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?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.March 5
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.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 04, 2010 07:31 PM | Send