Global warming causes everything, Part II

by Russ Roberts on December 17, 2007

in Environment

Here from the Washington Post are just a few of the ways people are going to die because of global warming. Correction, a few of the ways people might die, according to a majority of scientists. Please click the link. It’s a spectacular graphic of alarm.

It is hard to keep track of what global warming causes. It is simpler to just say "everything." There is no possibility mentioned of some people not dying if the earth gets warmer. There is no mention of how people might die if we tried to stop it.

In my version of the graphic, there is advertisement for a BMW holiday event. What a cheerful conjunction of events. Buy a car, drive more, cause more people to die from yellow fever!

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{ 34 comments }

Lee Kelly December 17, 2007 at 11:32 am

Wow, I never knew that global warming was responsible for so many terrible things. I… I can't.. this is just so shocking, something must be done. I think that global warming should be illegalised, immediately.

Then, perhaps, we can look into doing something about Summer. All these years we have been naively assuming that summer was harmless, but with such radical rises in temperature… lucky we now have science.

tw December 17, 2007 at 11:58 am

It's all right there in the headline: "As Temperatures Rise, Health Could Decline"

Equally true headlines:

* "As Temperatures Fall, Health Could Decline"

and of course

* "As Temperature Remain Constant, Health Could Decline"

Way to take a stand, Washington Post copy editors! Overall, I remain fully convinced that the global warming hysteria is completely analogous to Maltheusian economics.

Buzzcut December 17, 2007 at 12:19 pm

My back is sore from shoveling out a foot of snow yesterday.

I also exposed myself to… exposure… while shoveling, as well as the potential of slip and fall.

I can't WAIT for global warming. It can't come to the midwest soon enough, as far as I'm concerned.

Jay December 17, 2007 at 12:42 pm

This is ridiculous. Since when did Pascal's Wager become a valid scientific argument?
I strike that we ammend the Constitution to incorporate a barrier for the speration of AGW and State.

Thomas December 17, 2007 at 12:50 pm

And this does not even include the war deaths forecast by the latest UN Human Development Report…"there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is moving towards the point at which irreversible ecological catastrophe becomes unavoidable. Business-as-usual climate change points in a clear direction: unprecedented reversal in human development in our lifetime, and acute risks for our children and their grandchildren."

But, of course, there is a "window of opportunity" to foreclose this calamity. Act now to take advantage of this limited opportunity.
http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2007-2008/

The other Eric December 17, 2007 at 1:51 pm

On a purely professional note, the graphic in the "special report" is really well designed. It uses over-strokes, stark heavy lines closely spaced, with dark toned graphic elements. The 'causal' lines are not lines, but rather shadows behind the images they link. The human figures are all iconic for suffering, including the posture they have. It's designed to have an impact beyond the words that are included and looks appropriately dire. Compare it to weather or business info-graphics and the difference is obvious and very ominous.

Jason December 17, 2007 at 4:57 pm

It appears that we can alleviate all the horrible effect of AGW with more technology and _more_ energy use. We already have strategies for mosquitos and heat — DDT and AC. Even with phenomenon like hurricanes, satelites and computers have probably been the most effective means in saving lives. I can't imagine less carbon use ever being as cheap or effective as better technology (arrived at through economic growth of the free markets).

Using less carbon seems like a very blunt and ineffective means of improving anything. Less or "no-impact" doesn't leave our children and grandchildren better off, it leaves them poorer and less likely to have the means to improve their lives.

John Cartledge December 17, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Actually, only HALF the problems in the world are caused by global warming…

the other half are caused by less-than-adequate federal spending.

Don December 17, 2007 at 5:53 pm

It's hotter – blame it on Anthropomorphic Global Warming
It's colder – AGW
Forest fires – AGW
Drought – AGW
Floods – AGW
More Hurricanes – AGW
Fewer Hurricanes – AGW
Loss of marshlands – AGW
Holes in the ozone – AGW
Beaches eroding – AGW

The Al Gore acolytes have it made. Blame any change in the weather or environment on AGW (and make sure most of the blame goes to Americans driving SUVs). I'm waiting for George Bush to be blamed when the earth's magnetic poles reverse, something that has happened many times in the our planet's history.

Why oh why did the evil Bush not submit the Kyoto treaty to the senate. It's our only hope. Wait, you say it was Bill Clinton that did not submit Kyoto to the Senate? You wouldn't know it from reading the New York Times.

Don December 17, 2007 at 5:53 pm

It's hotter – blame it on Anthropomorphic Global Warming
It's colder – AGW
Forest fires – AGW
Drought – AGW
Floods – AGW
More Hurricanes – AGW
Fewer Hurricanes – AGW
Loss of marshlands – AGW
Holes in the ozone – AGW
Beaches eroding – AGW

The Al Gore acolytes have it made. Blame any change in the weather or environment on AGW (and make sure most of the blame goes to Americans driving SUVs). I'm waiting for George Bush to be blamed when the earth's magnetic poles reverse, something that has happened many times in the our planet's history.

Why oh why did the evil Bush not submit the Kyoto treaty to the senate. It's our only hope. Wait, you say it was Bill Clinton that did not submit Kyoto to the Senate? You wouldn't know it from reading the New York Times.

Tim December 17, 2007 at 6:09 pm

When I was just out of college, the dance venues around Chicago had a mix that they would play that had 2 people talking over the dance rythm and it went like this:

P1: The People are still having sex.
P2: This "AIDS" thing is not working…

Over and Over.

It seems relevant here, only change "Sex" to "Fun" and "AIDS" to "Global Warming".

The fact is, people are hard wired for fun now at the expense of whatever comes in the future. I think Global Warming is BS but when I start to worry about what the Govt is going to do to wreck things, I remember, people are wired to have fun now at the expense of later.

There will be no radically burdensome regulations imposed that stop the fun unless we become a dictatorship. I just don't see that happening.

brotio December 17, 2007 at 6:57 pm

"My back is sore from shoveling out a foot of snow yesterday." – Buzzcut

Buzz,

If I ever meet His Holiness, The Divine Prophet Algore I, I want to punch him in the mouth. He promised that if I voted Republican I'd never have to shovel snow again.

The Albatross December 17, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Why does stuff like this alsways make me think of the "God wills it" scene in Kingdom of Heavan.

BTW: Record snowfall in Candada

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=c9143d58-efa4-4aec-bde0-cd14efb96be1&k=80244

Python December 18, 2007 at 2:32 am

Is it me or are many of the things in the WaPo diagram pretty similar to all life until the 20th century (and still in some countries) – susceptibility to disease, shortage of clean water, crop failures, malnutrition, etc.

Is that the best they can do to drum up fear?

"You better change your lives immediately! If you don't you risk the possibility that your life will be like the vast history of human civilization."

And how many of these supposed plagues aren't easily cured by technology?

I wonder if hundreds of years ago these same people may have said things like "If you keep cutting down those trees, you won't have wood for shelter or to cook food. The cold winds will blow and the wolves will eat your babies. Those that do survive will have to look at paintings of trees because they will never see one in their lifetime."

I think I'll call it Olympic Global Warming. If you think about it, the world started getting warmer right when the Olympic games were re-formed in the late 1800s. There is a strong correlation of temperature rise to countries participating in the games. Gore must not have had time to fit that inconvenient fact into his movie.

P Plante December 18, 2007 at 7:46 am

Since I'm an engineer and not an economist/climatologist, I have to weigh in on the side of science. I do admit that I'm not an expert on GW, but then again, from what I can tell, neither is anyone else on CH. So, Russ, what exactly is your position on GW? Specifically:

1) Do you believe that global temperatures are on the rise?

2) Do you believe there will be consequences to GW? Everyone on CH likes to make light of the (admittedly) exaggerated claims, but do you honestly think that nothing will happen that we need to be concerned about?

3) What is your hypothesis for the causes of GW, and what would you propose to do about it if anything?

Keith December 18, 2007 at 10:01 am

P Plante:

I can't speak for Mr. Roberts, but I don't think anybody of the non-global warming slant is making a claim for or against the science. The global warming crowd however is making some outrageous conclusions and demanding even more outrageous actions based solely on their conclusions. Plenty of evidence has been given to show that the conclusions are not true, or at a minimum, incomplete.

I honestly do think that nothing will happen that we need to be concerned about. In all the 4 billion years of the world, there is no evidence of anything like this ever happening due to the actions of biology. I don't need a hypothesis to support that.

I would ask you though, since you seem to be leaning toward supporting global warming: What is the optimal temperature for the Earth?

When you can tell me that, then we might have some basis for discussing the need to try to engineer climate.

Mike Van Winkle December 18, 2007 at 11:34 am

That's it, I'm starting a new group, Citizens for the Prohibition of Wrapping Paper. I don't want to see any of you so called alarmists out there using ANY wrapping paper.

Wojtek Grabski December 18, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Keith:

That's not the right question to ask, and it's been addressed here and there if you browse the web but a little. The problem is not one of optimal temperature, but one of sudden change. I'm pretty opinion-less on the topic; I find debates nauseating since I think the science ceased being science a few years ago.

But I do have a strong opinion on the 'need' for action front. Take, for example, modern, efficient, solar panels. They came about not because of environmental movements but because of greed and a penchant for larger and larger flat-screen TVs. If someone could honestly tell me that if you started a program twenty years ago to "make solar energy better", that you could even dream of such a boon to the industry as LCD manufacture and materials engineering has been, then I'd call you a liar or an ignoramus and stick to this point. You cannot PLAN innovation, it happens through the opportunity that is presented by the convergence of almost all of industry. Anything you do to lift one part, will always push down another, and result in a slower-than-previous rate of development.

THAT is the problem. Wether GW is happening, or whether it's anthropogenic is hardly relevant, except to academia.

Mesa Econoguy December 18, 2007 at 7:25 pm

I am making a claim against the science. It is highly suspect, incredibly biased (especially the UN IPCC material), modeled incorrectly, and presented in a way contrary to “regular” scientific method.

More here:

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/

I am, however, a firm believer in Global Dumbing, and the need to act against it…

vidyohs December 18, 2007 at 8:44 pm

It don't matter anymore folks. Long ago the decision was made that Global warming was the perfect vehicle to further subjugation of the people. Legislation is a done deal, you're going to pay for it and your life is going down hill. Get over it.

But just for some extra reading:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/science/nature/7132220.stm

http://icecap.us/index.php

http://icecap.us/docs/change/Greenhousegasesclimate%20map.pdf

In the face of over whelming science that they are wrong they are going to do it to you anyway. Bend over.

I repeat what I said from the previous blog.

Any government consisting of people who aren't me is a foreign government.

But, so what when they have the superior number of guns and goons to use them.

When Prohibition was passed it was a change that happened "here", while over there everyone wondered if we were sick. So, there was hope of eventually repealing (and such happened) that stupidity.

What are you going to do when they screw us with the Kyoto protocol and it is "here" and "there". Think there will be any chance of correcting the mistake in your lifetime?

Rotsa Ruck round eye.

FreedomLover December 19, 2007 at 4:08 pm

vidyohs:

You talk about being "self governing", but unless you can generate your own electricity, pump your own water and handle your own sewage, it's empty rhetoric. We all rely on the public infrastructure, it's a question of how much socialism we can tolerate, not a question of having it at all.

Gil December 19, 2007 at 10:21 pm

"Any government consisting of people who aren't me is a foreign government." – vidyohs.

"You talk about being "self governing", but unless you can generate your own electricity, pump your own water and handle your own sewage, it's empty rhetoric. We all rely on the public infrastructure" – FreedomLover.

Heh heh heh. So you want 'self-rule' vidyohs and want to 'voluntarily transact' with others? Heh heh heh. Look likes you're metamorphosing into an anarcho-Capitalist!

On the other hand, FreedomLover, a.C.s contend private enterprises can be created to replace public services. You know private road-building companies, privately owned toll roads, private electricity-generating companies, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism

FreedomLover December 20, 2007 at 4:42 am

Gil:

I didn't contend that pure libertarianism is the solution, but you seem to be advocating for socialism. That's not a good idea either, considering that's what caused and prolonged the Great Depression.

T L Holaday December 20, 2007 at 6:57 am

Russ, which lifts your mood more? The feeling of a well-executed strawman ("Might as well say it causes everything!") or a good wallow in denial?

Gil December 20, 2007 at 10:42 am

"Advocating for Socialism"? L'il ol' me? Huh?! Oh yeah that's right, if you not a anarcho-Libertarian or a minarcho-Libertarian then you're a Socialist. Derp! Isn't that right muirgeo?

FreedomLover December 20, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Gil: Do you deny being a socialist. Where your badge proudly, hiding isn't honorable.

vidyohs December 20, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Sir FreedomLover,

"Vidyohs,
"You talk about being "self governing", but unless you can generate your own electricity, pump your own water and handle your own sewage, it's empty rhetoric. We all rely on the public infrastructure, it's a question of how much socialism we can tolerate, not a question of having it at all.
Posted by: FreedomLover | Dec 19, 2007 4:08:04 PM"

Com'on FreedomLover, what does the acquisition of utilities and necessities have to do with being self governing?

You gotta mental hitch in your crainial get-a-long there pardner!

Say to yourself…..self governing.

Then say to yourself….self sufficient.

Then spend some time thinking about the difference between the two.

How much socialism can we tolerate? None. You are sadly mistaken if you think that at any level socialism can be productive, tolerated, or condoned. It doesn't even work in a childless marriage for Christ's sake.

You sport the name FreedomLover, but do you even know what freedom is?

Gil December 21, 2007 at 9:55 am

I prefer the standard definition of Socialism being to with public ownership of the means of production and in that case I'd say "nope". But in Libertarian circles it's defined as being a non-Libertarian.

P.S. True freedom is doing what you want without qualifications or restrictions. Force & fraud probably account for 50% of freedoms (probably the most fun kinds! ;) ).

vidyohs December 21, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Gil,
I can see from the above why a lot of us knock heads with you. Your definition of socialism is extremely simplistic. Which tells me that the likelyhood of your knowledge of socialism is very limited. Socialism is government ownership of the means of production, not public ownership. Furthermore, socialism is government ownership of everything, even the fruits of your labor to the degree that government decides, not you. The people do not democratically tell a socialist government what to do, the socialist elite tell the people what to do by using the power of government to compel conformity. History bears me out.

Socialist government will give you what it decides, and you will accept it and sing praises. The length of time this situation exists depends solely upon the size of the capitalist source the socialist government siezed upon its formation. Socialist government will always consume more than its production base can produce. That means a constant downhill slide to eventual poverty.

People just love socialism when it is giving, but that changes when they began to feel the bite of the "taking".

brotio December 22, 2007 at 12:37 am

Gil,
There is more than one way to have your socialism.

Three types of socialism have been at play since the Twentieth Century. One is Marxian socialism, endorsed by Murthaduck's ("the children they've killed in cold blood") Uncle Joe Stalin, and another form was endorsed by that dude who ruled Germany sometime between fifty and ninety years ago (I hope that was vague enough to avoid invoking Godwin's Law :p).

The Marxian form of socialism claims that all property belongs to the proletariat, while the other purported to leave property in private ownership, but severely regulated the means of production and who got the profits (if any) of whatever was produced.

The third form claims to lighten the totalitarian aspects of the first two and melded the state-owned with the heavily state-regulated, and is mainly endorsed by Western European countries, Canada, and American liberals.

Gil December 22, 2007 at 2:29 am

As you both pointed out V & B – Socialism is defined as non-Libertarianism.

brotio December 22, 2007 at 3:58 am

I guess you're right, Gil, since you describe anything other than my third example as anarcho-libertarianism.

Gil December 22, 2007 at 9:56 am

I actually point out that many here use the same arguments as anarcho-Libertarians. Guvmint = bad, taxes = theft, regulations = annoying rules that slow down business activity, no one should tell me what to do – EVER!, etc. If many here were really minarcho- types then it'd be nice to an occasional disclaimer as to when governments aren't necessarily evil, that certain taxes are okay and certain regulation may help to set good boundaries on business activity, etc.

brotio December 22, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Gil,

I have made several disclaimers as to where government serves a necessary function, and made them in correspondence with you. But, because they're not as far left as where YOU want them to be you label it anarcho-libertarianism.

Murthaduck ("the children they've killed in cold blood") claimed on another thread that it would require re-writing the US Constitution to reduce the power of government to a respectable level. I maintain that repealing the evil Sixteenth Amendment would accomplish my goal. If everyone had to pay a 40% federal sales tax to pay for Murthaduck's health care and retirement, then Murthaduck would have a much tougher time convincing people that it's a good idea.

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