An Insightful Post By Bill Hooke And Judy Curry – “Human Choice And Climate Change”

UPDATE February 9 2012: Bill Hooke has announced my post on his weblog Living on the Real World (see). Since comments are permitted there,  if you would like to comment, you can do that there, and I will respond there if needed.


Bill Hooke has an insightful post on his weblog titled

Human choice and climate change

which Judy Curry has also posted an excellent follow on [with the same title] in

Human choice and climate change

I want to add to this discussion here.

As Bill lists on his weblog post from Rayner and Malone in a document assessment “Ten suggestions for policymakers” offer ten suggestions to complement and challenge existing approaches to public and private sector decision making. I have reproduced these below with my comments inserted. On Judy’s post, she wrote

Wow, this is just too sensible for words.  Too bad nobody(?) seems to have paid attention to this back in 1997 (or since).   Its difficult to imagine such sensible ideas emerging from today’s currently hyperpoliticized situation.

The ten suggestions are:

1. View the issue of climate change holistically, not just as the problem of emissions reductions.

My Comment:

This was the focus of the report

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties.Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington,D.C., 208 pp

with the holistic figure [which I often repost on my weblog :-) ]

Our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K.  Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D.  Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E.  Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J.  Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases.   Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American   Geophysical Union.

provides another example  of the need for a holistic approach.

The suggestions continue:

2. Recognize that, for climate policymaking, institutional limits to global sustainability are at least as important as environmental limits.

3. Prepare for the likelihood that social, economic, and technological change will be more rapid and have greater direct impacts on human populations than climate change.

4. Recognize the limits of rational planning.

5. Employ the full range of analytical perspectives and decision aids from natural and social sciences and the humanities in climate change policymaking.

6. Design policy instruments for real world conditions rather than try to make the world conform to a particular policy model.

7. Incorporate climate change into other more immediate issues, such as employment, defense, economic development, and public health.

My Comment:  These subject are very effectively discussed in my son’s book

Pielke, R.A. Jr: 2010: The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming. Basic Books

I recommend the statements regarding the focus of this book written on the back cover by John Marburger, Neal Lane, James Baker, and Kerry Emmaul.

The list of suggestions continue:

8. Take a regional and local approach to climate policymaking and implementation.

9. Direct resources into identifying vulnerability and promoting resilience, especially where the impacts will be largest.

We have urged the adoption of this approach in weblog posts and papers. One example is from our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing  with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based  vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and  Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press

where we wrote [highlight added]

We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource–based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including climate, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies.

This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the IPCC. A contextual vulnerability assessment, using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policymakers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades, as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus on CO2  and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.

The final suggestion is

10. Use a pluralistic approach to decision-making.

My Comment:  This another topic that is covered effectively in my son’s book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming.

Final Comment:  The ten suggestions reported by Bill Hooke and Judy Curry provide a way forward even though the IPCC community, including in the USA, the NSF, EPA and NOAA, has chosen to ignore them.  Only if we move towards the broader-based approach will there been a movement towards constructive environmental and social policies.

Figure from Pielke et al 2012

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