Climate change obfuscator Roger Pielke Jr. is at it again ('The Key To Avoiding Future Climate Disasters? Adapting', WSJ, p C3, July 17-18) trying to peddle "non-reflexive" approaches to climate change. One thing you have to grant Pielke Jr. is his uncanny, understated, reasonable -sounding ability to articulate nonsense. But the alert, perceptive reader can catch him out, e.g. when he writes:
This past month alone, the long-term effects of greenhouse-gas emissions were said to be a key factor in the death and destruction caused by the heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest, the property damage from record floods in Japan and even the tragic condominium collapse in Miami, because of the destabilizing effect of rising sea levels.
Many scientists make such connections in order to highlight the urgency of radically lowering emission levels.
"Were said" to be a key factor? They were a key factor, you benighted Bozo! "Radically lowering emission levels"? How about enough just to meet the Paris Accord standard? The words betray Pielke Jr. as your standard "agnotologist"* - one of a species of right wing types who sow deliberate doubt to postpone critical action on climate, in favor of economic priority. It's exemplified in this 2012 headline and story in The Wall Street Journal:
His further blather merely confirms this:
There is no doubt that climate change poses significant current and future risks, including from extreme weather events, and that human causes play a role. ...
But there’s a problem with turning so reflexively to climate change as the prime explanation for the rising human costs of disasters: It has the unfortunate tendency to push other crucial considerations out of the conversation, especially the need to devote much more of our attention and resources to adapting ourselves and our societies to the challenge of a changing climate......
"Turning so reflexively to climate change" as the prime explanation for the rising costs of human disasters? It IS the prime explanation given that continued warming of the planet sets us up for a cusp catastrophe of the global system and transition to a more havoc -wreaking condition. E.g.
But Pielke Jr. wants us to believe that adaptation to such a new planet, a hellish global unstable system, is feasible if we just make enough air conditioners available to the elderly, move people away from vulnerable coastlines, and move tens of thousands more out of their forest abodes which are too close to the dry tinder ready to explode. As he babbles:
As NOAA itself notes, the increasing cost of disasters can be attributed to many factors beyond climate. The NOAA presents its data set primarily as a measure of weather and climate trends, but it also shows, if more quietly, that the increasing cost of disasters has a lot to do with changed patterns of economic development. most important of these is the dramatic increase in U.S. wealth and population since 1980.
The story is nuanced, according to the U.S. National Climate Assessment and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For instance, the incidence of heat waves and wildfires over the past century has increased in some places around the world, but not all. The U.S. has seen an increase in heat waves since the 1960s, but not to a degree beyond the “dust bowl” decade of the 1930s. Wildfires and drought have increased in the American West and Southwest, respectively, but they have not risen globally over the long term, nor have floods or tornadoes.
Such complexities underscore the importance of adaptive responses. Geophysical and weather disasters occur because an extreme event encounters a vulnerable society.
What a tool! Of course heat waves, tornadoes, floods, droughts etc. have not increased "everywhere" (e.g. globally). That isn't the point. The point is climate havoc occurs where the control parameters-variables (e.g. CO2 concentration, methane concentration) are most unstable or metastable for that particular species of catastrophe in that geographical region. He's also oblivious to the fact there is a physical-biological limit to the extent humans can adapt to heat waves. For example nearing the cusp of the runaway greenhouse effect - say by 2095 - no night time temperatures will be lower than 90-95 F for most of the U.S., hell most of the world - developed or not. Given that any break down of power grids means no human bodies will be able to cool enough to perspire and avoid heat stroke- at such high ambient temperatures- we are talking about apocalyptic death. See, e.g.
Hence, his next sentence is total twaddle:
To better prepare for future disasters, reducing our vulnerability—that is, adapting—is far more important than establishing the precise role of climate in contributing to weather and climate extremes. Adaptation is typically a matter of technical and incremental changes at the local level—a harder banner to rally around than the campaign for radical reductions in global emissions. Contingency planning for more heat waves, for instance, requires identifying the populations most at risk and coming up with ways to limit their exposure now.
ALL populations will be at risk at the cusp of the runaway greenhouse , you blithering imbecile! But Pielke Jr's history of being a tool precedes him. For example, one reviewer of his book: 'The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming'', frames Pielke Jr.'s effort thusly:
He basically brushes aside climate change as if it were a trivial concern. His proposal is to tax carbon at such a low and inconsequential rate that even Exxon Mobile agrees to the tax, and then to use the proceeds to fund more research on alternative energy and other mitigation strategies. That's IT. Well almost.
He also spends an inordinate amount of time bashing climate scientists (which he is admittedly not) for being human beings and voicing their intense concern for the future of the planet, which their research has shown is in big trouble if we do nothing or little to decrease carbon emissions in the very near future. This book is not worth reading and I regret the time I spent getting through it. If you want to learn about climate change and our options for dealing with its consequences, there are dozens of other books that really address the issue.”
Even someone who is sympathetic to the claim that political considerations sometimes find their way into climate science might shrink from Pielke Jr.’s characterization of climate science as “a fully politicized enterprise.” He makes such institutions as the