The World Bank, droughts, and voodoo economics

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"The World Bank, droughts, and voodoo economics"

Mendelsohn and Saher ‘analysis’ of “The Global Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Events,” cites Roger Pielke, Jr. five times while quoting not one scientific paper focused on droughts!

This paper quantifies the global impact of climate change from several extreme events: local storms, heat waves, cold spells, floods, and droughts….  [C]limate change is calculated to increase the damages from these five extreme events by between $11 and $16 billion [sic] a year by 2100….  Summing the damages in this report with tropical cyclone and severe storm damages from the literature suggests that climate change may increase the overall damage from extreme events by $84 billion or 0.015 percent of world GDP.

Yes, two ‘leading’ economists, Robert Mendelsohn and Gokay Saher, actually wrote an entire paper for the World Bank that came to such a conclusion.  It would be laughable were the potential consequences of such misanalysis not so serious.

For the record, when actual climate scientists and agricultural experts look at these and other damages they naturally come to a very different view (see Scientists find “net present value of climate change impacts” of $1240 TRILLION on current emissions path, making mitigation to under 450 ppm a must).

Coincidentally, another just-released study, “The Last Drop: Climate Change and the Southwest Water Crisis,” that actually looks in some detail at the scientific literature for just one region, finds that drought and reduced precipitation in the U.S. SW alone could cost up to $1 trillion by century’s end.

I don’t know who is going to be disdained more by future generations devastated by humanity’s apparent inability to preserve a livable climate — the fossil-fuel-friendly World Bank or the why-bother-reading-the-scientific-literature economics community.

For the umpteenth time, Memo to economists: Please read the scientific literature before opining on the impacts of global warming.

You would think that in any rational world, an “ultimate damage” analysis by the World Bank on “The global impact of climate change on extreme events” including droughts would include multiple citations to the significant scientific literature on droughts and the impacts of reduced precipitation.  Or even cite one damn paper.

You would be wrong.  The mainstream economics community has been taken over by a form of circular benchmarking, a self-delusion where everybody cites each other and ignores the scientific literature.  I would note that the Mendelsohn and Saher cite multiple articles by proponents of traditional cost-benefit analysis for climate impacts, they don’t cite Harvard economist Martin Weitzman’s well-known work calling such an approach into question in this arena (see my post Harvard economist: Climate cost-benefit analyses are “unusually misleading,” warns colleagues “we may be deluding ourselves and others”).

I single out droughts here for one particular reason.  I was chatting recently with one of the World Bank’s leading experts on development, someone who ran one of the in-country offices of a big developing country. I was commenting to him about the devastating impact of the intense deluges that hit developing countries in the past year.  He told me he thought that the impact of extended drought was far worse than deluges because they lasted so long and went to the heart of the country’s ability to feed itself.

I believe that Dust-Bowlification — combined with the impact on food insecurity of Dust-Bowlification combined with other extreme events — is the single biggest impact that climate change is likely to have on most people for most of this century (until sea level rise gets serious in the latter decades).

Let me run through some of the scientific literature that Mendelsohn and Saher — and whoever reviewed the paper at the World Bank — didn’t deem worthy enough to include in their paper on “The global impact of climate change on extreme events” — even though they saw fit to cite their own work three times and Roger Pielke Jr.’s five times.

“¦the climate change that is taking place because of increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop”¦.   Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450-600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era

The irreversible precipitation changes hit the U.S. Southwest, Southeast Asia, Eastern South America, Western Australia, Southern Europe, Southern Africa, and northern Africa.

Note also that this is only 450 to 600 ppm.  We’re on track for 800 to 1000 ppm this century on our current emissions path — a path we are sure to stay on if we listen to the likes of Mendelsohn and Saher (see “Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!” and M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F).

The NOAA analysis is hardly the only drought analysis available to Mendelsohn and Saher.

  • Back in October, the National Center for Atmospheric Research published a complete literature review, “Drought under global warming: a review,” (See NCAR analysis warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path). That study makes clear that Dust-Bowlification may be the impact of human-caused climate change that hits the most people by mid-century, as the figure below suggests (click to enlarge, “a reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought”):

drought map 3 2060-2069

The PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).

The large-scale pattern shown in Figure 11 [of which the figure above is part] appears to be a robust response to increased GHGs. This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research notes “By the end of the century, many populated areas, including parts of the United States, could face readings in the range of -8 to -10, and much of the Mediterranean could fall to -15 to -20. Such readings would be almost unprecedented.”

But hey, Mendelsohn and Saher say droughts will only be contributing a few billion dollars a year to damages in 2100.

Now I suppose these two economists are free not to believe the scientific literature — but then they are obviously the wrong people to do such an analysis.  In any case, to not even cite the literature even to dispute it demonstrates a willful ignorance of arguably the greatest threat to most of humanity.

For the record, the NCAR study merely models the IPCC’s “moderate” A1B scenario “” atmospheric concentrations of CO2 around 520 ppm in 2050 and 700 in 2100.  We’re currently on the A1F1 pathway, which would takes us to 1000 ppm by century’s end, but I’m sure with an aggressive program of energy R&D we could keep that to, say 900 ppm.

  • The UK Met Office came to a similar view four years ago in their analysis, projecting severe drought over 40% of the Earth’s habited landmass by century’s end (see “The Century of Drought“).

The impact of just the heat stress on agriculture has also been studied in the scientific literature:

“Ignoring climate projections at this stage will only result in the worst form of triage.”

The release explains:

Rapidly warming climate is likely to seriously alter crop yields in the tropics and subtropics by the end of this century and, without adaptation, will leave half the world’s population facing serious food shortages, new research shows”¦.

“The stresses on global food production from temperature alone are going to be huge, and that doesn’t take into account water supplies stressed by the higher temperatures,” said David Battisti, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor.

Yes, the Science study is an underestimation of what is likely to happen since it ignores drought and Dust-Bowlification (so yes, technically, this isn’t a drought paper, it is a heat-wave paper, but the World Bank analysis was supposed to include the impacts of heat waves).

The projection of extended if not endless drought for the US Southwest has been studied a great deal:

The serious hydrological changes and impacts known to have occurred in both historic and prehistoric times over North America reflect large-scale changes in the climate system that can develop in a matter of years and, in the case of the more severe past megadroughts, persist for decades. Such hydrological changes fit the definition of abrupt change because they occur faster than the time scales needed for human and natural systems to adapt, leading to substantial disruptions in those systems. In the Southwest, for example, the models project a permanent drying by the mid-21st century that reaches the level of aridity seen in historical droughts, and a quarter of the projections may reach this level of aridity much earlier.

An unprecedented combination of heat plus decades of drought could be in store for the Southwest sometime this century, suggests new research from a University of Arizona-led team”¦.

“The bottom line is, we could have a Medieval-style drought with even warmer temperatures,” [lead author Connie] Woodhouse said.

  • A new Environmental Research Letters article, “Characterizing changes in drought risk for the United States from climate change,” comes to a similar conclusion as the NCAR study, “Drought frequencies and uncertainties in their projection tend to increase considerably over time and show a strong worsening trend along higher greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, suggesting substantial benefits for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”  See especially Figure 4C.

And, as noted above, a new detailed review and analysis of the literature on just the SW alone finds drought and reduced precipitation cost up to $1 trillion by century’s end.

CONCLUSION

The World Bank paper by Robert Mendelsohn and Gokay Saher, “The global impact of climate change on extreme events,” is GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out).  While they don’t cite a single one of the major studies listed above, they reference Roger Pielke, Jr. 5 times, papers authored or coauthored by Richard Tol 3 times (see “TolGate“), William Nordhaus twice [still need to do my debunking post on his work], and Mendelsohn himself three times!

While they don’t reference one single scientific study focused on drought, even though that is one of the 5 extreme events they are supposed to be examining the impacts of, they have a dozen references on hurricanes and tropical cyclones (over 40% of all their references), although that is not one of those five.

The conclusions are laughable, though deadly serious, and the whole effort is another serious blow to the credibility of an institution still widely criticized for favoring fossil fuel projects over low-carbon projects.  The paper notes:

This paper is a product of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, Finance Economics and Urban Department. It is part of a larger effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world.

It is a major embarrassment to everyone who was involved in this project, including the authors, for letting such GIGO be published under the imprimatur of the World Bank.

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63 Responses to The World Bank, droughts, and voodoo economics

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Economists have a terrible record of predictions in their own field, never mind analysis that depends on scientific data.

    Revkin also quoted Pielke saying that fears about grain shortages and crop failures are overblown, and he concocted some numbers meant to show us that everything is OK. Pielke, a political scientist, has no expertise on anything as far as I can determine except libertarian ideology, whatever that means. Maybe someone should ask the Kochs.

  2. John Gibbons says:

    Not at all surprised to find Richard Tol on your Voodoo economist list. He’s been making mischief and spreading voodoo here in Ireland for several years, having landed himself a spot in the state-funded Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI). He is also an “Advisor” to the denialist think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a sausage factory of neocon disinformation and counterknowledge.

    Whenever you spot some dodgy ‘economic analysis’ of climate change in the public domain in Ireland, you’ll invariably find R. Tol’s fingerprints all over it. Allow me to share with your readers some Tol-isms, all from the quill of the man himself:

    “Note that impacts (of climate change) do not exceed 1.3 per cent of GDP in the 21st century”

    “Just because something is new and different does not make it wrong. Climate change will take us into uncharted territory, but so do many other things”.

    “In the case of climate change, economists have shown that climate change is not the biggest environmental problem in the world, denying people the catastrophe that they crave…”

    “My research shows that climate change is a problem. Epidemiologists have shown that climate change is likely to kill hunderds (sic) of thousands of people per year. Urban air pollution kills millions if not tens of millions. Climate policy is therefore important, but not a priority.”

    Finally, when not making a mockery of climate science, Tol also offers his expert insights into broader economic policy in Ireland. In 2008, he and ESRI colleagues bullishly projected solid growth all the way to 2015. What we got instead was the collapse of a distended property bubble, national bankruptcy and the arrival of the IMF to run our affairs.

    The real joke is that people like this are STILL being called on and listened to by politicians and policymakers, no matter how often or how egregiously they screw up.

  3. paulm says:

    How can anyone viewing the situation come to these conclusion.
    You dont even need analysis from scientist to see this.
    You just have to look at the data.

  4. Holly Stick says:

    Libertarianism seems to be defined various ways by its practitioners, some having purer motives than others. But you might be able to tick off avid followers of Ayn Rand by pointing out that she accepted government assistance under her married name.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-ford/ayn-rand-and-the-vip-dipe_b_792184.html

  5. Joan Savage says:

    It’s so important to have your corrections on the World Bank study carry over into the briefings and forecasts for crops and irrigation use. Until that happens, I expect another scoffing round on drought, as we have seen with snowy winters. The near future (5-10 year) projections should more accurately reflect the increase in variability as well as trend towards drought or other climate change.

    A couple of examples where more astute forecasting is needed, state-side:

    The USDA has a naively confident expectation that corn production will stay high for years:
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/2010baseline.htm

    Lake Mead and Lake Powell have fluctuated downward uncomfortably close to mandated rationing, but the heavy snows of 2010-2011 are likely to be treated as “proof” that regional drought is not inevitable. It’s more like hitting a rock while sliding down-hill.

  6. Scrooge says:

    I hate it when the Dr puts up the drought index because it scares the heck out of me and makes me want to stick my head in the sand. The normal frontal boundry/weather track seems to be in Canada. It looks like the boundary dips into Maine and not that it would matter anymore by then but It looks like it would be a low pumping warm air over Greenland.

  7. Justin Bowles says:

    As an economist by training, I have been reduced to throwing papers by Mendelsohn across my study in a fit of rage.

    More to the point, why does an intelligent person produce such poor analysis. I think behavioral economics gives us some insights: a demonstrated expertise in one particular field yields to the belief that one has superior insights into a field where one has little expertise; this is well documented in the experimental economics literature.

    Further, i think that certain economists that have grown up in the post-war intellectual climate are unable to comprehend the possibility that economic systems could suffer sufficient exogenous shocks to disrupt growth. To understand this idea, that growth is not preordained, you need to be a student of history.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think any appeal to the logic of the scientific literature will change Mendelsohn’s mind. For that we need a climate Pearl Harbour or two – a depressing conclusion.

  8. Michael Tucker says:

    1000 years of irreversible climate disruption After We Stop. We are doing nothing now and, when we finally do something, we will NOT be actually ending our emissions. So what can we honestly expect? Wouldn’t we reasonably expect “sea level rise [to get] serious…” as well?

    So, it seems to me that even after we eventually do finally, after decades to struggle, end GHG emissions we can expect sea level to continue to rise because “…this is only 450 to 600 ppm. We’re on track for 800 to 1000 ppm this century on our current emissions path — a path we are sure to stay on if we listen…” to any Republican leaders and some of our Democratic leaders. We can expect 1000 More years of climate disruption No Matter What!

    I have seen some studies from insurance companies that have a much gloomier view of damages due to global climate disruption.

    So, given our complete lack of action, isn’t saying we can expect “1000 years of irreversible climate disruption” the same as saying 1000 Years of Unstoppable Sea Level Rise?

  9. paulm says:

    Ok, so they got their figures WRONG!
    Here is a billion dollars already to go refigure….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/11/china-drought-emergency-water-aid

    China has announced a billion dollars in emergency water aid to ease its most severe drought in 60 years, as the United Nations warned of a threat to the harvest of the world’s biggest wheat producer.

  10. Badgersouth says:

    Joe:

    Perhaps you should post an article about E3G’s latest report, “Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security.”

    http://www.e3g.org/programmes/climate-articles/degrees-of-risk-defining-a-risk-management-framework-for-climate/

    [JR: Coming!]

  11. G. Thomas Farmer says:

    Pielke, Jr. and the authors of the “analysis” are doing great harm to this planet’s future. The World Bank would be wise to check the “facts” in the report.

  12. Colorado Bob says:

    More to the point, why does an intelligent person produce such poor analysis.

    Lazy

  13. A PhD says:

    Joe, I appreciate your knowledge of the literature, but when I look at Google Scholar I see those 5 papers that you reference by Pielke have been cited almost 600 times. Are you really asking us to dismiss the World Bank study simply because it cites research that is this widely cited? What is in error in those 5 studies and how they were used by the World Bank?

    [JR: I'm posting your comment as an example of comments I don't generally post since they directly misrepresent what I wrote. Try again!

    For the record, the answer to your first question is, as anyone who can read the post could tell, is "no." When did you stop beating your wife?

    You also missed my point about circular benchmarking, in quoting Google Scholar. Who is quoting the papers? Economists like Mendelsohn and Saher?]

  14. daveE says:

    Given that the recent spike in food prices is largely climate driven (with help from biofuel production), it seems likely that that cost of climate change is likely already greater than .015 percent of world GDP. Imagine wha things will be like in 90 years.

  15. Bob Lang says:

    Economists are out to lunch, period!

    Anybody with half a brain can see that the world economy has reached a “Keynesian Endpoint”.

    Definition: “Keynesian Endpoint” refers to a situation where debt can no longer be cured with more debt.

    Yet not one economist comprehends this, including the Nobel laureates among them.

  16. Richard Brenne says:

    Economists are contemporary society’s chief priests and wizards, who tell the ruling elite exactly what they want to hear and nothing more.

    The notable exceptions to this are Herman Daly, Lou Grinzo and so few others that you can name them.

  17. A PhD says:

    OK, Joe, I will try again. What is the relevance of Pielke’s 5 papers to your critique of the World Bank paper?

    [JR: Pielke's 5 analyses -- 3 of which are on hurricanes and 1 of which is just an attack on the Stern report -- are infinitely less relevant to what this report says it is about than the multiple papers on droughts that it ignores entirely. I thought that was obvious. Pielke's analyses have been criticized in Nature and elsewhere. Just quoting 5 (!) of them but not actual science tells one a lot about the circular benchmarking nature of the paper. Seriously.

    Do you think it is tenable to quote 3 Pielke papers on hurricanes (not one of the 5 extreme events the study says it is focusing on) and not a single climate science paper focused on drought (one of the 5 extreme events the study says it is focusing on)?

    Also, since they don't include a drought analysis, their critique of Stern is unjustified.]

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    This is the 3rd link on this , more details on what Janice Lough found in the coral off Australia.

    The Science Daily article about the study by Janice Lough, climate scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville, Queensland :

    Weather Extremes Are Growing Trend in Northern Australia, Corals Show

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208144927.htm

    Very timely that Janice is publishing this study. It pin points 73-74 as the wettest years in 300 years. 2010-2011 has run over those numbers like a cross town bus.

  19. Ted Gleichman says:

    I read the Harrison Schmitt drop-out post before this one:

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/10/breaking-climate-science-denier-harrison-schmitt-out-as-head-of-nm-energy-department/

    and noted there (@18) that his low-grade self-destruction offers a teachable moment to scientists and activists in The Sunshine State.

    Clearly, the primary focus of their community organizing and media outreach should be drought.

  20. David Fox says:

    I came across this article in the WSJ online, claiming the weather hasn’t been getting any more extreme. I guess it’s a case of believing our lying eyes and data compiled by insurance companies and NOAA, or the right-wing status-quo media. Pielke, Jr. also makes an appearance in this article. He never seems to miss an opportunity to minimize the risk and impacts of climate change, while pretending to be a moderate.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704422204576130300992126630.html

    [JR: That piece tells you all you need to know -- if you don't know anything.

    >>In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher. < <

    In fact, lots of data/evidence/studies of more-extreme weather patterns have been found, such as more intense precipitation and more severe drought (see here for a new review).]

  21. It’s still raining in Australia, and in one of the driest places on earth :

    Towns in WA’s east flooded after heavy rains

    The town has received more than 100 millimetres of rain in five hours.

    Meanwhile, residents of the remote Aboriginal community of Warburton are in recovery mode after a flash flood inundated the community.

    83 millimetres of rain fell on the town yesterday flooding parts of the town to two metres.

    The Bureau of Meteorology says that is more than twice the town’s average rainfall for the whole month of February.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/11/3136123.htm

  22. JCH says:

    Holocene economists are buggy whips walking.

  23. P B says:

    The World Bank is a disgrace – the only good thing is that they are consistent – i.e. always wrong. The disaster of structural adjustment caused horrendous problems in developing countries, and the huge dam projects that backfired and left so much debt. Then they completely ignored agriculture for 20 years in favour of failed industrialization and free market policies. The food shortages we are seeing now is in good measure down to their total lack of understanding about the biophysical realities of our dying planet.

  24. Justin Bowles says:

    Andrew Revkin taking a pot shot at Joe on his Facebook page over this post:

    “Kind of funny to see Joe Romm, essentially, attacking Roger Pielke Jr. for doing so much peer-reviewed disaster work”

    Reading Joe’s post it seem obvious he is attacking Mendelsohn for not looking at the peer-reviewed scientific extreme event work. Why do people who are, in the final analysis, on the same side of the debate take such pleasure in attacking their allies. This is so just so frustrating.

  25. catman306 says:

    JCH, I keep seeing Mickey Mouse in Fantasia but with walking buggy whips instead of broomsticks. Mickey has a human face but I can’t quite make out who it is.

  26. Peter M says:

    450-600ppm and the American agricultural heartland and southwest will be a dust-bowl again? It could easily become that with 400ppm C02 sustained.
    The American heartland from Indiana west to the front range of the Rockies will be as dry as a bone in 2050- or even sooner. With heat that will last from May till September. What is going to happen to food prices then?

    I know here in Connecticut after our first of many climate fossil fuel disasters the Insurance companies will be paying out lots of bucks to home owners like me- from weather they know is going to become worse.

    Economists who have common sense, and work with insurance companies will cut their losses in years to come, by jacking up rates, as to become unaffordable. When homeowners and farmer have no insurance- what does that do to a local economy when disaster strikes.

    Insurance companies are already pulling out of most of coastal Connecticut- and those who stay are rising their rates into the C02 filled atmosphere.

  27. MapleLeaf says:

    I honestly do not know why people take Pielke Jnr seriously anymore– he continues to ignore the body of evidence that extremes are increasing. The literature review win Trenberth’s new paper is by no means comprehensive, and several new papers have ben published sowing increase sin extremes since the last IPCC report was release din 2007.

    Joe and Andy Revkin, if you like I could (in very short time) provide here several publications which show Pielke’s claim “There’s no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather,..” to be patently false.

    And Andy Revkin should be ashamed of making such disingenuous remarks…. There is a heck of a lot more published literature out there than the five papers by Pielke which were cited. Is Revkin seriously trying to claim that these five papers (by one author) are comprehensive and representative of the entire field of weather extremes? Not even remotely close.

    Only including the paper by Pielke (some of which have been justly criticized by scientists for their shortcomings). amounts to cherry picking and misleading people as to the potential severity of the problem.

    Engineers et al. do not plan for best-case scenarios Andy and Roger…. While downplaying the situation may be comforting in the short-term, it is is not going to help anyone in the long run.

    Ad the folly of claiming that we can adapt easily is already being demonstrated in recent events in Australia– diverting funds destined to reduce GHG emissions to paying for the epic flooding. Australia may already be caught in a positive feedback loop….

  28. Bob Doublin says:

    #4 Holly Stick, It gets even fraughter with delicious irony.Ayn Rand was a lifelong atheist who felt that christianity was an absolute detrimant to her rationally selfish philosophy of laissez faire capitalism.Having so many fundamentalist christians flock to her standard must have set her revolving in her grave enough to light up a city for a decade.
    AND during her last decade of her life in the 70′s and early 80′s she on numerous occasions DENOUNCED in NO UNCERTAIN terms the Libertarian Party saying they did not reflect her philosophy at all and wished they would shut up and leave her alone.(I know because I’m ashamed to admit I was an enthusiastic Randroid in my youth before I learned better.I’ve owned and read every newsletter/magazine she ever published and read all of her fictional non-fiction more times than I care to remember.Goddess forgive me for the sins of my youth)

  29. Don Gisselbeck says:

    Unregulated free market capitalism has no mechanism for dealing with existential threats to part or all of the system. (Look at what has happened to ocean fisheries.) It even looks like regulated capitalism is unable to deal with long term threats. The people in charge are apparently willing to destroy western civilization for a few hundred million bucks.

  30. Chris Winter says:

    Research on drought I did in August 2009 found an average yearly cost to the U.S. of $7 billion, and the total cost so far of over $960 billion.

    My source is listed as Andreadis & Lettenmaier (2006), in GRL. I’m not sure this is right, as the text is now behind a paywall and the abstract has no numbers.

  31. Mike Roddy says:

    Justin, #24, Pielke, in spite of his disclaimers, is not on the side of those who favor aggressive action that will lead us toward clean energy and a livable climate. I could go into some detail here, but a lot of us know what he’s all about- and it does not include any market disincentives for fossil fuel use. That makes Pielke’s other writings- many of which, as in his tome about crop failures, try to reassure us- counterfeit.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    Look at Australia, how much damage to infrastructure, property, tourism, economy, health, insurance, markets (coal) and more, just in the couple last month?

    The truth is, it just needs a tickle more and a little tickle more in frequency, to collapse the entire system.

  33. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Libertarianism is a psychopathological cult based on the absolute freedom of the individual, but certainly not all individuals. It’s a modern day version of the droit de seigneur, where the elect, the chosen ones, enjoy all the fruits of the earth, their due, no less, owing to their self-evident eminence. The rabble ‘tremble and obey’, stay silent, bow deep as their betters pass by, breed more serfs, then die. Libertarianism is simply rampant egomania married to absolute hatred and contempt for others. It has no use for the future, for human posterity, because the libertarian Hero, himself, will be no more. The universe of their conceit will be ended.

  34. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #27: Here ya go, Chris. Google Scholar turned it up quick using advanced search (to narrow it down to a specific author and year).

  35. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #28: RP Jr.’s stance on this stuff should be seen solely as positioning for purposes of career advancement — contrarian, but not too contrarian. It gets him lots of citations and media attention.

  36. Bob Doublin says:

    #33 Mulga:”The rabble ‘tremble and obey’, stay silent, bow deep as their betters pass by, breed more serfs, then die”
    You have perfectly described Eddie Willers, Dagny Taggart’s loyal to the literal death chief assistant in Atlas Shrugged.
    Also,a really telling image about Ayn Rand. She claimed that the two keystones of her philosophy were the inviolate rights to property and bodily life. Yet,in either her discussion of her aesthetic philosophy or her Autohagiography Who Is Ayn Rand? (someone else will have to check-I’ve promised myself never to open any of her books again as long as I live),there’s this story about the ideal man she adored from literature.It was the image of a blond haired steely eyed Viking gazing heroically off into the distance from the tallest tower of a city he just conquered and whose men are currently plundering (saving the most beautiful woman for him to rape of course),the smoke of the burning city curling around his straightbacked MANLY figure.Burning city? Talk about violating property rights. Not to mention all the corpses littering the streets.
    Something interesting just flashed on me.She was Jewish raised in a deeply antisemitic country like Russia.And she has this image of a blonde aryan man being her ideal.Whoa!

  37. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #27: Please do post those cites, ML. Plus your observation –

    Ad[d] the folly of claiming that we can adapt easily is already being demonstrated in recent events in Australia– diverting funds destined to reduce GHG emissions to paying for the epic flooding. Australia may already be caught in a positive feedback loop….

    – needs to get a lot more attention. It’s the central point that Nordhaus, Tol etc. get wrong.

    The subtropics already having moved ~150 miles toward the poles, what is it we expect to not change (generally for the worse, often quite severely and frequently abruptly)?

    Beyond the current observed changes, Hansen’s latest latest lays out why we should expect things to get quite a lot worse, certainly on a scale of a few centuries and maybe more like decades. (Everyone please read it if you haven’t already.) Truly, we are pushing our luck. I can only imagine that Joe is rather dreading having to post on it.

  38. Nick says:

    Wow. I haven’t gotten past the quote from the paper. Getting there. Just…wow.

  39. David B. Benson says:

    Nobody keeps up with just how bad matters still are in Pakistan after last summer’s deluge.

  40. Nick says:

    A paper I’ve enjoyed referencing:

    “Climate Models: A User’s Guide”
    by Daniel A. Farber, Sho Sato Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the California Center for Environmen­tal Law and Policy, University of California­, Berkeley

    “• Climate models establish a lower end estimate for global temperatur­e impacts, but the distributi­on is less clearly bounded on the high side – or in simpler terms, the high-end risk may be considerab­le. The models are better at predicting temperatur­e patterns than precipitat­ion patterns, and global prediction­s are considerab­ly firmer than more localized ones.

    • ***Economic models are much less advanced, and their conclusion­s should be used with caution.*** Unfortunat­ely, economists are not always carefully about incorporat­ing uncertaint­y into their policy recommendations.

    • Climate scientists have created a unique institutio­nal system for assessing and improving models, going well beyond the usual system of peer review. Consequent­ly, their conclusion­s should be entitled to considerab­le credence by courts and agencies.” http://bit­.ly/hDZGfd

  41. Joan Savage says:

    An economist worth his salt, Paul Krugman ran a blog column a three days back with a primer lesson on the stats of climate change.

    “Gradual Trends and Extreme Events”
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/gradual-trends-and-extreme-events/

  42. Joan Savage says:

    Drought is huge for food instability, but climate change seems to have also amplified this past year’s food losses due to flooding, and now paradoxically, food loss due to cold weather.

    What I am reading is that when the Arctic vortex is weak, the unleashed Jet Stream meanders further south and north. It drags colder air further south, as well as bringing warmth and moisture north. The winter crops in Florida and Mexico have not done well this winter. Mexico expects to lose 12% of its corn crop to cold weather.

    The Jet Stream is constantly monitored and can be easily visualized from the data, which this week shows the Jet Stream crossing Mexico.

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html

  43. Joan Savage says:

    Oops– it’s 16% of the Mexican corn crop that is in jeopardy per BBC World News.

  44. George Ennis says:

    Years ago I listened to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program called Ideas that touched upon the events of Three Mile Island. One of the things that was explored is why it took so long for engineers to come up with an effective response. The engineers were looking at readings right from the start that were showing that a melt down was occurring. Their responsive for sometime was there has to be something wrong with the readings because what they were suggesting was nothing short of fantastical. For one engineer it suddenly hit him that what the readings were flashing loud and clear was correct. It was only then that effective action to avoid a complete nuclear melt down occurred.

    The failure here was not in the technology or the science but in human nature. People while understanding in the abstract catastrophic possibilities in terms of how they behave discount them.

    As a person who has had to apply cost benefit analysis in many areas of my work I have come to realize that people are prone to use double discounting in their actual thinking processes. I have to wonder whether economists are simply unable to accept the enormity of the consequences of the associated with the fat right tail climate change probabilities.

  45. David B. Benson says:

    George Ennis @45 — Martin Weitzman seems to get it.

  46. MapleLeaf says:

    Steve Bloom– Thanks. I am about to post a long list of papers which challenge Pielke’s claim– so it will probably only appear on Saturday. Sorry in advance for the long post Joe– I’ll email you a copy.

  47. MapleLeaf says:

    Re Pielke Jnr’s claim that:

    “There’s no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather…”

    Some observational, modelling and observational and modelling studies concerning the trends in temperature extremes and precipitation intensity. I have limited myself to material that has been released since 2007 (when the last IPCC report was released); this is by no means a complete list. Not all of them directly challenge the claim about human activities affecting extreme weather, but I included them because they point to a coherent picture.

    Zhang et al. (2007): Detection of human influence on twentieth-century precipitation trends. (Nature)
    We show that anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on observed changes in average precipitation within latitudinal bands, and that these changes cannot be explained by internal climate variability or natural forcing. We estimate that anthropogenic forcing contributed significantly to observed increases in precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, drying in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics and tropics, and moistening in the Southern Hemisphere subtropics and deep tropics. The observed changes, which are larger than estimated from model simulations, may have already had significant effects on ecosystems, agriculture and human health in regions that are sensitive to changes in precipitation, such as the Sahel.”

    Christidis et al. (2011): The role of human activity in the recent warming of extremely warm daytime temperatures. (J. Climate).
    “Our analysis is the first that attempts to partition the observed change in warm daytime extremes between its anthropogenic and natural components and hence attribute part of the change to possible causes. Changes in the extreme temperatures are represented by the temporal changes in a parameter of an extreme value distribution. Regional distributions of the trend in the parameter are computed with and without human influence using constraints from the global optimal fingerprinting analysis. Anthropogenic forcings alter the regional distributions, indicating that extremely warm days have become hotter.”

    Zwiers et al. (2010): Anthropogenic Influence on Long Return Period Daily Temperature Extremes at Regional Scales. (J. Climate).
    We therefore conclude that the influence of anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on extreme temperatures that have impacts on human society and natural systems at global and regional scales. External influence is estimated to have resulted in large changes in the likelihood of extreme annual maximum and minimum daily temperatures. Globally, waiting times for extreme annual minimum daily minimum and daily maximum temperatures events that were expected to recur once every 20 years in the 1960s are now estimated to exceed 35 and 30 years respectively. . In contrast, waiting times for circa 1960s 20-year extremes of annual maximum daily minimum and daily maximum temperatures are estimated to have decreased to less than 10 and 15 years respectively.”

    Krishnamurthy et al. (2009): Changing Frequency and Intensity of Rainfall Extremes over India from 1951 to 2003. (J. Climate).
    “Statistically significant increasing trends in extremes of rainfall are identified over many parts of India, consistent with the indications from climate change models and the hypothesis that the hydrological cycle will intensify as the planet warms. Specifically, for the exceedance of the 99th percentile of daily rainfall, all locations where a significant increasing trend in frequency of exceedance is identified also exhibit a significant trend in rainfall intensity.”

    Teixeira and Satyamurty (2011): Trends in the Frequency of Intense Precipitation Events in Southern and Southeastern Brazil during 1960–2004. (J. Climate).
    “In both regions, annual heavy and extreme rainfall event frequencies present increasing trends in the 45-year period. However, only in Southern Brazil is the trend statistically significant. Although longer time series are necessary to ensure the existence of long term trends, the positive trends are somewhat alarming since they indicate that climate changes, in terms of rainfall regimes, are possibly under way in Brazil.”

    Ding et al. (2009): Changes in hot days and heat waves in China during 1961–2007. (Int. J. Clim.)
    “Over most of China except northwestern China, the frequency of HDs was high during the 1960s–1970s, low in the 1980s, and high afterwards, with strong interannual variations. A remarkable increasing trend of HDs occurred after the 1990s in all regions. ”

    Rodda et al.(2009): A comparative study of the magnitude, frequency and distribution of intense rainfall in the United Kingdom. (Int. J. Clim).
    “Most noticeably, increases up to 20% have occurred in the north-west of the country and in parts of East Anglia. There have also been changes in other areas, including decreases of the same magnitude over central England. The implications of these changes are considered.”

    Kyselý (2009): Recent severe heat waves in central Europe: how to view them in a long-term prospect? (Int. J. Clim).
    “Owing to an increase in mean summer temperatures, probabilities of very long heat waves have already risen by an order of magnitude over the recent 25 years, and are likely to increase by another order of magnitude by around 2040 under the summer warming rate assumed by the mid-scenario. Even the lower bound scenario yields a considerable decline of return periods associated with intense heat waves. Nevertheless, the most severe recent heat waves appear to be typical rather of a late 21st century than a mid-21st century climate. ”

    Gallant and Karoly (2010): A Combined Climate Extremes Index for the Australian Region (J. Climate)
    “Over the whole country, the results show an increase in the extent of hot and wet extremes and a decrease in the extent of cold and dry extremes annually and during all seasons from 1911 to 2008 at a rate of between 1% and 2% decade21. These trends mostly stem from changes in tropical regions during summer and spring. There are relationships between the extent of extreme maximum temperatures, precipitation, and soil moisture on interannual and decadal time scales that are similar to the relationships exhibited by variations of the means. However, the trends from 1911 to 2008 and from 1957 to 2008 are not consistent with these relationships, providing evidence that the processes causing the interannual variations and those causing the longer-term trends are different.”

    Romps (2011): Response of Tropical Precipitation to Global Warming. (J. Atmos. Sci.)
    “There are many properties of convection that can change as the atmosphere warms, each of which could produce deviations from CC scaling. These properties include the effective water-vapor gradient, cloud pressure depth, and cloud velocity. A simple theory is developed that predicts the changes in these properties consistent with CC scaling. Convection in the cloud-resolving simulations is found to change as predicted by this theory, leading to an ~20% increase in local precipitation fluxes when the CO2 concentration is doubled. Overall, an increase in CO2 leads to more vigorous convection, composed of clouds that are wider, taller, and faster.”

    Wentz et al. (2007): How Much More Rain Will Global Warming Bring? (Science).
    “Climate models and satellite observations both indicate that the total amount of water in the atmosphere will increase at a rate of 7% per kelvin of surface warming. However, the climate models predict that global precipitation will increase at a much slower rate of 1 to 3% per kelvin. A recent analysis of satellite observations does not support this prediction of a muted response of precipitation to global warming. Rather, the observations suggest that precipitation and total atmospheric water have increased at about the same rate over the past two decades.”

    Allan et al. (2010): Current changes in tropical precipitation. (Environmental research letters).
    “Analysing changes in extreme precipitation using daily data within the wet regions, an increase in the frequency of the heaviest 6% of events with warming for the SSM/I observations and model ensemble mean is identified. The SSM/I data indicate an increased frequency of the heaviest events with warming, several times larger than the expected Clausius–Clapeyron scaling and at the upper limit of the substantial range in responses in the model simulations.”

    Allan and sodden (2008): Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes. (Science).
    “We used satellite observations and model simulations to examine the response of tropical precipitation events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore, the observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger than that predicted by models, implying that projections of future changes in rainfall extremes in response to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated.”

    Lenderink and Meijgaard (2008) Increase in hourly precipitation extremes beyond expectations from temperature changes. (Nature).
    “Indeed, changes in daily precipitation extremes in global climate models seem to be consistent with the 7% increase per degree of warming given by the Clausius–Clapeyron relation3, 4, but it is uncertain how general this scaling behaviour is across timescales. Here, we analyse a 99-year record of hourly precipitation observations from De Bilt, the Netherlands, and find that one-hour precipitation extremes increase twice as fast with rising temperatures as expected from the Clausius–Clapeyron relation when daily mean temperatures exceed 12 °C. In addition, simulations with a high-resolution regional climate model show that one-hour precipitation extremes increase at a rate close to 14% per degree of warming in large parts of Europe. Our results demonstrate that changes in short-duration precipitation extremes may well exceed expectations from the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. “

  48. anonymous says:

    The fact that an extreme event is not necessarily extreme the day before presents some problems in estimating the likelihood of such events, in any case there’s the force majeure-clause in many incurance policies so some economies might not take these in account and anyway once a poor disabled man is dead he can’t steal food thus increasing the profits. This is only speculating what goes into some of those estimates.

  49. Richard Brenne says:

    Mulga Mumblebrain (#33) – What a paragraph! Since the atmosphere will erode everything and according to Jim Hansen if we burn all available fossil fuels (which we show every sign of doing) we’ll create a dead planet like Venus, our only remnants will be what we leave on the moon.

    As our only remnants I’d now nominate your paragraph, a DVD player with one button that would show “Avatar” just so whoever came by would wonder if we were the shorter pale or taller blue dudes, a copy of the Nike commercial “The Human Chain” just to show briefly what kind of physicality, courage and play we were capable of, a copy of the best movie ever, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and our epitaph: “The George Baileys of the world were crushed by the Potters, who ran the world.”

    Also some delightful cheeses.

  50. Bill Maddox says:

    Ref: Bob Doublin

    I too was an Ayn Rand man (boy?) in my early 20′s. One of my professors in college (35 year ago) did say that I would grow out of it. Just for the heck of it I picked up Atlas Shrugged a few months ago and read through a few pages then a few more. I could not believe I had been so naive as to go for that tripe. And Greenspan et al evidently never grew out of it.

  51. Roddy Campbell says:

    Surely circular bench-marking applies all over? On ‘your’ side as well as ‘theirs’?

    And I found Stern pretty poor, so unsurprised they slated it.

    On Ayn Rand I agree – just appalling.

  52. Richard Brenne says:

    Speaking of miserable economists, some of you have brought up the legendary Ayn Rand, whose real first name was simply the letter A and her last name was Hole. She was born on Groundhog Day in 1905 and is currently living her own personal Groundhog Day as brilliantly described by Mulga Mumblebrain in comment #33.

    Rand was born in St. Petersberg, which changed its name to Petrograd, then Leningrad, then for a brief time Alan Halegrad before returning to St. Petersberg. Rand’s writing and reasoning was similarly circular and pointless.

    Rand was a contortionist who bent over backwards to rationalize and justify simple greed and selfishness, which wiser folks have regarded as vices.

    Her brilliant philosophy was called “objectivism” because she felt thinking in no way determined one’s experience, something slightly deeper thinkers have called “ass-backwards”, like all her other views. Not having a moral compass, she is an almost perfect reverse barometer of morality.

    Wikipedia notes that “Rand stated that she chose the name (objectivism)because her preferred term for a philosophy based on the primacy of existence – “existentialism” – had already been taken,” as had the most precise term, bullshit.

    Rand was a lifelong pill-popper and heavy smoker who felt the state should never support anyone, or evidently anyone other than herself, because she used the name Ann O’Connor to receive Medicare and Social Security when she developed lung cancer in 1974. As an unrepentant druggie taking zero responsibility for her actions she evidently inspired Rush Limbaugh to follow in her prescription-popping footsteps.

    Rand’s writing was described by the novelist Flannery O’Connor as “Making Mickey Spillane looks like Dostoyevsky” or maybe the other way around, I forget.

    Rand was the Ty Cobb of writers, at least in terms of being a racist and miserable human being. She died cut off from virtually all friends and family except for the great Alan Greenspan, who attended her funeral along with flowers arranged in a dollar sign, I kid you not.

  53. Joan Savage says:

    A personal friend with a PhD in Economics worked for the World Bank in the 1970s-1980s. She was thoroughly disgusted by a practice of cooking the books with faked figures from multiple sources, and she left the organization. It was not about climate change then, it was international investment. The figures were supplied through that circular process in which governments wanted their countries to look good on paper, so that the outside investors could use World Bank money for so-called development.
    See also John Perkins’ book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” for more about those dynamics.

    I was curious about how out of date or anecdotal that might be and keyworded ["world bank" faked figures] which retrieved a long list of hits including allegations within the past six years of faking numbers about success with malaria treatments, and Africa in general. Given the limits of using ‘faked figures’ as keywords, the search didn’t retrieve Dr. Romm’s analysis, but if my comment is picked up in the search engine, now it will.
    That would be a fitting tribute to my old friend who is now deceased.

  54. Lou Grinzo says:

    Once again, I come back to something I say constantly over on my site, no doubt to the point that people are sick of hearing it: Go exactly where the science leads you, and nowhere else.

    This philosophy is insultingly obvious yet ferociously hard to apply. It requires us to be scientists to the Nth degree. More specifically, it tells us to ignore our emotions, our needs, wants, and desires, and pay attention to what the real data says. It also says not to see patterns that sometimes aren’t there and leap to bad conclusions.

    Hansen is a particularly interesting case, as he tends to be ahead of the general consensus, only to be proved right. (He must have more virtual arrow wounds in his back than we can count.) But he’s also an exception.

    If one looks at the climate situation dispassionately and includes the best available information on all the relevant issues, like the long atmospheric lifetime of CO2 (and very short lifetime of cooling aerosols); the current rate of emissions; the trend in emissions from various countries, sectors, and energy sources; infrastructure issues; and the Byzantine national and international politics involved, there’s precious little reason for optimism. If we’re going to avoid repeated food crises, much worse than the one that could be just starting to unfold right now, it will take an unprecedented, near miraculous effort.

  55. How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ of human overpopulation?

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/frostovertheworld/2011/02/2011259341259393.html

    How is it possible for so many top rank experts of great stature to be adamantly advocating for more “food production to feed a growing population” and yet be failing to mention the profound implications of skyrocketing absolute global population numbers on Earth? For such a thing to be occurring in 2011 appears preposterous. It is morally outrageous and dangerous both to future human well being and environmental health, I believe, for well established experts to be reporting ubiquitously in high-level discussions such things as are directly contradicted by unchallenged scientific research of human population dynamics and human overpopulation. Is it possible that so-called, self-proclaimed experts are not aware of peer-reviewed, published research in their area of expertise that indicates the food supply is the independent (not dependent) variable and human population numbers is the dependent (not independent) variable with regard to the relationship between human population numbers and food supply? It appears that many too many experts are collectively reporting specious theory and data regarding the human population that cannot be supported by the best available scientific evidence, I believe.

    The food supply is the independent variable not the dependent variable. Human population numbers is the dependent variable not the independent variable. The believers in demographic transition theory and in the idea that “we must increase food production to feed a growing population” are simply mistaken. The false promise of Demographic Transition Theory, that population stabilization will somehow occur benignly and automatically a mere four decades from now, as well as the upside down thinking that human population numbers is the independent variable and food supply is the dependent variable, are at least two of the crucial and deliberate misunderstandings that are being deployed to direct the human community down a patently unsustainable “primrose path” no human being with feet of clay would ever choose to go.

    The uncontested scientific finding of the relationship between food supply and human population numbers is being obscured and denied by the very experts upon whom the human community relies for guidance and direction. Conscious obsfucation and willful denial by ‘the brightest and best’ of the scientific finding regarding the relationship between food supply and human population numbers has been occurring pervasively for way too long a time. This incredible failure of nerve by ‘the smartest guys in the room’ in my not-so-great generation has got to be acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

    The children’s future is being stolen by thieves of the highest order. And what is the communal response? A code of silence! Are people going to choose yet again to be bystanders at a moment when bold action, intellectual honesty and moral courage are required? Willful blindness, hysterical deafness, elective mutism and utter passivity cannot continue. The children will soon enough express their anger and disbelief at what the elders in my not-so-great generation have either failed to do or else done poorly “on our watch”, while wealthy and powerful crooks in high places robbed those among us who are still young of a good enough future.

    How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ of human overpopulation? This is the question no one is asking, the one that needs to be asked.

  56. JCH says:

    Catman306 – back in the day, when I took economics in college, Holocene economics professors loved to mock buggy whips. Now they are the buggy whips.

  57. Chris Winter says:

    Thanks, Steve (#34). I need to make more use of Google Scholar.

  58. Wes Rolley says:

    The most recent post from Climatopolis author Matthew I. Kahn is yet another economic miscalculation, in this case, not Kahn’s complete doing though. Climate Change and World Trade in Agricultural Products was contributed by Oregon State Univ.’s Jeffrey Reimer, since Kahn admits to “Not knowing much about trade in agricultural products…”

    This is more modeling of economic activity that assumes trade mechanisms will maintain something close to a state of equilibrium, with trade balancing the temporary surpluses and crop failures. It tells us little or nothing about those situations where we exist in a state far from equilibrium.

  59. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Richard Brenne #53, you brilliantly capture the essence of Randism. I’m no afficionado of her scribblings, being finite and not having enough time to spend insulting my intelligence and further lessening my estimation of humanity. But I do know that Rand saw most of humanity as ‘moochers’ (the Antipodean version is ‘bludgers’) and she worshiped the greedy elite. Of course, the moochers are the workers, the ‘little people’ who create everything, make everything and keep the surplus coming through that the Supermen consume in their endless, futile, quest for ego satisfaction. The Randians, undeniably, and she is admirable in her honesty in this regard if for no other discernible reason, despise the rest of humanity (including the other Randians, naturally)and simply cannot conceive of humanity as a whole or as an ongoing, timeless, process. The Randians are vulgar egomania run amok, without conscience, pity, fellow feeling or any concern for what happens after their own death. That Greenspan was a Randian makes his bubble blowing the easier to understand. What could more perfectly express the Randian hatred of the rabble than allowing and facilitating a decade’s long orgy of speculation and financial chicanery, by keeping interest rates low and turning a blind eye to bankster malfeasance, then, when the bill comes due, presenting it to the moochers to make good, while the Randian elect parties on, as if nothing ever happened.

  60. Paulm says:

    55 Lou.

    This IS the food crisis. I doubt that we are going to pullback from this now.

    Global warming impacts are going to ramp up even more here on in.

    There is not going to be any respite. Just more and more communities overwhelmed by disasters until we get global collapse.

  61. Bob Doublin says:

    If you want to understand the background attitude to all the Denier BS,I think it really helps to study two things at least (add more if you can stomach it).One is the main essay in For the New Intellectual and the other is the sequence in Atlas Shrugged revolving around the controversy over Dagny Taggart building the rail line out of Hank Reardon newly invented alloy. (Like I said I’m never opening another of her books again but I read AS at least 15 times and FNI 12 so the memory holds some.)
    To put it bluntly modern day scientists are cowardly whimworshipping second handing moochers without the guts to say what they really mean and mean what they really say. All this weaselly respect for uncertainty. Baahhh!! Stand up and be a man (like Rand oh so wished she were-she hated being a woman-not that I blame her given how misogynist all western societies are) and state things as categorical necessary truths and let the chips fall where they may.None of this 90% probability this and 9% probability that and being oh so careful to state things in as exact a manner as you can while never claiming more than you have a right to. Check out the passages in AS about John Galt’s physics teacher Dr Robert Stadler-especially when he goes over to the darkside and takes GOVERNMENT RESEARCH GRANTS!!!!!
    I’m deliberately being rhetorical and sarcastic but I think I’ve more than captured a realistic portrayal of the deepseated feelings raised in right wing Randians by the scientists working in anthropogenic climate change.
    @ Bill Maddox.Does this ring a bell about Randian attitude?I wish I had the time to turn this into the essay it deserves.I think it’s important and I’ve never seen anyone here even mention it before.It occured to me at least 6 months ago.WE CAN’T REALLY DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH THE DENIERS IF WE DON’T GET A MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND THEIR IRRATIONAL HATRED.
    Two of the things that saved me was finally doing some extensive reading in environmentalist thought and realizing just how laughably inadequate Rand and the Libertarians both were on the subject and also finally after being out of the closet the last half of my Randroid life I realized just how hopelessly antigay she and Nathaniel Branden etal was and went on to better things.