Global Warming Effects

Many poo poo the idea that we are likely to adapt fairly easily to global warming changes because they are so tiny and take place over such a long period.     However I have seen very few well reasoned discussions of this topic – most true believers simply dismiss it out of hand and most global warming skeptics can’t even see the obvious warming trends.

At first glance it would seem we really don’t have much to worry about.   The earth has warmed less than a degree in the last 100 years, and even if that rate accelerates we are talking about tiny fractions of a degree every year.   Every day we and other animals adapt easily to temperature changes of 30 degrees and more.     Of course this type of daily change is not the same as gradual long term change, but it’s not clear to me why we can expect all hell to break loose as a result of very gradual temperature increases of fractions of degrees.

Here’s a good starting point for what I hope will eventually be a case by case examination of the negative potential consequences of warming.

6 thoughts on “Global Warming Effects


    I linked to this previously–a UCSB physicist resigned over AGW. So, rack up a few points on the AGW skeptics scoresheet (I haven’t seen a response from the real climate and IPCC types).

    That said, there are various interpretations of the temp increases. Ive heard 3-4 temp increase over last few decades, and then lower estimates such as yours. Then like Al Gore’s guestimates: ie, 10-20 degrees increase in next few years, and the earth becomes a scorching wasteland, while waves cover Seattle, SF LA, etc. Alas, Big Al probably doesn’t know margin of error from his ex Tipper’s favorite apple pie recipe.

  2. Wow, that’s quite a criticism from a respected physics guy. I must have missed your earlier link. He’s noting the thing that drives a lot of non-skeptic critics crazy, which is the fact that the science too often seems to take a back seat to the rhetoric. In an important sense the trouble began from the “anti science” movement begun by the right wing folks. This seemed to justify – in the minds of an appalling number of folks – the right to change the rules of science such that it’s now acceptable to “shout down” opponents rather than address their legitimate questions. is a hotbed of this type of irrationality, even as they give a lot of lip service to the opposite.

  3. Yes and no. We should oppose the Foxnews nutbags, and their hasty dismissals of AGW. But not everyone who has doubts of AGW is rightist. Some of the real-climate/Gorebot types have created that media-myth. That’s part of the rhetorical game as well: what, you doubt Al Gore? You’re in the GOP, a nazi, or Foxnews supporter! Not exactly (and for that matter, Gore’s politics are hardly radical–he was in Occi’s pocket for years).

    As you probably are aware, Crichton’s State of Fear offers an interesting critique of AGW (especially in regard to the data-gathering, and temp. reports….hardly reliable until like the 50s or 60s, and still problematic). We may not have agreed with Cricthon’s politics (tho he wasnt especially conservative). but the idea that he should be rejected “just because” is absurd. I alluded to Crichton’s work (chockful of cites/notes to scientific articles) once or twice on some eco-blogs a few years ago, and the usual IPCC/Gore types reacted with utter dismay–though rarely did they attempt to refute Crichton or link to some research . I suspect Dr. Lewis was tired of that BS as well.

    • Totally agree that we should not label skeptics. In fact skepticism is the cornerstone of good science and should be welcomed until it crosses the line of irrationality, and even that is a subjective call.

      But even for informed skeptics (like Crichton (RIP) or Mckintyre at Climate Audit) warming is very likely and not disputed.
      The issue is the degree to which it is caused by human vs natural forces. I’d argue that even this point requires a level of skepticism that is not justified – ie there is warming, it’s largely caused by humans. However it’s not catastrophic by any means. For me this last point is almost self-evident (we’ve been adapting to warming for a long time).

      • The issue is the degree to which it is caused by human vs natural forces.

        Yep. Not that that the natural vs man-made C02 problem phases the eco-sentimentalists.

  4. Gov. Girly Man has been doing his part for the climate lately:

    The neo-greens of the Schwarzeneggerian sort have realized there’s big business in fighting AGW (or apparent AGW), and AS and his cronies are prepared to retrofit-for-profit, whether it’s needed or not. Now, Ahhnuld probably couldn’t distinguish margin of error from marzipan, but zee cli-mate mussen be fixed

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