Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Willis Hart's Uproariously Ludicrous Notion That Anyone Says The Earth's Climate Is Safe But Humans Make It Much More Dangerous

This recent commentary from the climate-change-denying Libertarian blogger Willis Hart is proof that instead of "Take No Prisoners" his tagline should instead be "I Love Strawmen".

Willis Hart: On the Uproariously Ludicrous Notion that the Earth's Climate is Safe and that Humans Make it Much More Dangerous... I'm sorry but anyone with even a scintilla of gray-matter (a scarce resource in the White House and on Capitol Hill) knows that the exact opposite is true and that the data bears it out; the fact that climate related deaths have plummeted by over 95% during the past century, the fact that rich countries survive extreme weather events (which even the IPCC says HAVEN'T gotten worse or more prevalent as the result of CO2 increases) much better than developing countries do, etc. (not that those who are hard-wired into thinking that humans/human progress are evil and that life on the farm and dying at 40 were the cat's meow can ever be convinced, mind you). And it's just such damned common sense, for Christ. (10/28/2015 AT 5:28pm).

Everything Willis says regarding the data bearing out the fact that climate-related deaths have gone down in "rich countries" sounds accurate to me (without looking anything up), and I seriously doubt anyone would dispute these facts. (The text in purple).

Everything else Willis writes is total bullshit. The notion he finds "uproarious" is NOT a notion! There is, therefore, absolutely no reason for him to be "sorry". Nobody in the White House or on Capitol Hill has ever said that the earth's climate is safe and that humans make it much more dangerous - via anthropogenic, or human influenced, global warming (AGW).

What those who acknowledge the fact that empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming exists (due to the research of the 97 percent of climate experts who agree it's real) are saying is that AGW is making severe weather events MORE dangerous (not that they were SAFE and now they aren't due to AGW).

Skeptical Science: Whenever there is an extreme weather event, such as a flood or drought, people ask whether that event was caused by global warming. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Weather is highly variable and extreme weather events have always happened. Detecting trends takes time... An increase in extreme weather is expected with global warming because rising temperatures affect weather parameters in several ways. Changes in the frequency of extreme events coinciding with global warming have already been observed, and there is increasing evidence that some of these changes are caused by the impacts of human activities on the climate. (Is extreme weather caused by global warming?).

Also false is Willis' claim that the IPCC says severe weather events have not gotten worse or more prevalent as the result of CO2 increases. ...the "worsening-storms scenario" has not... been debunked. ...[While] the IPCC did find that there is "low confidence" regarding "increases in tropical cyclone activity" over the past 100 years... evidence is stronger regarding increases in the strongest storms in certain regions. According to the... IPCC report, there is evidence for a "virtually certain" — which means between 99 percent and 100 percent probability — "increase in the frequency and intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones since the 1970s" in the North Atlantic basin. (The Extreme Weather-Warming Connection).

Another ludicrous strawman is Willis' claim that the climate change scientists (and those listening to them) view human progress as EVIL. He's referring to people who believe in SCIENCE and think we have PROGRESSED to the point where we can start aggressively moving away from dirty fossil-fuel-based energy toward cleaner renewable green energy. This is the next stage of humanity's progress and NOT a step backward.

The fact is that it's Willis Hart who wants us to stay stagnant and not move forward! Due to his love for the dirty energy oligarchs, I'm guessing. There is a lot of money to be made continuing down the path to making our planet more inhospitable for humans by conducting business as usual and continuing to spew CO2 into the atmosphere.

Scientific America, in a 10/26/2015 article, reveals that "Exxon knew about climate change almost 40 years ago [but] spent decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoted climate misinformation". Why? To protect their profits, of course.

And, speaking of evil, according to environmentalist Bill McKibben, "Exxon Mobil's decision to hide research that confirmed fossil fuels' role in global warming for decades amounts to unparalleled evil".

This is a statement I find myself agreeing with. I mean, the fact that they not only covered up what their own scientists were finding, but that they also funded "think tanks" that deliberately pumped out misinformation? IMO this crosses a line from self-preservation into evil territory. And Willis, with his continual strawmanning on this issue, aligns himself with this evil.

OK, so that does it in regards to my debunking of the Hart's AGW strawmen. There is, however, one last bit of misinformation from Willis that I'd like to refute. Which would be his claim regarding an average life span of 40 (prior to technological innovations of the 20th century).

According Livescience, "human lifespans [have been] nearly constant for 2,000 years".

Discussions about life expectancy often involve how it has improved over time. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy for men in 1907 was 45.6 years; by 1957 it rose to 66.4; in 2007 it reached 75.5. Unlike the most recent increase in life expectancy (which was attributable largely to a decline in half of the leading causes of death including heart disease, homicide, and influenza), the increase in life expectancy between 1907 and 2007 was largely due to a decreasing infant mortality rate, which was 9.99 percent in 1907; 2.63 percent in 1957; and 0.68 percent in 2007.

But the inclusion of infant mortality rates in calculating life expectancy creates the mistaken impression that earlier generations died at a young age; Americans were not dying en masse at the age of 46 in 1907. The fact is that the maximum human lifespan — a concept often confused with "life expectancy" — has remained more or less the same for thousands of years. The idea that our ancestors routinely died young (say, at age 40) has no basis in scientific fact.

Of course, infant mortality is only one of many factors that influence life expectancy, including medicine, crime, and workplace safety. But when it is calculated in, it often creates confusion and myths.

When Socrates died at the age of 70 around 399 B.C., he did not die of old age but instead by execution. It is ironic that ancient Greeks lived into their 70s and older, while more than 2,000 years later modern Americans aren't living much longer. (article by Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor. 8/21/2009).

That the higher infant mortality rates of the past lowered "average life expectancy" is just such damned common sense, for Christ! Yet Willis buys into the myth that people were dropping dead at 40. That's in addition to his ludicrous notion that the climate change scientists (and those who trust that they aren't liars) are "warmists" or "alarmists".

So, while the Hartster may believe his climate change stoogery in service of the Big Oil oligarchs (which, as of 2010, was killing 5 million people a year) is the cat's meow, rational people (those of us who believe in science and realize that dirty fossil fuel energy should be left in the past) strongly disagree. And we might laugh uproariously at how absurd his denialism is (he's actually claimed that those on the side of science are "losing [the] argument and... losing it... badly")... if this kind of anti-science thinking wasn't so dangerous.

OST #78

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