Contra Mozilla

Friday, June 2, 2017

Questions Abound

Many on the left have predicted that our withdrawal from a nonbinding agreement on the climate will spell our DOOM as a people and a planet. The Washington Post has published a nifty set of maps predicting exactly when the DOOM will occur.

They even put actual years for different geographic locations around the world, and provided two maps: "Without carbon dioxide mitigation" and "with carbon dioxide mitigation." I notice that the DOOM still occurs in the latter map, but it is pushed back a few years or even decades. I am left to wonder why we should care so much about a policy which might (at best) push back the DOOM by a couple of decades. One possibility is that they mean to imply that we must do something more, but they don't want to say what just yet. Perhaps it is something sinister, or perhaps they simply don't have a further answer and are hoping that they will if given the extra decade.

In this case, the DOOM means that many cities will hit "climate departure." It is no longer global warming, global cooling, climate change, or even climate disruption: we need a new scare word to conjure up images of DOOM. They provide a definition:
A city hits "climate departure" when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 [sic.?] and 2005. For example, let's say the climate departure point for D.C. is 2047 (which it is). After 2047, even D.C.'s coldest year will still be hotter than any year from before 2005. Put another way, every single year after 2047 will be hotter than D.C.'s hottest year on record from 1860 [sic.?] to 2005. It's the moment when the old "normal" is really gone.
Which begs the question, what is so special about the period between 1960-2005, or even from 1860-2005 (thanks to this typo in the definition, I suppose it could be either period)? The earth is older than this, obviously. Human civilization is older than this, and the industrial period predates most of this. The article in The Washington Times is based on a paper published in Nature, supposedly (no link or reference is given beyond that it is "A big study, just published in the scientific journal Nature"). I suppose we would have to find the paper, get behind Nature's paywall, and then read the paper to get more details of this.

A further question: if this "climate departure" does not come to pass when predicted, will we finally drop it? History says, "of course not." Being a tenure-track professor, I can guess at one of real roots--and a big one at that--of the problem here: publish or perish.

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