Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hottest Month Ever

I really do wonder what it's going to take to get the global warming deniers to recognize that they've been wrong for a long time on this issue.  Will it still be deniable when we have summers with no ice at the north pole?  As it continues to shrink today they say "But it's expanding in Antarctica."  It's a ridiculous argument and will probably be abandoned soon enough, but will they just come up with something else as the ice disappears and sea levels continue to rise?  Will they continue to deny the nose on their faces?

Our planet experienced the hottest August on record according to NASA.  The data is now in for September.  It's the hottest ever.  The Pentagon understands what's happening, which is why they've issued a report saying that this is a threat multiplier and will need to change the way the military functions.  One would think this sort of thing would have an impact.  But denial of reality in favor of preferred conclusions is a powerful force.


Chad said...

Lots of great links for you to run around in, but my favorite paragraph.

"Did you know that in the past the Roman Period and Medieval Period were both several degrees warmer than today's temperature. The world then cooled at least four degrees from approx. 1450 to 1850. This period was called the Little Ice Age (a period of glacial advance, the same glaciers that have been in retreat until recently). These temperature variations were not caused by man. They were caused entirely by natural forces."

And Mises thoughts on the subject if in fact we are doomed.

My fav here.

"Even though humanity is totally doomed, that doesn’t mean we can now just drop the issue and get back to increasing our standards of living as fast as possible in our last remaining years. Nope, we apparently have a responsibility to destroy ourselves so that other animals can have the planet instead. The method of suicide? We must “terminate industrial civilization.”


Examinator said...

off topic but... good grief
From the guardian
US news
Washington state

Police say shooter dead after attack at Washington high school

Marysville-Pilchuck high school went into lockdown at 11am
Police say shooter was student and acted alone
Three people taken to local hospital with fourth expected
Follow the latest in our live blog

Email, Saturday 25 October 2014 06.43 AEST

Washington shooting Witnesses told local medial that the shooting started in the cafeteria at around 10.45am local time. Photograph: Local TV news

Police say a shooter is dead after opening fire in the cafeteria of a high school in Washington state on Friday morning, wounding several people.

The Marysville-Pilchuck high school went into lockdown shortly before 11am local time as hundreds of students fled and police scrambled to the scene.

A spokesman for the Marysville police department said the shooter was a student and appeared to have acted alone. The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear.

At least three injured people with gunshot wounds were reportedly taken to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, including one with a head wound. A fourth patient was expected.

Witnesses told local medial that the shooting started in the cafeteria at around 10.45am local time.

Helicopter video taken shortly after the shooting showed hundreds of students fleeing buildings, some with their hands up, as police, fire and medical units flocked to the scene. Students were put on buses and parents were told to avoid the area.

The school issued a statement saying it was locked down because of an emergency situation.

“Police and emergency services have responded. The Marysville school district lockdown procedures will remain in effect at Marysville-Pilchuck until further notice from law enforcement. We will continue to forward communication in cooperation with law enforcement.”

Examinator said...

A fundamental tenant of scientific research is to isolate the Causal factor you are trying to investigate.
In this way you avoid "false equivalence" corrupting/discrediting your analysis/conclusion(s).

In the events you are picking as support for your premise i.e. AGW (if you must) is natural not man caused you fail to consider the causes of those events.
Those events are relatively well understood and their causes are absent in the current causes Climate Changes. This means that the conditions today are a UNIQUE set of causal factors comparisons with previous events are a bit like picking out 3 vehicle fatalities from 1907,1945,2014 and concluding that the causal factor are the same!
1907 was a collision with a horse and cart, 1945 was due to a bazooka hit and the 2014 the was because the driver tried to cross a flooded river.
To conclude as you do you need to understand the individual causal factors.
England's BBC did a recent documentary into the recent extreme weather events in the Northern Hemisphere.
They went into great depth and made the point (among others) that the technology, knowledge/skill and resources today is exponentially greater than say 10 years ago. So much so than no one disciple could keep up with the sheer volume and detail of the nitty gritty fact it requires the combination of several speciality disciplines to combine to be half way reasonable set of conclusions.
They described the utter mind blowing complexity of it all.
The notion that some one can write a definitive book based on fact as known 5-10 ago is ludicrous.
In another field are you aware that the earth actually has 5 "technically known" moons. 4 of which have been discovered in the last 6 years .

Jonathan said...

Wow, I'm going to agree with Examinator on this one, as well as Jon. I think the causality is a big deal and to the extent that we currently know that the earth is getting warmer, and the mechanism that caused it, it seems global warming is on very solid ground.

I think the point was made in a similar fashion here recently, but I like the analogy if deciding to have my daughter driving our car cross country. I take it to 10 mechanics, and all but one say that the transmission is on the verge of going out, and one says it's just fine. I'd trust the 9 mechanics hands down. To go with the other guy seems to me you'd have to do a lot of mental gymnastics and rationalization.

Even when I was firmly in the anti-global warming camp, when I discovered how many scientists were on the side of human caused warming, I couldn't just brush that aside, and am amazed how many people at present can.

That being said, I do have a question for Jon and Examinator. It seems on most issues, you guys tend to be very pragmatic. But on global warming, what I hear is more dogmatic. Dogmatic in the sense of "we're really screwed, and need to do XYZ to fix it, but we probably won't really fix it, but we're still really screwed"

A more pragmatic approach I would think would be something along the lines of what Bjorn Lomborg presents.

His argument is basically "look, global warming is absolutely a problem, and will have dire consequences. But comparing cost vs global good, we should really focus on other issues (i.e. malaria, hunger etc.)."

Jon- you can watch his movie "Cool It" on Netflix. Maybe you're already well aware of this guy, but it was new to me and interesting.

He's got a lot of critics, and I haven't looked to deeply into his claims, but on the surface, I'm frankly rather suprised I've heard no one else form an argument for "dollar per dollar, this is how we can do the most good in the world, and this is where global warming ranks".

Of course, if you see it as an existential threat, obviously that's a different sort of discussion, but then of course the discussion should also be pragmatic in the sense of solutions to move the needle on the issue, not just complain about those who deny the issue.

Here's another interesting podcast on the economic side of things. I think you'd agree that freakonomics isn't a conservative "think tank"

Jon said...

Hey guys, sorry for my non responsiveness, just a bit behind on various things, will come back to this.

Examinator said...

Fair point.
However, To use your analogy would you not fix your daughter's transmission because it costs too much?
The difference between the plight of your daughter's car and ACC is that your daughter can just not go but with ACC the decision is (i)almost(/i) binary binary if we do nothing then all hell will probably follow.
I say almost because the reality is that beyond the set of threshold(i)s(/i) the difference in the consequences is problematic.
In reality Jonathan it is because We don't know the size of the disaster we are currently courting that it is well a seeming all or nothing type response.
The problem was shown (here) clearly by two Docos recently.One US and one British .
They analysed the recent abnormal weather patterns both the US and Britain had experienced then compared them to the events Chad mentioned. The answer was that the events had very different causes.
However when they looked at the British situation it was an unto then an unknown phenomena the jet streams stalled.
What interested the scientists was the link was partially the melting of the Arctic Ice.
What they freely admitted was that the more they study it the more complex its becomes with ever more factors going into the mix.How do they apportion the contribution of each factor. to be definitive and give say a precise date and degree of climate change and its local consequences they would need to know precisely all or most contributing factor and its quantum effect. Clearly we're a long way from that. But the broad brush strokes are crystal clear AGW is real as are the consequences of ACC the Problem is they cant yet give local or definitive conclusions, only that it will be catastrophic.
They admit that that they can't say whether an abnormal hot spell in Texas is due to AGw(sic) or cyclical 1in 1000 event. But they can look at climate Change and see the clear trend.

Examinator said...

So we know that if we don't do something to mitigate the indisputable pending catastrophe do we spend the money on fixing your daughter's transmission or risk her breaking down in "Ah like lit'le girls" Nth Carolina?
Which makes more sense paying what ever a transmission repair is or face the death/rape and or analyst bills in the future.
In short my friend To me a catastrophe is something to avoid.
Given the evidence thus far people are suffering now because of ACC. Waiting for the sky to fall in and having to deal with the unthinkable for our children just to save a few buck$ is in my view absurd in the highest.

Jonathan said...


The way you view the scenario is the way I've commonly heard it described before. Keeping with the transmission analogy, there are two options - fix the transmission at a very large cost, or do nothing. It would be crazy to do nothing - it would be a catastrophe. Therefore, we must be all in and fix the transmission.

The counter to this argument given by Bjorn Lomborg would go something like this - The transmission will cost $65,000 to fix. Yes, of course we would like to fix the transmission, but that's just not in the budget. We just aren't going to come up with the money. In fact, even if we did come up with the money, we wouldn't have a shiny brand new transmission, we would have a rebuilt one which is still going to mean the driving is going to be rougher and less reliable than we would like. This is simply the new reality.

So, instead of either focusing on trying to refinance our house to get a rebuilt transmission, or argue that the transmission is in fact just fine and we should not do anything, why don't we take a step back and look at what we actually realistically could do to help mitigate the fact that our daughter is going on a road trip and we should keep her safe.

Since we can't avoid the possibility that the car might break down, and we know we have $300 to spend - why don't we focus on the fact that we could spend $300 on getting a new cell phone with national converge so when she is stranded we can pick her up. Or purchase an extra coat, gloves, and sleeping bag for $150. Or at least let's buy some non perishable food for $50.

If we're concerned about her safety, let's accept the new reality that her car could indeed break down, and enroll her in some personal defense classes, and buy her some mace.

Yes, of course we would love to provide safe transportation, but that's not the new reality. The new reality is that her transportation will be less reliable going forward. No point arguing about how we're going to come up with the money to fix the transmission, because that isn't going to happen. But if our end goal is to maintain her safety, let's focus on the things we can do to mitigate that.

I haven't looked thoroughly into the validity of Bjorn's possible solutions, and claims. All I'm saying is on the face of it, he does seem to raise a valid point. It might be worthwhile to see how money could be spent to directly address the affects of global warming on the people / environment directly, as compared to the money required to fix the climate itself - especially if it's looking like fixing the climate isn't going to be a realistic / viable option we will get global consensus on in the first place.

Jonathan said...


On another topic - it looks like Biden now has Romneyitus - thinking that his side is going to win the election even though the oddsmakers say otherwise.

Maybe being optimistic about one's chances isn't only a Republican phenomena. The humanity.

Jon said...

Did you know that in the past the Roman Period and Medieval Period were both several degrees warmer than today's temperature.

No, I didn't know that, and neither do you since it's false.

I think you'd agree that freakonomics isn't a conservative "think tank"

Not a conservative think tank, but they are conservative people with an opinion.

I believe I did watch Lomborg's movie. I also read his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist." It's a door stop of a book. As I recall he does a lot of GDP type calculations. He says you can slow global warming, but you're only going to delay it, and here's the cost in GDP, and we need to boost GDP to help people since poverty is really hurting them. Or we could put the money into stopping malaria. This sort of thing.

The thing is though if a lot of people in Africa die this does not affect GDP much since they are not the biggest consumers. So I don't buy the notion that GDP increase should be the goal. In a capitalist society you do kind of have to have that. But we have to get away from that. Maybe you saw the headline that since like the 70's half the world's biomass has disappeared. Something like 90% of the birds in Europe died off. So it's not just global warming that's happening here, we're killing the whole planet with this endless consumption.

It's not necessarily malaria or global warming. We really can do both, but it does require a total societal transformation. Naomi Klein has another book that sounds awesome called "This Changes Everything". The thesis is that capitalism is the root of so many problems, not just global warming, and this is the time to change it. We need to construct a society that meets people's needs, not maximizes profits. It's not working.

Lomborg I kind of view as the last levee in the fossil fuel camp. First you'll have people like Chad saying global warming isn't really happening, nothing out of the ordinary going on with temperature. That's really fallen by the wayside for serious people, so the next levee was the idea argument that sure, it's happening, but man isn't the cause. Maybe it's sunspots, cosmic rays, what have you. Anything but fossil fuel. Notice the purpose of this argument. Keep burning the fuel, keep the profits flowing. Well this one is kind of losing steam as well since we've spent billions of dollars and a couple of decades disproving all these alternative theories. Now we're at the final stage. OK it's happening, man is the cause. How to keep the profits flowing? Admit these things but say it's pointless to try and stop it. Lomborg fills that niche, so he'll be a big deal for a while. The question is how much damage will happen before we get past this final levee and actually try and right this ship.

Regarding Biden, you could be right. You'll assume this is just my liberal bias, but I do kind of have a different standard for politicians. It's more "Rah Rah" get out the vote. They always talk like they are going to win because if they talk differently they fear they may influence democrats to not go out and vote.

Jonathan said...

Regarding Biden, you could be right. You'll assume this is just my liberal bias, but I do kind of have a different standard for politicians. It's more "Rah Rah" get out the vote. They always talk like they are going to win because if they talk differently they fear they may influence democrats to not go out and vote.

Just a quick note on politics here - You know, I'd completely agree with you on the Rah Rah rally the troops philosophy of leadership, including politicians. I think I'd just take it a bit farther than you, and say that a politician or any leader really needs to believe they are going to win, and not just be towing the line.

In fact, I'd say that by sheer force of will a good leader can bend reality and turn the tide of history or events. But I digress.

I think Biden might be a bad example for us both though. On one hand let's say calculating politicians "Rah Rah" get out the vote - but then he might have single handily sabotaged the Democrats by nudging Kansas back to the Republicans with his latest radio interview.

“We have a chance of picking up an independent who will be with us in the state of Kansas,” said Biden in a radio interview with WPLR, a Connecticut radio station.

I kinda like how he beats to his own drum, but I also think a Romney or a Bush would be less aloof than a guy like Biden. But I digress...

Examinator said...

My bad I should take my own advice and read properly.
I was reacting to the usual right wing nonsense i.e. that AGW isn't happening as in Chad.
Anyway your extension of my analogy was false equivalence i.e. Which car would your daughter be likely to drive that has a $64k transmission? Anything over say $2000 and I'd be borrowing to buy another(second hand) fully checked out car (I guess that's your point an a more cost effective solution).
The question I pose to you is more cost effective than What?.
Thus far the response from the deniers' reasoning is polarised all or nothing i.e. do nothing /business as usual.
To me the Mobile phone solution, is inadequate.... What happens if she breaks down a. where there is no Cell phone reception or b. she's miles from anything kidnapping rape come to mind. To me best she doesn't break down. (Like AGW) there is no guarantee that even with "cost effective" options there won't be an unforeseen calamity.

NOTE: I have never advocated a "scorched earth/ back to the 1500's solution to ACC.
In fact I've constantly favoured a phased and multi pronged solution.

Hence my bemusement with the rabid/hysterical right's response that dealing with ACC = social and economic collapse crisis. Overtly simplistic bordering on asinine hyperbole.

No one of intelligence is advocating stopping coal burning as at tonite, next week etc.
I think Ban Kee Moon has it about right phase it out... by 2100.The same goes for vehicle petroleum.
Our society as it stands could not survive without petroleum products ... medicines, detergents,fertilizers, plastics et al.
It is only big interests that don't want alternatives, because they would lose their cash cow and subsequent power.
I.e. the Koch Brother NEED another Billion like I need back yard trepanning!
They want power PERIOD.
Just because someone is good at business doesn't mean they are politically competent or that they are/have the best solution FOR THE COUNTRY OR THE WORLD
It is the conservative mind set that assumes exemplary performance once or in one field= hero or excellence in all things.
There are NO heroes only heroic acts and hype.

Examinator said...

I think the only bone of contention between us on this is priorities.
To me the conservatives treat everything in consumer terms. i.e. the cheapest price.
Me on the other hand views the issue what do we need to do, by when and THEN do it for the best price.
The point is subtle but very real but crucial.
This whole AGW thing is time crucial stopping coal carbon by 2200 is cheaper but it's clearly way too late.

Examinator said...

Hi Jon,
What no comment by the conservatives? on The GOP mid terms, his stance on ACC, his executive action on the clearly immoral and broken Immigration?
It's a pity he spread the changes to drag the US rump, kicking and screaming, into the 21 st century rather than the late 19th during his first term instead of all at once. Thus proving his legitimacy for the Nobel Peace prize.
Maybe he should have also wound back some of the extremist American ( sic? read hysterical fear driven ) Whitey's actions. You know the ones those that are trying to king Kanute with time and change! Heheh ;-D