.

    Meanwhile...

    "[T]he cooling will cause world famine, world chaos, and probably world war, and this could all come by the year 2000." - Lowell Ponte, 1976

    "[An] increase by a factor of 4 in the equilibrium dust concentration in the global atmosphere, which cannot be ruled out as a possibility within the next century, could decrease the mean surface temperature by as much as 3.5 degrees celsius. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease could be sufficient to trigger an ice age." - Stephen Schneider, 1971

    More on the horrors of the coming man-made Ice Age here...

  • johnc||

    One could find completely erroneous speculation about DNA from the 1950s, but that doesn't mean DNA doesn't exist.

    It means the body of knowledge changes as more people devote resources to studying it (which is common sense).

  • ||

    If someone predicted back in the 50's that our DNA was going to mutate and people were going to start being born with super powers ala X-Men and then 30 years later said DNA was going to devolve and we were going to turn back into monkey's, you'd have a better comparison.

  • ||

    A worldwide taxation system on DNA replication will help will prevent the DNA crisis from spinning out of control.

  • ||

    BS. All this storm and fury is based solely on computer predictions which are highly subjective and speculative. We have a better chance of entering another Maunder Minimum which has occurred previously during the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • ||

    If the advocates of these policies were serious about addressing the question of climate change, they would structure the entire discussion around a series of questions:
    1. Is there a world-wide warming trend?
    2. If so, is that trend predominantly a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions?
    3. If so, does are the consequences of this warming trend negative and significant?
    4. If so, over what period will the consequences be realized?
    5. If over a long period, will the natural process of economic development be sufficient to offset our gas emissions sufficiently that its a self-correcting problem or allow us time to sufficiently adjust to the consequences?
    6. What exactly is the total net cost of the consequences of this warming trend?
    7. What are the net costs of artificially limiting our emissions of greenhouse gases?
    8. What is the net cost of alternative remediation strategies (e.g. geo-engineering)?
    9. Which of the strategies (inaction, artificial limitation or alternative remediation) carries the lowest net cost?
    Now, as a practical matter, question 1 has yet to be definitively established (warming trends seem to have stopped for the last decade plus). Yet, the entire climate change line seems to treat all nine questions as having been answered. My suspicion is that they decided on policy and worked their way backward from there.

  • Sevo||

    I'd disagree in that, long-term, I'm persuaded #1 is shown. #2 I'll go 60-70% probability.
    But as to #'s3 through 9, I've seen no specific answers, just the assumption that government control is the "answer"; see shithead as an example.

  • ||

    You may well be right. Then again, maybe not (personally, I'd put the probabilities at around 85% and 50%, respectively). That's kind of the point of this framework. It breaks the question down into a a series of debatable, testable, propositions that people can discuss without making the discussion one where uncertainty and the questioning of assumptions causes the discussion to devolve into feet stomping and name calling.

  • anon||

    I believe we have a consensus that Tony is one of the most ignorant people on the planet.

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear. Don't forget about me.

  • Major Johnson||

    I'm a cold natured person, I don't use air conditioning, love it when the temps hit 3 digits and put a sweater on when the temps hit the 60's. I'm fine with a bit of extra heat.

    But who are these *scientists* to decide among themselves what temperature is perfect? Even if the temperatures are increasing permanently, a specious argument to begin with, what's wrong with that? Cold kills far more people and requires far greater required energy consumption since you can't live at lower temps without heat but you can live at higher temps without air conditioning.

    And lastly, why would I trust a model that, given all of the data they have, can't accurately predict this years climate? I'm supposed to trust what the model says climate will be in 100 years when it can't even tell me what the climate should be this year using the same data?

  • anon||

    You obviously didn't watch "The Day after Tomorrow." Someone will be by to relocate you to a suitable re-education facility shortly.

  • ||

    If they were serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions they'd start with government. For instance, how much fossil fuel is burned to maintain the U.S. worldwide military empire? How much is burned by their precious bureaucrats and regulators? They use vehicles, electricity, etc. etc.

  • anon||

    And how much co2 is emitted by the pure bullshit coming out of politicians' mouths in DC?

  • Major Johnson||

    At least you can run a car on bullshit, after you convert it to methane of course so you can spew all that carbon back into the air.

  • A Whiner is You||

    But The Science is Settled!

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.7.11 @ 11:17AM|#
    "No, that's SOCIALIST fundamentalism, the thing that is forcing ME to deny scientific fact with absolutely no justification except MY feelings."

    Lying hypocrite.

  • ||

    I think it's settled. Climate change is happening, "weather" it's man made or not is not important. What is important is that we prepare for what is to come. It maybe a some crazy economy crashing tax scheme, it maybe coastal cities being flooded. Whatever it is beans, rice, and ammo will be better than fiat dollars. I happen to run site where you can buy these things. I also have some coastal land in Kansas for sell.

  • ||

    "...member countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change officially recognized “that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to science.” How deep? They should be deep enough “to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above preindustrial levels.”

    And how deep would THAT be?

    I suggest that, assuming the human race is capable of changing the climate in any significant way, we NOT DO IT. Doesn't anybody think that might be dangerous? I thought that the enviros thought that we affect the climate, and that we are doing damage. What if we keep the warming 2 degrees C cooler? Do we have any idea what the effect of that will be?

  • ||

    We don't even seem to know for sure if any warming is taking place, for Christ's sake.

    But let's just forge ahead with screwing with the climate.

  • Bill||

    I already warned you once about posting with my name! :)

  • ||

    Yeah but mine's red and yours is black.

  • Atillah||

    OMG, is the abyss staring back!

    Does anybody really care about carbon when they have no job and not much chance for one in the future? Maybe that is the abyss?

  • ||

    someday your going to die and someone or something is going to steal your carbon

  • Sven||

    Let them talk and jet to their global conferences, whatever. their scheme is falling apart, so we should be fine. we have to be watchful though, after all, there are maniacs out there who want to shoot metal particles into the atmosphere to block sun rays. if that becomes an imminent threat, we would obviously have to take up arms and stop these lunatics.

  • protefeed||

    I will start believing its an abyss the day these people start acting like carbon is dangerous and stop having these huge carbon producing conferences, stop staying at 5 star hotels, stop driving around in limo’s, stop flying all over the world in carbon spuing jet planes.

    I will start believing it's an abyss when liberals stop flying co2 spewing jets to fly here to vacation in Hawaii (you know, the place that is waaaaay beyond the worst case scenario for temperature rise) because it's too fucking cold on the Mainland.

  • horsewithnonick||

    I broke the dam.

  • me||

    From the link; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....hypothesis

    "According to Gregory Ryskin, a sudden release of methane from the ocean may lead to either global cooling or global warming."

    WTF?

  • first||

    Welcome along Stasha, a petite young beauty who, lucky for us, is a self proclaimed exhibitionist!

    Stasha was born in the Ukraine but grew up in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. With her doll-like features and perfect proportions the camera just loves Stasha. Petter Hegre described her sleek, graceful form as being like ‘a lazy cat on a hot summer day’!

    Stasha loves to eat juicy, grilled prawns with her fingers and another love in her life is her little, white car with tinted windows, She is very proud of her car!

    Stasha may look innocent but she knows for sure the effect she has on men – so watch out! You have been warned!

  • Realist||

    RUN Chicken Little Asshat!

  • Realist||

    "Obviously, a lot of brain and computer power have been devoted to calculating the suite of “ambitious” industrial policies needed to meet these emissions trajectories. In their models, the analysts and most of the folks here at the conference clearly see the climate “abyss” yawning before the world. But how much should we rely on prominent well-meaning energy experts to accurately discern the future?"
    This is the silly bullshit you get from a science correspondent that knows no science.

    Obviously, a lot of brain power....WTF Aaahhhaaa!!!

  • ||

    I checked the facts with the links you gave in your article and the gapminder.org site. Guess what? You are a dishonest liar. The projection that is nearest the true development was scenario B (p. 8, fig. 1-3). They predicted a doubeling of total energy consumption by 2010 (staring at 1960(=1) to compare it with gapminder). In reality It´s more like 2.4. There is no reason to find with reason.com. Just libertarian lies.

  • steffen||

    Bailey is a buffoon who believes a dollar is more imortant than the ecosphere in which he peddles his neo-scientific drivel.

  • Nike Dunk Shoes||

    thanks

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