Mark's environmentsal panic attack
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Wed Jun 7 21:43:55 MDT 2000
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. Because, of course, if it is
true that climate flipping tends to happen and at a certain level of CO2
some mechanism comes into play tending to suck it all out of the atmosphere
and that's the mechanism which starts an ice age, then perhaps our only
salvation in staving off another ice age is to consume so much in fossil
fuels that the CO2 sink is overwhelmed.
For isn't it true 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.
My point is, NOBODY REALLY KNOWS what the NET 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, that
they interact in very strange ways (e.g. "climate flipping.")
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. And there are plenty of more
concrete, specific, documented and verifiable environmental problems caused
by capitalism without having to resort to the sky is falling. (I have, as
you may know, exactly the SAME opinion about "catastrophic" propaganda
around economic themes).
In particular, it is important to keep in mind the people who work at
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. TV newsmagazine shows, you'll see
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
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
----- 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.
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