A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

04 February 2007

Flip-flopping on Climate Change?

During the last presidential campaign in the US, John Kerry was viciously attacked by various people, mostly self-styled "conservatives", for having "flip-flopped" by changing his stance on the Iraq war. It seems to me that most of the people who opposed the idea of climate change are self-styled "conservatives", or shills for people who are. So let us hold them to the same standard. But how to measure the degree of flippy-floppiness?

Well I thought we might try this: In newspaper business sections one often sees little items claiming that "If you'd invested $1000 in company X today, it'd be worth $233,096 today!" So I decided to conduct a similar experiment.

If you had been offered a thousand-dollar bet ten years ago that climate change due to global warming was real and was primarily man-made, how would you have fared until yesterday?

Well, if you'd taken the position that yes, climate change was real, that it was due to global warming, and that global warming was primarily man-made, you'd be ahead a thousand bucks. Net position: $2000.

If you took the position that climate change was not happening: You'd have lost $1000. Net position: -$1000.

If you then went double-or-nothing on the idea that climate change wastaking place but had nothing to do with global warming: You'd have lost again. Net position: -$2000.

If you again went double-or-nothing, accepting that there is climate change, and that it is related to global warming, but claimed that it had little or nothing to do with humans--you'd have lost. Net position is now -$4000.

And now, after the IPCC report, which has confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that a) climate change is taking place, b) it's related to global warming, and c) global warming is 90% likely human-made, the people who opposed the very idea of climate change are now saying that "Oh well, it's going to continue for at least two hundred years, so there's nothing we can do. We shouldn't even try. We'll just have to wait until we develop some way to stop it with science*."

My first question to these people is "Who exactly is flip-flopping? And who has been proven correct at every turn?"

My second question is: "Double-or-nothing?"

*But not the science we have now. Some other kind of science yet to be invented.


At 1:21 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the end of the last ice age was brought on by man? And the continued warming trend since then is also our doing?
I admit that we've probably accelerated the warming, but I don't believe that its entirely our fault.
The planets temperature is in constant flux and always has been. People tend to forget that.
I agree that our polluting ways need to be changed and hope that we will do it before we kill ourselves off.
A large part of the problem is actually knowing what is causing it. It seems that every few years the scientific community changes it's collective mind as to what the culprit is. Of course reducing pollution of any kind is a good thing, but we really need to know where to concentrate our efforts.
We need to hold corporations fully accountable for their actions that cause enviromental damage and impose punative measures that REALLY hurt profits. Until that is done they will just keep paying the fines because its cheaper.
Maybe one day we will be able to manipulate our atmosphere, but I hope by that time we won't have to.


At 6:34 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

As near as I can tell, what has in fact been happening, as expressed by this report, is that the scientific community, far from changing its collective mind, has in fact united behind a particular group of ideas. Which include the idea that humans are largely, not entirely, responsible.

Furthermore, the IPCC has refrained from actually suggesting measures, assuming (incorrectly as it not-so-surprisingly turns out) that politicians know the steps they must begin to take to treat this seriously.

But importantly, they have also said that that's no excuse not to act. Which is what I'm really agitating for.

The problem with penalizing industry for hydrocarbon emissions is that in fact the vast majority of the reduction needs to come from auto exhaust. Not that industrial wastes aren't also to blame, but we as consumers need to start thinking about reducing our energy footprints.

At 5:46 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Monsieur Metro


Former Frontier Editor has moved sites - I expect you will wish to up date your Blogroll to give his current Blog-Address

Au revoir


At 7:09 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Mein Herr Eagle, GSQ:

I had observed this, however I am inexcusably late in updating the blogroll.

Thoughts of doing it post-Blogger-II-migration, but I remain exceedingly leery of the product, so have been putting it off.

Thanks, and best to yourself and GlenEaglets.

At 7:34 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Monsieur Metro

I appreciate your FFE point

Off topic, I refer you to Paul Linford's blog - he is referred to on the the UK's most popular Blogs of (1) Guido Fawkes & (2) Iain Dale - Paul is one of their Daily Reads

Unlike your obedient servant, Paul is always worth reading - he has an interesting Post "A very un-British State of Affairs" about the UK's new Homo-sexual Discrimination Regulations

Your obedient servant etc


At 8:38 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Monsieur Eagle:

'Tis not so. I always look forward to your comments, and they are always worth the reading. We stand on the opposite side of many questions, I think, yet you are always civil and thoughtful. Which is more than I can say of my scribbling, no matter how I try.

I read Paul Linford's entry and I think he's wrong. He writes of one set of values being "imposed" upon another. But it was the Catholic church that threatened to take its marbles and go home if it wasn't publicly allowed to discriminate in the choice of adoptive parents.

That is, the Catholic church tried to impose its will on civil society.

I would feel just the same if the government had asserted that the Church now had to ordain women. In both cases it's an attempt to expand power beyond the organization's mandate.

If they had said they did not wish to allow children to be adopted by blacks or Hindus, there would have been a $#!7storm.

And what were they doing before?

It was not revealed exactly how many queer couples had applied to the Catholic church to adopt. I suspect it was roughly the same as the number of Muslims. But this tempest in a teapot will increase that number, because some people insist on making their point.

Just like the Catholic Church; Which, by the way, houses a huge number of homosexuals, but apparently allows them to run orphanages and adoption agencies without comment.

As for the "Britishness" of "muddling through", it doesn't seem to me that that's been applicable since slavery ended. Islam may permit four wives, but I doubt there's a tax form to account for the other three.

I feel that it is more British to maintien le droit in the face of meddlesome clerics and bureaucrats (even those within the government).


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