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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.


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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?)


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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/




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