Sunday, February 14, 2010

From RC

From “2009 temperatures by Jim Hansen”, Page 19:

Re: #895


The IPCC is so yesterday.

That’s the point you have yet to grasp.

Let me correct that: The science in IPCC is first rate. The solutions business side of IPCC and Copenhagen and so forth is a complete fraud.

[Response: The IPCC had/has nothing to do with Copenhagen. Policies may be ineffectual, or incoherent or produce the opposite of what is intended - but whatever it is you wish to convey, I suggest you use more appropriate language. - gavin]

Re: #896/897


I appreciate, greatly, your effort to see my comments in a true light, as free of preconceived bias as possible. Would it only be that others would see the benefit of that effort.

Eventually they will, but the majority of the gang in here serves as a proxy for the larger reality: They don’t want to know.

And because they don’t want to know, guess what? They remain human pinballs, caught between advocates arguing about the science and dug-in politicians and their proxies, who are viciously determined to defend their turf, even at the expense of lying through their teeth.

Acceleration is real, folks.

If we stopped emitting CO2 TODAY, (a) CO2 would continue to rise from natural sources, a process which is accelerating and (b) the chemistry between the atmosphere and the top layer of the world ocean will see to it that levels do not sink in any period of time which matters to this discussion.

Yes, Dr. Hansen may be able to envision an eventual stabilization at 350 ppm, but then he would have to address what the world will look like when that day comes, many many decades from now.

That world will be much more heavily influenced by its own momentum than by anything that man can do.

I know that Dr. Hansen knows that, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t mention it when discussing his reduction scenarios.

An honest statement in that regard would sound something like this:

“We can, through certain measures, reduce atmospheric CO2 over time. However, the planet will continue to warm for some period after that, and changes already underway will have to essentially complete before they can reverse, because of the enormous amounts of energy involved. Therefore, we will lose a lot of ice mass, we can’t say how much, and nations will need to address such consequences. It would benefit them to start soon.”

See how that shifts the focus?

Does that help explain why nobody’s saying it? That view currently fits no popular agenda. It does not fit the denier agenda – what, admit that the planet is warming?, nor does it fit the warmist agenda – what, admit that we can’t stop it?

And here we are.

Re: #859


I apologize for missing that comment.

Of course, you’re right. I was not as clear as I should have been.

See, I am focused on two things: 1) CO2 emissions and 2) acceleration.

See the years you mentioned? 2030, 2050? If I am correct that we are already past the point of no return, then those years are far, far too late.

See above. I assert that acceleration is already unstoppable. I am looking for the specific reference, but I read last night that the scientist for the IPY project to analyze the Greenland ice sheet has determined that it is already lost.

We have no idea about the time scales, of course, not today, and certainly a warmer planet will speed the acceleration, so we should do what we can to limit that warming. No argument.

When I say “the needle hasn’t moved” I mean in the area where it matters: A global agreement to reduce CO2 emissions.

Suppose I’m wrong about the point of no return. How wrong am I? Ten years at most?

Even you don’t predict that we will be reducing CO2 emissions in ten years.

Jim (Dr. Hansen) objects to me calling this a game, perhaps because he believes that it connotes something less than serious.

If Jim cares about understanding my position, then he will have read enough of my posts to know that I am far from frivolous in my views. Completely out of step? Yes, today. But guess what? I am getting much more traction here these days than I did a year ago with essentially the same observations.

Why? Well for one thing, Copnhagen came and went without a binding agreement (Good!) and for another, at least some among you are trying to stay rational and not just pick a leader to follow, no matter what they say.

My two biggest heroes are Gore and Hansen, and look what’s become of them: Gore supports a fraudulent bill, and Dr. Hansen runs from his own empirical conclusions.

Sometimes we have to show the leaders how to lead.

Re: #891


I see them as twins, joined at the hip, especially politically.

You cannot deny that IPCC has a political slant (leftward, obviously), as do the people who are trying to sell us on global treaties.

I really don’t know how we can separate them. Would there be climate policy groups without the IPCC findings?

And Gavin, I appreciate the couched language you use. See, I honestly pity you and others in the climate science world. I’m sure an anonymous poll would reveal a strong bias toward the opinion that we have passed the point of destabilization, throwing us into a wild new era of unknowns. I understand the enormous pressure you’re under to keep seeking “solution”. It’s far too political now, and that will only get worse.

Let me ask you a question: Have models been run to identify a destabilization point? Can the question even be framed as something that can be modeled?

If no/yes, would it make sense to see what we can learn there?

Re: #906


Perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word “acceleration”.

I was referring to the natural acceleration of a warming event. Dr. Hansen, for one, believes that we reach a point in a warming where the event must complete itself, in other words, little or no permanent ice.

I agree and I believe we are past that point.

Re: #912


Please avoid sweeping statements.

I’m quite happy to have any of my suggestions improved upon, which would at a minimum require the other person to present me with some information.

With regard to reservoirs, I don’t know why you consider it necessary to associate dams with reservoirs. As you surely know, there are many reservoirs which are not the result of dams.

I never meant to use the word dams at all. It was a complete mistake, an accident.

This is the third time I am saying this and I don’t like to waste everybody’s time doing that, so for the last time:

The U.S. of the future will have less snow but more rain, and snow/glacier-based rivers will run low or run dry. Wet and dry regions will likely also shift, and the wet regions will likely get far more rainfall than they could, today, capture and preserve. Thus, in order to survive in that new world, we need a comprehensive national water management strategy which at a minimum improves on how much rainwater can be captured and preserved but which should also include dumping as little waste water as possible into streams and back out to sea (better to recycle and preserve it) as well as an integrated network to get water from where it falls to where its needed, and to replenish low supplies from over-supplied stocks.

Now, can I make an easy million by betting that much that not you nor Hank nor anybody else can produce evidence that there is even a concerted effort to have that discussion, let alone actually taking steps in that direction?

Re: #907


Did you see my question?:

Have models been run to identify a destabilization point? Can the question even be framed as something that can be modeled?

Re: #905


Why are we all screwed?

We can’t learn to adapt?

What choice will we have?

Let me propose this: Some will survive, some won’t. What will be the factors which determine who is who?

I submit that one such factor will be how willing they were to face reality and make the wisest use of available information.

Re: #917


Doesn’t this:

make my point?

Lets you and I take a step back and see what we agree on.

We agree that energy efficiency slays more than one dragon, and that there is some low-hanging fruit.

We agree that there are some good ideas out there which unfortunately encounter a lot of resistance.

Now, some things I submit that we could agree on:

There is no national commitment to specific targets for energy effiency.

There is no coordinated national effort to plan for the eventual likely effects of persistent warming.

I won’t ask you to agree with me regarding what time it is; I’ve made my argument, I can provide supporting documentation, we all have to decide what the information means to us.

But my issue is this, sir: My “good idea” is to get us to a point where enough of us agree on what constitutes a “good idea” that we have a chance to get it done.

I see no point in continuing to attempt this on an international scale. It amounts to fiddling while Rome burns. Rome is going to burn anyway, so we have to learn to live with the consequences.

I do not dispute that you can find anecdotal evidence of good-faith efforts to accomplish some of these “green goals”. I would simply ask you to compare that with the ticking clock of AGW. I assume that you are at least as familiar with the science as I am, therefore you know about acceleration and some of what Hansen has said about it. You understand that CO2 will continue to rise, as will temperature, even after man stops adding to the atmospheric levels. You know it will be many decades, no matter how successful we are at reducing CO2 emissions, before AGW “turns around”, and I presume you know that the likelihood is that the even must complete before that can happen.

My hedge against all of that is to plan for the consequences.

Re: #922


You wrote: “It’s one reason to start as soon as possible.”

We would have to have a longer discussion about what that sentence implies.

To me it implies that we just haven’t tried hard enough to convince people, that somehow the effort is lacking.

But do you honestly believe that?

I don’t know how long you’ve been involved in the “AGW debate”. For me it’s not that long, 3+ years, but in just that time I’ve had an incredible arc in my reaction to denialist positions.

At first I thought they were just confused. That didn’t last long. I soon found out that they were dug in and that they had some prominent scientists on their side. Warmists were already quite busy attempting to undermine the validity of these scientists.

I’ll gloss over the back and forth; presumably you are quite familiar with it yourself.

Unfortunately, one inescapable conclusion I have reached at this point is that the denialist position is highly adaptable and probably undefeatable, for several reasons:

1. AGW takes a long, long time to kick into a gear that will stir a conscious response;

2. Annual variability means that we will, on a regular basis have unusual “cold” events, which will serve to undermine the message;

3. AGW science is of course a pursuit of knowledge which will never be complete; the denialist camp has become expert at turning this uncertainty and replacing of older information with new into spin which declares: “They just don’t know, and they’re asking us to bet the future on it.”

To that last point you would probably say: “It’s the uncertainty that makes it important to act as soon as possible.”

Which they bat down dismissively. There are more important short term problems to deal with, they say.

The point being: A large chunk of the public responds positively to those messages.

And keep in mind: A lot of people just don’t trust the government. I could give you solid reasons why Dr. Hansens’ favored approach, fee/rebate, could almost certainly never happen in the U.S. Short version: It would be seen by some as another massive government program. There is enough resistance to such things in American politics to, at minimum, stall it for the foreseeable future.

The denialist intent has been to stall. Stalling has always been the enemy of nipping this in the bud.

And that’s where we are, I think you’d have to agree.

By now you know why I stand where I do. I take it that you still disagree, and I have accepted the responsibility to develop my position more thoroughly.

When I have that done I will post it online and let you and others know where to find it.

I don’t want anybody to think that I am simply making wild accusations in order to be “different”.

Nothing could be less true. I had to be pried off of the AGW bandwagon, and it was the evidence that finally did it.

I owe it to the group to present that evidence, and I will, soon.

Re: #924


Certainly some of us are screwed. That’s inescapable. There will be disruption. It will mostly be slow, but specific events will lead to mass displacements.

By “slow” I mean: slow enough to adapt to.

But I absolutely do not believe that we are all screwed. I believe there will be survivors, and those people will be highly adaptable. Of course there will be massive loss of life in the interim, not purely from climate but from the wars which will no doubt be necessary to prune the human herd enough to survive on the remaining resources.

But then what will happen? The tundra of the north will prove habitable, opening up new land for development and cultivation. What is now white, then brown will eventually be green, and become a net CO2 sink. Man will be “reborn” after his near-death.

None of it avoidable. If it wasn’t climate change it would be overpopulation, or religious intolerance, or two nations mad enough to hurl nukes at each other.

Small, adept, adaptable beings survive extinction events. Large, high-maintenance, slow-to-adapt creatures perish.

Humans occupy both ends of that spectrum.

Now, we can get weepy and talk about the victims who did nothing wrong, did not leave a large carbon footprint but are left to pay the price.

And do you know why that is? Because they were weak. They lacked the power to form a constituency which could protect their interests.

That, sadly or not, is how life works.

So, framing the AGW debate in terms of “saving the innocent” is, to me, just one more lie. The “innocent” are “the powerless” and they are powerless for a reason.

Now, the next step would be to assert that it is our human duty to look after the powerless.

That’s a discussion worth having.

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