“If ‘some humans survive’ is the only thing we care about, then climate change is a non-issue. I think it’s certain that ‘some’ humans will survive almost any climate change. They may be living short, hard lives of poverty, but they’ll be alive.”
“Future humans, as they live in a climate dystopia: ‘I thought he cared about the environment’.”
“I find the path we’re on now — the rich world survives (if lucky), but abandons everyone else — to be morally problematic.”
Professor Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M is the alarmist’s alarmist. At a lunch some years ago, he remarked to me (and his more moderate colleague Gerald North) that humankind would have to live underground because of anthropogenic warming. And he stated that fossil fuels had made us slaves, a deep-ecology argument that has been ably turned around by Matt Ridley).
The IPCC estimates climate sensitivity between 1.5° – 4.5°C; Dessler estimates 2.4° – 4.6°C. The mid-to-upper range is a lot of warming–and much more than what we have seen to date well into the carbon-based energy era.
Dessler knows he is right. And I do not doubt that he believes himself, being a nature-is-optimal-and-fragile ecologist at heart and not knowing (or at least not acknowledging) important contrary arguments outside of his field of specialization (Vaclav Smil on energy density; Robert Mendelsohn on climate benefits and free-market adaptation).
Professor Dessler is certain that man-made climate change will be steep and wreck the ecosphere and economy. He attributes bad motives to those who disagree with him. And he downplays contrary argument and evidence. Sum it up and you get … an angry scientist letting off steam via stormy tweets.
I have previously described Dessler as the The Certain Climate Alarmist. I have warned Texas politicians to beware of his offer to present his (one-sided) view of climate science and public policy without a skeptic (of climate alarmism, not climate science) in the room.
As part of my research of Dessler’s oeuvre, I performed a tweet review to understand the professor’s mentality for background re his books The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change (2011) and Introduction to Modern Climate Change (2016).
I categorize some of his more notable tweets from the last six or so months. (A far more interesting dive would look at several years of his tweets.)
Adaptation a Joke
Adaptation is no joke; it is a growing, central part of the whole climate debate. The mitigation window has long been closing. The climate math worsens over time with the log (not linear) forcing of CO2. Dessler himself pretty much said as much:
If we want to protect ecosystems & keep the Earth looking pretty much like it looks now, I have some bad news for you. That boat has sailed. The only possible way to achieve this is aggressive geoengineering (both SRM & CDR), and even if that’s possible it’s not a sure thing. (November 20, 2018)
And there is evidence that nature, not only humankind, is adapting to change to “internalize” the negative effects of weather/climate to leave the positive effects of the human influence on climate.
Also, Professor Dessler should make peace with what might be the most important climate statistic of all: the dramatic decline in human mortality from climate/weather extremes. In this regard, the risks of climate policy, not only the physical side of climate, should be acknowledged.
Blatant Disrespect for Skeptics
This is a scary reminder that the “Climategate” mentality–where the ‘tribe’ employs methodological tricks, perverts the peer review process, and even dreams of physical harm to their intellectual adversaries–is alive and well.
While not of Climategate infamy, Professor Dessler has directly contributed to the freezeout by orchestrating a political statement for his colleagues to sign at Texas A&M. He also dismissed Climategate as a mere distraction rather than a scandal.
Why would I or you go into this field where you would be discriminated against and marginalized by the Desslers of the world? Same thing for Sociology and History or Critical Studies in academia that are overwhelmingly Statist (versus free market) and intolerant of opposing views.
Politicization of quite unsettled science does two things: it attracts the wrong people to the field and discourages the right talent.
Certain Science, Certain Alarmism
Note the “denier” insult. Why can’t he just say “skeptic” as in critic of climate alarmism? And yes, Moore is right. The major threat to energy sustainability is Statism where an intellectual/political elite make energy choices instead of each of us as voluntary consumers. (Dessler loves the authoritarian Green New Deal, not surprisingly.)
The Pause (“Hiatus” of Warming)
Funny thing, coming out of the very hot El Nino-driven 1998, Richard Kerr in Science magazine reported the scientific consensus that that this level of global warming would soon be the new normal. And then in 2009 that a warming “jolt” would replace the “pause.” Yes, there was an El Nino driven jump in 2015/16, but we could well be back into the “pause.”
Not Easy Being Green
Everyone’s “de minimus” still adds up to a “de minimus.” Even major public policies result in de minimus. Asia is building or planning to build 1,200 coal plants–that’s a reality that puts the whole US in a bit of a “de minimus”.
Does Dessler know of any alarmist that is against government pricing of CO2? I would take alarmism more seriously if climatologists said that the climate was highly sensitive to GHG forcing, the mitigation window was closing, and we needed to focus on free-market, health-is-wealth adaptation.
With views like this, one would think that the good news about carbon dioxide–from CO2 fertilization to lower real-world (versus model) warming–would be welcomed with huge sighs of relief. But twitter rants against skeptics seem to be the substitute against mid-course corrections that maybe, just maybe, the climate alarm is overblown.
Something is very wrong here….