The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Good-Bye, Miami Beach? The Problem With Climate-Change Hysteria

Posted on | July 13, 2014 | 47 Comments

From a Guardian feature about Miami:

“There has been a rise of about 10 inches in sea levels since the 19th century — brought about by humanity’s heating of the planet through its industrial practices — and that is now bringing chaos to Miami Beach by regularly flooding places like Alton Road,” says Harold Wanless, a geology professor at the University of Miami. “And it is going to get worse. By the end of this century we could easily have a rise of six feet, possibly 10 feet. Nothing much will survive that. Most of the land here is less than 10 feet above sea level.”

The obvious first question: Is this true?

Stipulate that Professor Wanless is correct about the 10-inch rise in sea levels in the past 200 years. This would be a measurable phenonmenon, and it would be hard for a scientist just to make up something like that. But must we accept Professor Wanless’s cause-and-effect assertion, that the rise in sea levels has been “brought about by humanity’s heating of the planet through its industrial practices”? Even if we accept that assertion, does the data really justify Professor Wanless’s claim that the trend will — or rather “could” — bring about “a rise of six feet, possibly 10 feet” within the next century?

When you start chaining together “if/then” hypotheticals to arrive at a doomsday scenario of the future, you have ceased to engage in science and are merely fear-mongering. Having seen all kinds of doomsday scenarios like this turn out to be nothing but irresponsible speculation, I am skeptical about the latest scare, and don’t think people are being serious about the whole “climate change” hysteria.

Second obvious question: Aren’t carbon-emitting “industrial practices” necessary to make Miami suitable for human habitation?

Try to imagine living year-round in Miami without air-conditioning. But how do you have air-conditioning with electricity, and how do you generate electricity without carbon emissions? There are five nuclear power plants in Florida, but most of the state’s electricity is generated by coal-burning or natural gas-burning plants.

How many more nuclear/solar/wind plants would Florida need to reduce the “carbon footprint” of their electricity needs by 10 percent or 20 percent? What would be the cost of this, and who would pay those costs? Isn’t it possible that switching from cheap coal-powered electricity to more expensive forms would involve a cost so large as to cripple Florida’s economy? And should we do this for the sake of a theoretical threat of global warming catastrophe?

Questions like this could be multiplied infinitely. Miami’s economy is largely dependent on tourism. These tourists mainly arrive by airplanes and automobiles. We can imagine (and there may already exist) technology that would reduce or eliminate the use of carbon fuels in transportation, but that technology will cost money, and if non-carbon fuels were economically feasible — if they were cheaper than “green” technology — there would be no need for government mandates or subsidies to promote them. (Keep in mind that electric cars don’t do anything to reduce carbon emissions, so long as electricity is generated by carbon-burning plants.)

As long as tourism is crucial to Miami’s economy, the “industrial practices” involved in cheap transportation will be necessary to the city’s existence. So trying to “save” Miami from rising sea levels by reducing carbon emissions doesn’t make much sense if, in the process of reducing carbon emissions, you wreck the basis of the city’s economy: No air conditioning, no jet planes, no Miami.

The Apostles of Climate Change do not generally follow the logic of their ideology to the secondary and tertiary consequences. They cast aspersions on critics — Marco Rubio is denounced as an “idiot” for his skepticism — as being unscientific, as if economics were not a science, and as if the anti-industrial/anti-capitalist biases of the global warming crowd were not apparent.

 

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Comments

  • http://pfoct.blogspot.com/ James Knauer

    If Marco Rubio is unable to break 270 EVs, it won’t be due to climate change. It will be the enunciation of the same failed policies that cost the GOP 2008 and 2012.

    Meanwhile, the sea is coming in. No one is sure how fast. It’s also true FL cannot withstand even a foot more water or water/sewer systems stop working. “Why” won’t matter much on that day.

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  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    There has been a slight rise in temperatures and sea level over the past 100 years. Could there be more? Sure. Climate changes. It has radically changed over the past 11,000 years, a blip in the geological record, and I am sure we are in for more changes going forward.

    But this article is about the same worth as those pies I leave around the pasture. Good for composting. Actually not even as good as my pies.

  • Sauer Thirtyeight

    “Stipulate that Professor Wanless is correct about the 10-inch rise in sea levels in the past 200 years.”

    Why would you concede even that? If this is science, then show me the data.

    I’ve lived right on the North Atlantic for fifty years, and have been watching sea level all that time. It wasn’t a fad when I started, but it seemed important – exactly where the water is becomes a matter of concern when you have things like boathouses and docks. Long story short – in that time, sea level hasn’t changed.

    Unless the last century’s 10-inch rise all happened before 1965, Prof. Wanless is feeding you a line.

  • JeffS

    The rate of sea level rise has been measured at 18 cm (7 inches) per century. That much has been measured.

    What is not confirmed is that the root cause of that rise is anthropogenic. The global warming alarmists ignore or alter data, history, studies, and/or opinions of anything or anyone that disagrees with their cause.

    Climate change denialism” is the new battle cry of Al Gore’s acolytes, a cause that has become their holy quest, where heretics must be suppressed, lest the “sensitivities” of the members of the Holy Church of Mother Gaia™ be “offended.

    And therein lies the root cause of the global warming hysteria, and why every supporter of AGW should be tarred, feathered, and put to work shoveling manure on a ranch: Science has been subverted by fools, charlatans, scam artists, and socialists to their own ends, be it money, power, or feeding their own narcissism.

    Climate change is embedded in the history of this planet. But any rational and civil discourse of its impacts on humanity has been rendered near impossible by, for lack of a better term, the anti-human humans.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    If Marco Rubio thinks he will win by being the Hispanic love child of Chris Christie and Mitt Romney, he is fooling himself.

  • Mike G.

    The sea does rise…everyday and every night. It’s called the effects of gravity and the position of the moon in relation to Earth. Some people call it the tides. ;)

  • JeffS

    That’s an interesting non sequitur. Obsess much?

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    They should try observing those tides in Nova Scotia or Alaska. It can be pretty dramatic.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    They throw this data like it is a given. But a lot of communities along the coasts that will built in the sixties with canals would be in serious trouble now if all this sea level rising occurred in the last fifty years.

  • trangbang68

    Dang Lebron got out just in time. I wonder if he’ll have to escape by boat.
    Now if only the Cuyahoga River doesn’t catch fire in Cleveland.

  • Phil_McG

    “brought about by humanity’s heating of the planet through its industrial practices”

    This is just a reflexive phrase born of habit, like devout Muslims saying “peace be upon him” after mentioning the name of Mohammed, and serving the same purpose of showing obeisance rather than attempting to express a fact or argument. It is more of a shibboleth than an observation.

    The only information being conveyed here is signalling that the speaker is one of the Climate Elect, one of the Good Guys who knows – they just “know” – that Western capitalism is Bad and socialism in the guise of controlling the weather is Good.

  • bullet2354

    The oceans have been rising since the end of the last Ice Age. Many large ‘cities’ from thousand+ years ago actually are underwater now . . . – http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-oceania/mysterious-10000-year-old-underwater-ruins-japan-00817

  • Escher’s House

    Washing away the Jersey Shore would be an improvement.

  • http://www.federaleagent86.blogspot.com/ Federale

    How much of that 10 inches was in the first 100 of the last 200 years? Obviously a lot or he would have said in the last 100 years. Clearly sea level rise is a phenomenon unrelated to industrialization.

  • Mike G.

    Or Thunder Hole on the coast of Maine.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Sucks to be them!

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    H8er! If there is no Jersey Shore, where will Jersey Guidos hook up with French Canadians?

  • Quartermaster

    Rubio is an idiot, but not because of his skepticism of the AGW religious cult.

  • RKae

    The Apostles of Climate Change do not generally follow the logic of their ideology to the secondary and tertiary consequences.

    Because a major element to being on the left is “living in the moment.” That’s how they so often wind up being “surprised” by ordinary things like pregnancies. If you think about the past or the future, life isn’t a constant parade of jollies.

  • Julie Pascal

    Florida is sinking about a centimeter a year… Canada is rising… the crust of the Earth is still adjusting to the loss of the last glacial expansion which pushed the upper part of the plate down, and the southern part up.

  • JeffWeimer

    Oh yeah, and there’s that, too.

    It would be simpler and less expensive, although still not inexpensive, to adjust to the vagaries of “climate change”.

  • Julie Pascal

    I always picture some guy standing on the beach, watching the water slowly approach his toes, closer… closer… and he’s waving his arms all over and screaming… AAAHHHHAHAHHHH!!!!!

    For 50 years.

  • JeffWeimer

    That sea level rise is an average, and at some point you reach a point of diminishing returns. That is; it isn’t constant and relentless, at some point you run out of enough of whatever is causing that rise.

  • JeffWeimer

    Never underestimate human ingenuity. The Netherlands and New Orleans are both mostly below sea level and they’ve worked out how to make water and sewers work.

  • http://www.dustbury.com/ Charles G. Hill

    Nobody told Professor Whiner that he had to live on the coast. You don’t hear Tulsans whining about the sea level. (Especially if they’re down in the storm shelter waiting out the funnels.)

  • Escher’s House

    Look, that’s the Guidos’ problem. Let ‘em visit Quebec.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Build a better gondola and the whole world will beat a path to your door.

  • JeffWeimer

    Why, yes.

    “Deal with it” is a viable strategy. Quite possibly less costly, too. Worked for *centuries*.

  • JeffS

    Correct; that’s why I said “measured”.

    Further, that’s the extent of our records. There are other records that indirectly indicate sea rise, and plenty of geological and archaeological evidence, but the fact remains, no one really knows. And I didn’t even touch climate modeling!

    Which doesn’t stop the AGW hysterics from bleating their hysteria, of course.

  • Matt_SE

    Did Amanda Marcotte move to the coast of Maine?

  • Matt_SE

    I realize this is unscientific and reactionary, but I’ve reached the point that if the political left is for something, then there must be something wrong with it.

    That’s now my starting point.

  • Mike G.

    Dude…that was so wrong, yet, somehow so right.

    Seriously, Thunder Hole is in Acadia National Park in Maine. For those who’ve never been there, it’s a rocky shelf that has a big hole in it. When the tide comes in, the water comes up through the hole and it sounds like thunder. It will also get you very wet if you stand up to the safety rail.

  • xboxershorts

    You fecking moron…It’s going to be even worse than that which the CO2 doomsayers are warning about.

    METHANE….20x worse a heat sink than CO2 is, is being released to the atmosphere at rates far higher than ever before.

    Schadenfreude will be an unwelcome thing as we watch all of our nations deep waters ports slowly swallowed by the sea. Norfolk, VA is already complaining loudly about inaction. Charlotte, Miami, Houston, Bremerton, Bangor…this is a national security problem that our military correctly understands. Why do you all disregard it?

    Are you people proud of your obstinance?

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  • JeffS

    Methane? From what source? Clathrates? Or cow farts?

    And pardon me for being skeptical, because when I hear about global warming, the culprit du jour is ….. CO2. Not methane. Or carbon, period.

    Carbon, the same stuff that is an essential element for the vast majority of life on this planet, so much so that animals (and humans!) exhale as carbon dioxide, or CO2. It’s the primary reason why I view global warming enthusiasts as being either scientifically illiterate bumpkins or communists going green as another route to grab power.

    Hmmmmmm…..come to think of, global warming enthusiasts are both.

    Methane is offered up when you watermelons are losing the argument on a thread, not because us “deniers” are being obstinate. Moving the goal posts, as it were.

  • Matt_SE

    If it meant killing all the commies, it would be a small price to pay.

  • Matt_SE

    BTW, increasing oxygenation of the atmosphere by cyanobacteria oxidized methane into carbon dioxide around 2.3 billion years ago.
    Methane levels were MUCH higher then, and oxygen levels much lower.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event

    The atmosphere is still about 20% oxygen today.
    Why wouldn’t present levels of oxygen simply oxidize increasing levels of methane, as they did 2.3 billion years ago?

    In other words, do you have even the slightest freaking clue as to what you’re talking about?

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    The alarmists always ignore so much in their quest to be noticed that it’s always amusing to watch the hysteria shift and occasionally disappear as the decades pass, and they learn they were 100%, incontrovertably wrong. And shifting trends and fading concerns are only natural, given that all things change.

    Think of barrier islands, for instance. Only in the past few decades have developers realized that barrier islands don’t stay put. They travel. They occasionally disappear altogether, and then later re-appear. But back in the 1950’s, they started building up Miami Beach (the barrier island part of Miami) by building right up near the high-tide mark.

    A few hurricanes and a few decades later, they began trying to concrete-barrier the island perimeter to stabilize it. Now they keep the beaches in place by trucking in sand. Old timers know that the current sand is nothing like the old sand. But the island wants to move, so eventually it’s going to move, and someone will be left with a crumbling hotel.

    Well the sea-level alarmists are similar in their incredibly unscientific belief in stable ocean levels. Never mind they finally understand plate tectonics and some things about thermal vents, trenches, continental shelves, and other features of oceans that obviously have no permanent shape, any more than mountains do (geologists believe the Appalachians used to be like the Himalayas). No, they treat the oceans like a bathtub of fixed shape, with no changing features.

    It’s ridiculous. The plates move, the shorelines change, and some land eventually gets pushed under, while other land gets pushed up. I have a few fossil clams taken from the Andes mountains at over ten-thousand feet. They found fossilized whale bones at five-thousand feet.

    And of course coastal cities, especially, experience subsidence that vastly exceeds any measurable rise in sea level.

    The alarmists are cartoonish in their dogged belief in some sort of fixed planetary feature, such as an orbit with no perturbations, a sun that throws off a constant rate of energy, fixed continental plates, and weather that, like Disneyland, is never supposed to change (but really does when the attractions fail to perform. It’s just polite to think of it as the same).

    And worse, the alarmists want to try all sorts of dangerously stupid “experiments” ranging from coating entire states in reflective foil or placing nukes in volcanoes, to altering the orbit of the Earth.

    Yeah, that couldn’t have unintended consequences, could it?

    http://articlefiveprocess.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Perspective-380×292.jpg

  • Quartermaster

    Too late! Already has.

  • Quartermaster

    If the AlBorites quit obsessing about denialism they’d be out of work. Obviously you don’t have any care for them not having any work.

    H8er!

  • Quartermaster

    I guess you have something against Al foil manufacturers. They’re just trying to feed their kids.

  • xboxershorts

    I spent my entire naval career on board USS Lawrence DDG 4 escorting oil tankers in and out of the persian gulf. We still do that.

    Just another subsidy you and I pay for that this industry extracts from American tax payers.

    And if you don’t give two shits about rising sea levels, then you should give a giant shit about the national security implications of being addicted to oil.

  • JeffS

    I hereby denounce myself!

  • JeffS

    I spent 25 years in the military myself. Which is the same as your service in the context of this discussion: it has absolutely nothing to do with global warming.

    Is it too much to ask of the members of the Church of the Holy AGW™ to conduct an honest discussion without resorting to stupid rhetorical tricks?

    Yeah, it probably is.

    As for oil…. t read the news, pal. America is becoming a net exporter of oil.

    If that busts your bubble, oh well.

  • Quartermaster

    Good! Saves me the trouble.

  • xboxershorts

    Wasn’t meant as an AGW argument. It’s to point out that the continued reliance upon fossil fuel is also an extreme security risk. And our own military knows this having committed to developing viable fuels from alternative sources in spite of congress trying to tell them to stop.