Check it out:

OK, you have fought hard to deny or challenge the realities of climate change, perhaps because you are afraid of the policies that might have to be put in place; or are afraid of the possibilities of increased government intervention; or you don’t think it will be that bad; or you think it will be too expensive to do anything about; or you don’t understand the science; or you don’t trust scientists, including, by the way, every national academy of sciences and every professional scientific organization in the geosciences… or whatever.

Read the rest of this piece by Peter Gleick here.

Comments

  1. #1 AK
    October 7, 2011

    Was this aimed at me, Greg?

    OK, let’s start with the document Gleick references, Läderach, et al.:

    The changes in suitability as climate change occurs are site-specific. There will be areas that become unsuitable for cocoa (Lagunes and Sud-Comoe in Côte d’Ivoire), where farmers will need to identify alternative crops. There will be areas that remain suitable for cocoa, but only when the farmers adapt their agronomic management to the new conditions the area will experience. There will also be areas where suitability of cocoa increases (Kwahu Plateu, between Eastern and Ashanti regions in Ghana). Finally, there will be areas where today no cocoa is grown but which in the future will become suitable (18 Montagnes in Côte d’Ivoire). We did not consider using the protected areas (such as forest reserves) as available for cocoa cultivation, however, to avoid promoting clearing forests or invasion of protected areas for new cocoa areas. Climate change brings not only bad news but also a lot of potential opportunities. The winners will be those who are prepared for change and know how to adapt.

    Looks like a wash, to me. Of course, with increasing numbers of affluent customers, the price at current production levels will go up substantially, so small differences between the old and new suitable areas will be lost in the noise.

    Were you trying to make an example of the way people like Gleick distort the science for their own agenda (not that I don’t love chocolate myself), or hadn’t you noticed how one-sided his presentation was.

    BTW, I wonder if this has anything to do with why I always have to pay more for chocolate every time I buy some.

    Ref:

    Läderach, P., Eitzinger, A., Martínez, A., Castro, A. (2011) Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on the Cocoa-Growing Regions in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (Provenance unknown)

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2011

    I don’t think Peter Gleick wrote a letter to you, no.

    Hey, listen in on Sunday when Don Prothero and I will be talking about the effects of climate change (among other things)

  3. #3 AK
    October 7, 2011

    On looking closer, I discover

    that the suitability within the current cocoa-growing areas will decrease seriously by 2050.

    This study, however, didn’t look at regions outside of the Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire cocoa growing-areas. Specifically, it didn’t look at any locations in Africa that currently aren’t suitable for growing Cocoa but might become so. It also didn’t look at South America, Central America, India, or the East Indies, to determine what, if any, areas would become more suitable than they are today.

    Of course, that’s not what the study was commissioned for, but that didn’t stop Gleick from using it to support a “conclusion” totally unjustified by his evidence. (Which doesn’t mean it might not be correct, of course.)

    Unless it was a joke? It certainly seemed that way to me while I was researching the subject.

    I’m supposed to be working Sunday, but I’ll probably catch your show on-line later.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2011

    AK: Peter is in transit or something and can’t easily respond to you with his cell phone, but he asked me to suggest that you have a look at the map on his Forbes blog. He says it is not a wash, but rather a huge loss of area, and a tiny gain from possible expansion. Your interpretation suggests a rather selective reading.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2011

    I think our notes crossed in the mail

    Yup, the show will be on a podcast.

  6. #6 AK
    October 7, 2011

    Actually, it was selective writing. I just read the first few pages (before posting), which anybody writing a report like that knows is all anybody ever reads. It was pretty clear what point the writers wanted to put across. You’ll note I did go back and look later.

    But that doesn’t impact the fact that report was actually written for a very different reason, and really doesn’t say much about potential changes to areas suitable for growing cocoa world-wide. This still represents a mis-use of data that would be egregious if it were used for a political agenda. But it was only a joke, right?

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2011

    OMG, I can’t believe you just accused an author of “selective writing” because you chose to read only part of his work and then disparage him.

    Yes, it really is true. Denailism has hit bottom and is digging deeply into the mud.

  8. #8 AK
    October 7, 2011

    I was talking about the report, Greg, not the Open Letter. A report 35 pages long, with what looked like a summary at the beginning. And I did not disparage Läderach et al. I don’t know anything about the quality of their work, except that they appear to have sampled a large ensemble of different models and found fairly good agreement.

    As for Gleick, he was using a report for a purpose completely different than its stated purpose. That was clear from the start. The report did not support his core conclusion. Either he did an even worse job of reading the report he based his propaganda on than I did (in my first reading), or he deliberately left out consideration of the fact that reduction of suitability at one place is balanced by increased suitability elsewhere. Something clearly stated in the report.

    Of course, it wouldn’t hurt for a study to be done for all areas currently or potentially useful for growing cocoa.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2011

    I’ve not read the report, so I’m not going to comment on it. But I will say for anyone watching this conversation that we KNOW from extensive work with paleoclimate that there is no such thing as a “balancing out” of habitat loss during climate change. There isn’t any way for that to happen, generally speaking. Perhaps in some odd small scale selected situations.

    And that does not even consider the fact that it is now starting to look like the relationship between sea level and climate change has been somewhat misunderstood (in older literature that has not been revised for general consumption) and that glacial melting has a greater potential than estimated previously (in my opinion) … meaning that the effects of sea level rise could be dramatic.

    I mention this because it is an interesting example of the principle of “balancing out” … One could say that if sea level rises ten or twenty meters that there will be just as much coastline as before, so it all balances out. But that would ignore having to move, for instance, New York City. Or Bangladesh. See the point? Yes, the habitat a of a particular delicate ecosystem may appear somewhere else but the politically defined park that protects it does not. Agrarian regions, park regions, residential, and light industrial regions are sort of hard to just move around on the map.

  10. #10 AK
    October 7, 2011

    we KNOW from extensive work with paleoclimate that there is no such thing as a “balancing out” of habitat loss during climate change. There isn’t any way for that to happen, generally speaking. Perhaps in some odd small scale selected situations.

    You’re completely wrong, Greg. There’s always a balancing. Some species lose, some gain. We’re descended from gainers. All the way back to the End-Permian extinction. (And, of course, before that.)

    If the subject is cocoa, then we’re talking about one of the most adaptable species on the planet, along with client species it’s perfectly capable of modifying. If we can’t create cocoa plants able to survive prosper in the new conditions, we’ll create plants capable of prospering under some other conditions, in South America, or the East Indies or who knows where. Some of the papers I scanned (in the last few hours) suggested that the reason the East Indies don’t have production rates has high as West Africa is socio-political.

    Now, if the subject is general conditions, then yes, if the South Pole glaciers melt much of the coastline will be flooded. I don’t see anything wrong with that, happening over a 30-year period, which AFAIK is the fastest offered by the GCM ensembles. Of course, I regard those models as unreliable, especially in their inability to model rapid “state changes”. But if you believe the IPCC, which IIRC you do, those possibilities are “almost certainly” not going to happen. (IIRC)

    Think about how technology has changed in the last 20 years, then ask yourself why you assume there won’t be just as much change in the next. Flooding the coastline will just offer opportunities for rebuilding with new technology. Is it really any worse for buildings to be under water than lost in a “depressed zone” (or whatever they call it these days)? All that flooded city will offer great opportunities for vacationers in glass-bottomed boats. And scuba divers. (Not to mention the businesses that support all that recreation.)

    As for the people, they’ll live in new construction, perhaps built at a tenth the price current construction costs, due to breaking the union holds on local building regulations. Perhaps the need for all that rebuilding will unleash a new wave of technology.

    P.S. You posted a link to this blogger without checking his refs?

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    October 8, 2011

    You’re completely wrong, Greg. There’s always a balancing. Some species lose, some gain.

    No, I’m not wrong. Entire habitats become almost non-existant and others that were rare dominant during major climate fluctuation. You can say that I’m wrong as emphatically as you want, there is a huge pile of research saying otherwise.

    if the South Pole glaciers melt much of the coastline will be flooded. I don’t see anything wrong with that, happening over a 30-year period,

    If the southern continent’s glaciers melted all of NYC would have to be moved. You have no problem with seeing that happen over a few decades? Interesting.

    P.S. You posted a link to this blogger without checking his refs?

    I posted a link to a blog post that I found interesting, by a colleauge. You just told me that in order to do that, I had to read whatever was referred to in that blog post.

    Do you actually expect people to take you seriously?

  12. #12 Cedric Katesby
    October 8, 2011

    You’re completely wrong, Greg. There’s always a balancing. Some species lose, some gain.

    There’s a magical ying and yang to the universe.
    Kill all the blue flowers and lovely pink flowers will take their place.
    Nothing is every really destroyed. So don’t worry about destruction. Think happy.

    Where you see farmland stripped of topsoil and made barren by shifting rainfall patterns and rising salinity, I see a happy place.
    A happy petting zoo for fire ants and small rocks.
    It all balances out.
    There’s no such thing as an actual net loss in nature.
    Oh no.
    It all works itself out.
    ///

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    October 8, 2011

    Kill all the blue flowers and lovely pink flowers will take their place.

    No, no, you don’t understand! Kill all the blue flowers and half the pink flowers will volunteer to be blue! You know nothing!

  14. #14 Shawn Otto
    October 8, 2011

    AKs comments are a classic example of what psychologists call motivated reasoning – arguments we make in an attempt to convince ourselves and others of a predetermined conclusion. This is how most people navigate life and why the scientific method is so special – it provides a method of reasoning that takes that impulse – arguing for or against a hypothesis – and puts it to test with experiment and measurement of actual reality. That is what freed us from the confused thinking of our own ability to argue and sell, and built scientific progress over the last 400 years. What AK is doing is the opposite – AK is cherry picking bits of information to build rhetorical arguments and sell a pre-determined conclusion, precisely what clerics did in, for example, the indictment of Galileo. It is antiscience. These AK arguments have an endless contrarian quality; once one misstatement or half-truth is dispelled with data, AK shifts to another. The point isn’t to find the truth, it’s to win an argument. To this end, AK often ends posts with an ad hominem jab in the form of a question, as in “But it was only a joke, right?” and “You posted a link to this blogger without checking his refs?” both of which are meant to send an emotional message that one shouldn’t take Laden or the report seriously, and that it is AK who is the superior voice of reason. This is another classic selling tactic that is emotional and manipulative, but has nothing to do with the data or methodology presented in the paper. We can deceive ourselves and others in many ways; AK obviously enjoys the process.

  15. #15 AK
    October 8, 2011

    @Greg…

    Entire habitats become almost non-existant and others that were rare dominant during major climate fluctuation.

    That’s what I meant by balance. Some gain, others lose. I’ll admit there may seem to be more loss than gain in the case of, say, the end-Permian extinction, but that event created major opportunities for certain species that happened to be pre-adapted to the new situations. Including our ancestors.

    If the southern continent’s glaciers melted all of NYC would have to be moved. You have no problem with seeing that happen over a few decades? Interesting.

    Nope. Cities are obsolete. (And if anybody wants to preserve NYC in place, well humans have had partly aquatic cities for a millennium and a half.) So, IMO, is terrestrial agriculture, or soon will be. 2-3 Decades is more than enough time for adaptation. And adaptation will be generally beneficial to humanity as a species, as it will put a premium on practical intelligence, which is one of our species strategic specialties.

    You just told me that in order to do that, I had to read whatever was referred to in that blog post.

    No, but if you don’t, especially when it refers to (the equivalent of) peer-reviewed literature, you open yourself up to criticism. Especially after you come out with “you just accused an author of ‘selective writing’ because you chose to read only part of his work and then disparage him” when I didn’t.

    Perhaps I should have said something like: “WTF, Greg, you jump all over me for reading only the first few pages of Gleick’s link (ref) before disparaging him (Gleick), when you didn’t even read the first word”. I know the cases aren’t parallel, yours is a post in a widely read blog, mine is just a comment.

    I have more response(s), but no more time, probably until tomorrow night, if then.

  16. #16 Collin
    October 9, 2011

    Greg, the first few pages of an article, just like the first few minutes of a symphony, should present the main themes. I don’t see how AK criticizing Gleick’s compositional skills equates to denialism.

  17. #17 Don
    October 9, 2011

    It’s hard to comment. My aunt’s husband was literally forced to clean the Gulf of Mexico otherwise he would be sacked. He is fatally ill now but and he can’t get any medical help. He’s sort of OK, as they say. What can we expect after that?

  18. #18 Meat eater
    October 9, 2011

    Open letter to global waming/global cooling/global climate change fanatics.

    Thank you for telling me what kind of light bulbs I should use. I was not aware that mercury laden light bulbs are far superior in safety and lighting quality.

    Thank you for putting ethanol in gasloline. I appreciate you locking up every small engine in america in the name of a thunderstorm.

    Thank you for dictating that I must give up red meat for the cause weather. I appreciate your efforts as my doctor and my meoterologist.

    Furthermore, I appreciate your calm and cool ways of redistributing wealth in the name of climate. It does indeed make tyrants look better when hey change the name of a dictatorship to reflect what scientists really wnat.

    So, these statements being said, I can say with one hundred perent individual sovereign authority that I WILL NOT COMPLY. Fuck you if you think I will. I’ll eat all the meat I choose. I will use regualr light bulbs until the end of my days. I will also switch to diesel instead of using your watered down gas.

    May socalism rot in the depths of hell for eternity. Now, if we could invent a time machine and go back and hang Saul Alinsky for his globalist imperalist treason…

  19. #19 Marion Delgado
    October 9, 2011

    Shorter denialists: Math and science are ancient conspiracies against US but we are not fooled.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    October 9, 2011

    Colin, um, AK is a self professed denialist.

    Meat Eater, thank you for exemplifying the best the denialist have to offer.

  21. #21 Mal Adapted
    October 9, 2011

    May socalism rot in the depths of hell for eternity.

    Southern California-ism?

  22. #22 0x0000008e
    January 29, 2012

    I think it’s not climate change but pollution that is going to kill us. However, the causes for both are the same for the most part.