Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Flat Earth Theory #4: Dreaded global cooling didn't happen.

I enjoy coming across devotees of Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" as they are thinner on the ground these days than a few years back, most not surviving the Darwinian rigours of peer-reviewed science except in protected, unscientific niches. For those who don't know Bjørn Lomborg, he is able to wave away the entire science of climatology and it's consensus on AGW with his particular brand of magic, that being political science. Joe Duck, a blogger is impressed:

What consistently impresses me the most about Lomborg is his willingness to take on his critics point by point, addressing their concerns with citations and what only appear to be legitimate personal criticisms. (Such as noting that climatologist Schneider used to warn about potentially catastrophic global cooling but now warns of potentially catastrophic global warming).

Well Joe, this one is a sitting duck. Perhaps Lomberg should have pointed out that the proponents of global cooling in the '70s remain scientifically valid today; if the atmosphere had not been cleaned up by successful initiatives as the Clean Air Act and similar ones in Europe, then indeed we would have hit an enormous ramification of global cooling. Same with the ozone hole, it would be bigger and damaging had we not banned CFC's.

Your argument (or rather Lomborg's) goes something like this:

First guy to second: "Mate, you are sitting on a train track, hate to point out the obvious, but if you don't get out of the way you are going to get killed!"

Second guy, as he steps off railway track: "Greenie, hippy, communist, wealth-stealer, you want to take my money and give it to the third world. Al-Gore-for-president freak you are, that's almost a religions belief you are professing, you chicken little alarmist nut."


First guy: "Wow, good thing that train just missed you... "

Second guy: ".... and I am alive! Just shows you just how wrong you were in the first place! Why should I ever believe you again?"

First guy opens mouth. Closes it. Opens mouth again: "Actually, please don't."
Learn more: :::[Wikipedia/Lomborg]

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Joseph Hunkins said...


Are you suggesting that without anthropogenic global warming, which you suggest will create catastrophes if left unchecked, we'd have had catastrophic global cooling?

I think very few scientists would call this a reasonable interpretation of data.

Contrary to what many critics suggest, Lomborg does not challenge that there is some global warming and that it is a bad thing, he simply suggests we should prioritize resources rationally and therefore work on easy to solve problems before working on expensive, complex, and hard to solve problems. This is common sense.

Ironically you call his thinking political when I'd suggest that he's one of the very few "non political" voices in the global warming debate.

Wadard said...

Indeed I am suggesting that without anthropogenic global warming we'd have catastrophic global cooling (I am even surprised you challenge me on this). Catastrophic - like the Ethopian drought in the 70s, the cause of which which is ascribed to global cooling/dimming.

It is completely logical if you understand the two phenomenan. Here is a report of the latest science: :::[BBC's Horizon]

With respect to Loborg, he is a political scientist by trade. How can he not be political? Also what proof do you have to assert that the scientists studying global warming are politicised? That's insulting to the majority of scientists who do what they do because of their love of enquiry.

I respectfully suggest you are shooting the messenger here because you don't like the message. Not very rational.

When you talk about Lomborg's prioritising, you are talking the Copenhagen Conference, of which he was an editor of the subsequent book, not a contributor. You are also talkling about the prioritising of the world's problems by... economists. Not real scientist who understand the science. It's RW think tank fodder they came up with, not applied science big fella. It certainly has been scorned by the scientific community. They listed global warming as priority 12 or 13, and things like poverty and starvation as #1 and #2.

What is commonsensical about finally reducing starvation to find that global warming has turned most of the world's argricultural areas, like the US mid west into dustbowls?

If you really want an overdose of common sense then prioritsing global warming as #1 priority will give you more bang for your buck than anything else. We need the planet in goodIt happened with CFC's and we still grew our economies, we still have fridges and air-conditioners.

Where you and Lomborg and the economists he edits have it wrong is this assumption that we are dependent on oil and coal,ie - reduce it and the economy will suffer. Not so - last year Australia used 8% less motor fuel, yet our economy grew by 4%. Mate, read my blog - it is all there in black and white, I back up my facts, there is no 'belief driven' stuff here. You claim to be a rationalist on your most excellent blog, so how about a fair go and an open mind?

Wadard said...

Joe, I see you are already up with the Copenhagen Conference in that you have blogged about it.

Curious about the malaria and mosquito nets solution, you say it can be managed for $1.00(ish - can't remember) per person. And with good nets that last up to 5 years and thta only cost $2.50. Are you talking about mosquito nets coated with DDT? What wears out after 5 years that you can't use the nets aftet then? Just curious, having grown up in Africa. Do you also know how much $US2.50 is worth in your real terms, in say, Angola?

Joseph Hunkins said...

Hi Wadard -

Seems to me you are generally suggesting that we should act as if possible outcomes are certain outcomes. This is not logical. You seem to think that Global Warming = Global Catastrophes. The data supports the warming but is very unclear on the consequences of the warming. The difficulty is prioritizing our spending/concern in light of this uncertainty.

Hunger is *certain* and dustbowl scenarios are only a *possibility*, so I suggest that the optimal allocations are to the certain benefits. Where do you find fault with the Copenhagen Concensus very well-reasoned analyses of global problems and how we should address them?

RE: I suggest that Mosquito Nets as better use of money than alleviating greenhouse gasses (or fighting wars, etc): US Dollars are simply a good standard. I'm suggesting American taxes should buy nets not bombs or coal power scrubbers if saving lives is our goal. Oral rehydration is arguably even cheaper but we could do all these things for a fraction of the cost of delaying greenhouse effects a few years.
I'll check but I think the chemical is not DDT and I think the costs are 2.50 vs 5.00 for the "deluxe" net.

Benny Alminde said...

YOUR all nuts, if you think we can change the weather...