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The three pigs of climate change

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, May 28th, 2011 - 63 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster - Tags:

63 comments on “The three pigs of climate change ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Al Gore, George Monbiot and r0b ?

    • r0b 1.1

      Well those are two huge public figures, and I’m a very minor blogger, but apart from that I would certainly be proud to be counted in their company on the issue of climate change.

  2. MrSmith 2

    Lets play some cards.

  3. Jimmie 3

    From what I read they were the worst tornadoes in 60 years – so obviously they had worse tornadoes 60 years ago before the climate change idea had been invented – proves nothing.

    Same with the Mississippi floods – worst since 1927 – again a historic flood of similar magnitude decades before climate change mantra become the latest fad.

    • r0b 3.1

      Yeah of course there have always been extreme weather events.  The issue is the frequency of such events.  Which is increasing.

      More heat = more energy and more moisture in the atmosphere = more storms.  Pretty simple really.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      so obviously they had worse tornadoes 60 years ago before the climate change idea had been invented – proves nothing.

      As with all things climate change you are confusing weather with climate. And in this case it’s hard to know exactly what they mean when they say ‘the worst in 60 years’. Do they mean the most frequent, the most intense, the highest damage or the worst death toll? It’s a pretty imprecise comparison being made here; besides a single weather event can never ‘prove’ anything about climate change. We know that; we’ve been saying it forever.

      But in the context of the truly Biblical floods in the Missisippi and the equally dire drought in the US Southwest things start to look different.

      Globally the view is equally concerning with major re-insurance companies such as Munich Re now frankly and openly stating that according to their databases climate change is already hitting their bottom lines and they are deeply concerned abut the future impact on their business models.

      But of course this discussion has nothing to do with science. You know nothing about it, and care nothing for it. What we are really talking about is your inability to handle an idea that confronts your sense of self-identity and your delusional beliefs. Don’t worry .. this isn’t an unusual affliction; most people are very change averse and quite fearful of the unknown.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4


      Of course, this doesn’t prove that Anthropogenic Climate Change isn’t happening nor does it prove that climate change isn’t having an effect. So far, we don’t have enough information to be able to say what effect climate change is having on the weather ATM but it is expected that, as climate change progresses, the storms will get worse so that what is presently a 1 in 100 year event becomes the norm.

    • The following is a representative list of the most important tornadoes in each state. The criteria for the “worst” in each state is different for each state. In some tornado-prone states, it is strictly based on deaths. In other states, it is based on deaths and injuries. In the states that have never had a tornado death, the selection is made on the basis of damage. Of course, the worst tornado in Nevada is less destructive that even the 500th worst tornado in Texas, Mississippi, or a dozen other states. To give at least some perspective on each state, rather minor events must be included for states where tornadoes are rare. We also change the criteria in 1953. Since that year, forecasting and awareness efforts have drastically reduced the size of single-tornado death tolls in most states. If only the deadliest tornadoes were listed, then few recent events would be included.

      MAY 9, 1927 2:35 pm 98 dead 300 injured
      After causing five deaths in Arkansas, the tornado devastated Poplar Bluff; 21 died in one hotel.

      SEP 29, 1927 1:00 pm 72 dead 550 injured
      In downtown St. Louis, more than 200 city blocks were torn apart.

      MAY 21, 1949 6:55 pm 23 dead 130 injured
      This tornado passed across the northwest part of Cape Girardeau, destroying 203 homes.

      MAY 20, 1957 6:15 pm 37 dead 531 injured
      After causing seven deaths in Kansas, the funnel crossed into Missouri south of Kansas City.

      MAY 21, 1957 3:53 pm 7 dead 75 injured
      Only seven homes were left intact in Fremont, with possible F5 damage to homes.

      MAY 21, 1957 4:00 pm 8 dead 50 injured
      A tornado killed people in and near Desloge and Cantwell.

      • side show bob 3.5.1

        Well said Robert but you do realise you speak blasphemy.The only facts our government wish to be presented are death destruction mayhem floods etc etc. Enough lies from the dribbling idiots. The AGW clowns said the sea level would be 300mm higher then it is now, what the fuck happened, I know, a lot of bullshiters thought they could make money and the evil bastards are getting away with it.

        • NickS


          When it comes to looking at changes in the long term, what matters is whether or not the number and or intensity of tornadoes has increased over time, while controlling for increased population and improvements in weather measurements. As all death tolls are related to is population density and size.

          Also, source for the “300mm” claim, because the recent and current models only consider sea rises of that much by 2100: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise

        • MrSmith

          side show bob, Its all a conspiracy.
          “In the paranoid mind, the Illuminati succeeded in their goals, and have now infiltrated every government and every aspect of society. They are responsible for every evil and every unjust act that ever occurs anywhere; the fact that absolutely no evidence of their existence can be found only serves to make them stronger and more frightening. They are the demon in the closet, and will probably never disappear from the paranoid fantasy world of right-wing conspiracy theorists. ”
          –New England Skeptical Society

    • burt 3.6

      Yes indeed. If you look at the images on this page and contrast 2002 with now you will see our oceans have not been continually warming as the hockey stick predictions would like us to believe.

      Nasa: JPL – Tracing El Nino

      Note from the report in Dec 2010;

      “This La Niña has strengthened for the past seven months, and is one of the most intense events of the past half century ,” said Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “It is already impacting weather and climate around the planet.”

      The previous intense La Nina was probably the last time Tornadoes were this severe.

      • NickS 3.6.1


        It’s really simple you moron, short term variances aren’t important, what is are the long term trends, it’s a very basic concept when dealing with highly variable time series, that’s been mentioned time and time again. And please note, Arctic and Antarctic ocean temps are still increasing, as are air temperature, and I’d also bet that a stats analysis of La Nina minimum temps from coral proxies and temp records would show a statistically significant upswing over the last 100 years.

        • lprent

          On the latter, yes (and I’m damned if I can remember where I saw it). But it is still isn’t significant statistically because coral isn’t that good a proxy. It is too dependent on local currents. It will get better as they pick up more widely spread samples.

          • NickS

            Yeah, but with a large enough sample you’d be able to pick up a long term signal, especially if you can remove statistical noise caused by local conditions by looking for any significant short term signals.

            I think.

            Though I’d guess isolated reefs with few terrestrial inputs would probably be the best sites.

            Eh, too tired to trawl through the non-paywalled literature though.

            • lprent

              🙂 Problem is that ocean currents are really ‘noisy’ as well. They respond quite rapidly to temp imbalances and prevailing winds. They’d need to run the study across quite a few widely separated locations with some longer-term data in the pacific. From whatever I read it sounded like they were short of long-term data from enough locations to get an idea of exactly how extreme the la nina and el nino and other events have been during a significant part of the Holocene.

              So they’re mostly comparing with events inside of the historical record. Which is good, but doesn’t really tell you how much variation you’d expect to happen naturally over the longer term. They only really realized that these types of periodic events happened after the sensors got dropped in the IGY and started deliberately targeting for them in the late 70’s. So the historical data isn’t particularly complete.

              I gather that the same problem is in effect with tornado’s. The data for those even happening was not even systematically recorded until the middle of last century.

      • lprent 3.6.2

        burt: What do you think weather is? It is an energy balancer. If there is more energy in the climate system, the general effect is that events will get more extreme – in both directions.

        Steady state progression ideas about weather and climate are the staple of scientific morons (like Act MP’s). You know the ones that expect that global warming will raise temps evenly world wide. Or the ones who think that sea levels are the same all over the world. Or the ones who seem to think that discussing past Atlantic climate shifts happened on this side of the world at the same time. In other words the lazy suckers who are more willing to hunt for simplistic avoidance excuses rather than learn some earth sciences.

    • Gee Jimmie

      I hope you are right,  I really hope you are right, I really really hope you are right.  Because if you are wrong you and the rest of the denial population have just stuffed our planet. 

      If you are wrong will you apologise?

  4. ianmac 4

    “And who will help me stop the pollution?” cried the Little Red Hen.
    “Not I,” said Jimmie.
    “Not I,”said Rodney.
    “Not I,” said Higherstandard.
    “Then damn you all! I can’t do it all unless every one helps,” wept the Little Red Hen in despair as the sea level crept up and up and……

  5. MrSmith 5

    “Spreading doubt and confusion, knowing that doing so will appeal to human’s natural tendency not to take action without certainty.”

    This quote to me says a lot about how a denalist works, most of these people are just along for the ride, but some are doing it for the money though.
    I would like to point you all to a wonderful post from Doug Mackie over on Hot topic (link below) then grab a hammer and start pounding the bad moles.


  6. randal 6

    hey why use a rake when you can buy a leafblower?
    and make abig noise to compensate for having a small dick too.

    • terryg 6.1


      Me, I use both – except my leafblower is permanently set up as a vacuum/mulcher. And I rake all the leaves up because regardless of the tool I use I have to cover the same area, and the rake is shitloads lighter (and quieter) than the leaf mulcher. And afterwards I get lovely mulch for the garden.

      the really funny thing about leafblowers is they dont actually achieve anything – after making a huge racket all one has done is rearrange the bloody leaves. Something the wind is capable of doing all on its own…..and usually does minutes after the blower finishes 😀

      Also, numerous people have told me I’m a huge prick 🙂

  7. Jenny 7

    “Deadliest tornadoes in 50 years”

    (In fact it is more like 60 years ago that US deaths from tornadoes had surpassed the tragic annual toll of more than 500 lives lost.)

    The implication of the above headline is:
    – It is a natural event
    – It has happened before in past decades
    – It will happen again in future decades
    – It can’t be helped
    – it is not a new phenomenon,

    But like a lot of dodgy statistics it is not comparing like with like.

    50 years ago weather prediction and forecasting was still an infant science. In those times it was not unusual for people to innocently step outside their door, and in the vernacular of the time, “be whipped away to their deaths suddenly and completely, without warning.”

    Weather satellites, computer modelling, etc. all linked to much more powerful communication networks of all types, are just some of the advanced systems that have benefited weather forecasting and public dissemination of severe weather warnings.

    Because of the lack of warning, which is afforded to us today, 50 years ago even small tornadoes and other “weather bombs” were much more deadly, catching most people and communities completely by surprise and off guard.

    Corey Mead a 17 year veteran of the US National Weather Service says forecasting has improved significantly.

    “We can actually anticipate the potential for those types of storms several days out,” Mead says. “But the exact locations and timing of more significant tornado threats – sometimes we don’t know up until just a few hours leading up to the events.”

    However even much shorter pre-warning times can still make a big difference. Studies have shown that warnings of just 6 to 15 minutes reduces the expected fatalities by more than 40 percent.

    The residents of Joplin, the hardest hit community, were given a 24-minute warning. No doubt even this short warning saved many lives.

    City College of New York’s professor Stan Gedzelman, speaking to CBS of these latest tornadoes:

    The warning system was absolutely as good as it could be.

    It’s really remarkable the accuracy of the forecasts……

    It’s just that the level of destruction is beyond belief.

    It’s rare for tornadoes of this force to form at all. It’s rarer still for them to find population centers like Tuscaloosa and now Joplin.

    Professor Stan Gedzelman

    Despite having this proven life saving weather forecasting technology, tornado deaths have more than doubled in the U.S. over the recent past decades. In fact, this year is already one of the worst

    ever recorded for the US when it comes to tornadoes. Last month set a new record with 875 tornadoes, when the average number for April during the past decade is 161.

    If the current forecasting technology didn’t exist, the annual death toll from tornados would likely be several magnitudes greater than anything in the historical record so far.

    The obvious question therefore, must be;

    – Are severe weather events like this latest swarm of deadly tornadoes, a consequence of Global warming?

    A strong ethos of self censorship seems to have prevented US news outlets from even raising the query, of whether there could be such a link.

    It seems that officially this is the link that can never be made, the phenomenon that can never be named.

    Washington Post commentator Bill McKibben mocks the conspiracy of silence that descends on US media outlets reporting extreme weather events, yet refuse to mention climate change.

    “A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!”

    • RedLogix 7.1


      Thanks for that link Jenny.. Bill McK expresses exactly how I’ve been feeling for some time now… very eloquently and concisely.

      His last para is the killer:

      It’s very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. If worst ever did come to worst, it’s reassuring to remember what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Environmental Protection Agency in a recent filing: that there’s no need to worry because “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” I’m pretty sure that’s what residents are telling themselves in Joplin today.

      Which is an exact parallel to the lies told by TEPCO in the last few months. It now comes out that they knew within a day that Fukushima #1 had been damaged by the earthquake (not just the tsunami) and that cores #1 and #3 had undergone full catastrophic meltdowns. For almost two whole months they have flat out lied about the situation… to prevent us ordinary people from ‘getting upset about it’.

      It turns out that most of the several hundred BWR reactors operating in the world probably do not withstand the design accelerations that were claimed for them. All of them should probably have their operating licenses revoked. But as with the fossil fuel companies, their profits will be untouchable until some very unpleasant truths are finally faced square on. The truth is well-known, but humanity is squirming with a bad conscience, wriggling about and looking to blame anyone, anything… short of taking responsibility for their own actions.

      The truly bizarre thing is that the right-wingers, the conservatives and authoritarians, whose constant refrain is ‘personal responsibility’…. who are in utter, obdurate denial of what they are doing.

      • terryg 7.1.1

        it doesnt matter anyway RedLogix, because the imaginary magical sky jeebus will lift them all bodily into heaven soon anyway, so the radiation wont get them – and as a bonus, they’ll leave their radioactive clothes behind. win-win!

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    You guys know that the amount of greenhouse gases we are pumping into the atmosphere daily is not declining in the foreseeable future right? Those emissions are not going to fall below 2010 levels in 2015 or 2020 or in 2035* (when the world population hits 8B, every one of them wanting an advanced high energy consuming western lifestyle).

    That means the outcome for the rest of this century is pretty much set. Learn to swim.

    *An absolute crash in oil availability might cause this to change though

    • John D 8.1

      Apparently, a group of very intelligent Nobel Prize winning are planing to stop CO2 emissions increasing in precisely FOUR years time, thanks to something known as the “Stockholm Memorandum”


      This, we can all be agreed, is really great news. I have no idea how they will implement this, but we should trust The Scientists.

      What could possibly harm us?

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Well I can, and take this as a warning…

        Please don’t be a fuckwit. I like playing with fuckwits a little too much. It is always so interesting finding out how soon that listening to fluke to increase my aggro factor + coffee + my inherent nastiness can take until I make their heads explode from blood pressure rises. Thirty years on the nets helps as well. Of course that seldom happens, so i just ‘denigrate’ them for a decade as a experimental procedure to see if they can learn.

        Others tend to think this makes me anti-social. Personally I view it as following the Heinlen principle – it helps the species to dispose of the idiots. But it is addictive.

        If you are going to make an argument, then don’t do a stupid one. It irritates me. You really don’t want to know me when I get irritated on the nets. Oh and please be aware, that I would not provide you with the quick mercy of my moderator role. This is not the polite forum of hot-topic so the other moderators would not have cause to spoil my fun.

        Argue without the stupidity please. Save me from my nastier natures…

        • terryg

          summary: read the fucking article dipshit

          • John D

            I have read the fucking article (btw, why don’t these comments get deleted)

            It’s not a stiupid comment. CO2 emissions have been increasing at 2ppm since whenever. Does anyone seriously think we can stop this in 4 years?

            [lprent: Insufficient information to tell you why. You’ll need to explain what you’re talking about on your first paragraph. ]

            • terryg

              John D,
              I cant say why The Standard mods dont delete your comments. you could DIY by not making them…..

              wrt read the fucking article – nowhere does it say those 4 scientists are planing to stop CO2 emissions increasing in precisely FOUR years time, thanks to something known as the “Stockholm Memorandum”

              this would have been fairly obvious had you:
              a) bothered to read the article, and
              b) had even a moderate level of comprehension

              there are not very many reasons for your lack of understanding:
              – didnt read it
              – didnt comprehend it
              – outright lying
              or any combination of the above.

              would you like to play again?

          • lprent

            Yep. But I’m unsure that he has the required ability to understand the article. I that a bit of extra saddle burr would assist the motivation.

  9. Charlie Parker 9

    If climate change could raise the sea levels enough to drown the boring wailing sneering hack proponents, I’d pump as much of whatever is reckoned would do it into the atmosphere to be rid of them all. Sadly, no such easy remedy will ever be available.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    CO2 393ppm, 43ppm above the calculated safe threshold of 350ppm (which may well be too high to prevent positive feedbacks) and rising ar around 2ppm per annum.

    Charlie Parker typifies the rantings of the ignorant, selfish and greedy (who seem to dominate in western societies society these days). When confronted with scientifically validated evidence, they just ignore it and carry on ranting ….. rather like governments and district councils, which tend to be largely composed of ideologues and denialists.

    From the Independent ….

    Weather disasters in the poorest nations ‘have trebled since 1980s’

    By Steve Connor, Science Editor

    Monday, 23 May 2011

    The number of weather-related disasters reported each year in the world’s poorest countries has more than trebled since the 1980s and the increase cannot be explained by better reporting or an increase in population, a study by Oxfam has found.

    An analysis of the natural disasters reported to international relief agencies since 1980 has revealed that while the number of disasters relating to geophysical events – such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions – remained fairly constant, disasters caused by flooding and storms significantly increased. Oxfam looked at disasters in more than 140 countries and found a clear increase over time, rising from 133 disasters a year in 1980 to more than 350 a year in recent years.

  11. Craig Young 11

    I would’ve thought three monkeys were more appropriate…
    Hear no evidence-based data/see no evidence-based data/don’t talk about evidence based data …
    that corroborates the existence of climate change.

  12. randal 12

    the naked truth is and note that ruth is more ofensive than nudity is that nothing will change until either the oil runs out or it can no longer be extracted. the owners and proprietors of oil care nothing for the earth or its people. they only want unbridled wealth NOW and to hell with the consequences.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Exactly randal and that is why an unbridled, profit driven capitalist “free-market” will always result in over use of resources and excess population.

      • ZeeBop 12.1.1

        No, its not just greed, its stupidity. The people who got rich thought it had to do with something they are doing, but in fact it was just cheap oil, cheap credit and lower standards, with the odd new advance from some expert who never received the benefit of their work. Gates did not invent the PC, and any number of back garages were filling with would be computer nerds.
        Even Buffet is not much of an innovator in the sense that its time and true rules that he applies, i.e. find consistent conscientious managers who produce profit in companies that have underlying growth and buy into them when they are under valued. Which was not hard when the whole market was under so much cheap energy and easy credit, the balloon was growing.
        Now the balloon isn’t only fools still think the free market is virtuous.

        If we are too survive, and keep some of the technology, we need manufacturers to recycle the product when it breaks. In olden times you would take the boots back to the cobbler and he’ll fix them, until they were no longer of value, then the cobbler who use the leather from the shoe to make something else. Only when the manufacturers have a profit motive to recycle, i.e. a liability will they build products that last longer, are easy to fix and are easy to recycle.

        But as I said, the idiots in Washington, London and now renamed NZ capital Wellywood, don’t want to change they think too conservatively and there lies the peril.

        • MrSmith

          Totally agree about the recycling , with good regulation most things could be either built to high standards so they last (altho the germans do this for a lot of there goods already) or built so they can be up graded or repaired easily, creating thousands of job in the process.
          Instead of buying a new laptop every couple of years you should be able to take it in and have it reconditioned , shit the keys haven’t changed places and the screen is just a screen, the tools I use every day have hardly changed in hundreds of years, it’s just some are made in china now (build-in obsolescence) and you just throw them away after they inevitably brake (not that I buy anything made in china if I have the choice) of-course the evil marketers would have to be stopped from brain washing and pushing shiny stuff on our gullible youth, this could be done with education but not everyone is so lucky in that respect.

          • John D

            Break, not “brake”.

            Benefits of an education….

            • Robert Atack

              Benefits of an education…

              I am a 4th form drop out, I was (still am) over 10 years ahead of most of ‘educated’ fuckwits in this society, education = dumbing down of the masses.

              • John D

                Couldn’t agree more Robert.

                • terryg

                  sometimes thats very true. and sometimes its very untrue. I’ve met some astonishingly stupid PhDs, and one of the best engineers I ever worked with had an NZCE. that being said, I once spent 4 years trying to convince a guy that power = torque x angular speed for a rotating thingy. and never could – he still maintains that “it has tons of torque” (when hardly moving) and goes really fast (when delivering no torque) therefore it should have tons of power. In spite of every measurement that anyone has ever made on that gear. *sigh*

                  and of course there is the free-space energy crowd – collective IQ in the high twenties……

                  clever people are clever, and dumb people are dumb. Education doesnt necessarily change that, especially not “training”

                  • John D

                    [Deleted….you are abusing your welcome. RL]

                    • John D

                      Actually, that phrase was one I heard from a PhD friend of mine. I hardly find it offensive. It is supposed to be humorous.

                      Quite a touchy lot aren’t we?

                      [lprent: It is unlikely. RL is probably one of the mildest and balanced moderators we have. You could argue about it, but that would waste moderators time. Needless to say we don’t like that and view it as a self-martyrdom offense. See the policy. ]

                      [In the context of the thread the comment I deleted simply came across as a pointless insult. And then trying to defend it with the old ‘can’t you take a joke’ line is a fail as well. RL]

            • MrSmith

              Sarcasm, the lowest form of wit.

          • Robert Atack

            Mr Smith = with good regulation most things could be either built to high standards so they last or built so they can be up graded or repaired easily, creating thousands of job in the process.

            Could, would, should ………….. maybe if we had started 100 years ago.
            As the late Dr Peter Lloyd said “we have all the answers” http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/98/F2vflGvgC68
            But as we say, no one wants to ask the questions ). No one in ‘authority’ anyway.
            When the Titanic went down the band played on, what we need is a couple of comedians on stage, ops sorry we have them already – Goff and Key, not forgetting there dance partners ie the other 118 clowns in parliament.

            WASF .

    • terryg 12.2

      Ruth isnt offensive, especially not nude – she’s sexy. I am a very lucky man 😀

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