[LINK] Global Warming Yes or no.
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Nov 9 17:50:22 EST 2010
> I've been playing with the stats over at Bureau of meteorology
> (bom.gov.au) with some interesting insights ... The conclusion is
> that we have more hotter days and nights in the last forty years then
> in the two decades preceding the 70's. The stats are hard to argue with
> (bom) have been collecting temperature data for Sydney since 1859.
Don't expect America to lead our world anywhere on climate change :-(
Sigh. Just yesterday, the Washingtom Post reported: (Snipped quote) ..
Few causes unite the conservatives of the newly elected US Congress as
unanimously as their opposition to government action on climate change.
In September, the Center for American Progress Action Fund surveyed
Republican candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races and found
that nearly all disputed the scientific consensus on global warming, and
none supported measures to mitigate it.
Many conservatives say they oppose clean-energy policies because they
want to keep government off our backs.
But they have it exactly backward. Doing nothing will set our country on
a course toward narrower choices for businesses and individuals, along
with an expanded role for government.
When catastrophe strikes - and yes, the science is quite solid that it
will - it will be the feds who are left conducting triage.
In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global
warming shows a stunning appetite for risk.
When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart
businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect
their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown
proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing
vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when
military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case
When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this.
Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case
scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn
out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to
run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.
The great irony is that, should their high-stakes bet prove wrong,
adapting to a destabilized climate would mean a far bigger, more
intrusive government than would most of the "big government" solutions to
our energy problems that have been discussed so far.
Let's start with costs. The investment needed to slow carbon pollution
might total from 1 to 2 percent of global GDP each year for several
decades, according to a 2006 study by the British government. This
spending would pay for advanced technology, better land use and modern
The same study put the cost of inaction - including economic harm from
property damage and lost crops - at 5 to 20 percent of global GDP,
lasting in perpetuity, with the risk of vastly higher catastrophic
damage. You tell me which option is more fiscally responsible.
But it's not this cost-benefit arithmetic that should most concern
Their real worry should be what it will take to manage the effects of
climate change as they are felt across the economy over the course of our
The best science available suggests that without taking action to
fundamentally change how we produce and use energy, we could see
temperatures rise 9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United
States by 2090.
These estimates have sometimes been called high-end predictions, but the
corresponding low-end forecasts assume we will rally as a country to
shift course. That hasn't happened, so the worst case must become our
With temperature increases in this range, studies predict a permanent
drought throughout the Southwest, much like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s,
but this time stretching from Kansas to California. If you hate bailouts
or want to end farm subsidies, this is a problem. Rising ocean acidity,
meanwhile, will bring collapsing fisheries, catch restrictions - and
unemployment checks. And rising sea levels will mean big bills as cash-
strapped cities set about rebuilding infrastructure and repairing storm
damage. With Americans in pain, the government will have to respond. And
who will shoulder these new burdens? Future taxpayers.
This is just the beginning. If conservatives' rosy hopes prove wrong, who
but the federal government will undertake the massive infrastructure
projects necessary to protect high-priced real estate in Miami and Lower
Manhattan from rising oceans? And what about smaller coastal cities, such
as Galveston and Corpus Christi in Texas? Will it fall to FEMA or some
other part of the federal government to decide who will move and when and
under what circumstances? Elsewhere, with declining river flows, how will
the Bureau of Reclamation go about repowering the dams of the Pacific
And while we're busy at home, who will help Pakistan or Bangladesh in its
next flood? What will the government do to secure food supplies when
Russia freezes wheat exports? Without glaciers, what will become of Lima,
Peru, a city dependent on melting ice for drinking water? Will we let
waves of "climate refugees" cross our borders?
As the physicist and White House science director John Holdren has
said: "We basically have three choices: mitigation [cutting emissions],
adaptation and suffering. We're going to do some of each. The question is
what the mix is going to be."
Today's conservatives would do well to start thinking more like military
planners, reexamining the risks inherent in their strategy. If, instead,
newly elected Republicans do nothing, they will doom us all to bigger
government interventions and a large dose of suffering - a reckless
choice that's anything but conservative.
This web news item reference:
Don't believe in global warming? That's not very conservative.
By Bracken Hendricks Sunday, November 7, 2010
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