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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Conditions on #Earth -- EU Floods RISING?

Conditions on Earth
EU Floods Rising
Norwegian Meteorological Institute 
  October 27, 2013 
Climate Change? 

Worst Flooding in "Seventy" Years

Should we hop onto the climate change bandwagon with every trend and event that points to the idea that conditions on earth are different? Why not join all the other Chicken Little’s out there as evidence grows to support the view that the sky is truly falling?  

Well, in both cases we do not think it is wise to start any related analysis and evaluation requiring objective answers with the favored belief that one is seeking to prove in mind. Therefore, the following comments are provided on the basis of examining these issues as though it is for the very first time, with no prior knowledge or bias one way or the other. Let's see what happens.

Firstly, the above captioned chart shows more and more floods of greater magnitude are occurring in Europe every year, since 1985.  Yet these events "cannot be directly tied to climate change" caused by our economic activities and their rising release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Why? It is difficult to show a clear and direct x-axis to y-axis linear relationship between the floods and carbon emissions simply because there are too many other variables involved.

Meaning, that the empirical and actual situation is fluid and dynamic - and hence, much more non-linear. To examine it would require a form of three-dimensional four-quadrant graph that plots hundreds of unique factors on multiple axis’s inter-playing among them. In short, this form of graphical-multiple-linear analysis probably just becomes all too foggy, subjective and complicated to produce or to draw accurate causation findings from.

So consequently, we cautiously turn to identifying a list of trending growth factors with  "possible correlations" between carbon emissions growth and its related factors, such as GDP and population levels, that could cause or contribute to climate change and its related negative outcomes, such as Europe's floods. Importantly, we must remember that just because two or more independent variables are highly correlated, it does not prove that there is a cause and effect relationship between the two. There may be no relationship at all; in other words, correlation does not necessarily prove causation. 

Here then is a list of factors that could create possible correlations that link economic activity to climate change and and then back to other negative effects occurring on the planet  (link to chart samples)   The factors identified over varying time periods of up to seventy-five years, include...

...growth in money supply, in global stock market values, in global GDP, in fossil fuel consumption, in population totals, in resource exhaustion, in warming temperatures, in fresh water shrinkage, in species extinctions, in pollinating insect declines, in shrinking ice caps and glaciers, in ocean acidification, floods and wildfires, and in carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels. 

With simple visual observation and inspection of each factors growth charts we can readily conclude that there is a fairly high correlation among all these factors. (We have referenced a number of the charts above, while others are readily attainable through on-line sources). As you can see these charts all look like flat J-curves or hockey sticks, that could also be mathematically described as a diagrams of a curvilinear equation, as compared to linear. This distinction is key because the former describes a rapidly accelerating growth pattern whereas the latter conveys a slow steadier incremental situation.

Moreover the charts show that these factors are actually in the dangerous exponential zone, transforming from their once linear patterns to curvilinear visual diagrams. Meaning that the underlying aggregate events, related to the factors, are accelerating very rapidly. That is not very good at all, but we still cannot absolutely conclude that the growing populations, economies and carbon emissions are causing shifts in the climatic conditions which can be linked to the other negative consequences 

Given these strong visual chart correlations among the various factors could we not just try to connect the dots among them?  Certainly some seemingly logical connections could be drawn up, perhaps starting at population growth leading to the various economic growth factors, then to the growing destructive consequences. To do so, would provide murky conclusions given the above-mentioned difficulty regarding the proving of clear and direct cause and effect relationships in a fluid non-linear dynamic state.  The complexities’ are intense.

Winston Churchill once remarked that out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. So we turn to his guidance to find and apply a simpler way of understanding this complex predicament. As a result, we created a short listing that separates the key identified growth factors into either "Good Economic Growth" or "Bad Scientific Growth" to see what observations and conclusions might emerge under intense simplicities. 

Also note that the expected outcomes from the two growth types are very different in purpose and implications. Good economic growth is largely expected to create more and more so-called, happy human beings - a definition of which is beyond this discussion, while the expected outcome of bad scientific growth is expected to create or cause the destruction and degradation of the planet. If there is any relationship between good economic and bad scientific growth then an interesting paradox would result.It could insanely read as follows:

"In order to have more and more happy people; greater destruction and degradation must be more rapidly applied to the source ( Planet Earth) of that happiness, until such time as is it is no longer able to function as a source of the happiness. More importantly, we must do all that we can to ensure that it happens as soon as possible"  

List of Key Growth Factors   

Good Economic Growth = More Happy People  

Stock Market  Values
Money Supply
Fossil Fuels (limited consumption)
Other minerals (limited consumption)
Arable land (limited consumption)
Fish stocks (limited consumption)  

Bad Scientific Growth = Destruction Happiness Source

Carbon emissions
Warming temperatures
Resource exhaustion
Species (other) extinction
Fresh water shrinkage
Loss of pollinating insects
Shrinking Ice Caps and Glaciers
Floods and wildfires
Ocean Acidification

Stripped of the benefits of mathematical, mechanical or other forms of scientific device, the burden of judgement and conclusion now rests with the last cognitive device at our disposal. Common Sense!  The above list, along with visually correlating charts for the growth factors; all other pictorial and documented reports leads to one simple concluding statement that is easy to understand and hold in your head, And it can be said without the confidence of any provable evidenced physical or mathematical relationships - mostly just common sense. And it goes something like this:

"Whatever we are doing to create more and more happy people is, at the same time, destroying the source of such happiness - rapidly"  

And it is that one last small word that causes the greatest of all fears - even in fear itself. That fear stems because rapid also means exponential. And the exponents are not known for each growth factor or whether they too are increasing. We are operating blindly to dangers, any one of which could spin out of control with little or no notice. 

The statement itself leads to thousands of other questions. Why so many people? How much happiness is needed? What can we do better to minimise the destruction? How long will the source last? How many people can be made happy? What happens as the source reduces the happiness it provides? And on and on... 

So in the end we have no direct proof that any one good economic growth factor can be traced to a particular degrading process or destructive events. For all intents and purposes this commentary is adding more weight to the arguments of all the deniers. All we have is an intensely simple analysis with supporting charts that tells our common sense that whatever we are doing to create happiness for people is "rapidly" destroying the source of that happiness. 

Our common sense then turns to ask the all to obvious, " How long will it last?" Is the inertia behind all these growth factors now too great to stop or in some cases reverse it, to avoid an unspeakable conclusion? Many processes and destructive events continue just as these additional  pictures of  the flooding trends and events in Europe  indicate. Many more could be added from around the globe.

So is the metaphorical sky falling? Should we hop on the bandwagon? A lot depends on how you personally want to weight the good economic and bad scientific factors. Such a weighting should also include a provision for the exponential rates of each factor. But put it this way, based on our intense simple analysis and statement - an unimaginable amount and degree of contradictory evidence would be required to support and substantiate an opposing point of view.

Perhaps then, the more important and best question to now ask is:

What can we do, if anything, about it?

Conditions on earth are different...

First Financial Insights
T.A McNeil
CEO and Founder 
November 21, 2013

Get on the Bandwagon!