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April 06, 2007

UN: Global Warming To Wipe Out All Life On Earth Within 20 Years; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

I like this quote especially:

There was little doubt about the science, which was based on 29,000 sets of data, much of it collected in the last five years. “For the first time we are not just arm-waving with models,” Martin Perry, who conducted the grueling negotiations, told reporters.

So, let me get this straight: For the past ten or fifteen years, you were "just arm-waving with models," right? And yet there was equally little doubt about the science then, either.

Models are bullshit. A model will tell you precisely what you told it. If you tell your model that the ocean's moderating currents will catastrophically arrest if the global temperature should rise one degree celsius, then guess what -- your model will spit out a scenario in which the oceans' currents catastrophically arrest if the global temperature should rise one degree celsius.

Anyone really know what increase, or decrease for that matter, in global average temperature is required to stop the oceans from churning? No, of course they don't. It's never been observed; it's believed to have happened in the ancient, aeons-ago past, but of course there's no solid data for what precisely caused it.

So they assume. Conditions x, y, and z will cause effect A, and the models -- get this -- confirm that conditions x, y, and z cause effect A. Q.E.D.

There's an old joke about how much economists' theories relied upon unverifiable, and often provably untrue, assumptions. Economic models are rife with assumptions -- assume zero transaction costs. Assume perfectly rational economic actors with perfect information about their best economic interests. Assume monetary and non-monetary benefits are perfectly fungible and economic actors are indifferent between them. Assume this, assume that, assume it with a baseball bat, soooo...!

At any rate, the joke goes that an economist, a physicist, and a chemist are stranded on a desert island and have no food whatsoever except for a crate of tuna-cans that happened to wash up on the shore with them. The trouble is, getting those cans open is a difficult trick. So they put their heads together to figure out how to open the cans.

The physicist offers, "We can find a high point on the island and drop the cans from it. Carrying the cans up the hill gives them potential energy, which becomes kinetic energy when they're dropped due to the acceleration of gravity, and this kinetic energy is arrested upon hitting the earth resulting in all kinetic energy being transferred to the can itself, resulting in deformations and, hopefully, tearing upon its weak points."

The chemist prefers a heat-based approach. "The cans are partly filled with water. We need only find an area of powerful sunlight, then amplify the heat conducted by the light rays by focusing it on a can by use of lenses and mirrors. The water in the can will boil and expand, and, as I hardly need remind you, hydraulic pressure is one of the most powerful mechanical forces known to engineering. The hydraulic pressure of the expanding water and steam will pop the cans open at their seams, with the added benefit of cooking our tuna for us."

The physicist agrees that this is the most sensible approach, until the economist suggests an even simpler method: "Assume the existence of a can opener..."

I said it was an old joke, not a funny one.

The UN would like us to do a lot of assuming -- that there is no inhibitory feedback caused by warming, say, greater cloud production, which then reflects away more warming sunlight from the earth; that the exact mechanisms for ocean-current disruption are well-known; that CO2's precise contribution to warming is precisely definable; that "runaway" heating occurs at a specific temperature; and etc., and etc., and etc.

If they can assume, so can I. Here's my solution to global warming:

"Assume the existence of a three-hundred foot tall palace concubine with a hundred-foot-wide palm-frond fan..."

And, heck, while we're at: Assume she's got knockers the size of Tigers Stadium.

Even assuming these catastrophic predictions, there are far less expensive engineering tricks to reduce CO2 production. Like merely "seeding" the oceans with lots and lots of iron in order to spur the growth CO2-digesting, O2-creating algae. Global warming catastrophists now claim that the only reason the earth cooled (alarmingly!) in the seventies was due to the fact that we'd simply been pumping too man albedo-increasing chemicals into the air; those aerosols refelcted sunlight back away from the earth, "hiding" the true effects of global warming. (In other words, the world was actually heating due to pollution, but we cooled it down even more via another sort of polution.)

Well, gee whiz. I'm sure then that, if necessary, we can start pumping some perfectly inert and safe aerosols into the air to get us some of that wonderful seventies global cooling going again.

But of course the global warming ninnies just view that as "more pollution" and won't even dignify such suggestions with a response.

And as Michael Crichton always points out -- who the hell knows what technology the earth will be using one hundred years hence? No one in 1907 would have predicted streets filled with cars, wireless phones carried by virtually everyone in the first world (and a lot of people in the third world, too), supersonic transport, radar, the internet, etc. They wouldn't even have realized that oil would displace coal and wood as the world's chief -- bordering on exclusive -- source of energy.

Jonah Goldberg addresses the costs:

Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let’s stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious).

That’s still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West.

Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat. Of course, warming might get more expensive for us (and we might get a lot richer than 1,800 percent too). There are tipping points in every sphere of life, and what cost us little in the 20th century could cost us enormously in the 21st — at least that’s what we’re told.

...

Skeptics are heckled for calling attention to global warming scare tactics. But the simple fact is that activists need to hype the threat, and not just because that’s what the media demand of them. Their proposed remedies cost so much money — bidding starts at 1 percent of global GDP a year and rises quickly — they have to ratchet up the fear factor just to get the conversation started.

The costs are just too high for too little payoff. Even if the Kyoto Protocol were put into effect tomorrow — a total impossibility — we’d barely affect global warming. Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research speculated in Science magazine that “it might take another 30 Kyotos over the next century” to beat back global warming.

Thirty Kyotos! That’s going to be tough considering that China alone plans on building an additional 2,200 coal plants by 2030. Oh, but because China (like India) is exempt from Kyoto as a developing country, the West will just have to reduce its own emissions even more.

Meanwhile, as Michael Crichton notes, it took no massive government force, nor somewhere between one and 30 percent of world GDP, to convert the world's primary energy sources from wood and coal to oil. It happened naturally -- because oil was better.

And, alas, remains better than just about everything else. For now, that is. The same as wood and coal were better than just about any other energy source conceivable in 1907.


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posted by Ace at 03:36 PM

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