Friday, August 13, 2010 ... //

Revkin: greenhouse effect is at best a tertiary wild card

I just finished writing a text on the floods in China in Pakistan and the wildfires in Russia (in Czech) when Tom Nelson focused my attention on Andrew Revkin's article on the same issue:

Building Resilience on a Turbulent Planet (Dot Earth)
It's a generic interview with an environmentalist, Robert Verchick, but what's remarkable in my and Tom Nelson's eyes is Revkin's comment #5:
To my eye, you have the importance of the "forcings" of population and human-driven climate change reversed. Consider last year's news from sub-Saharan Africa, where populations are confidently expected to double by midcentury. Natural cycles of century-long superdroughts were revealed in a lakebed.

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So climate super-extremes are inevitable, the number of people is doubling, and greenhouse-driven change, given the uncertainties, is - at best - a tertiary wild card.
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► http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com...

Related to your link on flooding and the Taliban, drought has also shaped politics and conflict in South Asia, including -- perhaps -- aiding the initial rise of the Taliban:

► http://www.nytimes.com...
Formatting and emphasis added by L.M.

That's quite a statement from someone whom we would consider to be an alarmist - although a moderate one - just a few months ago. Frankly, I don't really see any "effective" difference between Revkin's opinions and the opinions of those who are normally considered climate skeptics.

Andy Revkin noticed that I (and Tom Nelson!) noticed his focus and informed his 11 thousand Twitter followers about the focused focus by your humble correspondent. :-)

Indeed, the industrially driven greenhouse effect is at most a tertiary wild card, one of many less-than-secondary effects that may influence the life on Earth but that will not dominate any important issues. Meteorological extremes are bound to happen, much like the business-as-usual life of the human society which will almost certainly include some further population growth.

I think it's time for Joseph Romm or another breathtaking loon of the same kind to declare Andrew Revkin a heretic, much like they recently did in the case of Judith Curry. ;-)

Bonus: history of TRF and the web

Do you remember how Luboš Motl's Reference Frame looked like six years ago? The oldest archived version of TRF from November 2004 was a bit more modest and standardized than the current one. Well, the computers have gotten about 5 times faster than they used to be so it's OK that the design is more demanding these days. :-)

See other archived snapshots of TRF and the whole Internet.