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tsuomela : consequences   5

An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress
"Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11–12 °C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed. Eventual warmings of 12 °C are possible from fossil fuel burning. One implication is that recent estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change are too low unless the range of possible warming can somehow be narrowed. Heat stress also may help explain trends in the mammalian fossil record. "
global-warming  climate-change  climate  biology  consequences 
march 2012 by tsuomela
Eeyore and the Unintended Consequence « Easily Distracted
..loosely libertarian (e.g., McArdle/Brooksian surface-level libertarianism used mostly to defend fixed programmatic commitments) fears of the unintended consequences of action by the state are empirically and philosophically messed up. They’re not really based on a comprehensive history of the consequences of state action, and they’re not really based on any kind of consistent view of structure-agency interaction.
libertarian  free-markets  ideology  consequences  unintended  silppery-slope  false  arguments  style  government 
august 2009 by tsuomela

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