Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where's the figures?

This article states confidently that Australia's emissions grow at twice the rate of other rich countries but was there a link to the data? Does any bloody news service that rants about global warming ever make the data demonstrating latest trends that they mention available? Nope. Where does this place Australia in its notional Kyoto targets that we didn't sign? Until the latest (but not linked) figures we appeared on target. I am quite for the concept of exporting emmissions to exempt developing countries like Indonesia etc. This may invoke a much more rapid transfer of real wealth to the third world, as we tax our Carbon highly, and they can remain exempt gaining a competitive advantage. And the nice thing about competitive advantage is that it isn't a "freebie" like aid, grants, tarriffs or oil resources. They still have to work hard and competitively to take advantage of the advantage.

On the latest posturing of "players" in the "global warming" game, there appears little prospect of (global) emmissions reductions for at least a couple of decades. Plus the moral hazard is just too great. I reckon if (global) emmissions are at 120% of current emmissions by 2030, we will be doing well. The only thing left to guesswork is who everyone is going to blame.


Dr. Clam said...

I'm guessing by 2030 people will care as much about global warming as they do about Rubik's cubes nowadays. As for who to blame, my guess is whatever happens, the US will get blamed, e.g.:

"If they had shut down their military industrial complex instead of hunting down those terrorists who wanted to destroy them, it wouldn't be pumping out all those emissions, accelerating global warming."

"If they had promptly hunted down those terrorists who wanted to destory them, all their major cities wouldn't be on fire, accelerating global warming."

"Their transition to an agrarian subsistence economy led to vastly increased rates of sheep flatulence, accelerating global warming."

"Their invention of a clean, cheap, carbon-free method of energy generation encouraged the rest of the world to think they could carry on with business as usual, accelerating global warming."

Marco said...

I think you are right, in the sense that it only takes one nice big surprise event unrelated to weather/floods and people's focus will shift markedly. Just one nuclear explosion on any city anywhere, or an asteroid impact, and people will be thinking all the priorities were wrong elevating global warming so. I just think even disregarding these possibilities, all the efforts will only amount to slightly tempering the accelerating emissions.

And yes, it will be big bad USA's fault no matter what happens.

Jenny said...

Having done a bit of statistics - particularly in the biological field - I read stats with great jaundicicity (lexifabing a bit there). Without the data, or at least the design that was used to get the stats, I agree that statements such as you quoted are meaningless. They are only useful to push an agenda or sell a story to the unsuspecting public. If I had a dollar for the number of times I've seen such statements and checked and found a bunch of qualifiers, or even the screaming headline "treatment increases instance of disease by 1/2" carefully not followed by: (original disease prevalence 0.000002% of population, with treatment 0.000003%). I think its criminal to provide partial information to the public to get them to make supposedly informed decisions.

Dr. Clam said...

Jaundicity- I like it!
I usually avoid talking about anything remotely controversial at work, as do we all, but yesterday global warming happened to come up in an after-work chat with one of my colleagues in the hard sciences and he turned out to be slightly more to the skeptical end of the 'skeptic-believer' spectrum than I am. I know the argument from authority is the weakest form of argument, but still found this gratifying.