"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, October 26, 2015

The fever is not the disease

Our problem is uncontrolled anthropogenic climate change.

The global temperature is a measure of the change, but it is not the change we care about. We care about what happens on the ground at one place and another as the temperature changes.

"Global warming" is like the fever; climate disruption is the disease.

You can eliminate a fever with an ice bath, but you'll just stress the patient. While someone with an abnormal body temperature is probably sick, having a normal body temperature does not prove that someone is well.

A lot of analogies are easily strained but this one is pretty good. We're obsessing over a number, sometimes even to the exclusion of the patient's health.

Shifting goalposts? Maybe for you. I said this before the hiatus and I am saying it now that the hiatus is disappearing into the puff of smoke that it was.

"Global warming" is just a symptom.


Anna said...
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jg said...

I recall you saying this a long time ago, but I don't recall when. So, instead of 'shifting goal posts', a word choice that incorrectly implies you're playing a game, I'd say you issued a correction as soon as you recognized the need for one.

Michael Tobis said...

An anonymous commenter asks:

Would you say we have a problem here:

Given that it's funded by taxpayer money and it's a site that's meant to be authoritative & to help inform, how do we find out what's gone wrong in NOAA's communications dept, and what tools can be used to help find out, that don't thereby become cudgels to be wielded against scientists who are operating in good faith?

I would say the article is fine, and I would have written it similarly.