« Boo-Ya! | Main | Carbon taxes cannot be progressive »

October 11, 2006

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c08fd53ef00e550535b148833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Canute and Climate:

Comments

Jon Ihle

You might want to tweak your scenario a bit. The enviro-doomers are talking about sea level rises, not mere erosion. Erosion can be mitigated by partial walls, so the sea wall you describe isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, building a sea wall on an eroding shore while your two neighbours fail to could actually improve your property as the waves wash by your wall and deposit sand behind it, making a nice sand spit for sunning yourself in the warmer months.

Gerry O'Sullivan

Of course the wall could be built using taxpayers money, by a do-gooder, interfering, socialist government or local authority.

*hides under desk*

Frank McGahon

Jon, your own sea wall isn't going to do much good if your neighbour doesn't erect one - the sea will erode around the side, but point taken: I suppose you could build an additional wall along the boundary of your property (which would be ruinously expensive). One could amend the scenario by positing the sea wall as a line of defence a bit out to sea, rather than on the edge of your property.

Gerry, no need to hide under the table, I'm happy for people to draw this conclusion because it shows that the solution is only possible under a global government which is capable of enforcing its writ. I don't think such a global government is either desirable or likely.

enda johnson

But was not one of the underlying principles of the kyoto protocol that the industrialised 'west' go first? Not because it is thought that western cuts in emissions alone would suffice, but rather that it was considered important to demonstrate our committment to cuts. Kyoto 2 would then prescribe the same medicine to the industrialising 'east'.

In sea wall terms, am i not better to build my wall first, even without unanimity, in the hope that others will be persuaded, by my civic minded sacrifice, that it is indeed The Right Thing to do?

I mean what you're suggesting is that we all sit around ignoring the problem until we all drown?

Frank McGahon

But was not one of the underlying principles of the kyoto protocol that the industrialised 'west' go first? Not because it is thought that western cuts in emissions alone would suffice, but rather that it was considered important to demonstrate our committment to cuts.

But this is exactly the type of flawed thinking I'm trying to highlight. This doesn't make any sense at all, particularly so as there's nothing stopping polluting industries relocating to those less developed countries resulting in no net reduction in emissions.

In sea wall terms, am i not better to build my wall first, even without unanimity, in the hope that others will be persuaded, by my civic minded sacrifice, that it is indeed The Right Thing to do?

Why is a futile extravagant gesture "right" or even "Right"? - it does nothing but fool you into thinking you have done something to alleviate the problem, salving your own conscience/appealing to your moral vanity, meanwhile the tide continues to encroach.

I mean what you're suggesting is that we all sit around ignoring the problem until we all drown?

No, what I'm suggesting is that seeing as the wall isn't going to solve your problem you might want to look at other alternatives to drowning such as learning to swim, building a raft or a pontoon or moving to higher ground.

enda johnson

there's nothing stopping polluting industries relocating to those less developed countries resulting in no net reduction in emissions.

Well, when Kyoto 2 kicks in the developing countries will have to cut also, so this ought not be a long term issue, provided all those other fucking bastards start building their bits of the sea wall.

...fool you into thinking you have done something to alleviate the problem, salving your own conscience/appealing to your moral vanity

I don't agree with this assertion. The purpose is not to make me feel better, but to demonstrate the appropriate action in response to the threat, in the hope that my idiot neighbours will take the hint.

Though when i see Jon referring to enviro-doomers i fear that the international jewish conspiracy (tm) doesn't take the threat of climate change seriously, which may mean we're all fucked in the long run.

I am astonished that freemarketeers would actually countenance leaving 'market forces' wreak their destruction in the name of dogma, rather than try and intervene to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Do you imagine your grandkids will thank you for this 'laissez faire' approach to life and death?


Frank McGahon

Enda, the point I'm trying to make is that the Kyoto type approach won't work and can't work unless there can be guaranteed 100% compliance which there isn't and that partial solutions are worse than worthless. I'm trying to describe things how they are and not how the fairytale of Kyoto 2 would like things to be. Do you imagine your grandkids will thank you for tilting at windmills instead of making realistic preparations for what is likely to happen?

There's no dogma here except from you. I'm saying that - even taking all of the claims of Climate change activists as given - their prescription is likely to be worse than laissez faire. I've reasoned this by careful consideration and not by knee-jerk reaction. Meanwhile, you don't even bother to engage the argument and just reiterate the mantra that the "Right" way, the only way is to engage in extravagant futile gestures.

Peter Nolan

The sea level rises are going to be verrrrrry slow - about 1mm/year over the century in the worst case. The solution is that people don't live near it - but the US states' insurance regulation says differently. Have a look at Kerry Emmanuel's work, especially the Q&A on hurricanes and study in Nature that I wrote on in the SBP and this open letter:

http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/Hurricane_threat.htm

Jon Ihle

The international Jewish conspiracy (tm) prefers its apocalypse to be a little more biblical than the Greens do. And Jerusalem's on high ground anyway. As for Brooklyn...

enda johnson

The ground rules for this discussion are even taking all of the claims of Climate change activists as given, so i can hardly be accused of reiterating the mantra!

I am bothering to engage the argument, which is your assertion that because we can't guarantee 100% compliance with Kyoto, we shouldn't bother aiming for 90% or 80% and instead start planning for a world where global temperatures rise by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius by mid century. This is just an assertion by you and I don't see where you've demonstrated that the costs incurred by a partial implemetation of Kyoto are greater than the future costs of enviro-doom, except by implication in your initial analogy of a sea wall, where obviously, it's all or nothing. I'm talking about the total costs to everyone on the planet btw, not just the costs to the industrialised 'west'.

Or to look at it another way, convince me that the money wasted building all our houses on stilts and moving the population of Bangladesh to Tibet will by definiton be less than the money wisely spent by Kyotistas obviating such extravagent gestures.

What bothers me about this laissez faire approch to everything is that, let's face it, if we do it your way, the people in Bangaldesh are all going to drown, simply because laissez faire isn't going to countenance subsidising their transfer.

Frank McGahon

The ground rules for this discussion are even taking all of the claims of Climate change activists as given, so i can hardly be accused of reiterating the mantra!

Of course you can. I'm taking the claims about causes as given and pointing out why the solution won't work, to which your response is to reiterate the solution anyway - that is a dogmatic response.

which is your assertion that because we can't guarantee 100% compliance with Kyoto, we shouldn't bother aiming for 90% or 80% and instead start planning for a world where global temperatures rise by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius by mid century. This is just an assertion by you and I don't see where you've demonstrated that the costs incurred by a partial implemetation of Kyoto are greater than the future costs of enviro-doom, except by implication in your initial analogy of a sea wall, where obviously, it's all or nothing. I'm talking about the total costs to everyone on the planet btw, not just the costs to the industrialised 'west'.

Look, Kyoto itself is already a partial response. 100% compliance with Kyoto is already a waste of time and a distraction from the problem. Why on Earth would I think that 90% or 80% compliance with Kyoto was a good idea? The point is that if you accept that it is necessary to reduce emissions, the only way you can do that is to ensure that there are no loopholes. It makes no sense at all for one country to reduce its emissions by exporting its emitting industry to another country. This can happen either by companies either relocating to other countries or going out of business to be replaced by new companies in those other countries. Either way, there's no net reduction in emissions.

The question of whether the cost of reducing emissions is worth the net costs of climate change is a separate argument (and, by the way, is nowhere near as clearcut as you seem to think it is)Even assuming that it is, the type of solution promised by Kyoto can only work with full compliance which can only be enforced by some yet-to-be-established global authority.

Or to look at it another way, convince me that the money wasted building all our houses on stilts and moving the population of Bangladesh to Tibet will by definiton be less than the money wisely spent by Kyotistas obviating such extravagent gestures.

The reason it's less "by definition" is that Kyoto is not going to work, so we'll have the aforementioned costs anyway. The choice isn't between 1. Adjustments to take account of Climate Change and 2. Kyoto but between 1. Adjustments to take account of Climate Change and 1. Kyoto PLUS Adjustments to take account of Climate Change.

What bothers me about this laissez faire approch to everything is that, let's face it, if we do it your way, the people in Bangaldesh are all going to drown, simply because laissez faire isn't going to countenance subsidising their transfer.

This is a nonsense argument. Let's say that Bangladesh is due to be inundated. I'm going to be charitable and assume that you do realise that this wouldn't, couldn't happen overnight. Do you seriously imagine that people are just going to sit around for years, decades waiting for the water to engulf them? As the sea encroaches, people will, one way or another gradually move to higher ground with or without assistance. There may well be costs and knock-on effects associated with this but it's not that people are going to drown if we don't hold back the tides. In any case, I'm trying to show that - assuming climate change will cause Bangladesh to submerge - Kyoto won't be able to stop it. In this case, laissez-faire and Kyoto have the same effect. At least under laissez-faire, people realise there is a problem required to be solved, by whichever manner. You seem determined to conclude that I'm simply recommending laissez-faire for every problem because that's what dogma demands. Not at all - if the best way to help Bangladeshis is for a massive transfer from rich countries, I have no principled objection to this. What I do have a problem is dogmatically insisting on a costly solution that is, practically, bound to fail.

enda johnson

100% compliance with Kyoto is already a waste of time and a distraction from the problem ... but you haven't demonstrated this, you've just asserted it!

if you accept that it is necessary to reduce emissions, the only way you can do that is to ensure that there are no loopholes. Agreed. But the Kyoto protocols, once ratified, don't contain loopholes. Granted if the US don't sign up, they're banjaxed, but who's to say Al Gore won't be president? Who's to say the rest of the world won't get pissed off and impose sanctions against the Americans? Anything can happen 5 or 10 years from now, but if the whole planet just abandons Kyoto, just because the Americans are a little slower on the uptake, then it won't matter one way or the other in a couple of decades.

Do you seriously imagine that people are just going to sit around for years, decades waiting for the water to engulf them? Oh come on! You mean like those crazy Darfuris sitting around waiting to be slaughtered? Everyone knows they moved to Mulligar years ago! And those Jews in Auschwitz? Could never have happened - surely they would have just moved to Brroklyn? And don't get me started on those crazy Micks back in the Famine!

I'm ... pointing out why the solution won't work. No you're not, you're just asserting it won't work.

Frank McGahon

Agreed. But the Kyoto protocols, once ratified, don't contain loopholes. Granted if the US don't sign up, they're banjaxed, but who's to say Al Gore won't be president? Who's to say the rest of the world won't get pissed off and impose sanctions against the Americans? Anything can happen 5 or 10 years from now, but if the whole planet just abandons Kyoto, just because the Americans are a little slower on the uptake, then it won't matter one way or the other in a couple of decades.

Enda, you seem to be under several serious misapprehensions

1. The objective of Kyoto is to "stabilize" global warming which means to reduce the rate of increase, not to stall or even reverse warming.

2. The loopholes are many and varied. The aim is for "industrialised countries" only to reduce emissions to below 1990 levels

3. Your notion that it's simply a matter of the US falling in line is ridiculous. The US hasn't ratified the treaty but few countries have actually delivered on their Kyoto commitments. Germany, UK & Canada for example have not been able to meet the targets

Kyoto is completely banjaxed because a) even if fully implemented it won't stop climate change and b) there is zero probability of full compliance among "industrialised countries" never mind any probability that developing countries would come on board.

Oh come on! You mean like those crazy Darfuris sitting around waiting to be slaughtered? Everyone knows they moved to Mulligar years ago! And those Jews in Auschwitz? Could never have happened - surely they would have just moved to Brroklyn? And don't get me started on those crazy Micks back in the Famine!

Give me a break. The sea slowly, gradually reducing the size of Bangladesh cannot compare with a sudden event like the tsunami or potato blight, never mind a deliberate program of genocide. If you think there's no difference, try to imagine evading a Mack truck which is moving at walking pace and then try to imagine evading the same truck at 80pmh. And I note that you have ignored that I am not recommending laissez-faire as the solution for Bangladesh.

No you're not, you're just asserting it won't work

I have produced a simple argument - if you want a reduction in emissions, you need to get...a reduction in emissions. If the global economy generates a certain volume of emissions and you manage to ensure that those emissions don't come from certain portions of the planet (i.e. some industrialised countries) you haven't done anything to stop emissions increasing from the remaining portion of the planet to compensate. That's the point of the sea wall analogy. This is the argument you simply refuse to engage.

EWI

Even assuming everything that is said by activists about the cause of climate change is correct

In wingnuttia, of course, scientistsa count as "activists", wheras corporate shills and wingnut 'commentators' themselves are just disinterested Joes, tellin' it as it is.

*sigh*

Frank McGahon

No, yet again I mean what I say. If you're not clear of the meaning of the word "activist" - go and read the dictionary definition:

ac‧tiv‧ist  [ak-tuh-vist]
–noun
1. an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause.
–adjective
2. of or pertaining to activism or activists: an activist organization for environmental concern.
3. advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, esp. a political cause: Activist opponents of the President picketed the White House.

Note also that nothing precludes an activist from being a scientist, but it isn't necessary to be an actual scientist to be an activist, the vast majority of whom - and this is an empirical matter - aren't scientists.

Not, of course, that it makes the slightest bit of difference as once again you've offered a mere empty sneer in place of an argument and ignored that the very statement of mine you quote cedes, for the purposes of discussion, the entire argument about the causes of global warming and the point I'm trying to make here is not that "activists" are wrong about the causes but that their standard policy prescriptions won't do the job they want them to.

The comments to this entry are closed.

March 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          
Blog powered by Typepad