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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

global 'weirding' « Previous | |Next »
June 14, 2011

The Guardian has an article on the "new normal" of the extreme weather in Europe that is being explained as the result of the adverse effects of climate change.The drier springs and hotter summers that are currently being experienced in Europe is what can be expected in a warming world due to rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activities.

Sceptics argue that there have always been droughts and floods, freak weather, heatwaves and temperature extremes--it is just part of the natural order of things--and they discount the trend of record highs and record lows.

erosionABeach.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, erosion, Victor Harbor, 2011

In my own local ecosystem in Victor Harbor I notice the sand dunes along a favourite beach on our poodlewalks increasingly being eroded from the rising tides. The sand comes and goes say the sceptics. It's no big deal. Nature works in cycles.

For climate scientists the extreme weather events---the climate is more dynamic and violent--- are occurring more frequently, their intensity is growing, and the trends all suggest long-term change as greenhouse gases steadily build in the atmosphere.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:54 AM | | Comments (11)


For geologists earth history is all about cycles. It is a story of the unceasing motion of landmasses that constantly scatter and reform, and of the perpetual change of a planet wobbling along an elliptical orbit around the Sun. The combination orchestrates a climate that switches episodically between greenhouse and icehouse states.

Geo-contrarians, such as Ian Pilmer and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, say that politicians, journalists and the public are gullible over climate change because they lack a long-term perspective on how the Earth's ambient conditions can, and do, vary. In contrast, geologists, by virtue of an intimate appreciation of 'deep time' (i.e. change over many billions of years), have a better handle on this.

According to them the global cooling and warming observed during the last 150 years is just a short episode in geologic history and current global warming is most likely a result of the combined effects of many natural drivers of climate, and cannot be attributed to human impact.

"...current global warming..... cannot be attributed to human impact."

Yes it can.
And has been.
Conclusively so.

The argument that 'because there have always been changes in the climate due to forces beyond human influence, therefore any current global warming is due to forces beyond human influence' is self-evidently flawed and suggests that whatever else Plimer and company might have studied, it wasn't logic.

As I understand the position of most scientists, it is this: it is impossible to say that climate change has CAUSED extreme weather events, but the kinds of events that are occurring are entirely CONSISTENT WITH the forecast changes associated with climate change.

Those who argue in favour of doing nothing until 'the science is settled' simply do not understand the nature of scientific knowledge. However it's all beside the point now. The denialists have won the day and nothing remotely useful is going to be done in the USA or Australia.

Fortunately, most other countries have not descended into a dysfunctional politics where every single issue has to be forced into a one-dimensional, mindlessly ideological frame. Asian and European governments remain capable of assessing public policy on its merits. Presumably the rest of the world will eventually drag us kicking and screaming into some global arrangement when they have the power to do so.

"...there have always been droughts and floods, freak weather, heatwaves and temperature extremes--it is just part of the natural order of things..."

Oh yes indeed.

It's no good rushing into a half-arsed "solution" to a "problem" that might not actually exist. That would be foolish and a waste of valuable resources.

Unless, of course, that PROBLEM is asylum-seekers. In that case, feel free to go f@&king nuts!!!! Because.... DAMMIT.... that's something that needs fixing... NOW!

Sigh... I am utterly sick of this country.

Then I suggest that you don't watch Question Time in the House of Representatives online. It is rather salutary.

I am trying to figure out how Paul could have come up with such an inadequate conclusion, after what seemed a literate and intelligent build up.
There is one more serious reason to beware of sea rises- the loss of planking space.
Ok, no joking matter..
How will Paul's conscience react if he's wrong with his breathtaking(ly naive)"conclusion".
Can we consider all the misery that has ocurred through eco damage so far (eg, the Saheel in North Africa) and could occur in the future, mainly for billions of poor people living in locations like the Bay of Bengal?
"Try harder".

Paul Walter
Sorry. I was unclear in my comment. I was outlining the geo-contrarian's position and argument as the highest level of scepticism within the scientific community re the human causation is to be found amongst the geologists.

I don't agree with them. They---specifically Ian Pilmer and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists--- are wrong in excluding human activity (greenhouse gas emissions) as a cause of global warming.

Many of the climate change deniers are going whacko and seem to be living in some sort of an alternative universe about them being silenced big time.

Thanks Paul, perhaps my misread, too.
Appreciate the link; altho it's difficult to type when you are in "smirk" mode at what you've just read.

Global sea level is rising, and faster than expected.The two main causes of this rise are extra water entering the ocean from melting land-ice and the expansion of ocean water as it gets warmer. Both are inevitable physical consequences of global warming.

I've got a boat for sale.

Hey... I'm impressed, Les. Must be awesome for you. Really. But I don't need it.

Well... not unless the seas rise a whole sh!tload in the next 30 years or so.