Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Denial of authoritarianism--no, end the Fed

Salon has an article on denial of science by mainstream society. The article asks why people deny the unpleasant truths that modern science has to offer--apparently preferring to chance of the impending hell of global warming and non-fluoridated drinking water.

The thing the authors don't understand is that the general public is not pushing back against the science per se. They like the science. Science gives them big, flat-screen TVs, Blu-Ray players, cars, airplanes, special effects, laptops with more computing power than ENIAC, the internet, and so forth. They love science.

They don't like authoritarians telling them what to do. So bugger off.

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Okay, I'm a little calmer now. There is another point in this entire discussion I would like to mention.

Past environmental issues have been dealt in a top-down, authoritarian fashion. Acid rain and ozone depletion were both attacked, with considerable success, by legislating against the sources. But this only worked because the main sources were few in number, easily tracked, and there were solutions available for the problem. CFCs were replaced by other coolants with less effect on the ozone layer, but this solution was only possible because the alternate coolants existed.

In earlier articles we have discussed the issue of multistability in the climate system. During periods of relative stability, negative feedbacks dominate, with the effect that the system appears to resist changes. The capacity for resistance to change is not infinite, and eventually a tipping point is reached, beyond which positive feedbacks dominate, leading to very rapid change. This idea would suggest that the climate system will resist changes to atmospheric composition for a time, which may be why there hasn't been the warming that was predicted by the IPCC models (pdf).

Governments would like people to stop emitting so much CO2 (through driving, power requirements, and industrial use). Well, alright then. 1) What replacement is there that won't significantly impact on lifestyle; and 2) has the government considered its role in the CO2 problem?

In an earlier article I discussed how the increasing number of disasters in the US is more a function of urban sprawl than any increase in frequency of natural events.

A big part of the reason that per capita CO2 emissions are higher in North America than in Europe is our urban structure--in particular the vast suburbs that surround most city centres. The big suburbs mean lots of people commuting, but the density of the sprawl is too low to favour high-capacity transit.

Big suburbs are only possible due to easy money. With no easy money, working families would not aspire to owning (alongside their bank) a huge home with a vast lawn and with neighbours within 5 m. Without easy money there wouldn't be two or three cars in the driveway.

Governments like this model of city development--it gives people hope, which helps keep the system going. Banks certainly like it--there's a lot of interest payments stretched out over 30 years, and until recently, people would practically starve rather than miss mortgage payments. People imagine they are happy, although I wonder what the future generations will think of people who willingly bought homes that took 30 years to pay for, instead of the more historically common few weeks to months. But I don't think the owners of these houses have done as well on the deal as the government or the banks.

So having created the template for massive CO2 emissions, the authoritarians wish to deny responsibility and shift the blame to their debt-serfs. Because the debt-serfs are refusing to absorb the costs, the authoritarians decry their denial of science.

If you really care about global warming, end the Fed.


  1. Citing the paid energy company shill James Delingpole as an authority on climate change is the same as citing Mickey Mouse as an authority on cheese.

    This is not helpful, time is indeed running out. Warming has accelerated since 1998, if anything the climate science has been too conservative.

    Climate change deniers such as Delingpole should be broken on the wheel and their families made to watch.


    Projection: The IPCC's 2007 assessment projected a worst-case temperature rise of 4.3° to 11.5°F, with a high probability of 7.2°F.

    IPCC emission scenarios underestimated global CO2 emission rates, which means temperature rates were underestimated too.
    Reality: We are currently on track for a rise of between 6.3° and 13.3°F, with a high probability of an increase of 9.4°F by 2100, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other modelers are getting similar results, including a study published earlier this month by the Global Carbon Project consortium confirming the likelihood of a 9°F rise.

    9°F = +4°C which would put Planet Earth as a barely inhabitable hell-hole. The weather has gone haywire with just 0.8°C warming. What will it be doing when it reaches the consensus-to-avoid 2°C?

    What will it feel like when your own grandchild yanks your head back by the hair and slits your throat with a steak knife? Will the errors of your worldly, consumerist ways flash before your eyes?

    Meanwhile, the suburbs have already been built -- not just in the USA but elsewhere such as Europe and China. The 'great building boom' of the late 20th- and early 21st centuries is coming to an end yet the damage has already been done ... The central banks are hardly relevant. 'Ending' them -- whatever that means -- would accomplish nothing other than to accelerate an ongoing energy-depletion driven economic crisis.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. Such a thing might save you from your offspring.

    The central banks did not create the suburbs instead it was the automobile industry and greedy tycoons first ... then marketing and media tycoons, the private sector finance industry and its tycoons -- this industry creates credit, by the way --, insurance and real estate industries and their tycoons; government borrowing power and the military-industrial complex, the petroleum industry -- using the John D. Rockefeller pricing model --, institutionalized racism and racial politics, white flight, 'know-nothing-ism' and pride thereof, retail cartels as well as a deeply held sense of entitlement to gain the free lunch; something for nothing.

    Central banks do not create new credit but can only lend against old credit taken as collateral. This is an un-alterable condition not a rule that can be changed at will. Credit excess is the responsibility of the private sector. Industrial systems require the expansion of credit, that is unsecured loans and leverage. What is being leveraged is waste, hence our problem.

    Better to keep the Fed and off the tycoons.

    It's them or us.

  2. If you blame the overly rich tycoons of our day for the current batch of world problems then ending the fed should be top priority. It is always the first receiver of counterfeit money who benefits most. Overconsumption is directly related to cheap credit and the wealth effect from said cheap credit. Keep the easy debt flowing and people will continue trying to consume all the worlds resources.

  3. Countering complaints about the wild inaccuracies of climate projections by citing more projections doesn't strike me as a very persuasive approach. Nor does invoking lurid images of torture or homicide by psychotic children. But the real reason I feel compelled to comment is Virginia Steve's utter and complete misunderstanding of the function and effects of central banking, and the Fed's fiat maniipulation in particular. This is so far off-base that one hardly knows where to begin; let this serve as caution to anyone who might read Steve's comment and accept it at face value without further inquiry.

  4. Thanks for replying to Steve's reply--I've been in and out of meetings through the day and couldn't reply.

    The lurid imagery has been a mainstay of the academic response to the common man's disagreement with their "intellectual betters".

    History (and now physics) shows us when millions of local agents interact they occasionally produce mysterious, unpredictable, miraculous results. That is exactly what authorities fear, for the unpredictable threatens to overturn the existing power structure. They would rather have us accept their top-down prescription for proper behaviour. By accepting it we lose the miraculous and replace it with the mundane.

    Actually, history shows that by accepting the authoritarian solution, we replace the miraculous with casual terror. That's why I prefer to see what solutions arise from the interaction of self-interested parties. I prefer to have faith in our fellows than in our "betters".

  5. Mickeyman, you are right in that the cheap credit favors the unecollogical and inefficient suburbial expansion. Nevertheless, I found that your claim that "there has been no global warming since 1995" is inaccurate. Nevertheless, as you claim, modelling in general, and climate in particular, is a very dificult field. Even making sense of the observations is hard.