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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting Started

Hi, and welcome to my blog.

In this blog I plan to explore some ideas that I find interesting, and debunk quite a few that I don't.  Hopefully my views will be of interest to more than just me ;)

Mostly what I find interesting at the moment is the Global Warming "debate".  I say debate with caution because the real debate about Global Warming takes place in science journals, and is being overwhelmingly decided in favour of the views that the Earth is currently warming at an unusually rapid rate, that this is primarily due to the by products of human activity, and that as a result of ongoing activity, the warming is likely to accelerate as this century procedes.

In addition to the genuine debate, there are two other "debates"about Global Warming going on.  One is the pseudo-debate on the Internet in which various opponents of acceptance of Global Warming put together strained and trumped up arguments with, in most cases, a primary objective of preventing any action being taken about Global Warming.  The proponents of these arguments are typically sincere in their belief that doing something to prevent Global Warming would be a bad thing, but they are sincerely wrong.

The second subsidiary debate is the policy debate in which the nations of the world race each other to be the last to take significant action on Global Warming.  The is a race in which we are all losers, potentially very big losers.  It is my belief that the best outcome of this tardy race is major global economic disruption, coupled with a massive loss of health in the eco-systems on which we depend.  How massive is uncertain, and there are plausible scenarios in which the loss will be so great that humans will no longer be able to sustain an industrial civilization.

"No longer be able to sustain an industrial civilization" is a polite way of saying that the world's population will plummet to 2 billion or less over a matter of decades.  It is also a polite way of saying the massive transport and telecommunications infrastructure which make modern life so enjoyable (in the West, at least) will collapse, so that once more, less than 20% of the Earth's surviving population live in cities.  It will be a return to the physical economy of, at best, the 18th century.  Further, it will be a return without hope of further advance, for the cheap, easily accessibly sources of concentrated energy that have driven our modern civilization (fossil fuels) will not longer be accessible.

This is a plausible scenario, but it is not probable, and most definitely is not certain.  So why mention it?  Because it is about as probable as the possibility of Global Warming having no significant effect on our economy or the world's eco-systems.  It is a common tactic in the pseudo-debate on Global Warming to play on uncertainty, but uncertainty cuts both ways.  It is certainly possible that the IPCC is wrong and that Global Warming will turn into a fizzer.  But it is equally possible that the IPCC is wrong, and that Global Warming will turn into an overwhelming catastrophe.

I don't want the latter to happen!

In fact, I don't want even the probable outcomes of Global Warming to happen; and the best thing I can do to prevent them is to help clear up some of the confusion created by the pseudo-debate.  Hence this blog.

Because I want to clear up confusion, the most important features of this blog will always be the links; both to other blogs I have found particularly edifying, and to the basic data on which the debate is based.  The latter is particularly important, for I find that most sceptical arguments regarding Global Warming fall to pieces when confronted with the data (rather than just a carefully selected subset of the data).  Because the data is so important, I would greatly appreciate advice about other links to data that people have found useful.

Tom Curtis
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