Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Global warming punishes Rockford, world

While cleanup crews here at the building that houses Rockford Rascal World Headquarters dealt with a watery basement Tuesday morning, large parts of the rest of the city struggled with far worse flooding conditions.

This was the second time in 11 months that Rockford has been struck by disastrous floods in the wake of torrential rains.

Meanwhile, a tornado touched down last night in Brooklyn, of all places. Snow fell in Argentina for the first time in 90 years. Hundreds of millions of people across the world have had to cope in recent days and weeks with unusual weather events of all kinds.

The situation was reported thusly today on an Irish Web site:

International flights were delayed and thousands of US commuters were unable to get to work today as torrential rain flooded New York's subways and rail lines.
The National Weather Service briefly posted a tornado warning for parts of the city and surrounding areas, including New Jersey, and fallen trees blocked streets in some neighbourhoods. The flash floods came as the weather service issued a heat advisory that warned temperatures could climb to 101F (38.3C) because of the muggy weather.
Elsewhere, a large section of the US suffered high temperatures and humidity and the elderly, children and those with health problems were warned to avoid prolonged periods and strenuous activity outdoors, drink plenty of water and wear light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing to prevent suffering a heat-related illness.
Yesterday, an expert with the UN weather agency said extreme weather events this year are in line with predictions made by an important report on climate change. Omar Baddour, a climatologist with the World Meteorological Organisation, said: "We can say that the start of the year 2007 was a very active year in terms of extreme climatic and meteorological events."
In May, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fourth report, warning that global warming would increase the number of extreme weather events and cause more natural disasters, which will hit the poor hardest.
Global surface temperatures in January were 3.4F (1.9C) higher than average since records began in 1880, with Europe experiencing an unusually mild winter, according to data compiled by WMO.
The Geneva-based agency said April temperatures around the world rose 2.46F (1.37C) above the historical average. Since then, record storms, floods and heat waves have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
Hundreds have died and thousands have lost their livelihoods in floods since the start of the year in China, South Asia, Mozambique, Sudan and Uruguay, while the period from May to July was the wettest in England and Wales since records began in 1766, WMO said. It said two heat waves in south-eastern Europe in June and July broke previous records, with temperatures in Bulgaria hitting 113F (45C) on July 23.
Other extreme events this year include rare snowfall in South Africa and Argentina, and the first cyclone ever documented in the Arabian Sea, according to WMO.
But, of course, there are those who will deny that any of these events have anything to do with global warming, or they'll claim that climate change is only natural and is not caused by manmade greenhouse gases.

Fortunately, the cover story in the current edition of Newsweek is well timed. It's about the feverish effort of global warming deniers, many of whom are financed by polluters, to downplay the crisis.

Meanwhile, the evidence refuting their nonsensical claims continues to mount, here and elsewhere.


UCrawford said...

The fact that many of the global warming skeptics are commissioned by companies that are accused of causing global warming does not in itself prove that those skeptics are lying, Rascal, in the same way that lawyers who represent persons accused of crimes are not automatically lying because they're hired by the accused. The strength of their position lies in the evidence and logic of their argument, not in who is paying the bills.

The reason these skeptics exist is because (despite Al Gore's protestations to the contrary) the global warming crowd have not definitively proven a causal relationship between abnormal weather conditions and global warming. They've demonstrated only a correlational relationship, and declared it to be causal, thereby basing their argument on a logical fallacy. When they come up with more evidence for their theory than "A happened at the same time as B, therefore A must have caused B" I'll start treating their opinions about destroying our economy with bad legislation with a little more respect. Otherwise, it's merely an aberrational year for weather...same as it is on Mars (where there were no humans or industries last I checked).

As for more reasons to question the global warming crowd, here are some from Lew Rockwell:

Once the global warming fanatics start talking about privatizing all land (thereby making pollution a property rights issue) or deregulating the nuclear industry so that we can build more plants (which produce fewer carbon emissions) then maybe I'll start believing that they're serious, thoughtful individuals interested in improving the environment instead of a bunch of panicky socialist Luddites who haven't considered the consequences of their actions.

UCrawford said...

And sorry to hear about your basement. Nothing more annoying than getting water into everything. Have you considered installing a pump for the downstairs? They work very well.

The Rascal said...

Thanks for your sympathy, but the basement isn't my problem. I'm only a tenant on the second floor of a three-story building. As for global warming, I'm impressed by the fact that the overwhelming majority of climatologists agree that GW is a reality and that human impact is partly, if not mostly, to blame. I'm also impressed by the fact that so many GW skeptics seem to be influenced by money from polluters, or reluctance to support economic change or disdain for Al Gore, etc. It's more than coincidence that most GW skeptics in Congress are Republicans.

The Rascal said...

One more thought: Some of those same Republican GW skeptics in Congress are creationists. So much for their scientific expertise.

UCrawford said...


Your creationism argument is a red herring. It is irrelevant what supporters of the global warming skeptics believe or don't believe, the only relevant party is the skeptics themselves and the quality of their argument directly pertaining to global warming.

The skeptics' argument is that global warming is happening but that the reasons provided for it are correlational but have not been proven to be causal. The global warming crowd, however, wants us to act as though the causal links have been proven and impose legislation on the economy (taxes, regulation, and fines) that will have a negative economic impact. They're basically asking us to make a sacrifice that will affect millions of people and make life more difficult when they have no actual scientific evidence that their proposed "solutions" will do anything to remedy the problem. Furthermore, the global warming crowd is openly hostile to free market solutions that may achieve the same end they're seeking (nuclear power, privatization of land, deregulation) without requiring us to make such drastic economic sacrifices, which calls into question just how rational or well-researched their "solutions" are.

Most of the solutions proposed are basically socialist in nature, and I think history and reality have discredited the functionality of that philosophy pretty solidly, so color me skeptical but it makes me question the wisdom or mental capability of anyone who proposes socialism as an answer to our problems, especially when they immediately refuse to consider free market alternatives.

As for the employers of people questioning global warming, I refer you back to my defense attorney analogy. Why are businesses hiring scientists who question the veracity of global warming advocates? For the same reason an accused person hires a defense attorney...they have a vested interest in having their side of the story told and insuring that they're not getting railroaded by a faulty argument. Just because the oil companies hire a scientist who says Al Gore is full of crap does not automatically mean that the scientist is lying, nor does his employer in any way automatically improve or harm the quality of his argument. It's always about the science. And in this case, the global warming "scientists" have yet to prove causation.

UCrawford said...

Here's a show you ought to check out if you're worried about being snookered by the great Republican conspiracy on the issues. They did a show about global warming in season 1:

The Rascal said...

I'm not a scientist, and neither (I presume) are you. But I can't believe that such a large percentage of climatologists would come to conclusions about the cause of GW on the kind of shaky science you ascribe to them. Besides, the argument between you and me is not over what kind of legislative remedies are best for dealing with the problem. That's for another day. Rather, let's focus on what's causing GW. On that score, I'll put more faith in the GW crowd than in the likes of Sen. Inhofe. And, hey, don't knock socialism in my presence. I'm an old coot on Social Security, you know.

UCrawford said...

Your argument in favor of the climatologist is what's known as "argumentum ad populum" (appeal to numbers). It's a logical fallacy. Again, the science is what matters, not the numbers of the people who believe it.

I have no problems with real discussions about global problem is that the global warming crowd is already pushing for the "solutions" to be put in place even though they've yet to prove their points and they're pooh-poohing the skeptics as simply pawns of the "evil conglomerates". So given the slanted forum and the suspect nature of the "solutions" they've proposed I reject their position out of hand until they make a more convincing case.

And congratulations on living long enough to be able to steal from the young...hopefully you won't outlive the solvency of the program :)

(And no, I was not wishing for you to die in that last paragraph)

The Rascal said...

There's not much chance that I'll outlive the solvency of SS. If they do absolutely nothing to help shore up the program, it'll still remain solvent until 2040, at which point I'll either be almost a centenarian or only a bad memory. Paul McCartney and I are about the same age, but his is a healthier lifestyle (made all the more pleasant by his vast wealth). The answer I received to the question of "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64" was a resounding NO!