A reader wrote:

I am a recent reader of your blog Stoat. I am very interested in the Climate Change issue but I am not a scientist. I read Joe Romm, Island of Doubt and General news about the subject. You are the first expert I have come across that seems to have a balanced opinion on climate change. I have searched through your archives but I can’t really get a complete feel of what your opinion is. I get lost sometimes when you explain the technical stuff or use abbreviations for things that I don’t know what the abbreviations are for. Could you do a blog post (in an untechnical format) of what your opinion of the problem with climate change is? Is it a problem? What are the consequences? etc…

which is the spur to this post. I am conscious occaisionally when I search back through my archives for a source for “of course my opinion about X is quite clear” I then discover that actually my opinion is delivered through so many layers of assumed knowledge that you might well be confused about what I think.

Anyway, in answer, I direct you to Just what is this Consensus anyway? which is a post I wrote for RealClimate (which I usually abbreviate to RC – in celebration of my obscurity I’ve just written a glossary, do peruse it). The reason I wrote it is worth going into, because it illustrates some of the problems in communicating global warming type stuff. And that is, that the people involved in it just know what is going on. There is no formalised system of “stuff you believe in” – you just swim in it. The borders aren’t really clear but the core is obvious. Nowadays the “stuff” is sort-of defined by the IPCC (WGI of course) but no-one can read it all. You just don’t get people in science saying “well I don’t think the world has warmed in the last 50 years you know” because people like that live off in la-la land so people don’t even realise it is supposed to be an item of belief. It is just There.

I’ll quote what I said in 2004:


The main points that most would agree on as “the consensus” are:

1. The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]
2. People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)
3. If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]
4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)

I’ve put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It’s probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are.


Yep, all of that remains pretty well true, and remains the core. For point 2 you can see the update; the context of updating point 1 is more interesting: I originally wrote “0.1 oC/decade over the last 30 years” because I didn’t actually know what the true value was and I didn’t much care. It really didn’t matter too much to me at that point, and the exact value still doesn’t matter all that much now. I should probably qualify “the warming will continue and indeed accelerate” – the warming goes up to ~0.2-0.3 oC/decade, depending on scenario (see, I still don’t care about the exact value and didn’t even bother look it up) but doesn’t accelerate thereafter (well, except for SRES A2).

In the years since I wrote that nothing has come along to overturn any of that, and much has come in to buttress it. 1, 2 and 3 are now strong enough to be considered “essentially true”; the arguments that claim any of them are false are now dull and uninteresting and without scientific validity. Pretty well all of the meaningful scientific skeptics have now given up trying to argue that. That doesn’t stop the blogosphere reverberating with nonsense, of course.

However, I still think there is room for honest skepticism and disagreement about point 4. I think it is regrettable that there is so much continuing discussion about 1-3, which is largely sterile and mis-informed (on the septic side). I suppose you could argue that this blog and many others owe their continued existence to this sterile debate :-). The real argument should be about point 4: that it will be a problem and we should do something about it. Some groups – and I’m thinking of the likes of Greenpeace or WWF – are of the sort who will say “global warming is automatically a problem and there is no need even to demonstrate this” [See update]. I think that is wrong.

I don’t know the answer to point 4, and I know that I don’t know :-). If forced to pronounce on it, I would say what has been said before: conducting a giant geophysical experiment with the only defence of “we don’t know what might happen” is really stupidly dangerous and the sort of thing you’d get a clip round the ear for if you tried it in chemistry in a proper old fashioned school. If you see what I mean. On the other hand (and there is another hand) the converse to that is “conducting a giant experiment with the global fuel / financial system isn’t a great idea either” and that is what Doing Something About It amounts to. And left to the lobbyists and politicians some pretty stupid ideas will get a look in, like Cap-n-Trade – I prefer a carbon tax.

The reasons why point 4 might be a problem are obvious enough –

1. our culture and civilisation is adapted to roughly the current temperature and precipitation distribution (despite the emphasis on “warming” it is entirely likely that the major impacts could be hydrology related, since rainfall will shift in hard-to-predict ways as the climate changes),
2. the natural world on which we depend is also so adapted,
3. sea level rise,
4. hurricanes and other natural disasters,
5. ocean acidification [Added later]

Number 3 is an interesting one. Because 1 and 2 are kind of woolly, people often drop down to 3 as an “absolute” of-course-this-is-bad (and I’ve never heard anyone argue that SLR would be anything but bad). But that can lead to people over-emphasising or exaggerating the likely future sea level rise. How big will it be? We don’t know. The IPCC AR4 (4th Assessement Report, see glossary) wimped out of answering fully, and instead said ~70 cm by 2100 [Ahem. See update] but excluding exciting things from the ice sheets. Since Exciting Things from the Ice Sheets was the main point at issue, this was a big wimp out. But it did arguably relfect the science, which is: we really don’t know the answer right now.

[Added later: number 5 might be bad; I’m not sure. I haven’t troubled to find out much about it so far]

1 I’m somewhat dubious about – people are adaptable, as are buildings over a long enough time frame – and I’m inclined to think that most of the trouble will come from point 2. But really a discussion of the impacts has to involve the impacts people and the biologists and so on who deal with the squishy stuff. I don’t know. An obvious counter to 2 is “but climate has changed in the past: it has been much colder (ice ages) and much warmer (errr…)”. The “err…” there is because actually it *hasn’t* been “much” warmer (or at least, the evidence for greater warmth is thin) for a good while, where “a good while” is poorly defined – perhaps millions of years – at least, a time long enough in terms of evolution. The “counter-counter” is usually “ah yes, the climate has changed, but not at this unprecedented rate” and this is where the rate of future climate change becomes important.

Hurricanes became very sexy in the aftermath to Katrina (don’t fail to follow the link to the RC view) but on this issue I’m largely with Roger Pielke Jr (RP Jr) on this – almost all of the increase in damage from hurricanes over the last ~50 years is due to societal changes, not climate changes.

And that happily leads me on to my Spotters Guide to Climate Blogs. But I think I’ll reserve that for another post.

[Updates: I just knew I was going to have to do this…

* SLR: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html#table-spm-3 says “0.21 – 0.48″ so my 70 cm is a bit high.
* deconvoluter points out that point 4 is subject to the “inequity problem” – while omse areas might gain from climate change, others might lose. Attempting to balance gains and losses would be alegal nightmare and a lawyers troughing dream. The only way to handle it in the real world would be allowing freer movement of people.
* environmental stress: I didn’t mention this before, but if you care about environmental stress the biggest sources are probably not GHG’s but our towns, cities, farms and rainforest destruction. Yes they are all linked.
* “global warming is automatically a problem and there is no need even to demonstrate this” – I forgot one of the reasons – perhaps the strongest – for people believing this, which is the morality argument (thanks cbp): breaking things is Bad. Cutting down old growth forest is Bad. *I* agree with that, but since it is a morality problem it runs slap into the “ah, but my morality is different from (but no worse than) yours” answer.

Refs

* How fast is the earth warming? – Open Mind / Tamino.
* < ahref="http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/a-real-hiatus/">ATTP on some things we should be able to agree about.

Comments

  1. #1 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2010/07/04

    WMC,

    Nice. I’m pretty much with you except for details. You list the top of the AR4 SLR range as if it is the prediction.

    [Err well as you might guess from the other stuff I didn’t actually both to refresh my mind as to what the prediction actually was. But (if I recall correctly) the lower end of the nominal prediction range is frankly not credible -W]

    Also the dynamic ice sheet stuff is a red herring if you read what they wrote. But it may well be too conservative anyway.

    [Not sure what you mean by that. What I mean is that you may be able to squeeze 1-2m of SLR rise out of ice sheets in a century if you try hard -W]

    I would differ also on 4. I think “we” ought to do something about it, I’m just not sure how. I still haven’t heard a proposal that makes any sense.

    [Aye, there’s the rub -W]

  2. #2 Vinny Burgoo
    2010/07/04

    Cripes! I’m a mustelid!

  3. #3 M
    2010/07/04

    On the natural world bit: in addition to “the rate of change or absolute level of temperature hasn’t been seen in [a hundred thousand years] [millions of years]” there is also the “we’re already stressing the natural world and this is the ten thousand straws that will break many camel’s backs” (phrased that way because there are all sorts of impacts from inconsequential to important, and all sorts of different natural systems to be impacted some of which will likely thrive – invasives, for one – and others of which are pretty much doomed – fragile mountaintop ecosystems) (how much we should value fragile mountaintop ecosystems is, of course, an open question).

    You’ve also left out ocean acidification.

    [Ah, good point. Thank you. Added -W]

    And on 1: I agree that humans _should_ be appropriately adaptable, but… there are a) those nations that are poor and therefore don’t have resources to adapt, and b) there are those nations that are stupid and therefore don’t spend their resources appropriately to adapt (ahem, Katrina, ahem. Also, building on coasts and in flood zones and in deserts and all sorts of other places where we’re already pushing the margins and a slight shift in climate could push us over those margins and require rather large amounts of spending to dig ourselves out… see likely impacts on water resources in the US SouthWest…).

    I might rephrase
    4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)
    to
    4. (This will cause some problems of uncertain magnitude: it would likely be wise to spend some money to mitigate and/or preemptively adapt in the case that things are “as bad as/worse than we thought”, but it is not obvious what the appropriate policy mechanisms are).

    And now, off to see some fireworks!

  4. #4 cbp
    2010/07/04

    I think there are two compelling sides to your number 4, defining two distinct points of view for an ‘environmentalist’.

    On one hand we have the Greenpeace morality-based school, where environmental destruction is intrinsically bad and should be avoided for its own sake. Destroying things is bad, full-stop.

    On the other hand, you have the pragmatic approach: like what Jared Diamond argues in Collapse, for example. This approach states that humans are still not out of the woods yet in terms of being greatly dependent on the ‘natural’ environment. A disruption to climate patterns, ecosystem, arable land etc. will heavily impact on our way of life, ultimately resulting in starvation and war.

    Of course, the majority of thinking people are to a degree sympathetic to aspects of both of these arguments.

  5. #5 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2010/07/04

    WMC,

    On SLR. I am completely going off of AR4 pages 820 and 821. They suggest you could add .1 to .2M for rapid dynamical changes to their estimates (last paragraph of page 821). To review, the high end of the A1F1 range without adding that is .59M.

    I have obviously seen the various papers on SLR since AR4, and I have certainly heard the comments that people think they were too conservative. But I am quite interested in how the chapter authors from AR4 view all of that.

  6. #6 PurpleOzone
    2010/07/04

    I’m seeing visible weather changes that are consistent with predictions of climate change: increased flooding in parts of the U.S. due to unprecedented intense rainfalls. I saw 4 blinding rainstorms in late winter. We had many trees down, one storm also had high winds, they are still cleaning up. Repeated flooding, towns with main streets closed. Not as dramatic as a hurricane, but if the increase rainfall of the last 4 years continues, cities and towns will have to find ways to divert the water.

    Earlier spring and warmer winter. Not a good thing for the businesses that are used to making money off snow and ice. Challenging for many species.

    In other parts of the world, fires have increased due to drought and heat. Greece, California, Australia, and several other places I’ve forgotten. An insect, the bark beetle, has infested trees in the American West because the winters aren’t cold enough to kill it. Vast areas of dead trees are fodder for big fires soon.

    I don’t like the climate changes going on already. The heavy rains here are definitely new; horrible to drive in, and have result in death and destruction.

  7. #7 dhogaza
    2010/07/04

    I don’t like the climate changes going on already. The heavy rains here are definitely new; horrible to drive in

    “horrible to drive in” sounds like one of those negative feedbacks that form the holy grail of the denialisphere!

  8. #8 deconvoluter
    2010/07/04

    Unlike the 1st 3 points, the 4th one is not related to working group 1. It is also drafted in such a way that consensus might be hard to achieve. Perhaps it is too brief and misleading because it suggests that the answer could be independent of your political stance. Suppose we could predict regional climate change (a bit unrealistic). Would there be a consensus about whether this would pose a problem? The safest bet is that there would be a rise in inequity. (Fill in your own details). But would there be consensus about this being a problem?

    The world has already shown itself to be quite efficient at adapting to increasing inequity by reduced reporting,making harsher laws against migration and blaming the losers for their condition.

  9. #9 Michael Hauber
    2010/07/04

    I certainly agree with much of your characterisation of the consensus. I am personally a little skeptical on point 4, and the current atmosphere of denial limits the credibility of anyone who is going to try and be skeptical on that point. It looks a little like ‘the earth isn’t really warming up, but if it is, its due to something other than Co2, and even if the world is warming due to Co2 its all good because Co2 is plant fertiliser….’

    I don’t think sea level rise is a dramatic concern. Its a multi trillion dollar problem, but its going to happen over decades and centuries, and the percentage of total land on the planet that will be removed by sea level rise is small (sorry Florida), and will be partly (more than?) offset by new land that used to be covered by ice (of what productivity?).

    And when I look around where I live, work and play, the overwhelming majority of everything has been built within the last century. So even though significant proportions of our current cities hug the coast, I’m sure mankind can cope just fine with the task of rebuilding it all above the rising sea level. Ports would provide a unique challenge in that you can’t just shift a port to somewhere 50 metres above sea level and be immune to any further sea level rise.

    I have far more concerns for our agriculture, as I find it quite believable that we could lose say 20% of our productivity, (unless of course agricultural productivity improves…) If we are close to the carrying capacity of the earth as common wisdom suggests (but I’m not convinced), then this could mean 20% of the worlds population dead.

    And of course there is the destruction of natural environment issue. I’m firmly of the pragmatist persuasion that if it doesn’t impact mankind it matters little, but I respect that many people disagree with me strongly on that point, and have every right to be concerned about this destruction and vote for action to minimise such destruction. And the ‘don’t do dangerous experiments’ principle which of course cuts both ways. Except a modest tax on energy in the world’s biggest energy consuming economy hardly seems like a dangerous experiment with our economy…

    Also on point 2, a large swath of denier arguments basically boil down to ‘nature causes climate change, therefore man does not’. Because of this I personally think it is worth being pedantic about the point that climate change is caused by both man made and natural factors, and the man made factors dominate over the last few decades.

  10. #10 Paul Kelly
    2010/07/04

    1 – 3 as amended are probably not arguable. Number 4 is not (I finally get to use the word) robust, chiefly, but not only, because of the lack of specificity.

    The word today is decoupling. The climate concerned must realistically assess the chances of implementing the top down, global governance, complex, often punitive policies generally advocated.

  11. #11 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/04

    > a discussion of the impacts has to involve …
    > the biologists and so on who deal with the
    > squishy stuff.

    You rang?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20445083

    [An intersting study, but not really what I had in mind. That is the kind of physics-based stuff that I think (although what do I know about biology) will be of limited use for future impacts. I was thinking about stuff like shifts in precipitation or sunshine, changing species patterns -W]

  12. #12 Francis
    2010/07/04

    On the costs of adapting to climate change vs the costs of reducing ghgs:

    1. When was the last time you checked in with an ag. specialist? How many crops around the globe can tolerate increased heat? What is the status of research into building heat resistance into rice, corn, wheat, soy, hay?

    [Never! But sorry, I can’t do everything -W]

    2. When was the last time you checked in with a water engineer? The world is already mining groundwater at an unsustainable pace. Saltwater intrusion into coastal groundwater basins due to sea level rise could greatly accelerate the loss of major sources of ag. and potable water. Many important ag. areas, from California to India, depend on snowpack melting in a predictable reliable way. Are there even enough dam sites to capture the earlier melts that are already being seen?

    [Never! Though John Fleck likes this stuff -W]

  13. #13 Vince Whirlwind
    2010/07/04

    I don’t see why anybody would feel the need to be “sceptical” of #4.

    All change presents some challenges, or “problems”.
    In this case, the challenges will involved adapting our society and economy to increased sea-levels, altered ecologies, and changes in weather patterns.
    Money will need to be spent on protecting land from storm surges and building codes will require continual revision. Food production will require investment.

    It hardly seems controversial to me.

  14. #14 Tim Worstall
    2010/07/05

    Sadly, I’m often classed as a skeptic, even though I agree with 1 through 3 (although I’m not totally convinced about acceleration). Where I disagree is here:

    “4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)”

    Not even with “we ought to do something about it”, but with *what* we ought to do about it. For as the IPCC process itself says, what we do is an economic question, not a climate science one. It’s a matter of trade offs and economics is the study of those trade offs.

    [I agree. What-to-do is largely an economic / political problem. However, having raised points 1-3 I think the scientists (validly) feel they have an interest in seeing 4 done, and (accurately) a belief that the econ / poli’s don’t understand the science -W]

    All of which takes us off into the world of the SRES, the Stern Review, Weizman on uncertainty, Nordhaus , Dasgupta on discount rates, working with the technological cycle or against it, sunk costs, etc etc etc. Economics all.

    And we get at the end of that process some disagreement, yes. Over discount rates, technological cycle mainly. But at the end of that process we do get agreement as well. Carbon taxes at the correct level (Stern says $80 per tonne, possibly too high, but let’s go with it) and perhaps cap and trade in sectors where taxes don’t/can’t work.

    But there we do have agreement: if we do this then we’re done. We’ve set in place the incentives for the world to be as good as we can make it. We’ve incorporated into prices all of the various trade offs that can be made. Which is what leads to people like Richard Tol saying that, well, you know, here in the EU we’ve probably done it now. Done what we needed to do. Now we just have to wait and see how those incentives work out.

    What annoys intensely is two things.

    1) Those who would use the IPCC to prove that we should do something are insistent on not listenind to what the economists at the IPCC say we should do.

    [Agreed: whilst I think the desire to infuence “point 4″ is valid, a failure to listen to the economists isn’t acceptable. However… have you demonstrated that this problem actually occurs (outside Greenpeace, etc) -W]

    2) Those who would use their credentials as climate scientists to tell us what we should do in economics: no, I don’t listen to economists trying to explain hydrology to me so why on earth is anyone listening to hydrologists on matters economic?

    /rant

  15. #15 snide
    2010/07/05

    “You are the first expert I have come across that seems to have a balanced opinion on climate change.”

    Nasty. :)

  16. #16 Birger Johansson
    2010/07/05

    Thanks. I am going to link to this thread a lot to help other non-experts like myself.

    BTW, in regard to mustelids, you should really use a wolverine as a symbol. When a single wolf and a single wolverine fight over a carcass, the wolverine (who is half the body weight of the wolf) usually wins.

  17. #17 deconvoluter
    2010/07/05

    We have just been exposed to Matt Ridley answering ‘no’ to your point 4 (“Start the Week”, Radio 4 about 9AM this morning). He has just written an optimistic anti-green book arguing that everything has been getting better and will continue that way, that the doom mongers were wrong about the forthcoming ice age (that bit was probably put in for you Willam), that species extinction peaked in 1900, that population growth is OK etc.

    This guy was very senior in Northern Rock which led the recent round of banking disasters in the UK and is also a moderately good popular biology writer, or so I thought. The trouble is that I now have to check any of the bits I can remember as he is falling into the same category as Nigel Calder (and perhaps Fred Pearce ?).

    [Yes, I happened to drive in this morning so I heard him. Surprisingly sane (though he still slipped the global cooling error in just to remind those who know what he really thinks). I have Ridley tagged as a nutter in my brain-file for stuff he wrote in the Torygraph a while back but a quick search doesn’t turn anything up -W]

  18. #18 snide
    2010/07/05

    People are adaptable, althought that process of adaptation can involve brute force as required. The remaining 99.99999% of species not so much. Tim Flannery is not an expert on climate,but he is more so on the natural sciences, and he goes into some depth on why changing climate is important to them.

    The chief benefactors will be the scavengers and weeds, the specialists will suffer hugely. Adaptation to warmer temperatures would result in migration, but that won’t work if you are on a mountain ‘island’, or if there is a sea or ocean south of where you inhabit, or there are cities and freeways in your path. Habitat is scarce enough for many species now, forcing them to find new habitats when there are so many impediments in their way will be a impossible for most of them.

    One point I do find interesting is that it is impossible for us to prevent AGW, but we will show our human ingenuity and resourcfullness when it comes time to adapt, with the free enterprise system leading the way.

    However, having raised points 1-3 I think the scientists (validly) feel they have an interest in seeing 4 done, and (accurately) a belief that the econ / poli’s don’t understand the science

    No one else has risen to the challenge to date. I think those more politically adept than scientists could see a mile away the storm that was heading for the CRU. Much better to avoid that type of thing, and not try to force it as an issue.

  19. #19 James
    2010/07/05

    I am the one that sent the email.

    First I want to thank Stoat for posting about it.

    Second, I just want to be clear. I like both Joe Romm and Island of Doubt (Class M now I think). Those were just the first two blogs that came to me. I think they both provide a valuable service.

    When I said Stoat was the first expert that was fair and balanced, I didn’t mean the others aren’t balanced.

    I meant that Stoat was the first blog postings I personally have come across that acknowledges that the other side of the argument (climate change not that big a deal) have some valid points.

    Considering the credentials of Stoat, I was very interested in having him elaborate his reasons why.

  20. #20 Luke Silburn
    2010/07/05

    “This guy was very senior in Northern Rock…”

    Non-executive chairman in fact. Does it *get* more senior, than that?

    I have a lot of sympathy for the need to let specialists deliver in their specialist fields. WRT economists however I share many of the concerns Michael Tobis has about the discipline, whilst also aknowledging that I am not sufficiently grounded in the subject to make substantive criticisms.

    Regards
    Luke

  21. #21 Tim Worstall
    2010/07/05

    “[Agreed: whilst I think the desire to infuence “point 4″ is valid, a failure to listen to the economists isn’t acceptable. However… have you demonstrated that this problem actually occurs (outside Greenpeace, etc) -W]”

    OK, this is going to sound a little trivial but it’s the first one I could think of that I can explain simply.

    So, we want to reduce emissions. Great. We might use carbon tax, cap and trade, regulation, whatever.

    However, we are only interested in reducing gross emissions. We don’t actually (in terms of climate change) care where that reduction occurs.

    In terms of the economy, of the rest of life other than climate change, we want those cuts in emissions to come as cheaply as possible.

    So, let’s take this 80% cuts from 1990 by 2050 thing. Maybe that’s right, mebbe it ain’t, that doesn’t change my point here.

    What we want is that the 20% of emissions that we can still make to be the ones that give us the greatest value. Which means that we want to be open to the possibility of different cuts/savings in different sectors. Perhaps we can really get houses all up to Passivhaus standards. Great, that’s 0 emissions from domestic then. Maybe this idea of perennial rather than annual grains will work, dropping fertiliser use to 3% of original. Excellent, that plus no ploughing is going to cut agricultural emissions hugely (and maybe we cut meat consumption 80% etc).

    But perhaps we can’t, or don’t want to, cut aviation emissions. Maybe being able to fly is what we think is the most valuable use of that 20% of emissions that we’re still allowed to have?

    Now note, I don’t say that it will be: and this is an example only. But the point is that we want to be open to sectoral differences in emissions. Some will shrink, possibly even to nett zero, for we either don’t value them or we have the technology to eliminate them. Other sectors don’t: possibly even other sectors, like some predictions of aviation do, expand to swallow the entire 20% we’re allowed to make.

    Which means that we must not set sectoral targets for reductions: we must allow moves across sectors: as long as gross emissions come down.

    Now, of course, Greenpeace, Plane Stupid etc, don’t want that. But you said outside them. Yes, the UK aviation industry has, under pressure from the Greenpeace etc lot, accepted sectoral limits on emissions.

    So, yes, we do already see people failing to listen to the economists.

    A slightly different one (from formal economics, not directly from IPCC economics) is this nonsense from the Green Party (and it’s been repeated by Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling etc) is the creation of green jobs. Geoffrey Lean does it once a fortnight in the Torygraph.

    To whit: isn’t renewable energy lovely because it produces lots of jobs per x W energy generated!

    Indeed, the Green Party Manifesto for the recent election (which you used to be, not sure if still are) proudly announced that renewables create more jobs which is why we should love them.

    But jobs are a cost of a scheme, not a benefit. For as economists never tire of pointing out, there is this thing called opportunity cost. If we use 2.3 million (one number floating around) to staff the renewables generation system (instead of, say, 250,000 for fossil fuel or nuclear) This is not a lovely idea because we’ve created 2,050,000 jobs. It’s a horrible idea because we’ve just lost whatever it was those 2 million people could have been doing otherwise: curing cancer, wiping drool off the elderly, whatever.

    Jobs are a cost and it really irritates to see idiots running around claiming that renewables are lovely precisely and exactly because they cost more in such jobs.

  22. #23 Eli Rabett
    2010/07/05

    Well, 4 is WGII, and what could be done about it all is WGIII. From Eli’s point of view as 1-3 have become more obvious the interesting work has moved into WGII, and the literature appears to reflect that (WoS, GS, etc.)

    As it does so, a bunch of really scary boojums emerge, for example, it could get hot enough in enough places that people could not live there year round. Since that includes large parts of India, Pakistan and parts of SE Asia, it would not be a walk in the park. This could start happening real soon (Stoat’s kid’s lifetimes).

    As was pointed out there will be serious issues in Eli’s lifetime as disease vectors spread and crops need to be adapted to the new conditions. A walk in the park

  23. #24 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/05

    Another small tidbit for the glaciation file:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/u6u10144668wpp12/
    “In this paper we consider the problem of the timing of the next glacial inception, about which there is on-going debate….”

  24. #25 Tom Fuller
    2010/07/05

    This is actually quite good. I, too, hope to link to it. I side with Mr. Worstall’s comments about the economics of adaptation and mitigation.

    Thanks for putting the work into get this assembled and in very readable condition.

  25. #26 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/05

    [… a failure to listen to the economists isn’t acceptable. However… have you demonstrated that this problem actually occurs …?]

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=economic+analysis+antibiotic+resistance+agriculture

    You can certainly demonstrate the use of economists by industry to doubt, delay, and defeat scientists pointing out that doing the obvious right away would be smart.

    There is nothing in the field of economics comparable to “Public Health” — and should be.

    “Agricultural economists have … introduced policies for balancing environmental and efficiency considerations in the management of pests, biodiversity, and livestock diseases.”
    http://ajae.oxfordjournals.org/content/92/2/469.abstract

    “Sometimes I think we’re such a dumb species, we don’t deserve to survive on this planet,” she says. “I mean, how many times do we have to do this?”
    http://www.jhu.edu/jhumag/0609web/farm.html

  26. #27 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/05

    >economists

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/climate-capitalism/
    “… Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson have spent nearly two decades researching and writing about the politics, and their new book Climate Capitalism: Global Warming and the Transformation of the Global Economy reflects all the uncertainties and ambiguities.”

  27. #28 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/05

    > jobs are a cost of a scheme, not a benefit. For as
    > economists never tire of pointing out, there is this
    > thing called opportunity cost.
    > …
    > whatever it was those 2 million people could have
    > been doing otherwise: curing cancer, wiping drool
    > off the elderly, whatever.

    but

    “… as you may have noticed, right now the economy isn’t booming — again, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening…. they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.

    Wait: there’s more …”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/05/opinion/05krugman.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  28. #29 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/05

    modeling faunal change will show up in the AR5 reports)

    http://faculty.washington.edu/jlawler/pages/PDFS/turnover.pdf

    “… we identified predictions of faunal change for which a high level of consensus was exhibited …. Eighty percent of the climate projections based on a relatively low greenhouse-gas emissions scenario result in the local loss of at least 10% of the vertebrate fauna … specific areas are likely to experience over 90% turnover, so that faunal distributions in the future will bear little resemblance to those of today…
    … our projections are likely to be conservative because we included in our analyses only those species for which we were able to build models that accurately predicted current ranges….”

    China anticipates benefits:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2009.05.017

  29. #30 Eli Rabett
    2010/07/05

    in addition to what Hank pointed out, hiring money is really cheap.

    Which raises a point that Eli has not seen dealt with, as to what the proper discount rate is TODAY. Certainly not what the world of economists (WOE) got used to using in the past thirty years or so, more like what Stern recommended, and what Japan has seen in the past twenty (zero).

  30. #31 Paul Kelly
    2010/07/05

    The main climate directed strategy is raising the price of carbon based energy enough to force alternatives. There is little chance this strategy can be implemented on a significant national scale and certainly not globally. One can continue to run headlong into the wall, or can look for another way.

    Decoupling climate does not at all diminish the urgency of climate. It redefines the goal, but does not change the goal. It suggests, perhaps, different action plans and tools.

    Unmentioned is the rationale of economic survival. Even granting the greater urgency of climate, I believe actions based on economic survival have at least as good or better chance of success in energy transformation by making maximum use of markets.

    The number one impediment for a market solution is the high relative cost of alternatives. A market solution must necessarily focus on cost reduction. However, there’s a big problem because, unlike in most every other market, consumers are unable to effect the market through small individual actions. In addition, a market solution requires a good deal of individual responsibility.

  31. #32 Chris Winter
    2010/07/05

    Snide wrote: “One point I do find interesting is that it is impossible for us to prevent AGW, but we will show our human ingenuity and resourcefulness when it comes time to adapt, with the free enterprise system leading the way.”

    This is an argument I find intensely annoying when it is made (I recognize that you aren’t making it, just quoting it.)

    It springs from Rothbardian ideology, which rejects any form of government regulation of business. While it is true that the private sector is capable of dealing with climate change through technological innovation, it is absurd to claim that the free market will easily produce the means of adaptation to climate change, but that attempting to mitigate climate change will destroy the economy.

    Also, real-world history shows that corporations in general have to be forced to deal with environmental damage.

  32. #33 snide
    2010/07/05

    But jobs are a cost of a scheme, not a benefit. For as economists never tire of pointing out, there is this thing called opportunity cost. If we use 2.3 million (one number floating around) to staff the renewables generation system (instead of, say, 250,000 for fossil fuel or nuclear) This is not a lovely idea because we’ve created 2,050,000 jobs. It’s a horrible idea because we’ve just lost whatever it was those 2 million people could have been doing otherwise: curing cancer, wiping drool off the elderly, whatever.

    The main growth in jobs these days seems to be call centres and casual labour. Research is mostly seen to be as cost effective as green jobs, and the whole point of investment banking is that you have a very few skimming off the 1% it takes to become worth hundreds of millions.

    Also, what is the ‘opportunity cost’ of adaptation? That doesn’t seem to factor into anything for some reason. Once again, prevention will cost far too much, but adaptation won’t be a problem.

  33. #34 Chris Winter
    2010/07/05

    Tim Worstall wrote: “But jobs are a cost of a scheme, not a benefit. For as economists never tire of pointing out, there is this thing called opportunity cost. If we use 2.3 million (one number floating around) to staff the renewables generation system (instead of, say, 250,000 for fossil fuel or nuclear) This is not a lovely idea because we’ve created 2,050,000 jobs. It’s a horrible idea because we’ve just lost whatever it was those 2 million people could have been doing otherwise: curing cancer, wiping drool off the elderly, whatever.”

    I submit this misses the point. When your economy is short eight million jobs, creating two million jobs is not going to divert many from more productive work (like curing cancer) to “wiping drool off the elderly.” Rather, it will return two million people to productive activity.

    Furthermore, high levels of unemployment have opportunity costs as well, and not all of those are direct. As George Orwell noted in The Road To Wigan Pier:

    But there is no doubt about the deadening, debilitating effect of unemployment upon everybody, married or single, and upon men more than upon women. The best intellects will not stand up against it. Once or twice it has happened to me to meet men of genuine literary ability; there are others whom I haven’t met but whose work I occasionally see in the magazines. Now and again, at long intervals, these men will produce an article of a short story which is quite obviously better than most of the stuff that gets whooped up by the blurb reviewers. Why, then, do they make so little use of their talents? They have all the leisure in the world; why don’t they sit down and write books? Because to write books you need not only comfort and solitude—and solitude is never easy to attain in a working-class home—you also need peace of mind. You can’t settle to anything, you can’t command the spirit of hope in which anything has got to be created, with that dull evil cloud of unemployment hanging over you.

    This applies to all occupations, not just writing.

  34. #35 Steve Bloom
    2010/07/05

    Re #21: “Jobs are a cost and it really irritates to see idiots running around claiming that renewables are lovely precisely and exactly because they cost more in such jobs.”

    See, Tim, it’s statements like this that make people want to make fun of economists. What you’ve proposed here is a sort of ideal Laffer Curve for the idle rich — looking down the curve, if the relationship holds we can imagine that getting rid of all jobs will make everyone rich. Or if not everyone, then the sort of people who can afford to hire freshwater economists, and after all who else really counts?

  35. #36 David B. Benson
    2010/07/05

    Plant breeders need 15 years to develop a new cultivar.

    Or rather, needed that in the past with a more stable climate.

    The point is that rapid change is likely to be rather worse than most suppose.

  36. #37 David B. Benson
    2010/07/05

    High end SLR forecasts for 2100 CE hover around 1.4 m.

  37. #38 Lab Lemming
    2010/07/05

    Does anyone want a stab at the 2010 sea ice minimum guessing game? Entries close tomorrow.

  38. #39 Ron Broberg
    2010/07/05

    It springs from Rothbardian ideology, which rejects any form of government regulation of business

    In my case, it comes from my sense of history and my sense of the likelihood of the survival of a global economic regulatory framework in a world of declining oil, other fossil fuels, and certain strategic minerals. There is no particular reason to assume Pax America will survive another 100 years or that some Pax League of Nations will successfully supplant it.

    Take a hard look at 1910 and tell me that you can anticipate the unfolding of the next 100 years. There are some broad themes evident: the unwinding of empire, the rise of the USA. But beyond that? What will the next 100 years bring, geo-politically?

    Is it better to place your bet on avoiding future CO2 emissions? Or to spend your dollars on adaption? It is the Prisoner’s Dilemma writ large.

  39. #40 Paul Kelly
    2010/07/06

    Ron Broberg,

    The answer is to spend your money on avoiding CO2 emissions and spend the government’s money on adaptation. Win win.

    Who the heck is Rothbard? The idea that the free market can be a tool for societal change comes from Adam Smith. A market consists of producers, sellers and buyers. The conglomeration of thousands of individual decisions informs the invisible hand.

    The wonderful thing about a market is that anyone can participate. The time to start is now. Much like CO2 forces climate, markets can be forced upwards and downwards. My idea is that there are more than enough people who agree on the necessity of energy transformation to effectively exert downward pressure on the market.

    Many remember the introduction of hand held calculators and their cost of $100 or more. Think of it terms of today’s dollars. Tho companies, Texas Instruments and Bowmar joined the fray. Bowmar over produced, went inventory rich and cash poor and into receivership. That inventory was purchased at deep discount by troubled discount clothier Robert Hall who cut the retail price more than 50%. Robert Hall went bust shortly thereafter and the Bowmar Brains became even cheaper as promotional jobbers bought up the remaining stock. The price of the TI product had to go down to compete and within months the market price for calculator went down 90%.

    As a way to force the market, I’ve formed the Beverly Energy Club, dedicated to replacing fossil fuel. It solves the problem of the inability of consumers to effect the market through small individual actions. We believe one way to exert downward pressure is to see that some buyers get fossil fuel replacement for free.

  40. #41 Dunc
    2010/07/06

    See, Tim, it’s statements like this that make people want to make fun of economists.

    IIRC, Tim Worstall is not actually an economist, he just plays one on the internet.

  41. #43 MarkB
    2010/07/06

    I’m not convinced of Pielke Jr’s stuff on disaster costs. His own studies have critical caveats:

    “The normalization methodologies do not explicitly reflect two important factors driving losses: demand surge and loss mitigation. Adjustments for these factors are beyond the scope of this paper, but it is important for those using this study to consider their potential effect.”

    as Eli notes:

    “First, it is obvious even to a stuffed animal that the costs of flood control and surge barriers to limit damage from storms has increased substantially over the last fifty years. If such expenditures have NOT been included in the storm cost estimates, and the trend without them is flat, the trend WITH such costs MUST increase substantially. Any estimate that neglects these costs must be stated as a LOWER LIMIT. Neither Eli or Nils can find any such statement, not just from Roger Pielke.”

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/07/01/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/#comment-10285

    (h/t MT)

    Also note that Pielke’s studies examine U.S. storm damage estimates. If you compare U.S. mean decadal temperature (ranking decades by temperature) with his normalized disaster costs, you get a solid positive trend, which implies a warmer world means greater damage. The caveat here is that ideally, one would look at the specific regions where Atlantic hurricanes strengthen and make landfall, as opposed to the lower 48 U.S. mean trend.

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/02/al-gore-no-exaggeration-roger-pielke-andy-revkin/#comment-31243

  42. #44 Rich Puchalsky
    2010/07/06

    Tim Worstall has been pushing his bit about the badness of “more jobs” all over, but I’ve never seen him respond to the obvious reason why he’s wrong.

    If renewable energy is competitive with fossil fuel energy in costs per KWH, then job costs are by definition already included in those costs. If wind energy costs about the same as coal energy, then it doesn’t make wind energy a big boondoggle if it takes more jobs to produce than an equal amount of coal energy. The costs of those jobs are included.

    Since people want jobs, then yes, a form of energy which produces more jobs than other forms of energy at the same cost is superior.

  43. #45 outeast
    2010/07/07

    @ Paul Kelly

    The wonderful thing about a market is that anyone can participate.

    While this is superficially true, what you’re calling for is altruistic investment – you want individuals to force the market dynamics to change, but that would not be economically rational behaviour. Look at Our Gracious Host: a former climate scientist, a ‘believer’ in AGW, a green party member (still? or formerly? – not sure)… And where does he invest? BP.

    @ Tim Worstall

    Other people have advanced a range of reasons why your observation about job creation can be challenged. No one seems to have focused on the most obvious thing, though, which is that this bandying of job-creation stats is political posturing in any case: it is simply impossible to discuss any major government policy that is likely to require major taxpayer funding without promising plenty of employment jam tomorrow (especially given the legacy of the Thatcherite cuts in heavy industry and mining in the North).

  44. #46 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/07

    http://www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/news2010-07-07-natgas.shtml

    … Rice University researchers are calling on policymakers to encourage the transition from coal-based electricity production to a system based on natural gas through a carbon tax…. in a paper published by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

    http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/BI-pub-BritoCurlCO2ElecEcon-070210.pdf/view

    (I’d have put that in a more relevant thread over at Eli’s but Blogger won’t let me comment there right now)

  45. #47 Tim Worstall
    2010/07/08

    Absolutely correct, I’m not an economist, I’m an interested amateur who just plays one on the internet.

    However, many of the above comments make my point for me rather nicely.

    Yes, of course, we have unemployment now. That’s because we have a shortage of aggregate demand (AD is what determines the level of employment in an economy). Producing a structural change in the labour market (ie, introducing a deliberately more labour intensive method of energy generation) might indeed help at this precise monent: but when AD recovers, which it of course will at some point, we then meet the opportunity cost of that low productivity labour.

    This “jobs are a cost thing” is very simple, very basic economics, arguing against it is similar to arguing, in climate science terms, against the very existence of the greenhouse effect. Which, as I say, netaly makes my point for me: people who don’t grasp the basics of economics seem entirely happy in pronouncing upon the subject.

    [Not having looked into the econmics stuff carefully (or even much more than casually) I do think there is an awful danger of TW being correct here. It is so common to get geologists weighing into the climate debate and saying “but in the long term”, and the climatologists smacking their (own) foreheads and saying “arrgh! you fail to understand the basics”; and so on. It is so easy to let your wishful thinking get in the way -W]

    “looking down the curve, if the relationship holds we can imagine that getting rid of all jobs will make everyone rich.”

    If we could satisfy all our needs and wants without working then yes, we would be rich, wouldn’t we? That’s actually a good working definition of being rich.

    Now, we can’t do that as yet…..we do need to go to work to staisfy our needs and wants. But we’d like to do the least amount of labour to satisfy those needs and wants. Whether as individuals or as a society. It we can get what we want with 80 hours of labour and 20 of lesiure, that’s one thing, if we can get it with 20 hours of labour and 80 of leisure, well, that second society would usually be regarded as richer (or the second individual).

    Thus labour is a cost, not a benefit. It may be a necessary cost, but it’s still a cost, something we desire to minimise, not maximise.

    “If renewable energy is competitive with fossil fuel energy in costs per KWH, then job costs are by definition already included in those costs.”

    Absolutely they are. Yet renewables are not yet cost competitive with fossil. Which is why we have people like Caroline Lucas running around saying “Wow! look at all these jobs” and me running around saying “Yes, that’s how we know it’s more expensive”.

    I’ve been saying for 15 years now (yes, way back to Usenet) that when renewables are cost competitive (and yes, we should have carbon taxes and or cap and trade to get the emissions externalities into the market prices) that as and when renewables are cost competitive then we’ll all naturally switch to them. Seriously, I mean who wouldn’t?

    My day job is on the fringes of one renewable technology, certainly my future wealth (or not) is tied in with the success of one such technology. But that doesn’t stop me telling the obvious truth: at the moment renewables are more expensive and we’ll all only naturally switch when they’re cheaper.

    We should also note that while renewables, currently more expensive, might produce more jobs than fossil, there’s another side to it as well. More expensive energy will lead to other jobs disappearing as they become uneconomic in the face of high energy prices.

    Rich Pulasky is putting an awful lot of weight on renrewables being cost competitive there: and they aren’t yet.

  46. #48 Paul Kelly
    2010/07/08

    outeast,

    The energy club idea is more enlightened self interest than altruism.

    Getting alternatives and efficiencies to the point of rational economic behavior is the goal. Recycled industrial heat generated electricity makes economic sense right now. Solar water heating and ground temperature assisted heat pumps are almost there.

  47. #49 Tim Worstall
    2010/07/08

    Absolutely correct, I’m not an economist, I’m an interested amateur who just plays one on the internet.

    However, many of the above comments make my point for me rather nicely.

    Yes, of course, we have unemployment now. That’s because we have a shortage of aggregate demand (AD is what determines the level of employment in an economy). Producing a structural change in the labour market (ie, introducing a deliberately more labour intensive method of energy generation) might indeed help at this precise monent: but when AD recovers, which it of course will at some point, we then meet the opportunity cost of that low productivity labour.

    This “jobs are a cost thing” is very simple, very basic economics, arguing against it is similar to arguing, in climate science terms, against the very existence of the greenhouse effect. Which, as I say, netaly makes my point for me: people who don’t grasp the basics of economics seem entirely happy in pronouncing upon the subject.

    “looking down the curve, if the relationship holds we can imagine that getting rid of all jobs will make everyone rich.”

    If we could satisfy all our needs and wants without working then yes, we would be rich, wouldn’t we? That’s actually a good working definition of being rich.

    Now, we can’t do that as yet…..we do need to go to work to staisfy our needs and wants. But we’d like to do the least amount of labour to satisfy those needs and wants. Whether as individuals or as a society. It we can get what we want with 80 hours of labour and 20 of lesiure, that’s one thing, if we can get it with 20 hours of labour and 80 of leisure, well, that second society would usually be regarded as richer (or the second individual).

    Thus labour is a cost, not a benefit. It may be a necessary cost, but it’s still a cost, something we desire to minimise, not maximise.

    “If renewable energy is competitive with fossil fuel energy in costs per KWH, then job costs are by definition already included in those costs.”

    Absolutely they are. Yet renewables are not yet cost competitive with fossil. Which is why we have people like Caroline Lucas running around saying “Wow! look at all these jobs” and me running around saying “Yes, that’s how we know it’s more expensive”.

    I’ve been saying for 15 years now (yes, way back to Usenet) that when renewables are cost competitive (and yes, we should have carbon taxes and or cap and trade to get the emissions externalities into the market prices) that as and when renewables are cost competitive then we’ll all naturally switch to them. Seriously, I mean who wouldn’t?

    My day job is on the fringes of one renewable technology, certainly my future wealth (or not) is tied in with the success of one such technology. But that doesn’t stop me telling the obvious truth: at the moment renewables are more expensive and we’ll all only naturally switch when they’re cheaper.

    We should also note that while renewables, currently more expensive, might produce more jobs than fossil, there’s another side to it as well. More expensive energy will lead to other jobs disappearing as they become uneconomic in the face of high energy prices.

    Rich Pulasky is putting an awful lot of weight on renrewables being cost competitive there: and they aren’t yet.

  48. #50 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/08

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100609/full/465682a.html

    Same argument, by a Chicago school economist:

    “Robert Topel, who studies labour economics at the University of Chicago … questions the report’s implication that publicly funded biomedical research will create thousands of jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Topel says … “… jobs are a cost, not a benefit.”

    Gee, why would anyone think there’s a benefit involved in public funding of research?

    How about libraries? schools?

  49. #51 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/08

    PS, here’s how to explain it. Wages are a cost to the employer. Having employees doing their jobs is a benefit to the employer. There’s a tradeoff, and the level of employment changes the balance. You also have to consider the external costs, and there are significant external costs to the future in continuing to develop damaging technology compared to developing sustainable tech.

    Here’s a response from an ecologist to the exact same jobs argument as it was being made about drilling for oil in the Arctic:

    http://www.ontheissues.org/spectrum/anwr_cba.htm

    “In the world of Cost-Benefit Analysis, jobs are a cost, not a benefit. Paying for labor is just like paying for machinery. You count the beneficial side-effects that the machinery produces (like the benefits to the machinery manufacturer) and the costly side-effects (like smoke, noise, and injuries), but you subtract the cost of the machinery itself, since it has to be paid for. Similarly, jobs themselves are a cost to be paid, and only the side-effects of employment are counted as benefits. There are only beneficial side-effects of employment if there is a high unemployment rate.”

    That’s from ” An Environmental Economist’s Argument Against Drilling in Alaska” © Jesse Alan Gordon and Andre Meade, 1994

    Today’s unemployment rate, you can look up.

  50. #52 james
    2010/07/09

    Here is what I don’t understand.

    As a non-scientist trying to inform myself about a serious issue. I go to Joe Romm’s site and read about Carbon Cycle feedbacks as if they are imminent. I go to sites like Stoat or Real Climate and there doesn’t seem to be the same level of worry?

    Is the permafrost melting something to worry about or not?

    Is Romm being alarmist or is he just staying up with the current science??

    [Ah well, coming soon: “the spotters guide to bloggers”. In the meantime, if you care to note a particular carbon-cycle post from Romm, post it here -W]

  51. #53 james
    2010/07/09

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/08/climate-feedback-loops/

    Thanks again William. I am a fan of Romm by the way, even if he is right or wrong. I admire that he cares. And even if he is alarmist, he is alarmist in a direction that is a lot better than the guys that are lieing.

    What is difficult for the non-scientist who wants to be a responsible citizen is that I see articles about permafrost melt, carbon sink saturation, etc.

    About 3/4 of the way down this post (which is not written by Romm, but he comes in at the end). There is a graph of permafrost melt.

    It looks bad to me, but do real scientests think its bad?? I won’t be alive at the bottom of that thing…but I am not so selfish as to not care about others…

    As far as I am concerned..this is some of the confusion between the experts and people like me. People don’t have time to compare multiple emissions scenarios on different time dimensions.

    I am not bagging the IPCC or the methods, I am a fan and am 100% support. I will defend scientists till my grave.

    Do we need to worry about permafrost..Yes or No?

    That is the message that is missing from my opinion.

    [Thanks for the ref. I’ll try to address that in the blogs post. In the meantime, only partly by co-incidence, I’ve just edited a wiki article which gives you some clue what I think: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Arctic_methane_release&diff=372552202&oldid=371937168 -W]

  52. #54 james
    2010/07/09

    Thanks william…

    what a joke..This is only meaningful on geological timescales…

    I need to apologize to my family…

    I was worried about my daughter..and this is crap..

  53. #55 Brian Schmidt
    2010/07/10

    My pseudo-trackback:

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-i-think-about-global-warming.html

    Excerpt from my babbling: “I think it’s better to split point 4 into: 4.a. This will be a problem. 4.b. (We ought do something about it).

    I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to acknowledge point 3, especially acceleration, and deny 4.a.”

    I see William acknowledges at comment 14 that point 4 partially belongs to other fields.

    More important than any of this stuff: a wolverine can’t fight off an adult wolf, that’s just crazy talk. Maybe it could sufficiently harass an already-satiated wolf at a carcass that the wolf decides to go away, but that’s it.

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