29 November 2018
You heard about The National Climate Assessment, but did you read any of it??
Posted by Dan Satterfield
You really should.
For those of us who read the journal articles, there is really no surprises here. Climate change is not something in the future anymore, it is happening now and in most cases, the predictions made twenty years ago were too conservative. In short, it’s worse than expected. The changes we have seen with a rise of under a degree C are frankly alarming.
So start by taking the time to read the summary report, or if you are a geek like me, read the whole thing. Now, admittedly all that scientific evidence could be wrong. Yes, every major scientific body on Earth including the AMS, AGU, Royal Society, National Academies, AAAS (and all but about 5 experts in the field) could be wrong about it.
It’s a scary thought that we could change to a cheap clean energy and get rid of the deadly air pollution and it’s all for nothing. You just have to ask yourself if your morning on Google looking for people who will tell you its a hoax is because the facts conflict with your worldview and you just can’t handle it.
Now, there are some crazy things floating around out there, and usually, I avoid giving them any more publicity but I am breaking my rule this week since this report has made news and brought more than the usual number of nutty posts on social media. What follows are some needed corrections.
First from Zeke at the NOAA Climate Info. Center.
Sea Level is not rising?
Dan Neuman from Canada has a post that is spot on. While past ice ages were caused by Milankovitch cycles, we now face taking our climate out of the range which has existed for all of human civilization. It’s not that the climate is changing, it has in the past for different reasons than now, the problem is HOW RAPIDLY it is changing now, and the fact that we do not fully understand what the consequences will be.
Lastly, we seem to be living through an age where people believe ignorance is a cultural asset to take pride in. Trust me it is not and never will be. When 5 people told me the image below that I posted on my Facebook page was taken in the desert of New Mexico, I thought of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions…”
Are these silly claims a cry for attention, or the result of a failing public education system? Probably both, but I just banned them from my Facebook page, because life is far too interesting to bother with that kind of stupid.
Free speech means you have the right to any opinion, but you are not exempt from being ridiculed for it. A lot of folks said really dumb things in response to the climate report this week and found out how true that is.
1. Science has always underestimated the effects of climate. It’s always worse than they expect. Scientific reticence, editorial policies and tunnel vision have contributed to this.
2. Stop calling it “cheap clean energy”. There is no such thing unless it’s photosynthesis. All forms of man-made energy are derivatives of fossil fuels. They all create carbon emissions. And none of it is “cheap”.
3. The 4th Assessment unfortunately, continues to suffer from underestimation. Little but nagging issues of what temperature increase like 4C actually mean (starvation) aren’t articulated. And the very important point – we do not have to wait for 4C to experience critical food shortages – that actually begins now as different parts of the world heat up and dry out. But at 4C – it’s over. And that’s exactly where we are headed.