-----Original Message-----
From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Russell Standish
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:33 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Global warming silliness

On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 10:35:48PM +0100, Telmo Menezes wrote:
> 
> There is overwhelming evidence in favour of the theory of evolution 
> because of the number of predictions it got right, not because of the 
> amount of papers that say that it is a spiffy theory. The theory of 
> anthropogenic global warming does not look so stellar because it 
> failed to predict the current cooling period.

Actually, I remember it did - around 10 years ago there was a concensus
opinion of a decade or two statis in the warming trend - but it might have
been the sunspot guys rather than the climate modellers. This is not
expected to last, though, so we'll soon see it being put to the test.


> 
> Given the tremendous human cost of reducing CO2 emissions, the 
> rational thing to do is to weigh the probability of the theory being 
> correct against this cost. I don't have an answer here, nor am I 
> qualified to give it. I know a bit about complex systems modelling and 
> this makes me very skeptical of "overwhelming evidences", especially 
> in the face of surprising observables against the models.
> 

As Liz pointed out, that "tremendous cost" for decarbonising the economy
will need to be paid sooner or later anyway. With a bit of political will we
can do it sooner, and the cost will be less as a result.

The good news is that the figures I've seen is that its not such a
tremendous cost after all.

> > Obviously fossil fuel will run out anyway, so even without climate 
> > change we'd have to do something.
> 
> Yes, but that something we have to do is very different depending on 
> whether or not we have to cut CO2 emissions and, more importantly, one 
> of the path leads to immense human suffering.
> 

The point is whether we do something, or do nothing, energy costs _will_
rise. Yes this _will_ lead to human suffering, either way. We can either
choose to pay a bit more now, and have less costs later, or pay less now,
and have steeper rises later.

A 10 or 20% energy cost increase to hasten decarbonisation by a decade will
save many billions of dollars of geo-engineering, or evironmental
restoration down the track. Seems like quite an astute investment to me. Our
current conservative government, alas, doesn't seem to think so.

> Then there are the geo-engineering ideas that John mentioned. They 
> appear to be ignored. This makes the entire thing start to smell a bit 
> of religious moralism.
> 
> Telmo.
> 

>> They're not being ignored. But they do require a lot more small-scale
research to understand their risk-benefit tradeoff.

And to have the depth and breadth of understanding of the climatic systems
both atmospheric and oceanic to be able to say with a high degree of
certainty that there won't be unintended consequences that emerge out of the
geo-engineering intervention (especially if it is difficult to reverse). I
say this because as history shows we -- as a species (or culture perhaps) --
often fail to first understand before we act... there is quite a bit of
precedent.
Chris

-- 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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