hampton_roads_flooding2by James A. Bacon

The key to building a strong resiliency movement — making communities more adaptable in the face of natural and man-made disasters — is finding common ground. So argued Steven McNulty, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Southeast Regional Climate Hub, in addressing the launch event of Resilient Virginia this morning.

Fear of rising temperatures, droughts and sea-level rise is a major impetus behind the increasing emphasis that all levels of government are placing on resiliency. But political views about climate change are highly polarized, McNulty said. “Are you a fear monger, or are you a denier? We need to get beyond that.”

Most climate scientists believe that man-made climate change is a cause for concern. But the forestry land managers McNulty deals with do not. In a recent survey, he said, “only 10% of Southeast foresters thought that climate change is man-made and real. The agricultural community is almost as disbelieving.” As it happens, their perceptions are not without basis, he added. Rising temperatures in the Southeastern U.S. have been far less pronounced than anywhere else in the country.

It’s hard to mobilize people who don’t believe in catastrophic man-made global warming to change the way they do business. “Don’t talk climate change; you’ll lose a lot of folks,” said McNulty. But flip the issue to climate variability, and the conversation takes on a different tone. Everyone acknowledges that temperatures and precipitation fluctuate, and everyone would like to protect themselves from those fluctuations. “You don’t need global warming to have big disasters.”

McNulty was one of several speakers Thursday morning who made the case for resiliency planning. The resiliency issue hasn’t made big inroads in Virginia but Resiliency Virginia, a non-profit group of state and local government officials, environmentalists and private companies, hopes to change that. The group has a mission of educating the public, sharing best practices and encouraging people to take action.

In Virginia, the most pressing resiliency issues are in the low-lying Tidewater region, especially the Hampton Roads metropolitan area where thousands of people and millions of dollars in private buildings and public infrastructure are exposed to flooding. As Brian Moran, secretary of public safety and homeland security, told the gathering, a one-and-a-half foot sea level rise would inundate 82 square miles of dry land in Virginia, 15 miles of interstate highway, miles of railroad track and significant port acreage.

While there is plenty of controversy over how rapidly the sea level is rising in Hampton Roads — not everyone accepts the prediction that the sea level will rise 18 inches by 2050 — few would deny that between subsidence (partly caused by the draw-down of aquifers, partly by the shift in tectonic plates) and the slow-but-steady sea level rise seen over the past century unrelated to man-made climate change, flooding will become increasingly severe.

Flooding in low-lying areas is not the only potential disruption to Virginia communities. Flash flooding is an issue in urban areas where the ground has been covered by asphalt and the ground has lost is capacity to absorb rain water. Ice storms, snow storms and drought are recurrent concerns. Some worry about the impact of massive solar flares that could overwhelm the electric grid. There are man-made issues as well, such as potential terrorist strikes against critical infrastructure, particularly the electric grid.

In Chicago urban flooding is a significant issue, said Cooper Martin, program director for the Sustainable Cities Institute. When city officials began mapping where the insurance claims were occurring, they expected them to cluster in the flood plains. The traditional response to flooding had been to bring in the engineers, build some levees and build some dams. But close analysis showed that many claims were occurring outside the flood plains. “All that concrete has created a new ecosystem, creating flash flood hazards,” said Martin. “The way we’ve built this community is fundamentally non-resilient. More concrete is not the answer. Taking out some of the pavement may be the most productive thing to do.”

Another problem is rampant developing in vulnerable coastal areas. An analysis of 77 counties along the Gulf Coast (not including Florida) showed $2 trillion in asset value. “Even without climate change,” said Martin, “the way we’re building our communities, we’re creating risks where we didn’t have them before.”

People have a lot of ideas of how to prepare for another Katrina-scale hurricane, said Martin. But which options offer the greatest protection for the least cost? Building up beaches offers a high payback, as do building codes mandating construction standards to withstand higher winds. (Sixty percent of Katrina’s damage came from winds, not flooding.) Mandating higher home elevations is on the borderline of being economically justified; other proposals offer a very low return. As long as coastal communities continue to permit development, they need to address these issues.

Bacon’s bottom line. As I’ve made clear repeatedly on this blog, I’m not convinced that human-caused climate change is a cause for alarm, much less an excuse to re-engineer the economy. But you don’t need to be an apocalyptic environmentalist to value resiliency. Disasters happen. They always have, always will. We don’t protect ourselves from disaster by burying our heads in the sand and pretending they can’t possibly happen. We protect ourselves by anticipating possibilities, weighing probabilities and setting priorities. That kind of thinking is making inroads in Virginia, but we have a long way to go. I applaud Resilient Virginia for highlighting the issue. Check out the Resilient Virginia blog here.

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39 responses to “The Non Global-Warmist’s Case for Resiliency Planning”

  1. is resiliency something different than we were doing all along? Is it planned? Is it budgeted? Is it unfunded? what is it it that is driving the change ? what are we looking at to inform us as to what we need to do?

    Also, is there something unique about Chicago that makes it different from other Midwest cities and instead more like flooding in Coastal cities?

    There are lots of interior non-Coastal cities in the US that would seem to be more like Chicago (and vise versa) than Chicago being like coastal cities and flooding.

    there are cities all up and down the Mississippi that are subject to flooding and have been for a long time but has anything about that really changed? We knew long ago that building dikes on the river increased the likelihood of flooding on other non-diked parts of the river – so I’m not sure of any connection to coastal flooding which is very different.

    1. Larry, yes, resiliency is an emerging concept, in the context that the effects of climate change are being experienced much sooner than had been expected, so we need to adapt and mitigate–we can not count on prevention any more. (Jim, I know you’re not going to agree with a lot of this!)

      A few years ago, “adaptation and mitigation” was almost seen as heresy, taking energy away from prevention.

      But now resiliency programs are seen as taking essential practical measures.

      To be honest, some policy proponents recognize that “resiliency” is more politically palatable, and so to that extent it is about messaging.

      But Thursday’s conference mentioned almost nothing about prevention (i.e., GHG reduction). Virginia’s coastal areas are especially vulnerable, and responsible hazard mitigation officials know we must take action now.

      …and frankly, Norfolk could go carbon-free tomorrow and it wouldn’t make any difference to *them*. That is indeed a challenge – unlike ground-level pollutants, where communities benefit from their own efforts, we’re all in this one, together.

      This conference did make me feel that, as we undertake resiliency measures, we will be reminded of, and feel hopeful about, our carbon reduction strategies, as well.

      1. I see “resiliency” as typical of conservative – “after the fact” – reactions to problems.

        take health care – they support ER and charity care over transferring existing subsidies to primary care. Their “replace” is non-existent.

        take education – they support entitlements and prisons over early childhood education. arrest them put them in prison, fix it so they’ll never work again and do the same thing to their kids…

        immigration – deport everyone after they’ve gotten here rather than doing what Canada does with a real guest worker program where employers who violate it are charged criminally.

        what’s being done with AGW is what was done with the Ozone Holes and Cigarettes:


        no shortage of corporate funders and right-wing think tank bogus studies but the thing is – it works. People are lazy and want easy answers.. they can’t deal with problems that go to the heart of our expecting cheap energy subsidized by pollution.

        1. Larry and Salz, I too had been suspicious of the ‘resiliency’ branding, and felt ‘adaptation’ was surrender – but I was wrong. For myself and probably 99% of those attending Thursday, resilience planning is in addition to–and sooner than–combating AGW.

          Thursday’s conference (check out the agenda) featured a number of thoughtful professionals who are working in the literal front lines addressing hazards NOW.

          If the threat of climate change (ahem, variability) has turned out to be more immediate than we had thought, resulting in billions of dollars of damage and risk, well let’s take that lemon and use it to concentrate policy-makers minds wonderfully. (Making lemonade from concentrate, or, something….)

          Again, Norfolk could go carbon-free tomorrow and it wouldn’t make any difference to *them*. They need action.

          As we tackle resiliency measures, we will be reminded of, and undertake, parallel carbon reduction strategies, as well.

          And if the term is also palatable to persuadables, hey I’ll take it.

          1. KV – I don’t think adaptation is “surrender” – but I DO think some folks who are deniers/skeptics are latching on to the term “resiliency” to avoid the discussion about how you do things such that later – “adaptation” – though still necessary is a bigger problem that it would have been had you been proactive in the first place.

            Let me give a simple example. The subsidized flood problem – that does have it’s subsidy issues but it also does this:

            1. a locality cannot make subsidized flood insurance available to it’s
            citizens unless they alter their building codes to prevent more building
            in flood-prone areas.

            2. the flood-prone areas are delineated and specified via official FEMA maps and does not allow each locality to do their own – which would be
            subject to corruption from local-elected

            3. individuals who suffer a lost – get their money – but if they rebuild in
            the same floodway – future insurance is not available. They need to move to a place out of the flood way to re-build.

            so this is an example of how you do both – “resiliency” AND prevention…

            resiliency without the other part – basically is what the subsidized flood program started out doing – before it became apparent that all the govt and taxpayers were really doing – was subsidizing ignorant building practices that would cost the govt/taxpayers – more and more money.

            and I would submit that – that’s the fundamental issue with “resilience” – alone.

            and that’s because – localities – will – inevitably argue that they cannot afford the price and that the Federal Govt has to “help” and we’ll be back once again to having taxpayers subsidize “infrastructure hardening”.

            so we’ve already learned this lesson once – we’ve learned you cannot destroy forests and woods and replace them with impervious surfaces – without a cost.

            yet, even now, we argue about storm-water regs and who pays.


            we have de-facto -stormwater deniers and skeptics also, right?

            I’m not opposed to “adaptation” at all.. it’s what we have to do – like with trying to backfit storm water efforts in areas already built.. but I think trying to put a label of “resilience” on storm water infrastructure would reveal the fundamental flaw in that approach.

            we are at the point – where we were back when we first started wondering if we needed sewage treatment facilities.. then storm water.. coal ash, toxics, mercury in coal-burning, etc.

            we always seem to be “reacting” to these things.. nor seeing them come at us and then we convince ourselves that the pollution is less costly than not-polluting and now we’re encountering that issue on a global – survival-of-the-planet scale – and not surprisingly – we have quite a few folks who have the same attitude they hold for other kinds of pollution.

            It’s not about pristine – it’s about what level we can pollute and still not cause serious damage

  2. I think the other thing – it’s NOT – JUST rising temperatures. It’s wildly varying weather – record setting weather .. stronger droughts, stronger storms, more frequent storm events, monster tornados, hurricanes/Typhoons like we’ve not seen before or in a long time and more frequent occurrences of rare weather.

    “warming” is the WRONG word – the WRONG concept. it’s ” climate CHANGE” of which “warming” is but one of several changes…

    the folks in denial seem to be grasping at straws – trying to find other things to “explain” these “climate” events.. anything – but to admit the thing the vast majority of those lying SOB scientists are saying. Sunspots!!!!

    geeze… reject what science is saying.. just make up your own stuff.. what you’d rather believe… instead… but at all costs – deny what science is saying – better to ask foresters and farmers and armchair faux scientists to get the real truth.

    no matter how this twists and turns – to me – it comes across as a rejection of the science… and an adoption of other explanations – NOT based on science but conjecture and supposition coming from folks who also confuse causation with correlation.

    you know what the biggest failure of the American education system is?

    Critical Thinking – the ability to look at and understand then articulate science and math.. and its turning out to be a supreme irony….

    Most Scientists See Lack of Public Knowledge and Media Reports as Problems for Science


    1. Larry, you’ve got to make up your mind. Is the climate getting *warmer* or is it getting more *variable*? That’s a critical issue because the starting premise was that the weather was getting warmer. Actually, the starting premise was that we were heading for a new ice age. Then came warming. And then came variability. The only commonality is the conviction that something is wrong, it’s mankind’s fault, and only the anointed elites can save mankind from its folly.

      1. First things first. Climate is not the same as weather.

        A warming climate can result in a colder winter … but in general – the “warmth” is not monolithic .. it’s like layers that are dynamic… like a lake
        stratifying in winter.

        so when you look at temperature as an analog to climate – you’re already on a wrong track.

        but here’s an interesting article about the James – possibly freezing over and did it ever do that before.. interesting article…

        Arctic blast not enough to freeze James, York rivers


        so you should GOOGLE ” the difference between weather and climate” and yes – this relates to how folks perceive/understand science – and not.

      2. Warmer AND more variable. When you warm something, it becomes less stable.

        This winter is a great example. The East Coast is frozen. Most of the rest of the world is significantly warmer than usual.

        And you really can’t use such a broad brush and say, “Oh, ‘scientists’ were wrong earlier, so we still can’t trust them.” That’s like saying, “Well, first they said the earth was flat. So how do we know it’s round now?”

        Also — “anointed elites” in this case would be “people who study the climate.” That’s a bit different than setting up a newspaper editorial page with a bunch of well-connected dudes with no practical experience. This is more like trusting Jenny McCarthy over pediatricians when it comes to vaccines.

        There IS some level of unknown when it comes to climate science. We don’t know if the impact on our coastline will be pretty bad or really bad.

        All that said, thanks for bringing this particular effort to everyone’s attention. Preparedness is generally a good thing. (Unless it’s sending anti-terrorism hardware to a 300-person town in the middle of nowhere.)

      3. Increases in variation along a rising mean doesn’t mean that the climate isn’t getting warmer.

        Colder than normal winters that, when combined with even warmer than normal summers, means the mean for the east coast can be rising, even as winters get worse.

        It’s one thing to make a conclusion that we’ll see a warmer climate overall. It’s another thing to figure out how that warmer climate impacts precipitation levels. The same mid-Pacific pressure system (the ridiculously resilient ridge) that is creating the drought in California is also messing up the jet stream and causing colder winters in the east coast. Simple forecasts of warmer temperatures wouldn’t have necessarily told you that was going to develop.

  3. While we’re exploring this topic, is there an ideal temperature at which the climate is less variable? I mean, if it’s more variable now, that implies it was less variable when the climate was one or two degrees colder. How about the Ice Age, when it was colder still? Was the climate less variable then? Were there fewer droughts, temperature swings, hurricanes and tornadoes? Is there a temperature at which variable climatic phenomena cease altogether?

    1. equilibrium ? who knows? do you mean decades or hundreds of years – worldwide in which weather was mostly benign and there were few hurricanes or tornados, etc?

      I suspect the answer is that there is always change… the seasons themselves vary in temperature and that in turn causes heating and cooling of land masses, oceans and atmosphere… then you have plate tectonics and hurricanes.

      The earth is a living earth.. because of weather and climate and the changing temperature of the mantle… I would think… but would be the first to admit – that my speculation cannot make up for my lack of scientific knowledge.. I might “know” one small piece but I totally don’t have all the other pieces I’d need to have some level of competence …

      The folks who REALLY KNOW science – are the ones that send human beings into space. – and not a perfect record but a successful record. You
      don’t send people into space and bring them back alive with half-assed science. so when a NASA guy tells me something about climate – I tend to respect it.

  4. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    The earth is billions of years old. How much data do we have? I don’t trust Wall Street or people looking for tax dollars. There needs to be a lot more cross examination.

    1. investigations into past climate is done through analytical methods such as looking at the constituents in ice cores – even soil and rock cores… as well as geologic structures that we formed/sculpted by weather and ice.

      it’s a science for good reason. It takes quite a bit of knowledge to be able to conduct competent work.. it’s not something that can be done by reading web pages written by would-be scientists who lack the knowledge … many of who don’t know – that they don’t know…

  5. Although I continue to recommend Bacon’s Rebellion to my friends running for local office here, and however much this notion of resiliency makes sense so far as it goes, Bacon’s repeated denial of human causes for global warming remains confounding. It smacks of ideology more than reason: ocean warming, Arctic/Antarctic melting and 90+% of scientific expertise dismissed. Resiliency as a response resembles — best analogy I can come up with — our past “solution” of freeing the slaves but maintaining Jim Crow and a sham “separate but equal” charade. Salves the conscience but doesn’t really disturb. And of course was a disaster. But this feel-good excuse for a denial of fact and need is even worse and more — well, to be nice, ill advised! Why not pursue resiliency and go work on GHG control as well?

    1. I know this is inconceivable to you, but what happens if the catastrophic, man-made global warming hypothesis crashes and burns? (We’re 18 years with no temperature increases, and counting. How long will it take?) Not only would Global Warming be discredited, so would everything associated with it. Then you’d be darn glad then that someone like me was making the case for things like energy conservation, smart growth and resilience for reasons that have nothing to do with Global Warming!

      Another thing to consider: More than half the population thinks GW is bunkum. They may be wrong but they are a political force to be reckoned with. Again, you should be glad that someone like me is making the case for energy conservation, smart growth and resilience on terms that those people will accept!!

      1. P.S. I’m not “denying” the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. I just don’t think it’s “settled science.” I follow the empirical evidence. If temperatures take a sharp turn upward, I’ll quickly change my tune!

        1. “what happens if we are wrong”?

          that’s a question you have to answer whether it is Kepone or CFCs.

          we’ve always pitted the economic costs of not doing something to the economic benefits and in most every case – we under-estimated the damage – not over.

          Tell me where we went too far and had to back track… for every one of those if you can even find ONE – I can give you a hundred where we did not go far enough initially because we did underestimate.

          The problem with the deniers – is they don’t seem to care if THEY are wrong – they’re willing to bet the farm over things – they themselves do not really understand but at the same time, apparently more than willing to believe in global conspiracies about science – and many in the same group – deny evolution and other “settled” science..

          news flash – the science IS settled in well over 90% of real scientists – worldwide – but in the denier world – that high level of agreement on a worldwide basis – means there is a global conspiracy and science is not “settled”.

          Science is as “settled” as you are willing to let the realities influence you …

          In most other things in life, the 90% threshold is accepted as “settled”.

          re: – ” (We’re 18 years with no temperature increases, and counting.”

          Jim – do you not read this: 2014 Officially Hottest Year on Record or this: NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

          something is clearly wrong when virtually all scientific agencies are saying we are seeing the warmest years on record and you say we’re 18 years with no increase. WHERE are YOU getting your information – because it’s clearly NOT from the scientific community.

          this goes back to anti-science if you are choosing to not believe the scientific consensus..

          do you not believe the graphs that NASA has provided:


          this is why the term “denier” is EARNED.

          THe evidence is all around – but it’s “denied”. The more evidence presented – for the deniers – that’s more proof of a conspiracy.. it’s looney.

        2. re: ” I know this is inconceivable to you, but what happens if the catastrophic, man-made global warming hypothesis crashes and burns? (We’re 18 years with no temperature increases, and counting. How long will it take?) ”

          ” The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

          The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
          In an independent analysis of the raw data, also released Friday, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.”


          okay – so can Jim explain the contradiction between your views and the views of NASA and NOAA?

          Do you not believe the NASA/NOAA data? what are you basing your statement about no increase in temperatures on?

          do you not consider the NASA/NOAA temperature data to be “settled science”?

          1. The warmest year on record — by .02 degrees Celsius… with a margin of error of 0.1 degree Celsius. Somehow, those figures didn’t make it into the NASA press release. Given the high degree of uncertainty that 2014 was, in fact, the warmest year on record, the numbers would seem to be relevant. I don’t know about NASA scientists, but I do distrust the political hacks who spin the science and the parrots who regurgitate the press releases uncritically.

            Also not mentioned in the press release: 2014 was widely expected to be an El Nino year, which normally spikes temperatures. But the El Nino was weak and the temperature spike never materialized. A major disappointment to those who thought global temperatures would resume their march to apocalypse.

            You get only one side of the story, Larry, and you lap it up. And you dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as a denialist.

            I try to retain my objectivity in climate matters, and I try to remain open to the science and the empirical evidence. But I have to tell you, the thing that makes me skeptical more than anything else is the way those in the alarmist camp not only cherry pick their data (admittedly, a human frailty of which almost everyone is guilty of to some degree) but ferociously denigrate anyone who dare disagree with them. If anyone tries to intimidate me into believing something, I have two reactions. First, they’re afraid of losing the battle of ideas. Second, they can go **** themselves.

          2. Larry wonders if NASA/NOAA temperature data is settled science.

            Perhaps Larry should ask NASA/NOAA whether the data it publishes to the public is raw or “adjusted.” If it is adjusted, what is it adjusted for? To filter out the effect of the heat island effect? To extrapolate for temperature measurements to surrounding areas? For other reasons? How public is that methodology? Has it been subject to….. peer criticism? Has NASA/NOAA ever revised its historical temperature charts? Has it ever had to back-track its adjustments?

            When you know the answers to those questions, Larry, we can have an intelligent conversation. Otherwise, you’re making a blind appeal to authority — like the parish priest invoking the authority of the pope.

    2. This just in: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

      “[Dr. Soon] has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.”

      Now one can also attack to ideological bias of Soon’s critics. To me, that is one of the saddest things about present times; that science has been made ideological.

      Required reading – the title is a little tabloid-y, and the content is dry (tons of lawsuits with people’s names you’ll never need again), but it is worth a read and the case he makes is compelling. Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health – by David Michaels.

  6. Jim – do you question the data that scientists use for cancer research or volcanoes or asteroids headed for earth or nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay?

    I’m not blindly believing ANY of it but on balance – across the spectrum -there is a LOT of science and a LOT of data and a LOT of interpretation of data and while there are examples of unprincipled scientists or even just honest mistakes – when a large community of scientists in one field – tend to agree on the data – what are you really accomplishing with your questions other than demonstrating you do not trust science .. even the collection of data and the interpretation of it.

    Look – I’ll even allow that a large community of science can get it wrong sometimes – and they all have to back up and re-direct… that’s how science works… it’s imperfect as humans are.

    but the longer a large body of science agrees there is a problem – it’s time to come off your “are you sure they are right” skepticism.

    you stated this: (We’re 18 years with no temperature increases, and counting.” and I asked where you got that info since it obviously did not come from NASA/NOAA and instead of answering – you then attacked NASA/NOAA’s data…

    so where did you get YOUR data? I think it’s important for you to say where you got it…. since you are so skeptical of NASA/NOAA….

    so where?

  7. here’s another question – non-confrontational –

    If someone told you that a certain action had a 5% chance of causing your death – but you could reduce that number by taking certain actions – what would you do?

    that’s the essence of the dilemma for me.

    I see some chance for catastrophe – (like I did with Ozone Holes) – and I see two things: 1. do we accept that as a possibility – even a 5% and 2. are we willing to do ANYTHING to hedge our bets even if not the full Monty?

    the way the skeptic argument “sounds” – is they reject it ALL – that not even a 5% is possible so NOTHING in response is needed. The whole thing is a scam.

    1. “If someone told you that a certain action had a 5% chance of causing your death – but you could reduce that number by taking certain actions – what would you do?”

      It depends on how much that action cost. If the action had a nominal cost, I would take it. If the action forced me to drain my retirement savings, I’d probably take the chance.

      To reduce carbon dioxide emissions to a level that would fend off climate catastrophe (according to warmists) would costs trillions of dollars globally. Would that money be spent to better effect lowering carbon dioxide or in building greater resiliency into our communities? That is an *economic* and a *philosophical* question, not a scientific question.

      1. And yes, this is fundamentally an economic question. Will it be cheaper to use alternative forms of energy or to relocate Miami?

        Sounds like an extreme example, but it’s already happening in the Pacific: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/kiribati/9127576/Entire-nation-of-Kiribati-to-be-relocated-over-rising-sea-level-threat.html

      2. will it cost trillions to “harden” against rising seas?

  8. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

    Since we’re going to debate global warming and climate change here, let’s go over a few things:

    1) 2014 was the warmest year on record. Even if it was by a slim margin, it was still the warmest. It doesn’t really matter if someone breaks a rushing record by 1 yard or 1oo yards, the record is still broken.

    2) 9 of of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 12 years and 10 of 10 have occurred since 1998.

    3) Air temperatures haven’t plateaued since the 90s, they’ve still been going up, just at a slower rate of ascension. Since 1998, the global air temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees F, and if you don’t think that’s a big deal ask your doctor if they’d rather have you come in wish a 105.3 degree fever or a 106.7 degree fever.

    4) It is called global warming for a reason and the oceans are part of the globe. Since 2000, waters at a depth below 2,300 feet have been heating up, according to a peer-reviewed article in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    5) According to Jim’s sun spot theory using the link cited yesterday, the Earth should have been cooling since ~2000 because that’s when the amount of sunspot events began to decline. But that’s not what happened. Even if the temperature was plateauing it wasn’t receding, which is what the sunspot idea would conclude.

    6) Jim says this upthread:
    “Also not mentioned in the press release: 2014 was widely expected to be an El Nino year, which normally spikes temperatures. But the El Nino was weak and the temperature spike never materialized”

    So 2014 was the highest on record even though the El Nino spike didn’t materialize, and the El Nino spike not materializing is supposedly the nail in the coffin, even though without it 2014 was still the highest year on record.

    7) TMT: “There needs to be a lot more cross examination.”

    This is what the peer review process is for.

    I know everyone loves it when hippies are wrong, but they were right about leaded gasoline, acid rain and ozone depletion and it looks like they’re right about this, too.

  9. re: ” This is what the peer review process is for.”

    Wait one.

    the conventional wisdom among the deniers and skeptics is that “peer reviews” are how the conspiracies are enabled and carried out.

    don’t you know that these lying SOB scientists can’t be trusted to do real peer reviews these days?

    I mean look – they’ve doctored up the data and then they all say it’s not doctored and good data.. How do I know this?

    If all you do is listen to the liberal lame stream media – all you’re going to get is lies, damned lies, and damned liberal lies.

    you got to get to real trustable media like FAUX and Breitbart to get the “truth”.

    note that I did ask Jim where he got his info about temperatures staying the same for 10 years .. and no answer yet… probably has something to do with where he got his info, eh?

  10. I much very appreciate Jim’s positions on smart growth and iconoclasm in other spheres of public policy, but they are not helped by this position on GHG and climate change. I simply don’t see the catastrophic consequences of guiding energy policy to address GHG impacts on climate even if — by some miracle — that science should prove erroneous. The economic benefits of energy conservation, reducing coal and fossil fuel consumption and enhancing decentralized renewables will improve economic and human health conditions around the globe.

    1. Agree. and unfortunately I am unable .. incapable of expressing the same sentiment of Mr. Baldwin – without quite a few more words… and my apologies to those who find my tomes too frequent, too obnoxious or both.

      Never understood why conservation is considered a “cost” by it’s namesake – Conservatives when it saves money AND reduces pollution as Baldwin points out.

      I was and am fascinated and bemused by the right wings’ recent ire over converting from incandescent lights to CFLs then LEDs. They were/are framing it as some kind of a liberal do-gooder evil govt plot … as if conserving electricity and reducing pollution and saving money by using LEDs was somehow an outrageous perversion of some natural law.

      here’s an example of the rhetoric:

      “Thanks to the 2007 energy bill, passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush, Americans will no longer be able to purchase 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs at the beginning of 2014.

      Though supporters of the light bulb ban argue that energy efficient light bulbs will be cheaper in the long haul for energy consumers, the Heritage Foundation points out it’s just another example of government imposing its will on consumers by eliminating choice:

      The “so what” is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest.”

      So this is not just about light bulbs. Nope. This is really about the legitimacy of things like the Clean Air and Clean Water acts – which organizations like Heritage and their feathered conservative friends have ALWAYS opposed.

      so this line of thinking also goes into the coal plant food-fight – ergo – the intent and focus of the govt to get lead out of gasoline, toxics out of our rivers, acid rain and mercury out of the air we breath.. it’s all wrong. It’s govt squashing the liberty of citizens to do what they want – even if it results in damage to others.

      when it gets to this point – I start to use the word ignorati to describe the participants.

      One might notice also, that one does not hear this kind of rhetoric on the battles they lost – not one word about how the govt squashed the rights of citizens with mandated fuel standards or getting lead out of gasoline.. but back in the day – these same folks were dealing the same way with that as they now are dealing with coal plants and AGW – make no mistake.

      so the skeptics and deniers of which Mr. Bacon has willingly placed himself- repeatedly of late – has a long history of their opposition to the Clean Air and Clean Water acts , conservation, energy efficiency, pollution reduction… and yes.. it’s comes across as totally weird and contradictory for those so enlightened about some things like the efficiency of urban settlement patterns then turn right around and march shoulder to shoulder with the ignorati on energy conservation and pollution – even if it includes global impacts and rising oceans that will cause trillions of dollars in response to “harden” infrastructure.

      It’s almost cute that they now label this response to rising oceans (of which they refuse to attribute to AGW) – as “resiliency”.

      so – heres the narrative. There is no such thing as man-created AGW. It’s a scam shoved down our throats by an unholy global conspiracy of science –

      but in the meantime – we have this “other” issue of what to do about sea level rise (which we can attribute to Subsidence and sunspots because we did not cause them).

      Nevermind, that we go on endlessly and breathlessly talking about unfunded liabilities in our budget – the fact that none of this is part of that same conversation is irrelevant. (sic).

      I DO wonder just how sustainable cities would be if they were required to put those “clean coal” electricity plants – within their own limits (as they used to do but usually in the “poor” section of town – back before we realized the poor were also humans).

      I’ll bet Mr. Jim would change his position in a New York Minute if coal plants had to be sited closer to where the need and use was – and those “wonderful” cities were awash in the crap that comes out of their smokestacks.

      Jim is always saying that people should have choice but they should pay their own way. How do cities “pay their own way” when they export the air and water pollution needed for them to operate “sustainably” ? How does that meet Jim’s standard paying for what you use?

      we did not stop dumping raw sewage in our rivers because the sensibilities of Conservatives were assaulted. Nope. Conservatives fought tooth and nail to kill both the Clean water and Clean air acts with lots of help from industry – as it is now.

      so the MO is to oppose, obfuscate, gridlock .. stop – efforts that make perfect symmetrical and economic sense – to conserve resources AND reduce pollution – but once they lose the battle and success is obvious – they claim they were always in favor of it to start with but just wanted it done cost-effectively.

      compare and contrast this historical behavior with regard to prior conservation and pollution efforts with the current skeptic/denier folks. There is an undeniable pattern.

      Same behavior – same message: cutting pollution and conserving energy will “cost” TRILLIONS of dollars and devastate the economy BUT “resiliency” is a totally different subject of which money is not currently under discussion.. it’s just a concept, Gawd Forbid we actually recognize it for what it is – as a result of climate and it’s “costs” .. in the trillions…

      nope – they’re two different issues..!!!!

      The “war on coal” and “resiliency” are not in the least – related to each other.

      One is about false pollution and the other is about that danged increased sea level!

      this is like going to the Doc with a smashed thumb – many times over the years – and the doc finally asks something about the hammer use – and the patient says – “doc, I don’t want to be rude – but you’re expertise is in fixing smashed thumbs – not using hammers”.


  11. After reading all this stuff I’m pretty sure the science is settled. We have to remove as much CO2 as possible to save the planet. There’s only one thing to do. We hold a draft. Those who have their number picked, live. Everyone else performs their sacred duty to Mother Earth. Of course politicians, global warming scientists, and Wall Street crooks are exempt. Someone has to maintain an orderly world.

    1. maybe the skeptics and deniers should go first… that ought make them believers, right?


    2. Thanks for a good laugh, Darrell. We breathe, therefore we exhale (carbon dioxide) — aaauuuggggh!

      Re “what happens if we are wrong?” — What could happen is, we cripple our competitiveness in the worldwide economy. Unless of course we get buy-in by China and India and all the ambitious third-world nations.

      A worldwide lottery to decide everyone’s right to continue living makes more sense. At least, that way, those left behind would have enough room to live on higher ground.

      1. that’s just silly. we didn’t take that approach with CFCs.. nor do we have to do it here.

        we have to take steps – some may be more costly to those who are more well off than those who live in developing world or 3rd world locations.

        to do nothing at all – to deny that we should do anything is – ignorant.

        to make it an either/or proposition -where we live or we die – is just as bad..in my view.

        what has happened to us?

        we used to be willing to deal with the challenges… as a society – as a people
        and now look at us… it’s pitiful

      2. well.. this is what is going on – in reality:

        ” In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the nation’s largest cigarette makers to publicly admit that they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking.

        The basis for the punishment: testimony from 162 witnesses, a nine-month bench trial and thousands of findings by the judge that defendants engaged in what the largest public health organizations in the country have called a massive campaign of fraud.

        Bloodied but unbeaten, the tobacco companies have plunged into another courtroom battle in an effort to stave off the humiliation of having to underwrite an ad campaign in which they brand themselves as liars. Oral arguments are scheduled for Monday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.”


        when all is said and done – this is the technique being used by the industry with regard to AGW. and they have Senators in the US Senate convinced.

        Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher (NYT)

        For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.

        One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.

        But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.

        He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.

        However, other companies and industry groups that once supported Dr. Soon, including Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute, appear to have eliminated their grants to him in recent years.

        As the oil-industry contributions fell, Dr. Soon started receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars through DonorsTrust, an organization based in Alexandria, Va., that accepts money from donors who wish to remain anonymous, then funnels it to various conservative causes.

        THis is why I say it’s important to make sure of the sources where folks get their info.

        Would I, should I – believe scientists funded by the Koch Bros or the Southern Companies or Exxon before I believe NASA and NOAA?

        what’ amusing here is that the AGW scientists (including NOAA and NASA) are said to be engaging in a global conspiracy motivated by govt grant funding – and the opposing skeptic/denier scientists funded by Koch and Exxon..and coal utility companies…

  12. […] in the modern USA typically favor “after-the-fact” solutions that cost more? The examples given here are climate change, health care, education and […]

  13. Mr. Bacon:

    I, for one, hope your concerns are right and that climate change is not happening and, if it is, is not manmade. Indeed, I pray that.

    But when 97 percent of the people who spend the time/energy/brain power to study an issue say the chances are incredibly high that climate change is happening and it is caused by man spewing carbon into the air, to not act today is the equivalent of betting on the longest long shot in history.

    Most conservatives would argue against betting on long-shots, wouldn’t they?

    I’m willing to go along with the resilience movement as it does, as you note, go down a little easier with “deniers” and “quasi-deniers” as yourself and because it is a step in the right direction. (I understand the political mantra that politics is the “art of the possible.”)

    But I’ve always heard that the first rule of holes is that when one finds himself in one, he should quit digging.

    Let’s quit digging. By every measure, it is immensely cheaper and easier not to create a disaster than to deal with it. Slowing, and hopefully stopping, the amount of greenhouse gases from man being sent into the atmosphere is the “quit digging” and even if it causes an economic and social dip, even a personal economic dip, we should quit digging.

    Resilience doesn’t cause any of us to look at our own activities and understand the first two steps of Tapesty behavioral change model — recognize there is a problem and recognize “my” part in creating it. When it’s “resilience to lots of things,” well, that’s societal and doesn’t require any action by me personally.

    And the crucial action for climate change is for each and every one of us to figure out how to minimize our contribution to it. If we drive less, we produce less need for “fracked” or “tar sands” oil. If we turn our thermostat down, we create less need for Dominion Power to build pipelines and nuclear plants. If we eat more healthy even, we create less greenhouses gas because beef and pork production is highly carbon intensive.

    Remember, on a per capita basis, Americans use twice the carbon that Europeans use while enjoying, generally, only an equivalent standard of living. We use almost eight times as much carbon on a per capita basis as our economic competitor, China, although it’s economy has grown what, twice as fast as ours since 2000?

    I applaud the “resilience” movement but remember please that it masks the reality that there are major forces trying to unleash more tar sands oil production, more fracking and, next up, drilling in deep water above the Arctic Circle (as if the Deepwater Horizon spill never happened). All of these will release more carbon into the atmosphere which is already at levels the vast majority of scientists think are unsustainable and some believe catastrophic.

    We’ve got to do more than just learn to be resilient.

    1. Salz has reasonable words and observations in my view and has similar concerns about the concept of “resilience” and how it relates to denial of AGW.

      It sounds to me that “resilience” is a form of non-denial, denial.

      it sort of tries to separate out/ignore/deny the effect of rising seas – from their real and proper cause.

      I’ve noticed what appears to be a certain amount of fatalism also – that a feeling of , it’s too late to stop AGW and now we must throw out efforts to responding to it.

      and make no mistake – “resilience” is an unfunded liability of immense proportions –

      I’d be willing to bet – all this hand-wringing about the Federal deficit – is a drop in the bucket compared to what we will have to spend – as a country – on “resilience” and it’s a good question if we end up spending more on “reliance” than we might have on efforts to reduce AGW.

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