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11/23/2012

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Remi

Why they would warn about climate change when their policies are driving it? A simple explanation would be that they are covering their asses so that they don't end up being prosecuted later on for their inaction today. By releasing this report they can now point to it and say they did their part and then go on advocating exponential economic growth, which they can't achieve.

There is a lot of uncertainty in modelling the non-linearity aspects of climate change. I would trust their economic modelling more than the climate modelling of such non-linearities, either of which I would trust as much as a con-man.

Whether the non-linearities mean a quick decadal shift in climate, or something that takes centuries, the idea that we will be able to contain a 2C or 4C or whatever degree rise in temperature is highly questionable.

Oliver

Thanks as always Dave for shining such a clear light on this latest bull from the World Bank (sly operator but yet another arm of Western imperialism). There's now going to a bandwagon effect, with more and more "worthies" joining in the dire warning game without acknowledging that growth is the problem, not the effing solution to everything. Please keep on showing us the Emperor is naked.

NoHype

Any good propaganda piece does several things at once. This one is no exception; its obsequious devotion to the status quo being only one.

The Big Lie (the best ones are huge) here is the soothing mantra that populations don't have to (and thus won't) fall precipitously in response to biospheric, let alone economic, stressors. And "precipitous fall" is just a euphemism for the type of widespread human carnage the world hasn't seen for 400 years or so.

There is plenty of data to support the idea that population levels will drop suddenly. The Club of Rome has modeled it a hundred different ways with the same results: high pollution, with a corresponding drop in the populations poisoned by it. Anecdotal evidence in support of the models exists in the form of reversals in birth/death rates during the Great Depression in the U.S., as well as the former Soviet states (including Russia) after the fall of communism.

The question then becomes, why isn't this sort of easily-accessible data discussed?

Part can be explained by the "saving lives" mantra of the status quo. Why we "need" to save billions of lives (mine included) is beyond me... but I digress.

The other part is whom the World Bank serves (Western powers). If you want to throttle emerging economies that threaten your hegemony, it's best to get the propaganda started many years before they actually possess the capability to do so. I'm thinking China and India here. The subtext to the report thus becomes: "play our carbon game, otherwise we won't be able to 'save' your populations from the huge dislocations that will result if you don't." I'm not sure the message is aimed directly at policy makers. It's probably directed at their minions.

It's like marketing to kids. They may not have the money, but they can exert great pressure on where it's spent.

clyde

This is staggering cluelessness. Truly incredible.

Not many commentators focus on the extreme rapidity of the increase of atmospheric CO2. Levels have been as high previously but that change came over thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years. This allowed flora and fauna to either adapt in situ or move to more suitable places, thus helping to mitigate the effects, eventually. Neither of those answers are available this time.

We are in uncharted waters and know only that things will change for the worse. We just don't know how bad and how quickly.

I suggest that the speed of the change of CO2 levels will be reflected in the abruptness and severity of climactic change.

ralph m

"That could happen, but the best science we have right now says it won't."
The best science also says there is at least 1 degree C warming in the pipeline already that has not impacted our weather yet....but will at some time in the near future. I'm also not seeing the fact that sources of carbon fuels become dirtier in regards to EROEI as we continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

I've heard the former CIBC economist - Jeff Rubin say that he believes that economies will collapse before we have the chance to pump enough carbon in the atmosphere to cause 4 degree C warming. But, I don't think he is considering the increasing carbon intensity either. Is it possible to have the worst of both worlds: the continuing increase in carbon emissions, even as economic outputs decline and economies collapse?

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