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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 27, 2014

 
The Heartland Institute thinks climate change will be awesome. Real scientists disagree.

by David Atkins

The Heartland Institute, one of the conservative movement's most obnoxious propaganda machines, thinks that climate change will be wonderful. No, really:

Whereas the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn of a dangerous human effect on climate, NIPCC concludes the human effect is likely to be small relative to natural variability, and whatever small warming is likely to occur will produce benefits as well as costs.
You may not have heard of the astroturf "NIPCC." It's the Heartland Institute's group of flacks who put out press releases meant to muddy the waters and confuse people in contrast the the real IPCC.

When I mocked them on Twitter by suggesting that they be exiled to the soon-to-be-drowned-by-rising-sea-levels island nation of Kiribati, the Heartland Communications Director Jim Lakely tweeted back at me:



The idea that neither the world's species nor our civilization can, in fact, adapt and evolve fast enough to deal with rapid catastrophic greenhouse effects did not occur to him. Nor, apparently, that he probably shouldn't be displaying that level of sheer ignorance to a hostile party with a megaphone.

Meanwhile, here is what the real scientists are saying about the effects of climate change just as of a few days ago:

Global warming will disrupt food supplies, slow world economic growth and may already be causing irreversible damage to nature, according to a U.N. report due this week that will put pressure on governments to act.

A 29-page draft by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will also outline many ways to adapt to rising temperatures, more heatwaves, floods and rising seas.

"The scientific reasoning for reducing emissions and adapting to climate change is becoming far more compelling," Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, told Reuters in Beijing.

Scientists and more than 100 governments will meet in Japan from March 25-29 to edit and approve the report. It will guide policies in the run-up to a U.N. summit in Paris in 2015 meant to decide a deal to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The 29-page draft projects risks such as food and water shortages and extinctions of animals and plants. Crop yields would range from unchanged to a fall of up to 2 percent a decade, compared to a world without warming, it says.

And some natural systems may face risks of "abrupt or drastic changes" that could mean irreversible shifts, such as a runaway melt of Greenland or a drying of the Amazon rainforest.

It said there were "early warning signs that both coral reef and Arctic systems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts". Corals are at risk in warmer seas and the Arctic region is thawing fast.

Climate change will hit growth. Warming of 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels could mean "global aggregate economic losses between 0.2 and 2.0 percent of income", it says.
I will never for the life of me understand people who condemn their children, the future of the human race and the condition of all life on our planet to misery, collapse and extinction just to make an extra dolar or two in the moment.

These people do understand that they're going to die, right? And that they can't take it with them? They do understand that if there is no afterlife, a few extra temporal pleasures today won't matter against the judgment of history? And that in the unlikely event that there is an afterlife for which our actions in this realm will be weighed and measured, that the judgment will likely go very poorly for them? They do understand that even if the overwhelming consensus of the world's climate scientists is somehow wrong about climate change, that curbing fossil fuels and moving to clean energy will create a better world regardless?

It boggles the mind. I can put myself into the mentality of a conservative on many issues as a matter of justification for pettiness, prejudice and selfishness. But on climate change the leaps of moral reasoning to put myself into a conservative's shoes are simply too great. I do not understand how they come to their moral judgments, or how they can rest at night with an easy conscience.


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