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Climate Thought

Much of my “leisure” time has been spent in the ecology and climate literature of late. One thing is really startling for me, especially among the moralistic aspects of environmental policy. Climate activists and policymakers seem to indicate that the “baseline” or “right” climate is that which existed between 1960 and 1980. After all, that is what many of the “anomalies” are measured against. Of course there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, and to measure changes you need to have something to compare it to.

But this choice of years is awkward given the rhetoric you see in the ecology literature, particularly among the activists. You will not have to look hard to find the idea that people either are or are close to being planet cancers, and that we are
unnaturally” violating the planet in many ways unmentionable. Regardless of your own view on that, people are certainly permitted to hold that view.

But, then I find that view awkward when placed in the context that the “right” climate against which to measure current “anomalies” is a time period when man seems to have been at his extractive and destructive best, and not some time period, such as 300 million years ago, when we were not around.

Awkward. We’ll be dedicating some future posts to the ecology I’ve been reading, including the idea of a “balance of nature” and whether such an idea even makes sense.

7 Responses to “Climate Thought”

  1. alex says:

    would it be less awkward if they claimed that the climate was at its best, even though man was at his worst, which, given co2 feedback, would fit in nicely with theories of feedback catching up to us…or are feedback mechanisms over longer periods?

  2. Wintercow20 says:

    There are different feedback mechanisms that operate over very different time scales, and some quite long.

  3. Harry says:

    Again, hello, Alex.

    Without giving the hard working and dutiful WC a to do list, I would ask a question, not fearing a reply that might upset my assumptions: do you, as a learned physics expert, think that carbon dioxide produced by man has not just an effect, but enough of an effect, that we should be worried by an extra fifty parts per million?

    Ten years ago Jim Manzi wrote in National Review that anyone who understood the first thing about particle physics would know that the CO2 question was settled, and we had better sit down and settle with the UN and the Sierra Club.

    I do not buy it. I understand the feedback physics, that carbon dioxide traps certain waves and releases others, and how it has an effect theoretically. But with the clouds and the sun going on, how does one measure the effect of fifty parts per million of CO2?

    That assumes we can affect the concentration of carbon dioxide, assuming we have that power and all its horrible implications, including who “we” are.

    As a scientist and a learned expert, please enlighten me, and please quantify.

  4. Harry says:

    After your time off. Let the herd out, catch the heats, run the barn cleaner, fix the beds, etc.

  5. chuck martel says:

    Well, here you are. http://alaska-native-news.com/the-arctic/9913-high-levels-of-molecular-chlorine-found-in-arctic-atmosphere.html An increase of four parts per TRILLION of molecular chlorine can bring the world to a screeching halt.

  6. Harry says:

    QED, Chuck. Evidently molecular chlorine has a multiplier effect the same as hot money.

  7. Harry says:

    So much is at stake. The End of Coal. The return to the Middle Ages with bicycles and subsidies from the New World, trillions of it. The big players do not care about another hundred parts per million of CO2 as long as enough people believe we should send them our money. When we are a lot poorer, colder, and hungrier thirty years from now, they will be, as Keynes said, dead, in the long run.

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