Monday, March 27, 2017
Greenie writer for hire is full of vitriol but neglects the underlying facts
Graham Readfearn is a "freelance" writer who earns his keep by writing scary stories for Left-leaning publications. And he gets a lot of gravy from "The Guardian". The article below is just one of his typical hit-pieces that treat as gospel all that Warmists have said and sedulously avoids real critical thinking. He criticies James Delingpole only. He shows no signs of critical thinking about what Warmists say. He protects his funding.
So it's all rather a riot below. It sounds great if you don't know what he leaves out. Green/Leftists always leave things out. It is their modus operandi. They take the facts and utterances that seem to support their conclusions and ignore the rest. They would have no case if they considered all the facts. So let me give an example of that. Comrade Readfearn says:
"The Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2016"
That's true as far as it goes but it creates the false impression that those were the ONLY bleaching events. The fact of the matter is that there have ALWAYS been bleaching events on the reef. I grew up in and near Cairns, the main access point to the reef, and for 60 years I have been hearing that the reef is damaged and in danger. Yet the tourist operators are still having no difficulty taking people out to see coral in all its glory. Comrade Readfearn lies by omission. Reef tourism is in fact booming in Cairns.
And here's something else you would never guess from comrade Readfearn's report. It is from a recent report by three prominent reef scientists:
"The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy."
If the bleaching events were due to global warming you would think that the bleaching would be uniform. Or is global warming sometimes not global?
Such cynicism is in fact well justified. Here are some VERY awkward facts for comrade Readfearn:
Cape Grim tells us that CO2 levels have been plateaued on 401ppm since last July (midwinter) So anything that has happened in the recent summer is NOT due to a rise in CO2.
And NASA/GISS tell us that the December global temperature anomaly is back to .79 -- exactly where it was in 2014 before the recent El Nino event that covered the second half of 2015 and most of 2016. So there has been no global warming in the recent Southern summer and there was no CO2 rise to cause anything anywhere anyway.
The claim that this summer's bleaching was an effect of global warming is a complete crock for both reasons. The data could not be clearer on that. The seas around Northeast Australia may or may not be unusually warm at the moment but if they are it is some local effect of air and ocean currents etc. The warming in NOT a part of global warming
So that takes all the excitement away for comrade Readfearn. He has told us at great length what a bad state the reef is in -- and a few parts ARE apparently stressed -- but his only explanation for it is false
Breitbart's James Delingpole says reef bleaching is 'fake news', hits peak denial
A claim like this takes lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at
It takes a very special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef “fake news”.
You need lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.
It also helps if you can hide inside the bubble of the hyper-partisan Breitbart media outlet, whose former boss is the US president’s chief strategist.
So our special person is the British journalist James Delingpole who, when he’s not denying the impacts of coral bleaching, is denying the science of human-caused climate change, which he says is “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.
Delingpole was offended this week by an editorial in the Washington Post that read: “Humans are killing the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and there’s nothing Australians on their own can do about it. We are all responsible.”
Like the thriving polar bear, like the recovering ice caps, like the doing-just-fine Pacific islands, the Great Barrier Reef has become a totem for the liberal-left not because it’s in any kind of danger but because it’s big and famous and photogenic and lots and lots of people would be really sad if it disappeared. But it’s not going to disappear. That’s just a #fakenews lie designed to promote the climate alarmist agenda.
Now before we go on, let’s deal with some language here.
When we talk about the reef dying, what we are talking about are the corals that form the reef’s structure – the things that when in a good state of health can be splendorous enough to support about 69,000 jobs in Queensland and add about $6bn to Australia’s economy every year.
The Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2016 – with a fourth episode now unfolding. The cause is increasing ocean temperatures.
“Is the Great Barrier Reef dying due to climate change caused by man’s selfishness and greed?” asks Delingpole, before giving a long list of people and groups who he thinks will answer yes, including “the Guardian” and “any marine biologist”.
“Have they been out there personally – as I have – to check. No of course not,” says Delingpole.
Yes. James Delingpole has been out there “personally” to check, but all those other people haven’t. He doesn’t say when he went but he has written about one trip before. It was back in late April 2012. Everything was fine, he said, based on that one visit. I can’t find any times when he has mentioned another trip since.
So here’s the rhetorical question – one that I can barely believe I’m asking, even rhetorically.
Why should there not be equivalence between Delingpole’s single trip to the reef (apparently taken 10 years after a previous severe case of bleaching and four years before the one that followed) at one spot on a reef system that spans the size of Italy [takes breath] and the observations of scientists from multiple institutions diving at 150 different locations to verify observations taken by even more scientists in low-flying aircraft traversing the entire length of the reef?
I mean, come on? Why can those two things – Delingpole making a boat trip with mates and a coordinated and exhaustive scientific monitoring and data-gathering exercise – not be the same?
So it seems we are now at a stage where absolutely nothing is real unless you have seen it for yourself, so you can dismiss all of the photographs and video footage of bleached and dead coral, the testimony of countless marine biologists (who, we apparently also have to point out, have been to the reef ) and the observations made by the government agency that manages the reef.
Senator Pauline Hanson and her One Nation climate science-denying colleagues tried to pull a similar stunt last year by taking a dive on a part of the reef that had escaped bleaching and then claiming this as proof that everything was OK everywhere else.
This is like trying to disprove to a doctor that you have two broken legs by showing him an MRI scan of your head (which may or not reveal the presence of a brain), and then being annoyed when he doesn’t accept your evidence.
It’s as though we’ve reached peak denial.
Last year’s bleaching on the reef was the worst episode recorded to date. The current fourth mass bleaching has scientists again taking to the field.
This month a study published in Nature, and co-authored by 46 scientists, found these three episodes had impacted reefs “across almost the entire Great Barrier Reef marine park”. Only southern offshore reefs had escaped.
Corals bleach when they are exposed to abnormally high ocean temperatures for too long. Under stress, the corals expel the algae that give them their colour and more of their nutrients.
Corals can recover but, as the study explains, even the fastest growing and most vigorous colonisers in the coral family need between 10 and 15 years to recover.
After the 2016 bleaching, a quarter of all corals on the reef, mostly located in the once “pristine” northern section, died before there was a chance for recovery.
In a further blow, the study looked at factors such as improving water quality or reducing fishing pressure and asked if these had helped corals to resist bleaching. In each case, they found they did not (although they do give reefs that survive a better chance to recover).
Essentially, the study found the only measure that would give corals on the reef a fighting chance was to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The lead author of the study, Prof Terry Hughes of James Cook University (who is this week carrying out aerial surveys of the current bleaching episode), told my Positive Feedback podcast:
We can’t climate-proof reefs. Sure, there’s stuff we need to do be doing locally around water quality and fisheries management, but doing these two things alone is not going to protect the reefs in the long term. The elephant in the room here is climate change.
Some commentators have suggested a key cause of the 2016 bleaching was the El Niño weather pattern that tends to deliver warmer global temperatures.
But Hughes says that before 1998, the Great Barrier Reef went through countless El Niños without suffering the extensive mass bleaching episodes that are being seen, photographed, filmed and documented now.
Dr Mark Eakin, head of Coral Reef Watch at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the cause of the modern-day mass bleaching episodes on reefs across the world was the rise in ocean temperatures.
This, says Eakin, is “being driven largely by humans and our burning of fossil fuels”.
New Maine anti-discrimination bill would protect. climate change skeptics
If you live in Maine you already enjoy the normal complement of protections against discrimination based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and all the usual demographic pigeonholes. But if a new bill being introduced next month manages to be passed into law you can also be protected from the government based on your position on the subject of climate change. This sounds like satire, but apparently it's not. (Yahoo! News)
Rep. Larry Lockman has introduced a bill that would limit the attorney general's ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person's "climate change policy preferences."
Lockman, an independent business consultant, said there is a "faith-based ideology of climate change hysteria and anybody who is a skeptic is immediately labeled a heretic who must be silenced," the Portland Press Herald reported.
In his bill, Lockman says that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United "continued the protection of protected political speech, no matter the source or message." That case allowed corporations and unions to make unlimited independent expenditures in U.S. elections.
I suppose the first question to ask is, protection from what? The author of the bill is bringing up some investigations launched by the state attorney general into whether or not Exxon Mobil "misled" people on the possible consequences of climate change. It sounds as if that's where this bill is heading, but isn't that already covered under the general concept of free speech?
It doesn't seem to me as if the government can really discriminate against you based on the position you take in an ongoing scientific debate. If that were the case we probably could have locked up all the flat earth people by now. And if you can't show some actual damages to someone it becomes difficult to get a law approved to protect them. Granted, the amount of taxpayer money which has been flushed into environmentally sensitive initiatives put in place by the EPA under Brock Obama might certainly be considered "damages." But again, that's really not discrimination so much as just bad policy.
But what the heck. We can let the state of Maine be the test bed for this particular experiment. If this manages to fly, who knows what might be next? I've been endorsing some form of protection for proper martini drinkers for years. Perhaps we could turn this thing around 180 degrees and start penalizing people who insist on calling drinks made with vodka "martinis."
Earth Hour: A Dissent by Ross McKitrick
In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.
I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonises electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.
People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.
I don't want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in "nature" meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.
Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.
No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don't want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilisation with all its trade-offs is something to be ashamed of.
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph
U.S. Energy Boom Depends On Team Trump Continuing To Deregulate
Across the country, oil and gas production is gaining momentum, thanks to innovative technologies and practices that have led to ongoing reductions in costs, dramatic improvements in productivity — and a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing.
Yet oil and gas producers are encumbered by some long-running legal roadblocks that, by many measures, have barely changed over the last century, if at all. Examples of these outdated regulatory barriers include a ban on exports of crude oil, regulatory constraints on access to federally controlled lands, and the 1920 Merchant Marine Act's absurd restrictions on transporting domestic products by ship.
The maritime law — known as the Jones Act — puts the scope of the regulatory problems into clear focus. It nonsensically mandates that any products, including oil, shipped between U.S. ports must be transported on a U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged, and at least 75%-U.S.-crewed vessel.
The Jones Act keeps otherwise uncompetitive elements of the American shipping industry afloat, but it carries a stiff price. The Jones Act harms the U.S. economy by driving up shipping costs, stifles competition, and hampers energy production by making it more difficult and costly for producers to send crude oil to refineries.
The Trump administration can do something about this archaic statute. Its focus on regulatory reform — resurrecting the Keystone pipeline, allowing the Dakota Access pipeline to continue, and repealing Obama's rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land — is an opportunity for the administration to take further significant steps to ensure the U.S. derives full benefit from its enormous oil and natural gas resources.
The Jones Act is the epitome of an outdated protectionist measure. Originally legislated to sustain the Merchant Marine fleet after World War I, the Jones Act has become the support system for domestic commercial shipping.
Repealing the statute would reduce the cost of transporting oil by vessel because foreign-flagged ships can currently transport oil for an estimated one-third of the cost of U.S.-flagged vessels. Open competition is a critical component of any efficient marketplace. By being denied access to competitive shipping, American consumers pay higher prices for many goods, including gasoline.
Next, lifting the ban on U.S. exports of crude oil is long overdue. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 signed by President Ford blocked exports of U.S. crude oil at a time when the country was becoming increasingly dependent on imported oil.
But with the continuing surge in domestic oil production resulting from the shale revolution (daily crude production is now back above 9 million barrels and will reach 10 million barrels by the end of next year), the export ban is no longer in our national interest. The ban is a vestige from a price-controls system that ended in 1981.
In contrast, there are no limits on U.S. exports of refined energy products such as gasoline and diesel fuel that are made from crude oil, so a ban on crude oil exports makes no sense.
With such deregulation and changes in policy, there would be an opportunity for U.S. oil and gas production to reach its full potential. There would be greater incentives for more domestic exploration and production. Some studies say that allowing U.S. crude oil exports could generate up to $15 billion in annual revenue for oil producers.
And if conducted in tandem with increased investments in infrastructure and the repeal of the Jones Act, unrestricted exports would provide a boon for domestic oil development, generating economic growth, income, jobs and revenue along the production chain.
The Problem With Climate Catastrophizing: The Case for Calm
Climate change may or may not bear responsibility for the flood on last night's news, but without question it has created a flood of despair. Climate researchers and activists, according to a 2015 Esquire feature, "When the End of Human Civilization is Your Day Job," suffer from depression and PTSD-like symptoms. In a poll on his Twitter feed, meteorologist and writer Eric Holthaus found that nearly half of 416 respondents felt "emotionally overwhelmed, at least occasionally, because of news about climate change."
For just such feelings, a Salt Lake City support group provides "a safe space for confronting" what it calls "climate grief."
Panicked thoughts often turn to the next generation. "Does Climate Change Make It Immoral to Have Kids?" pondered columnist Dave Bry in The Guardian in 2016. "[I] think about my son," he wrote, "growing up in a gray, dying world-walking towards Kansas on potholed highways." Over the summer, National Public Radio tackled the same topic in "Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?" an interview with Travis Rieder, a philosopher at Johns Hopkins University, who offers "a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them." And Holthaus himself once responded to a worrying scientific report by announcing that he would never fly again and might also get a vasectomy.
Such attitudes have not evolved in isolation. They are the most intense manifestations of the same mindset that produces regular headlines about "saving the planet" and a level of obsession with reducing carbon footprints that is otherwise reserved for reducing waistlines. Former U.S. President Barack Obama finds climate change "terrifying" and considers it "a potential existential threat." He declared in his 2015 State of the Union address that "no challenge-no challenge-poses a greater threat to future generations." In another speech offering "a glimpse of our children's fate," he described "Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples." Meanwhile, during a presidential debate among the Democratic candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders warned that "the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable." At the Vatican in 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio shared his belief that current policy will "hasten the destruction of the earth."
And yet, such catastrophizing is not justified by the science or economics of climate change. The well-established scientific consensus that human activity is causing the climate to change does not extend to judgments about severity. The most comprehensive and often-cited efforts to synthesize the disparate range of projections-for instance, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Obama administration's estimate of the "Social Cost of Carbon"-consistently project real but manageable costs over the century to come. To be sure, more speculative worst-case scenarios abound. But humanity has no shortage of worst cases about which people succeed in remaining far calmer: from a global pandemic to financial collapse to any number of military crises.
What, then, explains the prevalence of climate catastrophism? One might think that the burgeoning field of climate psychology would offer answers. But it is itself a bastion of catastrophism, aiming to explain and then reform the views of anyone who fails to grasp the situation's desperate severity. The Washington Post offers "the 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change." Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions introduces its guide to "The Psychology of Climate Change Communication" by posing the question:"Why Aren't People More Concerned About Climate Change?" In its 100-page report, the American Psychological Association notes that "emotional reactions to climate change risks are likely to be conflicted and muted," before considering the "psychological reasons people do not respond more strongly to the risks of climate change." The document does not address the possibility of overreaction.
Properly confronting catastrophism is not just a matter of alleviating the real suffering of many well-meaning individuals. First and foremost, catastrophism influences public policy. Politicians regularly anoint climate change the world's most important problem and increasingly describe the necessary response in terms of a mobilization not seen since the last world war. During her presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promised a "climate map room" akin to Roosevelt's command center for the global fight against fascism. Rational assessment of cost and benefit falls by the wayside, leading to questions like the one de Blasio posed in Rome: "How do we justify holding back on any effort that may meaningfully improve the trajectory of climate change?"
Catastrophism can also lead to the trampling of democratic norms. It has produced calls for the investigation and prosecution of dissenters and disregard for constitutional limitations on government power. In The Atlantic, for example, Peter Beinart offered climate change as his first justification for an Electoral College override of the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. The Supreme Court has taken the unprecedented step of halting implementation of the Clean Power Plan, Obama's signature climate policy, before a lower court even finished considering its constitutionality; his law-school mentor, professor Larry Tribe, likened the "power grab" of his star pupil's plan to "burning the Constitution."
The alternative to catastrophism is not complacency but pragmatism. Catastrophists typically condemn fracked natural gas because, although it results in much lower greenhouse-gas emissions than coal, it does not move the world toward the zero-emissions future necessary to avert climate change entirely. Yet fracking has done more in recent years to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States than all renewable energy investments combined. It has boosted U.S. economic growth as well.
The idea that humanity might prepare for and cope with climate change through adaptation is incompatible with catastrophists' outlook. Yet if the damage from climate damage can be managed, anticipating challenges through research and then investing in smart responses offers a more sensible path than blocking the construction of pipelines or subsidizing the construction of wind turbines. Catastrophists countenance progress only if it can be fueled without carbon-dioxide emissions. Yet given the choice, bringing electricity to those who need it better insulates them from any climate threat than does preventing the accompanying emissions.
The cognitive fault lines separating catastrophists from others cause both sides to reach radically different conclusions from the same information. Catastrophists assume that their interpretation is correct, and so describe other thinking as distorted. But if the catastrophists have it wrong, perhaps the distortions are theirs.
CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS
A strong scientific consensus holds that human activity is producing climate change. But from that starting point, scientists have produced a range of estimates in response to a variety of complicated questions: How quickly will greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere? What amount of warming will any given accumulation cause? What effect will any given level of warming have on ecosystems and sea levels and storms? What effect will those changes in the environment have on human society? The answers to all of these questions are much debated, but broad-based efforts to synthesize the best research in the physical and social sciences do at least offer useful parameters within which to assess the nature of the climate threat.
On scientific questions, the gold-standard summary is the Assessment Report created every few years by thousands of scientists under the auspices of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By averaging widely varying projections and assuming no aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, they estimate an increase of three to four degrees Celsius (five to seven degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. The associated rise in sea levels over the course of the twenty-first century, according to the IPCC, is 0.6 meters (two feet).
Most of the rise in sea levels results not from melting glaciers, but from the thermal expansion of ocean water as it becomes warmer. Melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica, which may eventually threaten a dramatic increase in sea levels, will barely begin in this century-in the IPCC analysis, the Antarctic ice sheet will have almost no effect and may even slow sea level rise as increased precipitation adds to its snowpack. Meanwhile, melting from Greenland's ice sheet will contribute 0.09 meters (3.5 inches). In fact, "the near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet," which could raise sea levels by seven meters, the IPCC reports, "would occur over a millennium or more."
What about ecology? Predicting or quantifying damage to vulnerable ecosystems and specific species is notoriously difficult, but the IPCC offers a helpful heuristic for the likely magnitude of damage from climate change: "With 4øC warming, climate change is projected to become an increasingly important driver of impacts on ecosystems, becoming comparable with land-use change." In other words, the impact should be similar to that which human civilization has imposed on the natural world already. Substantial and tragic, to be sure; but not something that modern society deems intolerable or a threat to human progress.
Economic tools called "integrated assessment models" attempt to convert the potential effects of climate change-on sea level and ecosystems, storms and droughts, agricultural productivity, and human health-into tangible cost estimates. This exercise is as much art as science, but it represents the best available exploration of how the impacts of climate change will likely stack up against society's capacity to cope with them. Three of these models form the basis of the Obama administration's analysis of the "Social Cost of Carbon"-the U.S. government's official estimate of how much climate change will cost and thus what benefits come from combatting it. Economists and policymakers who want to place a price (that is, a tax) on carbon-dioxide emissions to force emitters to pay for potential damage resulting from climate change typically embrace the analysis as well.
According to the assessment models, a warming of three to four degrees Celcius by 2100 will cost the world between one and four percent of global GDP in that year. To put the high end of that range concretely, the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model developed by economics professor William Nordhaus at Yale University estimates that in a world without climate change, the global economy's GDP would grow from $76 trillion in 2015 to $510 trillion in 2100 (an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent). A rise in temperatures of 3.8 degrees Celcius would cost 3.9 percent of GDP ($20 trillion) that year, effectively reducing GDP to $490 trillion.
Twenty trillion dollars is a very large number-representing a cost greater than the entire annual economic output of the United States in 2016. But from the perspective of 2100, such costs represent the difference between the world being 6.5 times wealthier than in 2015 or 6.7 times wealthier. In the DICE model, moreover, the climate-change-afflicted world of 2105 is already more prosperous than the climate-change-free world of 2100. And because the impacts and costs of climate change emerge gradually over the century-0.3 percent of GDP in 2020, 1.0 percent in 2050-in no year does the model foresee a reduction in economic growth of even one-tenth of a percentage point. Average annual growth over the 2015-2100 period declines from 2.27 percent to 2.22 percent.
To be sure, economic estimates are incomplete. They cannot incorporate the inherent value to a community of remaining in its ancestral lands or any obligation humanity might have to protect other species and habitats. Even within the economic sphere, the assessment models depend on subjectively chosen inputs and averages across disparate forecasts; they rest atop numerous other models, each with their own subjectively chosen inputs and averages. Among the three models the Obama administration picked for its analysis alone, the range of outputs is enormous: the DICE model's four percent-of-GDP estimate is near the 95th percentile of the projections from the middle-case model, while the low-case model's one percent-of-GDP estimate is below the middle-case's 5th percentile. But nowhere is catastrophe to be found.
Limitations and all, such estimates remain the best available. Further, the shortcomings of the integrated assessment models have little to do with their lack of support for catastrophism. The gap between what the models describe and what catastrophists fear does not emerge because the models disregard the heritages of indigenous cultures or the intangible value of every species. Nor do catastrophists disagree with particular inputs or outputs, expecting that tweaks to certain assumptions might validate their views. Rather, the societal collapse that catastrophists envision-one that poses an "existential" threat beyond the scope of other human problems, one that makes procreation an ethically dubious proposition-is simply irreconcilable with the outlook the science and economics offers.
Indeed, the logic of catastrophism seems to run backward: from the conclusion that significant human influence on the climate must portend unprecedented danger to the search for facts to support that narrative. But forecasts on these scales of time and magnitude exceed common experience and thus defy intuition, which facilitates misinterpretation and frustrates self-correction.
Placing the problem in proper perspective requires appreciating the long-term costs in the context of the distant future when they will arise, distinguishing costs spread over long time periods from those borne all at once and, finally, applying separate analyses to expected outcomes and worst case scenarios. Catastrophists get these things wrong.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or main.html or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 1:31 AM