Tuesday assorted links

1. Hong Kong Straussians.

2. Pro-Brexit views are pulling more British voters into conservative views on redistribution.

3. Links on Progress Studies.

4. “Our counterfactual analysis suggests that a persistent increase in average global temperature by 0.04°C per year, in the absence of mitigation policies, reduces world real GDP per capita by 7.22 percent by 2100. On the other hand, abiding by the Paris Agreement, thereby limiting the temperature increase to 0.01°C per annum, reduces the loss substantially to 1.07 percent. These effects vary significantly across countries.”  Link here.

5. “Ironically democracy seems historically to be “in crisis” precisely when it is most proving its superiority to other systems, i.e. when it is managing us through a difficult, messy adjustment.


"4. abiding by the Paris Agreement, reduces the loss substantially to 1.07 percent."

Interesting, but unless they included the costs of abiding by the Paris agreement in similar terms, not particularly useful.

" a persistent increase in average global temperature by 0.04°C per year, "

This part is silly. The cost of renewals and power storage have dropped drastically over the last decade. Thus making a 4C change in climate by 2120 highly unlikely under any plausible scenario.

It's as if the people who write these papers are determined to ignore any data that would invalidate the results. Sure the math is probably correct, but the world is nearing the top of the S shape slope and these guys are assuming a trend line from the middle of the graph for the next 100 years.

What is the reward for taking half-measures and ending up with only SOME civilizations and habitat zones being destroyed? Seriously though, do you work for an oil or coal company? What is your stake in opposing the prevention of rendering vast areas of earth uninhabitable?

These folks are mostly right-wing in their politics. They see that the Left has adopted climate change as a cause célèbre and have decided to oppose any effort to stop climate change in order to "own the libs".

It's purely based on partisan hatred, the science denialism is merely a result of the need to fight their partisan foes.

Nature has a small constituency, though it used to be larger. "They aren't making any more" environmentalists, who thus furnish an easy target: a few old, mostly white bird watchers. Hated by the non-conservative right for having values that don't reduce to either church or consumption, hated by the left who only want to see more people who cannot sustain themselves breed and hopefully move here. See the Washington Post the other day engaging in the latest salvo of its long "the environment-is-elitist" campaign (don't try to make sense of it, it's without meaning): environmentalists are directly responsible for mass shootings and suspicion of open borders, and are evil.

There must be, even for libertarian-leaning types, a kind of psychological security in piling on with everybody else. Class war never gets old.

It's actually belief in science. The IPCC's own numbers explicitly estimate that it is less costly to allow the Earth to warm by 5 degrees Celsius than it is to keep warming to under 2 degrees Celsius. How can you claim to be anything but a zealot and science denier if you just ignore that?

Its mostly a pretext for social engineering and theft on a grand scale.

Plus there’s lots of grant money and opportunities for status displays, the best of which require private jet travel to exotic vacation destinations.

GDP fails to account for all of the things that make life worth living.

Yes, we can build artificial trees to replace forests and generate oxygen with machines but is that really a world you want to live in?

Shameless policy plug:

Phase in carbon tax over 15 years while phasing out payroll taxes.

Institute a carbon/pollution/deforestation tariff on imports. We have the tech for this now (satellites). Unite the Trumpists with the environmentalists and apply the tariff on a country level. Include wood burning and other nonsense that certain countries pass off as “renewable.” Account for actual energy mix, not total consumption. Include air travel from and to.

15 year Federal income tax suspension for residents in any county that builds sufficient nuclear capacity to replace 95% of current non nuclear energy to at least 200,000 households. After 15 years, residents are paid in offset carbon for another 15 years. Revenue from nuclear, wind, solar is tax free for utilities. Residents of surrounding counties to nuclear waste storage sites pay 50% less Federal taxes indefinitely.

Incentivize geoengineering firms with opposite of carbon tax. There’s dollars there. Unleash the Musk.

But, let’s be honest. The Dems will unite with Republicans (bipartisanship!) and ensure nothing remotely rational will be done.

We’ll get Solyndra 2: Klepto Boogaloo at best.

You think trees are net producers of oxygen? No wonder you sound so hysterical in your posts.

Trees, due to the light/dark cycles of photosynthesis, are fairly minor contributors to the oxygen in the atmosphere. They consume nearly as much as they produce. The bulk of atmospheric oxygen is produced by phytoplankton. We could clear-cut every single forest on Earth and it wouldn't have a significant affect on atmospheric oxygen levels (it would do damage in other areas, of course).

Also, you have set yourself up as the final arbiter of "what makes life worth living". How comfortable would you be if, say, Trump took that mantle upon himself? If you feel even a tad uncomfortable with it, understand that people object to you doing so for EXACTLY that reason.

This issue is really very simple; PROVE IT. The AGW religion claims that we have human caused global warming and there is no proof. What we have overwhelming proof of is that the AGW crowd lied and changed data to support their AGW religion. PROVE that AGW exists AND PROVE that it will continue for 100 years. When you can do that THEN we will talk.

No amount of proof would ever convince you of anything. You're a zealot.

Taking your claim at face value, it seems pretty obvious doesn't it? You are suggesting it is the same for the entire world to become uninhabitable as it is for part of the Earth to become uninhabitable??

There is nothing sacrosanct about the planet's current climate. Nature does not give a hoot about it and sooner or later will cause truly major change.

And the sanctimonious posturing doesn't bother to address long-term costs and benefits (estimates of which are constantly subject to revision).

Well, sort of, as noted in the abstract - 'Using an interrupted time series design, we find evidence that voters primarily care about policy: Europhilic Conservatives disaffiliated from the party, while Euroskeptics became more likely to identify with the Conservatives. These findings suggest that voters are sufficiently policy-motivated to change parties if they disagree with them on important issues. But we find that partisan identities do play a causal role in the development of voter preferences in other domains: once Euroskeptic voters joined the Conservatives because of the party's stance on European integration, they subsequently adopted more right-wing policy views on redistribution.'

Call them the De Pfeffel Labourites, in line with the Reagan Democrats from a generation ago.

Isn't "Progress Studies" just the subfield or genre of History that used to be called "Whig History"?

Yes it is. That's a an interesting point.

It is , but without the rationalism and empiricism and a group-based rather than universal set of values.

4) "abiding by the Paris Agreement, thereby limiting the temperature increase to 0.01°C per annum, reduces the loss substantially to 1.07 percent"

This statement seems fairly misleading as the study limited it's scope solely to the effect of persistent temperature change on GDP. Nowhere does it address what the economic impact of abiding to the Pairs Agreement on GDP might be or the impact of climate policy on growth.

Who cares what the impact to GDP is going to be if we experience ecological collapse?

If ecological collapse only results in some 7% reduction in GDP, how catastrophic is it?

For the slow, yes, that is sarcasm. If they are predicting a small decline in expected GDP, they aren't directly saying it but they are also strongly implying no ecological collapse.

I'm curious. Are you aware that you've become a Millerite, or does this nonsense just flow from your keyboard without the slightest hint of self-awareness?

No one remotely serious is predicting ecological collapse. The most hysterical scientific prediction is for rising sea levels, inundated coastal cities, and more severe and more frequent tropical storms. Tragic and expensive, but hardly catastrophic.

How would coastal cities be flooded when it is easy to build walls to prevent that. The IPCC projects a 1 foot to 2.5 feet rise by 2100 - that isn't coastal cities being inundated. No tragedy here.

Bingo. Most of Holland's cities are already underwater. The Dutch don't notice.

Really? Even with very real threats like climate change, I think we should seriously examine the trade-offs and effectiveness of environmental policies.

I would hope people don't read this article or comment and think that the possibility of the most extreme outcomes of climate change justify jumping into costly and possibly ineffective solutions.

#1 I doubt strongly that such allusions to literature, history, analogy, parable and language could be seen in such a protest anywhere outside China. It is definitely one of the things I love both about the culture and language.

苛政猛于虎 - "Tyrannical Government is more ferocious than a tiger!" - Confucius

I had that same chagrined thought. Pussy hats came to mind, along with a cartoon I once saw of a protester carrying a sign that says "I made a sign!"

“That’s him,” at attendant said. A short, Arab man in a leather jacket had a five dollar bill out ready to pay. He stepped back, a hand in his wavy hair, his forehead crinkled at a corner camera, and stepped on a man in a Canadian tuxedo and a cowboy hat. “That guys been calling in saying the fries are too salty.”

Yes, the Chinese language is ambiguous some say on purpose (to keep the scribe class employed).

Wikipedia on the legendary empress referenced in the poem:
Considering the events of her life, literary allusions to Wu Zetian may carry several connotations: a woman who has inappropriately overstepped her bounds, the hypocrisy of preaching compassion while simultaneously engaging in a pattern of political corruption and vicious behavior and ruling by pulling strings in the background. For many centuries, Wu was used by the establishment as an example of what can go wrong when a woman is placed in charge.
Such sexist opposition to her was only lifted during the late 1960s when Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing rehabilitated Wu as part of a propaganda campaign to suggest she be considered as a successor to her ailing husband.
In his biography Wu, British author Jonathan Clements has pointed out that these wildly differing uses of a historical figure often have led to schizophrenic and often hysterical characterizations. Many alleged poisonings and other incidents, such as the premature death of her daughter, may have rational explanations that have been twisted by later opponents.

Wu Zetian eliminated many of her real, potential, or perceived rivals to power by means of death (including execution, suicide by command, and more-or-less directly killing people), demotion, and exile. Mostly this was carried out by her secret police, led by individuals like Wao Ganjun and Lai Junchen—who were known to have written a document called the Manual of Accusation, which detailed steps for interrogation and obtaining confessions by torture. One of these methods, the "Dying Swine's Melancholy" (死猪愁),[35][better source needed] which merely indicated a level of pain inflicted by a torture device, seems to have been conflated in the years following Wu's death with the story of the "human swine" torture conducted by Empress Lu Zhi, in which the victim had their limbs and tongue amputated and was force-fed and left to wallow in their own excrement.
Wu targeted various individuals, including many in her own family and her extended family. In reaction to an attempt to remove her from power, in 684, she massacred twelve entire collateral branches of the imperial family.[33]

I think this Chinese system of communication is far older than Strauss.

But in a fairly recent example, I heard that someone noticed a message in the sequence of children's names, children a Mao general. The general was executed, the story goes. I guess bummer if the "message" was accidental.

#1 Talking about Hong Kong, I am shocked and highly dismailed by how Disney has chosen to behave. I fear the legacy of Walt Disney, who was a brave patriot who supported America's war effort against the Nazis and was one of rhe first artists to talk about the risk widespread communist infiltration in the country's movies industry posed to national security and our freedoms, is forever tarnished. The blood of the innocent is on Disney's executices'hands. What were they thinking?! I think there is no good reason to not impose astringent sanctions on Disney. It is time to make it clear that some actions won't be tolerated.

#5: we have a lawless appellate judiciary, pointless bicameralism, executive veto over legislation, and a veto on the part of the upper chamber of the legislature on hundreds of executive positions. And the system is replicated on the provincial level. We also have idiot parliamentary rules. The net effect of all of this is to empower obstructive veto groups, career politicians, lawyers, and professional lobbyists. And our political class has flubbed every notable issue on the table since the end of the Cold War bar welfare reform and (here and there) crime control (accomplishments which the Democratic Party would prefer to gut). No way our democracy is anything but dysfunctional. The horrid political culture on the portside just makes things worse.

3. Progress: the persistent, pernicious lie and egregious temporal myth sponsored by modernity and its trusted elites that we live already in an irrevocable future.

4. Ridiculously low estimate.

A 4 degree Celsius warmer would mean the end of organized human society in many countries. It's ludicrous to suggest only a 7% decline in global GDP in a world without the Himalayan Glaciers or an Amazon rainforest burned down into open Savannah. Most fisheries would collapse. Corals would go extinct. Forest fires would rage out of control.

The last time the Earth was 4 degrees C warmer than today, there were forests in Antartica and the average sea level was a whopping 40 meters higher than it is today. 40 meters of sea level rise, even if it takes a couple centuries, would be utterly catastrophic. We'd lose every major coastal city and massive amounts of cropland. There's just no way that's only a 7% drop in GDP. They're measuring this incorrectly.

Major cities have been "lost" in World War Two in Europe and through gradual urban decay in the US. They rebuilt, in place or elsewhere, and the economy kept humming.

And if your time frame is really two centuries, all bets are off. Who knows what technologies might be available by then. Maybe we'll have antigravity cities in the sky and every human settlement on land will be intentionally abandoned. Maybe we'll have cyborg bodies powered by micro fusion reactors, and cropland might not even matter in the slightest. Even the eight-decade time frame of the original article is too long for any meaningful predictions.

The kind of sea level rise implied by 4 degrees of warming doesn't just destroy a few major cities. It wipes out entire civilizations.

Bangladesh ceases to exist as a viable nation at 4 degrees of warming. Most of those pacific island nations simply vanish.

And sea level rise is only part of the problem. 4 degrees C is the difference in average temperate between Amsterdam and Istanbul or London and Madrid.

We'd be living in an entirely different world.

Nobody's really gonna miss Bangladesh, though.

When Bangladeshis flood into your country because of global warming, you're going to miss Bangladesh. See Myanmar.

So buying Greenland is a pretty good idea then, huh?

As if nobody's ever suggested it before.

No, but not if global warming is a hoax perpetrated by Jynah.

And pie? Will there be pie?

Your numbers appear to be way off.

"This is a middle estimate for 4C – the amount of sea level rise that level of warming would lock us into could be high as 10.8 metres or as low as 6.9 metres, the report says."


That's only the start of the trouble. The Earth is usually 3-8 degrees warmer than now; we're in an ice age right now. And there weren't forest fires raging out of control, fish did just fine (better, in fact--more shallow marine habitat), etc. Biomes were certainly different, but the implication that it's the end of life as we know it is simply untenable given the fossil record. Fun fact: If you look at historic paleoclimate studies there are events such as the "Eocene Climate Optimum", where temperatures exceeded 10 degrees hotter than today. I'm not sure when the change took place, but that name was dropped over the past ten years and replaced with "Eocene thermal maximum" (the term was in use in the past, but was applied more in a technical manner, for discussing temperature specifically, rather than ecology/environmental health in general).

This sort of thing is why I differentiate between climate alarmists and worst-case reasonable estimates. Reasonable estimates actually factor past events into the equation; alarmists spew nonsense.

Who said anything about the extinction of all life on Earth?

There are plenty of scenarios in which life in aggregate thrives but human beings forced to live in nation states with borders and compete with each other for resources, suffer.

"Who said anything about the extinction of all life on Earth?"

You were being hyperbolic; I figured I could as well.

I note that you only address the lowest-hanging fruit in my comment.

During the Eocene, CO2 hit 2,000 PPM.

At CO2 concentrations as high as only 1000 ppm, human health and cognition appear to suffer.


Life can survive and thrive in all kinds of environments. That doesn't mean human beings and industrial civilization is well suited to adapt to all of these environments.

Humans also have a hard time existing when the temperatures get low enough to freeze water; we die if we're outside long enough. I suppose that means we'll never colonize those northern latitude areas like Germany, Russia, Canada, Norway, Ohio, Montana, Washington....

Take it up with the IPCC, I'm sure they're all Republican climate denialists

A catastrophe of "several centuries" is never perceived as a catastrophe to those living through it, it's just normal life to them. So, it's not a catastrophe. It seems so to you because things you are invested in would be lost. This does not equate to those losing it noticing or even caring.

Hey now, the flooding of Venice was a catastrophe too!

Agree or disagree: the loss of the Amazon rainforest would be a terrible thing for life on Earth and the human species.

That's what happens at four degrees of warming. That rainforest simply dries up and blows away. If you want to play semantics about the definition of a catastrophe, I don't have the patience for it.

Doesn't the Amazon get replaced with the Antarctic forest, and increased greenery in Canada and Siberia?

Forests aren't interchangeable like that. The incredible biodiversity of the Amazon is irreplaceable. Getting a few more pine trees in Siberia isn't an acceptable consolation prize.

What makes you think the Amazon can survive in its present state? (Remember, ALL biological data has been gathered during a mass extinction.)

The Amazon in Brazil, which will be destroyed by Brazilians like Thiago in any event.

Thiago is not Brazilian. He is from Newark and drives a cab. He has given up on pretending to be Brazilian and moved on to protect the legacy of Walt Disney.

I’m glad you’ve decided that for us.

"the loss of the Amazon rainforest would be a terrible thing for life on Earth and the human species"


What temperature should the planet be at, and why did you select that specific temperature?

What's wrong with the current global temperature? I selected it because if we hold here we seem to be doing ok.

"What's wrong with the current global temperature?"

The fact that we're in an ice age indicates that this is not an ideal temperature. Global temperatures under what can be considered normal conditions (say, 2 to 6 degrees hotter than now) would be a better mark to shoot for. These remove those pesky glacial/interglacial cycles, providing a much more stable ecosystem.

The fact that we're in a mass extinction is another indication that we are not, in fact, "doing okay". Note that this mass extinction began 12,000 years ago. Attempts to hold the planet at the current conditions would serve only to delay the recovery of the ecosystem.

There are many, many ecosystem that are NOT, in fact, "doing okay" under current conditions. Joshua trees, for example, simply don't return to many areas where they've been removed via fire. That has nothing to do with the soil and everything to do with temperature. On the other hand, a very good argument can be made that tundra is not "doing ok"; it's depauperate in biodiversity (yes, I'm aware of the variety of life in such biomes, but they aren't as diverse as others, and everyone seems to use diversity as the test for health).

I could go on, but I think that's sufficient to demonstrate that "We should keep things as they are now" is, without a great deal more support, an entirely unscientific and irrational response. Please note that by "irrational" I don't necessarily mean wrong; it's unsupported by evidence, which is worse (when humans come to a conclusion they tend to defend it, even if they arrived at it via irrational means; ergo a wrong answer is more dangerous than no answer).

1. I get the sense you don't think there's any point in doing anything about the temperature levels of Earth, because you cannot commit to a level that you prefer (you keep asking us to)

2. I don't care a whit about any species except humans and my dogs. Well, that's excessive, but my point is current temperatures, or a degree or two cooler, have been extremely salutary for humans, so let's keep it here if we can. Whatever mass extinction is happening, it's not a problem for humanity.

What's wrong with the present, and do you have a suggestion for a better regime than the current one?

I apologize, I see you do prefer 2 to 6 degrees warmer than today. 2 seems fine to me, 6 seems a bit much, but who am I to judge?

"What's wrong with the present, and do you have a suggestion for a better regime than the current one?"

This is the heart of the matter. And there are three things wrong with the present.

First, we're in an ice age. This is an abnormal condition for the planet, and one that will inevitably end. Normal conditions (see literally any paleoclimatological study of the Cenozoic as a whole) are significantly warmer than our current state. Having continental glaciation is WEIRD in Earth's history. I have never seen any arguments that acknowledge this weirdness, much less defend maintaining a weird condition.

Second, we're in a mass extinction. This mass extinction started 12,000 years ago with the loss of the mammalian megafauna, and continues to today. Whether we're in a mass die-off (where recovery lags significantly behind the end of the extinction pulse) or a mass turn-over (where the diversification pulse overlaps the extinction pulse) is yet to be seen. But any solution that aims to maintain stasis is doomed to failure, because mass extinctions are by their nature unstable.

As for mass extinctions not being a problem for humanity, that's simply wrong. Mass extinctions are a problem for the entire ecosystem, as they represent a large-scale failure of that ecosystem. That said, it also presents opportunities. There's GOING to be a new ecological regime in the Anthropocene, so let's make it one where human activity is an integral part of ecology. I'm not the only one saying this, either: see Peter Ward's book "Future Evolution" for an in-depth discussion of this (Ward is very much a "Global warming is EVIL!!!!!" type).

Third, we're not going to do anything about global warming anyway. Outside of hair-brained schemes that have more chance of backfiring horribly than succeeding, we're making no efforts to change. This is evident by the fact that pretty much every climate accord, treaty, etc. gives various nations exemptions from emissions reductions. If we were serious abut climate change we'd be trying to reduce emissions from EVERYONE, not just politically expedient ones. Since we're not going to stop global warming anyway, I find the entire discussion of how to stop it futile. It would be more fruitful to discuss how we're going to deal with the changes that will occur.

4. here is the cheat: "thereby limiting the temperature increase to 0.01°C per annum"

yes, if every country in the world magically satisfied the Paris Agreement's aspirational language, global temperature increases would slow, and GDP in 2100 would be higher.

but that has little to do with "abiding" whatever vacuous terms it actually includes

All these big treaties, accords and agreements might seem more sincerely urgent if the emissaries all had to go to, say, Jefferson City MO or Dothan AL instead of the usual glamorous European watering holes. The Fargo Accord -- or its equivalent in Ukraine or Ghana -- might project more seriousness of purpose than yet another Paris proclamation.

Same with the UN -- move it to Kansas City and see who shows up

#4. Let me guess, they extrapolated out the effects of 0.04 deg Celcius without considering how the mounting effects of climate change would alter political incentives to implement mitigation policies along the way as the effects were felt?

I mean, in general, it's really really easy to make a chart that says "if current trends continue, this is what stuff will look like 100 years from now" and have that chart look really really scary. Because just about *anything* if extrapolated 100 years into the future is going to look scary. Like if we said "this is what the price of oil would be 100 years in the future if we keep using internal consumption engines and current growth trends continue" , it'll probably look like a scene from The Road Warrior. But in reality, current trends never continue, because people's incentives change over time. People will switch off of gasoline based cars if oil prices ever get to Road Warrior type levels.

Another winner, 5 more points. You are playing well today.

The fake news MR crowd is out in force again today.

We know exactly how current trends play out. In the 1970s scientists from Stanford, AKA the school you didn’t get into, projected hundreds of millions of deaths from overpopulation. They did that from a straight line extrapolation. That’s the BEST kind of extrapolation, because it doesn’t take into account exogenous variables.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Hundreds of millions are starving. The world is on fire.

Warren 2020, a firefighter.

Except that starvation has nothing to do with overpopulation. It's a distribution issue--largely due to tyrannical regimes using it as a tool to maintain power. We could feed more than the entire world's population; food simply isn't a limiting factor for humans. The issue is getting it to the people who need it.

This has been general knowledge in educated circles for decades. Though I suppose name-dropping counts in place of critical thinking here.

The new troll (probably an old one like EdR or Dick the Butcher playing around) is pretending to be a hysterical leftist. It's adorable. But not worthy of reply.

Typical Republican.

Darfur didn’t happen. Ethiopia didn’t happen. The Sudan didn’t happen. Somalia didn’t happen. The Congo isn’t still happening.

Black lives matter. They’re dying by the millions.

We are not arguing that these things don't happen. We are disagreeing with you over the cause. That you cannot differentiate between these concepts is telling.

No mouse, it is not me.

I'm keeping my powder dry.

Btw, where are you? Russia? Central Asia?

Maybe I should call mole now and not mouse.

I do like the mouse analogy

#4 is actually unsurprising.

And guess what, everyone above with an angle, demanding different or "better" calculations, is performing a Kabuki.

They don't really care that there are low cost mitigations within reach.

They just don't wanna change.

I've BUILT some of those "low-cost mitigations". And the ones I've seen kicking around this site have given woefully inadequate consideration to anything but the most blindingly obvious factors, which is a surefire way to cause disaster.

Question: What temperature should the Earth be at, and why? Until you can answer that, you are trying to adjust the most complex system we have encountered in history without knowing what your target is.

The ideal temperate for the Earth is around the same temperature that human beings have experienced during our existence as a species.

If you want to move us to a warmer client than anything ever experienced by our species, it's on you to prove that this is a safe experiment to run.

climate, not client*

Yeah, that's not going to happen. You need to look at how ice ages work. We have two options: Wild oscillations (see OIS 11 for what'll happen if we stay in an ice age), or a return to normal temperature regimes (ie, exiting the ice age). There is no option for keeping things as they are. The planet doesn't work that way.


You are correct. Clearly the mouse - the Russian mole - understands neither ice ages nor non-linear dynamical systems.

I'll bet he never even took calculus, which is basically learning to walk in math/physics.

I am really very very disappointed - the Russians have a tradition of producing good mathematicians.

"What temperature should the Earth be at, and why?"

I subscribe to the economic view, that nature can be boiled down to environmental services (clean air and water, ducks in the air, fish in the seas).

The best temperature preserves environmental services, without undue environmental risk.

In this situation the risk of global warming crosses over and is related to the risk of acidic oceans.

All that leads to a precautionary principle. Don't change too much. Restore what you can.

Good comment, I award 5 internet points

Oceans are becoming less base, more neutral. They are not acidic

That's kind of pedantic. Acidification is the name, and biological impacts are being measured.


The precautionary principle is crap. It's like seeing a guy bleeding out from a gunshot wound and saying "Well, as long as we don't let his condition change he'll be fine!" Maybe a good stop-gap measure, but as a long term solution it's simply insane.

We're in a mass extinction, so change is inevitable. We CANNOT stop it, because the ecosystem, as it stands (and I mean for the entire existence of biology, starting with Aristotle), is unstable. The only question is what change we want to see and what sort of long-term stable ecosystem we can establish.

As for ocean acidification, the risks are over-stated. I can find no evidence in the fossil record that warmer oceans or higher CO2 levels cause widespread ecological damage in the oceans. The Late Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events include a period so warm that thermohaline circulation shut down, and yet these are not associated with any mass extinction (the K/Pg event happened millions of years after they ended). Sure, it would necessitate shifts in ecology, but the reality is that the oceans cannot remain in their current system.

It seems like you are arguing both sides with yourself.

But anyway, the precautionary principle is important because nature is increasingly relegated to "island" reserves. Such small, and disconnected, reserves to not allow species migration as temperature change. So temperature changes increasingly stress captive communities.

"We're in a mass extinction, so change is inevitable. We CANNOT stop it .."

No, but we can try to slow it down, by reducing stress on natural systems.

"It seems like you are arguing both sides with yourself."

Yeah, I get that a lot. It's mostly because people try to shoehorn what I'm saying into the "Alarmist" vs "Denialist" dichotomy.

I've studied paleoclimatology, and that's the perspective I look at this data through. This issue is wildly complex, and doesn't fit any simplistic view.

"But anyway, the precautionary principle is important because nature is increasingly relegated to "island" reserves."

Those "reserves" are screwed. Not "will be screwed", but objectively and verifiably ARE screwed. There is no ecosystem with a healthy number of predators, for example--we know that via dental wear patterns (which is a proxy for osteophagy, which has been demonstrated to correlate with high predator/prey ratios). ALL ecosystems on Earth are undergoing tremendous flux. Ergo, the precautionary principle is inherently doomed to fail. At best it would drive us to keep ecological systems destabilized.

"No, but we can try to slow it down, by reducing stress on natural systems."

This is an incredibly naïve-- I am tempted to say uneducated--statement. First, why is slowing it down good? No one has ever given an answer to that that doesn't amount to "Humans are evil!" in the end. Again, you're not talking about preserving a healthy ecosystem, but prolonging a diseased one. There's no way to preserve such ecosystems without continual expenditures of time, resources, and energy--akin to pumping blood into a gunshot victim on the premise that as long as the level of blood is constant, he's just fine. A better option is to fix the wound.

Second, what about the myriads of species humans have caused, directly or indirectly, to arise? Unless you factor those in as well, your interpretation is inherently and dangerously biased. (If you think we don't make new species, you're ignorant as well as biased.)

We CANNOT preserve a healthy ecosystem. Full stop. ANY plan to do so is doomed. That's because no ecosystem has been healthy for 12,000 years. The only rational course of action is to try to figure out what a long-term stable ecosystem should look like and try to find a way to build one that humans can thrive in.

The current mean temperature of the planet is probably well below optimum from a POV of maximising environmental services.

A slightly warmer, wetter, CO2-enriched world would almost certainly have a richer biosphere. Especially if most of the warming hits the northern hemisphere in winter, as predicted by the IPCC itself.

I suspect that such green earth scenarios are longer term than short term environmental services impact.

You mentioned above that the earth has been warmer. That doesn't really matter, does it, if we lose environmental services like salmon runs, here and now?


Phrased alternatively, if we do nothing the prediction is that we'll be at the same level of GDP per capita in 2103 as we would have been in 2100, assuming a ~2% annual per capita global GDP growth rate?

Or alternatively, the impact is equivalent to one decent-sized recession, but spread over a century?

Either way, makes the share of attention that climate change attracts in the public conversation seem absurdly disproportionate.

I feel slighted that I didn't get mentioned in the climate change comments... Fools!

Don't worry, Mr. S, I'll take care of 'em.

I notice a surge in such pseudoscientific econometric models associated with climate change. I infer that this is the new path of least resistance for academic funding and publication. The history of long-term economic forecasting is by itself extremely poor. To multiply the errors of such forecasting by tying them to quite error prone temperature forecasts, as well as speculated positive and negative impacts, as well as speculated costs of changing predicted temp trends, is even more perilous. Then, factor in the likelihood that all of these estimates and conclusions are biased by pressures to conform to politically correct "consensus" views on these matters.

And yet the writers of The Economist the FT, the NY Times, etc, will report the conclusions of this highly speculative paper almost as if they were scientific fact. I saw The Economist do just such a thing in a couple of articles this week with some similar warming-econometric papers.

The title says it all. From a giant in the climate modelling world:

Irreducible imprecision in atmospheric and oceanic simulations

James C. McWilliams


From the paper:

"Slow, steady progress in model formulations continues to expand the range of plausibly simulated behaviors and thus provides an extremely important means for scientific understanding and discovery. Nevertheless, there is a persistent degree of irreproducibility in results among plausibly formulated AOS models. I believe this is best understood as an intrinsic, irreducible level of imprecision in their ability to simulate nature."

The problem is not that future states of the climate system are unknown, but that they are un-knowable.

I notice that while it's popular for academic economists to project the economic costs of various fashionable ills, particularly on various backward countries, I hardly ever hear of economists writing papers on the economic costs of man-made ills of socialist policies, central planning, and anti-business interventionism. And if such paper were written, I suspect they would be reported on quite skeptically, with lots of qualifications. This would not fit the popular narrative.

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Does anyone take climate studies seriously? The simple fact is that history shows us that a warmer world is a more benign world not just for humans but for plants and animals. Longer growing seasons and more even precipitation, when combined with fewer severe weather events due to lower energy differences between polar and equatorial regions make us wealthier and safer. Yet, we see models choosing assumptions that will guarantee a predetermined conclusion. Perhaps I am getting old but I miss the days when scientists understood what it meant to know something and had the humility to understand the limitations of mathematical models.

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