Even Scientists Working For Energy Industry Realized Risk Of Global Warming

There is a strong scientific consensus as to the role of human activity in promoting climate change. Apparently the consensus is so strong that it even included the scientists working for the energy industry. The New York Times reports:

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995…

Environmentalists have long maintained that industry knew early on that the scientific evidence supported a human influence on rising temperatures, but that the evidence was ignored for the sake of companies’ fight against curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. Some environmentalists have compared the tactic to that once used by tobacco companies, which for decades insisted that the science linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer was uncertain. By questioning the science on global warming, these environmentalists say, groups like the Global Climate Coalition were able to sow enough doubt to blunt public concern about a consequential issue and delay government action.

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  1. 1
    Christopher Skyi says:

    Karen Harbert, CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at recent luncheon of the Washington Coal Club served up a litany of reasons for why it would be a terrible idea for Congress to enact a law to regulate the greenhouse gases that cause global warming-legislation aimed squarely at coal, the dirtiest of all fuels.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1912 and last year spent about $62 million lobbying Congress on behalf of what it says are 3 million businesses that belong to national, state, or local chambers or affiliated groups. Not surprisingly, the chamber calls itself “the voice of business.” But these days, it’s hard to find a major U.S. corporation that shares its voice on the issue of federal regulation of greenhouse gases. General Electric (GE), General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Shell (RDS.A), ConocoPhillips (COP), Dow Chemical (DOW), DuPont (DD), Alcoa (AA), American Electric Power (AEP), Caterpillar (CAT), John Deere (DE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Nike (NKE) all support mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Even ExxonMobil (XOM) favors a carbon tax to discourage the burning of fossil fuels.But the chamber, to which every one of those companies belongs, is preparing to fight draft legislation put forward by Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey that supporters say will lead to a climate change law this year. “We don’t intend to be silent,” Harbert said, after ticking off a slew of arguments against Waxman-Markey.So — dozens of important companies are financing both sides of the climate debate. For example, Nike—along with Starbucks (SBUX), Levi Strauss, and Timberland (TBL)—helped form a green-business coalition to lobby for strong federal actions on climate. The coalition is called BICEP: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy. Yet Nike is a chamber member, and James Carter, a Nike vice president and general counsel, sits on the chamber’s 122-member board of directors, which sets policy for the group.It’s not just Nike. Klaus Kleinfeld is the president and CEO of Alcoa, which says on its Web site, “We believe that reducing greenhouse gases is a win-win.” He, too, sits on the chamber board. So does David Kepler, the chief sustainability officer of Dow Chemical, which promises to “advocate for an international framework that establishes clear pathways to slow, stop, and reverse emissions by all major carbon dioxide-emitting countries.” Another chamber director is Jeffrey E. Sterba, the CEO of PNM Resources (PNM), an energy holding company based in Albuquerque, N.M. Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January, Sterba said, “We need a federal mandate for addressing climate change that will create national and international markets, a price for carbon, and incentives for low-cost and clean technologies.”In fact, executives of nine companies that are members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the most important Washington lobby group in favor of climate change regulation, also sit on the board of the chamber. All of these companies are financing BOTH sides of the climate change debate.Confused?Karen Harbert explains that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports government actions to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, including long-term tax credits for wind and solar power, reforming regulation to make it easier to build electricity transmission lines, and big investments in nuclear energy and clean-coal technology. “It is hugely important for this country to be able to use its more than 200 years’ worth of coal to produce electricity,” Harbert said.But, she said, the aggressive reductions in emissions called for by the Waxman-Markey draft simply can’t be met at a reasonable price with today’s technology. “The first thing we should look at is, Are the technologies ready?”Another big fear of the chamber is that U.S. companies, particularly in energy-intensive industries, will suffer if Congress raises the prices of fossil fuels while China and India remain unregulated. “Whatever we do should be international in scope,” Bill Kovacs, the chamber’s lead energy lobbyist, told me. The Waxman-Markey draft addresses this concern by placing a “carbon tariff” on goods imported from countries without climate controls. But the chamber doesn’t like that either. “That could touch off a huge global trade war,” Harbert says.If you get the feeling that there’s no way to write a climate regulation bill that would satisfy the chamber, you’re not alone. It’s probably no accident that Consol Energy (CNX), Massey Energy (MEE), Peabody Energy (BTU), and the Southern Co. (SO), which are among the loudest and strongest opponents of federal climate regulation, have executives on the chamber board.In the end, there are two possible explanations for those companies that say they want climate legislation and also have influence in  the .S. Chamber of Commerce . Either they have done a lousy job of advocating inside the chamber because climate change isn’t a major priority,  or — more likely — they are content to watch the chamber fight Waxman-Markey because they want to make sure that if a climate bill does pass, it’s as friendly to business as it can be.One of the great failings of those who advocate serious action on climate change has been their inability to convince or co-op business who will bear the brunt of an climate bill.  These business, though the chamber, however, have been quite successful in co-oping a large portion of the general population (including myself) that current “cures” are worse than the disease.For example, in response to last year’s Lieberman-Warner climate bill, the chamber ran a TV commercial showing a family shivering in their own home and a businessman literally running to work. Regulating greenhouse gases, the ad said, could make it “too expensive to heat our homes, drive our cars, or power our lives.” The chamber and its allies also held “dialogues” in about 10 swing states, challenging climate science and arguing that regulation would destroy between 3 million and 4 million jobs and raise household energy costs by $4,000 to $6,700 a year by 2030.This is the real battleground in the whole debate: it’s not really the “science” that will decide what to do (it’s not their “job,” scientists aren’t qualified, though the “science” is a big factor). Instead, it’s economics that will decide what we can and should do. For more, see Climate Change Schizophrenia

  2. 2
    Christopher Skyi says:

    Sorry — I’m not sure what happened to my line breaks. This is the same comment as above, but hopefully — it’ll be readable.

    Karen Harbert, CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at recent luncheon of the Washington Coal Club served up a litany of reasons for why it would be a terrible idea for Congress to enact a law to regulate the greenhouse gases that cause global warming-legislation aimed squarely at coal, the dirtiest of all fuels.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1912 and last year spent about $62 million lobbying Congress on behalf of what it says are 3 million businesses that belong to national, state, or local chambers or affiliated groups. Not surprisingly, the chamber calls itself “the voice of business.” But these days, it’s hard to find a major U.S. corporation that shares its voice on the issue of federal regulation of greenhouse gases. General Electric (GE), General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Shell (RDS.A), ConocoPhillips (COP), Dow Chemical (DOW), DuPont (DD), Alcoa (AA), American Electric Power (AEP), Caterpillar (CAT), John Deere (DE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Nike (NKE) all support mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Even ExxonMobil (XOM) favors a carbon tax to discourage the burning of fossil fuels.

    But the chamber, to which every one of those companies belongs, is preparing to fight draft legislation put forward by Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey that supporters say will lead to a climate change law this year. “We don’t intend to be silent,” Harbert said, after ticking off a slew of arguments against Waxman-Markey.

    So — dozens of important companies are financing both sides of the climate debate. For example, Nike—along with Starbucks (SBUX), Levi Strauss, and Timberland (TBL)—helped form a green-business coalition to lobby for strong federal actions on climate. The coalition is called BICEP: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy. Yet Nike is a chamber member, and James Carter, a Nike vice president and general counsel, sits on the chamber’s 122-member board of directors, which sets policy for the group.

    It’s not just Nike. Klaus Kleinfeld is the president and CEO of Alcoa, which says on its Web site, “We believe that reducing greenhouse gases is a win-win.” He, too, sits on the chamber board. So does David Kepler, the chief sustainability officer of Dow Chemical, which promises to “advocate for an international framework that establishes clear pathways to slow, stop, and reverse emissions by all major carbon dioxide-emitting countries.” Another chamber director is Jeffrey E. Sterba, the CEO of PNM Resources (PNM), an energy holding company based in Albuquerque, N.M. Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January, Sterba said, “We need a federal mandate for addressing climate change that will create national and international markets, a price for carbon, and incentives for low-cost and clean technologies.”

    In fact, executives of nine companies that are members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the most important Washington lobby group in favor of climate change regulation, also sit on the board of the chamber. All of these companies are financing BOTH sides of the climate change debate.

    Confused?

    Karen Harbert explains that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports government actions to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, including long-term tax credits for wind and solar power, reforming regulation to make it easier to build electricity transmission lines, and big investments in nuclear energy and clean-coal technology. “It is hugely important for this country to be able to use its more than 200 years’ worth of coal to produce electricity,” Harbert said.

    But, she said, the aggressive reductions in emissions called for by the Waxman-Markey draft simply can’t be met at a reasonable price with today’s technology. “The first thing we should look at is, Are the technologies ready?”

    Another big fear of the chamber is that U.S. companies, particularly in energy-intensive industries, will suffer if Congress raises the prices of fossil fuels while China and India remain unregulated. “Whatever we do should be international in scope,” Bill Kovacs, the chamber’s lead energy lobbyist, told me. The Waxman-Markey draft addresses this concern by placing a “carbon tariff” on goods imported from countries without climate controls. But the chamber doesn’t like that either. “That could touch off a huge global trade war,” Harbert says.

    If you get the feeling that there’s no way to write a climate regulation bill that would satisfy the chamber, you’re not alone. It’s probably no accident that Consol Energy (CNX), Massey Energy (MEE), Peabody Energy (BTU), and the Southern Co. (SO), which are among the loudest and strongest opponents of federal climate regulation, have executives on the chamber board.

    In the end, there are two possible explanations for those companies that say they want climate legislation and also have influence in  the .S. Chamber of Commerce . Either they have done a lousy job of advocating inside the chamber because climate change isn’t a major priority,  or — more likely — they are content to watch the chamber fight Waxman-Markey because they want to make sure that if a climate bill does pass, it’s as friendly to business as it can be.

    One of the great failings of those who advocate serious action on climate change has been their inablity to convence or co-op business who will bear the brunt of an climate bill.  These business, though the chamber, however, have been quite succesful in co-oping a large portion of the general population (including myself) that current “cures” are worse than the desease.

    For example, in response to last year’s Lieberman-Warner climate bill, the chamber ran a TV commercial showing a family shivering in their own home and a businessman literally running to work. Regulating greenhouse gases, the ad said, could make it “too expensive to heat our homes, drive our cars, or power our lives.” The chamber and its allies also held “dialogues” in about 10 swing states, challenging climate science and arguing that regulation would destroy between 3 million and 4 million jobs and raise household energy costs by $4,000 to $6,700 a year by 2030.

    This is the real battleground in the whole debate — it’s not really the “science” that will decide what to do (it’s not their “job,” scientists aren’t qualified, though the “science” is a big factor). Instead, it’s economics that will decide what we can and should do.

    For more, see Climate Change Schizophrenia

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    The amusing thing, Christopher, is that the oil companies are not the biggest enemies of greenhouse gas reduction. Oil companies favor at least some degree of climate control legislation because it is not in their political interests to see fossil fuels driven entirely from the market.

    The companies that really oppose greenhouse limits are public utilities (most of which operate oil or coal based power plants, causing copious amounts of pollution), manufacturers (who use a lot of polluting power, especially plastics manufacturers who are making their product out of oil and whose business inherently increases CO2 and CO), and the auto-makers. The Chamber of Commerce represents all these interests as well as the oil companies.

    This is also why organized labor opposes many environmental regulations, because most of them work for the companies on the above list.

    It should be noted that the economic barriers are not true ‘economic’ barriers. They are psychological economic barriers. People are more comfortable doing what they do than seeking to innovate and take risks. This is the nature of the corporate system, as corporations benefit by stability and maintaining a status quo as opposed to entrpreneuiral capitalism, which benefits from innovation. What is good for the corporations is not at all necessarily what is ultimately good for the economy.

    Current business and political wisdom equates supply a much greater role in the economy than it really possesses.

  4. 4
    Fritz says:

    It is not a surprise that large oil companies are not terribly opposed to regulation.  Regulations always are a larger burden on new and small companies than large ones — so the government helps them preserve market share. 

    Plus, the large oil companies have major investments in wind farms, etc., and, well, they don’t own the oil anyways anymore, for the most part.

  5. 5
    david freeman says:

    More attention should be paid to the following quote in Revkin’s piece that needs to be highlighted:
    “George Monbiot, a British environmental activist and writer, said that by promoting doubt, industry had taken advantage of news media norms requiring neutral coverage of issues, just as the tobacco industry once had.”
    The climate change deniers and delayers continue to take advantage of these “news media norms” and it’s getting worse due to media layoffs/cutbacks and increasing emphasis on entertainment in news and profits. When truth is biased towards one side, journalist’s attempts to “appear” neutral have the opposite effect at great cost to society.
    Journalists and even more importantly their editors need to find some spine and address this fundamental problem honestly.

  6. 6
    Fritz says:

    Personally, I’m a climate change delayer.

    While the evidence for human effects on the climate is pretty compelling, the evidence that our actions will cause major harm (e.g. Greenland or Antarctica melting) in an actionable timeframe (100 years) is far less compelling to me so far.  There are better uses for the gigantic sums of money that are being proposed.

    This does not mean I am opposed to the development of non-fossil-fuel energy sources.  I think that is an excellent idea for geopolitical reasons.

    The “green energy” people are now noticing the large level of modification you have to perform in order to harness inherently-dilute energy forms like wind, tides, and sunlight.  Tough luck for the estuaries, hilltops, and deserts.

  7. 7
    Christopher Skyi says:

    “By questioning the science on global warming, these environmentalists say, groups like the Global Climate Coalition were able to sow enough doubt to blunt public concern about a consequential issue and delay government action.”
    *IF* this true, the efforts of these groups have been quite successful:
    On April 19, Rasmussen Reports released a new global warming poll: 48 percent of respondents believe that observed climate changes are being “caused by planetary trends,” while 34 percent believe they are a result of human influence on the atmosphere. I find this really interesting too — the survey finds most Democrats (51%) still say humans are to blame for global warming, the position taken by former Vice President Al Gore and other climate change activists. But 66% of Republicans and 47% of adults not affiliated with either party disagree.
    Can you also blame hard times and the economy? Yes & no. While “hard times” at least partially explains why the number of people who think global warming is a serious problem have declined (in January, Gallup found that, out of 20 prominent issues, Americans ranked global warming dead last in terms of importance), that doesn’t explain why most people simply don’t believe that human beings are the sole and only cause of global warming.
    The economy is factoring into the debate in one way however: while the economy remains the top issue for most Americans, 40% believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-one percent 31% see no such conflict, while 29% are not sure. Clearly a large number of people are worried about how non-market “cures” for global warming will affect the economy, which is already in pretty damn bad shape.
    So, people who are convinced that global warming is a crisis have a battle on two fronts: 1) they need to deal with those who don’t buy the hard-line explanation (i.e., that the underpinnings of modern life & our standard of living are killing the earth) and 2) those who see global warming as a “problem,” but not a crisis. Both push global warming concerns to the back burner.
    Finally, there’s a third intriguing possibility, and I think this factor has been well documentation for a long time in the social sciences, i.e., the more you “scare” people, the LESS they care. For example, when the government and anti-smoking groups tried to “scare” people into stop smoking with “scary” ads, people, esp. smokers, turned out because the fear was either just too much, they didn’t like being preached to, or, in some cases, they resented and took exception to these “scare” tactics.
    Enter this latest study: Global Warming: The More You Know the Less You Care, a telephone survey of 1,093 Americans by Paul Kellstedt, a Texas A&M University political scientist.
    The standard thinking is called the “knowledge deficit” model. That’s academese for the notion that the poor blokes aren’t concerned about global warming because they’re just stupid and haven’t heard enough about it. So on TV, the internet, walking outside in major urban downtowns (plastered with billboards and posters — from energy companies — urging their customers to use less of their products), or going to the movies (The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth, Ice Age: The Meltdown, etc), it’s all we hear about now (while we’re out looking for jobs, watching everyone else get bailed out, and wondering just when is Team Obama going to turn the economy around?).
    According to Kellstedt, the more people know about global warming, the less they care:
    Contrary to the assumptions underlying the knowledge-deficit model, as well as the marketing of movies like Ice Age or An Inconvenient Truth, the effects of information on both concern for global warming and responsibility for it are exactly the opposite of what were expected.
    Jon Gertner touched on this in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. He noted that debate as to why climate change isn’t higher up on the priority totem-pole usually is blamed on “the doubt-sowing remarks of climate-change skeptics,” or “the poor communication skills of good scientists.”
    Kellstedt disagrees. He found that people “with high confidence in scientists . . . show less concern for global warming,” as did the “more informed respondents.” Americans’ lack of alarm has less to do with “skeptics” than it does with people’s perception of mainstream science.
    It seems the “OMG we’re dead, global warming is a crisis!” people who want to know why a of lot of people just don’t feel as “alarmed” as they do (the professionally “alarmed”) should stop pointing a finger at groups like the Global Climate Coalition (which went out of existence back in ’02). Instead, they should start looking at the strategies and tactics they’ve been using to try to make people as “alarmed” as they are.

  8. 8
    Christopher Skyi says:

    Sorry again — I can’t see to get line breaks in these long comments.  This is the same comment as a above:
     
    “By questioning the science on global warming, these environmentalists say, groups like the Global Climate Coalition were able to sow enough doubt to blunt public concern about a consequential issue and delay government action.”
    *IF* this true, the efforts of these groups have been quite successful:
    On April 19, Rasmussen Reports released a new global warming poll: 48 percent of respondents believe that observed climate changes are being “caused by planetary trends,” while 34 percent believe they are a result of human influence on the atmosphere. I find this really interesting too — the survey finds most Democrats (51%) still say humans are to blame for global warming, the position taken by former Vice President Al Gore and other climate change activists. But 66% of Republicans and 47% of adults not affiliated with either party disagree.
     
    Can you also blame hard times and the economy? Yes & no. While “hard times” at least partially explains why the number of people who think global warming is a serious problem have declined (in January, Gallup found that, out of 20 prominent issues, Americans ranked global warming dead last in terms of importance), that doesn’t explain why most people simply don’t believe that human beings are the sole and only cause of global warming.
     
    The economy is factoring into the debate in one way however: while the economy remains the top issue for most Americans, 40% believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-one percent 31% see no such conflict, while 29% are not sure. Clearly a large number of people are worried about how non-market “cures” for global warming will affect the economy, which is already in pretty damn bad shape.
     
    So, people who are convinced that global warming is a crisis have a battle on two fronts: 1) they need to deal with those who don’t buy the hard-line explanation (i.e., that the underpinnings of modern life & our standard of living are killing the earth) and 2) those who see global warming as a “problem,” but not a crisis. Both push global warming concerns to the back burner.
     
    Finally, there’s a third intriguing possibility, and I think this factor has been well documentation for a long time in the social sciences, i.e., the more you “scare” people, the LESS they care. For example, when the government and anti-smoking groups tried to “scare” people into stop smoking with “scary” ads, people, esp. smokers, turned out because the fear was either just too much, they didn’t like being preached to, or, in some cases, they resented and took exception to these “scare” tactics.
     
    Enter this latest study: Global Warming: The More You Know the Less You Care, a telephone survey of 1,093 Americans by Paul Kellstedt, a Texas A&M University political scientist.
     
    The standard thinking is called the “knowledge deficit” model. That’s academese for the notion that the poor blokes aren’t concerned about global warming because they’re just stupid and haven’t heard enough about it. So on TV, the internet, walking outside in major urban downtowns (plastered with billboards and posters — from energy companies — urging their customers to use less of their products), or going to the movies (The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth, Ice Age: The Meltdown, etc), it’s all we hear about now (while we’re out looking for jobs, watching everyone else get bailed out, and wondering just when is Team Obama going to turn the economy around?).
     
    According to Kellstedt, the more people know about global warming, the less they care:
     
    Contrary to the assumptions underlying the knowledge-deficit model, as well as the marketing of movies like Ice Age or An Inconvenient Truth, the effects of information on both concern for global warming and responsibility for it are exactly the opposite of what were expected.
     
    Jon Gertner touched on this in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. He noted that debate as to why climate change isn’t higher up on the priority totem-pole usually is blamed on “the doubt-sowing remarks of climate-change skeptics,” or “the poor communication skills of good scientists.”
     
    Kellstedt disagrees. He found that people “with high confidence in scientists . . . show less concern for global warming,” as did the “more informed respondents.” Americans’ lack of alarm has less to do with “skeptics” than it does with people’s perception of mainstream science.
     
    It seems the “OMG we’re dead, global warming is a crisis!” people who want to know why a of lot of people just don’t feel as “alarmed” as they do (the professionally “alarmed”) should stop pointing a finger at groups like the Global Climate Coalition (which went out of existence back in ’02). Instead, they should start looking at the strategies and tactics they’ve been using to try to make people as “alarmed” as they are.

  9. 9
    Christopher Skyi says:

    I said in a previous comment that a good definition of a GW alarmist is one who knee-jerks rejects anything that contradicts the major components of the “alarmist” thesis: 1) (and most important) it’s the end of the world 2) we have a very good understanding of the climate, and 3) CO2 is the only factor: there are no other factors, non-human, that we can’t control, that could significantly be driving GW. This paper by U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate scientists definitely contradicts components #2 and #3. And they’re hardly alone – many climate scientists would reject #2 and #3, but that’s off topic here.
     
    What about the first leg of the GW alarmist – that GW is “the end of the world unless we stop it cold now”? Let’s say the worst projections GW models are correct. Is it cause for labeling GW the most significant threat human kind as ever faced? Would it really be the end of the known world? How does the challenge and consequence of global warming stack up against past and current threats?
     
    The other obvious threat that should come to mind is Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear War (accidental or otherwise). You would think that GW would, in most people’s mind, pale in comparison to the consequences of nuclear war, but – you would be wrong:
     
    Check out Global Warming May Be a Graver Public Health Threat Than Nuclear War. Part 1 — Getting Your Attention by George D. Lundberg.
     
    Or Global Warming Impact Like ‘Nuclear War’ by Jeremy Lovell.
     
    ABC a couple of years produced a documentary called “Last Days on Earth,” about the various ways human kind, as a whole, could bite the big one. Most were fairly far fetched, e.g., (Will super-intelligent machines someday make their own decisions and destroy us?). A few though were much more plausible events: a massive asteroid hit, nuclear war, and – global warming.



    Global Warming End of the World
     
    Watch the episode on Global Warming first. See part two here.
     
    The episode starts out by saying there’s no debate that the climate, overall, has been getting warmer. A simple observation that’s been replicated over and over again.
     
    It then moves on to talk about how “special interest” has sown doubt about the GW and why.
     
    They then talk about the well-known correlation between CO2 and warming (and it’s more than just a correlation – there’s good evidence that C02 causes warming).
     
    They talk about the very hot summers we have had lately, and how tough it has been on the polar bars and penguins.
     
    At this point, we hear predictions of up to half the animals and plants going extinct if nothing is done.
     
    Then we hear that if Greenland’s ice sheet melts, that’s 20 feet of sea level rise (over the next 200 years, maybe sooner). If Antarctica melts, that’s another 20 feet.
     
    Near the end, it’s starts to get apocalyptic, i.e., “GW will wipe out civilization as a we know it.” This comes mostly from predictions of 20 to 40 foot sea raise. This will lead to the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, killing billions.
     
    Then it moves onto what we can do to stop the coming apocalypse, and most of this has to do with C02 reduction.
     
    What’s interesting at this point is very little (in fact, no) evidence for this apocalyptic end of the world. All natural ice on the planet would have to melt, human kind would have to be helpless to adapt over the course of one or two centuries to raising sea levels.
     
    I’ll just leave it at this: beyond the fact of C02 warming the planet, the uncertainly starts going way up, and the most dire predictions have been called into serious question, and therefore debate over how bad is GW, how much worse will it get, how long will it take, and what we should do is in full sway.
     
    Global warming is clearly a problem, and a potentially serious one, but if we can’t stop it cold (and it seems unlikely that we can’t), is it the worst problem we currently face?



    Nuclear War End of the World
     
    Now watch Last Days, Nuclear War.
     
    First they make the point that while the cold war is over, the threat is not.
     
    Seocnd, C02, even the mass qualities we’re producing today, has always been here, there’s just more of it in the air. Splitting the atom, on the other hand, was an unprecedented leap forward in human kind’s understanding, power, and ability to destroy. Before Trinity, the power people witness in the New Mexico desert only existed in the heart of a star. Now we now can literally replicate a piece of the sun and duplicate it on earth.
     
    By the 1960’s the world arsenal of nuclear weapons numbered close to 40,000. And were not atomic weapons, like those used on Japan, but thermonuclear weapons, each 100s of times more powerful, and there were over 40,000 such weapons on the planet. This prompted Kennedy to say in 1961:
     
    “Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”
     
    He was not exaggerating or kidding.
     
    While most of the fears today are about Iran and North Korea, Kennette Benedit, Executive Director of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says “these are the not the countries, the systems, the weapons that are the real theat.” The real “end of the world” threat comes from the fact that neither the U.S. or Russia have stood down. Their massive strategic nuclear world-wide forces are still operational, on alert, and in their cold war state of readiness.
     
    “Although the Cold War is said to have ended in 1991, the US and Russia each still operate under the assumption that the other could authorize a nuclear attack against them. The failure to end their Cold War nuclear confrontation causes both nations to maintain a total of about 2,600 strategic nuclear warheads on high-alert status, which can be launched in only a few minutes, and whose primary missions remain the destruction of the opposing side’s nuclear forces, industrial infrastructure, and political/military leadership.” (See SGR Newsletter).
     
    The most likely way a war could start would be accidental. If there was an accidental launch by Russia, it would be almost immediately detected, and the “drill” for Obama would be to make a decision w/in 15 minutes. That’s how long he would have before a detonation on U.S. soil. The standard exercises call for a proportional retaliatory strike. At that point, it could easily escalate.
     
    The Scientists for Global Responsibility Newsletter continues:
     
    “During the Cold War, the US-Soviet nuclear standoff was a political issue familiar to most Americans. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, a lowering of tensions between the US and Russia (which obviously inherited Soviet weaponry) led to a rather remarkable American complacency about the danger posed by the continued existence of US and Russian nuclear arsenals.
     
    In 1994, this false sense of security was fostered by a largely symbolic agreement between the US and Russia to remove the launch coordinates from, or ‘de-target’, their nuclear missiles. Because it takes only about 10 seconds to re-install target coordinates during the launch process, the agreement created no meaningful change in the ability to launch strategic nuclear forces in a rapid fashion.
     
    On January 24, 1995, President Clinton told Congress that “not a single Russian missile is pointed at the children of America”. Only hours later, a Norwegian weather rocket (Black Brant XII) was mistakenly identified by the Russian early warning system to be a hostile incoming ballistic missile.
     
    The warning apparently was passed up the entire Russian chain of command and reportedly resulted in the opening of the ‘nuclear briefcases’ carried by the Russian President, Defence Minister and the Chief of the General Staff. These briefcases are designed to facilitate the rapid transmission of the ‘permission order’ to launch Russian nuclear forces. According to numerous published accounts, the false warning caused the President to open his briefcase for the first time. The buttons in the suitcase probably gave him a range of nuclear strike options against all strategic targets, including the US and Western Europe.
     
    The electronic display on the nuclear briefcase indicated a possible US or NATO nuclear missile launched from Norway or the Norwegian Sea. The President tracked the missile on the screen for three to seven minutes before it became clear that the missile was not headed towards Russia. Russian nuclear forces were then ordered to return to watch duty. Under Launch-on-Warning protocol, he was within a few minutes of a launch decision.
     
    Had this incident occurred during a period of increased tensions between the US and Russia, one wonders if the outcome would have been the same. Regardless, the 1995 Russian false warning of a US/NATO nuclear attack clearly illustrates the potential danger of an accidental nuclear war made possible by the existence of hundreds of high-alert ICBMs.” (See SGR Newsletter).
     
    The existing U.S. & Russia nuclear arsenal on alert is enough to obliterate both the U.S. and Russia and end civilization in the world as we know it. And it wouldn’t take 100, 200 years — it would take about 12 hours.



    End Civilization? How?
     
    Technically, the total yield of these weapon is equal to 80,000 Hiroshima bombs. That one bomb killed 100,000 people, instantly. 80,000 times 100,000 people = 8 billion people. There’s only 6 billion people on the planet.
     
    Second – talk about climate change! – an exchange of only 20 missles would change the climate in ways that would go way beyound the worst projections of global warming. Just 20 missiles, about a 100 megaton exchange, would be enough to set up a Nuclear Winter because of the detonations and the resulting firestorms in the cities they hit.
     
    Most people have no idea that the detonation of a single average strategic nuclear weapon will ignite a gigantic firestorm over a total area of 105 to 170 square kilometers. The bombing over Dresden ignited a firestorm over an area of about 35 square kilometers. (See SGR Newsletter).
     
    A single average strategic nuclear weapon would ignite a firestorm over an area 4 to 5 times LARGER than Dresden. One strategic nuclear weapon. One.
     
    To see what unleashing all these weapons would do, see the After effects of Nuclear War. In addition to several hundred million immediately killed, surface temps would fall to sub-freezing levels a few days after.
     
    And it wouldn’t take an accidential exchange of 20 or so missles between the U.S. and Russia (assuming it would stop there), even a regional nuclear war between India and Packistant would be enough to drasticticly change the climate — not in 100 to 200 years, but in about a day.
     
    A team of scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder); and UCLA conducted the rigorous scientific studies on the effects of a “small” regional nuclear war, and concluded:
     
    “We examined the climatic effects of the smoke produced in a regional conflict in the subtropics between two opposing nations, each using 50 Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons to attack the other’s most populated urban areas,” Robock said. The researchers carried out their simulations using a modern climate model coupled with estimates of smoke emissions provided by Toon and his colleagues, which amounted to as much as five million metric tons of “soot” particles.
     
    “A cooling of several degrees would occur over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions,” Robock said. “As in the case with earlier nuclear winter calculations, large climatic effects would occur in regions far removed from the target areas or the countries involved in the conflict.”
     
    “With the exchange of 100 15-kiloton weapons as posed in this scenario, the estimated quantities of smoke generated could lead to global climate anomalies exceeding any changes experienced in recorded history,” Robock said. “And that’s just 0.03 percent of the total explosive power of the current world nuclear arsenal.” (American Geophysical Union in San Francisco).



    See the researcher’s web page here.
     
    So, is GW warming a problem that deserves the attention of scientists and public policy analysis? Yes.
     
    Can GW warming realistically end the world in 100 – 200 years. Unlikely, even if we can’t prevent the worst of it.
     
    Is GW the biggest threat to human kind today? The answer is a laughable resounding NO! The end of the world is only a button push away. Me? I’ll take a 20 to 40 foot sea rise over 100-200 years then a 3000-5000 megaton exchange over the course of 12 hours.



    Postscript
     
    If anyone wants to argue that global nuclear war wouldn’t be the end of the world, you put yourself in the shoes of those hawks who used to argue that nuclear war was both winnable and survivable.
     
    In 1984, and film called Threads was released as a dramatic answer to these “hawks.”
     
    Also, there’s terrific documentary, “1983, The Brink of Apocalypse” about the year the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. can the closest they ever had to global thermonuclear war. It’s very good, and at times, riveting. And the 80’s music they use as a soundtrack is inspired.

  10. 10
    Christoher Skyi says:

    I see I have my own little personal blog inside a blog with the thread, so I’ll just add to it :)

    OK — what’s potentially much MUCH worse than CO2 emissions?  This:

    Pakistan rapidly adding nuclear arms, U.S. says

    Why they’re doing this, I’m not sure, but India is sure to respond, especially if Pakistan now has the technology to develop thermonuclear weapon that are potentially 100′s of times for powerful that then the “simple” weapons they have now (which are currently still 10-20 times are powerful as the atomic weapons used on Japan in WWII).

    Naturally enough, everyone is concerned about terrorists inside Pakistan:

    “Bruce Riedel, the Brookings Institution scholar who served as the co-author of Mr. Obama’s review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, reflected the administration’s concern in a recent interview, saying that Pakistan “has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on earth, and it has a nuclear weapons program that is growing faster than anyplace else on earth.”

    However, as pointed out in Last Days, Nuclear War, the real threat isn’t a terrorist group getting it’s hand on a nuke. As Malou Innocent discusses in this video on America’s strained relationship with Pakistan, Pakistan has little to no incentive to let it’s nuclear forces become compromised by terrorist organizations because India is the target and big worry for Pakistan.

    The biggest danger is a regional nuclear war, and what that would do to the world climate in a matter of just a few hours:

    A team of scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder); and UCLA conducted the rigorous scientific studies on the effects of a “small” regional nuclear war, and concluded:

    “We examined the climatic effects of the smoke produced in a regional conflict in the subtropics between two opposing nations, each using 50 Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons to attack the other’s most populated urban areas,” Robock said. The researchers carried out their simulations using a modern climate model coupled with estimates of smoke emissions provided by Toon and his colleagues, which amounted to as much as five million metric tons of “soot” particles.

    “A cooling of several degrees would occur over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions,” Robock said. “As in the case with earlier nuclear winter calculations, large climatic effects would occur in regions far removed from the target areas or the countries involved in the conflict.”

    “With the exchange of 100 15-kiloton weapons as posed in this scenario, the estimated quantities of smoke generated could lead to global climate anomalies exceeding any changes experienced in recorded history,” Robock said. “And that’s just 0.03 percent of the total explosive power of the current world nuclear arsenal.” (American Geophysical Union in San Francisco).

    See also Limited nuclear war would cause mass starvation for a decade

    In the panic, China could be pulled into a nuclear exchange with India, and it’s not unthinkable such a series of events could trigger a accidental global nuclear war.

  11. 11
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Terrific! It took them two tries, but there’s now another nuclear power on the planet:

    North Korea conducts powerful nuclear test
    Atomic test released energy equal to the Hiroshima bomb.

    While they yet can’t engineer a solution to put atomic warheads on their missiles (South Korea also reports launch of 3 North Korea missiles), that’s just a matter of time.

    A nuclear arms race is quite probably about to begin in Southeast Asia.

    Again, climate change is a concern, but it’s not the only or even most serious problem.

    Just a reminder of what these weapons can do in an accidental or deliberate exchange, Helen Caldicott, MD, Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in Maryland explains what happens in even a very limited nuclear exchange. The effects of global warming pale in comparison:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6iWM_85VFs

    How easy would be for the world to accidentally trip into a nuclear exchange (either U.S. vs. Russia or India vs. Pakistan)? 

    Helen Caldicott, MD, quite dramatically (she’s a vivid speaker) lays out some frightening historical incidents that almost led to accidental nuclear war:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Aww9YvNjYI

    The more nuclear powers there are on the planet, the more likely we’re going to have an accident.

    Expect the doomsday clock to advance once again.

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    Nuclear proliferation is certainly a problem which is going to increase.

    This is also a separate problem from climate change. We can consider more than one issue at once.

  13. 13
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Ah — finally! A follow-up comment! I’m really not looking for a fight or argument: this is an issue that honestly does worry me, way more than climate change, which the point of these posts.

    Helen Caldicott, MD hits the nail on the head in this video — The danger is as present as ever:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Aww9YvNjYI

    While the possibility of war triggered by overt hostilities are less than what they were in the 80′s, the “slack” has been taken up to a large degree by the increased potential for an major accidental war between the superpowers or a more likely smaller (yet globally and climatically devastating) regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan.  And in 10 years, we could have 2 or 3 nuclear powers in southeast Asia (i.e., North Korea, South Korea, and Japan).  A nuclear armed South Korea and Japan would be a very unpleasant surprise for  North Korea, and it might be the best “solution” to the nuclear North Korea. But — the cost is yet another potential regional nuclear war that could trigger a wider nuclear conflict.

    The worse predictions from global warming models, as I understand them, is the complete melting and collapse of the ice sheets leading to 20 to 40 foot rise in sea level, but that’s over the next two, three or five hundred years. Because science, technology, and engineering techniques are advancing at an accelerated rate, it’s hard to get panicky or alarmed about even the worse predictions (and there’s great uncertainly that how bad or quickly it might get).

    The worse outcome of a major global exchange is, on the other hand, about as certain as one can get: it would be the immediate end of civilization AND human history, and it would only take about 12 hours.  Even a small scale exchange would be enough to drastically change the climate, and there would be absolutely no time to prepare or adjust to that.

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:

    I don’t think there is much sense to down playing one problem because another problem might be worse–if that was the case I guess I can take down every post here because they are about problems less serious than nuclear war.

    While I wouldn’t concentrate on this as an argument for responding to climate change, as you brought it up the two could be connected. Climate change leads to droughts in parts of the world which increase the risk of regional wars. Wars in Ethiopia and Sudan are already attributed to droughts which were worsened due to climate change. As the problem worsens, there is an increased risk of more such wars, which might escalate into a nuclear exchange.

  15. 15
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Well, the point is to put the “fear” into perspective — climate change and global warming is only the end of the world if (and huge big if) the very VERY wrose projections are correct AND over the course of centuries, we don’t take incremental steps to deal with global warming problems as they arise in reality. There’s no possibility of sudden death here.

    However, some people, far too many, act and believe that  if we don’t stop global warming cold, right now, we’re all going be somehow dead “pretty soon,” and we’ll be helpless to stop it.

    There’s no rational basis for that outcome, and therefore the panic fear is irrational.

    Climate Progress has a post by Gillian Caldwell that I thought for sure was a joke, but it’s not. 

    It deals with “climate trama,” and at first I thought, ‘gosh, are some people today so scared by climate change that they’re actually traumatized?”  

    It turns out — no. The only people who are are  “traumatized” are the people, the “experts,” who are trying — and failing — to scare the rest of us:

    I have spent my lifetime face to face with some of the most brutal and inhumane acts ever committed, but nothing has been as traumatizing for me as trying to get action to tackle the climate crisis.

    She make a remarkable admission:

    “As a long time human rights defender and prior Executive Director at WITNESS, I helped produce and direct films on rape as a weapon of war and amputations in Sierra Leone’s recent bloody conflict, I conducted an undercover investigation into the Russian mafia’s involvement in trafficking women for forced prostitution, I investigated hit squads in apartheid South Africa, and I spent countless hours in editing rooms watching first hand images of death, destruction, and devastation.”

    But the worse was yet to come for po0r Ms. Caldwell

    “But spending my days and nights trying to get our country to tackle global warming is more emotionally demanding than any job I have ever done.”

    Trying to get people worried about global warming has been a worse experience for Ms. Caldwell then:

    - rape as a weapon of war?
    - amputations of women and children  in Sierra Leone?
    - trafficking women for forced prostitution?
    - hit squads in apartheid South Africa?
    - spent countless hours in editing rooms watching first hand images of death, destruction, and devastation?

    Is this a joke? 

    Apparently the above list is a picnic compared to confronting people who just “don’t get” that global warming is absolutely the worse thing human beings have ever confronted, that apocalypse is nigh upon us, that:

    “We know we are facing a looming catastrophe of unparalled proportions — a truly existential crisis in that scientists predict that if we do not take dramatic action now, human beings will not be able to continue living on Earth as we have come to know it.”

    No wonder the poor thing is terrified, is losing sleep, and is traumatized. Maybe viewing videos of the amputations of women and children  in Sierra Leone will help get her mind off the end of the world.

    Seriously, it’s hard not to laugh — this is ridiculous. 

    If Ms. Caldwell wants to terrify and traumatize herself over some end of the world possibility, regional nuclear war (not unlikely) or accidental global thermonuclear war (a definite possibility — we were only about 10 sec. away from that in 1995, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Aww9YvNjYI) is a much, Much, MUCH more likely candidate.  That’s my point. 

    Want to be really Really scared of something?  Well, this is it and it can happen right now, as your reading this.

  16. 16
    Mike says:

    It is reported that about 650,000 years ago Yellowstone National Park was the epicenter of, not a little volcano, but a massive one that effected, to some degree, particularly climate, all of North America. There was one approximately 650,000 years before that and another one approximately 900,000 years before that.  There is far greater than a concesus on this.  I defy you to find any scientist that desputes these volcanos happened or that they will happen again.  Why don’t we try to do something to stop them?  Two reasons given are: 1) Although the next one could occur relatively soon, it also might be  10s of thousands of years away. 2) Even if it was soon, it is argued that there is little to nothing we could do to stop it.    So we knock ourselves out trying to keep the planet cool enough before the inevitable freeze occurs.   When I was in highschool science class, my teacher showed my class something really neat.  He took clorine gas, a poison, put it with sodium and made a less poisonous substance called salt.  How much research and/or  funding is put into finding a way to change these heat trapping gases into something that doesn’t trap heat?  100 billion?  The way congress throws around money these days, it simply doesn’t raise an eyebrow unless you use the “T” word.  How about only half a trillion?  No, we can’t just leave it up to science to fix this can we? We have got to CHANGE BEHAVIOR .  That is what works so well in the fight against HIV, not research to find a cure, government programs teaching abstinence.  Whatever the cost,  be it 10s of thousands of jobs, be it trillions of dollars, we are going to stop bad human behavior across the globe. The North Koreans, Chinese , Americans, Iranians, even  Somali pirates will move to more fuel efficent attack boats, to save the planet from global warming.   Good Luck!  And while you are at it, put that volcano out from under yellowstone and build a nice anti-astroid shield to save the plant from that too.

  17. 17
    Christoher Skyi says:

    “It is reported that about 650,000 years ago Yellowstone National Park was the epicenter of, not a little volcano, but a massive one that effected, to some degree, particularly climate, all of North America. There was one approximately 650,000 years before that and another one approximately 900,000 years before that. ”

    Hi Mike — I’m not quite sure I’m following your point.  There are natural events that have occurred and will occur in the future.

    Compared to a 3000-5000 megaton exchange, even a super volcano would only do a fraction of the  damage (here’s a good talk about a large scale nuclear war would do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6iWM_85VFs).

    Probably the worst natural event is a massive asteroid hit.  If something really Really REALLY big was going to hit us w/in 10 years, there might be something we could do about it. If it was only a few months or weeks out, then  . . .  yeah, that’s it, the end of the known world, forever.

    Life, complex life, evolved on the planet because it had the basic requirements for life, and it the environment was “stable” enough over extremely long periods of times, so natural events that could wipe out all life were extremely rare — in fact, it’s probably never happened, i.e., all life extinguished.

    I think the consensus is that, short of a a massive asteroid hit (an exceedingly rare event, and given enough heads-up, we could probably alter it’s trajectory if we had to) the most likely thing to take out current civilization and history is a large scale nuclear war. 

    It’s almost impossible to really even imagine what that would do to human kind and the planet itself.  Human kind has never before had that power, until now.  It’s unprecedented.

    There is no greater global threat today.

  18. 18
    Mike says:

    I wasn’t trying to “compete” with Nuclear War.  I was trying to make a point that nature can, and will, do more to climate change than we humans can.  People get all in a tizzy about the global temperature going up a half degree or two because of humans.  But the existance of “super volcanos” as they are called, is not disputed in science or politics.  They put huge amounts of ash in the air that block almost all sunlight and thus produce a drop in global temperature.  The last one that occured in Indonesia approximately 74,000 years ago is estimated to have dropped the global temperature by 19 degrees.  No it didn’t, and it doesn’t wipe out all life.  I’m just saying natural events occure that effect global temperature dwarf the effect humans have on global temperature.  I whole heartedly agree that Nuclear War is a greater threat to mankind than volcanos or S.U.V.s.

  19. 19
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Ah, yes, I understand.  Volcanoes do play significant hazard with the global temps, even small ones:

    “1991: After 600 years of dormancy, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines rumbled for days before erupting and killing about 750 people, including several journalists who kept vigil in a restricted area waiting for the eruption. Ash was more than 6 feet deep in a two-mile radius around the volcano, and buried a U.S. air base 15 miles away.
    Pinatubo’s cloud of sulfuric acid, some 20 million tons of it, climbed to more than 12 miles in the stratosphere. Over the next several weeks, the cloud encircled the equator and spread to the poles, covering the entire planet. The particles reflected sunlight and cooled the Earth by nearly a full degree Fahrenheit.”
    And Pinatubo, while big, was small historically — in fact, in 1815, Tambora ejected over 100 cubic km in the air. Pinatubo ejected about 10 km (10 billion metric tonnes). 10km dropped global temps. immediately by 1 deg and reduced sunlight by 10%. Fortunately, these huge effects lasted only a few weeks or months.
    The problems associated with global warming are potentially much worse because the upper ranges of predicted changes surpass a 1 deg change, but by how much and how long it will take are still BIG questions.
     
    If  changes in temp. are at the low range (and the observations so far support predictions in the low range) and it happens over a few hundred years, we can prepare and adjust: it will force some changes, but it’s hardly the end of the world, and a lot WILL happen over the next 200-300 years in terms of science, engineering and technology. It’s hard to believe that we won’t be able to easily adjust over that time.
    Even the deadly raising sea levels predicted of late by the melting of the ice sheets have been scaled back:
    Scientists scale back forecast of sea-level rise
    Sea level rise from Antarctic ice sheet collapse overestimated, scientists say

  20. 20
    Ron Chusid says:

    Note your last link on Antarctica also begins by saying:

    “The revised prediction may provide little comfort to residents of coastal cities like Vancouver and Saint John in Canada, however, as coastal regions in North America are still expected to have increases in sea levels of as much as 25 per cent more than other regions.”

    Other reports on this also say the melting of Antarctic ice is expected to be less but only for the next ten years.

  21. 21
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Yes, but this is over at least a century , and it’s hardly the end of the world for them, or us.  (and I live in Brooklyn — no one here is particularly worried, and NYC itself doesn’t seem to be too concerned. I’m sure, as in every major city, there’s long LONG time planning to deal with this other problems due to increasing population, traffic, etc.,  but very slowly rising sea levels is not cause for panic.

    Increased hurricanes, flooding higher than normal have been forcing home owners and businesses to relocate to higher ground (this is why accurate prediction of sea level rise is so important — so we can rationally react to it).  This is absolutely the easiest, most effective, and least expensive solution to that aspect of the problem. 

    This month, the 100th in a series of Stockholm Seminars featured a star cast of scientific minds discussing the current state of climate change. The meeting included  Johan Kleman, an expert on ice sheets and how they melt; and several others.  Here’s the general conclusion from that meeting:

    Don’t Worry About the Ice Sheets

    One thing to cross off my list of global disasters to worry about is probably sea level rise. Not that it isn’t happening, or won’t happen — it is, and it will. By the end of the century, Johan Kleman told us, we’re looking at about an 85 centimeter (say 3 feet) rise from melting ice. That’s terrible news for Bangladesh, Alexandria, and New York City. But it’s not the worst news. Why?
    Ice melt is highly predictable. It happens slowly. We can keep improving our prediction of it even as it happens. Yes, small hunks of Antarctica’s massive ice blanket will break up relatively suddenly. But on the whole, ice melt of this kind has many braking systems built in. We will have time to adjust. And most of the world’s coastlines are sparsely inhabited. Your average Inuit will just move his next fishing cottage 10 meters up the beach.
    For those coasts that are highly built up, “the problem can be spelled ‘cost.’” Losing and/or moving all of that capital infrastructure and low-lying farmland will be very expensive, and will likely hit us just when we can least afford it. But, said Kleman, even if we are at the upper end of those worst-case sea-level projections, that will be the least of our problems. A one-meter sea-level rise would also mean lots of other, really awful things were probably happening that will be far worse problems to deal with.”
    And for the last 60,000 years, human kind as had to adapt, relocate, move due to changing climate and environment: see the excellent

    Spencer Wells – “Journey of man”

    If populations and people 60,000 years ago can survive and adapt to drastic (for them) climate change, we modern humans should be able to deal with it too.

  22. 22
    Fritz says:

    I found a blog post that pretty much sums up my gut-level feeling about the subject of global warming/climate change:

    http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/.....lling.html

    Lest the more liberal readers of this blog wonder why we are so emotional in our objection to climate-change hysteria in the press, it is because we suspect that leftists around the world secretly welcome global warming because its mitigation can justify virtually any regulation or intervention.

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