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Remember The Emergent Effects of Climate Change

HERE is what I do not get about the “contrarian on climate change crowd” from Eddie’s:
How can you operate under the assumption that climate change will have linear results?

We are literally talking about the most complex global system known to man. Frankly, I do not think we have enough information – we can not unless we tap into the entirety of the biosphere – and so we are forced to operate with the understanding that the emergent effects of a shift in equilibrium will be nonlinear. Restated: that climate change places existential pressure on humanity.

If the alarmists are wrong, we accelerated a positive feedback loop unnecessarily, expending treasure without cause. If we are right, we staved off the negative feedback – extinction.Dan is willing to make that call in favor of the former. He argues for those resources to be better spent on bringing the rest of the world online. This assumes we know what is coming – linearity. I do not agree; the costs of the systemic feedback are too high to operate with anything more an assumption of baseline knowledge.



-Shlok
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1 Comment
  • Dan tdaxp
    Dec 14, 2007

    “How can you operate under the assumption that climate change will have linear results?”

    We don’t, and such an assumption is not necessary.

    “We are literally talking about the most complex global system known to man. ”

    Really? How do you quantify this?

    I think you mean “climate is a complex system.” And indeed, you’re right. Many things are complex systems.

    “Frankly, I do not think we have enough information – we can not unless we tap into the entirety of the biosphere – and so we are forced to operate with the understanding that the emergent effects of a shift in equilibrium will be nonlinear.”

    This is trivially true.

    “Restated: that climate change places existential pressure on humanity.”

    How is this a restatement of the previous sentence? It is an entirely new claim that doesn’t follow from what precedes it.

    “If the alarmists are wrong, we accelerated a positive feedback loop unnecessarily, expending treasure without cause. If we are right, we staved off the negative feedback – extinction.”

    The same logic could be used to spend trillions on asteroid defense, or the abolition of nanotechnology, or the construction of religious monasteries that will pray for us, or…

    “Dan is willing to make that call in favor of the former. He argues for those resources to be better spent on bringing the rest of the world online.”

    Yes.

    ” This assumes we know what is coming – linearity.”

    No.

    “I do not agree; the costs of the systemic feedback are too high to operate with anything more an assumption of baseline knowledge.”

    Does not follow.

    Reply
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