Big News Reports Climate Change — At Last!

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Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

George Lakoff comes to my rescue (below) and puts into plain English the right answer to Did climate change cause Hurricane Sandy?

YES!  Not through direct causation, like my cue ball example, but by systemic causation.

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world.  Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemiccausation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer.  HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS.  Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents.  Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation.  Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation.  When causation is direct, the wordcause is unproblematic.

Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism.  In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal.  And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation.

Read all;  Important.

Add systemic causation to your vocabulary. Communicate the concept. Explain to others why global warming systemically caused the enormous energy and size of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the major droughts and fires. Email your media whenever you see reporting on extreme weather that doesn’t ask scientists if it was systemically caused by global warming.

Climate Change and Humongous Storms

The question of whether climate change has to do with storms such as Sandy has been answered so often there isn’t much more to add.

Did Barry Bonds steroid use have to do with a particular over-the-wall-into-the-water blast?

Can’t be answered.  No cause and effect like the cue ball hitting the number 3 ball into the corner pocket.

Simply put, the juice — steroids or CO2– increase the probability of events related to the effect of the juice: muscle mass is related to harder hit balls, but not to hand-eye coordination.  Balls that might have been long outs, hit harder, might become home runs.  There is a relation — but a complex one.

More muscle mass resulting from steroid is more water content and sea water temperature rise from increasing concentrations of CO2.  A storm that may have been big 50 years ago, with more water and higher ocean temperatures, might become a super storm today.  There is a relation — but a complex one.

Not to mention, sea-level rise — which it is, whether you believe it or not.  It could be the great dragon below the earth’s crust is simply inflating his lungs causing the seas to rise, whatever.  When the seas rise, even old-fashioned big storms will push more water inland, and flood what we need and love.  Superstorms will push even more.

No reputable scientist will ever say, ever, Yup!  That’s a CO2 fired super storm.  All reputable scientists have said, the more CO2, the more water, the more ocean temperature rise, the more likely extreme weather events.

All reputable insurance companies will count up the dollars of ruined assets and, seeing those rise, will raise rates or refuse to insure.

All people with common sense will read their experience and understand Sandy, for example, did not pop out of no where and no thing, and will prepare for more, and worse in the years ahead.

The challenge is to get enough people to vote into decision making positions, those who understand the obvious and help draw down the enormous output of the prime-mover in all of this: Agro-Industrial CO2.

More at  Did Climate Change Supersize Hurricane Hurricane Sandy?

And, from Jeff Masters:

In a stunning spectacle of atmospheric violence, Superstorm Sandy roared ashore in New Jersey last night with sustained winds of 90 mph and a devastating storm surge that crippled coastal New Jersey and New York. Sandy’s record size allowed the historic storm to bring extreme weather to over 100 million Americans, from Chicago to Maine and from Michigan to Florida. Sandy’s barometric pressure at landfall was 946 mb, tying the Great Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938 as the most powerful storm ever to hit the Northeast U.S. north of Cape Hatteras, NC. New York City experienced its worst hurricane since its founding in 1624, as Sandy’s 9-foot storm surge rode in on top of a high tide to bring water levels to 13.88′ at The Battery, smashing the record 11.2′ water level recorded during the great hurricane of 1821. Damage from Superstorm Sandy will likely be in the tens of billions, making the storm one of the five most expensive disasters in U.S. history.