Is it really happening?
I am not qualified to say if global warming is happening or not.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was,
and there are certainly
heavy-duty scientists behind it,
but it is funny how conveniently it meshes
with left-wing, anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist ideology,
and westerners' post-religious need to feel guilty
about their fantastic prosperity and consumer riches.
It may be just a coincidence.
But it's quite an amazing coincidence.
How bad will it be?
It's not enough to say that changing the climate is scary. I agree.
It would be better not to do it.
But how bad will it really be?
Maybe it will just be a problem that we can adapt to,
and that can be reversed as technology (e.g. of cars) changes in the future.
We need to compare the cost of global warming with the cost of the solution,
and then make a rational decision as to which one is worse.
In particular, the proposed "solution"
to global warming seems to be to reduce development
and to keep the
undeveloped (i.e. starving and poor).
It seems to me that is worse than global warming.
In short, if global warming is happening,
the greens need to tell us how we can be rich, developed,
consumerist, drive cars,
and still avoid global warming.
If the choice is between poverty and global warming, then
any sane person should choose global warming,
as the price we reluctantly have to pay for prosperity.
If the greens don't like that, they have to give us another choice.
The movie The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
rather makes my points for me.
They obviously felt that showing a slightly warmer planet would not be very scary,
so they claimed that
what would actually happen would be
The movie thus
tacitly admits that:
Global warming may not be armageddon.
That's why they didn't show it - because it's not scary.
Global warming theory is rather new and speculative
- otherwise how could they get away with showing global cooling
and still be applauded by their fellow greens?
scientists have difficulty predicting whether climate will
not change at all, or just change locally.
Because climate is practically the definition of a complex, chaotic system.
You can try to simulate such a system,
but you do not really know what will happen
short of trying it out.
Global warming theory is new and speculative, and
hardly has the same status in science as, say, the theory of evolution.
Someone sets up a site
to promote climate change.
Turns out he's a leftie who hates Israel.
What a surprise!
Climate change people are so often leftists with unpleasant or idiotic ideas about the world.
he claims "Zionists" are "raping" people.
I question him and it emerges he is referring to unproven claims from the 1940s.
The lack of a track record of successful predictions:
To repeat, global warming theory is one of the more speculative theories of science.
There is a long history of
in this kind of field.
I am old enough to remember, for example,
the great fear in the 1970s
of the world population explosion.
The predictions made about this turn out to have been nonsense
(Europe, for example, is facing a population crash),
so it is hard to take the green doom-mongers seriously about a new topic.
I agree people should be cautious,
and I agree that we should be looking at new technology that impacts less on the environment.
But I'm just explaining why I'm not very worried so far.
If global warming is happening,
then technology, not rustic poverty, will be the answer:
If global warming is happening, the only solution that will
will be a technological one.
That is, new technology to stop (and reverse) global warming,
yet still let us be rich, own houses and drive cars.
No solution based on returning to rustic poverty will work.
The third world must become rich like us, and own
houses and cars like us.
It's up to us to invent technology to ensure that can happen without
ruining the environment. I'm sure we can do it.
Temperature in C from
Greenland ice core.
It does show a recent warming,
but one that started in the early 19th century,
and also a modest one compared to the
Medieval Warm Period,
which itself is modest compared to earlier historical warm periods.
Temperature in C from
Greenland ice core.
Years in AD along bottom axis.
Modern warming compared to
Medieval Warm Period.
Note however: The Medieval Warm Period may have been just a local event (in the North Atlantic region).
Looking at the actual figures for average global temperature may give you a surprise.
figures at the
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
show average global temperature.
The head of GISS,
is a leading global warming activist.
This makes one wonder whether global warming models have not influenced their figures -
especially since their figures are not raw data (see below).
It might be better to just have an organisation compiling figures
without being involved in activism.
Anyway, NASA GISTEMP first published results in 1981.
They give the following:
Average for 1951-80: 14.00 ° C.
1981: 14 + ("J-D") 0.39 = 14.39 ° C.
1982: 14.06 ° C.
1983: 14.32 ° C.
1984: 14.14 ° C.
1985: 14.11 ° C.
1986: 14.19 ° C.
1987: 14.34 ° C.
1988: 14.41 ° C.
1989: 14.27 ° C.
1990: 14.47 ° C.
1991: 14.42 ° C.
1992: 14.14 ° C.
1993: 14.17 ° C.
1994: 14.30 ° C.
1995: 14.44 ° C.
1996: 14.36 ° C.
1997: 14.38 ° C.
1998: 14.70 ° C.
1999: 14.42 ° C.
2000: 14.41 ° C.
2001: 14.56 ° C.
2002: 14.68 ° C.
2003: 14.65 ° C.
2004: 14.59 ° C.
2005: 14.77 ° C.
2006: 14.64 ° C.
2007: 14.74 ° C.
2008: 14.56 ° C.
2009: 14.71 ° C.
These look like simple temperature readings at the time,
but this is not the case.
All figures, past and present, are constantly adjusted according to some model.
how the temperature given for years in the past
used to be
Anyway, let us plot the figures above.
The most dramatic way to plot the data would be with the narrowest Y-range:
But you could also of course graph it with a wider Y-range:
This plot is perfectly accurate too:
Average global temperature in ° C
the Dec-Nov ("D-N") averages from NASA GISTEMP above.
At no point since 1880 did average global temperature
go down to 13 ° C
or up to 15 ° C.
Changing the Y-range
You can obviously mislead with the Y-range.
Set the Y-range too wide
(e.g. from 0 to 100 ° C)
you would not notice even apocalyptic
warming or cooling.
But likewise, you can always pick a narrow Y-range to make any change look dramatic.
If there is any warming or cooling trend, no matter how modest,
a suitable narrowing of the Y-range can make it look dramatic.
For instance, if the above figures ran not from 14.0 to 14.8,
but rather from 14.00 to 14.08,
we could still make it look dramatic:
So is the actual temperature variation terrifying?
Or surprisingly small?
In the correct chart,
the climate change scientists are worried by the absolute size of the variation,
and we should certainly take that seriously.
But the modest size of the variation may still come as a surprise to people
seeing this for the first time.
The last decade
There was a record high in 1998, and since then temperature has stayed around this level
rather than rising further.
So no matter how you plot the last decade, it doesn't look like much change.
Whether with a narrow Y-range:
So is it worrying?
The climate change scientists are worried that temperature has stayed at the record 1998 level,
and we should certainly take that seriously.
But the lack of any rise in the past decade
may still come as a surprise to people seeing this for the first time.
A final question is:
If the earth is actually warming a little bit, would that be bad?
It's obviously hard to make a scary movie about it.
The Day After Tomorrow
decided to show global cooling.
Obviously some kind of runaway warming would be terrible.
But a modest warming would probably be good for humans
and good for life.
thinks humans are causing some global warming,
but thinks this will be good for the world, not bad.
One problem I have with this
is that surely the warming will carry on forever?
(As long as humans carry on using current technologies.)
How Fossil Fuels Have Greened the Planet, Matt Ridley, 4 Jan 2013,
says the earth is getting greener.
He references the NDVI
satellite imagery of vegetation:
"Between 1982 and 2011, 20.5% of the world's vegetated area got greener, while just 3% grew browner".
Ridley says humans are causing this, and it is good:
"The inescapable if unfashionable conclusion is that the human use of fossil fuels has been causing the greening of the planet in three separate ways: first, by displacing firewood as a fuel; second, by warming the climate; and third, by raising carbon dioxide levels, which raise plant growth rates."
Obama asserts that climate change
is already causing disasters:
"the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. ...
Rising sea levels threaten every coastline.
More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.
More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive.
On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees."
The evidence for all these confident assertions is
Who I block:
I will debate almost anyone.
I love ideas.
I will not debate (and will block) people who do the following:
(a) Make threats.
(b) Accuse me of crimes.
(c) Comment on my appearance.
(d) Drag in stuff about me not related to the topic. (My professional career, my personal life.)
(e) Complain to my employer.
Yes, people do all these things.