Seriously Worried

Update 2014-03-06

It took a while to find good (i. e. numerate) critiques of Guy McPherson’s position on the imminence of human extinction from global warming, but eventually these turned up.

“Arctic and American Methane in Context” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/arctic-and-american-methane-in-context/

“How Guy McPherson gets it wrong” http://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/

It’s good to see some path where humanity may be able to survive past 2030, and to have some better context on the controversy about that. However, global warming is still the biggest problem in US politics. Perhaps one of the most credible people writing about it is James Hansen. I endorse Hansen’s call for a fee on all extraction or import of coal, gas, and oil, the proceeds to be distributed to the populace.

Original Post 2014-02-14

At https://www.facebook.com/YourFriendRocky/posts/10203028588934706 , former Mayor of Salt Lake City, “Rocky” Anderson, posts a link to http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2238472 “Achieving Climate Protection: Fostering an Essential Focus on Human Rights and Human Impacts”, the abstract of which begins “Throughout the world, human beings are already suffering, or will soon be suffering, from the results of human-caused climate chaos. Profoundly impoverished people are feeling, or will feel, most intensely the effects of a global crisis that is not of their own making.”.

I replied, “Guy McPherson says it is already too late to save humanity.”

Mayor Anderson replied in turn, “You’re not suggesting we just listen to McPherson and give up the whole idea of acting responsibly toward our children and later generations, are you? We need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, now!”

My response:

Dear Mayor Anderson: To minimize human misery, any “we”, from just you and me, to the Justice Party, to the whole US, to all of humankind, or any grouping intermediate in size, whose attention you and I might be able to engage to a greater or lesser degree on this matter, has little choice, but to try to understand what is happening, and try to plan how best to act within the freedom of movement available to that “we”. So as to the first part, trying to understand what is going on, unfortunately, most of us, not being experts on climate, not having devoted decades to studying the evidence directly, not being part of that scientific community, and not having spent the last couple of years carefully surveying the very latest studies, have to try to understand based on some kind of assessment of what people are saying who do live in that scientific community, and some social process by which we try to evaluate the credibility of the voices we hear coming from that community. Basing that assessment on any one person such as McPherson would obviously be foolish. However, as McPherson points out, there are social reasons for scientists to err on the side of conservatism in the summaries they report to the public and to the politicians. As best I have been able to tell, the situation of humanity is dire, and serious problems may well be coming on a time scale of not 100 years but 20 years. Or maybe less. I am very worried about the fate of the children who are already alive today. Do you think that the worldwide food system that feeds seven billions of human beings is resilient against the effects of chaotic weather? From what you are reading, do you find that the ocean plankton in the tropics are at risk? I am hearing that Earth’s climate has been stable for 10,000 years, a very short time in geological terms, and that usually it is chaotic. The 10,000 years has been enough for humans to discover agriculture and make it work and go into population overshoot, then to discover oil and use that and go into super-overshoot. “End our dependence on fossil fuels, now”, I can’t disagree with that. But the level of alarm that people are working from just seems to me way too low. Maybe it’s necessary to call for abrupt cessation of the burning of fossil fuels, and for draconian measures to reduce the birth rate in any territory (e. g. the US or any State therein) the attention of any part of the populace of which we can get and alert to the severity of the situation. And I don’t know what else; what kind of social and military structures could possibly result in some people surviving; terrible conflicts over water and food seem likely, and at best a tremendous crash in human population count. The trick is how to keep it from going all the way to zero.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Seriously Worried

  1. lwk2431 says:

    ““You’re not suggesting we just listen to McPherson and give up the whole idea of acting responsibly toward our children and later generations, are you? We need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, now!””

    Bunk.

    If we were truly worried about our children we would be working on reducing our debt and deficit spending in the U.S. That is what truly threatens their future.

    lwk

    • lwk2431, I read your response. I note that it doesn’t address the question of food for how many people can be produced when the weather won’t hold still anymore and when the oceans will have died. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131009133216.htm

      What are “debt” and “deficit spending”? They are abstractions over a whole bunch of concrete things, and over promises and commitments concerning concrete things. Some of those are the time of peoples’ lives, minerals, and fuel. Maybe some people who understand the relation between the abstract concepts and the concrete things can see why you think that the things these abstractions refer to are the dangers to the children who are alive today. I for one do not have the understanding of how to bridge from the abstractions to the concretions, and you may have the power to provide some of that missing information. Maybe you can relate “debt” and the “deficit” to the question of what happens to food so the children won’t be able to eat it, or to what happens to the processes of producing food, so there won’t be enough. I know this much: the children can’t live without food. I see dangers to the food supply, in terms of the physical evolution of the earth and some reasonable looking predictions about where that is going, based on evidence, and based on reports from people who have studied it more carefully than I have. What do you have to counter that?

  2. lwk2431 says:

    “What are “debt” and “deficit spending”? They are abstractions over a whole bunch of concrete things,…”

    Debt and deficit spending are an abstraction right up to the point that your economy crashes and everyone suffers. Then it is no longer an abstraction.

    “I see dangers to the food supply, in terms of the physical evolution of the earth and some reasonable looking predictions about where that is going, based on evidence, and based on reports from people who have studied it more carefully than I have. What do you have to counter that?”

    There a great number of scientists out there today questioning those dire predictions and there is clear evidence that some “climate researches” have been grossly dishonest (“hockey stick” Dr. Mann for example).

    “Global warming” seems to have been halted for well over a decade now. The effects of C02 appear to be grossly overestimated. There is plenty of good science that questions your dire predictions. However global economic collapse is a real possibility. The last time that happened it lead to a global world war.

    regards,

    lwk

    • lwk, the Northwest Passage is open for the first time in history and is in use. The accumulation of energy as heat-of-fusion is obvious.

      Those people who are not expert in a given subject area, if they want to get close to the truth, have to make some kind of judgment about whose credentials to trust, and some judgment about which way the arguments and controversies among the people who do spend a lot of their time on the given subject area, are pointing. If you do not accept the reports that the average global air temperature is already .8 Kelvins above normal, perhaps you think the moon landing only happened in Hollywood and the Hitler government only put to death a million or so people in the death camps, not six million. Maybe you even think that the Earth is only 6k years old, and was created by the Abrahamic god, who will provide pie in the sky by and by for you and your family. If you have no grip on reality, we have no basis to converse.

      William Waugh

      • lwk2431 says:

        “the Northwest Passage is open for the first time in history and is in use.”

        It was probably as open during the Medieval warm period too.

        “[you have to ]make some kind of judgment about whose credentials to trust…”

        Agreed, and I prefer those who have not been caught red handed, like Michael Mann, and don’t have a vested interest [$$$] in finding scary stuff that justifies a bigger, more intrusive government.

        “…the reports that the average global air temperature is already .8 Kelvins above normal…”

        The earth is not a naturally static entity. Climate changes. Always has. Always will. I don’t see evidence that man’s activities are leading to a climate Armageddon.

        “Maybe you even think that the Earth is only 6k years old…”

        Nope. It is clearly billions of years old.

        “…and was created by the Abrahamic god…”

        It was created, as was the universe, but by a God that is neither perfect nor all powerful. 🙂

        “If you have no grip on reality, we have no basis to converse.”

        The real problem in conversing is that you have stereotypes in your mind and you try to make everyone fit them. That is kind of like trying to live in a two-dimensional world. 🙂

        regards,

        lwk

        • lwk, I never heard of Michael Mann. Is he one of the sources that McPherson cites?

          William Waugh (waughuspolitics)

          • lwk2431 says:

            “I never heard of Michael Mann”

            Sorry, thought you actually knew something about the global warming/climate change controversy. How you can preach to people about climate change seems difficult to understand if you don’t even know about Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” graph and the controversy of leaked emails that showed Mann to be pretty much a fake.

            See:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

            regards,

            lwk

            • Well, there’s no reason to care about writings that come from someone having no credibility (I don’t know whether Mann falls into that category, and don’t necessarily need to find out, since I haven’t, to date, heard him cited as an authority).

            • Landbeyond says:

              Curiously, your Wikipedia reference contradicts your allegations concerning both Mann and the “controversy of leaked [actually stolen] emails”.
              Clearly you know so little about climate change that you are only able to string together tired right-wing/corporate talking points.

  3. Pingback: Global Warming | 1787regime

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s