Thursday, December 02, 2021

Quit Worrying About Uncertainty in Sea Level Projections

Don't ask questions. Have faith. That seems to be the message of this article. Even the IPCC acknowledges sea level projections are associated with deep uncertainty.

As ice sheets lose mass at increasing rates, scientists are growing increasingly concerned that portions of these massive reservoirs of frozen water are poised to begin irreversibly retreating [Cornford et al., 2015; DeConto et al., 2021]. To adapt to the ensuing changes along shorelines, authorities responsible for coastal planning and climate mitigation efforts need actionable sea level rise projections. However, recent studies using climate and ice sheet models are, more and more often, coming to very different conclusions about future rates of sea level rise and even about the sensitivity of ice sheets to future warming [DeConto et al., 2021; Edwards et al., 2021].

Focusing on uncertainty in model projections of long-term sea level rise is a trap we must avoid.

How can climate scientists help decisionmakers navigate vague or conflicting information to develop practical response strategies in the face of large uncertainties? One solution that may provide needed clarity is to change our emphasis from what we do not know to what we do know.

Large discrepancies among model projections of long-term sea level rise have spawned calls among the scientific community for scientists to work on reducing uncertainty. However, focusing on uncertainty is a trap we must avoid. Instead, we should focus on the adaptation decisions we can already make on the basis of current models and communicating and building confidence in models for longer-term decisions.

The Folly of Focusing on Uncertainty

Emphasizing uncertainty is misguided for two main reasons. First, a growing body of research shows that providing uncertainty estimates to decisionmakers actually decreases the usability of climate projections [Lemos and Rood, 2010]. This is partly because it isn’t always clear how best to incorporate uncertainty into planning. Do we plan for the most likely projection of sea level rise, knowing the protections we put in place may be inadequate, or do we plan for the most extreme sea level projection despite the additional cost to do so?

The planning process is complex, with uncertainty in global sea level projections being just one of many factors decisionmakers must consider. For example, investing in protections against sea levels that won’t be experienced for 70 years may not seem pressing when people can’t leave their homes because of air quality concerns or can’t drink tap water because it is contaminated. Furthermore, future planning and infrastructure decisions must directly confront the inequitable practices that have long disadvantaged vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Planning for shorter-term sea level rise doesn’t mean ignoring the specter of more substantial sea level rise farther down the road.

Second, although models provide a murky picture of the magnitude of sea level rise that will occur by the end of the century, estimates of what will happen in the next few decades are much clearer. This clarity is important because the most pressing adaptation decisions facing communities now—related to addressing both climate vulnerabilities and historical inequities—primarily reflect needs on decadal, not centennial, timescales. So rather than stressing distant targets that are elusive and evolving, communities need help to be successful in adapting to near-term climate risks.

Planning for shorter-term sea level rise doesn’t mean ignoring the specter of more substantial sea level rise farther down the road, and there is still a need for longer-term climate and sea level projections. For example, adaptation decisions such as where to place infrastructure designed to last more than a century (e.g., new sewer lines) call for information about long-term as well as short-term change and require significant immediate costs.

But committing to adaptation measures across the board on the basis of unclear long-term projections is like planning a dinner party years in advance: It’s good to think ahead, but it might be premature to buy the groceries. Moreover, sea level rise is not like a tsunami that will suddenly inundate coastlines (although it may seem that way when sea level rise conspires with storm surges to flood communities). Rates of sea level rise, even at the extremely high end, are measured in centimeters per year. Given the reality that sea levels will rise in the near term, plans today can focus on changes expected over the next decade or two and can then be adapted as more nebulous longer-term changes come into focus.


BBC’s Roger Harrabin Promotes More Lies About Greenland

You may have noticed that the BBC’s barrage of climate propaganda continued after the gavel came down at COP26. Most of it had, of course, been rehashed anyway.

Roger Harrabin, the corporation’s Environment Analyst, was forced to console himself with his alarmist chums, who he laughingly refers to as ‘experts’.

First up was the utterly discredited Sir David King, one-time Chief Scientific Adviser to Tony Blair. King told our Roger that ‘heating is already at a dangerous level, with Greenland sitting in blue sea for three months, losing ice.’

For some reason, Harrabin failed to point out that this is what Greenland does every year – it is called SUMMER. In WINTER, it snows and the ice is replaced again.

King would of course like you to believe that Greenland summers are now wall-to-wall heatwaves.

However, summer temperatures in Greenland now are no higher than they were a century ago.

King’s track record on climate is hardly one to write home about.

It was he who famously forecast back in 2004 that Antarctica was likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remained unchecked.

He also grossly misled a Parliamentary select committee in the same year, when he claimed that the South Pole ice cap was 40 percent as thick as it used to be. (Most estimates suggest that the ice there is actually getting thicker).

He also told the same committee that the Greenland ice cap might disappear within 50 to 200 years. At the current rate of melt, it would take 25,000 years!

If that was not bad enough, he also gave false evidence to the Energy Select Committee in 2014, claiming that Hurricane Sandy was the first to hit so far north in America.

In fact, since 1950 alone there have been nine hurricanes that made landfall further north than Sandy.

Put simply, the man is a clown.

Harrabin then turned to Piers Forster, an IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) lead author. He claimed that ‘people are already dying with current temperatures’.

This is another grossly misleading statement. Many more people die from the cold every year than die from extreme heat. This is even the case in countries such as India.

Meanwhile, the official data shows that deaths caused by all kinds of extreme weather, such as floods, storms, extreme temperatures, and drought, are now at record lows:


Covid/Climate Prigs Are Out to Spoil Your Days

Enamoured by lockdown, the puritans wish for a perma-pandemic in which no-one, nowhere, will be happy.

Not content with dying their hair green and punching steel through their nostrils, progressives here in Great Britain have proposed something rather more exquisitely demented than their usual fare.

The Independent, a kind of Guardian for actors manqué and Cluster B personalities, those who suffer from fictitious ailments of which ‘the doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong,’ asks, ‘Should Everyone Have a Personal Carbon Quota?’

Helpfully, the newspaper lays out exactly what a Carbon Quota would entail.

It begins: “Your home, sometime in the next decade. You click the heating on and receive an app notification telling you how much of your carbon allowance you’ve used today.

“Outside in the drive, your car’s fuel is linked to the same account. In the fridge, the New Zealand lamb you’ve bought has cost not just pounds and pence but a chunk of this monthly emissions budget too.

“Welcome to the world of personal carbon allowances – a concept that is increasingly gaining traction among experts as a possible response to the climate crisis.”

Curiously, this all sounds like one’s entire life would be recorded and regulated and monitored and meddled with by politicians who’ll punish or praise, all in pursuit of a vague utopia. Sounds familiar.

According to my Carbon Quota, I could live happily and healthily, provided I die next Tuesday at noon.

If I were to stay on this planet and offend Mother Nature with my presence, I’d have to limit myself to half a cigarette per day, a slither of ribeye per week, and one soupçon of red wine per month. Such a paltry regimen would dissolve around 90% of my personality.

Besides, Tuesday is no day to die. Especially before the 4 p.m. happy hour.

Perhaps, I could time it just right. I’ll prop up a stool in my favourite dive bar, and impart everything I’d like to say but avoid saying in fear of social ostracization.

I could say that there is a biological reason why women aren’t funny. I could say that, on balance, the British Empire was a good thing, and that anyone whinging about ‘cultural appropriation’ seldom has any culture worth appropriating. I could say, with conviction, that the Jews obviously don’t secretly run the world because if they did, the world would be far closer to utopia than it is now. I could suggest that those who play music on public transport, indeed—in public—should be hung, drawn, and quartered for the benefit of the gene pool. I could say all this before shuffling off into the light.

(If my girlfriend—whose people have won a fifth of all Nobel Prizes despite being 0.2% of the world population—objects, then I’m sorry… I’m saving the planet, darling.)

You can define the confidence of a culture by the pettiness of its laws.

I’d rather shuffle off than live in a world in which one’s social status is tied to one’s ability to pretend falafel is edible, to one’s withering body. I’d rather that than live in a world in which the prigs and puritans, those weird kids from school with ‘Free Da Weed’ Sharpied on their hemp rucksacks, have won the final victory over everyone else. A world in which every consideration is now suffixed with ‘to save the planet.’

We shouldn’t feign surprise. A stubborn one-third of any population harbours latent authoritarian tendencies. All they need is a little nudge and a wink from someone in a lab coat or a pinstripe suit.

Over the last twenty months, we’ve given them plenty to chew on. We’ve sacralised Crab Mentality—that depressingly human tendency to pull down others into the soup of conformity. For many, this pandemic has been the time of their lives. They’ve enjoyed grassing on neighbours, posting their vaccine statuses, their three-mask chic. Don’t mention that sensible Sweden got it right. Don’t mention that lockdown only delays the inevitable, to great human cost. Don’t mention the fatal link between obesity and Covid deaths.

They’d love life in Austria, where the government has mandated a Western first—forcible vaccination for every citizen.

What a time to be alive. This pandemic has valorised negative personality traits. Back in the Old Normal, high neuroticism combined with high agreeableness meant you’d spend your days siphoning your biography for ‘trauma’ to weaponize against the world. Now, it’s a plus. Like Woke intellectuals, the neurotics mistake their personal problems for societal problems.

I assumed a majority of Britons would, like me, rather chew on a glass vial labelled ‘Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ than consider medical apartheid. Nope.

According to YouGov, six in ten Britons support the introduction of a ‘papers, please’ society—vaccine passports.

That’s despite vaccines blunting Covid’s ability to hospitalise and kill, but not its ability to spread—rendering vaccine passports both pointless and poisonous.

Of course, the usual disclaimer applies just in case anyone of a progressive bent is reading: I’m not saying it’s Nazi Germany, but it’s quite clear how totalitarian regimes slip into power with little resistance.

A recent survey in The Economist made for terrifying reading: forty percent wanted masks forever; a quarter wanted to shut down nightclubs and casinos; another third wanted socially-distanced pubs and clubs and theatres; a hefty rump wanted a 10 p.m. curfew, and one-third said anyone coming into this country should be quarantined, like a dog, for ten days. And they wanted all this lunacy indefinitely, Covid or not.

Perhaps that explains why the eco-loons can air with confidence the drudgery they wish to impose upon everyone else. Not a day goes by without some middle-class Insulate Britain bobo blocking the motorway or making ‘demands’ upon the government to act on the ‘climate crisis’.

What nobody asks is how any of this nonsense would make any difference given that Great Britain contributes less than one percent of global carbon emissions. Those who follow The Science don’t cotton on when last week’s gospel morphs into this week’s heresy.

What happens when we reach Net Zero and the weather doesn’t change? I can only guess… ‘That wasn’t real Net-Zero. Real Net-Zero has never been tried.’

They don’t ask such obvious questions because the answer is obvious: they don’t care about all that. As Mencken wrote, they’re governed by the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

That’s the problem with do-gooding. There’s always more good to do.


Australian Labor party to dump fuel emissions plan in next step on climate

Labor will dump a contentious plan to set new fuel standards for millions of motorists in a bid to neutralise a growing political attack from Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of a bigger fight on climate change.

The vehicle emission standard will be formally dropped when Labor leader Anthony Albanese signs off on the party’s climate policy with shadow ministers, as they prepare for a caucus briefing this Friday on the coming election campaign.

Mr Albanese will launch Labor’s bid for power at a campaign rally in Sydney this weekend to start a blitz through marginal electorates before Christmas, readying the party for the official election contest early next year.

The climate policy, including Labor’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, is being restricted to a small group of shadow cabinet members before climate spokesman Chris Bowen speaks at the National Press Club on Monday.

While some caucus members are pressing for a target that trumps Mr Morrison’s forecast to cut emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 on 2005 levels, others warn against an ambitious goal that exposes the party to attack over the impact on household costs.

The Labor policy on fuel standards was part of a package in the 2019 election campaign to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles so they would make up 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030, a target that triggered a war of words with Mr Morrison.

The Prime Minister claimed at the time the Labor policy sought to “end the weekend” and said last month the policy tried to “force” customers to switch to electric vehicles, misrepresenting the plan, which set only an aspirational target.

Mr Morrison said on November 11 Labor wanted to “put up your petrol prices” although the policy only called for consultation on changes and did not name a timetable for the new standard.

Even so, Labor will drop this element of its policy package to blunt the Coalition scare campaign.

While the most recent Resolve Political Monitor in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age found Labor’s primary vote was 32 per cent, slightly down from 33.3 per cent at the last election, the party’s internal polling suggests it is doing much better.




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