If, fifty years from now, global warming has been successfully prevented, how will we know?

Peter B. writes:

As you point out, the warmists claim that less snow in a given year at a given place is proof of warming and that more snow in a given place in a given year is also proof of warming. With these arguments the warmists hope to push into drastic action to avert climate change. Leaving aside the correctness or otherwise of this point of view [LA notes: on this point the warmists appear to have a reasonable argument], how will we know if we’ve succeeded in averting climate change?

How will we know if we’re done? If there’s more snow or less snow? This is the point I’d like to see Al Gore and his minions answer. What does a world where we’ve succeeded in averting climate change look like? I don’t mean in the human sense of bike riding and granola eating and the hair shirt wearing. I mean what will the climate do once we’ve won? I suspect this is the one question they simply can’t answer and it’s the one I’ve never seen put to them.

LA replies:

That’s a great point. Just as the evidence for the global warming that the warmists insist is an established scientific fact is, in fact, deeply indeterminate (see upcoming post by A. Zarkov expanding on this idea), so would the evidence that global warming has been stopped be deeply indeterminate. Whether we’re trying to figure out global climate change by looking at local weather conditions, or by averaging temperatures from weather stations located all over the world, it would seem that it can’t be done, at least not within a humanly meaningful range of time (say 50 to 100 years), in which we’re talking about relatively slight changes of temperature. The point is, the means to determine scientifically whether the earth’s atmosphere has warmed by, say, 1.5 degrees centigrade over the last 100 years probably doesn’t exist. Similarly, the means to tell, a hundred years from now, whether a previously expected 1.5 degree centigrade warming was prevented by a global anti-warming campaign that consisted of shutting down the industrial world also probably wouldn’t exist.

Of course, if, a hundred years from now, the coastal regions of the world have not been flooded and made uninhabitable, the warmists of that future time will say that the global warming was successfully prevented by shutting down global industrial activity and transferring the West’s wealth the Third World. But how could anyone know for a fact that in the absence of shutting down global industrial activity, the coastal regions would have been flooded?

March 5

Kristor writes:

How will we know whether we have averted global disaster? We won’t. But it won’t matter; and it wouldn’t matter even if we did certainly know that we had. If liberalism is still in the saddle in 50 years, it will still be the case that the whole of human history up to 2060 has been an unrelievedly sordid tale of misery and oppression, calling for a total revolution in human affairs. If the revolution has then just been initiated by the election of some new radical utopian, the renewal of history will then have only just begun; there will still, and always, be “much that remains to be done.”

Many years ago, just as I was beginning to decide I was not a Marxist after all, I came up with a definition of the radical: the radical is never reconciled to the content of history, but always reconciled to the process of history. The idea was that for the radical, no matter how much of his agenda has already been accomplished, the world as it has been handed down to him will remain forever and inveterately wicked and unjust, so that the revolution can never be wholly accomplished, but must rather always be refreshed; yet at the same time, because the radical understands this and is patient with the process of nursing a total revolution, he is happy enough with his life.

In retrospect, the gnosticism of it just reeks. As I said once at a VFR thread, “That’s the problem with gnosticism: the perfect drives out the good. The liberal gnostics quite properly hate evil, but are not prepared to admit that, albeit corrupted by evil, the world is basically good. For them, any evil anywhere ruins the whole shooting match.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 04, 2010 07:31 PM | Send

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