Guest Posting by Ira Glickstein
My granddaughter just sent me a link to a video that claims: “One Guy With A Marker Just Made The Global Warming Debate Completely Obsolete.”
I watched the video with interest. He starts off saying he has: “… An argument that leads to a conclusion even the most ardent skeptic and most panicked activist can agree on. No one I’ve shown it to so far has been able to poke a hole in it. …”
As the image from the video indicates, he divides the Global Warming debate into two dichotomies:
- Global Climate Change (GCC) is “False” (Top Row) or “True” (Bottom Row), and
- We take Action “Yes” (Column A) or “No” (Column B)
Here are the results he gives for his four boxes:
- GCC is False but we unnecessarily take Action. The result is a high “Cost” that results in a “Global Depression”.
- GCC is False and we take No Action. The result is a happy face.
- GCC is True and we take Action that stops GCC dead in its tracks. The result is a happy face.
- GCC is True and we take No Action. The result is “CATASTROPHES [in the] ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, SOCIETAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, [and] and HEALTH” areas.
He ends with the inevitable: “The only choice is Column A” – we must take Action!
“All or nothing”, “Camelot or Catastrophe” arguments have great emotional power in political discourse, where the (usually hidden) assumption is that some things are perfectly TRUE and others are perfectly FALSE. But the real world is mostly in shades of grey. He studiously avoids that complication, because, when shades of grey are considered, his argument, IMHO, falls apart.
Let us take a closer, more realistic look at his four boxes:
- GLOBAL DEPRESSION: This box is included to make it appear he is being “fair” to Skeptics. He assumes that taking Action to stop GCC will be so costly that, if it turns out to have been unnecessary, the result will be a “Global Depression”. Certainly, maximum environmental spending will damage the world-wide economy, but I doubt that type of spending, alone, will trigger a “Global Depression”. When we get to box #3 we will see that he doesn’t really think so either!
- HAPPY FACE: GCC is “False”, we take No Action, so all is well! But, is it? Does his “GCC” include NATURAL PROCESSES and CYCLES that have caused Global Warming (and Cooling), Floods (and Droughts), and Violent Storms (and Blessed Rain) prior to the advent of Humans on Earth, and before we Humans had the capability to affect the climate? Apparently not, else “GCC” could not be totally “False”. Therefore, by “GCC” he is referring ONLY to the HUMAN-CAUSED variety, totally ignoring the evidence from the geological, ice-core, and historical records of NATURAL Global Climate Change and some Catastrophes.
- HAPPY FACE: This box is totally inconsistent with box #1! If Action to stop Human-Caused Global Warming is so costly as to cause a Global Depression in the first box, would it not also cause such a Global Depression in this box? So, why the Happy Face? Realistically, even if we in the US and other nations in the Developed World take maximum Action to reduce our CO2 emissions, it is totally unrealistic to expect those in the Developing World to do the same. Indeed, China, India, and other countries will continue to build power plants, nearly all of them coal-fired. CO2 levels are bound to continue their rapid increase for at least the coming several decades, no matter what we do.
- TOTAL CATASTROPHE: This box is filled with terrible consequences and is intended to scare us into taking maximum Action. He assumes the worst-case Global Warming of several degrees predicted by Climate Models despite the failure of those Climate Models to predict the past 17 years of absolutely no net Global Warming. (The most realistic prediction is continued moderate change in Global Temperatures, mostly NATURAL but some small part HUMAN-CAUSED. As standards of living continue to improve world-wide, populations will stabilize which will allow reasonable action to be taken to moderate CO2 emissions, and Human Civilization will ADAPT to inevitable Natural and Human-Caused Climate Change as we have throughout history.)
Bottom Line: This “One Guy With A Marker” DID NOT MAKE “The Global Warming Debate Completely Obsolete.” His failures of logic:
- He assumes HUMAN-CAUSED Climate Change is the only kind we need to worry about, which flies in the face of the fact that most Global Climate Change has been and continues to be NATURAL, and not under Human control or influence.
- He assumes costly Action to prevent GCC will cause a GLOBAL DEPRESSION (box #1) if GCC is “False”, but the same costly Action will cause a HAPPY FACE (box #3) if GCC is “True”. Box #3 contradicts box #1.
- He ignores the fact that GCC models have way over-predicted Global Warming. For example, taking 1979 (when worldwide Satellite temperature data came available) as a starting point, the average of 102 Global Climate Models predicted warming of 0.9°C (1.5°F) by 2013. Actual warming from 1979 to 2013 has been less than a quarter of that, and there has been no net Global Warming since 1997. During this time period, CO2 levels have continued their rapid rise. (See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/12/global-warming-is-real-but-not-a-big-deal-2/)
- He assumes “All or Nothing at all” and “Camelot or Catastrophe” which is the characteristic of irresponsible EMOTIONAL argument. He ignores the shades of grey in-between. He brings POLITICAL rhetoric to what should be a rational SCIENTIFIC discussion.
[UPDATE 18 May 2014. In a comment:
John Coleman says May 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm)
Ira, please make a video that presents the counter argument so I can put the two videos together for a You Tube “gotcha”. This guy is getting lots of hits and needs to be answered on You Tube.
Thanks for the suggestion John! I've done a video Titled: "One Guy With a Marker - DECONSTRUCTED". It is on You Tube at http://youtu.be/pSmV_QhDmc4 Comments are welcome. Ira]
Related: See Craven Attention, where Steve Mosher reports on Greg Craven making a buffoon of himself at AGU.