Vanities of the Warmists

The conceit that scientists and bureaucrats can use the power the state to manage nature has lead to disaster in the past, and will again if the global warmists keep getting their way.

When Yellowstone National Park was first created, park officials believed they had to “save” the native fauna as well as protect the visitors by killing off the native wolf population.  This they did in grand form.  Additionally, they noticed the yearly occurrences of wildfires which, according to the then “modern” and “progressive” thought of the day, should be stamped out at all cost. 

The net result of these notions was that 110 years or so later half the park burned down.  It turns out that without the wolves the ruminants ran wild and ate up the deciduous trees, leaving only the pine trees to go forth and multiply.  Anyone who’s started a campfire knows what happens when you compound this with 110 years of pine needles and flotsam and jetsam -- you end up with the perfect firestorm.  This is nothing natural.  This situation was created by us -- by human intervention into a formerly pristine ecosystem that was supposedly “managed” by the federal government – and the result was that half the park burned down.

Once again, on the issue of “global warming” we’re faced with government control -- in this case not of the national park system, but of the entire globe.  The “progressives” and their “grand thoughts” of the age seek to “manage” the globe in the same “modern” way  our ancestors “managed” Yellowstone.  Like our ancestors of yore, today’s environmentalists believe the government can control the environment better than Mother Nature can.  Are we to suppose that the people who give us the DMV and the IRS are going to “manage” the globe in the same efficient and benevolent manner?  In the grand scheme of things are we supposed to believe that we humans are actually better than Mother Nature at “managing” the global environment?  For some reason, the enviro-nazis of the age seem to believe that Mother Nature is some kind of octogenarian Alzheimer’s patient and they’re the designated colostomy bag.

Take the great debate over the “Atlantic Conveyor Belt” e.g. the Gulf Stream.  Recent studies have shown that glacial melting from Greenland has created a massive pool of freshwater over the Gulf Stream that has disturbed the salinity of the Atlantic Ocean and is shutting down the Gulf Stream.  Oh no, this must be a horrible event with calamitous consequences, right?  According to the Ecopalyptics, if the Gulf Stream is shut down, Europe won’t receive its relatively warm currents that mean the difference between Shropshire and Winnepeg -- which are roughly on the same latitude.  As a result, Europe would be thrown into a new Ice Age, right?  Actually no.  It’s all about negative feedback.  The earth is a stable system, if it weren’t life would have disappeared billions of years ago.  It’s the negative feedback that makes life possible in the first place -- if things get out of whack, there’s a system for getting them back to normality.  If the Gulf Stream fades, Arctic winds will sink south and cover Greenland, thereby cooling the island and stopping the glacial melt -- thus stopping the runaway insanity of the eco-warriors’ worst nightmares.

The part these people miss – in both their mathematical projections and in their current hysterical projections  -- is that Mother Nature is far craftier than we give her credit for.  She’s not some old tottering Betty but rather a spry 40-something working mother with trillions of mouths to feed, and the last thing she needs is a bunch of second borne dysfunctional “Rebel Children” raising hell and getting in her way.  To paraphrase the great George Carlin: Think of the insults she (Mother Earth) has had to deal with over the billions of years of her existence – comets, asteroids, worldwide fires, worldwide floods, worldwide glaciations, magnetic reversal of the poles -- and we’re to think that some SUVs  and some plastic bags are going to make a difference?  Mother Nature has had to deal with far worse than us. 

Let’s look at those mathematical models that all seem to claim that by mid-century we’re going to be living through climactic hell for a minute.  As we know, the climate is a chaotic system -- meaning that even minor variations in the starting conditions can drastically affect the outcome of the model.  This is known as the “Butterfly Effect” with the observation that according to the models, a minor and completely unpredictable perturbation like a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro can bring sunshine instead of rain as an outcome on a given day in London.  As a result, these models tend to break down over time, wildly diverging in their final result because of this effect.  This is the reason why meteorologists can’t reliably forecast the weather beyond seven days.  The farther out you want to forecast -- reliably -- the more certain you need to be about the initial conditions, and the more certain you need to be about the variables of your equation. 

As for those initial conditions, if we’re talking about global warming from greenhouse gasses, we need to know something about those gasses -- how much of each type are produced, and how much of each type are consumed, in a given year.  The production of man-made greenhouse gasses is easily, though tediously, quantified.  The amount produced naturally is another story.  In January, for instance, the Kilauea volcano started producing greenhouse gasses at an alarming rate, and for no apparent reason.  One can estimate the amount of such gasses produced, but again, these “assumptions” are what invalidates the mathematical models, as you need absolute accuracy to forecast reliably.

Despite what the “experts” may say, consumption, as described above, is completely unknown.  Look into the field of metagenomics.  Scientists discovered that if they sampled sand from one area of a beach near Torrey Pines, they discovered literally hundreds of thousands of new species of organisms.  Even more surprising, if they moved the probe one meter right or left they discovered hundreds of thousands more species as unrelated to the original crop as we are to the original crop.  In short, we have no idea -- not even remotely -- of the number of species on the planet, and how many of those are consuming greenhouse gasses, and how many are producing the stuff.  Since we have no idea of how much of a given gas is being consumed or produced, the estimates going into those models are only that -- estimates -- and eat away at the efficacy of the model (as again, it’s all about accuracy).

Now for the second part -- the variables.  The big fallacy of these climate models is twofold: Le Chatelier’s Principle and evolution.  The first can be summed up by the Predator-Prey equation: whether it’s lions on the Serengeti or bacteria in a Petri dish, the idea is that the more prey you pump into a system -- either in the above examples, wildebeest or yeast extract and milk proteins -- the more predators you’ll produce.  In terms of the globe, the entire plant kingdom, as well as a good portion of the uni-cellular world, consumes greenhouse gasses to some degree (and again, we have no idea to what degree). 

What is known, however, is that if you put more greenhouse gasses into the system -- the globe -- the more these organisms will consume until equilibrium is reached.  The rate of which is a complete unknown.  We don’t have any idea of the number of species on the planet, so how can we know anything of their metabolisms and the resulting impact on the environment? 

Further, the reproduction of a single-celled diatom or algae is significantly shorter than ours (20 minutes in the best of circumstances).  This means they experience evolution on a vastly accelerated scale, and that if the world has an increased level of greenhouse gasses, the organisms that consume the majority of them will react the fastest to the increase, modifying their genomes to become more efficient in their consumption.  Again, there’s no way to even begin to account for this variable, so the modelers conveniently ignore its contribution.

The result is that we’re trying to base policy on flawed models that are no better than ancient shamans reading tea leaves.  The enviro-nazis are no better than the medicine man of lineage ancient during a lunar eclipse who could claim that the great night spirit was eating the moon goddess, and if only the tribal elders would hand over the virgins he’d perform his incantations and make him spit her out again. 
The conceit that scientists and bureaucrats can use the power the state to manage nature has lead to disaster in the past, and will again if the global warmists keep getting their way.

When Yellowstone National Park was first created, park officials believed they had to “save” the native fauna as well as protect the visitors by killing off the native wolf population.  This they did in grand form.  Additionally, they noticed the yearly occurrences of wildfires which, according to the then “modern” and “progressive” thought of the day, should be stamped out at all cost. 

The net result of these notions was that 110 years or so later half the park burned down.  It turns out that without the wolves the ruminants ran wild and ate up the deciduous trees, leaving only the pine trees to go forth and multiply.  Anyone who’s started a campfire knows what happens when you compound this with 110 years of pine needles and flotsam and jetsam -- you end up with the perfect firestorm.  This is nothing natural.  This situation was created by us -- by human intervention into a formerly pristine ecosystem that was supposedly “managed” by the federal government – and the result was that half the park burned down.

Once again, on the issue of “global warming” we’re faced with government control -- in this case not of the national park system, but of the entire globe.  The “progressives” and their “grand thoughts” of the age seek to “manage” the globe in the same “modern” way  our ancestors “managed” Yellowstone.  Like our ancestors of yore, today’s environmentalists believe the government can control the environment better than Mother Nature can.  Are we to suppose that the people who give us the DMV and the IRS are going to “manage” the globe in the same efficient and benevolent manner?  In the grand scheme of things are we supposed to believe that we humans are actually better than Mother Nature at “managing” the global environment?  For some reason, the enviro-nazis of the age seem to believe that Mother Nature is some kind of octogenarian Alzheimer’s patient and they’re the designated colostomy bag.

Take the great debate over the “Atlantic Conveyor Belt” e.g. the Gulf Stream.  Recent studies have shown that glacial melting from Greenland has created a massive pool of freshwater over the Gulf Stream that has disturbed the salinity of the Atlantic Ocean and is shutting down the Gulf Stream.  Oh no, this must be a horrible event with calamitous consequences, right?  According to the Ecopalyptics, if the Gulf Stream is shut down, Europe won’t receive its relatively warm currents that mean the difference between Shropshire and Winnepeg -- which are roughly on the same latitude.  As a result, Europe would be thrown into a new Ice Age, right?  Actually no.  It’s all about negative feedback.  The earth is a stable system, if it weren’t life would have disappeared billions of years ago.  It’s the negative feedback that makes life possible in the first place -- if things get out of whack, there’s a system for getting them back to normality.  If the Gulf Stream fades, Arctic winds will sink south and cover Greenland, thereby cooling the island and stopping the glacial melt -- thus stopping the runaway insanity of the eco-warriors’ worst nightmares.

The part these people miss – in both their mathematical projections and in their current hysterical projections  -- is that Mother Nature is far craftier than we give her credit for.  She’s not some old tottering Betty but rather a spry 40-something working mother with trillions of mouths to feed, and the last thing she needs is a bunch of second borne dysfunctional “Rebel Children” raising hell and getting in her way.  To paraphrase the great George Carlin: Think of the insults she (Mother Earth) has had to deal with over the billions of years of her existence – comets, asteroids, worldwide fires, worldwide floods, worldwide glaciations, magnetic reversal of the poles -- and we’re to think that some SUVs  and some plastic bags are going to make a difference?  Mother Nature has had to deal with far worse than us. 

Let’s look at those mathematical models that all seem to claim that by mid-century we’re going to be living through climactic hell for a minute.  As we know, the climate is a chaotic system -- meaning that even minor variations in the starting conditions can drastically affect the outcome of the model.  This is known as the “Butterfly Effect” with the observation that according to the models, a minor and completely unpredictable perturbation like a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro can bring sunshine instead of rain as an outcome on a given day in London.  As a result, these models tend to break down over time, wildly diverging in their final result because of this effect.  This is the reason why meteorologists can’t reliably forecast the weather beyond seven days.  The farther out you want to forecast -- reliably -- the more certain you need to be about the initial conditions, and the more certain you need to be about the variables of your equation. 

As for those initial conditions, if we’re talking about global warming from greenhouse gasses, we need to know something about those gasses -- how much of each type are produced, and how much of each type are consumed, in a given year.  The production of man-made greenhouse gasses is easily, though tediously, quantified.  The amount produced naturally is another story.  In January, for instance, the Kilauea volcano started producing greenhouse gasses at an alarming rate, and for no apparent reason.  One can estimate the amount of such gasses produced, but again, these “assumptions” are what invalidates the mathematical models, as you need absolute accuracy to forecast reliably.

Despite what the “experts” may say, consumption, as described above, is completely unknown.  Look into the field of metagenomics.  Scientists discovered that if they sampled sand from one area of a beach near Torrey Pines, they discovered literally hundreds of thousands of new species of organisms.  Even more surprising, if they moved the probe one meter right or left they discovered hundreds of thousands more species as unrelated to the original crop as we are to the original crop.  In short, we have no idea -- not even remotely -- of the number of species on the planet, and how many of those are consuming greenhouse gasses, and how many are producing the stuff.  Since we have no idea of how much of a given gas is being consumed or produced, the estimates going into those models are only that -- estimates -- and eat away at the efficacy of the model (as again, it’s all about accuracy).

Now for the second part -- the variables.  The big fallacy of these climate models is twofold: Le Chatelier’s Principle and evolution.  The first can be summed up by the Predator-Prey equation: whether it’s lions on the Serengeti or bacteria in a Petri dish, the idea is that the more prey you pump into a system -- either in the above examples, wildebeest or yeast extract and milk proteins -- the more predators you’ll produce.  In terms of the globe, the entire plant kingdom, as well as a good portion of the uni-cellular world, consumes greenhouse gasses to some degree (and again, we have no idea to what degree). 

What is known, however, is that if you put more greenhouse gasses into the system -- the globe -- the more these organisms will consume until equilibrium is reached.  The rate of which is a complete unknown.  We don’t have any idea of the number of species on the planet, so how can we know anything of their metabolisms and the resulting impact on the environment? 

Further, the reproduction of a single-celled diatom or algae is significantly shorter than ours (20 minutes in the best of circumstances).  This means they experience evolution on a vastly accelerated scale, and that if the world has an increased level of greenhouse gasses, the organisms that consume the majority of them will react the fastest to the increase, modifying their genomes to become more efficient in their consumption.  Again, there’s no way to even begin to account for this variable, so the modelers conveniently ignore its contribution.

The result is that we’re trying to base policy on flawed models that are no better than ancient shamans reading tea leaves.  The enviro-nazis are no better than the medicine man of lineage ancient during a lunar eclipse who could claim that the great night spirit was eating the moon goddess, and if only the tribal elders would hand over the virgins he’d perform his incantations and make him spit her out again.