On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 3:58 PM, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>  >>  because before you initiate a policy that will impoverish the world
>>> for many generations and kill lots and lots and lots of people
>> > What "policies" are you talking about that would have these supposed
>> effects?
> Shut down all nuclear reactors immediately.
> Stop using coal.
> Stop all dam construction and dismantle the ones already built.
> Stop all oil and gas fracking.
> Stop using geothermal energy.
> Drastically reduce oil production and place a huge tax on what little that
> is produced.
> Don't Build wind farms in places where they look ugly, reduce wind
> currents, kill birds or cause noise.
> Don't use insecticides.
> Don't use Genetically Modified Organisms.
> Don't use herbicides.
> Do exactly what the European Greens say.

So, like a creationist you're unwilling to accurately depict the beliefs of
those you disagree with, and instead you attack a boogeyman that has sprung
mostly out of your own fevered imagination. There may be some radical
environmentalists who believe these things, but the mainstream
environmental groups (all the ones with any real influence) favor policies
that will gradually scale back emissions without causing any abrupt changes
in our living standards or power generation.

> > The EU has been on track in their goals of emissions reductions, already
>> cutting them by 18% from 1990 levels,
> And Germany alone spent 110 billion dollars to accomplish that, about $660
> for every ton of CO2 they're cutting. And the net outcome of that
> staggering amount of money and effort is that by the end of this century
> global warming will be delayed by about 37 hours.

Did you just made that number up? And why focus only on Germany, when the
effects of the entire E.U.'s collective emissions reductions are presumably
larger than those due solely to any individual country? Also, I brought
this up to counter your wild claim that this would lead to economic
depression and starvation--since it hasn't in the EU it presumably wouldn't
in other countries like the U.S., and if the whole world (or even just the
U.S.) followed the E.U.'s lead, do you deny that according to mainstream
climate models, this would lead to significant temperature reduction from
"business as usual" scenarios where no effort is made to curb emissions?

> Global warming is real and if it turns out to be a bad thing then we're
> going to have to fix it, but we need to do it in a smart way.
> > When there is widespread expert consensus on how "sure" we should be
>> about a scientific matter, and I have no expertise in the matter myself, I
>> tend to assume as a default that the scientific experts likely have good
>> grounds for believing what they do. Of course it's possible on occasion
>> that expert consensus can turn out to be badly wrong but [...]
> There is consensus in the scientific community that things are slightly
> warmer now than they were a century ago, but there is most certainly NOT a
> consensus about how much hotter it will be a century from now, much less
> what to do about it or even if it's a bad thing.

The study I linked to wasn't just about the fact that warming has occurred,
it was specifically on the question of whether the recent warming is
peer-reviewed papers that addressed the issue agreed with the consensus
that it was. Obviously pretty much any scientist who agrees with this would
also say that human emissions over the next century will have a large
determining effect on the temperature in 2100. And note that the only way
to reach such a consensus about the cause of past warming is if there is a
consensus that climate models are broadly reliable in how they model the
effects of various "climate forcings" like greenhouse gas emissions and
solar input. Although there is plenty of range in what the models predict
about temperatures in 2100 under any specific emissions scenario, if you
look at a large number of models the likely temperature range goes up
significantly under scenarios where we make no concerted effort to curb
emissions vs. those where we do. I would say the precautionary principle
applies here, if the higher ends of the likely range for a given emissions
scenario are just as plausible as the lower ends, and if the higher ends of
the likely range (or even both ends, under certain emissions scenarios)
would be disastrous for human civilization, then we should make an effort
to prevent that emissions scenario from becoming the reality.

If anyone reading wants to know the actual ranges predicted by models
(probably not John Clark, who will likely just make some vague comment
about models being unreliable), the last IPCC report picked a number of
possible future emissions scenarios and then applied a large number of
different climate models to each one, the figure at
http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/near-term-ar5/ (Fig. 11.25 on p. 120
shows a messy graph with a large number of different bumpy lines
representing different model predictions up to 2050 (not 2100), color-coded
by which future emissions scenario they were given. The meaning of these
different "RCP" scenarios is discussed at the bottom of the page at
http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2011/09/the-cmip5-climate-experiments/ --
RCP6 and RCP8.5 represent scenarios where no concerted effort is made to
reduce emissions, but with different guesses about how the use of renewable
sources will grow. You can see from the graph that RCP6 and RCP8.5 are
represented in red and orange, the red lines for RCP8.5 seem to range from
1 - 2.5 degrees by 2050, while orange lines for RCP 6 seem to be between
about 0.6 and 1.2 degrees by 2050 (just eyeballing them). Meanwhile, on the
graph at
can see the ranges of all the models out to 2100, though only for RCP
8.5 and RCP2.6. But on the right of this graph are bars showing the range
over 2081-2100 for both RCP8.5 and RCP6 (the 'no effort to reduce
emissions' scenarios), it looks like the models gave a range of about 1-3
degrees under RCP6, and about 2-5 under RCP8.5.

> Just yesterday there was an amusing story on National Public Radio (a
> place not known for being unfriendly to environmentalists) about the zany
> confusion and utter lack of consensus of how much the sea will rise in a
> hundred years, you can listen to it here:
> http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/10/florida-sea-level
>From what I understand there is more uncertainty in predictions about sea
level rises than predictions about global temperature. For example, the
page at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/future.html says "The
contribution of thermal expansion, ice caps, and small glaciers to sea
level rise is relatively well-studied, but the impacts of climate change on
ice sheets are less understood and represent an active area of research.
Thus it is more difficult to predict how much changes in ice sheets will
contribute to sea level rise." Likewise the page at
"Sea level rise is hard to predict, mainly because of the uncertainty
in the rate and magnitude of changes in the Greenland and Antarctic ice
sheets. "

>> >> So CO2 at 3000 parts per million will lead to worldwide glaciation but
>>> CO2 at 380 parts per million will lead to catastrophic warming. Huh?
>> > You're forgetting that the radiation from the Sun has changed
>> significantly between then and now,
> The sun was a few percent weaker then, but that didn't stop the Earth from
> being 18 degrees hotter during the Carboniferous than now,

With much higher CO2 levels, of course. Do you have an alternate
explanation other than the greenhouse effect for *why* it was 18 degrees
hotter back then, if the Sun was weaker? For that matter, any alternate
explanation for why Venus' surface is much hotter than Mercury's, despite
being about 1.9 times as far from the Sun (and thus receiving about 3.6
times less energy per unit area, by the inverse square law, leaving aside
that Venus's cloud cover is very light so it reflects a good amount of

> and you're forgetting that life just loved it when things got that warm.

I'm not forgetting, this is a point you've already made before and I've
already responded--I said that life could certainly adapt in the long term
to a rise to levels it had reached in prehistoric times, but that the
fossil evidence suggests that when large temperature changes happen too
quickly they are associated with mass extinctions, and that furthermore
human civilization would be likely to experience many other negative
effects not directly connected to extinctions.

> > What difference would 4-5% less incoming solar energy make?
> I could be wrong but I would guess about 4 or 5 percent.

Why would the effects be linear? Do you understand the difference between
linear and nonlinear systems in physics, and are you aware that nature is
full of systems that give nonlinear responses to changes in external
conditions, especially those with multiple coupled elements such that
changes in one cause changes in others?

>  > Global climate models, calibrated to today's conditions predict that
>> [blah blah]
> Well that sounds nice and glib but exactly how in the world do you
> "calibrate" something as astoundingly cpmplex as the global weather machine?

These simulations always involve both "forcings" whose dynamics aren't
themselves simulated the model, but just fed into it as boundary conditions
(like solar input, volcanic activity, and emissions from human
civilization), and there are also other boundary conditions like the
different elevations of different parts of the crust which lead to
continents above sea level and oceans below it (though sea level changes
may be simulated dynamically). So I'm pretty sure when they say the models
can be "calibrated" to conditions of today vs. the Ordivician, they mean
that the dynamical rules of the simulation can be kept the same while
changing boundary conditions that are thought to differ between eras in
ways that are roughly known, like solar input and the different prehistoric
arrangement of continents.

> I suspect they worked backward and figured out the outcome they wanted and
> then, surprise surprise, they did.

Yes, that sort of handwavey "suspicion" that creationists typically respond
with when confronted with the consistency of evidence in fields they
dislike for ideological reasons, like the consistency of DNA-based
evolutionary trees with fossil-based ones, or the consistency of
radiometric dating results for different geological layers (and the
consistent pattern of fossil species seen in each layer).

Note that the article I linked to actually mentions a reference for the
claim about calibrating to Ordovician conditions comes from, it can be
found here:


This paper itself references other papers on the matter:

"Importantly, global climate models and energy balance models calibrated to
Late Ordovician conditions also predict a CO2-ice threshold of between 2240
and 3920 ppm (Crowley and Baum, 1991, 1995; Gibbs et al., 1997, 2000; Kump
et al., 1999; Poussart et al., 1999; Herrmann et al., 2003, 2004)."

I couldn't find any of these papers online, but I did find another paper
about Ordovician conditions by one of the authors (Herrmann) in a chapter
of a book with a google books preview, see the "Methods" section on p.
30-31 at http://books.google.com/books?id=hVFNw8vgc7EC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA30which
mentions the use of preexisting models for ocean
circulation--"Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Modular Ocean Model
(MOM) version 2.2"--and atmosphere--"the atmospheric general circulation
model GENESIS", but with altered continental conditions shown in Fig. 2,
and other alterations like "pCO2 levels of 15x preindustrial atmospheric

> Are really you so confident they did it correctly that you are quite
> literally willing to stake your life on it? You'd better be because that's
> what you're asking us to do.

"Are you really so confident that evolutionists do the science correctly
that you are willing to stake your eternal soul on it?" Your predictions of
mass death due to adopting EU-style emission reduction goals seems to have
about the same level of basis in evidence and reasoned thought as a
creationist's predictions about eternal damnation for those who believe the
lies of secular humanism.

And as I said, I don't take anything scientists say as gospel truth, I just
take it as a *default* that they most likely know what they're talking
about when discussing issues in their field, unless I see something to
suggest otherwise like seeing that a lot of other scientists in the field
disagree, or enough knowledge of the field to understand the precise basis
for their claims. If you're familiar with Bayesian reasoning, I could say
that my "prior" assigns a much higher probability to scientists being right
about claims in their fields than them being wrong. On the other hand, your
default/prior for scientific questions you have no detailed understanding
of seems to depend heavily on whether it fits with your political ideology,
and your gut feelings about how you'd expect things to work.

>  >> For example, The sea has risen about 6 inches during the last
>>> century, and it has risen about 6 inches a century for the last 6 thousand
>>> years.
>>   > I don't think that claim reflects the mainstream view so it's
>> probably something you've gotten from a fringe or outdated source,
> See Wikipedia:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise
> "From 1950 to 2009, measurements show an average annual rise in sea level
> of 1.7 ± 0.3 mm per year"
> That's 6.7 inches a century.

I was talking about your claim "it has risen about 6 inches a century for
the last 6 thousand years", which you used to pooh-pooh the idea that there
should be anything worrying about the RECENT rise (which of course I would
not dispute). Do you have any source for your claim that it rose about 6
inches in 1700-1800, 1300-1400, 1000 BC-900 BC, etc.?


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