[LINK] Global Warming Yes or no.

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Nov 9 17:50:22 AEDT 2010

Tom writes,

> 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 
best guess. 

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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