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They don’t make ’em like that any more

“NYC Under Water from Climate Change By June 2015!”

As a bonus, the first talking head on the 2008 video clip is Peter Gleick, a liar.

On the other hand, you can be a liar without being wrong and wrong without being a liar. Prediction is tricky. I am still three-quarters half willing to be convinced that significant, although not catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming is happening. But supporters of this hypothesis have to explain why we should believe them this time when they were so confidently wrong last time.

28 comments to They don’t make ’em like that any more

  • Catastrophic or not is the only important question. If it isn’t catastrophic, then “close down industrial civilization” is not a appropriate remedy, and from a policy point of view that is all that really matters.

  • Barry Sheridan

    There seems to be a trait in humans that seeks solace in gloom. Every generation throws up some interpretation of this, today’s version being Linked to AGW,. Given that the earth’s climate drifts over time irrespective of human input the idea can be used by the scrupulous as well as the unscrupulous. The pity is that science, or a body of it, has been suborned by political ends, influence enabled by control of funding streams. The problem with this is a debate whose winner is unknown, a conclusion that is to the detriment of much of the human race because artificial constraints are being introduced to the sort of economic progress so very necessary for many millions. Those misusing this issue are not being helpful, they are engaged in the criminal neglect of the lives of the unfortunate. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Richard Quigley

    Your definitions of ” significant”, and “catastrophic”. That is to say, how you might see the resulting climatic culmination of these two terms.
    There is a problem in that the determinants for a baseline for warming, in this an interglacial period, are not firmly established. Them again, if you lived where I do, a 2*-3* increase in average local warmth would be much appreciated.
    I’m with Judith Curry. This is a “wicked problem” with extremely high levels of scientific uncertainty.

  • Paul Marks

    I make no apology for repeating my standard point on this whole theory.

    If people really believe that C02 emissions have terrible consequences they will support a massive expansion of the number of nuclear power stations.

    Even James Lovelock (the “Gaia man”) admitted that windmills and solar cells are going to make no real difference.

    So Warmists.

    Do you believe in your theory or not?

    If you do – you will support a massive expansion in the number or nuclear power stations.

  • Richard Quigley

    I don’t subscribe to the Warmist’s theories but I would stand with Mr. Marks and support a MASSIVE expansion of nuclear power installations.

  • Well, it’s Hitler’s “Big Lie” theory writ large isn’t it? Twenty years ago “climate science” was a fringe endeavour. Climate physics certainly did get the monies particles, solid-state or astro got. Under Dubya (yes, Dubya!) it saw in the US alone a climb in funding that could rival that for the Manhatten or Apollo programs. Now this has two effects. You can’t realistically ramp so fast because of the time it trains to get to say post-doc level (and that was roughly the time scale from starting as a student). Would it be nasty of me to suggest many climate scientists aren’t the sharpest tools because of that?

    Ah but I compared to Manhatten and Apollo… The USA had a huge influx of extraordinarily talented scientist and engineers from Europe. Thank you Herr Hitler, Thank you Comrade Stalin! It was exceptional circs in terms of a skilled base of men and women. I mean, one example. You get Hans Bethe (who worked out how the stars shine) arriving with a tatty suitcase. Do you get him digging ditches or do you make him head of T-Division (Theory) at Los Alamos? Up to you! Then at the end of the War there was “Operation Papreclip” which was basically grab as many German rocket and jet guys as poss before Stalin scrobbles them. It was highly successful not least because living in Truman’s USA was a heck of a lot of a better look-out than Stalin’s USSR.

    At one point in a detente type meeting between the USA and the USSR a Russian (this more in the era of Krushev banging his shoe at the UN and promising to, “Bury the West!”). After putting-up with a lot of boasting about space dogs and Sputnik a US rocket engineer retorted,”We’ll get to the Moon before you commie bastards because our Germans are smarter than yours!”. I think I bawdelerised that a tad. But essentially it was true.

    A little known fact about Apollo is that Neil and Buzz* buried trinkets on the moon of lost Astronauts and Cosmonauts. “We come in peace for all mankind” and all that. A touching gesture.

    None of this applied to an astonishing, exponential rise in climate funding just, just in Dubya’s 8 years. I guess now they are resorting to getting folks in as Readers in Climatology that they found in the dumpster. It is a tragic state of affairs. Hence the “Big Lie” to keep keep the hybrid powered bus keep on rollin’.

    *I wanna make this known right now. I live just down the road from Jodrell Bank and Buzz Aldrin was due at a star party. I have gone to a few but this was organised by the BBC, not Manchester University and was ‘slebs only. God damn you! I pay the license fee and just being in the same space as one of my heroes… I would have tried to get him (if poss to autograph) one of my old textbooks. But I wouldn’t have been pushy but just to be there.

  • Myno

    If only the world were free, so that individuals were free to choose wherever to live, and so land prices could reflect reality rather than political dislocations. So what if sea levels rise or fall, crop supporting rains shift location, or hypercanes ravage coastlines? (Yes, pity the poor creatures/species that cannot pick up and move, but there have been rapid shifts in the past, and life will be made stronger by survival’s trials.) Pick your risk and live accordingly. Alas, politics uber alles, so any discussion of climatology is necessarily political, when it could merely be a matter of calling the moving company.

  • bloke in spain

    I’d give you your “three-quarters half willing to be convinced that significant, although not catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming is happening” Natalie.
    “NYC Under Water from Climate Change By June 2015!”
    I was down on the Essex coast a little while back. Maldon way. Went over on Mersea Island see some old friends.
    It’s not just New York failing to be underwater. The Blackwater’s so flat it makes Holland look like Switzerland. You measure altitude there in inches. Small inches. Yet it looks exactly the same as it did when I was going down there in the early seventies. The amount of sea level rise has been precisely zero.
    If I’m going to believe in “climate change” I want to see some climate change. Something I can look at & say yup. Things is changin’. But I don’t see it. The snow on the mountain, back of our place in the hills is much as its always been, according to the locals. Even the coast near the apartment doesn’t seemed to have changed much. Not going by where the Romans built their fish sauce factory, round the end of the Punic Wars.
    Sorry. Tiny figures on graphs regarding places no-one’s ever heard of don’t cut it.

  • Laird

    “Catastrophic or not is the only important question.”

    Well, that basically depends upon your definition of “catastrophic”. To me, it means massive, bad and fast. Like the (presumed) asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs. But no one (not even the worst of the alarmists) is predicting that. A sea level rise of two or three inches in a century? Even if true, or even twice that, it’s not “catastrophic”.

    Any climate change, whether anthropogenic or natural, will be gradual. There will be more than adequate time to prepare and adapt. We can build dikes where it’s appropriate, and simply abandon the land and relocate the few local people (over a span of generations) where it’s not. And even this assumes that global warming will be bad, which is far from a given. No one has ever done anything approaching a proper cost-benefit analysis of it, and I’m certain that’s because even the most ardent warmists realize that the results would not be in their favor. Longer growing seasons, increased agricultural areas, better air quality (more CO2) for plant life, more human-habitable areas; what’s not to like? I say bring it on!

    I’m certainly unwilling to condemn my descendants to penury based on facile lies, gross hyperbole, sketchy (at best) and unproven “science”, improbable outcomes and unexamined consequences. Frankly, I think that anyone who is so willing is pretty despicable.

  • Dom

    It is not even a question of whether it’s catastrophic or not. The question is, “what is the best way to allocate resources? “. The answer, I think, is still the marketplace.

  • Regional

    Britain has converted a power station to wood chips, a renewable source of energy.

  • Phil B

    To be fair, June 2015 has a bit more than two more weeks to go. Just watch out for that 20 foot a week rise in sea levels …

    I’ve ordered popcorn.

  • Regional

    You’re introducing logic, go sit and face into the bad corner.

  • Regional

    bloke in Spain,
    In Sinny Harbour Fort Denison was constructed to defend Sinny from invasion from Seppos, Frogs and Russians. The sea levels as observed at it’s base have not changed in a 120 years or so.
    Dumb Sinnysiders who commute across the Harbour by ferry are aware of this but still believe in rising sea levels. Astrayans are the dumbest nation on the planet.

  • JDN

    bloke in spain:

    If I’m going to believe in “climate change” I want to see some climate change. Something I can look at & say yup. Things is changin’

    There are many people who believe that every burp, hiccup and fart that emanates from Nature is proof of climate change. For myself, I have to wonder what would Nature look like if CC wasn’t happening. What would be the difference?

  • Laird,
    Good def of “catastrophic”. I don’t know if you are aware but catastrophe theory is a branch of maths dealing with sudden discontinous change. Example: Get an elastic band and stretch it. Now for a time the band acts as you’d expect in that the more you apply force the longer it gets until… Ping! It snaps. That is a catastrophy although admittely a small one but one you can do at home.

  • The most obvious sign that sea levels haven’t changed in decades if not centuries is that marine nautical charts have not been updated to reflect any change. The people who rely on these charts – ship/boat owners and sailors – are content to use the same charts from decades ago, without fear of hitting a bridge. These guys have skin in the game. What skin do the fearmongers have in the game, except their salaries?

  • Frank S

    Other rascals are still at it today, here in the UK. Here is a report of David King’s latest piece of play-acting: http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/6/11/le-spin-cartoon-notes-by-josh.html
    Self-glorifying dramatisation can be lucrative. You can see why they do it. Scaring others for a living that is.

  • Kevin B

    “If it isn’t catastrophic, then “close down industrial civilization” is not a appropriate remedy…”

    Even if it is catastrophic, closing down industrial civilization is not an appropriate remedy.

    Catastrophic climate change may well take place over the next couple of millenia – some say that it’s overdue – and when it comes along, when the glaciers are building up over Birmingham, we’d better have a thriving industrial civilization with a robust energy supply system or we’re going to have a few problems.

    Well, we’re gonna have a few problems anyway, but the wealthier we are as a society – and wealth and ready availability of energy are closely related – the better able we will be to cope.

    (A growing off planet presence might be a good thing as well.)

  • You do realise that linking to stuff like this makes them “Popular with readers of Samizdata.net” as far as Google is concerned?

  • Mr Ed


    What does this mean?

    Does not ‘carcinogenic‘ mean ‘giving rise to cancer’?

    So ‘anthropogenic‘ means ‘giving rise to humans’, does it not?

    We know the ‘science’ simply isn’t science, the neologism is nonsense too.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    As I believe Rush Limbaugh once observed, if climate change is for real, it will be liberal enclaves like New York City and San Francisco which will be inundated – so what’s the problem?

    Being a little less facetious, on the downside, computers and the internet have pretty much abolished personal privacy. On the upside, they make it very easy to find liberals’ predictions from years ago about climate change, hold them up for ridicule and, hopefully, make a few more people less credulous about the whole issue.

    In the wider context, western democracies built gigantic, regulatory bureaucracies to fight the world wars, and these were never dismantled when hostilities ended. To justify their existence, they needed an enemy, a need which was met handily by communism. For forty years people, especially in the United States, were warned about the danger of reds under the bed and the like. (I’m not saying communism wasn’t a threat, but its existence was very convenient for big-statists in the West.)

    Then, quite suddenly, the Berlin Wall came down and communism effectively keeled-over and died. The old enemy was gone and the bureaucratic, regulatory state needed a new one – and quickly – to justify its continued existence. Only there wasn’t a plausible enemy, except for humanity itself.

    Hence the rapid rise of environmentalism following the end of the Cold War. It’s also interesting to note the previous surge of environmentalism was in the early 1970s, during the era of détente and the thawing of East-West relations. Then the Cold War got chilly again and it was pretty much forgotten about.

    If global warming/climate change, as it’s currently promulgated, didn’t mesh so perfectly with the tax-and-regulate agenda of the liberal left, I might be less skeptical about it.

  • Paul,
    The Gaia hypothesis (when stripped of it’s quasi-spiritual trimmings quite an interesting idea. Basically that Darwin didn’t get the whole truth (who does? apart from Al Gore, natch). It is the idea of the interlinks between species. I read many, many years ago a fascinating article in SciAm (back when it was worth reading using it as a metaphor for tech development. The best doesn’t always win out. I could have the bestest phone in the World and if it doesn’t work with the networks then it is no use. There is also symbiosis to consider. Consider domestic animals on this score. It is very complicated and because it changes all the time then it’s really complicated in a way physics where the laws stay the same isn’t. Now here is a question. Can evolution evolve? No I’m not mad. Consider cats and dogs. The domestic cat comes in a variety of breeds. So does the domestic dog but in the later case the variation is tremendously greater. A zooligist from Alpha Centauri would probably be gob-smacked to realise a Dachshund is the same species as a Great Dane when they’d done the DNA. My point being that different species seem to have intrinsically the capacity for more variability. And in evolutionary terms this has changed very rapidly.

    Has anyone crosbred a Dachshund and a Great Dane? I’m not suggesting you try it at home kiddies!

  • RAB

    They’re pretty smart them Dachshunds and they bring their own stepladders with them. 😉

    I was an adequate science student during my High school days, not particularly enthusiastic, but i keep finding it hard to believe that a 0.04 trace gas, CO2, which plants love and thrive on, without which in fact we, and everything else on this planet would go extinct if its volume fell below 200 parts per million, is the sole cause of predicted planet catastrophe.And we humans only add to that volume by 0.05 %

    The Biosphere experiments were enclosed environments back in the late 70s and 80s that hoped to find a way for humans to live on hostile planets like Mars and maybe Venus, but in outer space certainly. They were much admired by the powers that be but unfortunately were run an manned by a bunch of hippies rather than scientists (are you listening Greenpeace etc?). Anyway Biosphere 2 went to hell in a handcart and the self enclosed resident workers went a bit mental when the ants moved in (they hadn’t factored for the ants). But in the meantime the level of CO2 inside the dome had reached 750 parts per million. That folks is twice the level that the Greenies think will be catastrophic. What was found, as the dome was laid out into different climatic areas was that the one designated desert was now becoming a savanna!

    So why don’t we sit back and let the global temperature grow by 2C. I can handle it and I’m sure you all can. It may be incredibly beneficial to mankind overall. Why is 380 parts per million of CO2 set in fuckin stone?

  • Phil B

    @RAB – the dachshund wouldn’t need a ladder. His friends put him up to it …

  • Robbo

    “Prediction is tricky”

    The trouble is that prediction is so easy. You just open your mouth and yap it out, and if it fits the ‘narrative’, the press, always needing new sensations, will pick it up and amplify it.

    Reliable prediction, that is something entirely different….