Tuesday, June 10, 2014

XKCD Flubs One, Big Time

XKCD put up acomic yesterday  that caused widespread disappointment in my little corner of the interwebs.  Seems Randall has decided to post up a comic touting the most unconservative, radical predictions of the IPCC reports as being inevitable if we don’t do something drastic, and NOW. 

I immediately thought about Borepatch’s comparisons between the models used by the IPCC and the actual data of the years passed since the models were created, which shows pretty clearly that the models are way overstating something, somewhere.  The reality of the measurements show a slight warming that is orders of magnitude less than the models predict.  Which, as it were, is exactly what I would expect reality to show in this situation.  

Wait, what? 

Yes, dear reader, I actually do believe that the globe is, or at least, WAS, warming.  The data is incontrovertible, even if it is somewhat suspect, due to it being contaminated by massive siting errors.  There hasn’t been any statistically significant warming in 17 years now.  Amazingly enough, no one seems to be talking about that, except us “deniers.” 

Here are some charts.  See if you can spot the catastrophic warming. 

Can you see the catastrophic warming?

My problem with the environmentalists is not that they believe that the world is warming up, or even that humans are having an effect on it.  My problem with them is that they seem to draw some pretty strange conclusions from that fact, such as: 

The Government is the Solution (toevery problem)  

The Climate change debate is widely touted as a “failure” of democracy to step up and “fix” a massive, worldwide problem.  In essence, in a time when drastic action is needed to save the world, we need dictatorial powers, not democracy. 

But National Journal's Lucia Graves takes a different approach. Instead of denying that Obama's actions are dictatorial, she disputes Limbaugh's implicit premise that there's anything wrong with that. Lest you think we exaggerate, her piece is titled "Obama's Thankfully 'Dictatorial' Approach to Climate Change."According to Graves, Limbaugh "has it precisely backward: The decision to use executive authority is the means, not the ends." And you'll never guess what justifies the means: "It also makes a lot of sense when it comes to global warming given Congress's failure to pass the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, and, for decades before that, to pass any sort of comprehensive climate legislation whatsoever."Yes, it has come to this. Americans are being urged to submit to "dictatorial" government because democracy is incapable of controlling the weather. "In college classes, climate change is taught as a textbook example of where democracy fails," Graves asserts in the very first sentence of her column.

Yes, gentle reader, democracy has failed in the eyes of the CAGW advocates, because it has failed to control the weather.  Their preferred fix to all of this is technocracy – the centralized command and control of energy policy, by an enlightened few who will turn the knobs of power in the best interest of the human race.

Sound familiar? 
Stalin: Mass Murderer (~25 million)

Che Guevara: Mass Murderer (~2 million)
Franscisco Franco: Mass Murderer (~500k)

Mao Zedong: Mass Murderer (~40 million)
Adolf Hitler: Mass Murderer (~20 million)
Benito Mussolini: Mass Murderer (Body Count Unknown)
I shan't go on, but I could. There are many more, and most of them are absolute dreamboats to these types. Hopefully I've made my point?

What is it with these types that causes them to think that a method of control that has proven itself time and time again to be wholly incapable of handling anything at all, other than to hand down misery and slavery, to be the best way to deal with everything?  Why do these people rush so quickly to clamor for a master in every little aspect of their lives?  Centralized command and control has never worked well, and has been routinely embarrassed by the invisible hand of the free market innumerable times in its miserable lifetime, and yet leftists, progressives, environmentalists, and their ilk seem to think that it is the solution to everything.  As if altruistic, enlightened people exist who will be able to wield such power ethically, ever. 

Look at how happy!  If only the "right people" had been in charge!  Right comrade?  
As has happened so many times before, I’m certain that the green technology that actually does take over will not even remotely resemble the “preferred” technology that the government spends massive amounts of money promoting and supporting now.  All of that time, labor, effort, wealth and resources will go to waste, because no matter how many times the government attempts to pick winners and losers, history and reality end up proving them misguided in the end. Te government is absolutely awful at picking winnners.

"Not you..."
The models trump reality.  

I see it quite a bit, where people use the model predictions in place of actual data.  For instance, they’ll say “we’ve warmed a total of 2.2 degrees Celsius in the past 100 years!” when in actuality, the number if closer to 1.1.  So where, you wonder, did they get the 2.2?  Upon review, you discover that it is the number that the models said we’d be at today, when reality says we’re not there yet.  However, they tout the model numbers as if they’re real.

Pictured: an actual P-51 Mustang
I don’t know if this is out of ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to mislead, but given the whole “hide the decline” and the actions of Michael Mann and his ilk to obfuscate, hide, and obliterate their study data that created these dire predictions, I’m guessing the latter.  The rampant dishonesty on the CAGW side of this debate should be enough to turn people off to them, but I don’t think that the dishonesty has gotten wide enough reportage for most people to even know that it is happening, which is unfortunate. 

The warming will definitely be catastrophic.

My opponents on many matters are spectacularly adept at creating straw men out of my arguments, and then tearing them down with relish.  As a libertarian, I’m constantly accused of being an anarchist, as if the desire for the least amount of government possible is the same thing for “no government at all.”  As a skeptic of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) scare, I’m considered an anti-science idiot who won’t accept that  the science of CO2 warming the atmosphere is “settled.”  As an advocate of equality between the genders, I’m routinely accused of being a misogynist that wants all women in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

I do all of my own cooking, ladies!

But let us look into that claim of “settled science” a bit, and see what, exactly, is meant by “settled” when we’re talking about client science.  First, as most of you have heard, no science is ever “settled.”  Reality has a way of rearing its head and tearing down your silly little “settled” sciences.  That being said, there are parts of the science that make up the whole of CAGW theory that are as close to “settled” as science is capable of being.

The “settled” part of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) discussion is this:  Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the greenhouse effect, which will result in a warming of the atmosphere.  Full stop.

This is not being debated by any reasonable-minded people.  That science is settled.  When the CAGW advocates tout the “97% of scientists agree that global warming exists” statistic, that is all they are saying – that 97% of polled scientists believe that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will result in a warming influence. 

That is all that the poll question asked though.  It did not ask for opinions about the results of this warming influence: whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing, what magnitude of warming to expect, and so forth.  Again, going down dishonest pathways, they surreptitiously bend these results to mean that 97% of scientists agree with the theory of CAGW, which is not even close to true.  In fact, it appears from a recent poll that a minority of scientists agree with CAGW theory at all, and that even more of them, while saying that CAGW is possible, are cautious about agreeing that it is inevitable, or even likely. 

In one of the most epic straw-men in history, the CAGW crowd has taken widespread agreement of a recognized scientific fact, and twisted it into “proof” that CAGW theory is correct.  There is a huge gap in their thinking, though, and it comes in the huge gap between the slight warming caused by Co2, and the catastrophic warming that their theory relies on.  I’ve spoken to this before, that CO2, alone, cannot create the catastrophic warming that they fear.  Even the most rigid adherent to CAGW theory does not dispute this.  That science is also more or less “settled.”  Thedisputed part will be the much-feared multiplier “feedback” effects createdfrom various sources.  I won’t belabor the point here.  Click the link to read more about those effects.  The fact, though, that CAGW advocates won’t tell you is that there is nothing even remotely close to “settled” about the science behind these feedback effects.  That is the essence of the difference between my stance on this subject, and theirs.  Mine is that CO2 will warm us a bit, that the overall effect of that will be positive, as warmer eras of human history have generally been more prosperous, and that we likely have nothing to worry about (not that we could do a damn thing about it, even if we did!)  Theirs is that the slight warming will send us past a “tipping point” of no return, in which feedback effects, triggered by the small warming influence of CO2, will spiral us into thermal death. 

Pictured: Earth 2064

The preponderance of the evidence that we have does not support these feedback effects being nearly as strong as the CAGW people think, and in fact, more and more evidence is coming out daily showing the feedbacks may very well be negative instead of positive, in essence contravening the warming effects of CO2. 

Attempting to cut emissions will accomplish a fucking thing. 

All previous efforts to curb or cut CO2 emissions have failed laughably.  They’ve failed so badly, so often, and so early in their attempts that most of the governments who attempt to enforce these limits give up soon after.  The idea that humanity is using a whole bunch of energy that they don’t need, and that we could cut back if we really tried hard, falls flat on its face with one realization:

Energy is fucking expensive

No one is in the habit of consciously using more energy than they need.  Very few people are in the habit of ignorantly using energy that they could do without.  I am not in the habit of using a bunch more energy than I really need in order to maintain a western-world standard of living.  It’s hotter than hell in Spokane in the summer, but my house doesn’t have air conditioning, because I’m too cheap to pay for it.  We just suffer through it.  Could I cut back?  Yes.  So could every other human on Earth, but in order to do so, you will have to cut back on long-established standards of living that have become the norm for those people.  To make a person who has become used to a 72 degree house not use air conditioning in the summer, or not heat their home in the winter, you can’t ask nicely.  You have to FORCE that on them.  To cut back the hours of a factory worker in Bangladesh to reduce the emissions of his factory, you have to FORCE that on him.  When the core of your policy becomes “do as I say, whether you want to or not, or else there will be consequences!” you’ve essentially failed.  It won’t work.  People will get what they want, regardless of your policies and your dictatorial threats.

Beyond that, though, one must ask what the use of the US cutting their emissions, say, 25%, at great economic cost and at greatly reduced standard of living to its people, if India and China will make up for that difference next year with their increased emissions? 

The entire idea of it is laughable.  Not that cutting emissions wouldn’t be a decent goal, but just that actually making that happen is simply impossible.  It cannot be done.  I’m not a pessimist, generally speaking, but I’m realistic enough to understand that you simply can not cut back on a people’s energy usage without negatively impacting their standard of living in huge ways, and people aren’t going to do that willingly.  Hence, the desire for dictatorial government powers to force that on them against their will. 

All of this causes one to wonder if the end game here isn’t environmental policy at all, but instead, is those dictatorial powers that Ms. Graves was soliloquizing about above.

But in the end, I’m not worried about anything BUT that power grab.  That power grab has been the thing that has proven itself time and again to be the largest source of misery to humanity of all things.  We survived ice ages and hot ages many times, all while having far less technology than we do now to deal with it.  Hundreds of millions of people died in just the 20th century alone because of the good intentions of people seeking dictatorial powers. 

I’m confident that the predictions are much more dire than reality will prove to be.  I’m confident that the free markets will fill the demand for clean energy as those technologies come online, without government urging and payola, and without cronyist deals and under-the-table handshakes.  I’m confident that the change that we actually see will be far less than that feared, and that the change will be more good than bad. 

I’m also confident that handing the government “dictatorial” powers, as suggested in the earlier linked article, to “fix” this problem will result in far greater problems and misery for humanity, as a whole, than any of the problems that that choice would seek to fix. 

Pictured: Nutritional standards in the centralized command and control state of North Korea
But more than anything else, I’m absolutely confident that there is literally nothing we can do about it in the near term.  No matter how much governments wish for it, or how many failed and expensive laws they pass mandating emissions cuts that no one has any intention of meeting, or how much money they throw at their preferred “green” technology, the end result will almost inevitably be entirely different than they anticipated in the first place. 

"Stupid Tides!"

1 comment:

  1. Wow I didn't know there was enough ice to raise sea levels by more than 100 meters, though the extra heat will have caused the water to expand.
    Can't imagine my relatives turning up the air conditioning for anthropogenic reasons though.