IPCC Report

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BRUTE
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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:04 pm

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:44 am
Maybe I'm just being a lazy-ass but my guess is Murphy's point is Cost_(climate change) > Cost_(eliminating climate change) so checkmate, atheists.
brute is pretty sure his point is the opposite. medicine worse than cure. don't take medicine.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:08 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:42 pm
...
7Wannabe5 is assuming that "clearly, it's much worse, and money can't even begin to describe the damages". maybe it's not? not knowing doesn't imply the worst case.

the second example completely depends on the numbers, of course.

brute will again use his previous example: would 7Wannabe5 amputate her leg to maybe reduce the chances of heart attack at 75 instead of 80 by 5%? probably not.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by ZAFCorrection » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:52 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:04 pm
brute is pretty sure his point is the opposite. medicine worse than cure. don't take medicine.
Got my inequality sign backward. But anyway the point, even if true, is a turgid argument. ERE itself is a good example that some increment of change is a net benefit. There is no rule that the only climate change options are mobilize the entire world to completely counteract the effects of fossil fuel combustion or do nothing at all.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:15 am

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:52 pm
There is no rule that the only climate change options are mobilize the entire world to completely counteract the effects of fossil fuel combustion or do nothing at all.
brute isn't saying to do nothing at all - there are plenty of options that make sense even in absence of catastrophic climate change. brute firmly believes that electric vehicles will become more and more common. he likes cheap solar power as much as the next energy consumer.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:05 am

brute will again use his previous example: would 7Wannabe5 amputate her leg to maybe reduce the chances of heart attack at 75 instead of 80 by 5%? probably not.
This is a poor analogy because the economy can grow again, even after great retraction, but a human leg can never grow again. OTOH, if you mean to imply that a policy like unto very large carbon tax will result in likely near-term death of large percentage of human population, I would agree given that no wealth transfer is involved. If you would like to further argue that wealth transfer with purpose of ameliorating effects of large carbon tax on poorest members of global population would likely cause further retraction of economy, etc. etc. etc... vicious cycle. Well, okay, now we have something worth discussing, but that is not what Murphy argued in the article you linked above.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Jean » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:42 pm

I agree with brute. Even if I agree that reducing everyone's lifestyle would be better than having global warming, I don't see anyway to make it happen that wouldn't be worse than global warming, and i don't believe that it could even work.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:30 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:05 am
that is not what Murphy argued in the article you linked above.
what does 7Wannabe5 think Murphy argued?

7Wannabe5's position is confusing to brute: it doesn't make sense to do A, but it's important on a humanitarian level to do A.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:48 pm

@BRUTE:

Whether or not A is the humanitarian thing to do likely depends a good deal on what generational time-span of humanity you are considering. Murphy's marginal calculations stop at the year 2100.

I believe any further argument on the basis of not believing the equations and models related to atmospheric physics and human influence on CO2 levels are simply ridiculous. OTOH, IMO, there are at least a couple very important, poorly defined inputs to any overall model of the system, because economic growth depends on "Ingenuity", which nobody can even define numerically except in back-azz manner, and population dynamics are dependent on psychology of human reproductive choices, which are likely much more complex than they are short-handed in any current model.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:03 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:48 pm
Murphy's marginal calculations stop at the year 2100.
that's because the IPCC report only shows numbers up until 2100, isn't it?

brute thinks that 7Wannabe5 somehow believes that "economic loss is only money". must brute remind her that, for the majority of humans today, money is earned by sacrificing large parts of their lifetime and health?

"it's only money" can only seriously said by those who don't need more of it, i.e. rich westerners.

lest there be delusions about this, "reduced economic activity" means shorter lifespans and quality of life for humans, most of them in developing nations. 7Wannabe5 might be able to reduce her economic activity without sacrificing health & quality of life because she has the privilege of living in a rich country, but for 2/3 of humanity it means wood fire instead of electric heater, questionable water instead of potable water, outhouse instead of flush toilet, not doing homework after dark, working in the fields instead of the factory, or working in a sweat shop vs. an air-conditioned office.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:15 pm

@BRUTE:

I am mystified at how you got "Believes economic loss is only money" out of what I wrote. I absolutely believe that there is a large possibility for a great deal of human suffering as we approach overshoot of our resource base, and it is going to take a good deal of good effort and best known methods to avoid making the situation even worse.

To put what I was trying to convey in simpler, if less precise, terms. I think the science of physics is advanced enough to make highly accurate models about causes and likely outcomes. Unfortunately for the fate of the human species, I don't think either the science of economics OR the science of ecology are yet advanced enough to make very accurate models of outcomes.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Jean » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:16 pm

woodfire, outhouse and working in the fields are all fine.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:49 pm

Jean wrote:woodfire, outhouse and working in the fields are all fine.
Yeah, I share your opinion that it is definitely an improvement on 40 hours in a cubicle if manifested in thoughtful manner that precludes or minimizes such possibilities as respiratory ailments, sewage overflow issues, and heat exhaustion, BUT it would be preferable to have a choice between many lifestyle options. A good deal of the problem is that some people romanticize the past whereas others describe it in unduly grim terms.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Jean » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:55 pm

Working in the field when averaging 5 days a month makes a living, I mean.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:50 pm

Jean wrote:Working in the field when averaging 5 days a month makes a living, I mean.
I think even with the most intelligent design fully developed, you are still looking at 2 hours/day minimum.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:31 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:15 pm
To put what I was trying to convey in simpler, if less precise, terms. I think the science of physics is advanced enough to make highly accurate models about causes and likely outcomes. Unfortunately for the fate of the human species, I don't think either the science of economics OR the science of ecology are yet advanced enough to make very accurate models of outcomes.
the science of physics has no way to determine how resources should be allocated. this is all beyond physics. brute will assume for this debate that the physics in the IPCC report are correct (he has no way to verify it anyway, not being a physicist himself).

but even given the IPCC numbers, the projected damage from climate change in the worst case is less than the projected costs of fixing it. not the damage that will be prevented by those measures, either, but the ENTIRE damage. i.e. this is not even a marginal analysis.

to go back to the body metaphor:
eating cookies == emitting CO2
Y == onset of diabetes etc. == damage from climate change
X == preventative measures

if cost(X) > cost(Y), then it does not make sense to pursue X.

example easily diabetic phenotype:
X == eating keto for the rest of 7Wannabe5's life
Y == highly likely to go blind, lose limbs

here, it probably makes sense to pursue X, because cost(Y) > cost(X) (unless 7Wannabe5 values cookies much higher than sight and limbs)

example carb burner phenotype:
X == eating keto
Y == gaining 10lbs of body fat total, nowhere near diabetes

here cost(X) > cost(Y), unless 7Wannabe5 really doesn't care about cookies, or is really concerned about her body composition.

in the IPCC report, cost(X) is > cost(Y), by a large margin.

brute is confused what the confusion is even about here, and how physics comes into it (besides what he has accepted from the IPCC report itself). this is why he is grasping for the mystifying idea that 7Wannabe5 is thinking of "only money". what else is the confusion?

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Jean » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:04 am

5 days a month are very equivalent to two hours a day.
You will not avoid answering to brute's argument :D

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by jacob » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:36 am

As for year 2100 ... it's not like no calculations have been done or they're stopped in the year 2100 or that papers aren't being published for what's going to happen in the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, etc. centuries. It's just a [big] reporting convention that have consistently followed since 1990 when the first assessment report came out. It makes sense to push it out to maybe 2025 since it's otherwise only 82 years into the future and so it's possible that some of the people being born now will actually see it and live on into nonreported years. But yes, unless zero-emissions have been reached, it's not that the temperature will stop increasing in the year 2100. The oceans will keep rising regardless of what we do. There's much more inertia baked in.

A big part of the problem is summarizing very complex dynamics along multiple variables so that politicians, non-experts, and other people who can't do math in their heads can handle it. Unfortunately, measuring a complex system in particular ways concentrates effort on what you measure (here CO2 and temperature) while ignoring other potentially important variables (e.g. methane and ocean acidification or ecological diversification). This is a well-known problem with human systems. But what can we do? ...

The economic concerns discussed here are very illustrative of the general problem of finding a solution. If you're rich ($40,000+/capita/year neighborhood) then you can likely pay your way out of the problem for the foreseeable future (the next 40 years). Therefore you can keep polluting and move north, buy HVAC, ... essentially use your economic wealth to adapt to the problem. Conversely, if you're poor ($10,000/capita/year neighborhood) then you have bigger problems than "mere" increased death rates from climate change---it'll take a several decades before your other death rates like murder, diseases, malnutrition, sanitation, ... are exceeded by the cost of biosystem collapses and extreme weather.

Given the right framework, the very rich and the somewhat poor can be natural allies. An observation that also holds elsewhere ;-)

Put it another way ... if you're a rich country, it's cheaper to pay for foreign wars and increased border control. If you're really poor, then you're on the receiving end of the rich country which in turn get your refugee streams. And if you're a somewhat poor country it's cheaper to build coal plants, etc. to get the energy to prevent ending up as the really poor. The moral high ground is taken by the somewhat rich countries and neighborhoods for whom the damage exceeds any marginal benefit derived from more emissions.

The problem with economic calculations are two-fold.
  • The non-linearity of the physics. This was discussed by 7wb5 above. There are multiple tipping points in the earth system which are poorly understood. When something is poorly understood, it is typically parametrized. However, here we have so little data that even the parameters are in question. For example, the melt rate of "big ice" is poorly understood. Greenland is melting far faster than the models suggest. When something is not understood but could happen but isn't happening yet, it is left out of the model (think about that until it sinks it). We do know that all these feedback loops with tipping points are positive. This means they're all bad(*)(**). When climate scientists talk of "dangerous" that's what's being referred to. It's not the danger of a heatwave or a hurricane. It's the danger of a positive runaway loop. In the same vein, it's not like 1.5C or 2C is a guardrail against problems insofar we don't cross it. 2C is but a round number believed to be relatively safe against most tipping points. 1.5C against practically all (there's some disagreement about the WAIS instability and whether it's already tipped). Compare to a blood sugar count for diabetes. It's like you have no chance of becoming diabetic if you stay at 97 because it's under 100 (prediabetic).
  • The damage function on the economic side. They do what they can do. For example, a human life is generally valued at ~5M USD. You can value other stuff like infrastructure in the same way. Nothing wrong with putting a price on everything. Insurance companies do it all the time. The problem with the damage function is that it doesn't capture non-linearities in the system. You could conceivably calculate the total replacement cost of wiping out Germany... but only because Germany can be rebuilt from outside Germany in about a decade+ (see World War II). However, if the entire world is wiped out or down, the price-system itself is destroyed and so prices no longer matters. Insofar Europe is some incarnation of the Roman Empire, it took 1500 years to bootstrap to the same level. How do you put a price on that? This is similar to the physics problem in that the damage function for a civilizational collapse is poorly understood and parametrized.
  • The discount factor or the growth factor. It's generally assumed that everything will be cheaper in the future. Technology, stuff, life, ... This belief is summarized in a single number. We see this number every day when we invest. It's the interest rate. If the interest rate is wrong, this changes these kinds of IAM calculations dramatically. If it's very low, then the future becomes very valuable and we should do our utmost to protect it. If it's high, the future is expendable because we can always throw it away and buy a better one. The discount factor, therefore, has the same parametrization problems as the damage function and some of the physics functions.
(*) Which means that climate calculations tend to be overly conservative.
(**) Except maybe one: reflective clouds but the general agreement is that clouds won't cut it.

In short, I think these calculations are useful in the same way as SWR calculations are useful in FIRE. However, they can easily instill very false confidence in the noobs. Conversely, they also create a level of grounding that's more realistic than not having it. However, the fact that calculated carbon costs at the pareto optimum (that brute talks above) range 4 orders of magnitude gives some indication of the uncertainty of these calculations. It's really hard to calculate a price for "danger but not as we know it".

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:45 am

jacob wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:36 am
It makes sense to push it out to maybe 2025 since it's otherwise only 82 years into the future and so it's possible that some of the people being born now will actually see it and live on into nonreported years.
does DLj mean 2125?

the whole 2100 thing seems tangential to brute - nobody is arguing climate change or economic change stops then. if economic improvement keeps ahead of climate change until 2100, it could reasonably be expected to keep ahead after that year, too. apart from that, predicting trends 100 years out in chaotic, emergent systems... brute is skeptical. which humans, 100 years ago, would've predicted today?
jacob wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:36 am
The economic concerns discussed here are very illustrative of the general problem of finding a solution. If you're rich ($40,000+/capita/year
neighborhood) then you can likely pay your way out of the problem for the foreseeable future (the next 40 years).
if only there was a way to increase the wealth of humans from $10,000/year to $40,000/year over the span of 100 years. oh wait, the free market! lucky humans.

this is why even "modest" reduction in economic growth can be hugely problematic - over such long time spans, it can mean the difference between rural China QoL and HCOL US QoL.

jacob wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:36 am
..poorly understood .. little data .. poorly understood .. range 4 orders of magnitude gives some indication of the uncertainty .. really hard to calculate a price for "danger but not as we know it".
what does DLj, expect, taking drastic action with definite, current costs to maybe, possibly, prevent a catastrophe later? that's a lot of Pascal's wagering. those work the other way, too.

this is especially non-sensical to brute because, as DLj himself says, wealth is the antidote to catastrophe. preventing 1/2 of the earth's population from acquiring wealth will doom them to misery and death if the catastrophe (maybe) hits, and definitely if it doesn't hit.

here's brute's wager:

the cost of economic drag is too great to wager any potentiality on it, especially if economic progress is the antidote to the potentiality. it's a terrible idea to gamble away the definite benefits of economic progress on the chance that "climate catastrophe will happen x reduction in economic progress would prevent it x cost(medicine) < cost(disease)".

brute thinks of this like ERE. one strategy is slowly and surely accumulating capital, skills, and other factors. the other strategy is betting on the lottery.

the lottery seems very risky to brute.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by Solvent » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:41 am

BRUTE wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:45 am
if only there was a way to increase the wealth of humans from $10,000/year to $40,000/year over the span of 100 years. oh wait, the free market! lucky humans.
Brute talks as though economic development is a solved problem. I assure Brute that it is not, although if you live in the west it's easy to form this impression.

In a thread full of predictions, I make a (fairly low-confidence) prediction: in the next decade Brute will read more economic history and become less of a free-market evangelist.

Facing climate change, I'm far from convinced that the most straightforward approach for the poorest countries is just 'grow more'. Well, it could be... But I'm really not sure. I think there are mixed approaches that would be more appropriate given the state of our knowledge.

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Re: IPCC Report

Post by BRUTE » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:31 am

Solvent wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:41 am
In a thread full of predictions, I make a (fairly low-confidence) prediction: in the next decade Brute will read more economic history and become less of a free-market evangelist.
if the last decade is any indication, the opposite will happen. brute used to be a communist. but who knows. past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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