Building For the Past, Remembering the Future

From cliscep

Michael Tobis (aka Dr. Doom) is someone I have opposed frequently and vehemently across the climate blogosphere. Nonetheless, he has a post up now that is thought-worthy, if not noteworthy. Titled ‘The Seventieth Generation, he makes an impassioned plea for all of us to remember the effects of our actions and choices for generations far in the future.

In it Tobis writes, “In this secular way of thinking, we owe little to the distant future. The more distant in time our impacts, the less we need care about them. Our ancient obligation to carry the torch of civilization is invisible to this way of thinking. Our new obligation to leave the world viable at all for our distant descendants is considered actually beneath mention, a sort of contemptible hysteria.”

“…We are behaving insanely. Insanity is, above all, a failure of love. And we cannot muster the imagination to act from love for our descendants, or for what remains of the world in which they will live.

It’s not as if ethical constraints on economic activity themselves are unimaginable. We no longer tolerate slavery or murder, at least not at the scale they occurred in the past. Money is no object. There is no amount of compensation that (we suppose and hope) absolves a person of murder. We just don’t do that.”

Once again I find myself on the opposite side of the fence from Tobis. We are not given to know the future. Given the incredible amount of change we have experienced in just my lifetime, what I see as real arrogance is to presume we know what will happen in 30 years time, let alone 300. Facebook is 13 years old, Google is 20. The Worldwide Web as we use it today is 25. Mobile phones didn’t start being commonplace until 20 years ago. What with the daily news about drones, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, biogenomics and nanotechnology, anybody who can say what the world will be like in 50, even 30 years, is truly a new Nostradamus.

Tobis is of course writing of climate change and of course is condemning those who don’t adopt his vision of the future, a future where our ‘inaction’ in curbing the burning of fossil fuels creates a planetary hell.

He wants us to build for the future, a greener place unperturbed by human contributions to global warming. In exhorting us to do this he is ignoring the present–a present where renewable energy is set to increase by 33% over the next five years, according to the IEA, after growing 9% in 2015Global emissions have plateaued for three years, again according to the IEA.  These and other actions (the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles, reforestation, etc.) have already rendered RCP 8.5 inoperative. We may not be doing enough to address climate change, depending on your point of view, but we are doing a lot.

To adopt his vision–building for a greener future for distant generations, we will have to make sacrifices. Well, not ‘we’–those who will pay the price will be those in the developed world who are poor, and those throughout the developing world. Tobis has insisted for most of this decade that we need to get to net zero emissions almost immediately. It is a draconian remedy, and one we are naturally reluctant to adopt without a clearer idea of what the future holds. Tobis doesn’t describe a future–not one based on our continuing in our evil ways, nor one where we successfully convert our entire way of living to satisfy his concerns.

But it is obvious that we will not have resources to build for a Utopian future with zero carbon emissions and address the clear and present environmental dangers we can see clearly by looking at the past. Those who have provided estimates for conversion to a green life have used figures in the tens of trillions of US dollars.

Here in America we can see that cities like Houston and Miami are vulnerable to hurricanes, and modest sea level rise coupled with large-scale subsidence makes them a ‘bowling pin for the gods.’ The same is true internationally, for cities like Manila, Havana and many more.

My very good friend and co-author Steve Mosher is enjoying a period of well-deserved recognition for his statement “We don’t even plan for the past.” And clearly we don’t.

But we could. Countries like the Netherlands and cities like Tokyo have addressed vulnerabilities highlighted by past storms or sea level rise and have managed to prosper despite these efforts. For a fraction of the money needed to eliminate fossil fuel emissions we could retrofit coastal cities (instead of rebuilding them in the same mindless manner we have rebuilt them before) and move people out of flood plains and river deltas (yes, even in Bangladesh).

We should build for the past–it is a far clearer guide to the dangers we will face than that provided by climate models and the fever dreams of those too long focused on the perils of CO2. After all, if the past is not there to learn from, why do we have a memory?

But we should remember the future. It exists and although it is uncertain, it should be a part of our planning.

We could prepare agriculture and agriculturists for the coming decades. We could build a safety margin in our construction to allow for sea level rise and higher temperatures, more violent storms and more frequent local flooding. Incorporating these into planning for future construction would be, again, an order of magnitude less expensive than tearing the planet apart and rebuilding it on an emissions-free model.

Michael Tobis is a terribly conflicted man. He is admirably concerned about the future of the planet, something that has caused him to make very poor choices in how he behaves in public discourse. We can admire his concern while lamenting his behavior. He is certainly not an optimist–so perhaps we can adopt the optimism on his behalf and remind him that not all is lost.

It isn’t even always all that serious.

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Tom Halla
November 13, 2018 11:18 am

I recall a comment that the future is well known, it is the past that changes.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 13, 2018 11:52 am

For communists, that is true. The future is fixed, the past is changeable.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 13, 2018 12:28 pm

The past changes a lot in 1984.
And climate science.

M Courtney
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 13, 2018 1:17 pm

I’ve said that in the past. Or at least I did once.

But in this case the flaw in his argument is closer to the weakness of Pascal’s Wager.
Which Hell are we trying to avoid and at what cost?

Reply to  M Courtney
November 13, 2018 5:03 pm

More to the point, since Pascal decided we need to believe in god: which god? The Greeks had hundreds; the Indians, thousands.

Reply to  Hivemind
November 14, 2018 5:31 am

True. Monotheism is only one god from of atheism.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 13, 2018 3:13 pm

That’s true in modern climate (junk) science

CO2 will turn earth into hell.
Prediction never changes

Historical (hysterical) climate data
are constantly changing, at least for
the surface temperatures.

Because of the history
of frequent changes,
and only Steven Masher can explain,
why they were made,
(for arbitrary reasons),
surface temperature data
must be allowed to “age” for 20 years,
until the government bureaucrats
with science degrees finally get it
“adjusted” just right, and then,
and only then, are they ready for use.

Major Meteor
November 13, 2018 11:19 am

We have to sacrifice millions of lives today in order to save millions of lives in the future. You go first.

Curious George
Reply to  Major Meteor
November 13, 2018 11:33 am

Actually, billions.

Does he really have an energy-wasting blog?

Reply to  Curious George
November 13, 2018 1:16 pm

Curious George

120,000,000 to die by 2050 in developing nations because they are forced to burn cow shit and twigs for cooking and heating, and inhale the fumes whilst doing so (WHO numbers).

1,000,000 a year going blind before dying because of vitamin A deficiency which can be alleviated with golden rice. But the greens don’t allow it because it’s GM (barely).

The EU has the anti GM disease and won’t allow it, other than buying tons of imported GM soya beans they could easily grow themselves. But the precautionary principle prevails, unless it doesn’t. Perverse or what?

I have yet to meet a three headed American from eating too much GM food.

But apparently, according to this article, Michael Tobis considers all this a fair exchange for the uncertain welfare of his grandchildren.

And whilst in some ways I agree with the following:

We could prepare agriculture and agriculturists for the coming decades. We could build a safety margin in our construction to allow for sea level rise and higher temperatures, more violent storms and more frequent local flooding. Incorporating these into planning for future construction would be, again, an order of magnitude less expensive than tearing the planet apart and rebuilding it on an emissions-free model.

My response is:

Who is “We”? Farmers have been cultivating the land and dealing with the climate long before computer models were ever imagined. So what “We” is going to prepare agriculture for the future.

I can in part answer that question because in the EU it is the unelected bureaucrats who developed the common agricultural policy from a desk. The EU who impose tariffs on goods from developing countries who desperately need the trade to drag them from poverty but are met with imported ultra cheap GM soya beans etc. they can’t possibly compete with.

And the EU has the audacity to accuse Trump of protectionism.

And just where are these sea level rises, these higher temperatures, the more violent storms and the more frequent local floodings we are told even in this article we are all to prepare for and adapt to by chucking money at?

The Houses of Parliament in London are being refurbished at just extraordinary cost running into £ Billions. And there’s bound to be delays and overruns which will cost more £ Billions.

The building is on the banks of the River Thames, look it up, easy to find. Were sea level rise the problem the alarmists claim, they would be swamped and abandoned in a few short years from now. So how committed is the British establishment, really, to climate change, despite politicians heralding it as the second coming when it suits their purposes.

Overall I can understand the intentions of this articles author, but seriously, there seems a lot of contradiction within it.

Planning for the future is something man has historically never done. We have always reacted and responded to changing circumstances and we have done rather well. We are being seduced into the idea that science provides the answers to the future, it doesn’t, science can predict the future no better than you or I can guess that the Jetson era is just 10, 20 or 30 years away. It might be, but then Fusion power has been 20 years away for generations.

Science itself is becoming the new religion exemplified no better than the blind allegiance to CAGW when there is no evidence for it other than in the science man (some) believes is correct from laboratory experiments and computer simulations.

Yet this fantastic concoction is dominating the western worlds political and financial landscape and the irony is the IPCC’s new position on the 30 year period of climate measurement has been distorted so badly by shifting to a position of 15 years past and 15 years future. By its own incompetence the IPCC validates the pause of the last 18 years or so. Sceptics have empirical data for more than 15 years in the past, and can project computer models 15 years into the future just as effectively as the IPCC can.

Talk about shooting themselves in the foot. It simply demonstrates in alarmingly graphic detail, the incompetence of a bureaucracy.

But then perhaps it’s just me being overly sensitive.

Curious George
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 2:56 pm

Welcome to modern times. “Marriage” and “free speech” have been successfully redefined, why not “science”? Planning for the future .. ever heard of five-year plans? They start with a bright promise just five years from today .. then goals get redefined .. in three years no one dares to talk about original goals .. in five years the cycle starts again. Yes, we are governed by incompetents. I don’t blame them; I blame myself. Still, better than being governed by competent thugs.

Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 3:17 pm

Excellent comment Mr. HotScot

Modern climate science is a religion.

Let’s call it a secular religion.

Instead of going to hell if you’re “bad”,
Earth turns into hell, from CO2 —
so you don’t have to go anywhere
if you were “bad” — that’s a good religion
for lazy people, with lazy minds !

Roger Knights
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 3:18 pm

“Science itself is becoming the new religion exemplified no better than the blind allegiance to CAGW”

A lab coat is the emporer’s new clothing.

George Orwell's Ghost
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 4:06 pm

It is a curious phenomena. People love climate change the same way some Christians love the apocalypse. It serves a psychological purpose:

1) Apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating of their own feelings of depression, or pessimism.

2) Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring.

3) There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger power. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility. It says that the sins of the whole world will doom us, not my sins as an individual.

4) It give license to behave poorly toward others, to indulge in vengeance, hate, put downs. You are the righteous. They are destroyers of the world. Anything you say or do to them is justified.

5) Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable. Studies have shown that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we actually relax.

6) This also means people can focus on things outside themselves. They are given goals outside their ordinary life.

7) People who crave the apocalypse feel powerless, often connected to a mistrust in authority. Impotence. Believing in the Apocalypse makes them feel like they have knowledge that others do not. They feel special.

That about sums it up. Personally I think we are making terrific progress int he U.S. and Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that the solution proposed by the greens are often nonsensical, but it won’t make a lick of difference because the rest of the world…won’t do a damn thing.

Reply to  George Orwell's Ghost
November 13, 2018 5:08 pm

I’ve known many Christians. Most believe in the apocalypse, very few dwell on it.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 4:25 pm

Thank you for this very good post, my friend.

For the record, I am much more concerned about global cooling, which I expect to occur starting the next few years. I do hope to be wrong, and if I am wrong, my predictive track record will still be far better than that of the IPCC.

I am writing you from sunny Thailand, where the temperature will reach 30C today. It is notable that tourists from all over the world gather here to enjoy the warmth, and hardly anyone journeys to Canada in the winter to enjoy our bracing cold winter weather.

Best personal regards.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 13, 2018 5:08 pm

You are probably right. But we can also predict that, if it does happen, the far left, pseudo-greens will claim that it was their anti-CO2 campaign that brought about this “heaven on Earth”.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 14, 2018 1:24 am


But much like Global Warming, Global Cooling will likely take decades to manifest itself. I saw global warming start nearly 50 years ago when my local Loch (The Gadloch) no longer froze in winter, so no skating. Since then? No perceptible, meaningful change. Hopefully any cooling that takes place will be minimal as well, just gentle temperature undulations to remind us mother nature is still alive and well. 🙂

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 14, 2018 1:45 am


That’s been my contention for some time now. Any cooling will be hailed as the success of wind turbines etc., whilst CO2 continues to rise. I’m certain that’s why the IPCC is in such a blind panic to terrify mankind. The end is nigh and they want to make as much money before the jig is finally up.

And you probably noticed, when they lowered the expectation of AGW from 2.5°C of warming to 2°C of warming because observed global temperatures are not doing what they want, people became cynical. When they reduced their forecast again to 1.5°C, they added the recent scare story of “It’s worse than we ever thought” to fudge the fact that observed temperatures are still not doing what they want.

A bit like the children in Australia ‘striking’ from school (dogging off), bureaucrats should be seen and not heard.

John Bell
November 13, 2018 11:19 am

Well I can bet that Tobis uses fossil fuels without restrictions, like a typical climate hypocrite. He should jet around the world and preach to the little people not to fly.

Reply to  Thomas William Fuller
November 13, 2018 11:57 am

Erm. Selling one’s car, in my honest opinion, for environment reasons, is one if those signs I use to recognize truly intelligent but dangerously loony people. Sorry, Thomas, you may do an exception. I hope. 😉

Note also that idealism is healthy at twenty-something but nutty at fourty-sonething.

Reply to  Thomas William Fuller
November 13, 2018 12:48 pm

I’m missing something … is not having a car a good thing???

Is having a car a bad thing?

Reply to  DonM
November 13, 2018 11:28 pm

This is living how one preaches, at least.

Reply to  DonM
November 14, 2018 11:54 am

Several years ago now employers were sent a questionnaire about what they look for in employees. They considered it more important that an employee have a car to get to work in than a HS diploma. My current employer feels no different when it comes to hiring techs. They wont hire someone as a tech if they don’t have a drivers license or a car. Kind of hard to get to work when and where you are needed without them.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Thomas William Fuller
November 13, 2018 1:15 pm

Making shoes out of bark is nearly a full time job. Why would you need a car?

Reply to  Thomas William Fuller
November 13, 2018 1:50 pm

Thomas William Fuller

I’ll bet he uses plenty of cabs.

Joel O'Bryan
November 13, 2018 11:28 am

I see our descendants looking across their vast landscapes, covered with broken, busted, and rusted wind turbines as far as the eye can see, and wonder how the People of this time could have been so foolish. So foolish to believe that such a folly of intermittent, low density electricity could actually power a modern technological society. That opposing nuclear power was a good idea, given that a cold, desparate starving population deprived on reliable electricity will burn every last stick of wood and lump of coal they can get their hands on to survive.
Then some wise person of that time will remind them it was a clever deception played on them (us) by groups of Elitists — a Climate Trojan Horse foisted on a people during an Age of Plenty that contained the seeds of a political kleptocracy called socialism as its true goal.

November 13, 2018 11:28 am

One thing you can do for the future is not invent disasters and embark on solutions that will make it more difficult to address the real ones sure to be there. The over-wrought fear-mongering for present profit (monetary and political) is one of the things Mr. Tobis ought to consider changing before proposing climate change amelioration schemes that are founded on shaky grounds and suggest all sorts of unintended consequences.

Reply to  Gary
November 13, 2018 11:49 am

We do not know what the problems our nth generation descendants will have to deal with.

Our best bet is to create the wealth now, that will enable them to deal with whatever bedevils them, and let them make the choices how to confront those problems.

Reply to  MarkW
November 13, 2018 2:03 pm


We don’t know what problems we’ll have to deal with in the future never mind our kids and grandkids.

Nor can we conceive of the solutions our kids and grandkids will develop, as our parents and grandparents did for us, and we have for our kids. (Smartphones? I wasn’t allowed near my old man’s house brick, called a calculator, until I inherited it in 1994!).

Talk about devaluing and humiliating their progeny. The liberal left grant their kids no credit for determining their own future, warts and all. The poor brats are saddled with guilt even before they embark on their own journey of discovery.

No wonder the west has a mental health epidemic.

Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 2:55 pm

It’s the new “original sin”.

M__ S__
November 13, 2018 11:42 am

I’ve seen zero evidence linking human activity to warming And even less that we can do anything to change matters, nor evidence that we should

Humans survive by adapting not by expending resources we will need to adapt at a futile attempt to alter what we cannot

That said. We CAN stop polluting our rivers

Matthew Bruha
Reply to  M__ S__
November 13, 2018 11:29 pm

I have not seen any evidence linking CO2 to warming, however I have some (unproven) thoughts that ‘terraforming’ exercises carried out by humans may impact the climate. Deforestation and the construction of reservoirs must have some impact on evaporation and hence air flow and local climates. And the removal of mountains (aka Chinese solution to improve air flow to remove pollution from cities in valleys) would also have some impact on air streams

Tom in Florida
November 13, 2018 11:43 am

I do not understand the mindset of this type of person. What is their internal motivation to be so worried ? Can it be self loathing? Can it be guilt that they never got to where they wanted to go?
I simply don’t get being miserable all the time over stuff you cannot control. Do they feel better about their own shortcomings by creating perceived shortcomings in others? Or are they just nuts?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 13, 2018 12:52 pm

… too much free time,

and yes, yes, yes, yes

November 13, 2018 11:47 am

The problem with the notion of “sacrificing” for the future is that the future is unknown. The further into the future, the more unknown.

The idea that we know what the needs and desires of our seventh generation descendants will be is the height of hubris.

Regardless, the wealth that we create today will benefit our children, for all future generations.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  MarkW
November 14, 2018 7:04 pm

Especially wealth in knowledge and wealth in spirit.

November 13, 2018 11:50 am

Thanks, ctm, for sharing this. Thank you Thomas Fuller for writing it.

Tobis writes

Drowning the coastlines, burning the forests, souring the ocean, these are not just matters for secular consideration subject to discounting.

I see, Tobis appears to see sea level as an existential problem rather than a nuisance that may cause some limited local damage. As if world would end if the West Side Highway were inundated by 2040. And it won’t be. Hansen will have been wrong on all these accounts. Bet on it.

Tobis appears to draw a line between the campfire and AGW, though there is no reliable connection between the two. Fire suppression, CO2 fertilization, and past years’s good rain combined with the current dry period have caused the conditions where a fire can spread fast. It is weather and people living in a place that is fire-prone by nature. Adapt. The Chinese won’t stop emitting CO2. Nor Germany. Mark my words.

The idea (which Tobis afaik does not support) that Hillary would have prevented the fire is laughable, but I’m not laughing on people who blame it on Trump. It is too sad to do so. Just donate to a charity.

Finally, the souring oceans. This is something that goes beyond my imagination. Do these people really think human CO2 is so powerful in changing the pH that it would have a large scale effect? While the answer is indoubtedly yes, and while asking this question is invariably categorized as oil-shill-merchant-of-doubt-supported denialism, I still tell you guys there in the Tobis-aTTP-land: not a freaking chance! I’m open for science, but I’m not open for the typical environmentalist policy-relevant motivated reasoning mocking of real extinctions with local extirpations that may (or may not) have something to do with climate change (alleged fully anthropogenic always). Really.

If you want to convince me, you need some damn good reasoning. Not some inconvenient Gore crap or stillborn climate modelling. I’m not a physicist, nor a climate scientist, but I’m pretty good at spotting lying environmentalist bastards collecting money and power. And I know the difference between a MW and capacity-MW.

Climate change is not a simple issue with simple solution. If it somehow is a real acute problem, it is a hellish problem to solve by this generation. It might be non-issue with simple solution, but not the other way.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Hugs
November 13, 2018 12:32 pm

I keep thinking of Dr Jordan Peterson telling the audience in a response to a questioner that asked him about “Helping humanity come together by solving climate change”:

“’Let’s fix global warming’…it’s the kind of low resolution thinking that gets us nowhere,” Dr Peterson replied. He then went on to describe why that is.

From an economic standpoint, no sane economist sees climate change and its minuscule temperature affects as worthy of addressing given all the other pressing needs of poverty, war, famine, lack of sanitation and clean water to so many billions of people.

Dr Peterson comment on the “low resolution thinking” of climate change identifies the dangerous, delusional, and deceptive idea that by simply ceasing fossil fuel burning, that with that we can solve more problems than that (eliminating affordable energy) would make so many other things unimaginably worse.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 13, 2018 12:49 pm

I like it – low resolution thinking. Why don’t these carbon zealots practice what they preach? Find a cold island somewhere and live in a carbon free environment. Oh wait, they must use carbon rich fuel to get there, to build anything, to keep warm, to keep in touch, to harvest food, to breathe.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 13, 2018 1:35 pm


And his classic “it’s complicated man [climate change] really complicated” and “What are you going to do? Give up heat? Sell your car? Stop using trains and Planes? Stop using you iPhone?” (Paraphrasing), whilst members of the audience sit through his interview fiddling on their iPhones, ironically.

But it’s OK, alarmists have boiled the problem down to a single trace gas. So Peterson is evidently wrong it is simple.

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 13, 2018 1:39 pm

Hi Joel,
Perhaps you can explain exactly what “low resolution thinking” means. It would appear to be
a phrase that on the surface sounds like a clever putdown but actually has no substance once you try
to analyse it (much like Jordan Peterson). Low resolution is fine if you want to look at the bigger picture rather than worry about little details — which in some circumstances is actually required.
For instance all of thermodynamics is low resolution thinking as is fluid dynamics since it ignores the actual atoms and their individual motions and concentrates on the larger picture.

Reply to  Percy Jackson
November 13, 2018 2:21 pm

Percy Jackson

Did you watch Peterson’s interview?

He illustrated the concept of ‘climate change’ low resolution thinking very well.

Had you bothered to watch it he was saying a massive existential problem like ‘global warming’ is far too big a problem to deal with as a single entity. It’s just insane. One should be dealing with the problems one has control over, the small stuff like child nutrition in the developing world. Like allowing those nations to lift people out of poverty, at which time they actually give a tinkers cuss about environmental issues and the AGW problem solves itself.

But none of this logic will impact you because you see climate change as a single entity issue. It’s you who doesn’t recognise the constituent parts Peterson actually refers to in his interview.

It’s you who functions with low resolution thinking because you believe the sum of the parts is the problem whereas Peterson, and the rest of the world, recognise that there’s only one way to eat an elephant, one little bit at a time.

Percy Jackson
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 3:28 pm

I did watch the video and at no point does he define what “low resolution thinking”
actual means. And he main point appears to be that because we don’t have a solution
(or to be more precise because he doesn’t know what the solution is) then we shouldn’t
do anything about it.

At no point does Peterson claim that global warming should be broken down into smaller
parts. He skirts the issue and claims that there are smaller more immediate problems that
he says should be dealt with first. Global warming and child nutrition are two distinct issues.
His laughable plan for solving global warming is to have more kids just to increase the chances
that one of them will figure out a solution. It is also worth noting that Peterson appears to accept the reality of human caused global warming but just doesn’t believe that anything can be done about it.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 5:10 pm

He certainly describes what he means by “low resolution thinking” when he discussed Bjorn Lomberg’s efforts to get expert economists together and to synthesize a list of the most effective ways to help humanity in spending a finite amount of resources. His main point in “solving global warming” doesn’t even make it on the list.

So by this, to suggest “solving global warming” will do something on an ROI basis is “low resolution thinking. It gets us nowhere.”

Percy Jackson
Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 7:53 pm

That doesn’t seem to make sense. There is no way Jordan is using “low resolution
thinking” to mean “has a poor return on investment”. At best he would be using it to
mean that global warming is too big a problem to tackle so lets ignore it which is what
he is saying in that clip.

Reply to  HotScot
November 13, 2018 11:33 pm

global warming is too big a problem to tackle so lets ignore

I don’t think that’s sane logic. But if you don’t have the right medicine, don’t just try bloodletting, mercury and homeopathy in random combinations. Try to find out what will work first.

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Hugs
November 13, 2018 1:32 pm

There is no way that Tobis is drawing a link between the campfire and AGW. This article and the response are more than a year old. Precisely why ctm saw fit to post something that old is beyond me.

Reply to  Percy Jackson
November 13, 2018 11:31 pm

My error. Old stuff often looks brand new, I should have looked out.

Alan Tomalty
November 13, 2018 12:03 pm

He is delusional

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 13, 2018 2:45 pm

So is Percy.

November 13, 2018 12:05 pm

Somehow I doubt Mr. Tobis would be cheered up by reading all the new evidence that disputes the CAGW hypothesis. He can’t see hope in knowing there is no evidence that CO2 controls temperature or even that our emissions hardly change atmospheric CO2, or that CO2 has huge benefits for the planet. I think there is intent in his depression and satisfaction in the prophesy of doom that blinds him to alternatives. I find that thought saddening and perceive his efforts as not just waste but endangering many.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  DMA
November 13, 2018 12:38 pm

DMA: “CO2 has huge benefits for the planet”

Carbon Dioxide is necessary to complete the Carbon Cycle in which all Carbon Based Life Forms participate.

Life depends on the extraction of Carbon from CO2 via photosynthesis/phytoplankton.

CO2 feeds life.

The single most important thing we can do to ensure a robust cycle of life in the future, is to increase atmospheric CO2 from current levels.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 13, 2018 3:23 pm

And Mr. Homer, adding more CO2 to the air,
assuming it causes more than minor warming,
would delay the end of our current interglacial,
which could be any day now
… or in a thousand years.

Real science clearly reveals more CO2 in the air
would optimize C3 plant growth, and allow our planet
to support more healthy people and animals.

Greenhouse owners know that
— they spend money for more CO2
to accelerate their plants’ growth

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  DMA
November 13, 2018 1:15 pm

While he has something to fight against, he has some personal value in himself. Take away his reason for fighting and the man is left naked. I doubt anything will persuade him that the world will continue on just fine into the future.

John in LdB
November 13, 2018 12:10 pm

Seriously America? It’s time to listen to one of your own prophets who has a proven record of real prophecy. True, he was talking about nuclear holocaust but I think it’s still applicable here. I like what he says about man’s existence not being just about survival. I believe that what he says applies to both man and his environment and fellow species. Forget this constant fear mongering.

“I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work–a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed–love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

-William Faulkner – Nobel Prize Speech, 1950

I was introduced to this in high school literature class – in Canada.

November 13, 2018 12:11 pm

I think the climate debate comes down to corucopianism vs malthusianism, and I’m an unabashed cornucopian! With all the uncertainty over the science and technology regarding an issue that takes centuries and millennia to play out, the main ethical issue I see, is the intellectual cowardice of refusing to take part in this debate.

Joel Snider
November 13, 2018 12:12 pm

The future is the problem of future generations – the responsibility for THIS generation lies on the leaders of this era… and right now, we’ve got ONE that’s actually looking out for us.

Bruce Cobb
November 13, 2018 12:15 pm

But we should remember the future. It exists and although it is uncertain, it should be a part of our planning.
We could prepare agriculture and agriculturists for the coming decades. We could build a safety margin in our construction to allow for sea level rise and higher temperatures, more violent storms and more frequent local flooding.

Eh? The whole point here is, we don’t in fact know the future. “Prepare agriculture”? What nonsense! Agriculture responds well enough on its own. As for building “safety margins” into construction, that is something again, that is pretty much common sense types of things that are already being done. “We” don’t need to do anything differently, except perhaps to not build in areas that are prone to flooding or fires. The author here is assuming that things are “getting worse” and will continue to. But that is nonsense. Sea level rise will probably continue rising as before, at its snails pace, unless we get a prolonged period of cooling, which is certainly possible. As for “higher temperatures, more violent storms, and more frequent flooding”, that is just Alarmist nonsense.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 13, 2018 12:29 pm

The things that REALLY hurt agriculture are COLD,

… and lack of atmospheric CO2.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 13, 2018 2:08 pm

As someone who has been responsible for delineating “safety margins” for decades, I find the attitudes of both Tobin and the author grossly insulting. It is not something that “could” be done, it is something that HAS been done, incrementally, over decades. The safety margins we concur on are based on our analysis of weather events, rather than the over-blown fantasies based on RCP 8.5 by incompetents on the other side of the world.

November 13, 2018 12:22 pm

We’ve just had the centenary of World War 1. I bet a lot of the guys who fought, not to mention their families, were rightly worried about what the future held. Let’s get this into perspective.

CD in Wisconsin
November 13, 2018 12:34 pm

When is our Sun supposed to go nova and bring all life on this planet to an end? Billions of years from now?
I have little doubt that we humans are going to go extinct long before that time. How will it happen? Maybe a nuclear holocaust, maybe a massive meteor or asteroid strike, or maybe some virus that we medical science has no treatment or cure for. I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does either–including Michael Tobis.

And a half million years after we are gone, chances are Mother Nature won’t even remember that we were ever here. There will be little or no trace of evidence that we ever were here. We will have been little more that a mosquito bite on her skin that itched for a while, but we eventually went away. Does Tobis believe we will be around forever?

People like Tobis have this apparent psychological and emotional need to be an aggravating influence on human society without really bothering to REALLY understand any of this. Instead, they see human society and civilization as a large and painful wound on the surface of the planet that requires addressing before we leave an ugly scar behind us. To me, that is a miserable way to live one’s life.

We humans tend to not give a damn about the planet, its environment or climate as long as our own human needs for food, clean water, health care, sanitation and a decent life are unmet. Caring for the environment comes AFTER them. If Tobis’ ideological belief system is one that stands in the way of humans meeting their needs through economic development, then he is doing things bass ackwards.

Tobis and his ilk can go on believing what they do and acting on those beliefs as they choose. I am going to go on living knowing that the planet is going to probably be around a heck of a lot longer than we humans will. Does that mean I don’t care about the planet? No, only that the climate alarmist narrative and environmentalism are not religions that dictate and dominate my life. I look that those issues from a rational scientific perspective, and I always will.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to all those affected by the CampFire wildfire.

old engineer
November 13, 2018 12:37 pm

To say that we do not plan for the past is to be grossly misinformed. There are numerous examples in places I have lived where the lessons from natural disasters have been learned and acted upon.

Miami, Florida in the late 19402’s, where I grew up, is an example. There were four hurricanes in the space of three years in the late ’40’s. After WWII, there was building boom in Miami, and lots of new houses lost their entire roof in these storms. A very strict building code was put in place. The result: houses in the Miami area routinely survive hurricanes with no damage.

Another example from where I now live. In 1998 San Antonio, Texas suffered disastrous flooding during a period very heavy rainfall. The city expanded the flood zone along several creeks prone to flooding, and bought up some of the houses in the new flood zone. The city then constructed two huge tunnels under the downtown area to divert water from the higher, north end of town to the San Antonio river on the lower, south end of town.

There are examples all over the U.S. and other countries, where the lessons of the past have been learned and acted upon for the benefit of future generations. But, to say we should act on unproven harm that may occur in the future is delusional.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  old engineer
November 13, 2018 5:49 pm

I used to own a cabin north east of chico. Driving through Paradise once I thought
what an ironic name. Don’t these people know the history of california fires?
Don’t they know the history of dry hot weather, the winds coming from the east.
Don’t they remember the past? Dont they know about california fire season?

I used to summer in Malibu by Pepperdine. Driving up there on PCH I used to look to the left at the homes on the ocean and think dont these clowns know about the past storms that have wiped out piers and buildings, and looking to the right at the dry hills covered in brush I would think, dont these idiots know about the mudslides after rain? do they also not remember the historical fires in california? Neil Young? I think this is the second house he lost. Old man take a look at yourself.

Of course we feel compassion for folks caught up in these disasters. But then again, the whole
skeptical argument is that there is nothing NEW or unprecedented here. At some point
one has to say, you’ll get my compassion for the disasters, ordinary run of the mill unprecedented disasters that befall you, but at some point you can’t ask me to pay to help you rebuild in
places prone to fire, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornados. you can’t expect us to pay for
a FEMA to bail you out of your poor risky choices. And Yes when you develop in risky places
and fail to prepare for a past that is well known to you, the blood of first responders who die serving
you is on your hands. Not mine.

November 13, 2018 12:47 pm

I worry just a little about the future, but not a lot.

Humans are remarkably adaptive. After all, we and our hominid ancestors have been walking the earth throughout the entire “ice age” of the Pleistocene and the Holocene, when the planet has ricocheted back and forth between major glaciations when icecaps up to 2 km thick covered all of the northern half of North America Europe and Asia, and then flipped the other way to eras far warmer than today’s climate. Ditto with many of the species that the warmists most fret about such as polar bears, who also have been around through a couple dozen glaciation/deglaciation swings since the beginning of the Pleistocene. Humans can adapt.

My slight worries have more to do with what happens in the medium to long term when easily accessible hydrocarbon fuels eventually run out. Yes, we’ve already seem several “peak oils” come and go without effect. But the fact is that hydrocarbon fuels are created at a considerably slower pace than we are now consuming them. If future energy sources don’t come about soon enough – specifically, fusion power – then there could be a pretty severe depopulation of the planet as the hydrocarbons run out. Especially if the planet at the same time enters another glaciation period, which will drastically reduce arable lands for agriculture and much reduced human living zones.

That is a far more dangerous scenario than a warming of a degree or two in the next century. That is the kind of scary result that kills billions, because anything approaching current human population levels is unsustainable without current levels of fossil fuel production.

November 13, 2018 12:56 pm

‘… Global emissions have plateaued for three years, again according to the IEA …’.
According to the NYT ‘CO2 Emissions Were Flat for Three Years. Now They’re Rising Again’:
comment image
Whatever the case, the inexorable rise in the CO2 concentration shows no sign of slowing:

November 13, 2018 1:17 pm

All the things that need to be done such as measures against flood and fires can be done, but they require money. Trying to go back to the 1850 tees to a green and pleasant land is insane.We need wealth to fix the problems we know about. We don’t need to invent problems so some can polish their halos before going to bed.


Joel O'Bryan
November 13, 2018 1:18 pm

Doing a quick scan read on Michael Tobis’s essay, he discusses the age of building the great European cathedrals as a non-secular effort (the combining of the religious with the ruling political structure) that is thinking far into the future. The Church at that time of course was the Roman Catholic Church, and Thomas Aquinas was its penultimate philosopher. From this, climate change virtue is the pursuit of salvation and redemption. It is the kind of reasoning that allows for a modern discussion equivalent to “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin” when considering that some loosely quantified reduction in manmade CO2 emissions will change the weather and the course of humanity for the better.

It is clear to me that Tobis accepts Climate Change as the equivalent of a modern religion. On that point I agree with him — wholeheartedly. It has nothing to do with science and reason.

Steve Fitzpatrick
November 13, 2018 1:35 pm

The IEA can claim whatever it wants….but the data are clear: there was no three year leveling off of emissions of CO2. See for example:

What probably has leveled off is the reporting of emissions to the IEA, not the actual emissions.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Steve Fitzpatrick
November 13, 2018 4:53 pm

The first derivation wrt time of the full record is the annual growth rate.

That is a more clear indication that overall secular global CO2 growth is tracking a warming world coming out of LIA. And the inter-annual variability tracks the ENSO MEI and volcanic cooling events like Mt Pinatubo, Mt Agung, etc, with a 12 month delay.

Man’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning and concrete production, while sounding substantial, are a very small fraction of the natural global carbon cycle.

Steve Fitzpatrick
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 14, 2018 5:03 am

Good grief. The warmest part of the current interglacial was about 6-7000 years ago. That was not the period with highest CO2. The CO2 increase is from human activity. Claims that rising CO2 is due to outgassing from the ocean has been a constant refrain since WUWT started. It is just as wrong now as then.

November 13, 2018 1:41 pm

he makes an impassioned plea for all of us to remember the effects of our actions and choices for generations far in the future.

1) How many future generations are we talking about?
2) Who are the ‘experts who decides how many future generations there are going to be?
3) Can we see the equation or model code that calculates how much each ‘global citizen’ should be allocated today in order to save x-number of future generations?

For the record, I believe we shouldn’t leave future generations a mess. And I don’t think a little extra plant and tree food in the atmosphere qualifies as a “mess.”
I also don’t think we should leave future generations the possibility of a global socialist government that can get access to electronic tools that can monitor us, what we eat, where we go, etc. 24/7/365.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  kramer
November 13, 2018 5:41 pm

70 generations would conservatively be about 1,700 years.

If we take a woman’s fertility to be between ages 15 and 35, take the median as 25 years for the production of her offspring that will form the next generation, then:
70 x 25 years = 1,750 years.
The reality is going back more than 150 years, that median was likely closer to 20 years of age.
At any rate, going backwards in time, that takes us to 268 AD, around the time of Emperor Galinieus of the Roman Empire. And still more than 150 years before the retreat from England.

Going forward 1750 years takes us to 3768 AD. Hopefully by then nuclear power will be everywhere. But the cynical pessimist in me thinks 2300 AD will likely be Peak Humanity as the modern climate optimum comes to an end.

November 13, 2018 2:03 pm

The building of the great Cathedrials was during the MWP. It was a time of prosperity by the standards of the time, made possible by the mild climate and plenty of food.


Bill In Oz
November 13, 2018 2:34 pm

Why is it that the USA produces so many doom predictors ? Is there something in the water ? Or the culture ? Bizarre.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bill In Oz
November 13, 2018 3:33 pm

Well, the benefits of relatively cheap and abundant energy and prosperity it affords, allows some to separate themselves from the present reality (think some of the Hollywood celebs) and, coupled with an ignorance or dismissal of the reality of the past, to conjecture that the future “will be really bad” unless we screw up the present reality.

Bill In Oz
Reply to  Gunga Din
November 13, 2018 5:10 pm

We have that problem here in Oz..

Reply to  Bill In Oz
November 13, 2018 4:10 pm

Because a disproportionately large number of Yanks suffer delusions of grandeur.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Warren
November 13, 2018 4:24 pm

They’re called progressives.

Curious George
Reply to  Warren
November 13, 2018 4:25 pm

Is there a disproportionately large number of Yanks?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Curious George
November 13, 2018 5:10 pm

Those trying to yank our chains?

Reply to  Warren
November 13, 2018 5:10 pm

The world pays attention to our cranks.
Yours, well they just expect you to be cranky so no one notices.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Warren
November 13, 2018 5:36 pm

There is also a market for scary stories. The green variety just cater to a different market than the fundamentalist scary stories, or the Feminist Campus Rape Epidemic scary stories.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Bill In Oz
November 13, 2018 5:19 pm

The hippy, anti-war generation of the early 70’s finds itself struggling with meaning for their lives in their late 60’s and early 70’s now. And they have passed this albatross of guilt on to the Millennial generation that is still largely adrift having grown up with participation trophies, when the real purpose of life is the struggle, the conflict, and the competition for a reproductive mate and resources. Climate change seems to be their new crusade to give them meaning, like Al Gore struggling to find meaning to his pathetic existence and he settled on becoming the Climate Change messiah and the prophecies of James Hansen.

Reply to  Bill In Oz
November 14, 2018 6:25 am

Yes… maybe mutated versions of manifest destiny or pre-destination.
“Apocalypse” was originally about how Good, despite terrible evil in the world, reveals himself and introduces a wonderful heaven on Earth.
Now we have so many death obsessed kooks spewing pseudo-scientific claptrap.
I see Malthus as sort if patient zero of this social disease.

November 13, 2018 5:31 pm

“Michael Tobis (aka Dr. Doom) is someone I have opposed frequently and vehemently across the climate blogosphere. Nonetheless, he has a post up now that is thought-worthy, if not noteworthy. Titled ‘The Seventieth Generation, he makes an impassioned plea for all of us to remember the effects of our actions and choices for generations far in the future.

In it Tobis writes, “In this secular way of thinking, we owe little to the distant future. The more distant in time our impacts, the less we need care about them. Our ancient obligation to carry the torch of civilization is invisible to this way of thinking. Our new obligation to leave the world viable at all for our distant descendants is considered actually beneath mention, a sort of contemptible hysteria.”

“…We are behaving insanely. Insanity is, above all, a failure of love. And we cannot muster the imagination to act from love for our descendants, or for what remains of the world in which they will live.”

Michael Tobis is behaving insanely and insisting that others behave insanely.

A) Predicting the future is impossible, unless one has an inside to omnipotence. Definitely, not the alarmists.

B) Look back in one’s own family for family members alive a hundred or even eighty years ago. Just what would you lecture them, that they should have done better so your personal world would be better.
With questions like that, they’ll be thinking of kids they should’ve skipped.

C) Find any real world purchaser seeking to buy the best available. Now convince them they should write their “request for solutions” to meet future conditions, even twenty years ahead.
That’s a quick way to get fired as engineers and superiors are expecting solutions to meet today’s needs, not imaginary possible future needs.

D) One thing is certain, corporate boards and senior executives will not allow spending money for uncertain needs of the future. They tend to be interested in what meets today’s needs, today!

“We should build for the past–it is a far clearer guide to the dangers we will face than that provided by climate models and the fever dreams of those too long focused on the perils of CO2.”


The past is good for determining what the dangers we face today, but they are guidelines only. Nature frequently trumps the best man builds.

Take hurricane Michael recently. Michael hit a part of Florida that was commonly thought will avoid category 4 and 5 hurricanes.
Many of the homes built since 2001 were to withstand category 1 and 2 hurricanes.
In 2007, additional requirements were put in place; e.g. shatterproof windows.

How much will it cost to rebuild Florida’s Panhandle area to meet category 4 and 5 hurricanes?
Better materials, screws instead of nails, double and triply reinforced, roof anchored to walls, walls anchored to the building foundation, etc…
Likely two to three times higher in costs, at least.

Does North FLorida need to meet such severe storms?
Not that anyone knows just what is required for 100% of the buildings to survive a category 5 hurricane.

“Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
1 74-95 mph, 64-82 kt, 119-153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

2 96-110 mph, 83-95 kt, 154-177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

3 (major) 111-129 mph, 96-112 kt, 178-208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

4 (major) 130-156 mph, 113-136 kt, 209-251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

5 (major) 157 mph or higher, 137 kt or higher, 252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Not a lot of wiggle room there. Just because a building is built to stricter building regulations is not a guarantee that they will survive major hurricanes or storm surges.

Yet the Michael Tobis’s of the distant future will be all too eager to sue someone who built a house eighty years ago, because they failed to meet the needs of eighty years in the future.

Precautionary principle madness.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  ATheoK
November 13, 2018 6:14 pm

“How much will it cost to rebuild Florida’s Panhandle area to meet category 4 and 5 hurricanes?”

Reply to  Steven Mosher
November 14, 2018 8:44 am

Since hurricanes aren’t getting any stronger, why should the building codes be upgraded?

November 13, 2018 5:57 pm

$64,000 question.

Does Tobis actually believe what he says?

My vote goes on ‘no’.

A proper Marxist will say and do anything to achieve global revolution.

Like revolutionary Islam, its cool to lie to unbelievers.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 14, 2018 6:47 am

I think they justify lying by thinking, from the perspective of my non-existent, alternative, future, I’m doing the right thing. Well, I guess you are, but so is an ISIS terrorist! It’s similar to the critique of instrumental reason (which also happens to be the title of a book by Frankfurt School founder Max Horkheimer. For example: I eat food to stay alive. We are 100% certain a balanced diet is necessary for life. Meat is a well-balanced food with essential amino-acids, iron, … It tastes good too; which is a sure sign that it’s good for me. That is very instrumental-reasoning. In contrast value-reasoning says: We need to save the planet, by cutting GHG emissions. Livestock emit GHGs. If I stop eating meat, it will cut GHGs. But one person’s effort is a trifle. Everyone must stop eating meat. That is the the opposite of instrumental reason, called value reasoning. The weakness of value reasoning is that one supposition leads to another and no supposition needs supporting, empirically derived, evidence. Practically speaking: instrumental reason arises from experience. Value reasoning must always arise from the perspective of an imaginary future. Imaginary futures devoid of evidence. It partly explains the contempt value-reasoners have for evidence too.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
November 14, 2018 7:08 am

But so is an ISIS terrorist!

This worry is eliminated by justifying ones imaginary futures as better worlds for everyone. Everyone will be equal, poverty will not exist, people will have overcome human nature, so there will be no more sex discrimination, no races, no meat-eaters. This is why so many of these people make socialism a supposed ideal. Its very ‘utilitarianism‘ (from an imaginary POV). See what they did there? Nice trick. They call their philosophy ‘utilitarianism‘, despite it being practically useless.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
November 14, 2018 7:09 am

Sorry. I meant

Its very ‘utilitarian

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
November 14, 2018 7:10 am

practically useless = having no utility.

JP Miller
November 13, 2018 5:59 pm

If Dr. Doom needs a meaningful existential threat for which to advocate, he (and all who need a similar “meaning” in their lives) should be advocating for the US Government, indeed for all developed countries, to work on a practical method for diverting an incoming asteroid or comet. More likely humankind gets severely impacted (sorry) by that than rising CO2 levels, whatever their cause.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  JP Miller
November 15, 2018 3:16 am

Younger Dryas was caused by an impact from space. The crater lies beneath a glacier in North West Greenland. If we care about the future, let’s put more resources into ensuring it does not happen again. Priorize life over the climate change death cult.

Steven Mosher
November 13, 2018 6:17 pm

ya no way to prepare for the past

michael hart
November 13, 2018 6:27 pm

I’ll tell this idiot what I will do. I will give some love and respect to the people of the past, and remind those reading these words in the future where their priorities should lie.

I forgive my ancestors for every single sin they ever committed ‘against the environment’. And much much more besides.

They lived hard lives. Nasty, brutal and short. A long history of unremitting and uneducated hard grind, poverty and violence. Punctuated by occasional terrible famines, plagues, and wars.

They did what they had to do to stay alive, and bring up the children at the same time, my ancestors. Ancestors who then did the same for countless generations. They burnt wood, then dug coal, and eventually mined oil and gas, to afford me my comforts of today. I am eternally grateful. Don’t throw it away on a whim, future people.

I don’t mind the industrial slagheaps and old quarries of the industrial revolution in England. They are now mostly greened-over and provide nice boating and rock-climbing facilities.

What I will do to honor the effort and sacrifices of my ancestors, is tell the green crazies who now think it all counted for nothing, to take a running fucking jump. And I urge all future generations who may one day read these words, to consider doing the same. They will understand and excuse my use of a rude word if they still have to put up with the same sort of people always bleating about the future while ignoring just how bad the past really was.
Michael Hart November 2018
Yay, go future!

Kristi Silber
November 13, 2018 6:36 pm

Obviously Tobis’s essay presumes that climate change is happening, and that we can do something about it.

IF one accepts these axioms, there is a case for mitigation rather than (or in addition to) adaptation.

Most people tend to look at only the most obvious ways humans could be affected: greater coastal flooding, deadly heat waves, etc. What many people don’t take into account are the effects on ecosystems and biota. We simply aren’t used to thinking about human dependency on maintaining their health and function, and effects are often difficult to foresee and quantify in economic terms. Some may be beneficial, true, but generally ongoing, directional disturbance destabilizes ecosystems, even those adapted to a periodic or random disturbance regime.

This is an interesting page to explore:
It shows some of the measurable ecosystem changes over time, most likely due to climate change. The shift in latitude and depth of marine species is just one effect that could have economic consequences. Since some species may be more likely/able to shift than others, there could be a change in productivity over time.

Decrease in pH cost the Pacific oyster industry in the northwest millions of dollars, and the costs of early warning and control are ongoing.

Wildfire is a natural and sometimes essential part of many forest ecosystems. It may not be possible to attribute wildfire directly to climate change simply because there can be multiple human and natural causes of wildfire, and because causes vary across time and space. If we assume that drought and high temperatures are conducive to wildfire, though, there could be a connection.

Temperatures in the southwestern U.S. are warming, on average. Droughts seem to in general be increasing in severity when they happen, though there is wide fluctuation over time.
comment image
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This graph is just for 2000-2015, but it does suggest that there has been quite a lot of land affected by abnormally high drought.
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One thing predicted by the models is that normally wet areas will get wetter, and dry areas, drier. This is to some extent shown in this map:
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(Extreme precipitation events are also getting more common in the U.S.
comment image)

My point is that there are a very wide array of observed and potential effects/indicators of climate change. Some of them we can adapt to, but there is no possible way we can adapt to all of them because we don’t control nature. What will happen if the world’s insect populations/diversity plummet, for instance, as has already been recorded in Europe and the Caribbean? Insects are absolutely vital to ecosystems in all sorts of ways.

People talk about the cost in human lives of CO2 mitigation in the developing world. But this assumes that the plan is to restrict people from getting energy, or take it away. This is a straw man argument. There are ways of planning that take into account all the relevant factors, and it makes far more sense to keep CO2 mitigation in mind as development proceeds than to try to change things afterwards. Why is this such an awful idea?

The U.S. has decreased emissions, and the economy is booming. Even China’s emissions have stopped growing as quickly as they were (and decreased in some years).

U.S. grid-connected battery storage increased 68% last year – it can be done.

See also

Then there is this
…but there are other non-lithium ion batteries in development, so the title is misleading.

“[I]n 2015, lithium-ion batteries accounted for about 95% of deployed systems in the grid-scale battery market. Since that time, however, redox-flow and zinc-hybrid ion batteries have emerged as significant technologies in the market.”

There’s all sorts of interesting info about grid-capacity electricity storage out there.

It’s not a question of zero fossil fuel energy or do nothing. It’s a question of planning: how, where, and how much can we do to mitigate without causing undue hardship.

…But then, people who refuse to consider the idea that there are net negative impacts of climate change will choose to do nothing, regardless. It’s certainly easier to sit around insulting and making fun of those who think differently.

(This is all offered for the sake of argument. I don’t really give a rat’s arse what happens anymore. People’s houses got burned, too bad, they can “adapt” and go on denying the effects of climate change forever, for all I care.)

Allan MacRae
November 14, 2018 12:33 am

Many global warming and climate change alarmists, especially the “sheeple”, the followers, appear to have NO scientific education.

Here are some basics:

Global cooling occurred from ~1940 to 1977, even as fossil fuel consumption accelerated strongly. This observation adequately DISPROVES the “runaway global warming” hypothesis.

This ~37-year global cooling period was naturally-caused, and was NOT primarily driven by increasing atmospheric CO2, unless one believes (as some warmists do) that CO2 is the “demon molecule”, that can cause both global warming AND global cooling, etc., etc.

Furthermore, there is NO credible evidence of wilder weather in recent decades, despite increased atmospheric CO2.

Furthermore, there is NO credible evidence of catastrophic global warming over geologic time, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were many times higher than they are today.

These are all very-scary-fairy stories, concocted by corrupt scientists to promote a profitable, self-serving political and financial agenda – at the great expense of the general public and especially the elderly and global poor.

Global warming and climate change alarmism is a corrupt and despicable agenda – it is the greatest scam, in dollar terms, in the history of humanity.

More on the Scientific Method:


at 0:39/9:58: ”If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”
At 4:01/9:58: “You can always prove any definite theory wrong.”
At 6:09/9:58: “By having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.”


“By having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.” – Richard Feynman

“A theory that is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific.” – Karl Popper.

The “Climate Change” hypothesis is so vague, and changes so often, that it is not falsifiable and not scientific. It should be rejected as unscientific nonsense.

The “Runaway Global Warming” hypothesis is at least falsifiable, and IT HAS BEEN ADEQUATELY FALSIFIED:

1. By the ~37-year global cooling period from ~1940 to 1977;

2. By “the Pause”, when temperature did not significantly increase for almost two decades, despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations;

3. By the absence of runaway global warming over geologic time, despite much higher CO2 concentrations;

4. By the fact that equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures have not increased significantly since ~1982, and corresponding air temperatures increased largely due to the dissipation of the cooling impact of two century-scale volcanoes – El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991+;

5. By the fact that CO2 trends lags temperature trends by ~9 months in the modern data record, and by ~~800 years in the ice core record, and the undeniable reality that the future cannot cause the past.

In summary, there is no real dangerous global warming or wilder weather crisis. In fact, increasing atmospheric CO2 certainly improves plant and crop yields, and may cause some mild global warming, which will be net-beneficial to humanity and the environment.

Regards, Allan

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 14, 2018 5:26 am

Global warming and climate change alarmism, in a few decades at most, will be regarded as a mass delusion, and its leaders and its followers will be widely regarded as scoundrels and imbeciles.

Quotations from the following text, written in 1841, will be cited in their epitaphs.

Charles Mackay (1841)


“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

“Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”

November 14, 2018 12:48 am

Nite to moderator,
Please correct the source name to “cliscep blig”
( )

Michael Tobis is an irrational neurotic kook obsessed with apocalyptic claptrap. *No One* can make rational informed predictions about the ” 70th generation”.
And really, after all the failed predictions, the faux religious fervor for “climate change” is becoming tawdry.
Gov. Brown is now blaming “deniers” for forest fires in California that were the tragic, inevitable, predicted results of extremist green policies regarding forestry management.
So Brown is engaging in magical thinking, assigning guilt to those whose thoughts and beliefs are not only contrary to his but apparently cause fires.
What a pathetic parody of a leader he has become.
At his rate of devolution, Tobis will be calling for the burning of skeptics because our thoughts are so dangerous they are clearly causing fires.
What a pathetic parody of a concerned caring person Tobis has become.

Reply to  hunter
November 15, 2018 5:16 pm

“Gov. Brown is now blaming “deniers” for forest fires in California”

But… but… I thought we sceptics were such a tiny minority we’re not worth bothering about. How could WE have caused such things?

Deadly wildfires always follow letting greenies anywhere near bush management – both Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday in Australia can be traced directly to them gaining influence over practices in the bush.

The irony is, those little animals they see as so precious die in far greater numbers than even feral cats and dogs manage when the terrifying wildfires sweep through the trees, sterilising the ground 20 cm down and travelling at 100 km/h or more.

Mark Pawelek
November 14, 2018 6:12 am

We should also the try to figure the consequences of things we never did. For example: the life-saving anti-cancer drug one never invented because, worried to death over AGW, one thought life hardly worth living. I call this idea the “throw precaution to the winds principle“. Or to keep it simple “The Pioneering Principle“.

Jon Salmi
November 14, 2018 9:32 am

Great discussion! I see Fuller’s article as a plea for adaptation and a rejection of mitigation. As for me, I say we have more than enough on our hands, let’s work on preserving our freedom and fighting poverty, starvation, disease, education, etc. Nature can take care of herself. We just need to give her a helping hand;, you know, thin the forests, clear the underbrush, build adequate sea walls, etc.

November 15, 2018 5:12 pm

Should we not ALSO prepare for seas dropping, leaving ports and cities ‘stranded’ far from the waterways, and temperatures falling? Perhaps catastrophically?

At present this is far more likely than the incessant harping on about AGW and heat doom.

Already we have 20 years of static temps (except where adjusted) and the temps since the 15-16 el Nino are dropping rapidly.

The Sun is going quiet for decades, the Earth magnetic field strength is crashing and the solar system is moving into clear space out of the shielding supernova cloud that has been protecting us.

The LIA had only ONE of those factors – the Grand Solar Minimum and hundreds of thousands died.

We now have millions living where they had tens of thousands.

Johann Wundersamer
November 22, 2018 5:26 am

Michael Tobis … is not an optimist

An optimist says the future is going to be terrible. We’re gonna make it.

A pessimist says everything will be alright. I hope we’re gonna make it.

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