Thursday, November 11, 2004

Climate change

Ronald Bailey in Reasonhas an article skeptical of the current global warming orthodoxy -

Two Sides to Global Warming - Is it proven fact, or just conventional wisdom?

I've generally thought that there was some truth to the global warming theory but have become a little less sure. Part of the trouble is that the issue has become so politicised. For some global warming is an article of faith.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think there is a defendable position around "there is no greenhouse effect" that is rather like saying "eating fat wont make me fat" or "cigarettes are good for me"... There is an obvious mechanism through which CO2 increaces the temperature and no obvious mechanism through which the opposite would occur.

What is defendible is the previous Russian argument that temperature changes are not so bad or that the change will be small. Of course you are right that it has become too political - research comes out and its results seem to reflect the political ideologies of the people who promote it.


11 November 2004 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note the story itself comes up with other reasons for why temperature might be rising or evidence that it is cooling in some places and it is likely that some of those effects are in play. the world does not work in such a way that a raising of the temperature raises the temperature everywhere as logical as that might sound.

What this means (strangely) is that in an extreme case temperatures might be dropping and yet we could still have a major problem due to global warming because the long term average is being pushed up.
I guess in part environmentalism is a bit of a socialist issue since a reasonably wealthy person need not care too much about a raise in temperature in itself.

11 November 2004 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Can't find a contact email here. How do I get in touch? Norm

12 November 2004 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Greyshade said...

When the Titanic hit an iceberg the designer was on board and supposedly calculated that they would flood enough compartments to sink the ship and (reportedly) calculated the time it would take to sink. This came out to an hour or two earlier than the first rescue ship was expected to arrive. The subsequent rate of flooding and settling were consistent with the initial estimate. Nonetheless it was certainly possible that the calculations were wrong or there was some additional factor which was not considered. In that case it might well be that getting into a lifeboat would mean unnecessarily exposing yourself to the considerable inconvenience and non-negligible risk of spending several hours in a small boat in subarctic conditions. In this case, however, conventional wisdom was correct and people who got in lifeboats survived while those who didn't or couldn't died.

Conventional Wisdom is much more often right than wrong and the IPCC scenarios represent the best estimates available for what will happen if we continue greenhouse gas emissions. The cost of reducing global emissions is often wildly overstated - particularly if we make reasonable allowance for technological innovation. In fact, the biggest uncertainty in global warming estimates is that the cost of reducing emissions may become negative (even without a Carbon tax) and that "business as usual" could mean stabilised or reducing emmissions. The trick is to buy enough time to give that a chance of happening.

12 November 2004 at 11:26 AM  

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