On attenuating pending climate change…

The exploration, examination, and exposure of underlying climate change factors and concerns are all good and well and I support and applaud the balance of them.

However, the fact remains that humanity it not paying attention. China and India are building and using more and more coal fired electricity generation plants – with no end, or even reduction, in sight. Nat.gas and oil exploration and acquisition is continuing apace if not faster. Green energy alternatives are barely getting by; sure they continue to expand, but at a comparatively slow rate.

At this point additional alarm raising appears futile. A more rational approach might be to accept 450+ ppm CO2, accept increasing climate change impact, and get on with dealing with what most assuredly will be, rather than what we might hope (but fail) to prevent.

Face it, for the next 100+ years the planet will enter and experience a vastly different climate than what humanity has enjoyed for the last 10,000+ years. Humanity is just too short sighted to look out 2-10 generations and try and fix a future world. Fixes in the past, FDA, EPA, toxic dumping, pollution, were all single generation fixes. Climate change is so large, extensive and drawn out that most humans cannot fathom a fix.

So, prepare for the inevitable. This train has left the station and will not be making stops for the next 100 years.

2 thoughts on “On attenuating pending climate change…

  1. http://www.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2015/08/commentary-underestimating-the-impact-of-climate

    A changing climate threatens our productivity and effectiveness and, unchecked, could lead to an endless recession.

    By Geoffrey Heal, Jisung Park

    In a bid to cement his legacy as a champion of the environment, President Obama’s administration recently unveiled regulations aimed at tackling climate change by fostering our use of clean, renewable energy. While we applaud the federal government for taking a stand on one of the most important issues of our time, we believe the most pressing issue of climate change is economic.

    Geoff HealAn emerging body of research suggests that rising temperatures are eating into our productivity right now, in part due to the fact that human beings haven’t evolved to operate well at climatic extremes. If we continue to move at our present pace, the possible future economic impact is equivalent to an endless Great Recession.

    Quite simply, the hotter we are, the less effective we are at any task we tackle. A fact first noted by the British navy when at war in the tropics, this has now been documented many times in the lab. These findings should not be surprising: anyone who has watched construction workers toil in midday heat or attended a class in a freezing lecture hall can intuit the link between thermal stress and human performance.

    What has been less understood is just how significant the impact of extreme temperatures on productivity can be. Emerging work suggests that it may be substantial. A 2012 study covering all General Motors plants in the U.S. found that output dropped by 8 percent during weeks in which temperatures exceeded 90°F for six days.

    This is perhaps the most surprising of the plant-level studies, as most would expect a high-tech industry like auto manufacturing to be immune to the weather. Another study, in India, found that plant-level productivity among Indian manufacturers declined by roughly 3 percent per degree Celsius (1.8°F) above twenty-five degrees C (77°F).
    Quite simply, the hotter we are, the less effective we are at any task we tackle.

    These findings also hold for entire economic sectors including agriculture, transportation and tourism. In the Caribbean and Central America, industrial output drops by 2.5 percent per degree Celsius increase in summer temperature, controlling for the impact of storms and other correlated weather events.

    In our own research, we complemented these small-scale studies with cross-country research, and confirmed worldwide that temperature increases in hot and poor countries lead to a sharp drop in productivity, on the order of 3-4 percent per degree Celsius (or 2.5-3 percent per degree Fahrenheit).

    jisungIf the more extreme predictions turn out to be accurate, temperatures could rise by as much as 6 degrees centigrade by the end of this century, leading to a huge drop in productivity in hot regions, nearly 20 percent.

    A drop in productivity of only 4.3 percent, corresponding to a temperature increase of 2°C or less, would lead to a drop in output on the same scale as the massive recession of 2007 – 2009.

    The direct economic impact of these productivity losses pales in comparison to the overall price tag of a business-as-usual approach to climate change.

    The most significant of those costs are likely to derive from extreme weather events, like the drought in California, now stretching into its fourth year, which cost the state $2 billion in 2014 alone. Just as importantly, many of the most significant costs—like mass extinctions and wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems—can’t be monetized.

    Even limiting ourselves to the ledger of strictly economic costs and benefits, however, the absence of these productivity losses from our present models indicates that we are likely gravely underestimating the final costs of climate change.

    Fortunately, we can begin to prevent these productivity losses by making sure that the hotter parts of the world are provided with adequate carbon-free electricity for air conditioning.

    Using carbon-free electricity is exactly where the Obama administration’s proposal propels us and the return on investment could be significant in economic and human terms. Of course, none of these things will be easy, or cheap, but it is clearer than ever that the highest cost is the cost of doing nothing.


  2. Chris Mooney, you realize that nothing you report on this topic will convince those not already convinced. The divide between the open minded and the closed minded grows daily and cannot be patched or bridged. For example:

    • Imagine a 70 year old man who smoked all his adult life, dying from lung cancer. Smoking didn’t kill him — an AGW denier would say, people die from lung cancer who never smoked a day in their life.
    • Imagine a 70 year old man who never exercised, ate high salt, high fat meals all his adult life, dying from arterialsclerosis. His lifestyle didn’t kill him — an AGW denier would say, people die from heart disease every day who had excellent exercise and eating habits.
    • Imagine a 70 year old obese man with diabetes. His poor diet won’t kill him — an AGW denier would say, people of all weights and diets get diabetes every day.
    And technically, the AGW deniers are correct.
    But probability arguments do not work on the closed mind. No amount of probability fact slinging will sway the argument.
    So, really, don’t bother; you’d be better off writing fiction.



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