Climate Threats, Climate Future

A few items of interest from the intertubes:

Mann: Reality and threats of climate change are clear

This is a guest column in the Times Dispatch by climate scientist Michael Mann discussing ongoing legal issues.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certainly has some odd characters coming to his defense in this paper for his attempts to go after climate scientists like myself.

First came Charlie Battig, who sought to defend Cuccinelli’s 2009 attempt to subpoena my personal U.Va. emails ...

Most recently the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley of Edinburgh, Scotland, used offensive personal attacks and completely false statements in another attempt to defend Cuccinelli’s use of state funds to engage in a politically motivated attack on both me and Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. ...

The reality and threat of human-caused climate change are clear. Those such as Cuccinelli, who would silence scientists, and those like Monckton who are misleading the public about this critical issue, are doing a grave injustice not just to us, but to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the legacy of the energy choices we are making today....

AccuClimate: The Future of Climate Change Forecasting

Although personal experience may sometimes suggest otherwise, the accuracy of weather forecasting improved drastically along with the introduction of computer-based modeling some 40 years ago. According to Jones, the seven-day forecast now is probably as reliable as the one-day forecast was then.

“If climate science becomes more in-tune with societal impacts and decisions that people have to make then the probability of better outcomes is increased,” Jones said. “Tying science to decision-making will improve the science.”

The Wild Weather of the Future

In this talk, meteorologist and America's "Science Idol" contest winner Tom DiLiberto gives a forecast of the weather of the future—the weather that will be produced by climate change.

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Culture as Climate Threat

Culture presents us with much that is real and also less that is illusory. From a psychological standpoint, because humans are shaped early and pervasively by cultural transmissions in our perception of reality, it is an evolutionary challenge for humankind to see the world as it is. When a psychologist thinks a patient is suffering from a mental illness, that is an evidence-based clinical judgment. However, general standards of normalcy are not clinical judgments, but matters of socio-cultural norms and conventions that are full of correctly perceived aspects of reality as well as some misperceptions of reality. Deeply disturbed mental patients distort reality drastically. “Normal” people pay no attention to them. Or if attention is paid to them, it is usually just long enough to put them away. After all, they are crazy; they cannot distinguish what is fantasy from what is real.

By way of contrast, organizations like nation-states, as well as cultures, appear not to misperceive reality so sharply, yet distortions of what large aggregates of people perceive do remain. A term of art in psychology is useful here, “folie a deux.” The term means that two people share an identical distortion of reality. This understanding leads to other terms, “folie a deux cent million” for a social order or “folie a deux billion” for a culture. These terms refer to a misperception of reality commonly held by many people of an organization or culture. One way to define the highest standard of what is “normal” for the individual and for human aggregates could be looked at in terms of what is free of illusion, what is real, according to ‘the lights’ and best available science we possess.

Even experts confuse ideology with science, contrived logic with reason, self-interested thinking with common sense….and fantasy with reality. Science regarding activities of the human population appears to be denied when ignorance of the world as it is serves to support greed-mongering, social order, religious dogma and culture. Self-interested thought leads to distortions of what could be real and to cultural bias in science. In such instances, fantasy is embraced everywhere; knowledge of what could be real is eschewed.

Humanity is now confronted with formidable, human-driven global challenges. Some of them are already visible on the far horizon. We can also recognize how the blinding power of certain adamantly maintained and widely shared culturally transmitted fantasies regarding global consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species could have mesmerized many experts into thinking that the humankind is somehow not an integral part of the natural world we inhabit. They mistake the fantasy of human exceptionalism regarding population dynamics for reality. It is the fantasy of human exceptionalism that has been broadcast ubiquitously during my lifetime as if it was real.

What is aiding the perpetuation of fantasy and the denial of reality? Why the stony silence among top-ranked experts regarding the soon to become, patently unsustainable growth of the human population worldwide, while the false hope of population stabilization and an end to population growth soon has been broadcast everywhere as if such an attractive idea had the support of sound science?

Extant science indicates with remarkable simplicity and clarity that Demographic Transition Theory, for example, is a misleading, incomplete, ideologically-driven, logical contrivance that just so happens to be politically convenient, economically expedient, religiously tolerable, socially agreeable and culturally prescribed. Demographic Transition Theory is not adequately supported, indeed it is directly contradicted, by heretofore unchallenged scientific research referred to in this presentation.

How did this collective, willful denial of what could be real occur on our watch? Rather than ‘what could be real’, we have been bombarded with broadcasts of false hopes and promises regarding a benign and somehow magically automatic end to human population growth soon. Bought-and-paid-for experts have been acting as gatekeepers of the status quo and censors of science. Powerful people inside and outside science have been colluding to deny scientific research of human population dynamics and the demographic transition.

A new kind of leader and follower from within the family of humanity can do better, and I trust we will soon enough by awakening collectively to the need for behavior change rather than continue down the primrose path that Rachel Carson called a superhighway. The adamant advocacy and relentless pursuit by TPTB of a fantasy-driven, morally disengaged and patently unsustainable (superhigh)way of life — one of endless population growth and economic expansion — has to acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

By Steven Earl Salmony (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink