Thursday, December 5, 2019

Climate Change: a summary

There is a correlation between increasing CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere and increasing global temperatures. There is a precedent for this type of correlation = For example the Ozone Layer Hole and the Montreal Protocol.
  • CO2 Measurement
    • Cape Grim (CSIRO)= Increased Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide since 1980.
    • Mauna Loa (NOAA)= Increased Carbon Dioxide since 1960.
  • Temperature
    • Temperature Aggergates
      • GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network aggregated instrumental data) = data since 1880, upward trend since 1980
      • MET (Meteorological Office United Kingdom) = data since 1850 upward trend since 1970
      • NASA aggregation of NOAA, NASA, MET and Japanese Meteorological Office = data since 1880, upward trend since 1970
    • Individual Temperature sources
      • Satellite data
        • UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville) = data since 1979, upward trend since 1979 and then a cooling dip since 2016
        • RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) = data since 1980, upward trend since 1980
      • Sea surface
        • CRU (University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit) = data since 1979, upward since 1985 and then a cooling dip since 2015
A small but consistent and global increase in global temperature would have a negative effect on human flourishing.

However what's difficult is:
  • accurately measuring the severity of consequences 
  • distinguishing between natural climatic events and anthropomorphic climate events
  • creating a predictive model that is both accurate and then provides a warning of danger 
How do we evaluate the likelihood and consequence of an event?
  1. Historical precedents
  2. Imagining and modelling the scenarios

. Insignificant Minor Moderate Major Critical Absolute
Rare - - - Sudden die-back of critical food source Alien invasion Sudden black-hole in the solar system
Unlikely - - - Global theocracy Super volcano Future unforeseen global disaster
Possible - - Global recession Solar Storm Meteorite strike Malevolent world government
Likely - Major chemical disaster EMP Global pandemic Nuclear War Own death before Jesus returns
Almost Certain Local waste management failure Local Pollution problems AI singularity Loss of species diversity Climate Change ?? -
Definite Celebrity deaths - New wars in global hot spots - - Judgement Day

If Climate Change is a serious risk then we need a solution, but one that doesn't remove our collective ability to respond to other serious risks. Our approach to finding and implementing the solution should include the following aspects:
  • An attitude of stewardship which desires to encourage human flourishing
  • A positive cost-benefit ratio = the greatest mitigation for the littlest cost
  • A scaleable approach that benefits human flourishing even if Climate Change turns out not to be a serious risk, but can be escalated dramatically if Climate Change grows in severity and likelihood.
[photograph from unsplash]