Humans blamed for climate change



“Global climate change is ‘very likely’ to have a human cause, an influential group of scientists has concluded.” - story

The problem with this, of course, is that a) the usual suspects will argue that scientists can’t predict with 100% accuracy what’s going on (an especially pernicious argument, since the scientific method is exactly to study models and to get predictions that have as small errors as possible, knowing that there will always be uncertainties) and b) many people will say “Hey, a few degrees doesn’t sound that bad”. But those “few degrees” actually cause quite massive changes. What most people don’t realize is, for example, how changing the ocean’s temperature by just a few degrees can cause massive changes - it’s a very delicate system despite its size. Just a few degrees can completely change the pattern of where you can grow crops - with potentially disastrous consequences for our ability to feed people. (For an example of what just a few degrees can do check out this article)

So the report basically boils down to saying the following: If you have children then it is very likely that your children will face very large environmental problems, of which the kinds of heat waves (more on this) we have been experiencing are good and probably only modest examples.

I talked about this problem to a bunch of friends (all of them professors of physics - physics is the science you need to model climate) at a conference last month, and I was actually the person who was least worried about this problem. I was plainly shocked by the amount of gloom I encountered.