The Third Degree

Apparently the average temperature of the earth’s surface is one degree Celsius higher than it was in 1880.

It hasn’t had much of an impact. The planet supports many more of us than in 1880 and many of us live like kings and queens. Thanks to technology, bad weather kills far fewer of us than way back when–about 98% fewer of us.

If climate scientists have it pegged  correctly, the second degree of (human caused) warming won’t take anywhere near as long as the first. The first degree (and yes, I know that first degree was not all caused by our emissions of CO2) took 135 years. The second degree might only take half that long–we might get it by 2075.

Whether it is 100% caused by humans or if none of it is, another degree Celsius of warming will have impacts. Extreme weather, which today is nothing but a fever dream of those wanting to scare the world into following their policies, will actually happen. We will probably have stronger storms. Droughts probably will become more severe. The places receiving the extra precipitation caused by climate change will probably get quite a bit more than they want.

Dealing with the impacts of a second degree of climate change will be expensive and time consuming. It is not predicted to cause serious disruption to life on earth or civilization, but that won’t be much comfort to taxpayers and insurance companies footing the bills for hundreds of billions of dollars in additional damages.

Given that much of Western infrastructure is badly in need of repair, and given that much of the infrastructure in the developing world is waiting to be built, it would behoove us to undertake a building program that takes future warming into account. Call it Pre-Adaptation. It won’t change the course of our climate, but it might change the course of our rivers, not to mention the roads running along the sea and the houses built too close to it.

It’s called building in a safety margin. Just common sense. But how much? If you’re building a sea wall, or relocating a road or houses, should you do so with the 26-98 cm of sea level rise predicted for the rest of this century? If you’re planning to build a school that will withstand a F5 tornado, do you put enough extra protection to handle the stronger storms that climate change is predicted to bring?

If you take all the arguing about fossil fuels and CO2 emissions off the table. If you just note that the temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius in 135 years and this pause, like the two pauses that preceded it, may have run its course. If you think that, whatever the cause, climate change may continue on its course, doesn’t it make sense to plan for it?

Well, while we’re at it, we may benefit from looking past the end of the century. It’s quite possible that I am wrong in my non-scientific opinion that temperature rises will amount to 2C. I’ve been wrong before, enough so that I always try to plan for my percentage of errors.

Should we plan for a third degree? I mean, apart from the 3rd Degree that climate alarmists would like to subject us to…

3rd degree


4 responses to “The Third Degree

  1. Tom, I think you take too much for granted. An additional degree of warming by 2075 — not crazy, but not necessarily indicated either. And the weather consequences, such as stronger F5 tornados, are uncertain as well. I’ll go with you on sea level rise, though.

    No adaptation required for these Three Degrees.

  2. Where is the evidence that a one degree increase in so-called global temperatures will yield a significant change in “extreme weather”?

  3. A lot of skeptics have a tendency to ignore the possibility warming might be bad, while warmists ignore the possibility that attempting to stop it might be futile. Over centi-millenial time scales the climate goes through a lot of swings and spends most of its time in an ice age. Humanity’s goal should not be a policy of malthusian sustainability for a varying climate that is not worth sustaining. It should be a cornucopian goal of harvesting high amounts of energy for adapting and possibly even having some control over climate.

  4. Off topic but you may want to use these in the future:

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