Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What's the worse that could happen?

Greg Craven is the guy who injected himself into the AGW deniers propaganda war two years ago, with a simple risk analysis grid pointing out the obvious — that, if the scientists are wrong, the worst that could happen is that we move to a carbon free economy sooner in our history than otherwise, but if the AGW deniers are wrong (ie. the scientists are right), we are toast.

Then he did not sleep for the next two years, dealing with the objections to his YouTube piece, below:



Those two years of objections and Greg's defenses have been distilled into his book:

What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate

The perfect gift for that stubborn climate change action denier friend or family member.

16 comments:

alotstuff said...

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VangelV said...

First scenario has us wasting precious resources that could have been used to solve real problems that we all know exist. Every dollar spent on fighting carbon dioxide emissions is a dollar that does not go towards fighting poverty, research to eliminate malaria, drilling wells so that people can have clean water. Food prices explode as crops are diverted from food to fuel and people die of starvation. This is a very bad alternative.

Second scenario has us be successful and our climate is at a lower temperature than it would have been. We don't have the greater agricultural yields that come from a hotter and wetter planet and civilization does not become as wealthy and productive as it could have been.

Third scenario has us wasting money by fighting global warming that is not real. That does not leave enough funds to look at solar bodies that could impact with the Earth and cause an extinction level event. We don't see the asteroid coming or we do but have not made any plans to deal with the situation because we went broke trying to stop the sun from warming the earth as it always has. There is an impact and everyone dies.

Forth scenario has you being successful and we slide into an ice age that destroys most of the planet's cropland and kills off most of the humans as the great cities in the NH are buried under a mile of ice. I don't know about you but it is much easier to deal with a planet that is warmer and has more moisture in the atmosphere than with one that is freezing and can't grow enough food for us.

From what I see you deliberately choose a strategy where a society wastes resources and chooses a lower standard of living and economic growth to fight a problem that does not exist because you don't think that society will progress sufficiently in the future to deal with the problem, if it exists, with its better technology and greater resources. That does not seem very smart to me. And for the record, I heard a similar presentation in which the speaker said that governments had to act to stave off climate change because the consequences of inaction were dire. That was in 1975 and the scary scenario was the inevitable coming of the next ice age. The speaker was Lowell Ponte and he was supported by such notable voices as Bryson, Rasool and Schneider. They were not being radicals but were repeating the warning of the National Academy of Sciences, New Scientist Magazine, Newsweek, and other organizations. If governments had wasted resources finding the cooling the world would have been poorer and in a worse position to adapt to climate change.

The bottom line is that your argument fails the smell test. As I said, I can come up with very scary scenarios that would require that we do nothing about your imagined warming problem. And if you paid attention to the actual science you would know that even if the world warmed significantly it would take thousands of years for the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets to lose much of their mass. Actually, given the much greater precipitation levels, we could see the ice sheets thicken substantially as the snowfall adds far more mass than the minor amount of summer melting would take away. Try living in the real world and use your intelligence to think rationally because from what I see, you are making a mess of things.

Wadard said...

VangelV said...

Don't take it out on me VangelV. Buy the book, Gred Craven has an answer for you - he's spent two years answering questions from the likes of you. His book's like one big idiot's FAQ.

If after reading it, you find your question unaddressed, then I would be happy to parry and thrust with you. But first, see whether you pass the idiot's test.

VangelV said...

Don't take it out on me VangelV. Buy the book, Gred Craven has an answer for you - he's spent two years answering questions from the likes of you. His book's like one big idiot's FAQ.

I think that his book is to convince big idiots that the irrational act is a prudent one. As I said, the worst case scenario is a diversion of scarce resources to CO2 sequestration or other schemes winds up taking funding from projects that would map the heavens so that we can be warned about possible asteroid/comet impacts that can lead to a total extinction. We don't see the killer asteroid/comet coming and human life ends. Had we been able to spot the danger we could do something about it.

"If after reading it, you find your question unaddressed, then I would be happy to parry and thrust with you. But first, see whether you pass the idiot's test."

Actually, I am not stupid enough to buy the book given the weak argument that Gred Craven provides. Readers were asked to punch holes through his argument and I did by pointing out that when you waste resources you cannot deploy them to solve real problems in the real world.

If you want to avoid a discussion so be it. Frankly, I don't blame you because the position taken cannot be defended. This is particularly true given the fact that the AGW is based on feedback assumptions that are known to be wrong. Most of us live in the real world and are not foolish enough to buy Gred Craven's weak arguments.

Anonymous said...

Из удовольствий наиболее приятны те, которые встречаются наиболее редко. Самые, лучшие духи в маленьких флаконах. Отдайтесь вашему делу всем сердцем и душою, но посмотрите прежде всего хорошее ли это дело. Разумный гонится за тем что приятно, а за тем что избавляет отнеприятностей. Вся Россия, это пьющий Гамлет.

Naoise John Murphy said...

Video presents a one eyed view. The math is simple...

Total impact = Indiv Impact x Population.

Until we address population growth, we are deluding ourselves. This planet cannot sustain 6-7bn today and certainly not 9bn by 2030.

VangelV said...

"Video presents a one eyed view. The math is simple...

Total impact = Indiv Impact x Population.

Until we address population growth, we are deluding ourselves. This planet cannot sustain 6-7bn today and certainly not 9bn by 2030."

Of course it can. The standard of living is higher than it ever has been in our history even though the population is at the highest level ever. While we will have some problems transitioning away from oil as production declines and prices explode we should get through it and adjust if governments figure out that they can do the most good by staying out of the way. Once we get through that crisis the standard of living and life expectancies will continue to rise.

Of course, Americans and Europeans may be on a downward slide that is unlikely to be reversed but the human population is bigger than America and Europe.

Anonymous said...

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http://www.zintro.com/topic?name=Global+Warming

Scottish Trust Deeds said...

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VangelV said...

Scottish Trust Deeds said...

Your post is truly an eye opener for those who are looking for more details on Trust Deeds Scotland. As it is a hard time for all of us, I am sure your post will be a lot of help to a lot of people. Keep up the good work.


Good way to advertise your site. Aren't the Scottish more worried about cooling than warming?

Anonymous said...

Is global warming real or fake. For an objective starting point, go here:
http://www.globalwarmingtrends.org

VangelV said...

Is global warming real or fake. For an objective starting point, go here:
http://www.globalwarmingtrends.org


While the site you linked makes some attempt at appearing to be balanced, it is superficial and I see no evidence of great competence.

For example, just look at the statement: "The amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is more than the earth’s atmosphere can handle, creating a thicker blanket of gases which in turns traps heat in the atmosphere."

If you look at the facts you find that the earth's atmosphere has had CO2 concentrations of ten time or more than its current level for most of its history so it is obvious that the planet can handle more than the current 0.038% that CO2 makes up of the atmosphere. The simple fact is that CO2 is a minor gas that has a minor effect compared to the primary greenhouse gas, water vapour.

If you also look at the facts, as presented by the IPCC, you find that human emissions are a tiny percentage of the total carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere.

Also, the idea of CO2 acting as a 'blanket' is ridiculous and is intended to get people of thinking of a greenhouse, where a physical barrier stops heat loss due to convection. The atmosphere has no such mechanism at work.

The site also accepts the IPCC statements about temperature as facts even though the global data set that produced the average has never been independently reviewed because CRU has refused to provide the raw data for analysis. Now that it can't hide for much longer, CRU has claimed that the raw data has been 'lost' and that we must trust its reconstruction to have been valid. The US data, does not support the IPCC claims because it shows the US to have been warmer in the 1930s than the 1990s.

The bottom line is that this is supposed to be a scientific debate and that is mainly about objective evidence. So far, evidence shows that in the past it was changes in temperature trends that drove CO2 levels, that it was warmer not too long ago when humans had not SUVs or coal plants to emit carbon to the atmosphere, that most of the warming since the bottom of the Little Ice Age took place before the Industrial Revolution had much of an effect on carbon content, and that the primary driver of climate is the sun's activity. That means that his, 'what is the worst that can happen,' argument is totally useless when it comes to climate. As I wrote above, we have much more to fear from a meteorite strike or from a quiet sun than we do from global warming emissions.

Wadard said...

If you look at the facts you find that the earth's atmosphere has had CO2 concentrations of ten time or more than its current level for most of its history so it is obvious that the planet can handle more than the current 0.038% that CO2 makes up of the atmosphere.

But, we human beings were not around then. Try to be relevant; the idea would be maintaining the climate that we have evolved to.

VangelV said...

If you look at the facts you find that the earth's atmosphere has had CO2 concentrations of ten time or more than its current level for most of its history so it is obvious that the planet can handle more than the current 0.038% that CO2 makes up of the atmosphere.

But, we human beings were not around then. Try to be relevant; the idea would be maintaining the climate that we have evolved to.


It is relevant. The data shows that higher CO2 levels were not sufficient to ensure higher temperatures. In the past we had CO2 at ten times the current level and glaciation at the same time. That means that the theory that CO2 drives temperatures and the feedback assumptions being used by the IPCC modellers are not supported by the evidence.

You also seem to ignore the obvious. Human beings lived when global temperatures were significantly higher than they are today. In fact, history shows that civilizations thrive during warmer periods and crash when growing seasons are reduced due to cooler temperatures.

You have to look at this debate in an objective manner and use the plentiful data that is available to us, not as some theological issue in which believing and guessing is all that is required.

While I am at it, I suggest that you look at the latest in a series of data handling scandals behind the dendro reconstruction results that falsely suggested a massive increase in temperature that is not supported by the actual data. As more light is shed on the data and methods used to come up with the IPCC results the less credible the entire process appears. From what I see, this is another version of the Plitdown man hoax.

global warming fearful said...

Interesting perspective on a "hot" topic. One particularly difficult aspect of global warming worth noting is that mosquitos (yeah, those that carry dangerous viruses like West Nile) both breed more readily and more readily pick up dangerous viruses in hotter weather. Thanks for this interesting and informative blog.

VangelV said...

Interesting perspective on a "hot" topic. One particularly difficult aspect of global warming worth noting is that mosquitos (yeah, those that carry dangerous viruses like West Nile) both breed more readily and more readily pick up dangerous viruses in hotter weather.

This is not true. We have had malaria outbreaks in Siberia and in northern parts of the US. Those outbreaks were eliminated as the climate was getting warmer, not colder.