Monday, October 29, 2007

Climate change tradeoffs 

Well, climate change won't be all bad:

During the Holocene climatic optimum, hardwood forests grew to the edge of the Arctic ocean, and Norwegian women wore string miniskirts. Downside: The American midwest was near-desert. That probably outweighs Norwegian women in string miniskirts, however appealing that may be.

Only probably, though.

MORE: This year has had the mildest hurricane season in thirty years. Of course, there are no portentious headlines or news magazine cover stories asking whether this is evidence that climate change is a crock, even though climate change was -- to activists and activist scientists, at least -- the putative cause of the tough hurricane season two years ago. If the news media were even remotely honest, it would cross-examine the people who claimed that Katrina was caused by global warming and ask them to explain this year's calm in the same context. They should start with Nobel Laureate Al Gore, who said this to the Sierra Club in September 2005:
Now, the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming. A scientist at MIT has published a study well before this tragedy showing that since the 1970s, hurricanes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific have increased in duration, and in intensity, by about 50 %. The newscasters told us after Hurricane Katrina went over the southern tip of Florida that there was a particular danger for the Gulf Coast of the hurricanes becoming much stronger because it was passing over unusually warm waters in the gulf. The waters in the gulf have been unusually warm. The oceans generally have been getting warmer. And the pattern is exactly consistent with what scientists have predicted for twenty years. Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming. [applause] It is important to learn the lessons of what happens when scientific evidence and clear authoritative warnings are ignored in order to induce our leaders not to do it again and not to ignore the scientists again and not to leave us unprotected in the face of those threats that are facing us right now. [applause]

The point, of course, is not that global warming is a myth. I myself attend the church of anthropogenic climate change, if only on red-letter Sundays. Rather, it is that the proclivity of the activists and journalists who are pushing this story to inflate the threat beyond all credibility is actually damaging the case for an effective response among people who for reasons of temperament or self-interest would rather defeat those policies.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.

EVEN MORE: A reader emailed to recommend Newt Gringrich's just-released book on the environment, A Contract With The Earth (published by Johns Hopkins University Press, by the way). It purports to describe a program for responding to environmental challenges, including climate change, without destroying the global economy. Sounds like a must-read, frankly, for those of us who believe that humanity's wealth is the surest defense for the environment. Buy it below!


By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Tue Oct 30, 12:43:00 AM:

Hey we just had a thunderstorm here in northern calfornia where i live i mean right up here along the oregon border is that becuase of this global warming poppycock?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 12:49:00 AM:

That depends, did you need rain or have you had too much rain? You can only blame it on global warming if its something bad.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 04:20:00 AM:

Anything that will get those hot Norwegian babes to shed more clothing is by definition a good thing.  

By Blogger Simon Kenton, at Tue Oct 30, 08:12:00 AM:

For most of the Cretaceous there were no polar ice caps and the seas were consequently much higher. The midwest - roughly, Denver to the Appalachians, Montana into the Gulf of Mexico - was under water: the inland Cretaceous seaway. The fossil record indicates immense fertility. I should think, given the loathing the coastal elites have for the flyover states, that they would welcome this chance to see the values voters get theirs.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 08:51:00 AM:

And then there would be more coastline, so we could have more "coastal elites".

Viva global warming!!


By Anonymous Σ, at Tue Oct 30, 11:00:00 AM:

I blame the Hawks' poor football season on global warming...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 11:37:00 AM:

You've misread the Gore quote. He's not saying global warming will produce MORE hurricanes.

He's saying it will produce STRONGER hurricanes because hurricanes increase in intensity over warmer water.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 12:31:00 PM:

How was the quote mis-read? To say that the hurricane season is the mildest in twenty years is exactly at odds with the Gore quote, which argues that hurricanes have increased both in duration and intensity.

Gore's comment obviously isn't true, just as ocean levels aren't rising and ocean water temperatures aren't increasing.

There is observable global warming, but one could argue the cause is more the result of agricultural land uses rather than fossil fuels use and industry. We need more cities and factories, and fewer farms!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 30, 07:13:00 PM:

He's saying it will produce STRONGER hurricanes because hurricanes

The non-existent hurricane being the strongest of all the past couple of years.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Wed Oct 31, 01:09:00 AM:

How many trees were shopped down to make AL GORES phonie book EARTH IN THE BALANCE? and how come ANTARCTICA is getting colder? GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX and AL GORE IS A LIAR and every one of those oscar and peace prize judges should be sent to the spice mines of kessel  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Wed Oct 31, 08:38:00 PM:

TH - after sending you the email on Newt's "Contract with the Earth" I bought it and I am about 1/4 of the way into it and it is excellent. I will update you on the rest but he is off to a great start.  

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