Riscaldamento globale: meglio affidarsi alla Provvidenza.

Concedetevi due settimane di vacanza: una a Las Vegas e una a Toronto.

Chissà se riuscirete a divertirvi, sia come sia una cosa è certa: non soffrirete né il caldo né il freddo.

Eppure soggiornerete una settimana in pieno deserto e una settimana tra i ghiacci.

In altri termini, il clima, nemmeno quello estremo, non sembra un problema per l’uomo. Perché? Quale bacchetta magica possiede?

Essenzialmente due: petrolio e carbone (fossil fuels FF).

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Detto questo nessuna meraviglia che uno studioso come Alex Epstein (“The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”) consigli di affrontare i problemi ambientali aumentano il consumo di FF…

… “I study energy for a living—and I think it’s good that we use a lot of fossil fuels. I think the world would be a much better place if people used a lot more.”…

Usare petrolio e carbone comporta benefici e costi: i primi superano i secondi di molto. Nessun’ altra alternativa energetica ci offre un bilancio tanto in attivo.

E il riscaldamento globale? E’ più trattabile da una società ricca e avanzata che da una povera e arretrata…

… I think the evidence shows that climate change, natural or man-made, is more manageable than ever, because human beings are so good at adapting, using ingenuity and technology…

Il genio umano porta soluzioni imprevedibili ed una società che stimola il genio mettendo nelle sue mani risorse poderose avrà molti benefici imprevedibili.

Piccolo esempio di “problem solving” tratto dalla storia umana: quando America ed Europa erano unite solo dal mare c’era la questione dei ghiacci che ostacolavano la navigazione: si susseguivano le idee per avere lame rompighiaccio sempre più taglienti e robuste.

E come si risolse infine il problema? Inventando una mega-lama, mega-tagliente e mega-robusta? No, inventando… l’aereo.

Da notare che chi lavorava sul progetto “macchina volante” non sapeva nemmeno che esistesse il problema dei ghiacci oceanici.

Il genio umano è talmente imprevedibile che risolve brillantemente problemi che nemmeno si pone.

Un caso fortuito? No, la regola aurea della storia umana.

Ridendo e scherzando possiamo dire che chi studia l’insediamento lunare contribuisce ad affrontare il problema del riscaldamento globale più di chi elabora dispendiosi protocolli in stile Kyoto.

La tecnologia ridicolizza problemi che un tempo ci sembravano degni di un Dio…

… I think the evidence shows that ingenuity and technology make pollution a smaller problem every year…

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Molti pensano che FF necessiti risorse in via di esaurimento.

Sbagliato, ci sono scorte in abbondanza.

Non siamo verosimilmente nemmeno entrati nel tempo della ricerca di alternative…

… but I think the evidence shows that there are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we’ll have plenty of time to use ingenuity and technology to find something cheaper—such as some form of advanced nuclear power…

Vento e sole? inaffidabili…

… the sun and the wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels…

FF = 87% dell’energia usata oggi…

… Eighty-seven percent of the energy mankind uses every second, including most of the energy I am using as I write this, comes from burning one of the fossil fuels: coal, oil, or natural gas…

Ma per domani? L’ortodossia dice: tagliare FF…

… For years, the Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has demanded that the United States and other industrialized countries cut carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050…

Ma una semplice analisi costi/benefici sembrerebbe dire altro. Perchè questa discrepanza?…

… I had just concluded, based on my research, that the short- and long-term benefits of using fossil fuels actually far, far outweigh the risks and was happy to explain why…

E poi: l’ IPCC – ovvero l’ortodossia – è zeppa di “esperti”? Su cose tanto complesse non è meglio dare la parola all’esperto?

Esperti? Ok, andiamo a vedere i precedenti…

… what I have found is this: leading experts and the media have been making the exact same predictions for more than thirty years. As far back as the 1970s they predicted that if we did not dramatically reduce fossil fuel use then, and use renewables instead, we would be experiencing catastrophe today—catastrophic resource depletion, catastrophic pollution, and catastrophic climate change. Instead, the exact opposite happened…

Negli anni settanta (il grande precedente) si decise di trascurare il giudizio degli esperti. La mossa fu meravigliosamente vincente…

… Instead of using a lot less fossil fuel energy, we used a lot more—but instead of long-term catastrophe, we have experienced dramatic, long-term improvement in every aspect of life, including environmental quality…

Certo, ci sono gli esperti di “paleontologia climatica”, una laurea per ogni era geologica. Ma poi ci sono anche esperti dell’azione umana, della sua creatività, del suo imprevedibile genio, nella sua storia costellata di successi. Siamo sicuri che solo i primi meritino ascolto?

Generalizziamo. C’è l’esperto che conosce la materia da dentro, i suoi meccanismi (potremmo chiamarlo “ingegnere”), e quello che conosce i precedenti e sa isolare delle fruttuose analogie (potremmo chiamarlo “storico”).

Di chi fidarsi? Di solito, quando la materia è troppo complessa, lo storico è più affidabile. Quando la materia è ben compresa, vince l’ingegnere.

A quanto pare, con le previsioni del tempo su distanze secolari, si rientra nel primo caso.

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Ma torniamo sulla posizione ortodossa. Prendiamo le parole di Bill McKibben…

… “We should be grateful for the role that fossil fuel played in creating our world and equally grateful that scientists now give us ample warning of its new risks, and engineers increasingly provide us with the alternatives that we need.”…

Insomma, lo stesso ragionamento sbagliato ieri viene riproposto oggi. Che fare?…

… What is rarely mentioned is that thirty years ago, leading experts, including many of today’s leading experts, were telling us that fossil fuels were once necessary, but the latest science tells us they’re causing an imminent catastrophe unless we stop using them and replace them with cutting-edge renewables. Take the prediction we hear today that we will soon run out of fossil fuels—particularly oil—because they are nonrenewable…

Vediamo quel “ieri” a cui accennavo. I grandi esperti del Club di Roma: fine del petrolio nel 1992 e fine del gas naturale nel 1993…

… In 1972, the international think tank the Club of Rome released a multimillion-copy-selling book, The Limits to Growth, which declared that its state-of-the-art computer models had demonstrated that we would run out of oil by 1992 and natural gas by 1993…

E poi il grande esperto Paul Ehrilich…

… The leading resource theorist of the time was ecologist Paul Ehrlich, who was so popular and prestigious that Johnny Carson invited him onto his show over a dozen times. In 1971 he said, “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,”…

Paul Ehrlich conosceva bene la materia di cui parlava, era biologo. Julian Simon non conosceva bene la materia ma conosceva bene l’uomo e come agisce in condizioni di scarsità, era economista. I due scommisero sulla disponibilità futura delle risorse. L’esperto di anime vinse sull’esperto in materia.

Altra previsione degli esperti di ieri: più FF, meno salute

…. Another catastrophic prediction we hear today is that pollution from fossil fuels will make our environment more and more hazardous to our health—hence we need to stop using “dirty” fossil fuels. This prediction was also made many times in the 1970s—with many assurances that these predictions were backed by the best science…

Come al solito, vero il contrario.

Eppure, il catastrofista insiste, d’altronde esserlo di mestiere rende…

… I saw that many of the leaders who make that prediction now had, decades ago, predicted that we’d be living in catastrophe today…

Altri esempi di profezie fallite

… Bill McKibben, when he told Duke students in 2012 that we were on the verge of drastic warming, neglected to mention the results of his decades-old claims, such as this one in 1989: “The choice of doing nothing—of continuing to burn ever more oil and coal—is not a choice, in other words. It will lead us, if not straight to hell, then straight to a place with a similar temperature”; and “a few more decades of ungoverned fossil-fuel use and we burn up, to put it bluntly.”…

E se avessimo dato retta agli esperti di ieri? Probabilmente ci saremmo persi la rivoluzione digitale

… In 1977, Amory Lovins, widely considered the leading energy thinker of the 1970s for his criticisms of fossil fuels and nuclear power and his support of solar power and reduced energy use, explained that we already used too much energy. And in particular, the kind of energy we least needed was . . . electricity, the foundation of the digital/information revolution…

Eppure la lezione non è stata assimilata, oggi è tutto un déja vu…

… In 1998, Bill McKibben endorsed a scenario of outlawing 60 percent of present fossil fuel use to slow catastrophic climate change, even though that would mean, in his words, that “each human being would get to produce 1.69 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—which would allow you to drive an average American car nine miles a day…

La maledizione sulle sorti del pianeta viene persino dai…

… Forget your computer, your TV, your stereo, your stove, your dishwasher, your water heater, your microwave, your water pump, your clock. Forget your light bulbs, compact fluorescent or not.”21 All of these thinkers still advocate similar policies today—in fact, today Bill McKibben endorses a 95 percent ban on fossil fuel use, eight times as severe as the scenario described above!22 And all of them are extremely prestigious. Since making these predictions, John Holdren has become science adviser to President Obama, Bill McKibben is called “the nation’s leading environmentalist”…

Consiglio: guardate al record track degli esperti, specialmente quando la materia non e suscettibile di “experise”, specialmente in fatto di previsioni…

… Thus, today’s leading thinkers and leading ideas about fossil fuels have a decades-long track record—and given that they are calling for the abolition of our most popular form of energy, it would be irresponsible not to look at how reality has compared to their predictions…

E ricordatevi sempre: negli anni settanta trascurare gli esperti ha pagato…

… Instead of following the leading advice and restricting the use of fossil fuels, people around the world nearly doubled their use of fossil fuels—which allegedly should have led to an epic disaster. Rather, it led to an epic improvement…

***

Legge storica: più FF, più prosperità e benessere.

E’ sempre stato così, anche recentemente. Esempio, dal 1980 al 2012

… In the United States between 1980 and 2012, the consumption of oil increased 8.7 percent, the consumption of natural gas increased 28.3 percent, and the consumption of coal increased 12.6 percent.25 During that time period, the world overall increased fossil fuel usage far more than we did…

FF batte tutte le rinnovabili su tutti i fronti…

… Why did fossil fuel energy outcompete renewable energy—not just for existing energy production but for most new energy production? This trend is too consistent across too many countries to be ignored. The answer is simply that renewable energy couldn’t meet those countries’ energy needs, though fossil fuels could…

Consumi di FF e indicatori di benessere (a partire dalla salute) sono sempre stati intimamente connessi…

… And there is an incredibly strong correlation between fossil fuel use and life expectancy and between fossil fuel use and income, particularly in the rapidly developing parts of the world…

Valeva per noi anche quando inquinavamo molto, e continua a valere per paesi super inquinati come India e Cina

… The story is clear—both life expectancy and income increased rapidly, meaning that life got better for billions of people in just a few decades…

Ma perché gli esperti sbagliano? Si focalizzano troppo sui rischi

… Where did the thinkers go wrong? One thing I have noticed in reading most predictions of doom is that the “experts” almost always focus on the risks of a technology but never the benefits…

D’altronde, i benefici sono indiretti, la loro competenza troppo specifica non li individua. Manca loro il quadro generale…

… is a failure to think big picture, to consider all the benefits and all the risks…

Il quadro generale lo possiede lo storico: più FF, più benessere, più mezzi per affrontare le sfide…

… As we have used more fossil fuels, our resource situation, our environment situation, and our climate situation have been improving, too….

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Torniamo a un problema già accennato: per i catastrofisti le scorte si stanno esaurendo.

Per chi si limita ai fatti osservabili: più né usiamo più ce n’è.

Altra previsione catastrofista: più FF, più degrado

… What about the prediction that our environment would degrade as we used more fossil fuels and more everything?…

Fatti: più FF, più pulito. Più aria pulita, più acqua pulita, più tutto pulito…

… What actually happened? We’ll look at all major measures of environmental quality in chapter 8, but for now let’s look at clean air and clean water. Both have increased substantially…

E la Cina? farà come noi: migliorerà il suo ambiente usando sempre più FF…

… Overall, the improvement is incredible. Of course, there are places such as China that have high levels of smog—but the track record of the rest of the world indicates that this can be corrected while using ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels…

Perché gli esperti hanno toppato?

Sempre per il medesimo motivo visto prima: hanno ragionato solo sui rischi. Hanno trascurato l’uso di macchine sempre più efficienti, anche nel migliorare l’ambiente e il clima artificiale…

… Once again, the anti–fossil fuel experts got it completely wrong. Why? Again by not thinking big picture, by paying attention to only one half of the equation—in the case of fossil fuels, focusing only on the ways in which using them can harm our environment. But fossil fuels, as we’ll discuss in chapter 6, can also improve our environment by powering machines that clean up nature’s health hazards, such as water purification plants…

Si parte dall’assunto che l’uomo possa solo peggiorare l’ambiente…

… Pessimistic predictions often assume that our environment is perfect until humans mess it up; they don’t consider the possibility that we could improve our environment. But the data of the last forty years indicate that we have been doing exactly that—using fossil fuels….

Il mantra di ieri era una bufala. Oggi si aggiunge il mantra del riscaldamento globale…

… Finally, we have to look at what the trend is in the realm of climate change. Catastrophic climate change is the most dire claim about fossil fuels today…

Si tratta di voci affidabili? Forse sì, ma fino ad un certo punto: ieri predicavano il “global cooling”…

… if we go through the writings of the 1970s and 1980s, we see those same bodies declare many things confidently about global cooling only to contradict themselves several years later. In 1975, the American Meteorological Society told Americans that the climate was cooling and that this meant worse weather…

Molte previsioni sul riscaldamento sono già verificabili. Ci sono molti errori (normale). Sono tutti nello stesso senso (preoccupante). Hansen e la NASA…

… Recall that in 1986 James Hansen predicted that “if current trends are unchanged,” temperatures would rise .5 to 1.0 degree Fahrenheit in the 1990s and 2 to 4 degrees in the first decade of the 2000s.37 According to Hansen’s own department at NASA, from the beginning to the end of the 1990s, temperatures were .018 degree Fahrenheit (.01 degree Celsius) higher, and from 2000 to 2010, temperatures were .27 degree Fahrenheit (.15 degree Celsius) higher—meaning he was wrong many times over….

Ammettiamolo: non sappiamo bene come la CO2 agisce sul riscaldamento, ci sono interazioni complesse che non cogliamo…

… notice that there are smaller trends of warming and cooling, signifying that CO2 is not a particularly powerful driver, and especially notice that the current trend is flat when it “should be” skyrocketing…

Previsioni verificabili sui “morti da clima”: un disastro completo…

… But most striking to me are the data on how dangerous the climate has become over the last few decades, during a time when all of the predictions said that the Earth would become progressively more deadly. The key statistic here, one that is unfortunately almost never mentioned, is “climate-related deaths.”…

Negli ultimi 80 anni i “morti da clima” sono calati del 98%. E doveva essere un periodo “molto pericoloso”!…

… In the last eighty years, as CO2 emissions have most rapidly escalated, the annual rate of climate-related deaths worldwide fell by an incredible rate of 98 percent.41 That means the incidence of death from climate is fifty times lower than it was eighty years ago…

Esperti completamente alla deriva…

… Once again, the leading experts we were told to rely on were 100 percent wrong. It’s not that they predicted disaster and got half a disaster—it’s that they predicted disaster and got dramatic improvement…

La spiegazione è semplice: FF ha costruito una civiltà umana estremamente resistente. Ma gli “esperti” erano esperti di tutto tranne che di civiltà umana.

***

E se l’errore fatto dagli esperti di ieri si ripetesse oggi?…

… What happens if today’s predictions and prescriptions are just as wrong? That would mean billions of premature deaths over the next thirty years and beyond. And the loss of a potentially amazing future…

Ieri l’errore ci sarebbe costato la rivoluzione digitale, e oggi?

Quando il costo è invisibile la mentalità irrazionale (pubblica opinione) lo trascura. Anche per questo i tagli di FF sono tanto popolari…

… Today, proposals to restrict fossil fuels are more popular than ever. As mentioned earlier, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has demanded that the United States and other industrialized countries cut carbon emissions…

***

Quando parliamo di un “esperto” meglio precisare cosa non sa e cosa sa…

… To be sure, we absolutely need to consult experts. Experts are an indispensable source of information about the state of knowledge in specific fields—whether economics or energy or climate science—that we can use to make better decisions. But we can get this benefit only so long as the expert is clear about what he knows and how he knows it, as well as what he doesn’t know….

Se lo facciamo, comprendiamo subito come sia la persona meno adatta a prendere una decisione, non conosce il reale problema. Quando l’esperto è veramente tale è molto specializzato in una nicchia di sapere che rappresenta solo un tassello del puzzle…

… No scientist is an expert on everything; each specializes in some particular field. For example, a climate scientist might be a specialist in paleoclimatology (the study of using ancient evidence to deduce what ancient climates were like), and even then he might be an expert in only one period—say, the Cretaceous (one of the periods in which the dinosaurs lived). He is not going to be an expert in climate physics, and the climate physicist is also not an expert in human adaptation…

In più il catastrofismo paga e la possibilità di uscire da una nicchia trascurata e noiosa alletta molti…

… errors are common, particularly among experts commenting on controversial political matters, where thinkers are rewarded for making extreme, definitive predictions…

Consiglio: farsi una “big picture”…

… What experts in specific fields give us is knowledge that we can integrate into a big-picture assessment. For example, by learning from a combination of scientists and economists and energy experts…

Ma soprattutto: esplicita i tuoi valori

… But what exactly do we mean by right and wrong, good and bad? What is our standard of value?…

Molti – per esempio io – sono interessati all’uomo. Per costoro l’uomo sta al centro…

… I hold human life as the standard of value… I think that our fossil fuel use so far has been a moral choice because it has enabled billions of people to live longer and more fulfilling lives…

E’ la visione umanistica della vita: la natura ha lo scopo di servire i nostri bisogni…

… This is the essence of the conflict: the humanist, which is the term I will use to describe someone on a human standard of value, treats the rest of nature as something to use for his benefit; the nonhumanist treats the rest of nature as something that must be served…. nature is bad only if it fails to meet human needs…

Si discute e si litiga per ore con persone che – scopri alla fine – hanno solo obbiettivi e valori diversi. Persone per cui l’ambientalismo è una forma di religione, una ricerca di purezza che mira alla conservazione dell’ “intatto” a prescindere…

… many religious people think that it is wrong to eat certain foods or to engage in certain sexual acts, not because there is any evidence that these foods or acts are unhealthy or otherwise harmful to human beings but simply because they believe God forbids them… Religion is not the only source of nonhuman standards of value. Many leading environmental thinkers, including those who predict fossil fuel catastrophe, hold as their standard of value what they call “pristine” nature or wilderness—nature unaltered by man….

Esempio…

… In his book, McKibben wrote that our goal should be a “humbler world,” one where we have less impact on our environment and “Human happiness would be of secondary importance.”…

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Oggi chi guarda all’ umanità ha molte ragioni per essere ottimista, grazie all’energia di cui disponiamo tutto è possibile, anche l’impensato (esattamente come per il passato)…

… the cheap, plentiful, reliable energy we get from fossil fuels and other forms of cheap, plentiful, reliable energy, combined with human ingenuity, gives us the ability to transform the world around us into a place that is far safer… Fossil fuel technology transforms nature to improve human life on an epic scale…

Questa energia abbinata al nostro genio risolverà anche i problemi ambientali…

… I will make the case that just as energy dramatically improves our ability to deal with any aspect of life by using machines—increasing our mental capacities with computers, our medical capabilities with MRI machines, and our agricultural capabilities with high-powered farming equipment—so it dramatically improves our ability to make our environment healthier and safer from natural and man-made threats. The data clearly show that we have never had higher environmental quality and we have never been safer from climate, despite—no, because of—record fossil fuel use…

E la sostenibilità? Un falso problema…

… I will make the case that fossil fuel use is not “unsustainable” but progressive—by using the best energy technology today and in the coming decades, we pave the way for fossil fuel technologies not only to harness the copious amounts of fossil fuels remaining in the ground, of which we have just scratched the surface, but also to create the resources and time necessary to develop the next great energy technology…

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Quando pensate all’energia che avete a disposizione? Quando fate benzina? Quando pagate la bolletta? Ebbene, la state sottovalutando.

Fatevi un viaggetto in Gambia, osservate come si partorisce con poca energia a disposizione…

… THE GAMBIA June 2006 At 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, I was startled when the lights came on; the lights never came on after 2 p.m. on the weekends. The adrenaline really kicked in when I was invited to observe an emergency cesarean section—a first for me. When the infant emerged I felt my heart racing from excitement and awe! But no matter how many times the technician suctioned out the nose and mouth, the infant did not utter a sound. After twenty five minutes the technician and nurse both gave up. The surgeon later explained that the baby had suffocated in utero. If only they had had enough power to use the ultrasound machine for each pregnancy, he would have detected the problem earlier and been able to plan the C-section. Without early detection, the C-section became an emergency, moreover, the surgery had to wait for the generator to be powered on. The loss of precious minutes meant the loss of a precious life. At that time, in that place, all I could do was cry. And later, when the maternity ward was too hushed, I cried again. A full-term infant was born weighing only 3.5 pounds. In the U.S., the solution would have been obvious and effective: incubation. But without reliable electricity, the hospital did not even contemplate owning an incubator. This seemingly simple solution was not available to this newborn girl, and she perished needlessly. Reliable electricity is at the forefront of every staff members’ thoughts. With it, they can conduct tests with electrically powered medical equipment, use vaccines and antibiotics requiring refrigeration, and plan surgeries to meet patients’ needs. Without it, they will continue to give their patients the best care available, but in a country with an average life expectancy of only 54 years of age, it’s a hard fight to win…

Di energia non ne abbiamo mai abbastanza. Questo ci dice il 99% della storia umana…

… The story of energy for over 99 percent of history is that human beings couldn’t get enough of it to live, and if they could, they could make very limited use of it, because they lacked power…

L’energia ha trasformato il mondo in meglio. A fruirne sono stati soprattutto gli uomini più bisognosi. Ai ricchi non serve. O meglio, loro la possiedono anche quando è scarsa. Le parole di Milton Friedman sono le più eloquenti…

… Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant little to the wealthy. The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing—running servants replaced running water. Television and radio—the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets—all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of western capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful…

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Tocchiamo un attimo il tema del riscaldamento globale. Basta pronunciarlo e subito ci trasformiamo in negazionisti e catastrofisti.

Ma cosa significa “credere nel riscaldamento globale”?…

… “What exactly does it mean to believe in ‘global warming’?” Some warming or a lot? Little deal or big deal? A little man-made or a lot man-made? Accelerating or decelerating?…

Nessuno lo sa.

Socrate smonterebbe in un secondo la discussione sul riscaldamento globale considerandola insensata…

… most discussion of global warming would not stand up to fifteen seconds of scrutiny by Socrates, who alienated fellow Athenians by asking them to define what they meant when they used terms vaguely….

La grande divisione tra catastrofisti e negazionisti è insensata se nemmeno conosciamo il quesito sottostante…

… A huge source of confusion in our public discussion is the separation of people (including scientists) into “climate change believers” and “climate change deniers”—the latter a not-so-subtle comparison to Holocaust deniers…

Meglio proporre una domanda alternativa

… Here’s how I put the right questions now, from a human standard of value. The first is: How does fossil fuel use affect climate livability? When we burn fossil fuels, what are all the climate-related risks and all the benefits that result?…

Il consumo di FF ci fa bene o no?

Guardiamo al passato: se il problema è il clima allora guardiamo ai “morti da clima”. Il verdetto è inappellabile, consumare FF ci fa benissimo…

… Every year, the news is full of headlines about dramatic, often tragic climate-related events—headlines like these: “20,000 Killed by Earthquake: Toll Is Growing, Bodies Float Down Ganges to the Sea”3 “100 Are Injured, Property Damage Exceeds $1,000,000: Tornado Strikes Three States, Bitter Cold in North Area”4 “Death’s Toll Mounts to 60 in U.S. Storms”5 “1,500 Japanese Die in Hakodate Fire; 200,000 Homeless: Largest City North of Tokyo Is in Ruins and Mayor Says It Is ‘a Living Hell’”6 “Where Tidal Wave Ruined Norway Fishing Towns”7 “Antarctic Heat Wave: Explorers Puzzled but Pleased”8 “7 Lives Lost as Tropical Storm Whips Louisiana: Hurricane Moves Far Inland Before Blowing Out Its Wrath in Squalls”9 “Widely Separated Regions of the Globe Feel Heavy Quake”10 “Earth Growing Warmer: What Swiss Glaciers Reveal”11 “Death, Suffering over Wide Area in China Drouth [Drought]”12 “Toll of Flood at High Figure: Over 100 Bodies Recovered and 500 Persons Missing in Southern Poland”13 “Cuban Malaria Increases: Thousands Become Ill in Usual Seasonal Spread of Disease”14 “Mid-West Hopes for Relief from Heat; 602 Killed”15 “Famine Faces 5,000,000 in Drouth [Drought] Area”16 “Rumanians Are Alarmed by Epidemic of Cholera”…

E per il futuro?

Il consumo di FF libera dei gas serra nell’atmosfera. Qual è l’effetto? Al di là di un certo effetto serra non ci abbiamo capito molto, causa le interazioni piuttosto misteriose tra vari elementi…

… Some predictions of dramatic global warming (and ultimately catastrophic climate change) posit that the greenhouse effect of CO2 in the atmosphere will greatly amplify water vapor creation in the atmosphere, which could cause much more warming than CO2 acting alone would. This kind of reinforcing interaction is called a positive feedback loop…

Gli esperti usano dei modelli elaborati al computer. Ma dal computer potrebbero uscire delle favole. In passato è stato così…

… Those who speculate that CO2 is a major driver of climate have, to their credit, made predictions based on computer models that reflect their view of how the climate works. But fatally, those models have failed to make accurate predictions—not just a little, but completely…

E oggi? Oggi i modelli sono migliori?…

… How good are the models at predicting warming or the changes in climate that are supposed to follow from warming?…

Molti statistici lo dubitano…

… Many experts in modeling and in statistics thought this was an extremely dubious enterprise…

Ma come valutare un modello?…

… The best way to test a model is to see whether it can make accurate and meaningful predictions about the future. In the last thirty years, the climate science community has had the opportunity to do that…

L’unico modo affidabile è testare la sua capacità previsionale. Gli ultimi trent’anni sono un buon banco di prova per molti modelli perché trent’anni fa i modelli cominciavano a sgranare le loro previsioni.

Prendiamo l’esperto più esperto di tutti: James Hensen (col suo gruppo alla NASA). Il suo modello è del 1988…

… Consider perhaps the most famous model in the history of climate science, the 1988 model by James Hansen, who has a reputation in the media as the world’s leading climate scientist…

Il riscaldamento previsto non si è verificato. Entità dell’errore: notevole.

Tra la realtà e il modello NASA sembra non esserci alcuna comunicazione, in particolare dacché siamo entrati nel nuovo millennio.

Per Hansen, più CO2, più caldo. Non è andata così…

… Hansen and every other believer in catastrophic global warming expected that there would be, for the simple reason that we have used record, accelerating amounts of CO2…

Ho fatto il caso dell’esperto più esperto per unanime riconoscimento degli esperti. Ma la cosa vale anche per l’esperto medio. John Christy ha messo alla prova 102 modelli cercando di valutarli…

… Here is a graph of 102 prominent, modern climate models put together by John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, who collects satellite measurements of temperature. Even though the modern models have the benefit of hindsight and “hindcasting,” reality is so inconsistent with the theory that they can’t come up with a plausible model. And note how radically different all the predictions are; this illustrates that the field of predicting climate is in its infancy….

Molti errori, tutti nella stessa direzione: riscaldamento sovrastimato.

Ma la climatologia è una scienza? Senz’altro sì, solo che forse le previsioni climatiche a distanza di decenni non sono una scienza. Non bisogna offendersi: l’evoluzionismo è una scienza che prevede poco o niente, l’economia dice di essere una scienza ma prevede ben poco. E in ogni caso, qualora le previsioni climatiche fossero davvero una scienza,  sarebbero una scienza nella sua prima infanzia, e forse nemmeno del tutto onesta. Non possiamo affidare le sorti dell’umanità ad un infante incline alle marachelle.

Da notare che senza i molti feedback postulati per amplificare l’effetto serra innescato da CO2 i conti quadrerebbero abbastanza…

… if one assumed that CO2 in the atmosphere had no major positive feedbacks, and just warmed the atmosphere in accordance with the greenhouse effect, this mild warming is pretty much what one would get….

Una cosa deve essere chiara: le previsioni sulla base di modelli piuttosto avventurosi (ovvero che cambiano i trend in atto) non sono scienza ma speculazione, magari anche seria e condotta con rigore da gente seria, ma pur sempre speculazione.

I fallimenti passati di chi oggi si esprime con tanta sicurezza sono ben chiari al pubblico? No. E questo è un ulteriore segno di scarsa onestà

… Unfortunately, many of the scientists, scientific bodies, and especially public intellectuals and media members have not been honest with the public about the failure of their predictions…

Una certa disonestà la si vede anche quando si tratta il tema degli eventi atmosferici estremi.

Come abbiamo visto il riscaldamento previsto non si è verificato, eppure uragani, tempeste, tifoni, tsunami… tutto è causato dal riscaldamento…

… It is disingenuous for climate activists to blame every storm on climate change when there has been so little warming so far and when storm trends are so unremarkable…

Vale anche per il livello dei mari

… Or take the issue of sea levels, which we hear are rapidly rising. Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth terrified many with claims of likely twenty-foot rises in sea levels.27 Given the temperature trends, however, we wouldn’t expect warming to have a dramatic effect on sea levels. And, in fact, it hasn’t….

***

L’ambiente in cui viviamo è migliorato di molto.

Provate solo a tornare indietro di 300 anni. Anzi, accompagniamo Thomas, un viaggiatore nel tempo giunto a noi dal 1800, a visitare la nostra città.

Sarà sorpreso dalla qualità dell’aria

… Thomas’s reaction would be disbelief that such a clean, healthy environment was possible. “How is this possible?” he would ask. “The air is so clean. Where I come from, we’re breathing in smoke all day…

Ma anche dalla qualità dell’acqua…

… “And the water. Everywhere I go, there’s this water that tastes so good, and it’s all safe to drink. On my farm, we get our water from a brook we share with animals, and my kids are always getting sick.”…

Dalla sicurezza di cui godiamo contro gli eventi atmosferici estremi

…. “And then the weather. I mean, the weather isn’t that much different, but you’re so much safer in it; you can move a knob and make it cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.”…

Dalla capacità di difenderci dalle malattie tipiche di un ambiente degradato

… “And you have to tell me, what happened to all the disease? Where I’m from, we have insects all over the place giving us disease—my neighbor’s son died of malaria—and you don’t seem to have any of that here. What’s your secret?”…

Ci chiederà conto della nostra bacchetta magica. Come dobbiamo rispondere?

Cos: siamo diventati ricchi consumando più FF e abbiamo risolto i problemi dell’acqua, dell’aria, delle malattie ambientali e del tempo atmosferico…

… I’d tell him that the secret was his invention: a method of transforming a concentrated, stored, plentiful energy source into cheap, plentiful, reliable energy so we could use machines to transform our hazardous natural environment into a far healthier human environment…

Più energia, più…

… Development means water-purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically improved crops, dams, seawalls, heating, air-conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccination, pharmaceuticals, and so on…

Ma il consumo di energia ha effetti collaterali. Vediamo i rischi del carbone…

… Take coal, the fossil fuel with the most potentially harmful by-products. Energy journalist Robert Bryce describes our “intense love-hate relationship” with “the black fuel.” Coal heated people’s homes and fueled the Industrial Revolution in England, but it also made parts of the country, particularly the smog-ruined cities, nearly uninhabitable. In 1812, in London, a combination of coal smoke and fog became so dense that according to one report, “for the greater part of the day it was impossible to read or write at a window without artificial light. Persons in the streets could scarcely be seen in the forenoon at two yards distance.” Today, two hundred years later, some of the very same problems are plaguing China. In Datong, known as the “City of Coal,” the air pollution on some winter days is so bad that “even during the daytime, people drive with their lights on.”…

Eppure l’inquinamento si riduce. Come è possibile? A cosa lo dobbiamo? Lo dobbiamo alla tecnologia

… How was this achieved? Above all, by using antipollution technology to get as many of the positive effects of fossil fuels and as few of the negative effects as possible…

Naturalmente lo sviluppo della tecnologia è possibile laddove c’è un gran consumo di energia.

Tesi: la tecnologia (e non il taglio energetico) ci salverà

… The way to deal with it is to use technology to transform risks and by-products into smaller risks and smaller by-products…

***

Rimane una domanda: e sul lungo termine? Non è che gli effetti collaterali negativi del consumo di FF prevarranno?

Siamo al concetto di “sostenibilità”. Lo illustro avvalendomi dell’allarme lanciato da chi pensa che molte risorse vadano esaurendosi.

Il pericolo dell’esaurimento scorte non sembra preoccupare nemmeno sul lungo termine…

… In chapter 3, we saw that the amount of unused fossil fuel raw material currently in the Earth exceeds by far the amount we’ve used in the entire history of civilization by many multiples…

Le scorte ci sono, certo sul lungo termine occorrerà più tecnologia per trovare ed estrarre, ma non si capisce perché mai dovrebbe mancare…

… the key issue is whether we have the technological ability and economic reason to turn that raw material into a resource…

La tesi di chi predica (e predicava) l’esaurimento delle risorse è che la terra ne possiede una quantità finita

… The theory behind these predictions is that Earth has a finite “carrying capacity,” an idea that was spread far and wide in the 1970s…

Ma chi parla in questo modo non ha un’idea precisa del concetto di risorsa: le risorse non sono un dono della terra ma una creazione umana. Il petrolio era fanghiglia finché l’uomo non lo trasformò in Oro Nero…

… The most direct reason is that there are far more fossil fuel raw materials and far more human ingenuity to get them than Ehrlich and Holdren expected…

In altri termini: è l’idea stessa di “sostenibilità” ad essere sbagliata…

… The believers in a finite carrying capacity think of the Earth as something that “carries” us by dispensing a certain amount of resources. But if this was true, then why did the caveman have so few resources?…

In un certo senso dobbiamo recuperare l’idea di provvidenza: è il genio umano che ha sempre creato e creerà le risorse che ci occorrono. Siccome il genio umano è imprevedibile noi non sappiamo come risolverà problemi talmente lontani da non interessarlo ora, ma basta guardare all’uomo, alla sua storia per affidarsi alla Provvidenza e scacciare un concetto poco sensato come quello di sostenibilità.

ciascuno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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