03 May 2011

Global warming

A friend at Appropedia recently sent me a link to an article arguing that Richard Lindzen's global temperature forecasts have been consistently incorrect.

Here's a video summary of Lindzen's arguments.

The trouble is, the article didn't install any faith in the data for me, though I appreciate the quality of the effort to argue the point it was making. Lindzen would be frustrated by it, because essentially what he has been trying to say is the data can't be comprehensive or precise, so nor can the discussion. The reality is, we have surface data from 1981, and very rough data prior to that going back only so far as 1880. No adjustments made for geo political change either - which effects the availability of data collection points - such as the fall of USSR, apparently ending data collection in many locations in Siberia and Arctic regions... or the realisation that the few data collection stations we do have, is still not enough for a full global picture. Oh, and the rejection of geologists attempting to add their long view perspectives. Added to this is the working over of the data revealed in Climategate. So the window we have on the question is tiny, not enough to know for certain, too late if it is revealing something.

It seems to me, we (humanity) is neither politically or technically able to think globally, and so we can only continue to think and act locally, within our natural given senses of a community's ecological zone. This means to me, improve our local sensitivity, and respond. Globalism is the opposite to that effort. So far, anyone willing to try and think and act globally, invites the evil of Goldman and Sachs and other global economists, and the hegemony of the corrupt West, and global trade which breaks our ability to monitor resource use and impact. The discussion of global warming plays into this.

We've always known locally that many of our actions hurt our habitat, and don't need difficult conceptions of gas and global temperature models to confirm that. We know that deforestation is bad for fertility, rivers, farmland, local climate, and our spirit, and we have the technology to monitor and gauge that locally. If we lack the capability to act locally, Global power is not going to fix that. Globalism, whether it be economic or ecologic (they don't dare speak socially yet) is a distraction from our ability to think and act locally. For example, an increase in local taxes, to in a large part pay a global exchange system shown to be corrupt, pretends to be action when its nothing of the sort.


Thomas Steele-Maley said...

Thanks for the post, Leigh. Your last paragraph blends well with Zizek on "Movements" and "Ecology"....There is much loft, gloss, and money in neo-liberal "green". Your points in this post at "we know what we are doing to the earth" are powerful. We do know if we look, and if we have community around us to help decolonize our consumer ideologies and support our flights into the mountains and oceans, fields and farms. We need to be asking ourselves how are we harnessing open and networked learning to help in this process.

One of the things I appreciate about what you remix and feed forward is that you seek to apply....in the past I have read posts on sustainable/resilient lifeways as an example.

Local nodes of a broader mesh representing low impact living will provide a catalyst and example for more that can countervail the absence of our age.

We are about to seed here in Maine, figuring out our animals....again, and as always looking to create more than we consume. Thanks for inspiring.

Hope you are well.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi Thomas, thanks for this supportive comment. I'm expecting some heat on this.

You're right, I am seeking to apply this idea of relocalisation in open and networked learning. Well, actually you know its already happening at such a scale, it could be the very best example of open and networked learning. Youtube is awash with permaculture methods for example, and there's plenty of evidence in those videos that they are the product or locally engaged, face to face meeting.

Of course, many people point out that not everyone can run to the mountains, fields, etc. Given the rural urban drift through, quite a few can. And as you cover, you aim to produce more than you need. I'm one such person yet to be able to afford flight, so perhaps I'm looking at sustainable living techniques for peasants destined to live under landlords, never really settled, learned and supported through open and networked learning...

Leigh Blackall said...

Good luck with this year's growing btw. If it's anything like it was down here this year, expect humidity and insects. So, high yields if you can manage the pests. Keep the wasps, let the ducks out, harvest fruit early.

Chris Watkins said...

Just watched the video of Lindzen. Fair comment re Ban Ki-moon's comment, and re the idea that "the science is settled". I can't remember hearing that "the science is settled" from scientist supporting the predominant view on climate change, but if they did it would be a red flag for dodgy thinking.

Re the beginning of the video where he actually talks about why we shouldn't worry, that part has so many cuts in it that I can't make any judgement about Lindzen's actual arguments. If that was the extent of his arguments, I'd say they were very poor, shallow arguments - I assume that he has something much more substantial to say than is shown here.

Re the original link I sent you, which you mention at the start, the site is highly structured, and pages are quite specific in the questions they address - so direct questions about the data will be on other pages. The real test (and I confess I haven't made the time to do this yet) is to look at relevant pages on the same site and see how well each of them stands, keeping in mind how they fit together. The quality of the argument within the scope of the page was what I liked - but I'll never use that as a standalone argument to answer the bigger questions.

Chris Watkins said...

Re Lindzen's claims on the sea level rise - it makes sense that satellite measurement would be more reliable than land-based measures.

His claim that satellite measures show no rise contradicts Wikipedia and skepticalscience.com. I don't want to use that as a weapon, but I'm curious about the stark difference in conclusions. I'm guessing that Lindzen would say that the changes are within the error bars. Keeping in mind that error bars are rubbery concepts, and that the trend in the graphs seems very clear, I wouldn't want to dismiss those trends too quickly.

As I often repeat, I haven't studied this question deeply as it's not my focus - I'm just pointing out discrepancies that I see, and I'd appreciate any insights into understanding the science.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi Chris, nor I. The main thing I take away is the data is not reliable enough. I link to a couple of WattsUpWithThat posts that show some of that unreliability. While I try to combine them, the data and globalism are separate issues, I'll admit. Although it does seem that too many dodgy people and organisations have more to gain by trying to link "settled science" with globalisation. Which is why I try to convince small sustainability organisations to distance themselves from both, and focus on their great work in local settings, that don't need any reference to issues in the global arena.

Chris Watkins said...

Ugh, I just wrote a long reply, got an error from Blogger, and couldn't salvage the comment.

The basic point is that "settled science" is an overplayed meme. Gore used it, and that was dodgy. I've never heard a climate scientist use it - if they have, it's a red flag for that particular person.

Likewise, when anyone argues that "the science isn't settled, that shows that they too are either being sloppy, or don't have a good grip on how science works.

For me it's a precautionary matter, and I lean strongly towards thinking we have reliable enough data to take climate change extremely seriously.

Leigh Blackall said...

Sorry for the bug, I recovered the comment in the spam folder. Its up there now.

Leigh Blackall said...

Thomas Steel-Maley tweets a link to Links: Organizations & Initiatives for Change.

"Addressing today’s most pressing problems necessitates acts of both resistance and renewal, that is: those that resist the process of globalization, as well as those that help renew local economies and communities. Effective (and enjoyable!) change, in both cases, requires collective action – linking hands with like-minded people. There is a flourishing of organizations everywhere working to create a better world. Use the following list to discover, support, and join some of them!*

Thomas Steele-Maley said...

May also be of interest:

William Catton's Overshoot (1982) presents a blunt review of ecological systems with a sociological lens. What Catton calls "the ecological context of human life".

Refreshing in many ways.


A video:


stevenparker said...

"It seems to me, we (humanity) is neither politically or technically able to think globally, and so we can only continue to think and act locally, within our natural given senses of a community's ecological zone."

Spot on Leigh, to work with this reality and make globalism work the chosen system of control is to be Communitarianism.

"It's an ideal system of control, in that is based on a top down control bottom up community networking structure (With Hyper surveillance technolgy to be a KEY a lynch pin - 'Ubersurveillance' of the economic system)." - Steven Parker


Networked learning will come into it s own in terms of technology "guiding" the individual to behave as a good global citizen should locally.

And you are also right the politics of sustainability and the carbon economy will be the glue that holds it all together from a global (Agenda 21) to a local level.

Niki Raapana - Communitarianism

woo hoo "Community policing"

Have people even blinked.