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Most Americans see catastrophic weather events worsening (nypost.com)
102 points by elorant 36 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments



They may be right, but likely not for the right reasons. People also consistently think crime is getting worse even when it's getting better.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/16/voters-perc...


Even at the end of the parent article here, it says that scientists have no proof that hurricanes are hitting land more often. Other sources I've read say that they're not even more powerful or more frequent (the data is too noisy to draw a conclusion), though this one says that they are bringing greater masses of water onto land, which increases flooding. The real stat that's generally used to support worsening impacts is the cost of each storm. That's a poor statistic because it conflates the increased urbanization, general higher cost of buildings and real property and the greater number of buildings in coastal areas.


Climate change is nothing to sneer at but it seems like it's now acceptable to make dubious claims about weather disasters and link every single one to climate change in some fashion. When really the picture is more nuanced; there's not necessarily any solid proof beyond cost of rebuilding that link recent hurricanes to climate change. Perhaps another example of primarily-political "junk" climate science is the 12-year figure. All these claims with no proof actually hurt the movement to remedy the very real, yet long-term issue facing us.

When discussing climate change with the average person, I get strong vibes of post-9/11 US, the idea that there is now a problem so incredibly urgent that any justification for extreme and illiberal policy is suddenly acceptable. Reddit now casually bandies about the idea of raiding Brazil to preserve its forest, in a rather disappointing mirror-image of early-2000s neoconservatism. In the face of fear we seem lose our values as Americans incredibly quickly.


I am not sure about what other weather disasters you are referring to but hurricanes in particular are closely tied to ocean temperatures. Warmer water increases both the formation rate and severity of hurricanes[1][2]. As the oceans get warmer, we should expect longer hurricane seasons more intense storms as a result.

[1]: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/hurricanes/en/

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Stream


But the data are too noisy to draw the conclusion that we are already observing that predicted effect with certainty. It's not that that hypothesis is unreasonable, in fact my non-climatologist understanding is that it's very likely true. The question is what is the effect size for the recorded temperature increase to date, and what I've read says that it's both been up and down enough that we're not sure yet [0]. This is in contrast to the myriad news stories that state that we're losing billions of dollars per year due to global warming caused hurricanes. They do not provide nuance, but rather use terms that outright state causal links and major consequences.

Also, before you say that Reason is right wing (sorta granted, though less so these days as libertarians move out of coalition with the right), Ron Bailey is not a climate change denier. Read some of his other coverage before you slam the source.

[0] https://reason.com/2019/01/17/hurricane-losses/


Any extreme and illiberal policy is now acceptable - - except for just burning less fossil fuel.


I see the number of category 5 hurricanes since 2000 (that's 19 years ago) was 13. The previous 13 were since 1955 (that's 45 years before that). Is it unfounded to think there's been a statistically significant increase?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Category_5_Atlantic_hu...


Did we change how hurricanes are monitored over that period? I would imagine that with satellite imagery now we'll catch every storm that touches category 5, where before that we'd only know if the storm was category 5 at landfall or some other sensor intercept.


Could be. Until someone does the analysis to look at variability over decades, that could be due to natural variations.


According to this article [0], "But are fiercer hurricanes becoming more frequent? A July 18 article by the Colorado State University climatologist Philip Klotzbach and his colleagues in the Bulletin of the American Meterological Association finds that 'since 1900 neither observed CONUS [continental United States] landfalling hurricane frequency nor intensity shows significant trends.'" Sounds like it is natural variation.

[0] https://reason.com/2019/01/17/hurricane-losses/


You are imagining this >3x increase "could be" natural variation... with what probability? Are you sure you're hanging on to something more like a 50% hope rather than a <5% hope here? Until someone does the analysis (which I bet they very much have, if you look for it), you find it somehow more plausible that it's natural variation, rather than the quite-obvious explanation that the rate has in fact increased?


It appears that Hurricanes are fairly clustered when broken down by decades so that the most active time period for category 5 hurricanes was the 2000's with the second most active being the 1930's followed by the 1960's. It's also difficult to determine the actual number of Cat 5 hurricanes in the past because previously they could only be measured roughly at Landfall and more modern measures can monitor any hurricane in existence meaning that there will be an increase in Cat 5's because of measurement bias. The impact of this is unfortunately, almost impossible to say with certainty. This is all covered in the first few paragraphs of the link you posted.

To claim a 3x increase would be an example of binning your data to exaggerate effect.


Wow, this is me "binning to exaggerate effect"? So much for assuming good faith. You yourself admit this is the most active period for hurricanes, and that it's merely "difficult to say with certainty" if it's statistical variation, and you completely dodged my question of how likely you reckon such a possibility actually is. Meanwhile I haven't even tried to look at different bins, I just picked 2000 randomly. If you're going to claim I'm cherrypicking the bins here, then wouldn't it make sense to show me a more reasonable bin that that would contradict mine?


Well no, what I said was, a decade ago was the most active period for Hurricanes. This current decade is less active than the previous one, or the 1930's or the 1960's. Most decades have little to no Cat 5 hurricane activity so if you take the last 2 decades and compare them to the previous 10, then Hurricane density seems 3 times higher even though it is currently lower than it was 70 or 100 years ago depending on your measurement period. If we were to bin in 20 year chunks, then it would put this bin as the most active by a small margin. The most reasonable way to organize it would probably be year by year but category 5's are a relatively rare event so you don't see much variation if you just compare individual years. Most are 0, with high points being 2 a year, and a very rare 3 in a year. The real issue is that extreme hurricanes are clustered events. There seem to be a number of years where they hit heavily, then stop for a while before starting back up and we only have about 100 years worth of records which isn't enough to make a lot of meaningful predictions for something that seems to run on a 30 to 40 year cycle.

This is without touching on the issue of measurement bias, which is extremely difficult to determine the level of.


>scientists have no proof that hurricanes are hitting land more often

For the curious, data by decade is here (for the US):

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

This topic sometimes comes up because there are graphs that show the total number of hurricanes increasing, but the criticism is that shows bias because over time we began to observe more hurricanes that never made landfall.

[edit] and here is by-year, up to 2018.

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/E23.html

By a quick check it seems these numbers do not match the landfall-by-decade counts above. But these are labeled "impacts/landfalls", so maybe there is some categorization difference? Is an "impact" different from a "landfall"?

[edit 2] here's one difference:

* - Indicates that the hurricane center did not make a U.S. landfall (or substantially weakened before making landfall), but did produce the indicated hurricane-force winds over land. In this case, central pressure is given for the time that the hurricane winds along the coast were the strongest.


In 2019 we assess the current state of the world by using data that goes until... 2004?!


Right. I don’t know for sure either.

The constant alarmist nature of news does contribute to people being alarmed and believing that things are worse.

In any event even if the frequency and magnitude aren't deviating from historical records, coastal populations are increasing all over the world, so all else being equal vastly more people are affected.


People sometimes think crime is getting worse because the total amount of crimes actually does increase (so they really do see more of it), whereas the per-capita amount falls. I don't see this clearly translating to the hurricane situation.


Nope! In recent decades the violent crime rate has dropped in the US faster than the population has increased so the total number of crimes is actually fewer today than it was in 1990, even as a raw non-population-adjusted number.

My own theory is that as bad events get rarer they cross some threshold that makes them become more newsworthy when they do happen, so that we hear about them more, and salience bias - the fact that examples quickly come to mind - make us think it's happening more. This applies as much to hurricanes and mass shootings and "hate crimes" and violent crime in general as it did to shark attacks in the mythic "summer of the shark". Once the media has an existing narrative they can hang a story on (eg "it's just like Columbine!") they find it easy to report more stories like that, until eventually we all get sick of that topic and move on to something else.


I wasn't referring to the US as a whole, but just instances where I've seen this happen. Most recently it was just in the past few weeks right here on HN that someone said crime had risen in Seattle and someone else said it had fallen, and it turned out the discrepancy was due to population adjustment.

But I'd expect there's a fair bit of the effect you're saying too.


In really general terms:

An average climate change skeptic is a person who believes that strong hurricanes are just the weather and cold winters are proof that climate change isn't happening.

An average climate change believer is a person who believes that cold winters are just the weather and strong hurricanes are evidence of climate change.

Neither of those parties have fully thought out positions.


tldr; weather != climate


That summary is basically correct. My point is that both sides believe that but seem to deploy that belief at different times.


Crime often is getting worse while statistics saying the contrary are cherry-picked or plain lies.

There have been numerous reports of police departments changing their reporting and classification of crimes as their regions came under scrutiny for crime rates.

Furthermore, sometimes the crime rate per capita goes down but the population size increases more than enough to make up for it. What you see on the news and the streets is absolute crime numbers, not how much of it exists per person in a given region.


No, what you see on the news is whatever sells news. If murder is commonplace, then it's not news. If murder is rare, each event becomes a media storm.

Read The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker. Violence has consistently been on a long downward trend. There may be spikes localized by time or space, but it's doubtful we are reversing the trend on any long timescale or large area.

Police can change some classifications here or there, but it's kind of hard to reclassify homicides.


Exactly. 561 people were murdered in Chicago in 2018, 337 people were killed in mass shootings across the entire United States. The media unsurprisingly focuses on the mass shootings because they are unexpected and rare.


The mass shootings are terrorism which are designed to terrorize as many people as possible, and it works. The homicide rate in Chicago is largely confined to south Chicago and it has been about the same for years, so it's not very terrorizing.


South and West Chicago (see HeyJackass.com), and it's very terrorizing, just not to white people. I live in Oak Park, just across the street from Austin. Oak Park is upper-income and heavily college educated, and hosts one of the best school districts in the area. Austin is solidly African American (due to historical redlining), has touch-and-go spots w/r/t poverty, sharply more crime, but also a sizable portion of middle class black families.

White kids in Oak Park have almost nothing to fear from Chicago gang violence.

The same is not true of black kids in Oak Park --- and we're well integrated --- and extremely not true of black kids in Austin. Kids in Oak Park have, for obvious geographical reasons, friends in Austin and vice versa. Oak Park kids have been shot and killed in parks across the street from Oak Park.

It is a huge problem, and one that is easy for policy-types to overlook and downplay because it isn't a problem for white people.


Sad but true. I live in northern Chicago and had to double check the murder rate because it doesn’t fit my experience at all. It’s easy to ignore a problem if it only has a small chance of affecting you.


What you say is probably true, but it raises the question: why always guns? Surely there are other ways to cause death and terror.

I wonder if it's because it fits into a narrative? An isolated incident is more easily dismissed or forgotten.

Getting back to the main topic, climate change has become a narrative, too, not just an isolated phenomena. Hurricanes, even if mostly random, become part of a larger story.

I just finished reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, and it got me thinking a lot about narratives. Maybe people naturally have a strong desire to be part of a narrative. Perhaps the hero, perhaps a minor character in a big drama; or, if necessary, the villian.


>The mass shootings are terrorism which are designed to terrorize as many people as possible

Is that true? Last I looked, most mass shooting were domestic violence or gang-related


It's not murder that now seems more common in my neighborhood. It's property crime. Vandalism, litering, etc. The media doesn't report on this stuff so much. The perception of a trend comes primarily from my own observations.


If homicides are down by a single person, it would take an awful lot of littering and vandalism before I said crime went up.

I agree that all crime is something to be concerned about, and that minor crimes are easier to sweep under the rug with creative record keeping. But let's also keep in mind what's really important.


Property crime is the most visible and common sort of crime, and it's the sort of crime that has personally impacted me and my friends more than any other sort (I've been the victim of violent crime once, but the victim of property crime more times than I could ever remember.) I think for most people in normal situations, losing sleep over fear of murder is irrational. But concern about property crime is totally rational. It's the difference between a lightning strike and a termite infestation. One is certainly a lot more dramatic than the other, but which is more likely to actually visit your home?

>But let's also keep in mind what's really important.

Because of the factors mentioned above, I think I'm doing that.


I can understand something like grand larceny into petty theft, but how are the police covering up crimes like murder in such great numbers? Are corpses with gunshot wounds being incorrectly categorized as accidental deaths? That seems unlikely since the number of accidental firearms deaths have been trending downward as well.


Just do a search on the subject, there's plenty of credible journalism trivially found.


You're the ones making the claims, so you probably know the sources of credible journalism we should be looking for. Can you help in pointing us curious lurkers in that direction?


If it's trivial, would you mind sharing some journalism showing what the "real" American homicide rate is? I haven't been able to find any.


>Crime often is getting worse while statistics saying the contrary are cherry-picked or plain lies.

Outside a select few urban areas that actively have a policy of not engaging in enforcement action against petty property crime (which results in an increased amount of this crime per capita because the people that do it do it a lot more and more people do it at the margins) this is not true. Violent crime is down across the board and has been trending down since the 90s (though the decline isn't as steep as it used to be) by basically any measure you care to use.


There are two sources of crime statistics: police and FBI records, and then a survey of households called the National Crime Victimization Survey carried out by BJS.

As you say police recorded crime isn't seen as reliable because there's too much variation across time and in different areas.

The crime survey is seen as statistically sound though.

https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245


The stratifications on this are troubling.

> But there are wide differences in assessments by partisanship. Nine in 10 Democrats think weather disasters are more extreme, compared with about half of Republicans.

It's not a partisan issue: we all pay these costs.

> Majorities of adults across demographic groups think weather disasters are getting more severe, according to the poll. College-educated Americans are slightly more likely than those without a degree to say so, 79 percent versus 69 percent.

Weather disasters are getting more severe. It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.


> Weather disasters are getting more severe. It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.

Source? What definitions are being used for severity? How is the sample of events selected? Is there a statistically-significant effect or might it be random variation?


> Source? What definitions are being used for severity? How is the sample of events selected? Is there a statistically-significant effect or might it be random variation?

These are great questions that any good skeptic / data scientist should always be asking. Here are some summary opinions based upon meta analyses with varyingly stringent inclusion criteria.

( I had hoped that the other top-level post I posted here would develop into a discussion, but these excerpts seem to have bubbled up. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20919368 )

"Scientific consensus on climate change" lists concurring, non-commital, and opposing groups of persons with and without conflicting interests: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climat...

USGCRP, "2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I" [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, doi: 10.7930/J0J964J6.

"Chapter 8: Droughts, Floods, and Wildfire" https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/8/

"Chapter 9: Extreme Storms" https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/9/

"Appendix A: Observational Datasets Used in Climate Studies" https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/appendix-a/

The key findings in this report do list supporting evidence and degrees of confidence in predictions about the frequency and severity of severe weather events.

I'll now proceed to support the challenged claim that disaster severity and frequency are increasing by citing disaster relief cost charts which do not directly support the claim. Unlike your typical televised debate or congressional session, I have: visual aids, a computer, linked to the sources I've referenced. Finding the datasets ( https://schema.org/Dataset ) for these charts may be something that someone has time for while the costs to taxpayers and insurance holders are certainly increasing for a number of reasons.

"Taxpayer spending on U.S. disaster fund explodes amid climate change, population trends" (2019) has a nice chart displaying "Disaster-relief appropriations, 10-year rolling median" https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/04/22/taxpayer...

"2018's Billion Dollar Disasters in Context" includes a chart from NOAA: "Billion-Dollar Disaster Event Types by Year (CPI-Adjusted)" with the title embedded in the image text - which I searched for - and eventually found the source of: [1] https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/2018...

[1] "Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series" (1980-2019) https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/time-series


Thank you!

It seems these data are mostly counted in dollars of damage or dollars of relief, which is a proxy for the severity.

Would it be correct to say there is still some question about whether dollars are a good measure of severity?

EDIT: As I am browsing the data, it's hard to disentangle actual weather events from things like lava, fires, unsound building decisions, and just the politics of money moving around.


> Weather disasters are getting more severe. It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.

There is also more infrastructure for weather disasters to destroy. A perhaps more interesting metric would be an average extreme weather impact per person.


One huge problem with infrastructure is people are building it where it shouldn't be without climate change. We just love building in flood zones in the US. We love making more and bigger food zones with suburban expansion. Then as the climate gets worse the problems get worse at a much faster rate than one would expect.


Humans need water, and civilisation needs a lot of it. 90 % of cities are built in flood plain because until relatively recently (~200 years or something?) it was impossible to have a city outside of flood plain.

Now, we don't need to do it that way, but it still makes things more expensive.


Been spending the better part of this week with the "Yeah, but sh*t happens.." relatives. They don't deny what you say, but it doesn't seem plausible that we will do anything about it, so why worry? and why are you worked up?

These are the same relatives whose house was destroyed by Sandy and they're still waiting on paperwork and final checks so they can own the rebuild free and clear.


There's no reason to worry when you have enough clout to get a check.

It's not the jerks with beach-front cottages that get flooded that are gonna get screwed here, it's the people who's trailers are blown away who will be screwed.

When you have a safety net (in this case that safety net it enough combined clout to convince the government to bail you out) you have much less incentive to do anything about the problem.


[flagged]


If you believe that the coordination problem required to prevent global climate change is intractable (how are we going to make Russia stop burning oil? Nigeria? Pakistan?), then taking steps to ensure that your country comes out of that alive makes sense. Or at least makes sense if you value people in the relatively standard human order (self ~ close family > far family > community > region > country > everyone else) - some people might have different steps in there, but it's almost always going to end with members of some in group being worth more than people not in that group.

And if you say "but I'm not like that! I care about everyone equally!", then that's nice, but I don't believe you. (unless you're the kind of person who gives a large portion of their income to 3rd world charities - and I mean 50%+ there. Otherwise, aren't you demonstrating that you care about yourself more than random 3rd world children you've never met?)


[flagged]


You understand that a political characterization is just that, right? Actual human belief is nuanced.

Just as all democrats are not green-deal loving firearm ownership rejecting hippies, not all republicans are church going fox news watching SUV drivers.


I realize that, but the Republican voters are much more similar to each other (though it varies a lot by region) than the Democrat voters are to each other. Basically, conservatives are people who want to preserve the status quo (or perhaps go backwards to some halcyon time), and liberals are people who want a change to the status quo. This means that liberals are necessarily going to have different ideas about which direction they want to take, while conservatives are starting at the same place so they're necessarily going to agree more with each other.

And from my decades of experience of having family in the South, yes, most of them really are church-going Fox News watching pickup truck drivers (the SUV drivers are more the suburbanites; we were talking about trailer park dwellers here).


Here are some of the latest polls on gun control [1], abortion [2], and then a mixed general bag (same sex marriage, immigration, racial stuff) [3]. To save you the clicks on guns, for instance, there numbers for more/same/less strict for the republicans are 28/52/20. For democrats it's 80/15/4. For abortion legal/illegal it's 36/62 for republicans, 82/17 for democrats, etc. And the same is true on most if not all issues.

This is also a relatively new thing. In times past the democratic party obviously had a general direction (much as the republican party does) but views were much more diverse. I'm just hopeful that this might eventually help us start taking the steps necessary for a multi-party system. I think the extreme elements of both parties are causing them, alongside the entire US political system, to implode. The 'world leader' in democracy remaining a two-party figment of the past is quite absurd in any case.

[1] - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/12/27/facts-about...

[2] - https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-aborti...

[3] - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/26/facts-about...


> Republican voters are much more similar to each other

Wow. Never saw a more perfect example of someone believing in Out-group Homogeneity. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-group_homogeneity)


>Basically, conservatives are people who want to preserve the status quo (or perhaps go backwards to some halcyon time), and liberals are people who want a change to the status quo.

I believe you are confusing liberals with progressives. As for Fox News, as biased as they are, CBS, MSNBC and CNN are right up there with them.

Mainstream media is a sad circus these days, not a single of the outlets are even remotely interested in facts or even a hint of objectivity, it's all about attacking 'the other side' by any means.


> It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.

From the article, storms may be getting slightly more severe - but "more frequent" is incorrect:

> Scientific studies indicate a warming world has slightly stronger hurricanes, but they don’t show an increase in the number storms hitting land, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said. He said the real climate change effect causing more damage is storm surge from rising seas, wetter storms dumping more rain and more people living in vulnerable areas.

Now, we all should do what we can to address it - but we all should also examine whether we're picking and choosing only scientific observations that support our feelings/pre-conceived notions while discarding the rest of the data.


The article seems to have focused on perceptions of persons who aren't concerned with taking an evidence-based look (at various types of storms: floods, cyclones (i.e. hurricanes), severe thunderstorms, windstorms. Regardless, costs are increasing. I've listed a few sources here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20925127

"2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I" > "Chapter 9: Extreme Storms" lists a number of relevant Key Findings with supporting evidence (citations) and degrees of confidence: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/9/


> we all pay these costs

... if there actually are costs to pay. You seem to be sidestepping the actual question here.


"Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series" (1980-2019) https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/time-series


> The stratifications on this are troubling.

They are, yet almost no one I know of (in leadership positions, or the general public) seems to think they're troubling enough to put any serious effort into determining with some level of certainty why there is so much stratification along political lines on so many important issues, this being only one of them. "Conservatives are uneducated" sounds about right so that's what we'll go with it seems, regardless of whether it's actually correct. That belief may be right, but it may not.

> It's not a partisan issue: we all pay these costs.

In one perspective, but as is usually the case, there are several perspectives involved. Another non-trivial perspective is that the solution requires non-partisan cooperation, and from that perspective partisanship is not only an issue, it is a crucially important issue, so we might be well served by putting some effort into understanding the true nature of it.

> Weather disasters are getting more severe. It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.

For certain definitions of "more", "severe", "objectively", "true", and "frequent".

So if the problem isn't simply that "conservatives are uneducated", what else might it be? I think the answer lies in the incredibly complex manner in which people perceive the world in general, what information they consume, how they perceive that information, and how they integrate it into their personal internal overall worldview. People think they think in facts, but they actually think in stories, and in turn this affects how they consume new information.

Take this simple article as an example, and notice the variety of perspectives we see already with just a few (14 at the time of my writing) comments posted in this thread. Notice how people aren't discussing just the content of the article, but rather including related ideas from past information they have consumed and stored (the mechanics of which we do not understand) within the mental model of the world they hold in their brain. An even better example of this behavior can be seen in the recent discussion on the CDC report on vaping: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20915520 Observe all the complex perspectives based on the very same "facts" in the article. Observe all the assertions of related "facts", that are actually only opinions. Observe all the mind reading.

If you start looking for this phenomenon you will notice it everywhere, and if you pay closer attention you may also notice that certain topics are particularly prone to devolving into narrative (rather than fact) based conversation. The usual suspects are obvious: religion, gender, sexuality, etc, but smoking/vaping seems to me like somewhat of an interesting outlier. The former examples are very closely tied to personal identity, but while smoking/vaping shares an identity attribute to some degree, I feel like there's some other unseen psychological issue in play that results in such high polarization of beliefs.

My guess is you and I see very different things despite consuming the very same article. I lean conservative/libertarian (generally speaking), and I am deeply distrustful of government (for extremely good reasons I believe), so I know for a fact that my interpretation of the article is going to be heavily distorted by that. Any logical inconsistency, ambiguousness, disingenuousness, technical dishonesty, or anything else along those lines is going to get red flagged in my mind, whereas others will read it in a much more forgiving fashion. And in an article on a different political hot topic, we will switch our behaviors.

In such threads, I think it would be extremely interesting for people with opposing views to post excerpts of the parts that "catch your attention", with an explanation of why. This is kind of what happens anyway, but I'm thinking with a completely different motive: rather than quoting excerpts with commentary to argue your ~political side of the issue with the goal of "winning the argument", take an unemotional, more abstract view of your personal cognitive processing of the article, and post commentary on ~why/how you believe you feel you consider that important on a psychological level. Psychological self-analysis is famously difficult, but even with moderate success I suspect some very interesting things would rise to the surface.


> My guess is you and I see very different things despite consuming the very same article. I lean conservative/libertarian (generally speaking),

HN specifically avoids politics. In context to the in-scope article, when you say "conservative/libertarian" do you mean: fiscally conservative (haven't seen a deficit hawk in decades other than "Read my lips. No new taxes" followed by responsibly raising taxes), socially libertarian (Liberty as a fundamental right; if you're not violating the rights of others the government is not obligated or even granted the right to intervene at all), or conservative as in imposing your particular traditional standard of moral values which you believe are particular to a particular side of the aisle?

Or, do you mean that you're libertarian in regards to the need and the right to regulate business and industry in the interest of consumers ("laissez faire")? I'm certainly not the only person to observe that lack of regulation results in smog-filled cities due to un-costed 'externalities' in a blind pursuit of optimization for short-term profit.

At issue here, I think, is whether we think we can avert future escalations of costs by banding together to address climate change now; and how best to achieve the Paris Agreement targets that we set for ourselves (despite partisan denial, delusion, and indifference to increasing YoY costs [1]) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement

I'm personally and financially far more concerned about the long-term costs of climate change than a limited number of special interests who can very easily diversify and/or divest to take advantage of the exact same opportunities.

> and I am deeply distrustful of government (for extremely good reasons I believe), so I know for a fact that my interpretation of the article is going to be heavily distorted by that. Any logical inconsistency, ambiguousness, disingenuousness, technical dishonesty, or anything else along those lines is going to get red flagged in my mind, whereas others will read it in a much more forgiving fashion. And in an article on a different political hot topic, we will switch our behaviors.

While governments (and militaries (TODO)) do contribute substantially to emissions and resultant climate change, I think it unnecessary to qualify that unregulated decisions by industry should be the primary focus here. Industry has done far more to cause climate change than governments (which can more efficiently provide certain services useful to all citizens)

> In such threads, I think it would be extremely interesting for people with opposing views to post excerpts of the parts that "catch your attention", with an explanation of why. This is kind of what happens anyway, but I'm thinking with a completely different motive: rather than quoting excerpts with commentary to argue your ~political side of the issue with the goal of "winning the argument", take an unemotional, more abstract view of your personal cognitive processing of the article,

These people aren't doing jack about the problem because they haven't reviewed this chart: "Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series" (1980-2019) https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/time-series

Maybe they want insurance payouts, which result in higher premiums. Maybe the people who built in those locations should be paying the costs.

> and post commentary on ~why/how you believe you feel you consider that important on a psychological level. Psychological self-analysis is famously difficult, but even with moderate success I suspect some very interesting things would rise to the surface.*

They don't even care because they refuse to accept that it's a problem.

The article was ineffectual at addressing the very real problem.

From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20925127 :

> ( I had hoped that the other top-level post I posted here would develop into a discussion, but these excerpts seem to have bubbled up. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20919368 )

In this observational study of perceptions, college education was less predictive than party affiliation.

Maybe reframing this as a short-term money problem [1] would result in compassion for people who are suffering billions of dollars of loss every year.


> HN specifically avoids politics.

I'm not saying this to be argumentative, but I suspect that is once again merely your perception. HN avoids (dang aggressively shuts down, to the detriment of the world imho, because if smart people can't find a way to discuss these things objectively, how do we expect the average person on the street to) political discussions that have a caustic odor, but there's plenty of political shit talking on HN.

> "conservative/libertarian" do you mean: fiscally conservative

Yes, but the real kind, not the phonies we've had for decades.

> socially libertarian (Liberty as a fundamental right; if you're not violating the rights of others the government is not obligated or even granted the right to intervene at all)

Yes.

> or conservative as in imposing your particular traditional standard of moral values which you believe are particular to a particular side of the aisle

To a degree, but here I think you're dealing with an interpretation of reality more than reality itself (not meant as an insult; it's how humans are). But yes, somewhat, and this is a whole other interesting and important conversation, that I think society should be having in a more serious / less polarized way.

> Or, do you mean that you're libertarian in regards to the need and the right to regulate business and industry in the interest of consumers ("laissez faire")?

I used to be very laissez faire, but in many specific areas I am now the exact opposite - if I was in charge, corporations would be in for a very rude awakening. But laissez faire is my default stance until facts suggest it is excessively harmful to the greater good.

> At issue here, I think, is whether we think we can avert future escalations of costs by banding together to address climate change now

100% agree. But if we willfully ignore the realities of human nature/psychology, I predict we'll never be able to even remotely band together, especially in the hyper-weaponized-meme world we now find ourselves in. Averting future escalations is the larger goal, but it is completely dependent upon cooperation, which is dependent on communication & perception. I believe perception is where we are failing most.

> I'm personally and financially far more concerned about the long-term costs of climate change than a limited number of special interests who can very easily diversify and/or divest to take advantage of the exact same opportunities.

Me too.

>> and I am deeply distrustful of government (for extremely good reasons I believe), so I know for a fact that my interpretation of the article is going to be heavily distorted by that. Any logical inconsistency, ambiguousness, disingenuousness, technical dishonesty, or anything else along those lines is going to get red flagged in my mind, whereas others will read it in a much more forgiving fashion. And in an article on a different political hot topic, we will switch our behaviors.

> While governments (and militaries (TODO)) do contribute substantially to emissions and resultant climate change, I think it unnecessary to qualify that unregulated decisions by industry should be the primary focus here. Industry has done far more to cause climate change than governments (which can more efficiently provide certain services useful to all citizens)

I think you misunderstood. Here I'm not talking about government/military damage to the environment (although that's a very big deal, the hypocrisy of which reinforces my distrust even more), I'm saying that I don't trust what they're up to at all. With a few exceptions (Bernie Sanders, etc), I am very distrustful of the true honesty and sincerity of all politicians regardless of affiliation. I suppose this is less that they're fundamentally dishonest, but rather the nature of our system is such that you have to be dishonest.

>> In such threads, I think it would be extremely interesting for people with opposing views to post excerpts of the parts that "catch your attention", with an explanation of why. This is kind of what happens anyway, but I'm thinking with a completely different motive: rather than quoting excerpts with commentary to argue your ~political side of the issue with the goal of "winning the argument", take an unemotional, more abstract view of your personal cognitive processing of the article,

> These people aren't doing jack about the problem because they haven't reviewed this chart: "Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series" (1980-2019) https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/time-series Maybe they want insurance payouts, which result in higher premiums. Maybe the people who built in those locations should be paying the costs.

I'm afraid you've completely misunderstood. I was referring to a meta discussion, on human psychology and the nature of perception - the distinctly different way in which you and I consume, perceive, store, integrate, and recall the information in an article, not the information itself. I believe this is where the solution to these problems is hiding.

> They don't even care because they refuse to accept that it's a problem.

Here you are acting as if you are able to read the minds of other people. Intuition, which is kind of a dimensional compression of perceived reality, has evolved in humans because it is extremely useful. However, when dealing with high complexity, it can be dangerous.

> ( I had hoped that the other top-level post I posted here would develop into a discussion, but these excerpts seem to have bubbled up. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20919368 )

Oh, you're not wrong on those facts I'm sure, but people don't think in facts. They think they do, but they don't actually. If we want to do something about these and other problems, you have to look for the invisible blockages, and some of them are within you and I, despite the sincerity of our intentions.

Unfortunately, even genuinely smart people (like much of the HN crowd) seem to be extremely resistant to even considering this notion. I suspect the problem is that although a person may be highly educated, at the subconscious level they are still highly tribal. But I believe if we can get people to start to realize these things, to see the world in this abstract form, then much of the rest might fall into place far easier than the current apparent polarization of beliefs would suggest.


> It is objectively, quantitatively true that weather disasters are getting more frequent and more severe.

There is no data to support such an assertion. It's confirmation bias stemming from the belief that climate change will lead to such an effect.


> "2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I" > "Chapter 9: Extreme Storms" lists a number of relevant Key Findings with supporting evidence (citations) and degrees of confidence: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/9/


Do people feel a change or observe a change? People aren't logical and are easily lead. Looking at why people perceive something can be insightful.

For example, in the Atlantic basin there has been a bunch of work to try to measure hurricane changes. See https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/. So far, the impact has been minimal (small increases in rain amounts).

Do we build more in the hurricane zones? Is more talk on it leading people to feel things are worse? Are they worse and if so what measurements show it? Are more people impacted because of population growth?


Do people feel a change or observe a change?

I'm inclined to put down chips on the former; I often see and participate in conversations about local weather and often people making the conflation that a one off weather event == climate. The two are linked, but I've always understood the difference to be that climate = (weatherevent() x time) where time is usually on the scale of years; that it's much harder to fully assess climate by remarking on a couple days of severe thunderstorms.

Opening myself up to correction here


Is there any explaination for the severe weather in the 1930's?

From Wikipedia: >> Only in six seasons—1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, 2007 and 2017—has more than one Category 5 hurricane formed.

Assuming global warming is to blame for the last 20 years.


If you take a look at the studies you'll find old data has issues because of changes in how hurricanes were measured. Hurricanes are now monitored by satellites. Many of them are short lived and never seen by a ship or other system that would record it. Data collection prior to satellites would not have observed these.

A good resource can be found at https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/. They talk about normalizing the data and look at the impact of global warming on hurricanes. Numerous studies are quoted.


They both coincide roughly with the sunspot maximum of the Gleissburg cycle.


There are more people on Earth than ever before. There is more media on Earth than ever before.

Because of the fact there are more people, there are many more developments. Places that were uninhabited now have large communities, infrastructure, etc. Weather that occurs in these places is going to create more damage than before. There is now more media to report on it.

So, yes perhaps there are more catastrophic weather events than before. Is climate change the reason for this? Or are there simply more things to be destroyed by weather than ever before? A combination of this?


I talked to a climate scientist about hurricanes a few years ago. He said that while the frequency of hurricanes is probably not increasing (forming a hurricane is a tricky thing) there is some evidence that they are becoming more intense (there's more heat energy to increase speeds).

https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/


How about a link to a chart indicating frequency and severity of severe weather events?

The Paris Agreement is predicated upon the link between human actions, climate change, and severe weather events. 195 countries have signed the Paris Agreement with consensus that what we're doing is causing climate change.

Here are some climate-relevant poll questions:

Do you think the costs of disaster relief will continue to increase due to frequency and severity of severe weather events?

Does it make sense to spend more on avoiding further climate change now rather than even more on disaster relief later?

How can you help climate refugees? Do you donate to DoD and National Guards? Do you donate to NGOs? How can we get better at handling more frequent and more severe disasters?


americans are generally a hyper-sensationalized people.


Whether or not it's factually true, this is good news.


1 in 4 Americans think the sun orbits the earth. More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government. Almost half of Americans don’t believe in evolution.

What most Americans believe doesn’t hold much weight.


I absolutely agree. If you look at Atlantic hurricane statistics reaching back to the 1920s it’s apparent that hurricanes aren’t actually becoming more frequent or more intense. This headline sounds like the NYPost suggesting falsehoods to support a narrative and offloading responsibility for those falsehoods onto a vague “majority of Americans”.


Most Americans probably think news quality is getting worse.


When those Americans vote their beliefs do hold demonstrable weight.


These things may all be true, but remember that these people also vote, so you can't just casually dismiss them.




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