I want change and I want it NOW

I found this headline and photo yesterday and cringed.

Sandy Survivors to Obama: Our Power is Out, But You Have the Power to Stop Climate Change


Do these protestors truly believe Obama can in less than 4 years stop hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes, single-handedly? He can’t even get their lights on. (Of course, having no lights and heat could help climate change, if Obama had not hopped on Air Force One shortly after promising action and gone on the campaign trail…..)

This is a truly frightening direction. No climate change scientist says we can stop hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards. Cooling may decrease the frequency or intensity of these weather phenomena, but there are only probability calculations concerning how much effect CO2 decrease will have on the planet.

As an aside, on WtD, there was a writeup on more frequent blizzards in the Midwest and Northeast. There was NO mention of the west or northwest. Right now, the winters in Wyoming have become much less snowy and the summers very dry. There is NO extreme weather of any kind. Why leave out half the country in the data?

Returning to the disturbing headline and photo. I sincerely hope these individuals are prepared to be disappointed, not to mention to be flooded and snowed on many, many more times in the future. Even if we stopped fossil fuel usage tomorrow (which would cause worldwide war) the climate will not snap back immediately. Climate scientists talk of carbon dioxide “half-life”, meaning CO2 in the air takes time to clear out. Also, to maintain any kind of industrial society with even a moderate decrease in CO2 would require the use of nuclear power, something the protestors would be back picketing also.

Climate change has become a cause that is destined to fail with this sensationalism. Let’s say we do cut emissions. If the next ten years, the blizzards and storms still increase (for whatever reason) there will be questions. The claim can be made that more time is required for the climate to return to “normal”. However, if cutting emissions was accomplished through unreliable electricity (or cost-prohibitive), reduced driving, higher unemployment, and other sacrifices, the public may be very unhappy with the lack of results. This will damage the public’s confidence in science. Science demanded change, changes were made, and the results were nil. People are not very patient these days.

The way climate change has been presented, the disaster is imminent and we must change. If we change and the bad things still happen, the public blames science. One can only spin things so far–”believers” expect miracles. Shut down CO2, the storms go away, we still have lights, cars, industry—there’s just no way to deliver all of that.

Magical thinking—encouraging it is always a mistake. If science doesn’t make clear there is no magic, it risks losing credibility permanently.


2 comments on “I want change and I want it NOW

  1. Lazarus says:

    Straw man post here.
    Firstly “hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes” isn’t climate change and No one is asking Obama to stop climate change, (no one with any understanding on the subject would believe he could and anyone who thinks many people do believe it are just as ignorant), but to take action on it.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Even some of the people on the CAGW side of the argument are saying ‘tone it down, you’re not helping’ to their colleagues. The lurid scare tactics aren’t working. Its not helped by the fact that CAGW activists fail to turn up to debates with sceptics and when they do they don’t meet science with science. The public can tell when one side is on the ropes metaphorically even if they aren’t geared to understand the technical stuff.

    My recommendation for CAGW people is to relentlessly talk science in detail. And debate on the level. If they do that and win for a few years people might start to come around.

    I was interested also to read a Pew poll recently that ‘dealing with Global Warming’ was again last of 21 policy areas in the US. I think the public may need some real convincing, not just excitable headlines every other day.

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