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Global Warming: What part of "natural" disaster do they not understand?

It is one thing to plan and prepare for the enviable natural disasters which will occur on planet Earth, but it is altogether a different thing to imagine that man has a significant influence in preventing natural disasters on a global scale and to implement public policies which enlarge government, raise taxes, raise costs, encourage scarcity, lower the standard of living and reduce God-given and Constitutional freedoms.

More and more we find studies that link global climate change to public policies that appear to benefit the government rather than the citizens who give rise to the government. Particularly, I am concerned about the way in which science is characterized, or mischaracterized, as a driver of public policies which would enlarge government, raise taxes, raise costs, lower the standard of living and impinge upon our God-given and Constitutional Freedoms.

The latest publication to cross my desk is worthy of scrutiny, so we will simply comment on the statements made in the Publication’s Preface. It is a well-written piece of work, typical of many academic studies that turn commonsense observations into duplicative, but government-funded, research works with little new material. Somewhat like scientists analyzing the literature because they cannot afford or are disinclined to perform rigorous field work.

This is my analysis of the “Preface” of the publication “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” published by the National Academies Press. (ISBN: 978-0-309-27856-0) My comments are in blue italic and the emphasis highlights in red italic are also mine.


“Core features of the climate change situation are known with confidence.”

There has never been a fair hearing of those whose research runs counter to the information provided by the government and many scientists whose positions and projects are dependent on government support prefer not to comment lest they jeopardize their positions.  

“The greenhouse effect associated with the carbon dioxide molecule has been measured, as has the dwell time of that molecule and its concentration in the atmosphere.”

While it is true that science does have an understanding of the mechanics of atmospheric and dissolved oceanic carbon dioxide, it is also true that the science is not settled as to the quantitative or qualitative role carbon dioxide plays in the broader phenomenon of climate change.  

Because the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lags the rise in global temperature by a period from 600 to 1,000 years depending on the dataset used, it appears that carbon dioxide does not cause global warming; but is merely a consequence of global warming.   

The observed phenomenon of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide can be explained by the outgassing of dissolved carbon dioxide in the oceans as the oceans warm.    

“We also know that the rate at which carbon dioxide is currently being added to the atmosphere substantially exceeds the natural rate that prevailed before the rise of human societies.”

This is a partially intrinsically true statement that cannot be refuted due to carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere after the industrial revolution. That we know with any degree of measurable precision the rate at which carbon dioxide is being added to the atmosphere on a global scale is debatable.  

And, we do know from research that the Earth has been hotter, colder, with more atmospheric carbon dioxide and less carbon dioxide – all before any significant input from industrialized humans. And from this we can conclude that nature will do what nature will do – regardless of man’s braying at the moon or implementing public policies.  

“That means that a large and unprecedentedly rapid thermal impulse is being imparted to the earth’s ecology that will have to be balanced in some fashion.”

This is the beginning of the big lie.  

First, atmospheric carbon dioxide is a minor player as a greenhouse gas, significantly overshadowed by the greatest greenhouse gas, water vapor.  

Second, atmospheric carbon dioxide does not add energy to the thermal system, it merely retards cooling. Thus, there is no “thermal impulse” – whatever that means – to impact the Earth’s ecology.  

Third, global climate is a naturally chaotic system that defies predictive analysis, except on gross time scales. It should also be noted that nature appears to be self-regulating, with numerous feedback loops to control physical phenomena.  

And fourth, the idea that nature requires man to somehow “balance” gross physical phenomena – many of which defy our full understanding and many that are beyond man’s puny efforts to affect.   

“We know beyond reasonable doubt that the consequences will be extensive.”

This is another of those meaningless truisms like ‘changeable systems produce change, and at some time in the future, the change may be extensive.’  

We do not, however, know the timing, magnitude, or character of those consequences with sufficient precision to make predictions that meet scientific standards of confidence.”

What? The authors are admitting that we do not know enough about the physical phenomena to make predictions, yet we are prepared to enact disruptive public policies that enlarge government, raise taxes, raise costs, reduce the standard of living and impinge on personal freedoms?  

“In principle the thermal impulse could be mitigated to a degree that would presumably preserve the current operating conditions of human societies, but the global effort required to do that is not being undertaken and cannot be presumed.”

There is that undefined “thermal impulse” again.   

There is no anecdotal or scientific proof that mankind can alter global temperatures to any meaningful degree (pun intended), much less measure such changes in the context of the variability of natural climate phenomenon.   

And, there is no reason why one should assume that the current operating conditions of human societies is worth preserving against the background of physical, social and cultural change.  

That there will be those nations that do not choose to disadvantage their citizens and participate in this “new world order” should be regarded as disadvantaging the participants in a world where the participant’s efforts are negated or reversed by non-participants.  

“As a practical matter, that means that significant burdens of adaptation will be imposed on all societies and that unusually severe climate perturbations will be encountered in some parts of the world over the next decade with increasing frequency and severity thereafter.”

As a practical matter, it appears that the authors are disingenuous.   

Man has always adapted to climatological conditions, witness those who live in the Arctic, Antarctica, and the deserts. Man historically adapts to changing conditions by changing location, using adaptive shelters, and using adaptive clothing. Because the vagaries of climate may mean both warmer and colder climates, such adaptation will occur in response to changing conditions. Some people will move and some people will stay.

As for severe weather “perturbations,” there will always be adverse weather events. But, one should note that measuring the severity of these adverse events in terms of human life, property, or rebuilding costs is specious as man chooses to locate in known climatological danger areas – content that the probability of grossly overwhelming weather events is rather small – and can be mitigated with proper building codes and insurance.

It should also be noted that significant weather events are linked to the Sun’s energy output, the Earth’s position relative to the Sun, the Earth’s rotational dynamics, volcanic activity and plate tectonics, and deep ocean currents – all beyond man’s ability to significantly influence.   

I would suggest that the cyclic El Niño/La Niña–Southern Oscillation oceanic events are probably more directly responsible for adverse weather conditions and thus we can, to some degree, predict their impact on populated areas.  

“There is a compelling reason to presume that specific failures of adaptation will occur with consequences more severe than any yet experienced, severe enough to compel more extensive international engagement than has yet been anticipated or organized.”

Adaptation always comes at a cost and some people are willing to forsake those costs in order to accumulate present day profits.   

Even severe disruptions such as a relatively recent tsunami and massive earthquakes have resulted in an outpouring of humanitarian assistance. There is no specific requirement for ‘more extensive international engagement’ than already exists.  

“This report has been prepared at the request of the U.S. intelligence community with these circumstances in mind.”

Considering this report is not classified, one can assume that it contains information that is more political than military – and is based on open-source information sources that may or may not be refuted by additional observation and research.  

“It summarizes what is currently known about the security effects of climate perturbations, admitting the inherent complexities and the very considerable uncertainties involved.”

It is always prudent to ‘war-game’ various contingencies, both natural and manmade. But to implement public policies based upon speculation and an unproven hypothesis is to disadvantage those who take action for events that will never materialize, cannot be measured, and are not based on sound scientific evidence.  

“But under the presumption that these effects will be of increasing significance, it outlines the monitoring activities that the intelligence community should be developing in support of improved anticipation, more effective prevention efforts, and more decisive emergency reaction when that becomes necessary.”

Monitoring and more research – rather than precipitous and ineffective public policies is the correct path to pursue.  

What is ‘meant by more decisive emergency reaction when necessary’ is deeply troubling if politicians plan to act on the basis of unproven speculation and hypothesis.  

“The report was prepared by the members of the committee, all of whom helped shape the assessment presented and many of whom drafted elements of the text. The burden of constructing a coherent whole from individual contributions fell primarily to Paul Stern and Jo Husbands as the principal editors of the report.”

The reason I am skeptical of research reports assembled by editors from existing works is that the selection of the underlying works often supports the biases, prejudices, and beliefs of the underlying authors and the editors – some of whom have an unstated institutional bias towards the views held by their funding sources.  

While I do not put forth any opinion on these particular authors, editors or their findings, suffice it to say that both of the principal editors are not climate scientists and both come from a public policy perspective rather than a science perspective. Much like the United Nation’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).  

Dr. Paul Stern is a psychologist and the President of SERI (Social and Environmental Research Institute) which conducts research on social and environmental issues.  

Dr. Jo Husbands is a political scientist who has published widely on the topics of arms controls, arms transfers, weapons proliferation, and international negotiations.  

Some interesting paragraphs from the Summary …   

“Our study includes the full range of potentially disruptive events that are becoming more likely because of climate change, whether or not a particular event can be unequivocally attributed to human-caused climate change rather than to natural variation. We made this choice because any such climate events can become disruptive and create a need for U.S. government action regardless of whether they can at this time be uniquely attributed to anthropogenic climate change.”

It appears the authors accept that there is an manmade component to global climate change. It is a prudent approach to consider climate change regardless of man’s alleged effects on the global climate. To me, to assume that the manmade component of climate change is significant at this time, appears to assume facts not yet in evidence.  

Anthropogenic climate change can reasonably be expected to increase the frequency and intensity of a variety of potentially disruptive environmental events—slowly at first, but then more quickly. Some of this change is already discernible.”

Regardless of the scientific controversy over the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change, it appears that the authors have accepted manmade climate change as a fact – and a significant influence on the global climate.  

“Science is unlikely ever to be able to predict the timing, magnitude, and precise location of these events a decade in advance, but much is already known that can inform security analysis, including details about the character of events that are becoming more likely and about the general trajectory of increasing risk.”

OK, weather prediction is both an art and a science – and that long-range specificity as to events and magnitudes are beyond our current prediction abilities. Yet we find scientists projecting global temperatures in terms of decades. And, looking back over the previous predictions, find them somewhat wanting in accuracy and even direction of the trend lines 

Bottom line …

Like most academic publications dealing with climate change, there is the assumption that man can significantly influence the global climate. While there will always be some degree of climate forcing from man’s activities, nobody has proven to a scientific certainty that we are measuring anything more than nature’s inherent variability and that, if present, man’s signal may be lost in the chaotic behavior of nature.

I would much rather these researchers work on providing clean water, food, sanitation and electrical power to developing nations by using those nation’s natural resources for their people rather than being plundered by thugs, dictators and foreign corporations who appear to provoke regional skirmishes when they cannot bribe their way to contractual bliss. 

Consider the probability and implications of a mass population shift caused by a natural disaster. Now, consider that such a shift may be on the verge of happening in North Korea – where a starving population is held by a messianic lunatic with a nuclear weapon. Russia doesn’t want to provide for these people. China doesn’t want to provide for these people. South Korea, even though it speaks of reunification as a national goal, cannot and will not provide for these people. So what will happen if there is a natural revolution? Something that has a greater probability than man affecting the global climate.

It is time to stop working on projects which are rife with government-special interest corruption, projects which are never-ending and never produce meaningful results. (e.g. the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the Great Society, etc.) With little or no personal, financial or social consequences accruing to the corrupt politicians that implement disastrous public policies.

At some point in time, people will find that the pain that they have been forced to incur to create political power and wealth for a few is worthy of a revolution – and it may be this precise reason that intelligence monitoring studies are being conducted now under the guise of non-existent manmade global warming. Or climate change as it is now called – because of the actual observation of the cooling trend.

-- steve   

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

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