The Supreme Court can’t steal this one

BBC News:

Climate change campaigner Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The committee cited “their efforts to build up and disseminate knowledge about man-made climate change”.

Mr Gore, US vice-president under Bill Clinton, said he was “deeply honoured”.

Mr Gore, 59, won an Oscar for his climate change film An Inconvenient Truth while the IPCC is the top authority on global warming.

He told a cheering crowd of colleagues and journalists outside his office in Delhi that he hoped the award would bring a “greater awareness and a sense of urgency” to the fight against global warming.

That would be nice. I’m pretty sure that this award will come to seem more and more deserved as time goes on. My hope is that it’ll never come to seem prescient, that it will spur that greater awareness and a sense of urgency before Florida, say, is scoured flat by hurricanes, or Oklahoma by tornadoes. Or, say, before half the elderly in France die in a heat wave. Fingers crossed!

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14 thoughts on “The Supreme Court can’t steal this one

  1. Ananth

    Just for the sake of accuracy, cause I know that you want that…

    The supreme court stole nothing http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_watch/jan-june01/recount_4-3.html.

    Bush won 4 out of 5 recount scenarios. Only through the ambiguous and undefinable ‘voter intention’ would Gore have gotten a count that was higher.

    Now if you want to make an argument that more people wanted to vote for Gore but the butterfly ballot screwed things up or what not, blame Nader or the Democratic election chairman of the Florida counties…

    Now as far as global warming and peace prizes are concerned, I don’t see how global warming is a peace issue. This was political award to stick a thumb in Bush Administration eye for failing to accept Kyoto, even nobody is actually implementing kyoto…

    You should read this…. http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Skeptical-Environmentalists-Global-Warming/dp/0307266923/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0737795-8830565?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192454641&sr=8-1

    It really deals with Global warming priorities and the craziness of these ‘Day After Tomorrow Scenarios’ about Hurricanes being stronger, and though maybe more people die from a heat wave in August, much less people die from the cold, and so there is an actual net saving of life…

    Of course the old people in France would be alive if there kids could have been bothered to just check on them during the month off in August….

  2. Steve

    Now as far as global warming and peace prizes are concerned, I don’t see how global warming is a peace issue. This was political award to stick a thumb in Bush Administration eye for failing to accept Kyoto, even nobody is actually implementing kyoto…

    Yes, it is important to remember that even worldwide apocalypse is really just about U.S. politics.

    And speaking of tunnel-vision, this

    and though maybe more people die from a heat wave in August, much less people die from the cold, and so there is an actual net saving of life…

    is just… You know your food doesn’t actually originate in the supermarket, right? And that segments of the economy are interdependent, and feel shocks from, say, massive shifts in the viability of widely used agricultural practices? And that when resources are scarce, like arable land or carbon fuel to transport food from that disappearing arable land, and lots of people want to control them, a frequent result is war? Which is the opposite of peace? And probably kills more people than are saved by not freezing to death in the balmy summers of the Arctic fucking Circle?

    I demand that you at least try harder.

  3. Ananth

    That’s why I told you to read the book. He takes each of those arguments of the cataclysmic disasters and breaks them down to look at the whole picture. The world wide apocalypse is not the end result of global warming. It’s the equivalent to Nuclear Winter and other doomsday theories that get lots of attention, but are not likely, probable, or in some cases possible outcomes…

    So lets do this….

    First of all the lack of carbon fuel to transport food has nothing to do with the global warming argument. You can argue that carbon based fuels are bad for the environment in regards to global warming. You can also use that as a reason to get off carbon based fuel. You can also use the scarcity or the eventual running out of carbon based fuel as argument against using carbon based fuel. But carbon based fuel running as argument for or against global warming has nothing to do with matter.

    Now lets take your lack of food argument. According to Lomborg the most pessimistic models have an overall decrease in any climate area due to global warming as 1.4 percent of total production. However he contrasts that with the year of year average growth in agriculture production as 1,7% PER YEAR. Therefore, in the worst case models mean that at WORST we lose one year’s worth of growth in agriculture production. Hardly seems like a famine or causis bellus….

    I know that you think it is horrible to due a net calculation of lives lost. However you cannot simply count the added death caused by Global Warming without also looking into the lives that were saved. That doesn’t mean lives should be lost, and that are ways to prevent it, but there is a whole section on how deviation from an ideal temperature of a location leads to loss of life. The point was that an upward deviation lead to far less loss of life than downward deviations…

  4. Eric

    Seriously, I can’t believe this is even an argument. And in typical fashion (a la creatonism) turning it in to an argument makes it seem like you might actually have a valid argument. I’m not going to debate your very specific points for the moment. What I’m curious about is this; are you trying to say global warming isn’t even a problem, that somehow the sea level rising, droughts, floods and out of wack ecosystems will all even out in the end, or just that it isn’t as bad as people say? If it’s the former I’ll save my typing, if the latter at least we can debate with some numbers and I’ll take the time to check out your links. I see nowhere in your argument how lives are saved from less agricultural production.

    And I think Steve’s point on the fossil fuels is that they’re not renewable so eventually this will lead to widespread panic if we don’t have alternative energy sources to run our power plants, vehicles, etc. Not directly related to global warming, but still valid and part of the overall debate on switching away from non-renewable energy sources that aren’t even long-term economically viable (to say nothing of the environmental effects).

  5. Eric

    Ok I was curious so I read the amazon link’s descriptions. I see now you were referencing how cold weather deaths decreasing could potentially offset any increase in hot weather deaths. Possibly true in the short-term, but it still misses the larger point (by a lot). And frankly there’s no way I’m convinced it’s economically a good decision in the long-term. Photovoltaics, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc are expensive because there’s been little done in the way of R&D to date. And China and India modernizing is going to mean that either the global warming problems increase exponentially (if they follow our lead using fossil fuels), or that they’ll be WAY ahead of us with renewable technologies which will cut their costs and lower the value of our dollar even further. Either way we’re screwed.

  6. Ananth

    I conceded that the switching of fossil fuel is a valid argument, one which I agree with, for non environmental reasons. But we are talking about global warming , since this why the former Vice President recieved his Nobel prize…

    I was not saying global warming isn’t real or a problem. I was saying that the problem is over blown in its actual effect. There is a lot of overblown propaganda that distorts the actual findings or as in the case of increases temperature related deaths, conveiniently excludes the numbers that not only offset, but actually lead to a tremendous amount of lives saved. It actually accounts for about 100 years out.

    I didn’t say that lives were saved from less agriculture produced. What I said was that the overall decrease in agriculture production that could be attributed to global warming was 1.4 . That’s a one time decrease. The point was that agriculture production has had an average of 1.7 % per year, so even if the worse case happens, agriculuture production would not decrease overall, it would be the difference between doubling in 2081 vs 2080.

    If you read the book I linked, Lomborg specifically makes the argument about investing in R&D which I believe. His overall point was that trying to cut CO2 emmissions in itself was a waste of money because the cost was so great and the benefits are trivial. He then takes each concern over global warming and shows better ways that less money could be spent to help more people for the same problem. At no point does he deny global warming, or even deny that man plays a large part in it. It’s a very good read.

    You also need to look at the argument in the whole context. The issue is what is the best way to 1)Mitigate the negative impacts of Global Warming with the most effective Cost/Benefit
    2) Get to a point where further increase or even reversing global warming becomes a good investment

  7. Steve

    I was not saying global warming isn’t real or a problem. I was saying that the problem is over blown in its actual effect. There is a lot of overblown propaganda that distorts the actual findings or as in the case of increases temperature related deaths, conveiniently excludes the numbers that not only offset, but actually lead to a tremendous amount of lives saved. It actually accounts for about 100 years out.

    Okay, seriously, why? I’m interested to hear how the One-World Liberal Conspiracy benefits from propagandizing global warming into a crisis. Is it because they’re plotting to tear down the great Western industrialized nations by overregulating their businesses into oblivion, thus clearing the way for the U.N. Black Helicopters to swoop in under the pretense of providing food aid to all the suddenly-unemployed proud Americans, but instead disgorging the blue-helmeted shock troops of socialist multiculturalism who then eurofeminize our men, turn our children queer, and abduct our women into the harems of the Islamofascists?
    Tell me a story. I need a little fleshing out here.

  8. Steve

    Oh, also, one of the main functions of government is to do the things that are necessary for the well-being of the citizenry that are not good investments. By the time it becomes a good investment to mitigate the effects of climate change, too many people will be dead, and too many countries and businesses will have collapsed.

    Also also, I reiterate my comment about tunnel-vision. The world is not a collection of isolated statistical models. It’s a collection of interdependent systems.

  9. Eric

    Ok, now we’re talking. Ananth, I’m ok with most of what you’re saying. And the guy doesn’t sound nuts, but I still disagree with some of what he says. You wrote:

    “1)Mitigate the negative impacts of Global Warming with the most effective Cost/Benefit
    2) Get to a point where further increase or even reversing global warming becomes a good investment”

    I’m down with #1, but don’t want to rely on the market for #2. Steve’s point of government is my view as well. I want them to look at the big picture and not side with the oil companies who want to milk a little more out of their current infrastructure.

    Gore’s been talking about this for 20 yrs. The reason the “green movement” is picking up steam is because he’s finally publicized it enough and convinced enough people that companies are realizing they can profit from it. If these movies don’t come out, maybe it’s 10 yrs before the tipping point which would then most definitely be more expensive to course correct, negating your point. Plus, I don’t trust this government’s statistical models, because I don’t think they have my best interests at heart. And there’s no amount of money in the world that’s going to re-attach an enormous ice sheet if our statistical models have underestimated the ice cap melting (which they have by the way).

  10. Ananth

    I never said it was a liberal agenda. There are lots of reasons for the propaganda. It sells papers. A headline about Oceans covering New York City sell more papers. Scientist gain more funding by using more hyperbolic language, thus creating a feedback loop of more and more hyperbole. There is also a narrative that is out there, and things that don’t fit the narrative are put on page 7 and things that do fit the narrative go on page one.

    I agree with that part of the point of government is to do the expensive thing that are neccessary for the well being of the citizenry, and yes before the too many people die/strave or drown. And that is were cost benefit goes into effect. I think the position that global warming is a negative or positive is the wrong place to start. It merely is. What it does have are positive and negative effects. So we have to look at these effects, and say on the whole, if we do nothing where will we be? If do everything we can to prevent it, how much will it cost and what effect will it have?

    When you look at the numbers (Lomborg doesn’t use US data per se) full US participation in Kyoto will cost about 5 trillion with about a benefit of 2 Trilliion dollars, with a net effect on the temperature of a prevention of .3 degrees increase.

    So then the question is, we are going to spend 5 trillion dollars to combat the effects of global warming, would give us more benefit? There a ton of examples in the book, and it does look at things in interconnected system.

    The main argument in the book and against Gore is the slavish adherence to the idea that CO2 cuts are the only way to combat the effects of Global Warming. They aren’t even the best way.

  11. Eric

    All well and good, but THE what do the rich guys with no relevant experience think?

    You’re slipping Siwy. We’ll chalk this one up to old age.

  12. pedro

    Steve,

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I can’t bring myself to correct typoes anymore anywhere on the webs. I make FAR too many of my own!

    Otherwise, I really had nothing to contribute to this discussion. Yay Gore!

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