Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Narendra Modi gets it (so does Abe but Obama doesn’t)

September 6, 2014

“Climate has not changed.

We have changed.

Our habits have changed.

Our habits have got spoiled.”

Narendra Modi, India Today, 5th September 2014
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Natural Climate Change is Good but Man-made Climate Change is Bad

May 28, 2014

Man is the culprit. Development is Evil.

Humanity is doomed if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels.

How so?

We are emitting so much carbon dioxide by burning coal and oil and gas that the CO2 in our atmosphere is increasing. CO2 is a “greenhouse gas” and this is causing the earth to heat up by about 0.8ºC in the last 100 years and – according to our computer models – by between 2-5ºC by 2100. The ice at the poles will melt and sea level will rise and the billions will drown. There will be more wars in all that heat and millions more will die. There will be wars over water and more millions will die. Displaced people will crowd into ever smaller areas and there will be more conflict and more will die. Humanity is doomed!

Oh! But you know the greatest temperature difference I experience is almost 50ºC between summer and winter and that is surely due to the earth’s tilt and the sun. The greatest temperature difference I experience in a day of around 10- 20ºC is between day and night and that is due to the earth’s daily spin. The greatest temperature difference I experience during daytime is around 10ºC and due to clouds. So how do you know that this 0.8ºC rise in the last 100 years has been caused primarily by the CO2 in the atmosphere?

Well we don’t – not for sure. But what else could it be? Our computer models have taken all parameters into account and it has to be CO2. There is nothing else.  Physics tells us that CO2’s greenhouse properties are real. It blocks outgoing radiation from the earth. 97% of my friends agree with me. Al Gore agrees with me. Barack Obama agrees with me.

But what about clouds then? They block both incoming and outgoing radiation. Aren’t they the controlling factor?

True but in our models it is the CO2 which also drives the clouds (though we don’t know if the net effect of clouds is warming or cooling). Anyway, CO2 causes a change in clouds such that its own warming effect is amplified. The forcing causes Global Warming.

Are you sure it is man-made CO2 which is increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere? After all man-made CO2 only accounts for about 4% of all CO2 emissions.

Well everything else was in equilibrium. And about 40% of man-made CO2 – we think – goes to increasing the atmospheric content of CO2.

For the last 20 years CO2 has been increasing but global temperature has not. So CO2 in the atmosphere cannot possibly be driving temperature?

Twenty years is too short a time to draw that conclusion. The Earth is still warming but the heat is hidden in the oceans.

But the oceans have not warmed either?

The heat is hiding in the deep ocean where we cannot make measurements. It is waiting for a sudden and catastrophic release.

So, at least for twenty years Global Warming has stopped even though CO2 has been increasing. Why then reduce fossil fuel combustion?

In any case Global Warming is not really the problem – Climate Change is. And CO2 is causing Climate Change. Even if the Global warming is invisible. More storms, more ice melting more All manner of Bad things. Death. Man is Evil.

All the weather we have observed in the industrial age has been observed before?  What is unusual? Lately even storms have decreased. 

The Frequency of Bad Weather is increasing. And it will get worrse. It’s all due to man-made CO2.

The Climate Change we have seen in the last 100 years has varied from warming to cooling roughly every 30 – 40 years. Maybe all that we see is just Natural Climate Change.What if the climate is now cooling? 

That too is obviously due to CO2. We can make our mathematical models to show that as well. It just requires different forcings to be applied. In any case Cooling is also Climate Change. And Climate Change is Bad. And it is caused by burning fossil fuels.

So man should strive to keep Climate unchanging?

Of course not. Man should strive to reduce his impact and let Climate Change be Natural.

So, Natural Climate Change is Good but Man-made Climate Change is Bad

Of course.

But do you know what causes Natural Climate Change?

It’s the Sun stupid.

So a Natural drought with starvation or the destruction by a Natural Hurricane is a Good thing?

It will happen more often if man interferes.

What when the Sun – as the prime source of Energy – causes a new Ice Age? When the next Ice Age comes, shouldn’t we try to influence the climate? To create some Global Warming?

Man is Evil and Man-made Climate Change is Evil and You are Evil. My peer-reviewed, IPCC endorsed mathematical model proves it conclusively.

Thank You.

Thank goodness for Prince Charles

January 31, 2014

I am a fairly sceptical sort – on most things and not just about global warming. I am not impressed by ungrounded statements and I tend to dislike appeals to authority.

He is generally quite harmless and now getting frustrated with his mother’s refusal to abdicate. But I also rely on Prince Charles as the ultimate non-authority on everything he cares to open his mouth about. Among other things he believes in Kabbalistic teachings, herbal medicine and homeopathy. He was an avid fox hunter (now banned and he is therefore against it) and seems to approve of Robert Mugabe!

So I do not mind being called a headless chicken, and since it is from Prince Charles, I can take it as an accolade.

The Guardian (where else):

Climate change sceptics are ‘headless chickens’, says Prince Charles

“It is baffling, I must say, that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything – until, that is, it comes to climate science,” 

It does not take much to baffle him, and in any case it is best as a future King of England that he not think too much for himself.

Heavyweights in Europe backing away from “green” follies

January 27, 2014

The beginning of the end of “green” profligacy? Perhaps – but the EU is still dominated by earnest, self-righteous, politically correct, fanatical, “green” fantasists.

Nevertheless it is a change of political climate in the right direction – from angry, hot alarmism  to a healthy, cold scepticism.

Lobby groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are not pleased. And that itself is a good sign. After all – as the great sage John Gummer has pointed out – such groups have been infiltrated and taken over by the Trotskyites.

The inanity of those who would connect weather with global warming is stupefying. I don’t call it “climate change” since if change could include “global cooling” all the warmists would be left without any faith and be out of a job. 

  1. ‘We must not demonise coal’ – German environment minister
  2. UK: Climate scepticism blamed as Owen Paterson slashes spending on global warming
  3. UK: David Cameron pledges to rip up green regulations

Germany:

Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, says coal-fired power is important to the country’s economic security and should not be subject to extreme negativity.

In a separate development, Ms Hendricks told Power Engineering International that a court decision, which found the forced shutdown of the Biblis nuclear power plant to be illegal, would not have any impact on Germany’s plans to wind down its nuclear power industry. Speaking to Frankfurter Rundschau, Ms Hendricks said that while the energy transition’s dependence on coal power was ‘undesirable’, it was necessary for the country’s stability, particularly as “we can no longer expect gas to flexibly complement eco-energy.”

“Gas is unprofitable while coal is booming. We must not demonize coal. We still need to transition to a guarantee security of supply.”

She added that ‘rectivating’ the energiewende meant tacking the undesirable development of coal’s eminence. However this, she said, is to be a long term goal governed by market mechanisms/ETS. ETS, which would have to be reactivated. 

In her view backloading of 900 million ETS-certificates is to be a first step even if it is not enough. “The two billion CO2 allowances, which are too much on the European market, must be permanently removed. The 900 million ETS certificates, for which the EU has recently decided on an interim basis, are not enough. We will aggressively fight in the EU for a functioning CO2 trading system.”

UK:

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will spend just £17.2m on domestic “climate change initiatives” this financial year, a 41 per cent decline on the previous 12 months, according to its response to a freedom of information request. …. 

The dramatic cut in domestic climate change spending comes in Mr Paterson’s first full-year as Environment Secretary – he took up the post in September 2012 . The spending now represents just 0.7 per cent of the department’s total budget for the year, down from 1.2 per cent last year.

Defra is in charge of preparing, or adapting, Britain for global warming, while the Department for Energy and Climate Change is responsible for mitigating the risks. ….  One source who worked with the Environment Secretary said: “Adapting to climate change in itself is not a priority for Owen Paterson. He doesn’t believe that floods have anything to do with climate change, so he calls the biggest aspect of adaptation ‘flood management’. When you talk to him, you don’t use words like ‘adaptation’ – instead you talk about the economic impacts and opportunities and present it as a market solution.”

UK:

David Cameron will on Monday boast of tearing up 80,000 pages of environmental protections and building guidelines as part of a new push to build more houses and cut costs for businesses.

In a speech to small firms, the prime minister will claim that he is leading the first government in decades to have slashed more needless regulation than it introduced.

Climate “scientists” begin to acknowledge the obvious

January 16, 2014

It is obvious that the source of all heat is the Sun and that nuclear reactions in the earth’s interiror producing heat – if any – are negligible in comparison.

It seems equally obvious, considering the relative heat capacities of air with that of water, that the primary vehicle for the storage and distribution of the heat emanating from the sun, around the earth, is first by the oceans and only second via the atmosphere. The heat absorbed is attenuated by clouds. The heat lost from the earth is also primarily attenuated by clouds and only marginally by other constituents of the atmosphere.

But climate models have generally minimised solar insolation effects and largely ignored the oceans. Heat losses have been predicated primarily on carbon dioxide and other trace constituents of the atmosphere and have ended up treating the net effects of clouds as causing warming rather than cooling. Whither common sense!!

But the current “hiatus” in global warming – which may well become 2 or 3 decades of cooling  – is beginning to bring a whiff of reality into the “science”. They don’t acknowledge the possibility of cooling, of course, and don’t give up on their carbon dioxide fantasies but they are beginning to pay some attention to the oceans and the Sun.

But now they reckon models must be judged on a timescale of 50 – 100 years!

But note the phrase “sceptics and some scientists”! I thought scientists were supposed to be sceptical. Science based on belief leaves a little to be desired.

The heat is actually non-existent but the euphemism for that is “missing heat”.

Climate change: The case of the missing heat

Nature 505, 276–278 (16 January 2014),  doi:10.1038/505276a

… Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled.

For several years, scientists wrote off the stall as noise in the climate system: the natural variations in the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere that drive warm or cool spells around the globe. But the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field. Although there have been jumps and dips, average atmospheric temperatures have risen little since 1998, in seeming defiance of projections of climate models and the ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate sceptics have seized on the temperature trends as evidence that global warming has ground to a halt. Climate scientists, meanwhile, know that heat must still be building up somewhere in the climate system, but they have struggled to explain where it is going, if not into the atmosphere. Some have begun to wonder whether there is something amiss in their models.

Now, as the global-warming hiatus enters its sixteenth year, scientists are at last making headway in the case of the missing heat. Some have pointed to the Sun, volcanoes and even pollution from China as potential culprits, but recent studies suggest that the oceans are key to explaining the anomaly. The latest suspect is the El Niño of 1997–98, which pumped prodigious quantities of heat out of the oceans and into the atmosphere — perhaps enough to tip the equatorial Pacific into a prolonged cold state that has suppressed global temperatures ever since. …… 

….. But none of the climate simulations carried out for the IPCC produced this particular hiatus at this particular time. That has led sceptics — and some scientists — to the controversial conclusion that the models might be overestimating the effect of greenhouse gases, and that future warming might not be as strong as is feared. Others say that this conclusion goes against the long-term temperature trends, as well as palaeoclimate data that are used to extend the temperature record far into the past. And many researchers caution against evaluating models on the basis of a relatively short-term blip in the climate. “If you are interested in global climate change, your main focus ought to be on timescales of 50 to 100 years,” says Susan Solomon, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. …….

….

Climate – the second derivative

January 14, 2014

Change changes.

We take global temperature (which exists nowhere and is merely a numerical construct) as climate. When global temperature is not constant we call it climate change. When “climate change” starts to change (as now from warming to cooling) we are into the second derivative. The turbulence at the time of the change of climate change we call “extreme events”.

Changing climate change

Changing climate change

These articles do not say very much new but they are quite extraordinary in that they are carried by the Sydney Morning Herald and Real Clear Politics, who have been staunch supporters of global warming orthodoxy.

The Ship of Fools in the Antarctic seems to have been a “tipping point” – not for climate or for climate change or for the change in climate change – but maybe for bringing some reality back into how climate is reported. (Incidentally, the Akademik Shokalskiy managed to get free of the ice and reached New Zealand but Turney’s tourists who were so dramatically rescued are still stuck at Casey station in the Antarctic and are not due back home for another 10 days!!!!!)

Sydney Morning HeraldGame finally up for carboncrats

It was promoted as the voyage to study the melting of ice sheets in the South Pole as well as to retrace Douglas Mawson’s perilous expedition a century ago. Yet the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by UNSW climatologist Chris Turney, has become a comedy goldmine. …..

Real Clear PoliticsShip of Fools in the Antarctic

In the mega-bestseller of the 15th century, “Das Narrenschiff,” Swiss lawyer Sebastian Brant satirized the pretensions, delusions and follies of his day through descriptions of passengers on a ship bound for “Narragonia.” Brant’s depiction of humanity as a ship of fools sailing without rudder or compass captured the imagination, inspiring a painting by Hieronymous Bosch, a song by the Grateful Dead.

So when the research ship Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck in the ice about 40 miles from Antarctica, some who knew the purpose of its voyage dubbed it the “Ship of Fools.” ……

Real Clear PoliticsFreezing Is the New Warming

This is looking like another bad year for global warming.

The year began with the news that an Australian “climate researcher” leading a tourist expedition to Antarctica got his ship trapped in the sea ice. Which is embarrassing, because the purpose of his expedition was to study the melting of sea ice supposedly caused by 20th-century global warming. The current expedition was meant to retrace the route Douglas Mawson took in 1912—but they were stopped 70 kilometers short of where Mawson landed. So they needed to have an icebreaker ship sent to rescue them. Then the icebreaker got caught in the ice, and someone had to rescue the rescuers. You can’t make this stuff up. …… 

The New York Times and Der Spiegel have started backing away from the orthodoxy towards reality – but very slowly. The Guardian, Washington Post and the BBC are among those who are still stuck in a fantasy world.

Solar and ocean cycles – without any CO2 influence – are sufficient to explain climate changes

December 7, 2013
  1. The de Vries solar cycle together with the AMO/PDO are sufficient to explain the main climate variations of the last 1000 years
  2. It is unnecessary to invoke carbon dioxide and its effects to explain the climate cycles
  3. The 21st century will see an underlying cooling due to the de Vries cycle and then modulated by the AMO/PDO. 

The 200-210 year de Vries solar cycle (also known as the Suess cycle)  has been postulated for some time (here and here for example)  as being one of the main natural cycles governing our climate.  The effect of the de Vries cycle can be traced back through the glacial record through many millenia and even through geologic ages. Many solar effects work on climate through ocean cycles. The Atlantic/Pacific Oscillations are well known as  drivers of climate and can be traced back through at least about 1500 years. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has a period of about 66 years while the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has a slightly shorter cycle of 60 years.

The entire hypothesis that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and therefore human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for “global warming” is based on the argument that nothing else can explain the warming witnessed during the 20th century. Yet this is not just conjecture it is a fantasy based on ignoring the effect of the natural cycles that are known to exist. In fact there is no need to invoke carbon dioxide concentration to explain the ups and down of climate. German researchers have now shown that just the de Vries Cycle together with the AMO and the PDO are quite sufficient. The period in the 1970’s and 1980’s often used as the foundation for “global warming” theory can be quite sufficiently explained by the AMO/PDO.

Just as we had about 100 years of an underlying warming due to the de Vries cycle in the 20th century, we are in for an underlying cooling through the 21st century in response to the de Vries solar cycle. This underlying trend will be modulated by the ups and downs of the AMO and the PDO. Carbon dioxide concentrations are largely irrelevant. 

The following is from an article at NoTricksZone:

German Scientists Show Climate Driven By Natural Cycles – Global Temperature To Drop To 1870 Levels By 2100!

by Prof. H. Luedecke and C.O. Weiss (Original German version here).

We reported recently about our spectral analysis work of European temperatures [1] which shows that during the last centuries all climate changes were caused by periodic (i.e. natural) processes. Non-periodic processes like a warming through the monotonic increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause at most 0.1° to 0.2° warming for a doubling of the CO2 content, as it is expected for 2100.

Fig. 1 (Fig. 6 of [1] ) shows the measured temperatures (blue) and the temperatures reconstructed using the 6 strongest frequency components (red) of the Fourier spectrum, indicating that the temperature history is determined by periodic processes only.

On sees from Fig. 1 that two cycles of periods 200+ years and ~65 years dominate the climate changes, the 200+ year cycle causing the largest part of the temperature increase since 1870.

EIKE_2

Fig. 1: Construction of temperatures using the 6 strongest Fourier components (red), European temperatures from instrumental measurements (blue). It is apparent that only a 200+ year cycle and a ~65 year cycle play a significant role.

The ~65 year cycle is the well-known, much studied, and well understood “Atlantic/Pacific oscillation” (AMO/PDO).  It can be traced back for 1400 years. The AMO/PDO has no external forcing it is “intrinsic dynamics”, an “oscillator”.

Although the spectral analysis of the historical instrumental temperature measurements [1] show a strong 200+ year period, it cannot be inferred with certainty from these measurements, since only 240 years of measurement data are available. However, the temperatures obtained from the Spannagel stalagmite show this periodicity as the strongest climate variation by far since about 1100 AD.

……….

Summary

The analysis of solar activity proves the existence and the strength of the 200+ year periodicity which we found from historical temperature measurements, as well as from the Spannagel stalagmite data. This 200+ year cycle is apparently the one known as “de Vries cycle”.

This solar “de Vries cycle together with the AMO/PDO determine practically completely the global climate of the past  (Fig. 1) and the coming time. A significant influence of CO2 on the climate thus has to be excluded. This latter is not surprising in view of the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and its weak infrared absorption cross section (also in view of the various proves of NEGATIVE water feedback).

The present “stagnation” of global temperature (Fig. 5) is essentially due to the AMO/PDO: the solar de Vries cycle is presently at its maximum. Around this maximum it changes negligibly. The AMO/PDO is presently beyond its maximum, corresponding to the small decrease of global temperature. Its next minimum will be 2035. The temperature can expected to be then similar to the last AMO/PDO minimum of 1940. Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the “little ice age” of 1870.

It accounts for the long temperature rise since 1870. One may note, that the stronger temperature increase from the 1970s to the 1990s, which is “officially” argued to prove warming by CO2, is essentially due to the AMO/PDO cycle.

[1] H.Luedecke, A. Hempelmann, C.O. Weiss; Clim. Past.  9  (2013) p 447

[2] F. Steinhilber, J. Beer; Journ. Geophys. Res.: Space Physics  118  (2013) p 1861

Biofuels produce twice as much carbon dioxide per kWh as natural gas

October 31, 2013

Of course, carbon dioxide is proving to be of much less importance to global warming than the alarmists would have us believe. Sharply increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have had no impact on global temperatures for the last 17 – 18 years and the supposed link between man-made carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures is looking very shaky.

It has been another “feel-good” assumption that burning wood, peat, bioethanol and biofuels in general are “carbon neutral”. But that is just wishful thinking. “… only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood”.

“Both this and the original method used models of the forest. Models are by definition simplifications. The simplifications a researcher makes will vary according to the issues at hand, the questions being asked. You realise how much earlier analyses have oversimplified things when more refined models yield completely different answers.” 

ScienceNordic reports that scientists from the Cicero Centre for Climate Research and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology used a new method for quantifying the contributions of bioenergy to global warming as compared to fossil energy such as oil and gas.

But further research now indicates that the real climate effect of wood burning is less advantageous.

“By refining their method I determined that the emission of one kg of CO2 from biomass is the equivalent of about 1.25 to 1.5 kg fossil CO2.  So it’s much higher and less climate friendly,” says Bjart Holtsmark, a researcher at Statistics Norway.

In other words, if Holtsmark’s calculations are correct, the climate impact of using slow-growing forest wood for fuel is greater than the burning of fossil fuel, given a 100-year time frame.

Holtsmark says that the original method failed to account for how logging leaves behind dead tree parts. When trees are cut, a considerable amount of tree “waste” remains in the forest to rot and oxidise – and emit CO2.

“This aspect of the carbon balance sheet for bioenergy needs to be included,” he says. “The usual practice in forestry is to take out the trunks, while leaving the branches, treetops, stumps and roots. But the trunk only comprises half the tree’s living biomass.”

He explains that even if the branches and tops are taken out with the trunks, the stumps and roots will be left behind to oxidise into CO2. …… 

…. Holtsmark also asserts that the combustion of timber releases more carbon dioxide per kWh of heat energy than oil and gas.

“For example, only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood. When this is taken into account, the picture for bioenergy from slow growing forests becomes even less advantageous.”

Winter time is here again – but “cyclical isn’t a scientific term”!

October 27, 2013

We put the clocks back by an hour last night – as we did a year ago.

I shall change to winter tyres tomorrow  – as I did a year ago.

Tomorrow will be another day – as it is every 24 hours.

Christmas day will come again – whether it is scientific or not.

We are surrounded and dominated by cycles. Without periodicity and cycles we would have no concept of time.

Daily cycles, monthly cycles, annual cycles, solar cycles every 11 years, the earth’s precession cycle with a period of 26,000 years, the earth’s axial tilt cycle of about 41,000 years and the Milankovitch cycles of about 100,000 years, are just some of the cycles that surround us.

Whether everything derives from the vibrations within the most fundamental particles and then are manifested by the periodic motion of bodies in our cosmos or whether the motion in the cosmos is the origin of everything else, periodicity and cyclic behaviour is ingrained within us and our world.

There are many more cyclic effects that we are continuously discovering (from the eons of slow cosmic cycles to multi-decadal ocean cycles to multi -hour cycles within living cells to the periodicity of the incredibly fast vibrations of atoms).

The only man-made repeating period that seems to have no corresponding cycle in the natural world is the weekly 7-day cycle.

Almost every cycle we discover seems to impact our weather and our climate.

But Nebraska “climate scientists” don’t believe that natural cycles are worth studying. In fact only studies which start with the assumption that global warming is man-made get any funding.

For one thing, “cyclical” isn’t a scientific term, said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Oh Dear!

The only response to Barbara Mayes and climate scientists in Nebraska must be (with apologies to Lerner and Lowe)

There’ll be spring every year without you
England still will be here without you
There’ll be fruit on the tree
And a shore by the sea
There’ll be crumpets and tea without you

Without your pulling it the tide comes in
Without your twirling it, the Earth can spin
Without your pushing them, the clouds roll by
If they can do without you, ducky so can I

A new, profound insight into “climate change cooperation”

October 21, 2013

There is bad science and there is silly science and there is trivial science. There is also inane science.

And their are learned journals for all of them. This is a new paper published by Nature Climate Change. (One wonders why?). The authors though can be very pleased since they can each add another paper to their respective list of publications. “We learned from this experiment that even groups gravitate towards instant gratification” 

Wow!

Jennifer Jacquet, Kristin Hagel, Christoph Hauert, Jochem Marotzke, Torsten Röhl, Manfred Milinski. Intra- and intergenerational discounting in the climate gameNature Climate Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2024

EurekAlert has this to say:

Delayed gratification hurts climate change cooperation

Time is a huge impediment when it comes to working together to halt the effects of climate change, new research suggests.

A study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that groups cooperate less for climate change mitigation when the rewards of cooperation lay in the future, especially if they stretch into future generations.

“People are often self-interested, so when it comes to investing in a cooperative dilemma like climate change, rewards that benefit our offspring – or even our future self – may not motivate us to act,” says Jennifer Jacquet, a clinical assistant professor at New York University’s Environmental Studies Program, who conducted the research while a postdoctoral fellow working with Math Prof. Christoph Hauert at the University of British Columbia.

“Since no one person can affect climate change alone, we designed the first experiment to gauge whether group dynamics would encourage people to cooperate towards a better future.”

Researchers at UBC and two Max Planck Institutes in Germany gave study participants 40 Euros each to invest, as a group of six, towards climate change actions. If participants cooperated to pool together 120 Euros for climate change, returns on their investment, in the form of 45 additional Euros each, were promised one day later, seven weeks later, or were invested in planting oak trees, and thus would lead to climate benefits several decades down the road – but not personally to the participants. Although many individuals invested initially in the long-term investment designed to simulate benefits to future generations, none of the groups achieved the target.

“We learned from this experiment that even groups gravitate towards instant gratification,” says Hauert, an expert in game theory, the study of strategic decision-making.

The authors suggest that international negotiations to mitigate climate change are unlikely to succeed if individual countries’ short-term gains are not taken into consideration.

Could there be any form of cooperation – in any field – where long-term gains are not out-weighed by instant gratification? For any investment – let alone a cooperative investment – given a choice of a short payback or a long payback, is there any case where the long payback period is chosen? 

This is so profound and so deep an insight it almost hurts!


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