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Discussion > A Change in Climate Thinking - Part Of The New Great Awakening

Apocalyptic scenarios attributed to global warming are simply false and the human race will be able to accommodate whatever “climate change” throws at us, claims a remarkably sober new essay in Scientific American.
Breitbart: In Startling Reversal, Scientific American Counsels People to ‘Chill Out’ over Global Warming
by Thomas D. Williams, PhD


The links in the article include:
Two “ecomodernists” argue that continued progress in science and other realms will help us overcome environmental problems
ScientificAmerican: Should We Chill Out about Global Warming?
By John Horgan


Is progress sustainable?
[Apparently, yes!]

TheBreakthrough: Enlightenment Environmentalism
The Case for Ecomodernism
Steven Pinker


How bad will climate change be? Not very.

No, this isn’t a denialist screed. Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic.

Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic. While the climate upheaval will be large, the consequences for human well-being will be small. Looked at in the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards.
ProgressAndPeril: The Conquest of Climate
by Will Boisvert

Mar 12, 2018 at 8:23 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

It would be nice to think that the articles you link to - at least the one in Scientific American, which has credentials as an independent scientific publication of some repute - might result in some new critical thinking, and perhaps even a reassessment. However, I doubt very much that they will. The MSM will almost certainly ignore them - at least I think I can pretty much guarantee that Harrabin, McGrath et al on the BBC will simply ignore them.

But, we can live in hope. Anyway, thanks for drawing my attention to them.

Mar 12, 2018 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mr Christopher: to repeat (and amend) my comment when Golf Charlie linked to this, in another thread:

How bad will climate change be? Not very.
Cannot disagree with that.
Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic.
Can disagree with that.

… will warm the planet…” Perhaps; perhaps not. On recent evidence, perhaps not – but it will depend upon whether you believe the claim of the day that it was CO2 that caused the 30 years of cooling experienced from 1945-1975, or the present-day claim that it was CO2 that caused the 23 years of warming from 1975-1998. Sorry, both cannot be true.

…raise the seas…” Perhaps; perhaps not. On recent evidence, perhaps not.

… derange the weather…” Perhaps; perhaps not. More likely the latter – there has been no “derangement” so far, so why should that suddenly change?

… the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic.” Perhaps; perhaps not. As above, while the heat might have increased a little, floods and droughts have actually decreased, despite what the mainstream media tells us.

It is the scare-mongering surrounding this farrago that is the only thing that is impeding the raising of living standards – for those who fear overpopulation, it is known that as wealth increases, so birth-rate decreases. It’s not rocket science. The question to ask is: why is there this determination to destroy the west, and to inhibit the growth of the rest of the world?

Mar 12, 2018 at 9:45 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Robert Christopher, Mark Hodgson & Radical Rodent

Climate Science has progressively abused the development of Science and Law, wasting/stealing/misappropriating billions, with the complicity of gullible and greedy Politicians.

Climate Science found CO2 guilty, without trial or evidence.

Trump has concluded that Climate Science is guilty of fraud, and he has evidence, it is all Peer Reviewed by Climate Scientists. Let the EPA "review" commence.

"It is known that as wealth increases, so birth-rate decreases", yup! As people gain the technology to turn a light bulb on or off, various methods of birth control become more effective.

The Malthusian model keeps being derailed, as does Peak Oil, but "Greens" and "Climate Scientists" are keeping grave diggers busy.

Climate Science loves to attribute death tolls to CO2. It is time that Climate Science was held accountable for deaths. Given the death toll, and number of perpetrators, there is an appropriate venue:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Justice,_Nuremberg
"The building was the location of the Nuremberg trials that were held from 1945 to 1949 for the main surviving German war criminals ofWorld War II. The Palace of Justice was chosen as the site of the trials because it was almost undamaged, offered sufficient space and included a large prison complex. The choice of the city of Nuremberg was symbolic as the Nazis had held large Nuremberg Rallies in the city."

Mar 12, 2018 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stage 1: Deny the Problem Exists
Stage 2: Deny We're the Cause
Stage 3: Deny It's a Problem
Stage 4: Deny We can Solve It
Stage 5: It's too Late


I see we're up to Stage Three.

So from - 'there is no warming, it is all adjustments/bad station sites/manipulation',' the IPCC is corrupt and and its climate models are garbage', or 'it is all natural', now we have a link to a document that starts

Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic.

Progress of a sort, I guess. I have never been an apocalyptic doom-merchant, (while not ruling out a small probability worst case of eventual warming of 4-5C which would justify the 'apocalyptic' tag) my basic position is that the economic and humanitarian consequences of AGW will be severe and are best addressed by mitigation - emissions reduction - than adaptation after the fact. I am not aware of any economic study that does not agree that prevention is better (and more cost-effective) than cure. And we have arguably lost decades of possible action due to the actions of misinformers, sometimes industry funded, spreading doubt about the science.

So in a grand awakening we now accept the science, but new argument is that the consequences are bad - but manageable compared to the challenges of (say) population growth. The article continues …

Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic. While the climate upheaval will be large, the consequences for human well-being will be small. Looked at in the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards.

Hmmmm. Later the article argues that sea level rise and the subsequent inundation of coastal cities is not so much of a worry because the challenges of reconstruction will not be as bad as the consequences of World War II. I am not sure I find that much of a consolation.

You know what they say about economic forecasts. Stern found that without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more, also indefinitely.

But - two cheers - it would seem the denizens of Bishop Hill are now in favour of mitigation action on climate. Finally.

Mar 13, 2018 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

At the risk of stating the obvious to clueless Phil, it's the alarmist side that is changing its story, not the sceptics.

And the "reasonable middle" is starting to call out the worst alarmist bullshit.

Mar 13, 2018 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Not much is happening and if it does we can adapt.

Mar 13, 2018 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Paul M - Nonsense. The Will Boisvert piece is 100% aligned with the mainstream opinion on the effects of AGW, which he describes as merely 'cataclysmic' rather than 'apocalyptic' when viewed in context.

In his worldview, 0.75 billion displaced people, $71 billion a year on sea walls (etc) are not a cause for concern because, well the population is growing anyway and GDP will rise enough to pay for it all.

By the way, my dictionary defines 'catastrophic' as 'extremely unfortunate or unsuccessful.' and 'cataclysmic' as '
'large-scale and violent.'. So Boisvert is arguablymore pessimistic than those described as predicting 'CAGW'.

Mar 13, 2018 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Stage 1: Deny the Problem Exists
Stage 2: Deny We're the Cause
Stage 3: Deny It's a Problem
Stage 4: Deny We can Solve It
Stage 5: It's too Late

Mar 13, 2018 at 11:33 AM | Phil Clarke

Lets go through the development of Climate Science
Stage 1 Lie and exaggerate, without evidence
Stage 2 Blame everything on anyone, and make them pay for more lies, without evidence.
Stage 3 Keep lying, whilst continuing to shut down access to evidence and debate
Stage 4 Keep telling everyone it is too late, and cause panic, as nothing continues to happen, as proven by the evidence ignored by Climate Science
Stage 5 Keep lying, and Denying responsibility for the mess created.
Stage 6 Climate Science stops. Everyone is happy.
Stage 7 Realisation that Climate Science has wasted more time and money, and cost more lives, than anything apart from World Wars 1 & 2

Mar 13, 2018 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Okay, Mr Clarke, let’s address your points, starting with 1: what is the problem to which your refer?

Rather than wait for your reply (or, more likely, your refusal to address the question), let us make a few assumptions, which should also encompass the other 4 points – what your refer to as “the problem” is that the average global temperature, such as it is, has risen slightly over the past 150 years. Why should this be considered a problem, and what impacts have there been for this conclusion to be reached?

If I am right in my assumption, why do you think that “we” are the cause? (Also, who do you include in this “we”?)

As we have no real clue about the cause of this “problem”, how can “we” possibly solve it?

And, finally: what will be the event or events that will indicate that it is too late (and “too late” for what, exactly)?

Mar 13, 2018 at 2:34 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/16/climate-change-contrarians-5-stages-denial

Mar 13, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/16/climate-change-contrarians-5-stages-denial

Mar 13, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Phil Clarke

Phil Clarke, when it comes to The Guardian's coverage of anything to do with Climate Science, it is probably a lie. When it has "consensus-97-per-cent" in the title, it is 100 percent based on a lie. That is how Climate Science has survived for so long.

Mar 13, 2018 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/16/climate-change-contrarians-5-stages-denial

Mar 13, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Phil Clarke

When something is attributed to Dana Nuccitelli's name, has it always been Peer Reviewed by the Hockey Team's Consensus, as fabricated by John Cook of Skeptical Skience?

Mar 13, 2018 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

As usual, Mr Clarke, you refuse to directly address the question, but merely obfuscate by referring to a media article which argues rather obtusely, with data and opinions from sources well-known to be dubious. (And which, it turns out, invariably crash my computer. How odd.)

However, I shall ask the question of you once more, as the press article you linked to does not: why is the slight increase in temperatures that we have observed since the little ice age considered a problem, especially as almost all the results to date have proven to be beneficial?

Mar 13, 2018 at 5:52 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent, Phil Clarke may be waiting for Dana Nuccitelli to provide him with an answer about Dana's Sept 2013 Guardian article. Dana has always put his personal earnings first, as this July 2013 thread points out.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/22/dana-nuccitellis-vested-interest-oil-and-gas/

Mar 13, 2018 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

However, I shall ask the question of you once more, as the press article you linked to does not: why is the slight increase in temperatures that we have observed since the little ice age considered a problem, especially as almost all the results to date have proven to be beneficial?

Fisrstly, let me say that if I had a magic wand and could solve a major global problem, climate change would be third or fourth on the list. But then nobody is denying the existence of the others.

Secondly, I disagree with the premise, that the increase is 'slight' and wholly beneficial.

Thirdly, for the sake of argument let us assume that every scientific association in the world has got it right and AGW is the driver of the warming. So we can expect at least another 2C, probably more and 'the problem' is a combination of the effects so far observed, which are admittedly difficult to disentangle from natural background variance, (Were hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Harvey caused by warmer conditions? Impossible to know for sure. Were they made worse by warmer oceans? Almost certainly) and the negative consequences of a future planet with a climate several degrees warmer than the remarkably stable one in which our civilisations, agriculture and infrastructure were developed.

Earth's climate is remarkably sensitive to forcings, i.e. imposed changes of the planet's energy balance. Both fast and slow feedbacks turn out to be predominately positive. As a result, our climate has the potential for large rapid fluctuations. Indeed, the Earth, and the creatures struggling to exist on the planet, have been repeatedly whipsawed between climate states. No doubt this rough ride has driven progression of life via changing stresses, extinctions and species evolution. But civilization developed, and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12 000 years in duration. That period is about to end.

Climate Change and Trace Gases.

Obviously there are uncertainties around any prediction, however whether you examine the humanitarian impacts or the economic costs, even the 'best case' scenarios have the benefits of warming dwarfed by the negatives, and find that the costs of emissions reductions now pay back greater benefits later.

But of course, such actions require vision, acceptance of the science and political will, which can and has been undermined by a campaign of misinformation and yes, denial. Pretending we do not have a problem, in this context, is unhelpful to say the least.

I already quoted Lord Stern, the Australian Government tasked Ross Garnaut with a similar review and he concluded:

The modelling showed that the growth rate for Australian national income in the second half of the 21st century would be higher at the end of the century with mitigation than without. The present value of the market benefits this century fell just short of the value of the costs of mitigation policy. However, when we took account of the value of Australians‘ lives beyond the 21st century, the value of our natural and social heritage, health and other things that weren‘t measured in the economic modelling, and the value of insuring against outcomes that were worse than the average impacts assumed in the modelling, strong mitigation was clearly in the national interest

Looking just at the economic (rather than humanitarian) sphere, I am not aware of a study that does not suggest that mitigation has a positive benefit-cost ratio. Most say that current policy does not go far enough, eg Richard Tol examined the impacts of GW on EU economic welfare and concluded…

There are positive and negative impacts of climate change. Positive impacts dominate in the short run (when climate change is largely beyond human control), but negative impacts dominate in the medium and long run. Impact estimates are uncertain, incomplete and controversial but the available evidence suggests that a century of climate change is most likely about as bad as losing one year of economic growth and probably less bad than losing a decade of growth. Emission reduction can be done cheaply, but this requires that emissions gradually deviate from the baseline scenario and that policy is well-designed and takes account of previous regulations. I find that planned EU policy does not meet these conditions. It is twice as expensive as needed, and would cost the equivalent of one in ten years of economic growth.

Finally, straying into the humanitarian context, the WHO tell us

• Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

• Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

• The direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030.

• Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.

• Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/


Now you could argue that a quarter million deaths and billions of dollars annually is small in the context of a population of 7 billion and rising fast (merely 'cataclysmic' as opposed to 'apocalyptic', presumably), but (leaving aside the ethics), in my view the point is - these are, or could be, avoidable deaths.

HTH.

Mar 14, 2018 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Radical Rodent,

As Climate Science struggles to find anything based on evidence, Phil Clarke finds another alternative identity:
Mar 14, 2018 at 12:44 PM | Phil Clarke

The World Wide Web allows one name to communicate from anywhere, in any Continent.

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

almost all the results to date have proven to be beneficial?

Just off the top of my head, climate change has been partly or wholly responsible for making major drought worse, bringing back anthrax, producing more heat waves and killing off around 16% of the world's coral reefs, including about 80% in the Caribbean.

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Normally I don't bother to mention it, but that is such egregious nonsense that I have to reject it overtly.

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Now I know you are talking utter tosh, Mr Clarke, and you really, really do need to learn to read: I did not state, nor ever I have stated, that the ~1°C increase we have had since the little ice age is “wholly beneficial”; I actually stated: “…almost all the results to date have proven to be beneficial”, a completely different kettle of fish (but, then, you are rather fond of twisting what other people say into something completely different). However, if you can point me to one event that can be directly attributed to this rise that has had significantly adverse effects, I would be interested to see it. It is also interesting to see you concluding with a typical political ploy of “Let us save these poor people, no matter what the cost!” utterly ignoring that this quarter of a million it totally hypothetical, with not one jot of evidence to support it, other than some airy-fairy, scary predictions. (Oh, and by the way, where are these millions of climate refugees that we were assured would be relying upon us, around about now?)

You pull up hurricanes as some sort of evidence, utterly ignoring the simple fact that hurricanes have been extant since time immemorial, and that we did have a 10-year dearth of any significant hurricane making landfall in the USA. Sandy was a category 1 hurricane, and met with two storms descending from the North – a not-unheard of event, the last one being in 1938, but there were several more examples during the 19th century. What Sandy did was to expose the foolishness of the planners for the region, who must have been aware of the history of these events, yet failed to take them into account, thus the damage done was more significant, even if the event may not have been as severe. Katrina was similar, though was (briefly) a category 5, before quickly weakening; the damage inflicted on New Orleans wasn’t the hurricane itself, but the failure of the city to maintain its levees; had they done so, they would have kept the swollen Mississippi contained, and there would not have been the same scale of flooding. Then again, perhaps that was the plan – who knows?

Then you resort to the scare figures quoted by people who have significant investment in these being believed, be they the WHO, the IPCC, or any or all of the scientists whose income depends upon the scare being maintained, and offering predictions far enough into the future as to be impossible to counter without being appropriately labelled. (Bizarrely enough, those deaths could be – and are more likely to be – the result of the climates changing to cooling rather than warming, but – hey! – who cares, so long as it proves your point, eh?)

I am not sure why you are so convinced that the prediction of the 2°C rise (over how long? Presumably to 2100, but I could be wrong) or higher will occur, but, again, it is over a time period that is long enough for no-one to really care about, as they cannot be proven wrong in the lifetime of their careers, but can certainly be enriched by it. However, you are right in that we have enjoyed an unusually stable climate for the past 10,000 years, and long may it continue, but you will note that civilisations have generally flourished when it is warmer, and fallen when it cools. Let us hope that the warming continues.

The best way for these disasters to be averted is not to destroy the rich countries, but to disempoverish the poor countries, by which means they can actually help themselves. But, no, that is not the dream, here; the dream is not to have people able to fend for themselves, but to have everyone dependent upon these global organisations, who will do all the thinking, planning and distributing that might be required. O, Brave New World; Orwell’s prediction had a title too early.

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:51 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Rhoda: I have to agree. Meaningful discussion is not really possible, when such utter tosh is spouted.

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Apologies. I should have written 'almost wholly beneficial'. A completely different thing.

You disagree with Oxfam (who are there) about African drought being exacerbated by climate change?

You are OK with large scale loss of coral reefs (the 1997-1998 El-Nino alone wiped out 16% of all coral on the planet). ?.

The link between an observed increase in extreme weather events (e.g. droughts) and GW was elusive but has now been demonstrated.

So just to be clear, given that I included copious references, is it the World Health Organisation, Richard Tol, the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Oxfam or Ross Garnaut who are spouting or publishing this 'tosh'?

Mar 14, 2018 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

But, no, that is not the dream, here; the dream is not to have people able to fend for themselves, but to have everyone dependent upon these global organisations, who will do all the thinking, planning and distributing that might be required. O, Brave New World; Orwell’s prediction had a title too early.

Utter tosh.

Mar 14, 2018 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The question is not whether those things happened, it is whether they are even remotely connected with CO2-induced climate change, whether any such link could be proved and whether such events have happened before.

Coral always recovers, and ocean temp changes are not unprecedented even during ninos.

Mar 14, 2018 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Normally I don't bother to mention it, but that is such egregious nonsense that I have to reject it overtly.

So much more convenient than arguing the case and explaining why you came to that opinion.

Mar 14, 2018 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke