Saturday, April 7, 2007

Not refrigerators

They tell me people have a short attention span these days- if it doesn't come in little sound bites, then they can't hear it.

Not that I believe that really - but I do think it's true that everyone hears things better if it's not hammered at them constantly. So, to take a little side trip from the refrigerator today, we just have to look at the headlines.

US & China Bully IPCC

Basically, those two old chums, the USA and China, went together to "soften" some of the language in the latest statement being released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change- you know, the one that's generated all the "billions will suffer" headlines in the last couple days.

You mean the reality is worse than they said?

Oh, yeah.

Decision making processes, individual, joint, societal- have always been a major interest of mine; I've studied them. We have a very serious problem as a planet- since we have no real planetary government, and the individual governments are generally equipped with the brains and morals of hyenas. (A hyena skull, just in case you've never held one, is made of massive dense bone; good anchors for muscles designed to crack bones for marrow; and a remarkably small brain case. It weighs like twice what a lion skull does. Yeah, yeah, I know, the Discovery Channel has discovered that hyenas are good mothers. Doesn't change much here.)

Have you heard this line recently- "Scientists expressed surprise that the climate changes they've been predicting are in fact showing up much faster, and with bigger amplitudes, than expected."?

It's a pretty easy statement to find.

IF ANYONE WERE PAYING ATTENTION to the deliberations (they're not, really) - NOBODY WOULD BE SURPRISED.

Because. Good scientists are, always, very careful not to "overstate" their findings. In the course of one calculation, what this means is they go through a process of estimating forces, quantities, etc. Do they overestimate? Never never- very bad for the reputation. You always pick a number that is "conservative." Take your best measurement - and ROUND DOWN. Ditto for the next number in the equation.

So what happens when you multiply a conservative estimate by a conservative estimate by a conservative estimate by a conservative estimate by a conservative estimate by a conservative estimate?

Mathematically speaking - YOU WILL GET AN ->UNDER<- ESTIMATE. Every time. And when you then add an underestimate from Study A, to an underestimate from Study B, to ...

Then; on top of it all - you have the bullies out there fighting to cover their own hyena behinds- forcing the language softer and softer.

You didn't want to know this; or hear this- but yeah; global warming is worse than anyone's been saying or admitting.

So go unplug your fridge now. :-)

6 comments:

Richard said...

Good Piece.

Greenpa said...

For anyone reading this post, and looking to the comments for more thoughts- you'll notice there are stunningly few (1) comments.

Statistically, you would be likely to conclude that therefore, there have been very few readers of this post. Usually, more readers make more comments.

As the blog owner, I can tell you- in this case, that would be incorrect. This particular post has a very high readership. But and extremely low comment rate.

I'm fascinated to speculate "why". My main hypothesis- the thoughts are extremely disturbing; and leaves folks wanting to think about something else, soon.

Any inputs, there? :-)

Bee Girl said...

Ha! My initial response is...shit. Now what? And this post is a couple of years old. So, add that to your latest post (the one that brought me here) and I'm having a double *shit* moment. Small steps in the right direction are great, but they're still small steps. Where do we even start when we're stuck where we are and cannot physically (or financially) make huge changes in order to affect huge change. And how do we battle everyone else? Or gently push them in the right direction when the information they're getting is false/edited and it's easier to just stick your head in the sand and pretend it'll all be OK? Oy...no answers, just more questions. Thanks for continuing to share the information you're getting. It is appreciated :-)

Hank Roberts said...

Well, yeah, the thing I find hardest to explain is that the IPCC is always out of date.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos

"Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse' ... 'on track' for 4C rise ...."

Well, yeah. Look at anything in the public health field. Lead poisoning. Antibiotic resistance. When were the first papers published? When did some attempt at response start? When do you think we'll actually do something significant about the problem?

There aren't enough voters with personal experience with the problem -- they, a family member, or a neighbor got badly enough hurt by it -- to get their attention.


Hank Roberts said...

http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-scientists-esld.html

"Climate Scientists Erring on the Side of Least Drama
Posted on 30 January 2013 by dana1981
A paper recently published in Global Environmental Change Brysse et al. (2012) examined a number of past predictions made by climate scientists, and found that that they have tended to be too conservative in their projections of the impacts of climate change. The authors thus suggest that climate scientists are biased toward overly cautious estimates, erring on the side of less rather than more alarming predictions, which they call "erring on the side of least drama" (ESLD).....
-----end excerpt-----

thistrinket said...

Easter Island the sequel, coming everywhere- SOON!