Somebody wake Dr Delacroix from his midday, wine-induced nap

For the first time in 112 years, snow has fallen in Cairo, Egypt. I haven’t been to that side of the Mediterranean yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to, but I can’t believe it’s snowing there. It seems like it’s been cold everywhere over the past couple of weeks.

Dr Delacroix, if he weren’t off somewhere sulking, would be ecstatic. (h/t Aliens in the Family)

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10 thoughts on “Somebody wake Dr Delacroix from his midday, wine-induced nap”

  1. Until fairly recently I’ve been agnostic about the causes of global warming. After wading through the most recent IPCC report there’s not much doubt left in my mind.

    “Understanding of the climate system results from combining observations, theoretical studies of feedback processes, and model simulations. Compared to AR4, more detailed observations and improved climate models (see Box TS.4) now enable the attribution of detected changes to human influences in more climate system components. The consistency of observed and modeled changes across the climate system, including regional temperatures, the water cycle, global energy budget, cryosphere and oceans (including ocean
    acidification), point to global climate change resulting primarily from anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. {10}”

    Be forewarned it’s 2000+ pages long and not an easy read. On the other hand it’s not the babbling of internet cranks.

    http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_All.pdf

    1. Thanks Terry.

      Unlike Dr Pinocchio I can plainly see that the earth is getting slightly warmer, but I share his skepticism about the causes of this slight warming. I think it’s just a cycle of some sort and that the “anthropomorphic” explanation borders on cranksterism.

      My logic follows along two different paths. On the one path, there is the fact that people have always sought to use the weather as a tool for governing over others. We may have computers and grocery stores but we are no different from the ancients.

      On the other path, there is the fact that we have, as a species, become relatively advanced enough to detect changes in our climate. I think the fact that we can now detect changing patterns is what has so many climate scientists worried: For thousands of years we got along fine with the weather, but now that we have technology that can detect subtle changes and longer-term patterns the world is coming to an end.

      I don’t buy it. Speaking of money, there is also the issue of incentives though I don’t think most scientists are purposely using climate change as an excuse to get more funding for their research. Whether this incentive is built into the post-war West’s science paradigm or not is a topic I think we should explore more in-depth.

  2. “I think it’s just a cycle of some sort and that the “anthropomorphic” explanation borders on cranksterism.”

    Ok. The report is there as a resource [not as homework as Dr. P would say]. You can read what they say or not and, like I said, a 2000+ page pdf verges on masochism :)

    “Speaking of money, there is also the issue of incentives though I don’t think most scientists are purposely using climate change as an excuse to get more funding for their research. Whether this incentive is built into the post-war West’s science paradigm or not is a topic I think we should explore more in-depth.”

    In my experience scientists [including social scientists and including me] are incented to get more money for their research. The effects of funding on research can be worrisome. For example for reasons of politics and public opinion a disproportionate amount of money was devoted to HIV research. By disproportionate I mean that in my opinion there would be more bang for buck on bigger public health problems like malaria, certain cancers etc.

    However does that mean that I should doubt the findings of the virologists, immunologists, and all the other -ists doing the research? I think not. Certainly not in the aggregate. Chasing the bucks might lead them to doing research in the ‘wrong’ area so to speak but it won’t lead them to falsify their results.

    Unlike Dr. P I’m a big fan of scientific consensus; the bigger the sample the better the guesstimate that central tendency will give me.

    1. A book that’s over 2000 pages long and claims to know what the best course of action is for solving a crisis of humanity?

      Where have I heard that before?

      Nevertheless, your point on the effects that incentives have on funding is well taken.

      1. I must disagree; there is nothing in the report about any course of action let alone a best one. It’s 2000+ pages of trying to nail down problems.

        I’m not a climate change activist so I’m not really familiar with what they advocate. I don’t know if there is any sort of consensus, I doubt it. Like Dr. P. I think nuclear power is a big component of any course of action, I doubt that is a widely shared opinion among environmentalists.

        If, just for the sake of discourse, there is global warming and human activity is a contributing cause what would a libertarian response look like? The rate of temperature change matters so assume the long term trend from the IPCC as an annual change. Is it purely a let-the-market-deal-with-it approach? Is there a role for state action?

      2. Good question:

        If, just for the sake of discourse, there is global warming and human activity is a contributing cause what would a libertarian response look like? The rate of temperature change matters so assume the long term trend from the IPCC as an annual change. Is it purely a let-the-market-deal-with-it approach? Is there a role for state action?

        The state is simply another organization created by humans to deal with problems that arise, so ‘yeah’ there might be a role for the state.

        Libertarians argue that the state wields a monopoly on force and that it should therefore be granted extremely spare duties (if any at all). However, unless the ice caps were melting at a catastrophic rate, I see no need for the state to intervene.

        A lot of debates libertarians get into these days is simply explaining to people that catastrophe is not around the corner, and that therefore more government intervention into whatever sphere of the economy or society is not necessary. It’s a tiring war, but one we’re prepared to fight.

        A good way to deal with the pollution that we now have is to reform property rights regimes. I think that pollution is not punished harshly enough but also that state-owned property rights (such as rivers, oceans, forests, etc.) essentially create the pollution by inviting a perverse incentive structure. Does this make sense?

  3. “I think that pollution is not punished harshly enough but also that state-owned property rights (such as rivers, oceans, forests, etc.) essentially create the pollution by inviting a perverse incentive structure. Does this make sense?”

    Oh yes. However, I have no hope that the reformation of property rights regimes you want can happen. If you’ll pardon the phrasing, I don’t think we can get there from here.

Please keep it civil (unless it relates to Jacques)

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