[LMB] OT: Effects of "Global Warming"

phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Tue Sep 13 03:36:49 BST 2011

On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 06:48:58PM -0700, Mitch Miller wrote:

> How do we know the climate of 1900 is the best of all possible worlds?

Our patterns of agriculture and urban settlement are based around,
adapted to, the climates of the past few centuries, or past few
millennia.  Growing season, rainfall amounts and patterns, glaciers and
rivers, freezing winters and the lack thereof.  It is rather unlikely
that random undirected change to a climate we are adapted to will make
things better for us, especially on net.  Certainly, given a new stable
climate, we could in theory become adapted to it, but getting there from
here can involve trillions of dollars on new infrastructure and economic

This year's drought has killed off much of Texas's cattle industry;
consider if those conditions become the new normal.  Consider what
happens if the Colorado river mostly dries up due to drough and glacial
loss.  Consider if the Northeast, mostly not built for hurricanes,
starts getting annual hurricanes.  Consider the monsoon cycle of India
stops, on which most of their agriculture depends.  Or the currents of
the north Atlantic shutdown, depriving Europe of its unusually warm
climate.  Results range from "regional economies dies" to "hundreds of
millions of people die".

I am always amazed at how "conservatives" who warn about unknown social
effects from things like gay marriage or universal health care can be
totally blase about playing roulette with the environment we depend on
to live.  We're told to be very cautious about social change, yet making
unprecedented changes to the environment is taken as normal, with "maybe
we should go slow on racing back to the Carboniferous" being asked to
jump through hoops of burdens of proof.

> Why or from what source do you derive that we have a right to be free
> from climate change?

Our desire for a secure food supply.

> What do we do if we've prepared for global warming, but, as some
> scientists believe, global warming causes a new Ice Age?

As worded this question doesn't even make sense.  It's not based on
much, either; 1970s concerns about global cooling were nothing like the
modern scientific consensus.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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