Sunday 3 February 2019

Reality versus Prediction: Too Much, Too Little?

Too much rain in north-east Queensland:


Too little in Tasmania and Victoria (and South Australia and New South Wales). The cake, however, went to Tassie and VIC: the dry and hot conditions led those states straight into protracted and geographically extended bushfires.


Plenty records have been broken.

I’d like to remind readers that this is happening even though average long-run temperature in Australia has increased by only 1ºC and that the goal to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5ºC is now considered all but unattainable.


In July 2017 a New York Magazine piece by David Wallace-Wells caused a bit of a commotion among environmentalists. At the time, many environmentalists (Robinson Meyer seems a representative example) criticised Wallace-Wells’ stance as alarmist.

I think to revisit that episode with the recent experience in mind may be a useful exercise, to see what both parties in dispute seem to have gotten right and wrong so far.

In addition to local Australian news, two news items may be relevant to that appraisal:

Elon Musk says he's firing more than 3,000 Tesla staff because of pressure on profits and Model 3 production challenges.
  • Tesla is laying off 7% of its employees, according to an email Elon Musk sent to workers.
  • Musk said the job cuts were due to pressure on profits and difficulties producing the Model 3.
By Mark Matousek, Jake Kanter. Jan 18, 2019, 9:55 PM

'Brutal news': global carbon emissions jump to all-time high in 2018.
Rapid cuts needed to protect billions of people from rising emissions due to increase in use of cars and coal
By Damian Carrington. Dec 6, 2018 05.00 AEDT

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