As you highlighted, there are no penalties for doing nothing.
david duncan

“As you highlighted, there are no penalties for doing nothing. Hence, nothing will be done outside of the general drive to make fossil-fuel consuming devices more efficient. Fuel is not free. Therefore, using less is better than using more. Aircraft manufacturers understand this. As do builders of locomotives and ships and pretty much every device running on oil, coal or natural gas.”

Climate scientists have never pretended that a move away from fossil fuels means that none of it will be used again. Industries like Trucking will continue to depend on diesel fuels derived from petroleum, and it’s doubtful that passenger aircraft will ever be able to accomplish much with planes using primarily renewable energy sources. But, the goal is to reduce the massive amounts of Co2 emissions emitted by large industries as well as eliminating the effects of very large numbers of private vehicles which now use only fossil fuels. Considering all the fossil fuel using industries in the world and the billions upon billions of gasoline using vehicles that presently are not electric hybrids, full electrics, or can’t use Hydrogen to produce electricity, the goal is to “reduce” greenhouse gases, not to eliminate them entirely! If we can reduce emissions for a long enough period of time, the natural absorption of Co2 that forests and oceans provide (for instance) will lower levels enough to quit accelerating global warming, and, if done long enough, over centuries, our atmospheric Co2 will return to more normal levels.

“As far as Harvey goes, there’s no evidence climate change had any impact. Claims to the contrary, especially coming from the NY Times, means data has been tortured and analysis has been ignored.”

The fact is that multiple lines of evidence have lead the great majority of climate scientists to understand that our present emissions are causing abnormal rates of warming. As I said before, scientist know that Co2 traps heat in the troposphere, and how that heat is trapped — all signs lead back to atmospheric Co2 and deniers have not offered one single viable alternative which might instead explain our rapid rate of warming. Consensus does not necessarily mean any hypothesis is true beyond a doubt, and correlation does not necessarily prove causation, but when thousands of scientists from all over the world agree that AGW is real, that represents a consensus held by experts and by those most knowledgeable about our climate. Therefore, when those scientists actively publishing research papers and having advanced degrees in the various Earth science fields almost unanimously validate the fact that man is causing our present warming, that is a very important validation to heed! Their Consensus is composed of real climate scientists, not carpenters, lawyers, janitors, psychiatrists, nuclear physicists, archaeologists, etc. etc. etc. So that presents a powerful reason to accept what these learned authorities have been saying for several decades now, rather than the ignorant words of Governor Perry? And although the fact is that global warming can make natural weather phenomenon’s worse, and can also help cause them, the typical conclusions of climate scientists have been to honestly admit the difficulty in validating conclusive proofs, even though they have always known that increasing temperatures in our tropic regions, results in increased ocean evaporation, which then produces even more warming due to that water vapor (which itself, is also a major greenhouse gas). And recently, new research has made it possible to use ever more advanced tools of analysis. Thus, scientist are beginning to find direct links between Co2 emissions and extreme weather events. Here is a link to a blog which contains one of them:

“What else would anyone expect? And now, we have insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding.”

“Luckily for Texans who lose their homes to water, there is a federal program to help them: The National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. People with flood insurance through NFIP can at least recoup some of the damages and get the cost of their flood repairs covered. There are also many people in Southern Texas who don’t have flood insurance and will have to pick up the tab on their own.”

Will they?

From this link:

“Policymakers realized that building taller levies wasn’t going to stop flooding. So, the federal government decided they would sell insurance to homeowners, but with an important caveat. Congress wanted to insure older, existing houses in flood prone areas, while incentivizing new houses and development to be built elevated above the floodplain, so they wouldn’t get continuously flooded out and keep costing the federal government money.”

“At the time, it seemed like a great idea; government officials assumed that the older houses would eventually turn over and be gone, and they wouldn’t have to deal with them — instead they could focus on flood mitigation with newer, elevated buildings. And for a while, it worked. Storm surge stayed relatively low, and for decades, the NFIP was running in the black.”

“The turning point for the program came in 2005, when the Category 5 Katrina decimated New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast, soon followed by Rita and other storms. The 2005 hurricanes plunged the NFIP into debt, which was made worse by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.”

“The federal flood insurance program is a bit complicated, because it relies on private insurance companies to sell insurance to consumers. However, the federal government calculates the rate of premiums based on maps showing how flood prone a particular area is.”

“When homeowners buy their insurance plans from a private company, a portion of that cost goes back into the federal flood program, making up the fund that the federal government uses to pay out claims during floods. But when a huge storm hits, and the government has to make a big payout, taxpayers get caught picking up the rest of the tab.”

“The National Flood Insurance program is about $24 billion in the hole right now, which is directly related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.”

“The big problem the NFIP ran into when Katrina hit in 2005 was the old flood maps it was using to calculate insurance rates were very out of date. They were predicting a low storm surge along the Gulf, nowhere near what it actually was. And because the government had predicted a lower risk, people were paying lower rates.”

“We had gone through a very low storm surge for a number of decades prior to Katrina,” Larson said. “Now we have new data…it went way up.”

“Congress never set the program up to factor in the possibility of such events into the long-term financial plan of the NFIP,” said Rob Moore, a senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council who specializes in water and flooding said, “They have looked at these big storms and really only nibbled the edges of what it means long term for the flood insurance program.”

“There has been reform to the program, reflected in higher rates people are paying. Sometimes, that can be really difficult for homeowners to swallow. For instance, after the federal government redrew the flood maps in Massachusetts in 2013, one woman was hit with a $68,000 insurance bill.”

All these costs make a very important point. First, that with ever worsening floods happening more and more often, the government will be required to reserve massive amounts of money to cover ever increasing losses. So, a lot of that cost will ultimately fall on taxpayers. Secondly, like private medical insurance companies, insurers will be forced to jack up the price of coverage beyond limits that the average homeowners can pay, and which will seriously cut into the budgets of homeowners who earn very large amounts of money each year. Yet you seem to assume that the government will always handle such massive losses, and forget that, when premiums and deductibles rise those costs are also paid by homeowners, and thus factor into the overall costs paid by ordinary citizens who must cope with these massive floods.

“Houston is a city built on clay. It doesn’t drain well. Houston is also a city with no zoning regulations. For that reason, the rebuilding will occur with astounding speed.”

Well that’s debatable, considering that potentially millions of residents may keep experiencing massive flooding which might eventually motivate them to leave for other areas. And, whoopy ding!! If the rebuilding takes place at an astounding speed, (in your mind) that seems to justify ignoring climate science? Favoring only those who will be able to afford rebuilding is unfair and prejudicial and ignores the unavoidable loss to human life (of even fifty people) as well as others who will continually be forced to fight for their survival while massive flooding continues.

“Regarding the cost of rebuilding in Houston and nearby, well, the estimates are already closer to $200 billion. Future storms will cause more damage because the cost of building the next generation of buildings will be higher priced and, for that reason, the insurance coverage will need increase their fees to meet the reality.”

“So now it appears the death toll from Harvey has reached 50. Yes, there were a few tragic deaths in the mix. But, from a purely objective standpoint, 50 deaths in the US, a nation of 325 million — is nothing. In the US, over 40 people are murdered every day. For a grand total of more than 15,000 per year. In other words, storms take few lives.”

“Highway deaths total around 34,000 a year. Car makers have learned from their experience how to make safer cars. In the early 1960s, when the population was only 200 million, the annual highway death toll was closer to 60,000.”

Here you seem to be saying, “Yes, car makers have learned to make safer cars in response to government imposed safety standards.” But you also seem to be saying, “So, if we lose 34,000 people due to traffic accidents who cares? Leave well enough alone and we will never need to incorporate better safety standards in manufacturing our vehicles again. So why complain about only 50 lives, even if more and more are bound to die in the future who wouldn’t have to?” Dismissing the outcomes of large natural disasters as minimal is a poor way to rationalize a lack of action — especially since climate scientist advocate both reducing Co2, and implementing adaptive measures to protect those who will live in a much more hostile climate in the future.

“Most of Africa is desperately poor because black thugs rip off everything possible. The leaders laugh at the naive foreigners who come to their godforsaken nightmare countries to perform good works. Those volunteers do the work a responsible government should perform. Those leaders have learned they can abuse their countries and suckers will line up to help the oppressed.”

I share your pessimism about Africa, and it is dubious that many African Nations will soon utilize modern forms of renewable energy, but once more let me point out that none of the Paris signatories are bound by a mandate to deliver any aid that they don’t want to! By monitoring how little African nations are using financial aid to reduce atmospheric Co2, many more established nations can just say, “No way! I refuse to throw my money down a flushing toilet — if they are really using our aid wisely, let them prove how!”

Besides, if larger Nations like India and China are able to make substantial cuts, THAT WILL AMOUNT TO PROGRESS IN ITSELF! Unfortunately, if we (as such a large Co2 emitter) simply decide to say. “To Hell with any necessary reductions “— that will not be a good message to send dozens of other countries which may then cry “Foul!!” and withdraw their support as well.

As I’ve said, about 99.999 percent of the world’s population could not care less about climate issues. That percentage is unlikely to change. Most of the world’s population is focused on the immediate issues of food and shelter. Therefore, if a few local governments impose restrictions on fossil fuels, the people living in those jurisdictions will soon enough feel the pain of artificially increased prices for everything.

And none of the world’s oil producers will stop producing oil and none of the world’s oil consumers will stop consuming. Same for coal and natural gas. That’s the reality. We’ll deal with whatever reality delivers.

The real significance of the Paris Accords, is that it marks the first time that almost 200 world nations have seriously considered taking actions to overcome global warming, and if you are keeping your eyes on our news media, how many of us now consider AGW to be the serious problem it is? You’ll see that quite a few of us are concerned about run away global warming. And it’s also true that many very large Co2 producing nations are beginning to grapple with the dangers posed by unchecked fossil fuel usages. So, could you please tell me where you get your 99.999% figure? And if jobs are created by green industries, are none of the World’s unemployed masses going to obtain employment by working in such a potentially lucrative industry?

If all the nations who signed the accord had no interest in reducing emissions and exploring green energy options, they would not even have needed to pretend that they were interested. What they would say, as they have usually said before, would include crying foul, just because every little provision in any agreement must be just as fair to industrial giants as it is towards very small countries! But if we larger more developed nations contribute the largest amounts of atmospheric Co2, why should we be coddled considering we are one of the main sources of AGW? If we made the problem worse than did nation “X” why shouldn’t we contribute more towards solving it?

Here’s just one more thing I’d like to add because I failed to include it in my first version of this post — Yes, the existence of modern infrastructure may make the effects of flooding seem worse, and the future price of rebuilding may be elevated due to anticipated inflation, but if we just dismiss the fact that we are now experiencing extreme weather events at rates that toss the laws of chance out of the window, that means that our situation is in fact becoming more precarious. No matter how we may want to define the words, “disaster,” or “catastrophic” theses storms truly are larger than they have been before. It doesn’t mater where measurements are taken, or what kinds of infrastructures may affect flooding — the same standard ways of measuring rainfall are used by all our meteorologists, in addition to methods that are improvements over the ways that measurements were taken in the past. So if meteorologists determine that over 50 inches of rain fell in Houston over only a few days, then that 50 inches objectively proves the unique nature of this epic storm. It makes no difference how much rain was on the ground in paved areas with streets and parking lots, or how much was in neighborhoods with grassy lawns and tall trees — 50 inches is 50 inches — and as such, it’s record setting! Thinking that these kinds of changes are no biggies, is both ignorant and a cop out, and we must ask ourselves whether the ever worsening status quo means more to us than a world full of weather that is much more friendly towards our posterity?

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