Mark's environmentsal panic attack

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Wed Jun 7 21:38:04 MDT 2000


Mark,

    Why is the end of the present interglacial merely "theoretical"? We've
got core samples going back close to 500,000 years showing the things works
like clockwork (well, almost).

    Now, I don't know about climate flipping, but I DO understand that, if
people do not change the climate system, all reputable scientists agree we'd
be going back in the freezer just about now, if not this millennium, then
the next or the one after. And as you noted earlier these changes tend to be
rather sudden. By the time people started noticing and talking about a
series of unusually severe winters, we'd probably be well on the way to
Siberia.

    Such a situation, I submit, is just as or more worrisome than even some
of the more dire global warming predictions.

    Fundamentally, nobody really knows what the net sum effect of human
produced changes in CO2 atmospheric levels are likely to mean, once it has
interacted with all the other factors that combine to create the climate.
The basic argument for climate change is that, all other things being equal,
such a rise in greenhouse gases would lead to such a rise in temperature.
But we actually do not know if all other things are equal, all the evidence
is that all other things are not equal, that they change constantly.

    I distrust the socalled "scientific consensus" around climate change
when it is presented as being something more than a widely accepted
hypothesis because it is rests on a "common sense" and "all other things
being equal" foundation. I do not believe nature works this way. I think the
evidence is that natural processes are dialectical, and that until we have a
better handle on just HOW climate works, or alternatively, have a much more
convincing data set to work with, it is unwise to try to make much medicine
on this basis.

    I especially object to basing socialist propaganda on "catastrophic" and
"ultimatistic" speculations based on the greenhouse effect/global warming
projections. The bourgeois news media is full of all kinds of hysterical
material along this line from all sorts of crackpots, there's no need for us
to add to the general mass of confusion.

    In particular, the bourgeois news media are mathematical morons. They
look, for example, at some devastating flood in some flood plain, describe
it as something that on average only happens once ever 500 years, and go
totally off the deep end with climactic speculation. But of course, if you
have 100 flood plains, the truth is you're going to get a 500-year event
about every five years.

    It's like the local news stories about lightning striking twice in the
same place. For any one given place, the chances may be teeny. But given an
entire metro area, with thousands of such places, the chances that lightning
will strike twice at one or more of them are extremely high.

    If you look especially at the U.S. newsmagazine shows, you'll see that
countless stories are devoted to this same fallacy. You've got the cancer
cluster stories, where the "reporter" (actually, an actor who plays a
journalist on TV) will intone about how unlikely it is that 3 or 5 people
would come down with cancer on one block within a year. A thousand to one.
Yet, given that there are thousands and thousands of such blocks throughout
the country, it is guaranteed to happen, and happen repeatedly, merely by
chance.

    Over the past decade or so, newspeople have been linking all sorts of
weather to suspected climate change with zero scientific basis or
understanding. The deluge of misinformation is astounding, especially when
it comes to "record breaking" summer temperatures or extreme events like
hurricanes, floods and droughts. Yet there is usually no evidence for the
speculation or much simpler, straightforward, and accepted explanations that
are never put forward. After all, it is much sexier to talk about
apocalyptic climate change than to point out this is what happens if in a
given area you pave over every available square inch of ground with parking
lots.

José


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Jones" <jones118 at lineone.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 9:09 AM
Subject: RE: Mark's environmentsal panic attack


Yes, the world is thoretically approaching the end of the present
Interglacial. And yes, anthropogenic climate change might prevent the next
Ice Age from happening, or it might actually hasten it by the process known
as 'climate flipping'. This is trivially true, and changes nothing about the
profound dangers posed by global warming.

Mark Jones
http://www.egroups.com/group/CrashList



  -----Original Message-----
  From: owner-marxism at lists.panix.com
[mailto:owner-marxism at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Paul Flewers
  Sent: 06 June 2000 11:55
  To: marxism at lists.panix.com
  Subject: Re: Mark's environmentsal panic attack


  José G Perez said: < Mark, try this happy thought: In the 1970s, the big
"climate change" scare was that we were entering another ice age. Perhaps
"global warming" will be enough to counteract what would otherwise have been
a real bummer of a deep freeze. >

  I remember this well. Back in the mid-1970s, some prominent British
authorities (I forget precisely whom)  were saying that we were on the brink
of a new ice age. We then had some very un-British  sunny and warm summers
for a few years.

  Paul F





    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jose G. Perez
    To: marxism at lists.panix.com
    Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 2:18 AM
    Subject: Mark's environmentsal panic attack


    >>I've just been reading, f'rinstance, about some of the reasons why
it's so
    hard for scientists to be sure about anything when they try to construct
    powerful computerised models of the effects of anthropogenic global
warming
    (I just posted some stuff about it on the CrashList). Why is it so hard
to
    understand the multiplicity of ways in which capitalism is fucking the
    planet? Because the effects are too indiscernible to be sure about?
    Unfortunately not, on the contrary. It's because the effects of
    anthropogenic climate change are just so huge, so profound and so very
basic
    to life itself that they are for all practical purposes, almost
    unquantifiable. <<

    This is the kind of statement that makes me quite skeptical about
climate
    change theories and environmentalists in general.

    Contrary to Mark's assertion, the changes aren't "unquantifiable." The
truth
    is that the scientists just plain don't know, that's all. WHEN they
build a
    climate model that accounts for at least the KNOWN facts, like
glaciation,
    THEN we'll have something a little more SOLID to work with than this
    neo-luddite "if people did it, it must be bad" attitude.

    The claimed anthropogenic climate changes are but small variations
within
    the rage of average temperatures and other climactic conditions the
earth
    has been known to have had, even in recent millenia.

    More interesting are the following three things: first, climate is
likely to
    prove to be a mathematically "chaotic" system (one in which the size of
the
    cause is often much smaller or larger than the effect, and in which two
    identical inputs at different times don't necessarily have the same
effect);
    the mean average global temperature is not stable even on such a small
time
    frame as a few decades; and, most importantly, the earth's climactic
system
    as a whole appears to have some sort of unfailing and highly effective
    negative feedback mechanism we do not understand.

    This last point is most important. Glacial periods lead to a reduction
in
    heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and the covering of a significant part
of
    the planet with a highly reflective layer of material -- ice. So why
don't
    we get runaway glaciation? At the other end of the spectrum we have the
    Venus effect -- why haven't increased amounts of the main greenhouse gas
    (water vapor) caused a runaway hot house effect? Instead we have what
    appears to be a "drifty" mean global temperature that meanders up and
down a
    few degrees, but always preserving on much of the planet extensive
habitats
    compatible with the type of life that's evolved here. This has been
going on
    now for billions of years and makes one wonder just how good our
    understanding of the climate is if we can't account for this simple yet
    remarkable fact -- and we can't.

    Moreover, it is far from clear that much of the data being relied on to
    claim an increase in the mean global temperature is accurate or
extensive
    enough for such purposes. We have extremely spotty coverage from oceans,
    arctic and desert regions. The bulk of the data being used is from human
    settlements, in the usual hospitable places. It is not clear that the
    warming trend in these data is in fact a global macro-climactic warming
    trend, rather than a summation of micro-climactic changes due to the
(now)
    well documented urban heat island effect. This effect needs to be
factored
    out, but it is a daunting task. as its magnitude varies from one area to
    another. Some of the studies on the urban heat island effect suggest it
can
    be several times LARGER than the projected global warming effect, which
    means, in effect, the signal we are trying to detect is buried
underneath a
    much larger variation. Ideally, we should try to exclude records from
urban
    areas in making up temperature histories, but that is largely what we
have.
    We also should note that within the historical record, the last 2-3,000
    years, there are a lot of indications that the earth has been both
colder
    and warmer than it is today.

    >>Just try to get your head around it: To change soil chemistry is not
an
    abstraction, it means that global warming has actually already changed
the
    thin veil of fertile soil everywhere on the planet, the veil on which
all
    terrestrial life depends and which is the teeming milieu for the whole
of
    microbial and microscopic flora and fauna (plant and animal)
evolution.<<

    This is the kind of statement that strains credulity. We KNOW Greenland
was
    called Greenland for a reason. A lot of the earth has been warmer,
    significantly warmer, in historical times than it is today. It has also
been
    a lot colder than it is now. Moreover, if such a slight temperature
    variation were sufficient to destroy this "thin veil" as you suggest, it
    should have, logically, happened some cold winter's day one or two
billion
    years ago or some hot summer's day around 1,000,000 B.C. or 1000 A.D.

    Quite simply, there is nothing EXTREME about macro-climactic conditions
on
    today's earth. There have been times with lots more CO2, times with much
    hotter temperatures, times with much lower temps. It is far from clear
than
    the 1900s should be considered the ideal baseline and norm in judging
these
    things. It just happens to be when people developed sufficient technical
and
    scientific proficiency to begin investigating these matters, but that is
    all.

    In other words, become a citizen of time. The ideal, unchanging state of
    planet earth is NOT what it happened to be when you were growing up. It
has
    been constantly changing, and changing in a much larger magnitude than
the
    projected anthropogenic climate change.

    >>This
    alteration of Nature is far more insidious, and far worse, than what are
    really quite small deals like fucking half the Amazon basin with DDT or
    fucking the mangrove swamps and coral reefs with pesticide and
fertiliser
    runoff or fucking the ozone layer; it's worse even than genetic
engineering
    (imagine that! something we do is actually worse than genetic
pollution!):
    worse  EVEN than turning the World Ocean into dilute carbonic acid that
will
    cover it with algae slime,and dissolve the reefs anyway, and terminate
most

    aquatic life (yes, that is happening); it's worse EVEN than thermohaline
    conversion, ie, turning the Gulf Stream around and precipitating a new
Ice
    Age; the only thing it's NOT worse than, is the runaway warming which
might
    be caused by the precipitation/release of trapped methane hydrates +
which
    would quickly turn the Earth into Venus with a surface temp hot enough
to
    boil lead.<<

    And here we have "environmentalism" and "climate changeism" in one
    paragraph.

    We have the eternal verity "Nature," unchanging, a distilled platonic
    essence of the purest water. People are then counterposed to this
unchanging
    "Nature." The have "defiled" her and "raped" her and so on.

    Whatever it is people are doing to the biosphere it has GOT to stop NOW!
    Otherwise the earth's surface will ... will what?

    Well according to Mark, we'll EITHER have another ice age OR surface
    temperatures hot enough to melt lead. This suggests to me that the
writer is
    making essentially a doom-and-gloom religious statement that God, I mean
    Nature, will punish us for our sins. Or perhaps the fault is my limited
    imagination, unable to conceive of an ice age where prevailing
temperatures
    will be hot enough to melt lead.

    The truth is of course that the LIKELIEST outcome is that things will
    continue pretty much as they have been for the past few hundred million
    years, sometimes a little colder, sometimes a little warmer. That is has
    been this way despite occasional lurches to extremes, huge meteor and
comet
    impacts, periods of tremendous volcanic activity, the reconfiguration
over
    the eons of land masses and oceans, all of this gives me the idea there
is
    an extremely strong self-regulatory mechanism at work here.

    I suggest that the evidence is OVERWHELMING that ice ages are perfectly
    NATURAL given the current configuration of our plant. They're not good
for
    business, but, hey, shit happens. As for the Venus effect, carbonic acid
    killing off the fish, etc., if this were gonna happen it already would
have.
    After all, the carbon we're liberating into the atmosphere right now
started
    there to begin with. Everything suggests that the earth of the dinosaurs
was
    quite a bit more tropical than our own, and if it didn't go into a
runaway
    greenhouse effect then, it's not likely to do it now.

    José

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Mark Jones" <jones118 at lineone.net>
    To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
    Sent: Monday, June 05, 2000 2:08 PM
    Subject: RE: [PEN-L:19869] Re: The Nader campaign, part 1


    Well, I don't wanna hog debate, but yes, I think it's fine to fight for
the
    right to own SUV's so big that they dominate the road, or whatever
safety
    features seem important today. But if you really want "consumer safety"
then
    it might make sense to alert people to more fundamental problems. Nader
    doesn't do that because he is a witting liar, a political fraud and a
creep
    who capitalises (to coin a phrase) on the (entirely justified) angst of
    normal folks when faced with the lunatic things capitalism gives them in
its
    anomic, death-dealing way.

    You wanna what is a safety issue? Wrecking the soil is a REAL safety
issue.

    I've just been reading, f'rinstance, about some of the reasons why it's
so
    hard for scientists to be sure about anything when they try to construct
    powerful computerised models of the effects of anthropogenic global
warming
    (I just posted some stuff about it on the CrashList). Why is it so hard
to
    understand the multiplicity of ways in which capitalism is fucking the
    planet? Because the effects are too indiscernible to be sure about?
    Unfortunately not, on the contrary. It's because the effects of
    anthropogenic climate change are just so huge, so profound and so very
basic
    to life itself that they are for all practical purposes, almost
    unquantifiable. This horrible fact should make oil corp CEO's and thier
    political spokespersons (people like Al Bore, the Beltway frontman for
    Colombia-fucking, Russia-fucking Oxy Oil) hang themselevs from their own
    braces, but no, what it does do is it gives them one more degree of
licence
    to argue that, global warming, what global warming? It's all just
    scaremongering, and we're into "wise-use" etc, which is Pharaonic
    phrasemongering and deserves an Old Testmaent wrathful answer. Y'see,
one of
    the (possible, not known for certain) effects of global warming is to
alter
    soil chemistry in profound ways. You have to think hard about this.

    Just try to get your head around it: To change soil chemistry is not an
    abstraction, it means that global warming has actually already changed
the
    thin veil of fertile soil everywhere on the planet, the veil on which
all
    terrestrial life depends and which is the teeming milieu for the whole
of
    microbial and microscopic flora and fauna (plant and animal) evolution.
This
    alteration of Nature is far more insidious, and far worse, than what are
    really quite small deals like fucking half the Amazon basin with DDT or
    fucking the mangrove swamps and coral reefs with pesticide and
fertiliser
    runoff or fucking the ozone layer; it's worse even than genetic
engineering
    (imagine that! something we do is actually worse than genetic
pollution!):
    worse  EVEN than turning the World Ocean into dilute carbonic acid that
will
    cover it with algae slime,and dissolve the reefs anyway, and terminate
most
    aquatic life (yes, that is happening); it's worse EVEN than thermohaline
    conversion, ie, turning the Gulf Stream around and precipitating a new
Ice
    Age; the only thing it's NOT worse than, is the runaway warming which
might
    be caused by the precipitation/release of trapped methane hydrates +
which
    would quickly turn the Earth into Venus with a surface temp hot enough
to
    boil lead. You won't be around to cavil about consumer rights if that
    happens. Now tell me, when is Ralph gonna make an issue about something
so
    fundamental as buggering up the chemistry of the soil? When he does
that,
    I'll be the first to join him at the barricades.

    Mark Jones
    http://www.egroups.com/group/CrashList


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: owner-marxism at lists.panix.com
    > [mailto:owner-marxism at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Debordagoria
    > Sent: 05 June 2000 17:53
    > To: marxism at lists.panix.com
    > Subject: Re: [PEN-L:19869] Re: The Nader campaign, part 1
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > (Posted to pen-l by Mark Jones)
    > > I thought then and I
    > > think now that it is all an
    > > utter distraction from what really matters; it is
    > > based on the crassest kind
    > > of self-seeking, privatising solipsism which boils
    > > great social/historical
    > > issues down to what's in it for me qua passive
    > > selfish consumer.
    >
    > Organizing consumers (that is, everyone) to demand
    > from Capital safe products and accurate info is based
    > on selfishness, solipsism, and passivity?
    >
    > > What really
    > > mattered then and now for is not car safety but
    > > less cars and more public
    > > transport. What Nader did is help legitimise the
    > > care and ensures its social
    > > apotheosis to its current iconic status.
    >
    > Demanding that auto manufacturers be forced to produce
    > cars that don't blow up was really so retrograde???
    >
    > __________________________________________________
    > Do You Yahoo!?
    > Yahoo! Photos -- now, 100 FREE prints!
    > http://photos.yahoo.com
    >



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