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Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:40 am
by jacob
The difficulty in doing that is that it's hard to know the response function for a world that looks very different than the one today. World3 (limits to growth) has the same problem: All parameters are fitted to historical behavior. What the simulation shows is what happens to the world given the continuation of that behavior. However, once the behavior breaks the natural limit, it's hard to know exactly how humanity will respond. What the model shows in that case is what would happen if humans continue with whatever behavioral matrix, they're already on.

However, it is possible to calculate GDP damage per degree of warming and that has been done. It's harder to say whether such damage and how much of it would cause humans to switch from e.g. SSP5 to SSP1 or perhaps SSP3. What the SSPs allow is to bracket the outcome space. This is not to suggest that the most probably outcome lies in the middle of the proposed outcome. The Paris climate political goals have required scientists to blow some research effort on describing RCP pathways relevant to 1.5C. And since the actual trajectory of emissions is heading towards the high end, they're also creating an RCP7 pathway.

I suppose one could set up a Markov chain for these scenarios and try to populate it with historical upheavals. Similar to how quants simulate markets.

PS: If you want a narrative, read table 2 in the last blue box in chapter 3 of the report. It provides best, middle, and worst potential narratives.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:28 pm
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:58 pm

- there will be certain negative effects from climate change, but not nearly as bad as in some of the doomsday predictions
What if you live in Bangladesh?

Brute's quasi-philisophical musings on the subject could be potentially interesting, in a kind of "do we really know anything" way, but it's very abstract. I don't think it's what the general discussion on the problem of climate change needs. It's more one for a late night session in the pub with one smart-arse wanting to play devil's advocate. What if there were a God? What if we were part of an atom which was part of the leg of a chair?

The negative effects of climate change are an imminent reality for millions, many of whom also live in poorer areas of the world. They don't have the luxury of living in a rich country with vast military resources that can shoot refugees at the border when they flee starvation and floods.

I don't know if I'm alone in getting this impression. There is lots of laziness and political reluctance to act in Europe, but there doesn't seem anywhere near the amount of lingering skepticism as there is in the US. Whether or not it's dressed up in pretending to take a considered view.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:08 pm
by sky
Even if people with a scientific rationale get together and propose a solution, I suspect that humans will block the solution.

The scenario may play out as follows:
The Oiligarchy (fossil fuel industry leaders) propogandizes heavily.
A group of fundamentalists from whatever religion suddenly believe that terraforming the earth to prevent warming is interfering with God's apocalyptic plan for humanity.
A civil war ensues between those who want to save humanity using terraforming, and those who believe that warming is part of God's plan.
Wild card: the fundamentalists gain control of a nuclear power nation.
Result: Global warming overshoot, climate collapse, agriculture failure, resource wars, population loss, dark ages.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:47 pm
by JamesR

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:52 pm
by Tyler9000
JamesR wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:47 pm
climate change denial -
I wonder what's less inevitable -- climate change or Godwin's Law. ;)

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:39 pm
by Nomad
I completely believe the detail and weight of scientific evidence.
What I am skeptical of is the ability of politicians to solve problems - even simple ones.
So, I think we are in for quite a ride...

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:56 pm
it's all good and nice to be passionate and outraged, what if doing nothing (political) is the optimal solution? somehow brute doesn't see how more panic will solve the problem.

or, to be a "smart-arse": humans running around like chickens with their heads cut off is what CAUSES problems, not what solves them.

more about Nordhaus:
https://www.instituteforenergyresearch. ... ge-policy/
The same day William Nordhaus shared the Nobel Prize in economics, the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report. The media lauded Nordhaus and his support of a carbon tax, while it credulously repeated the IPCC calls to quickly phase out fossil fuels in order to limit warming to 1.5°C. Yet Nordhaus’ own work shows that such a policy goal is absolutely ludicrous, and in fact would make humanity much worse off than doing nothing at all about slowing climate change.
In the above figure, note that the baseline warming hits about 4.1°C by the year 2100. The “optimal” trajectory, meaning the one that would unfold with standard parameter choices if the governments of the world implemented a carbon tax exactly of the magnitude (over time) that Nordhaus recommended, would still allow for 3.5°C of warming by 2100.

Further notice in the note under the figure that in Nordhaus’ framework, the most he would even model is a 2.5°C constraint; anything less than that was so far removed the realm of possibility that it wasn’t even considered.
original source: (graphic is on page 30)

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:13 am
by daylen
What is doing nothing? The behavior of the whole system is complex enough that there isn't really such a thing as doing nothing unless it is defined in a narrow, useless way.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:28 am
by Jean
To me Churchil looks like the one who stood to crush any effort of stopping the 19th century equivalent of global warming... I'm saying something, because continously using hitler to compare stuff to him is nescessarily going to backlash. We talk more about his legend than about the facts....

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:34 am
by tonyedgecombe
There is money involved, it always has a distorting effect, even in those socialist utopias in Northern Europe.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:02 pm
by Riggerjack
Way to Speak Truth (*) to Power (**)!

(*) Truthiness rounded to a single significant digit.

(**) Power, the really smart people who know everything really important can be summed up in metaphorical comics. Strangely, this group shows a huge overlap with people who believe in political solutions, and other fairy tails.


Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:15 pm
by Riggerjack
What is doing nothing? The behavior of the whole system is complex enough that there isn't really such a thing as doing nothing unless it is defined in a narrow, useless way.
From previous posts on the subject, I expect BRUTE's message was one of personal change, or not, rather than political change. It has been a great disservice to humanity to allow CC to be captured in political strife.

If half the CC Loyalists put half the energy they put into disparaging CC Rebels into living the changes Loyalists want to force on others, I could join the Dark side, save energy, and Save the World.

Unfortunately, we have the Loyalists we have, and I just can't stomach closer association. So I will continue to work on this on my own, and suggest that others do the same.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:24 pm
by jacob
BRUTE wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:56 pm
original source: (graphic is on page 30)
pdf works, so I read the original source.

FWIW, It's hard for webmasters to block pdfs by unleashing the cookiemonster javascripts, so pdfs are safe for now. I can't read anything out of the New York Times either, so ... it might very well be that there are two internets indeed. I certainly know that the ad-free internet I see is not the internet that most people see. This also means that there are some things I can't see.
Nordhaus's conclusion wrote: The results pertain primarily to a world without climate policies, which is reasonably accurate for virtually the entire globe today. The results show rapidly rising CO2 concentrations, temperature changes, and damages. Moreover, when the major parametric uncertainties are included, there is virtually no chance that the rise in temperature will be less than the target 2 °C without more stringent and comprehensive climate change policies.
Yeah, and this is also what scientists (of which Nordhaus is one of them) said in the IPCC1.5 report (see chap 3, 4). Basically, that people and politicians are no where near in terms of acting and behaving in accordance with their rah-rah Paris promises. That [Nordhaus] paper is essentially saying that the emperor (Paris agreement) has no clothes on. The IPCC1.5 says the same insofar one reads between the lines. As @jp mentioned above, serious scientists have largely given up on the "hope"-approach even if they're loath to admit it just in case low-information noobs get discouraged. Even if they're still entertaining the mitigation approach, they're privately adapting to the inevitable.

It really does kinda seem that the public is not quite aware of what the IPCC is or does, so lets reiterate:
  • The IPCC is NOT in the business of doing actual research.
  • The IPCC's summary goes through a political review process before it is published. Various countries will ask to remove/tone down language that is not in accordance with their policies. For examples, most recently, the US asked to tone down the part (chapter 5) about the impact on small islands about to be flooded.
  • Therefore the draft version of the report is usually more honest/realistic.
  • The IPCC's mission is to summarize the state of existing research every 7 years. Most recently in 2014. Next in 2021.
  • Thus the reports are backward looking by construction. The situation is, therefore, further advanced than what's described in the report. If it's published in 2018 .. it describes the world of maybe 2014 and so on. Big reports take a long time.
  • Given that the IPCC reports mandate ridiculously strong consensus, they are very conservative. Unless some effect is very very certain to already have an effect it is not included. This means that the report often lags reality and that outcomes are bad surprises.
Let me attempt a simpler and more familiar metaphor: personal finance. The atmospheric situation is metaphorically analogous to someone who is now 55 years old and who has zero retirement savings. Bare with me here, because the timescales, emotional response, and human/maturity/ideology actually parallels the climate story quite well. This is the story of human civilization. Lets call them Ann and Bob. You may literally think of them as the Boomer generation although the metaphor extends to the adjacent generations too. I think at this point GenX is 1/2 way responsible .. and Millennials are 1/4th as well.

When Ann&Bob were 29 years old back in 1992, they were told that if they saved 10% for retirement and kept doing that for the next 30 years, they would be well set for retirement and able to leave an estate for their children. They could enjoy a good retirement with their children and their children's children. However, Ann&Bob figured that they could delay saving because they could always make up for it later by saving more once their earnings increased. Therefore they saved nothing. This was a lot of fun and it made both Ann and Bob quite optimistic about the future because all that spending created a fairly good experience for them. And their incomes were going up too.

Now today in 2018, Ann&Bob are 55 years old. Time passed a lot quicker than they expected, but so is life when you live in the moment or focus on the next quarter like the business you work for. Consequentially, they have saved nothing and retirement is only 12 years away. Maybe they should start thinking about retirement and how they want to spend time with their grandchildren?

Ann&Bob asks several experts (lets call them the IPCC). Using very large spreadsheets indeed (defense scale supercomputers in the non-metaphor) the IPCC informs Ann&Bob they still have time to save enough but since they delayed for so long, it ONLY works if they either cut their spending 100% right now (duh!); alternatively, if they cut their spending to 50% and proceed to become software engineers developing the next disruptive app within the next decade so their massively increased incomes allow for a massively increased savings rate to make up for past lack of savings. Doing that, there's at least a theoretical chance that Ann&Bob won't spend their final days eating cat food and spending the estate money on cancer treatments leaving nothing to their children. Ann&Bob think that's hippie talk so they barely pay attention.

Fortunately for Ann&Bob, someone wrote an editorial quoting some spoilsport who did the actual math (lets call him Nordhaus) saying that there's no way anyone can realistically live comfortably on only 50% of one's income(*). This makes Ann&Bob feel good about not even trying, so they decide to keep spending based on their good feelings. One of them signs up for code academy just in case.

(*) The IPCC agrees in practice... but, hell, it's the only theoretical solution still left at this point and A&B did ask about it, so they delivered the requested solution even if it was ridiculously optimistic and everybody knew it.

Meanwhile, in 2012 the government of North Carolina decided to make it illegal to base zoning regulation for home construction on future sea level rises. Instead, only historic sea level measurements were allowed. Then in 2018, much of coastal North Carolina was flooded. The people swore to rebuild and fight reality heroically. This was good for the local home builders^H^H^H^Heconomy even if it was rather bad for the local home owners. Ann&Bob might very well live in North Carolina. So is life.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:44 pm
Stage 4 ... ges-denial


Stage 1: Deny the Problem Exists
Often when people are first faced with an inconvenient problem, the immediate reaction involves denying its existence.

Stage 2: Deny We're the Cause
Once people move beyond denying that the problem exists, they often move to the next stage, denying that we're responsible.

OR Stage 2b: Consensus Denial
In Murdoch's The Australian, Andrew Montford took a different approach to deny that we're the cause of the problem, attacking the expert consensus on human-caused global warming.

Stage 3: Deny It's a Problem
Once they've progressed through the first two stages and admitted global warming is happening and human-caused, contrarians generally move on to Stage 3, denying it's a problem.

Stage 4: Deny We can Solve It
Claiming that solving the problem is too expensive and will hurt the poor.

Stage 5: It's too Late
Stage 5 global warming denial involves arguing that it's too late to solve the problem, so we shouldn't bother trying

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:55 pm
by 7Wannabe5

A great many of the flailings and posturings that have defined American culture from the eighties to the present, in other words, unfolded from what Jean-Paul Sartre called "bad faith"- the unspoken awareness, however frantically denied or repressed, that the things that actually mattered were not things anyone was willing to talk about, and that the solutions everyone wanted to discuss were not actually aimed at their putative targets. The lie at the heart of that bad faith was the desperate attempt to avoid facing the implications of the plain and utterly unwelcome fact that there is no way to make a middle-class lifestyle sustainable.

Let's repeat that, just for the sake of emphasis: There is no way to make a modern middle-class lifestyle sustainable.- "Green Wizardry"- John Michael Greer

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:51 pm
daylen wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:13 am
What is doing nothing? The behavior of the whole system is complex enough that there isn't really such a thing as doing nothing unless it is defined in a narrow, useless way.
that's why brute specifically said "nothing (political)"

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:02 pm
jacob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:24 pm
metaphorical things
sure. and brute doesn't support forcing humanity to adopt a 75% savings rate either. in fact, brute is convinced that government action to implement a 75% savings rate would be SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE than not taking any government action.

to incept back out of the metaphor:
brute believes that pretty much any government action(*) to mitigate against climate change would make things WAY WORSE than not taking said action.

(*) brute thinks there could theoretically exist an exception if there were a government action that was less zero-sum than any potential free market action, but he can not think of one.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:53 am
by Riggerjack
+1 @jacob
+1@ 7w5

I don't care what the IPCC has to say. They are mapping seating arrangements on the Titanic. Government cannot fix this, it never could. Describing how hopeless the situation is, using milder and milder language must be really soul draining, though.

This isn't a group coordination problem. It never was.

We may as well try diverting an astroid by getting everyone to step outside and throw rocks at the sky.

Now I can understand that can be hard to accept, but on the other side of acceptance is very peaceful. I understand that all the predictions are bad. And that they are accurate. A lot of people will suffer and die.

But right now, all across the world, a lot of people are suffering and dieing. I'm not sure how much more I should care about the suffering of theoretical people from a problem that cannot be solved through conventional means.

But being me, I am more concerned with finding unconventional methods than trying to coordinate stone throwing futility.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:20 am
by RealPerson
"There is no way to make a modern middle-class lifestyle sustainable.- "Green Wizardry"- John Michael Greer"

That is the crux of the matter. If there was a way to preserve the middle class lifestyle, or expand it, while reducing CO2 emissions, it would have been done already. Governments don't really want to act because effective action is political suicide. Even the folks in Miami want to drive their SUV through the water in the streets.

Re: IPCC Report

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:32 am
by hojo-e
Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:53 am
Government cannot fix this, it never could.

This isn't a group coordination problem. It never was.

But right now, all across the world, a lot of people are suffering and dieing. I'm not sure how much more I should care about the suffering of theoretical people from a problem that cannot be solved through conventional means.
What exactly is the problem that governments cannot fix?

Is it possible that group coordination could mitigate some future suffering? For instance, enforcing auto emission standards seems to have had some effect. So government action may not solve the overall problem but it can make it less bad in the future.

Some say it is useless to try because we cannot reverse the warming trend completely. Is that what you are saying?