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If global warming is real, it is now inevitable

I am currently in Beijing, which is up there amongst the most polluted cities in the world. Beijing’s summer days are characterised by heavy cloud cover, which traps the unsightly gaseous consequences of China’s lightning-fast growth. The sun usually becomes discernable at around 4pm, when a golden-brown orb peers timidly through the haze. Being more acquainted with the brilliant Australian sun, for a split-second I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at when I first saw its rather diminished Chinese incarnation.

In such circumstances, I have been thinking a lot about the “carbon footprint” of countries in the economic vanguard of the developing world – countries like China and India. Like most who contribute and comment here, l classify myself as a “global warming skeptic”, due to the evangelical, anti-science and frequently absurd rhetoric that typifies global warming activists of all stripes. I am not a complete denialist – I have not written off the theory of anthropogenic global warming entirely. I simply believe there is an awful lot we do not yet know, and it is rash to be making grand predictions about impending weather-related catastrophes, and demanding action based on such flawed predictions. If, however, I was to reconsider my position and embrace the concept of AGW, I would still not champion the Kyoto Protocol or any other effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The fact is that if AGW is a genuine phenomenon, it is inevitable. There is absolutely no point in the rich world winding back its CO2 output, because China, India and the rest of the developing world will replace any first world CO2 reductions several times over. Despite the occasionally placatory noises about limiting CO2 emissions heard from the likes of the Chinese central government, the fact is that the Chinese, the Indians, the Russians, the Brazilians, nor anyone else from the developing world will ever stymy their nations’ opportunity to develop by hobbling their industrial output via significant CO2 emissions controls. Nor are the leaders of these countries likely to do anything to incur the wrath of their citizens by curtailing their perfectly reasonable aspirations to own motorcars, motorcycles, air conditioners and enjoy the convenience of air travel – all enormous direct or indirect sources of CO2 emissions. If significant CO2 reduction could be achieved with minimal economic and social cost, then perhaps the developing world would cooperate. However, large-scale CO2 reduction is an extremely expensive and socially disruptive exercise, and this reality will persist for several decades.

And it is too late to roll back the clock – too many people in the developing world have tasted the fruits of development, and quite legitimately demand more. Those governing the aspirational billions are far more likely to be influenced by them than An Inconvenient Truth. Global CO2 emissions are going to continue to grow for many years, there is no doubt about it. The “global warmenists”, as the mighty Tim Blair calls them, need to re-evaluate their positions, because what they propose at present is simply an exercise in developed-world wealth destruction on an epic scale. Those insisting on such a state of affairs appear little short of anti-human luddites, as detractors of the green movement have long asserted. Bjørn Lomborg is spot on – any resources allocated towards the AGW issue should be directed towards researching crisis management and developing an appropriate disaster-relief capacity under the circumstances of rapid climate change, even if only as an insurance policy. And the absolute last thing we in the developed world should be doing is hampering the wealth-creating organs of our societies in a futile effort to cut CO2 emissions. If AGW is truly the looming catastrophe that many predict, we need to be as wealthy as possible to plan and make provisions for its impending consequences, and thus deal with them when they start to unfold.

34 comments to If global warming is real, it is now inevitable

  • And the absolute last thing we in the developed world should be doing is hampering the wealth-creating organs of our societies in a futile effort to cut CO2 emissions.

    Granted. But we should certainly be investing in green energy technologies, especially solar power. Get solar panels that are either cheap enough and/or efficient enough, and the New Core (and more to the point the Gap) can be given electrical power out to their most remote villages without it being necessary to either pollute the air or wire up the landscape. Since in all likelihood we’d be the one’s manufacturing said panels, we’d make bank quite nicely. On the other hand, those poor villagers living on a dollar a day would suddenly have electrical power and everything that implies.

    The net gain to the global economy from a transition from resource-extracted to solar power would, I think, vastly dwarf any near-term loss from restricting our own emissions (a comparable event in the history of life would be the switch of chemo- to photosynthesis.) Restricting emissions even makes sense from a business perspective, if you think of it as a massive, culture-wide marketing effort. Set the moral tenor that fouled air is bad thing (for whatever reason), ostentatiously take measures to banish it from your own territories, hector the developing world about it and then suddenly present them with cheap, renewable, distributed power grids.

    Weather the next century is a global hot house or a little ice age, the entire species will be far better off with sustainable technologies. The whole climate change issue is ultimately an irrelevant distraction to the more pressing issue of everyone getting very, very rich.

  • Jacob

    Here is a complete list of things caused by global warming

    This AGW thing is a very interesting phenomenon: mass madness on a gigantic scale. A madness not unheard of in human history – maybe like witch hunting.

    A moderately rational person who studies the matter finds out very fast that:
    1. AGW, while possible, is far from being highly probable. That 90% probability assigned to it in the IPCC is nonsense. Even if it exists it’s probably not big quantitatively.
    2. The doomsday predictions are based on absolutely nothing. Just hunches, irrational fears and sensationalism.
    3. There is nothing that can be done to reduce CO2 emissions short of killing off a few billion people.
    That is: nothing beyond what will happen naturally – let human ingenuity find solutions and adapt.

    After reading some stuff I was mainly impressed by the unscientific approach of many alarmist scientists. They write like people on a crusade, not like scientists.

  • Freeman

    An excellent summary of the absurd political nonsence over AGW, which ecchoes my thoughts precisely but expresses them more eloquently than I could ever hope to do. Thanks.

  • knirirr

    There are also scientists who are not alarmists, such as some I know personally. Their view is that we need to adapt to the changes and thus determining what will happen is rather useful. Also, that the answer to increasing CO2 is to develop new technology, which the developing countries will then copy.

  • Watch this post at NewsBuster, where US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee shows a letter from the head och American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). A threat towards a scientist to spoil his career with lies! In the letter Michael T. Eckhart almost phrase it as an internal Harvard affair.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/07/26/epa-chief-asked-probe-threatening-e-mail-sent-global-warming-skeptic

    James Inhofe sais its’s signs that the AGW-alarmism is about to lose. We can just fight as much as we can with sound arguments and hope so. Otherwise lots of our freedom has come to an end.

    Michael T. Eckhart, or Heidi Cullen (The Weather Chanenel climatologist who asked for the withdrawal of meteorology licenses for AGW-sceptical persons), shall have no more authority positions in our society! That’s, I think, an anti witch hunt position!

  • Nick M

    Yes, it is mass madness. But let us for a little while assume that AGW (as generally stated) is true…

    People believe that not leaving the TV on standby is “doing their bit” in averting global catastrophe yet completely ignore the fact they’re buying tons of stuff (including that TV) from (dirty) coal-powered China.

    Of course, no force on Earth is going to stop China et al from industrializing. A leg to stand on? We don’t have a toe to stand on morally over that. You know, Dark Satanic Mills and all that…

    So let’s all buy a Toyota Pious and feel good* whilst conveniently forgetting the fact that the construction of its parts in far off lands of which we know little (and choose to know even less) is pumping out CO2 and other really nasty stuff (ever dug around inside a battery?) at a spectacular rate. You are of course all aware that the average car uses more carbon being built than it ever will over it’s driving life? You are of course all aware of the strict recycling laws in Germany? So buy a Mercedes if you want to be green. Fuck the Pious, get a 6 cylinder Merc that will last a good number of years.

    And yet… The BBC is wittering on about excessive packaging and this and that and ethical(!) living and recycling (yeah, right**)

    I think Chris Rock summed it up when hosting one of the Goreacle’s LiveEarth gigs. He opened by saying something like, “Yeah, we’re going to save the planet the same way Live8 ended world hunger!”

    I really couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I am of course a “denier”*** and the only reason Sir Jonathan Porritt isn’t preparing to burn me at the stake for such heresy is that it’s hardly a carbon neutral way to off someone. Well I suppose he could do me some other way and use my corpse to fertilize his organic rhubarb patch but that will happen over my dead body.

    Too much e-ink has already been spilled over these pages to even mention the absurdity of a “scientific consensus” but I would like to point out that the IPCC being a UN organ**** had to be “representative”. So they had folk from all over the world to achieve that even if they weren’t scientists of any stripe. It wasn’t exactly a bloody Solvay Conference was it? Jesus Horatio Christ on a carbon-neutral Segway that’s not how science gets done. Some of the toughest questions in C20th physics were wrangled to a kinda solution in Niels Bohr’s conservatory. Richard Feynman worked out the details of superfluids partly in a topless bar in LA (in between sketching the waitresses) and the least said about Tycho Brahe, soonest mended*****. That’s science. Enter the U-fucking-N and it all goes to pot. I suspect I hardly need to enlighten the Samizdata folk on how Alec Issigonis defined a camel…

    And don’t even get me started on biofuels…

    *Greens never feel “good”, they just feel “superior”. Big difference.

    ** If in any sense of the word it was economically viable to drive (the horror, the horror) around in a truck and collect used tetrapaks somebody would be doing it already.

    *** Let us for a minute consider that AGW is a scientific theory just as hydrogen burning in main-sequence stars or the Kutta-Joukowski lift theorem in aerodynamics are. I have attended many seminars and the like in the fields of astrophysics and fluids and indeed even astrophysical fluid dynamics and there were vicious disagreements and much evidence marshalled and then flung at the opposition and it even got heated once in a while but I never saw anybody call someone a “denier” (isn’t that something to do with stockings anyway?) because that would have been a tacit admission on the part of the accuser that he or she had lost the argument.

    **** Invent your own one for that.

    ***** I wasn’t going to mention Sir Isaac Newton but what the hell. Why not mention the greatest human being who ever drew breath (a standard 1st year physics question is to estimate how many molecules of air you breath that Newton had breathed – the answer is surprising). He achieved what he did by sitting alone and thinking very hard. Yeah, I know he had his correspondents and he “Stood on the shoulders of giants” and all that but his recipe was solitary contemplation (he also invented the cat-flap) until nothing else filled his mind. If he’d been constrained by a committee we’d still be thinking the windmill was a pretty neat idea… Oh, hell, the Greens still do!

  • James Waterton

    Nick, it’s good to have you on board. I always enjoy your comments.

  • Is any of that Beijing haze (and other ‘real’ pollution) down to CO2?

    I would have thought that any contribution from carbon (as distinct from oxides of nitrogen and sulphur) would be down to it being insufficiently burned.

    Best regards

  • “as wealthy as possible”?
    Gads man! Haven’t you ever heard of victory through surrender?
    Actually, turning off the CO2 tap is just a reflection of the insufficiently realised ambitions of the believers; they are looking for an excuse to surrender their material privileges because they haven’t brought them ‘happiness’.
    It’s all too much for the poor little lambs, and they are seeking restorative dignity through self-denial.

    Me? I’ve been denied all my life, and I know what sort of dignity that leaves.
    None.
    So to hell with the cuddly wimps.

  • magnetic north

    I accept AGW is a real threat. I read John Gribbin’s “Hothouse Earth” when it was first published in 1990/1991. I am the sort of person most samizdata people would like to recycle.

    In Lovelock’s “The Revenge of Gaia”, a recommendation to plan for massive AGW is a major part of the book’s conclusions. In other words, Lovelock would agree it is now inevitable.

    It is clear that, all else being equal, rich nations will survive the coming disaster better than poor ones, so item one on the planning agenda should be to encourage economic growth.

    Lovelock suggests, however, that increased resource self-sufficiency would be desirable. This is because he believes many parts of the world will stop producing, as drought, famine, flooding and political chaos kill the people and stop the survivors working to do more than survive. He also suggests that instability will threaten the trade routes upon which we depend.

    I suspect that there are people who post here who know more economics than Lovelock. I think he is right about the need to plan for an AGW disaster, but his book is not the place to go for advice on how to do this. I’d love to hear some suggestions.

  • Midwesterner

    magnetic north,

    If you drop the presumptive ‘A’ from ‘AGW’ I could agree with much of what you say.

    But… (you knew there would be one, no?) … but, global trade between free nations is essential for people to survive and even prosper during times when the environment is changing.

    It is clear that, all else being equal, rich nations will survive the coming disaster better than poor ones, so item one on the planning agenda should be to encourage economic growth.

    This is where Greens show their true colors. They don’t want to make poor countries richer and better able to cope with climate change, they want to make rich countries poorer and less able to cope, and help others, with climate change.

    I think our goals should be,

    one – stockpiling enough essentials for localized problems. They were teaching us this when I was in grade school, they should still be teaching it. It gives you time to react and adapt to natural (and even man made) disasters.

    two – smooth and efficient global/free nation food distribution networks. Networks that move ‘luxury’ foods during times of plenty will be very useful during times when staples are as valuable as luxuries. All that happens is people reorder their spending priorities.

    three – an understanding that the global food networks that protect us from regional disasters or weather shifts must themselves be protected and protectable. That means defense, and the knowledge and willingness to use it.

    I use the term ‘free nations’ as a qualifier because in times of peace, trade with despots can (and usually does) strengthen them. And it times of turmoil, despots become unreliable at best and usually dangerous. I can readily see something along the lines of NATO extending to free and liberty respecting nations world wide. But admission must be qualified.

  • I think he is right about the need to plan for an AGW disaster

    Planning for this or that, usually meaning – central planning, by the state, is the pet solution of socialists.
    Trouble is – it doesn’t work, it’s impossible to plan too much.
    We live in a chaotic world, we have fared pretty well so far, and there is no better way.
    Of course, each person (or group, or corporation) will do what they think needs to be done, and that includes planning. But central planning, beyond trivial issues, is impossible. That, beside the point that central planning involves coercion.

    On the practical level – I don’t think there is anything that can be done right now, be it “cap-and-trade” schemes (recommended by Kyoto) or merely “planning”.
    People all over the world are feverishly engaged in seeking technological innovations. Solutions will emerge over time, without any “planning”. The invisible hand at work.

  • Nick M

    Mid,
    You talking about a potentially global free-trade club*? Well, include me in. As long as that’s as far as it goes. Us Brits were never offered option three. We had a choice between the EEC & not. We never even explored the option of being a member of the EEA which means free movement of goods, people and capital with the rest of the continent without having to be ruled by Brussels. Switzerland and Norway took this route and they are of course deeply impoverished and backward states as a result.

    Ted-bastarding-Heath, Harold-bloody-Wilson.

    Do not get me started on Harold-bloody-Wilson.

    *Terms & conditions apply – yes, that means you Mr Chavez, and you Mr Putin at the back.

  • Weather the next century is a global hot house or a little ice age, the entire species will be far better off with sustainable technologies.

    Of course.
    The entire species would also be better of if it could eliminate poverty and illness. It goes without saying.

    Nobody is preventing you (or anyone else) from developing “sustainable technologies”. That is not the issue.

    The GW alarmist demand Kyoto and “cap-and-trade” schemes – that is: imposing absolute limits on CO2 production RIGHT NOW. They demand a stop to economic developement. That is madness.

  • Nick M

    Nigel,
    Of course it isn’t CO2. CO2 is a harmless gas that makes Coke fizzy (synchronicity between the Greens & the anti-globalization mob*).

    The stuff that does the damage is, as you say, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur from inefficient combustion. London has better air quality now than it’s had since there was another Elizabeth on the throne. That’s because it’s now more worth your while to sublet your coal-bunker as a “compact” studio flat than keep the black stuff in it. What coal we now burn is burnt efficiently (and is mainly sourced from Poland and Australia – countries we’re on good terms with. Thank God! For once…)

    I recall, quite recently, the Greens staged some kinda protest outside Drax power station in South Yorkshire because it was the biggest producer of CO2 in Europe. Well, of course it is. It is the biggest (and one of the most efficient) power stations in Europe. I suppose it doesn’t help that it shares a name with Bond villain. But fuck ‘em. If you take the GNER south from York you at one point see Drax and two other stations and they’re beautiful. They keep the grid running. Amongst the world’s largest heat engines they keep us churning along. We are all Nikola Tesla’s children** and we have ridden the lightning for a century and surely there has to be a payback? Well, of course there is which is why I assume Powergen*** feels the need to demand monies via a monthly direct debit.

    I’ve said this before and I make no apologies (pronounced “apo-loge-ises”) for saying it again. Lenin was a bastard of the highest order**** but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. He demanded electrification of the country as a vital part of his commie dream…

    Do the Greens (and fellow travellers, presumably pedestrians or cyclists) appreciate that without electricity we are all, not to put too fine a point on it, absolutely fucked?

    I guess they never played with the high voltage rigs in the undergrad lab at Nottingham University and smelled the ozone.

    Civilization is (a) a game designed by Sid Meier and (b) impossible without electricity. Playing option (a) is impossible without (b).

    And that’s your small, mild onion.

    *My wife saw the anti-globalization mob take-over Oxford Circus. She also saw hordes of them stop off at Starbucks beforehand.
    **Well we are aren’t we? Just imagine a life without electricity then live a life without electricity and then connect your difference engine to the internet and tell me about it. Just ensure that your spouse/kids keeps the bugger stoked.
    ***I assume it’s Powergen. My wife looks after such stuff. All she could tell me was that they had “animated little flames with feet” on their TV ads. While I can get my 230V 50Hz at up to 13A per socket I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff.
    ****My wife is a Russian translator and she’s even seen the embalmed relic in Red Square (they give the bugger a new suit every year) and she is very capable of disavowing anybody of the notion that Lenin was a “nice guy” and communism was “twisted” by that nasty man Stalin. For one thing, Lenin is even less readable than Hitler (and that’s a feat). There is you see a downside to being an insomniac who will read anything and having a girlfriend who is studying (amongst other things) totalitarianism.

  • Coming back to the discussion a bit late. Ah, work….

    Jacob, that Kyoto is madness is accepted everywhere it actually counts, I think. How many countries have actually implemented Kyoto to any serious degree? As several others on this thread have pointed out, vast amounts of carbon are created in China, largely due to the relocation of manufacturing from the West, allowing the West to strike it’s moralistic pose regarding emissions. Kyoto was a gesture, nothing more.

    The popularity of AGW – the only reason Kyoto was so powerful as a gesture – amongst not just politicians but also virtually the entire scientific and technological (and increasingly business) elite has to be understood from psychological grounds. If you want to motivate people to do something (like, say, buy solar power), it’s one thing to say ‘global catastrophes will result from climate change’ (which is over the long run incontrovertible) and quite a bit more effective to say ‘a global catastrophe due to climate change is imminent and if it happens it’s your fault‘ which most certainly is open to controversy, but also leaves open the possibility that you can cure it merely by buying something. This is the worst sort of fear-based marketing imaginable, all the more disquieting because of the readiness with which it leads people to take dubious liberties with logic, advocate bizarre courses of action, and yes, behave sanctimoniously. It would be unforgivable were it not that the technologies* ultimately being pushed will be of enormous benefit to all. The hysteria seems threatening now but over the medium term, as the various technologies come out of the labs and into the marketplace in a competitive way, it’ll be forgotten as a ridiculous, albeit almost accidentally useful, sidestep in history.

    If you wanted to get really out there, you might posit that our hypercomplex civilization is basically hacking the psychologies of its members in order to motivate them to do something that will benefit it hugely.

    The whole global warming debate is a waste of time, to tell the truth. Talking sense won’t get you anywhere; the theory’s acceptance depends more on religious hooks than scientific ones. Thinking of believers as addled luddites bent on the destruction of civilization (which, granted, some are) just results in angry barking at a mob that doesn’t hear you (and just gets pissed off if they do); look at them as useful idiots facilitating the largest growth in the global economy in history (imagine eight billion people with current western living standards as the baseline poverty level), and you can get some much more productive insights.

    *Solar power isn’t the only one, of course; things like local food production (not in farms but in hydroponic skyscrapers) will make urban populations and global food production independent of local weather. Personal fabrication technology will distribute manufacturing capability so widely that the average person will be greatly enriched. Local self-sufficiency (with the exception of information connectivity, which will become more central than ever) will be the watchword next century. It’ll give civilization a resiliency the biosphere would envy.

  • Freeman

    And just to confuse the AGW issue, it starts to blend into the problem of a potential energy shortage as oil and gas resources are eventually used up at economic recovery costs. Then it gets entangled with the substitute biofuel issue, in which biofuel production capacity in the US and EU is set to rise rapidly. This will consume more than the world’s current grain surplus, leading o higher food prices (already happening), food shortages and probably more starvation. Malthus is returning after a long vacation.

  • Nick M

    Freeman,
    Malthus can go fuck himself, geometrically. I’m not prepared to pay more for food so some tossers can feel good about themselves by driving bio-fuel SAABs.

    (Fuck me, SAAB – you used to be cool – you used to make fighter jets – get a grip and reconnect with your inner Viggen. The Grippen is a lovely plane but it’s made in Lancashire by BAE.)

    This is all nonsense and while the black stuff keeps rising to the surface in “backwards” countries (check out Saudi’s female literacy rates – they are not amusing) that if needs be we can beat the fucking bejesus out of then I suspect things will carry on pretty much as before.

    Did the RAF even consider the Grippen? Looks like an ideal Jaguar replacement to me. Give me a wing of ‘em and I shall set things aright. Or cause a global catastrophe because it could go either way.

    Anyway, I’m now off to light the BBQ. That could go either way too.

  • Of course, this biodiesel thing is another symptom of the mass madness. How it could occur to normal people that burning our food is a good and feasible idea is beyond my comprehension.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Historically CO2 levels have been much higher, without human intervention, I might add, and apparently with favorable outcomes for the Earth’s biosphere, specifically the plants.

    Current CO2 is at about 350 ppm. There were times in Earth’s prehistory, during the heyday age of the dinos, when it was at least 1000 ppm. Apparently the dinos didn’t melt. Neither did they drown.

    As for the biodiesel argument, my take is that the water required to grow corn for biodiesel is going to be tough to source for. Apparently, the aquifers supplying water to grow corn are running out. While theoretically biodiesel could supply energy to desalinate water for the growing of corn, would it be energy positive when all is said and done?

  • magnetic north

    Planning for this or that, usually meaning – central planning, by the state, is the pet solution of socialists.
    Trouble is – it doesn’t work, it’s impossible to plan too much.

    Wars and emergencies are well worth planning for.

    For those who are convinced of the dangers of a runaway greenhouse effect, it is worth considering, for example, a map in Chapter 4 of Lovelock’s recent book, showin projected distribution of life after a 5C rise in global temperatures.

    All of mainland Africa is marked as “Scrub and desert”. Ditto all S. Americaexcept near the southern tip, and what looks like almost all the USA and parts of Canada. Not much of Asia escapes. Southern Europe looks like going the same way.

    Take the above as fact for a moment. Maybe in the rich countries, advanced technologies can ensure agriculture continues. But what will happen in the poor countries? If most people are not to die, they will either come and stay with us, or we will support them in situ. Will free enterprise resolve this?

  • Comment deleted. Please don’t republish your blog posts here – JW

  • Will free enterprise resolve this?

    Will planning resolve this ? What is the meaning of “planning” in this context ?

    Even if we imagine for a moment that implausible scenario – it won’t happen overnight. In the course of time people will adapt. There is nothing that “planning” (i.e. – central planning, enforced on the people) can add toward “solving” this problem.
    People are not stuff, they cannot be planned and engineered.

  • Wars and emergencies are well worth planning for.

    True. Still, when wars or emergencies happen, we are usually unprepared… we can’t predict the future, therefore planning is impossible (beyond some trivial level).

  • Impossible to plan too much?
    No.

  • Nick M

    Jacob,

    Nonsense! Wars happen. If you are fortunate enough to live in one of the globe’s big hitters they happen all the time. Planning is necessary if only to ensure we have a state of the art military (from Stormshadow to Casevac).

    What really bothers me is this whole “we gotta prepare now for limited wars” schtick. Given current procurement times for systems we have not the slightest idea what we’ll be facing by the time they become operational. If we re-jig the whole of the military to face raggy-assed renegades in Iraq and the ‘stan then perhaps we’re overlooking the possibility of China or Russia cutting it rough a few years down the line. The UK spends 2% of GDP on defence and that could easily be doubled by sacking social workers and other useless scum. We could build all twelve type 45 destroyers and fit them with torpedo tubes and Harpoon/Tomahawk/Storm Shadow. We could have a 600 multi-role strike fighters airforce and three carrier battle-groups. We wouldn’t even have the debate over Trident replacement. We’d have a fleet of boomers and none of this crap about 3 MIRVs per missile – they can take ten and if they can take ten… And we stick nukes in Storm Shadow. That alone will scare the bejesus out of the ragheads. And we buy Reaper UAVs and Brimstone the Sh’ite out of these people. And yes, the army can look like something from Starship Troopers.

    Full Spectrum Dominance is the only way.

  • Nick M,
    The army (or armed forces) always have an endless wish list (me too).
    How much armaments to buy is a very complicated issue. You can’t buy everything. In the end you buy, more or less randomly, some of the gadgets. The, learned critics complain – why haven’t you bought this other one ?
    It all happens more or less randomly. Planning is an ilusion.

  • Nick M

    Jacob,
    I’m calling ya on that one. No, I’m not saying that planning will result in a military perfectly suited to every threat it may face.

    But a military which is well-funded will be much more capable against any conceivable threat than the shoe-string capacity we have right now. Surely, you see that giving the Type 45s an anti-surface and anti-sub capability makes them more useful (and more survivable) assets?

    We want Zumwelt class and we want ‘em now! They’ve got that retro-tech chic. And that counts for a lot.

  • Bring back TSR2/SR177.

  • Nick M

    Jacob,
    I’ve read back and I’m really calling you this time. So, in the late thirties the RAF’s decision to buy Spits and Hurricanes wasn’t planning? No other country on the planet had as good interceptors (with the possible exception of the Bf 109E). Well that bugger met it’s match over the skies of Kent and Sussex. If we’d let it slide we’d have had Gloster Gladiators and yours truly would be sprechen auf Deutsch.

  • Nick M

    Pietr.
    Bring back P1154!

    Harold-bloody-Wilson!

    My greatest moment at an airshow was when my wife saw a Harrier GR7 just hang in the air in exactly the same way that 10 tons of Duralimin, Titanium and plastics ought not to. It just hovered there in a way she found “uncanny”. I thought it grand.

  • So, in the late thirties the RAF’s decision to buy Spits and Hurricanes wasn’t planning?

    Of course, some planning is always done, and sometimes it also succeds, mostly by accident. It was a quite trivial decision to buy some interceptors that could take on the planes the Germans were building in great numbers, especially given what was learned from the last war (WW1)…
    Yeah, sometimes people stumble upon obvious truths. I don’t deny that.
    It would have helped a lot, at the outbreak of WW2, if Britain also had more, and better equipped, ground forces, tanks, and such, and also some aircraft carriers, but she didn’t have, despite the need being as obvious as the need for interceptors.

    In the context of the global warming scenario – I can’t imagine any “planning” that would be useful.

  • magnetic north
    In the course of time people will adapt.

    Some people will adapt, mostly those fortunate enough to be part of rich nations. But the other half of the famous duo “Adapt or die” will get a major role.

    Adaptation is not always achievable. Civilisations rise and fall.

    If these things come to pass, people whose harvests have failed again and again, will flee the wreck of their homelands in numbers never witnessed before. For them, adaptation will mean migration. Rich countries will have to take decisions at a national level about how to repond.

  • Rich countries will have to take decisions at a national level about how to respond.

    And they will make the decisions, when their time comes, one at a time, according to circumstances reigning at that time. I don’t see any other feasible and useful way to proceed.