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Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 06:10:09PM *  0 points [-]

Just out of curiosity, what is your stance on the impact of cars on climate change? And cars are too narrow, then what is your stance on fossil fuel consumptions and its impact on climate change?

You linked to parts of the debate I've never been exposed to, so I'm curious if there's more to know.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 06:45:27PM *  0 points [-]

tl;dr It's complicated :-)

Generally speaking, the issue of global warming is decomposable into several questions with potentially different answers. E.g.:

  • Have we observed general warming throughout the XX and early XXI century? That's a question about facts and can be answered relatively easily.

  • Does emitting very large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere affect climate? That's a question about a scientific theory and by now it's relatively uncontested as well (note: quantifying the impact of CO2 on climate is a different thing. For now the issue is whether such an impact exists).

  • Are there other factors affecting climate on decade- and century- scales? Also a question about scientific theories and again the accepted answer is "yes", but quantifying the impact (or agreeing on a fixed set of such factors) is not so simple.

  • What do we expect the global temperatures to be in 20/50/100 years under certain assumptions about the rate of CO2 emissions? Ah, here we enter the realm of models and forecasts. Note: these are not facts. Also note that here the "complicated" part becomes "really complicated". For myself, I'll just point out that I distrust the confidence put by many people into these models and the forecasts they produce. By the way, there are a LOT of these models.

  • What consequences of our temperature forecasts do we anticipate? Forecasting these consequences is harder than forecasting temperatures, since these consequences are conditional on temperature forecasts. Some things here are not very controversial (it's unlikely that glaciers will stop retreating), some are (will hurricanes become weaker? stronger? more frequent? Umm....)

  • What should we do in response to global warming? At this point we actually leave the realm of science and enter the world of "should". For some reason many climate scientists decided that they are experts in economics and politics and so know what the response should be. Unfortunately for them, it's not a scientific question. It's a question of making a series of uncertain trade-offs where what you pick is largely decided by your values and your preferences. I expect the outcome to be as usual: "The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must".

Comment author: Dagon 28 March 2017 06:08:00PM 1 point [-]

I don't think those things are necessarily distinct. Many people do not compartmentalize the status-hierarchy-supporting behaviors from the trust-building and responsibility-dividing ones.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 06:29:23PM 1 point [-]

Well, they can be distinct if you analyse what's happening. I agree that most people not only don't compartmentalise, but even do not recognize that there are multiple things happening under the hood.

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 05:46:56PM *  0 points [-]

That is fair, so why was the claim that cars are a net positive not nearly as thoroughly scrutinized as my counterargument? I can't help but notice some favoritism here...

Was such an analysis done? Recently? Is this such common knowledge that nobody bothered to refute it?

Edit: my imagination only stretches so far as to see climate change being the only heavy counterargument to the virtue of cars. Anything else seems relatively minor, i.e deaths from motor accidents, etc.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 05:56:12PM 0 points [-]

why was the claim that cars are a net positive not nearly as thoroughly scrutinized as my counterargument?

Because there is a significant prior to overcome. Whenever people get sufficiently wealthy, they start buying cars. Happened in the West, happened in China, Russia, India, etc. etc. Everywhere. And powers-that-be are fine with that. So to assert that cars are a net negative you need to assert that everyone is wrong.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 28 March 2017 05:25:15PM 0 points [-]

It's not precise enough to be falsifiable

Yes it is. For example, if CO2 concentrations and/or global temperatures went down by much more than the measurement uncertainties, the claim would be falsified.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 05:51:33PM *  0 points [-]

I said:

For example, "because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event" is a not-quantified claim.

The claim doesn't mention any measurement uncertainties. Moreover, the actual claim is "CO2 cascades into a warming event" and, y'know, it's just an event. Maybe it's an event with a tiny magnitude, maybe another event happens which counterbalances the CO2 effect, maybe the event ends, who knows...

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 04:48:14PM 0 points [-]

Well, at this point I'd concede its not easy to make a claim with standards fit for such an example.

I'll see what I can do.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 05:08:52PM *  0 points [-]

The general test is whether the claim is precise enough to be falsifiable -- is there an outcome (or a set of data, etc) which will unambiguously prove that claim to be wrong, with no wiggle room to back out?

And, by the way, IPCC reports are, of course, full of quantified claims like the one I mentioned. There might be concerns with data quality, model errors, overconfidence in the results, etc. etc, but the claims are well-quantified.

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 04:42:20PM 0 points [-]

there is a counter-argument to it, too

What was his counter-argument? I can't read German.

Like the remarkable hurricane drought in the North America? Or are you going to actually argue that weather is climate?

Well clearly we need to establish a time range. Most sources for weather and temperature records I've seen span a couple of centuries. Is that not a range large enough to talk about climate instead of weather?

Sure, but it's a different debate.

Its a related debate, especially relevant if conclusions in the debate a metalevel lower are unenlightened.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 05:03:34PM 0 points [-]

What was his counter-argument?

Here

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 04:20:55PM 0 points [-]

LOL. Are you quite sure this is how humans work? :-)

They don't, that's something you train to do.

I want you to quantify the claim, not the evidence for the claim.

Why? Are you asking me to write out the interpretation of the evidence I see as a mathematical model instead of a sentence in English?

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 04:38:17PM *  0 points [-]

Are you asking me to write out the interpretation of the evidence I see as a mathematical model

Not evidence. I want you to make a precise claim.

For example, "because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event" is a not-quantified claim. It's not precise enough to be falsifiable (which is how a lot of people like it, but that's a tangent).

A quantified equivalent would be something along the lines of "We expect the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 300 to 400 ppmv to lead to the increase of the average global temperature by X degrees spread over the period of Z years so that we forecast the average temperature in the year YYYY as measured by a particular method M to be T with the standard error of E".

Note that this is all claim, no evidence (and not a model, either).

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 04:05:53PM 0 points [-]

Turns out you don't know. The word means expressing your claims in numbers and, by itself, does not imply support by data.

Usually "quantifying" is tightly coupled to being precise about your claims.

I'm confused. You wouldn't have claims to make before seeing the numbers in the first place. You communicate this claim to another, they ask you why, you show them the numbers. That's the typical process of events I'm used to, how is it wrong?

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 04:13:31PM 0 points [-]

You wouldn't have claims to make before seeing the numbers in the first place.

LOL. Are you quite sure this is how humans work? :-)

You communicate this claim to another, they ask you why, you show them the numbers.

I want you to quantify the claim, not the evidence for the claim.

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 03:42:25PM *  0 points [-]

You did use the word "quantify", did you not? Do you know what it means?

Putting data on the table to back up claims. Back up your idea of what is going on in the world with observations, notably observations you can put a number on.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 03:58:24PM *  0 points [-]

Putting data on the table to back up claims.

Turns out you don't know. The word means expressing your claims in numbers and, by itself, does not imply support by data.

Usually "quantifying" is tightly coupled to being precise about your claims.

Comment author: dglukhov 28 March 2017 03:41:32PM 0 points [-]

You are confused between showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and developing climate models of the planet Earth.

What other inferential steps does a person need to be shown to tell them that because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event?

There are people who say that this will become (note: future tense) true, but these people are making a forecast.

The recent weather anomalies hitting earth imply the future is here.

At which point we are talking about the whole energy infrastructure of the society and not about the costs of cars.

Indeed, so why not debate at the metalevel of the infrastructure, and see where the results of that debate lead in terms of their impacts on the automotive industry? It is a massive industry, worth trillions of dollars globally, any impacts on energy infrastructure will have lasting impacts on the automotive industry.

Comment author: Lumifer 28 March 2017 03:52:19PM *  0 points [-]

What other inferential steps does a person need to be shown to tell them that because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event?

Look up a disagreement between two chaps, Svante Arrhenius and Knut Ångström :-)

Here is the argument against your position (there is a counter-argument to it, too):

water vapor, which is far more abundant in the air than carbon dioxide, also intercepts infrared radiation. In the infrared spectrum, the main bands where each gas blocked radiation overlapped one another. How could adding CO2 affect radiation in bands of the spectrum that H2O (not to mention CO2 itself) already made opaque?

.

The recent weather anomalies hitting earth imply the future is here.

Like the remarkable hurricane drought in the North America? Or are you going to actually argue that weather is climate?

so why not debate at the metalevel of the infrastructure

Sure, but it's a different debate.

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