Proper Way to View Risks

October 26, 2016

From “25 Myths That are Destroying the Environment”, by Daniel B. Botkin. ISBN 9781442244924

What are the chances it will happen? What will be the effect if it does? What are the chances that we can fix things and prevent damage to begin with? And how much will the equivalent of an insurance policy cost, versus how much it will cost to repair the damage?

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Talking about Climate Change and “Fixing it”

March 12, 2016

I was at a conference earlier this week, the topic being power generation. The focus of most speakers (and many of the attendees that I was able to chat with) was about how all these alternative methods of generating electrical power are proposed on the basis of our “reduced carbon [sic] future”.

At the break I asked one of the speakers how life would be different in, say 2030, when we transform everything to a world where we get power from “carbon free” methods? He was unable to say other than to agree with me that he would “feel good.”.

I then explored with him the idea of scrapping the goal of conflating power generation with carbon reduction, and I did get an earful about how the ice caps are melting, that the root cause of the “Arab Spring” could be attributed to “climate change”, and that the flooding and record high temperatures are “proof” and we *must* do something. “All scientists in the world think it’s a problem!”, he said.

This guy had the podium at a major conference on power production, hosted by the power industry, and attended by many so-called “informed” professionals! Sigh. Big Sigh.

Another person, a person who was previously a speaker on a topic of importance, was defending to me the grave need to “tackle climate change.” I asked him to please define what he meant by “climate change” so that we could then agree what we are talking about. He told me that he could not really define that as it’s much to complicated to define, “but we gotta tackle it!”. Sigh.

I seemed to be the only one wondering what the heck is going on?


Flooding in York

December 29, 2015

This was a man-made disaster. It was not “unforeseen” as it’s happened before–more than once, in fact. The cause has nothing to do with “climate change” (whatever that means!).

In this instance, the UK Environmental Agency in York noticed that “water was entering the building” (the building holding pumps which were to operate to mitigate the effects of fooding), and they decided that this electrical equipment was “at risk”. So, they lifted a flood barrier thus deliberately flooding a large residential area.

See Martin Brumby discuss this story, as an insider, at http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/12/27/the-eus-role-in-the-floods.html#comments, Dec 29 9:23 a.m. where he asks the pertinent questions:

So, were the pumps working and, if not, why not?

Were the electrics maintained and sited above flood levels? (Think:- Fukushima!) If not, why not?

Who made the decision to open the barrier and make the £8M (1982 prices) installation an irrelevance? Who was consulted?

How many of those responsible will be sacked?


NY Times a Hypocrite

December 13, 2015

In the front page of today’s NY Times web site, I see links to the following two articles next to each other.

One implies doing something “green” will “keep the sea from rising” and the other applauds winter skiing and all that goes with it (mountains deforestation, outdoor heating, long-distance travel by air and car, etc.) which I can’t help but think, if you believe such things, could cause the seas to rise.

Jeez.

Screen Shot 2015 12 13 at 08 02 53


BBC is Ecstatic about America “finally taking steps to combat climate change”

August 3, 2015

Today the US Government announced what I believe are malformed and illogical new plans for “combating climate change.” The BBC can’t contain themselves. They love it. The BBC is part of the world movement to drive back to Medieval times.

They used most of the propaganda tricks of the trade in their 6 p.m. television news cast this evening with visual and audio clues, including using the word “carbon” to suggest that “black icky pollutant” rather than that trace gas, carbon-dioxide which is essential for live on earth. We probably need more of it and not less.

The worst visual was their representation was that “back icky stuff” pouring out of a power plant.

IMG 2761

Actually it’s probably steam and water vapour with back-lighting from the sun to make it appear to be that “black icky stuff”.

Sigh.


Engineers and Ethical Responsibilities

February 27, 2015

I occasionally make comments about “engineers” vs. “scientists” and their inherent skills, expertise, and value. I believe that society (as sadly presented by media and government) puts too much faith in what they say, how they say it, and their capabilities. Too many people base their own thinking, and defend it to others, on “scientists say” appeal to authority. I sort of understand the political pressures which cause this.

Regardless of whether the “scientists” are correct or incorrect, wise or devious, few if any scientists are obligated to act under an special or legal ethical obligation. Engineers in most countries are “licensed” as an important and “learned” professional, whereas “scientists” are not. Engineers have well-defined professional societies with ethical policies.

Dr. Drang has posted an excellent summary of this related to computer programmers calling themselves “software engineers”. To me the same issue applies with other jobs, e.g. “scientists”.

He reminds me of the “six fundamental canons” of of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

  1. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
  2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.
  3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
  4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.
  5. Avoid deceptive acts.
  6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.

– See more at: http://www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics

I can see where the absence of such ethical behaviour can get society into difficulty.


Climate and Weather Modelling as a Wicked Problem

January 27, 2015

Dr. Tim Ball, one of my favourite authors on issues of climate, has a guest posting at Watts up with that. He discusses the Gestalt Learning theory as it applies to perception and problem-solving in climatology and how it demonstrates recent failures in climatology. He says of the IPCC:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fails for many reasons, but, not least, is the problem of specialisation. In fact, they have a much larger problem because there are crossovers and similarities within the specialisation that are markedly different between the sciences. This is demonstrated in their Working Group I (WGI) The Physical Science Basis Report and those in Social Science Reports of Working Groups II and II. Then, they run into serious problems when they tried to integrate political and economic models. Integrating them with economic and social scenarios of WG II and III and calling them projections, supposedly masked failures of the scientific predictions of WGI. This goes a long way to explaining why a few people with a political objective were able to create the unrepresentative, unreal, Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

What I really liked was his Figure 1 which shows a “simple-enough” representation of the components involved with weather, and hence climate, which demonstrates how wicked the problem actually is. To attribute weather/climate to a few simple things is a fool’s mission:

From: Ball, Tim, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/01/26/ipcc-climate-science-as-a-gestalt-theory-problem/