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climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Thu 19 Oct 2017, 21:35:56
by phaster
“Scripps Study (There’s A Chance Climate Change Can Wipe Out Humans By 2050)”

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/sep/15/sc ... e-can-wip/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/new ... story.html

Just happens on the same date that story broke, the local newspaper also published an idiotic “op-ed” on management of public pensions portfolios (FYI used the term idiotic because the math/logic did not make sense, and just to be sure I checked with an actuary),... I've posted the op-ed as a (highlighted) PDF at google-docs (and used a “redirect”) so you can read everything for yourself

http://www.TinyURL.com/PensionRebuttal

At first the concept of climate change and public pensions might seem unrelated but “Economics and Finance” is a common factor.

Some background,... back in the day Roger Revelle (@ UCSD) taught a class that I took which was designed to look at a problem from from different points of view

Anyway during a discussion he mentioned the big unknown [AT THE TIME] was aerosols (i.e. water vapor AKA “clouds”) which varied albedo/reflectivity,... that in turn has an influence on the environment (i.e. temperature)

Years after taking the class, read about “global dimming”

Matter of fact the same guy (Ramanathan) who wrote the recent scripps report (mentioned in the news)

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/new-clima ... al-threats

wrote (years ago) a paper on the topic of “dimming”

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.10 ... -6475-3_94

(for context see “NOVA” PBS transcript where "Ramanathan" appears)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3310_sun.html

Basically the way public pension portfolios are managed and the way the scripps report presented itself, I sense trouble ahead because of an idea from investing,... the “margin of safety”

https://www.amazon.com/Margin-Safety-Ri ... 0887305105

As related to the idea of an “Existential” threat; there are huge downside consequence of mis-managing climate change (like wise w/ public pension portfolios),... point being various short term “gain” payoff(s) (for a select few) are an over all gamble (WRT “punishments”) for society/civilization as a whole

In other words, each “crisis” requires resources to fix. Depleting various resources weakens the system (so after a crisis the system is more vulnerable)

So the big question is what happens if various public pensions “fail” and severely weakens the (global) economy?  Then shortly thereafter climate change requires large amounts of political, social and/or financial capital to build up various infrastructure (for human beings to adapt)?

Thoughts???

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 09:28:11
by phaster
huh, no response?

Since its almost halloween,... cue spooky back ground music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAP26hS82BU

In aviation accident investigations there is something called an “Error chain”

Basically an aircraft CRASH isn’t the result of one single event, the end result happens because of the culmination of “errors”

As it stands climate change and pension portfolio (mis)management, are the direct result of a culmination of human “errors”

My own reading of the tea leaves, indicates that a “crash” will most likely happen first w/ in the financial system specifically because various $hit for brains love of money (i.e. pension benefits) were allocated w/ out considering the big picture and underlying basic math.



Unfortunately politicians, public-employee union leadership and partisan supporters have a vested interest in keeping the existing system in place, much like the petrochemical and coal industry don’t want to acknowledge their own addiction to the economic status quo.

If we consider “The Drake equation” which is a way to estimate the number of ACTIVE ET civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWu5GXh0gyQ

and “The Fermi Paradox (filter)” which is a way of considering how an ET civilization might kill itself off

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNhhvQGsMEc

AND then ponder left to our own devices, the natural psychological tendency is we always want more (i.e. human greed) therefore I have to conclude aspects w/ in the economy (i.e. DEBT) is yet another weapon of destruction that has the ability to decimate a civilization.

Bottom line given existing trends and complexity of the system, its best we learn to carefully manage and control DEBT to prevent the BIG CRASH from happening. In other words the BIG CRASH is perhaps why “Stephen Hawking believes we have 100 years left on Earth – and he's not the only one”

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/stephen- ... s-festival

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 09:50:21
by Plantagenet
Public pensions are a simple actuarial problem. It’s pretty easy to forecast future outflows from pension funds, assume various rates of return on the invested assets, and calculate how many years until the assets run out. Then it’s up to politians and the courts to sort out what happens next.

Climate change is much more complex —- and infinitely more important

Cheers!

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 09:58:08
by Newfie
Phaster,
FWIW for several years I have considered our global financial system to be the emergent threat. It’s where there is the most chaotic behaviour, to my eye it is seriously out of balance. Supposedly back in 2008 we almost lost it because he system was about o “lock up”. I tend to see it through the prison of “trust”, trust that contracts will be honored.

Our global financial system is a bulwark against global war, everyone looses

Should a financial meltdown occur then global war becomes possible once again.

How this unravels will effect climate change and other stressors. All too chaotic, too complicated to model.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:08:58
by asg70
Plantagenet wrote:Climate change is much more complex —- and infinitely more important


Yeah. Important indeed. It's a real challenge convincing people not to raise their CO2 footprint by flying from Alaska to Greece on a whim. How would you suggest we do that, hmmm?

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:15:03
by Cog
Doomers love to doom.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:15:46
by onlooker
For those who doubt that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity, I simply urge them to read what happened about 250 million years ago during the "Great Dying". The greatest mass extinction event in the history of this planet. How that event affected life forms at that time.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:18:40
by vox_mundi
Related

Former CIA Chief: Nuclear War with Russia, Biological Weapons and Climate Change 'Only' Existential Threats to US

Michael Morell, who served as acting chief of the foreign intelligence service between November 2012 to March 2013, warned the US was failing to pay attention to longer term issues.
'We tend to focus on the immediate, not the longer term'

Nuclear exchange with Russia was still a threat that had the capacity to “destroy” the country, the 59-year-old told the politics podcast Pod Save the World.

“The second is a naturally occurring or manmade biological agent that kills 60 to 70 per cent of the population,” he said. “We don’t spend enough time on that.”

“And then the third, and some people may laugh at this but it’s absolutely true, is climate change. It’s an existential threat to the United States of America and if you don’t believe me look at Puerto Rico. This is an existential threat to us and obviously we’re not paying enough attention.”

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:20:07
by phaster
Plantagenet wrote:Public pensions are a simple actuarial problem. It’s pretty easy to forecast future outflows from pension funds, assume various rates of return on the invested assets, and calculate how many years until the assets run out. Then it’s up to politians and the courts to sort out what happens next.

Climate change is much more complex —- and infinitely more important

Cheers!


Phaster wrote:OP

...big question is what happens if various public pensions “fail” and severely weakens the (global) economy? Then shortly thereafter climate change requires large amounts of political, social and/or financial capital to build up various infrastructure (for human beings to adapt)

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 11:33:02
by vtsnowedin
phaster wrote:
...big question is what happens if various public pensions “fail” and severely weakens the (global) economy? Then shortly thereafter climate change requires large amounts of political, social and/or financial capital to build up various infrastructure (for human beings to adapt)
[/quote]
That is already happening in places such as Greece and Spain. Small countries and small States in the USA you end up with the pensioners taking a hair cut. The trouble will come when some large fund Like California's CalPERS goes down or the ultimate big one US Social Security runs out of money. I expect they will avoid outright cuts in benefits by increasing the income tax ability of payments and then means testing to hit the rich first. If everybody takes a cut the price of golf in Florida will go down along with rents in the trailer park.
As to the smaller state funds they are already taking steps to remain solvent. My own fund no longer allows the rule I retired under 'thirty years and out' regardless of age and now requires retirees to be sixty (or disabled) to begin drawing their checks. They also took a hard look at police and fireman retirements and the amounts needed to be set aside to cover the promised payouts and the calculations that determine those payouts.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 11:46:26
by Outcast_Searcher
Ill agree that trying to take "convenient" short-cuts to things like properly funding pensions (or any other major, systemic, highly predictable major expenditures people need, on a massive scale, is a disaster.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people and groups of people and their representatives (i.e. governments) are very bad at this overall -- favoring short term payoffs over long term planning.

This has been clearly demonstrated doing formally controlled experiments in behavioral economics. It starts as early and simply as a 5 year old child choosing whether to have one cookie now or three in five minutes. Most children choose badly until they are trained/coached to think differently. This scales up through adulthood, individual retirement planning, and all the way to massive government long term retirement plans.

Bottom line, clearly if this problem isn't addressed, then everyone can't be paid what they were promised. As indicated in earlier posts, this is already happening in some cases. The only real question is how will it be resolved in the end -- gradually bringing things more into line, or a cataclysm of repudiated debt at some point, when the system (the majority of investors) realizes it is rotten to the core.

The truth probably lies somewhere between the doomers' "in our face" view and the optimists "there really isn't much of a problem" view. Since neither extreme group is willing to concede it might be wrong and society overall is so poorly educated -- I (in typical moderate fashion) see us stumbling along for decades until something really bad happens.

The one thing I can confidently predict is once the system does hit a wall, NOBODY will concede they had a significant role in the problem.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 11:58:12
by Newfie
Does anyone remember 2008 when both Bush and Obama said we were on the brink of the world financial system locking up? The liquidity crisIs?

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 12:19:20
by GHung
Newfie wrote:Does anyone remember 2008 when both Bush and Obama said we were on the brink of the world financial system locking up? The liquidity crisIs?


Does anyone remember QE 1-3? ZIRP? Central banks conjuring $trillions out of thin air? Dramatically increasing sovereign debt? All the fuzzy economic math to try and pretend there was (is) no crisis? Stalled growth? Lethargic velocity of capital?

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 12:24:54
by KaiserJeep
Of course we all remember that, Newfie. Bush was clearly out of his depth and had no clue what to do. Very publicly they consulted Obama about the bailout that followed, it had to have bi-partisan support or it would fail.

So they saved the big banks and the Wall Street fat cats and stuck the US taxpayer with an enormous debt. Now the abuses continue on Wall Street, my house has finally recovered the value it had back then, and my 401K is approximately the same as then, since the more conservative investment options don't even yield enough to cover inflation.

Keep in mind, I am better off than most Americans. The fat cats are consuming Middle Class American savings to further enrich themselves. Now one of the fat cats is POTUS.

I don't believe that the crisis is directly related to this particular forum or to fossil fuels, or for that matter to climate change myths.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 14:46:56
by phaster
FWIW IMHO discussions about climate change for the most part ignore economic cause/effect and wisdom of the markets (which indirectly might be said is a sign from god,... so to speak)

FOR EXAMPLE, lets look stuff in the recent news on the topic

Why The Government Sells Flood Insurance

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused billions of dollars in destruction in Texas and Florida. The bill for repairing those properties will be enormous and much of it will be paid by taxpayers because many of those homes are insured by the federal government.

SIMON: Let me put it this way. If the National Flood Insurance Program were a private insurance company, would it still be in business?

MIHM: No. It would not. In fact, there was a private insurance industry for floods. After the Mississippi floods of 1927 vanished, they basically got out of it.

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/16/551457535 ... -insurance


Flood insurance problem: same houses, over and over

As communities in Louisiana deal with the aftermath of disastrous flooding, attention is being given to the looming challenges for a federal program that provides insurance compensation for victims. The National Flood Insurance Program is more than $20 billion in debt, owing in part to a spate of heavy flooding around the nation in recent years.

A lot of payouts from the program have gone to the same properties time and again, according to a recent report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

https://www.marketplace.org/2016/08/31/ ... lood-study


Here we see, the (free) market telling people its unwise to insure man made structures built in a natural flood plain (YET pressured by people who live in flood prone areas insistent government offer the product)

So in effect if one is inclined to believe in god (like perhaps many do in the bible belt), and live in a place in gets flooded (over and over again), its like ignoring a sign from god (and the markets) telling people its kinda dumb to live where you live!

Extending the parable further, one might say by ignoring a repeated sign from god, one risks ever more wrath from the almighty!

Using scientific and economic market place frame work, it could be argued that mismanaged DEBT (built up from unsustainable public pensions or flood insurance) is a sign (i.e. measure) from god that something is amiss

As I see things, I believe that at some point the economic system will crash because the debt burden is unserviceable

Coincidentally I also believe the cumulative effects of various economic activity will have an adverse effect on the global environment (i.e. climate change)

Basically w/ in my life time I've seen first hand China going from a nation of people who for the most part owned and rode on bikes (in the 1980's) which create vary little pollution (since I am considering the manufacturing process), to a nation which is now grid locked with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles like big SUVs stuck in rush hour traffic jams

Image

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe ... goes-viral

In physics and systems theory, the superposition principle states that for all linear systems, the net response at a given place and time caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually

Using the superposition principle (idea) I would argue that human civilization is inevitably going to face a catastrophic (perhaps even an extinction event for the human species) because (the economy will first crash) due to the collective hubris of mankind,...then shortly thereafter a potential death blow might be, the inability of mankind to build infrastructure needed to adapt to climate change all because the interconnected global economy will be inoperative

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 21:17:41
by dohboi
Sooooo, you think the 'free market' should run everything, but you are aghast at traffic jams.

Do you think they would be better without any traffic laws?

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 21:54:24
by dissident
The optimal order from disorder notion is a childish one. For every optimal configuration there are an infinite number of suboptimal and downright negative configurations. The very existence of laws and regulations points to this fact. If the system really was self-organizing in an optimal mode, then the path of least resistance would have meant the lack of any attempt to regulate the system.

To believe that laws and regulations are some nefarious ploy is also pure tin foil hat nonsense. The real problem is that laws and regulations are suboptimal for the same reason that the system will never evolve into an optimal state by itself. It does not help when both sides of the political spectrum are trying to change them to suit their own preferences. Optimal laws and regulations do not have a political shade.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Sun 29 Oct 2017, 23:55:06
by onlooker
Related to what Dissident stated, the iron clad 2nd law of thermodynamics Entropy manifestng as decay and disorder is evident throughout the Cosmos over time. To expect human societies to be spared is naive.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Mon 30 Oct 2017, 00:48:05
by KaiserJeep
To expect that the human species can survive beyond the Earth and without living on the surface of a natural world and ecosystem is, I will freely admit, arrogant and pridefull.

Never-the-less, that is what I choose to believe in. There will in the near future, come a time when the fortunate few who have escaped the bounds of Earth's gravity look down upon the widespread squalor of those who did not. The squalor caused by those who must live on a world without cheap energy and abundant food and clean water, yet who are breeding faster than ever to overcome adversity, with all the knowledge of modern medicine to lessen infant mortality, and warring over the remaining resources.

I believe that a brave few, born and raised in space, will from time to time venture onto the Earth to retrieve biological samples, plant and animal DNA, necessary for the management of LaGrange colonies that are growing fast, and requiring more and more complex artificial ecosystems be built, incorporating more plants/animals/insects/etc.

Perhaps they will retrieve some of the stunning Lepidoptera from Mt. Totumas, and name a habitat after the place.

Re: climate change "existential" threat to humanity

Unread postPosted: Mon 30 Oct 2017, 09:54:40
by asg70
onlooker wrote:Related to what Dissident stated, the iron clad 2nd law of thermodynamics Entropy manifestng as decay and disorder is evident throughout the Cosmos over time. To expect human societies to be spared is naive.


What we've been good at is not so much escaping entropy altogether but kicking the can down the road. Obviously that reaches a point of diminishing returns but it's really the only hedge humanity has since we obviously can't convince people not to breed.