Monday, February 7, 2011

Krugman is a Global Warming Hysteric

I am a big fan of Paul Krugman. But he and I part company over "global warming". I don't deny there is increase CO2 caused by humans. I don't deny that CO2 can increase global temperatures. What I do deny is the hysterical belief that we a headed into imminent disaster. What I do believe is that the "science" of global warming is oversold because the a cabal of fanatics has set the tone and when magnified by the very large pots of money that go to scientists who sell their research on the basis of "global warming" we now see global warming everywhere. But "global warming" is mostly an artifact of climate modeling, a very inexact science. It makes no sense to base policy -- and the spending of hundreds of billions and the future lifestyle of humans -- on shaky science.

Here is a bit from an excellent post by Roger Pielke Jr. on his blog:
Krugman Loses Perspective

Click to Enlarge

Paul Krugman joins the crowd who think that they can see the signal of greenhouse emissions in noisy, short-term data on food prices, and then construct a chain of causality to the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. Such tenuous claims of attribution have about as much scientific standing as Pat Robertson saying that Hurricane Katrina was the result of the vengeful wrath of God.

Here is what Krugman writes today:
[T]he evidence does, in fact, suggest that what we’re getting now is a first taste of the disruption, economic and political, that we’ll face in a warming world. And given our failure to act on greenhouse gases, there will be much more, and much worse, to come.
The figure at the top of this post is from a paper by Daniel Sumner, of the University of California-Davis (here in PDF), in which he seeks to place the 2006-2008 increase in grain prices into historical context. Current grain prices are at a similar level to the peak in 2007.
There are a number of useful links embedded in the Pielke piece. Go to the original post to access them and read the rest of the post.

I get depressed when I see that there is a left/right divide over global warming. Sadly the issue isn't progressive versus reactionary politics. It is an issue of science. I've had experience with computer modeling and know how hard it is to get a good model and how easy it is to build your assumptions into a model. Another motivation of mine is the fact that I've lived through a number of these "hysterias" in the past. The people selling the message make a living out of it and they are generally from the upper middle class and think nothing of the hardships that their "cause" wreaks upon the poor. The idea that the world would put brakes on economic growth so that liberal living in the comfort of the advance world can feel a warm glow over "saving humanity" really bothers me. They are smug in their condemnation of the poor to endless suffering.

I have yet to see any of these "benefactors of humanity" to renounce their jet-setting lifestyles and join the 2-3 billion of the world's underclass and then continue their calls for curtailing progress. No. They won't. They are smug hypocrites. Their view of "I'm got mine Jack and to hell with the rest of you" really rubs me the wrong way.

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