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Benefits of Climate Change (not posted)
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20130909                        Science (Climate Change)                        Language                        Morality

Comment prepared September 9, 2013 in response to an article by Mike Treder, posted May 28, 2009 by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, How to Stop Global Warming. or Not. The comment form was no longer active, so I copy it here as a gem of my wisdom.

Yes. The author is right. If current and past carbon burning are a significant cause of global warming, which I will grant for now, to which I will say, "Ce la vie".

It's going to get "worse". And it is that to which I wish to call attention. I am reading a book, "Denial" by Varki. While presenting the usual arguments for human actions to stop or reduce or slow the deleterious effects of climate change, he writes ".... the average human being should fear ..... change in the relative stability and predictability of his or her local condition". WOW - the materialists credo replacing "fear-God" with "fear change" as a moral commandment. Is that what it's all about? Really? Else why account for only negative effects of such a fundamental thing for good and bad as climate?, and especially consider it negative if "human induced"? I suggest an association here with the concept of "original sin".

Are there any possible benefits to anybody, any ecological participant, any human individual or group from a warming climate? Is the goal to stop evolution? to "sustain" what we have now? Why do people from where I live near Chicago save and scrimp so they can buy a winter condo in Florida? Maybe because they see some advantage to warmer climates. But that is purely subjective. How about benefits for, say, human health?

I have read numerous learned articles detailing the likely increased pathogen migration from and into warmer climates, about catastrophes caused by floods, hurricanes, rising seas, about coral reefs dying and polar bear cubs drowning unable to keep up with their mother desperately trying to reach the next ice flow that is no longer there. Tears your heart out doesn't it? It does mine.

Yes indeed. But any benefits? How about a risk/benefit analysis, including as a minor benefit peoples' preferences, perhaps measured by economic shift across isotherms. But if you won't go that far in determining benefit, how about total agricultural production, total biomass production? Life likes warmth and moisture. Nearly every GSM simulation I have seen shows increased temperature and moisture in all zones of the atmosphere. Precipitation, north of the Hadley cell, is shown to increase in total annual quantity. Warmth, well, what can I say? that's what it's all about: life giving warmth. Why are the tropical forests the most diverse in the world?

For northern zones where vast lands lie that means longer growing seasons. Together with more moisture, more warmth means more food, much more food. The author talks of engineering to eventually "stop" or even "reverse" the effects of climate change (over the long haul). How conservative, ultra conservative. Why not apply the same engineering genius to adapting to the change: genetic and agronomic engineering to assure similar yields from areas that will receive less moisture, of which there will be many. Engineering to adapt crops to the vast new expanses of land between 45 and 65 degrees north that will be opened to longer, wetter growing seasons. Engineering to develop aquaculture systems that are as productive as terresetral systems. It seems like benefits that may compensate for the displacement of at least ten Maldivians or pay for artificially raising at least an acre of their islands.

So the term I challenge in the first sentence is "worse", because I think it expresses a very biased thought; that climate change equals bad and that more climate change equals more bad. How can we know if it is good or bad if we only polemically talk about the negative? Science anyone?

For some perspective on the catastrophe impending, I put together a plot of the temperatures of the last 200 years (cet paribus), the time of the carbon pulse, next to plots the last 10,000 and 65,000,000 years. We hardly make a mark upon the "natural" variability, but may be barely noticeable with a 4 degree C change.