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    Does more wine always mean more problems?

    Does more wine always mean more problems?

    A headline on the BBC caught my eye today:

     The warming wine regions.

    […] High-value grapes are grown within a narrow climate window, Stanford earth scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said, making them more sensitive to temperature variations than standard crops.

    In Tuscany, a Florence University study found that climate change will result in both increased temperatures and increased rain intensity, which could damage such wines as Chianti, Barolo, Brunello and Amarone. In Australia, drought attributed to climate change has already affected wine production in recent years.

    There are some wine regions, however, which stand to gain from global warming. In Europe, rising temperatures will shift wine country to the north, extending its reach into Scandinavian countries, Florence agronomist Simone Orlandini told MSNBC. In England, wineries are already experiencing the benefits. Last year, even as overall wine consumption decreased in England, consumption of domestic wine went up by more than 70%, the Economist reported. (This map provides a glimpse into the future of British wine.) Changes in climate are bringing earlier harvests and friendlier growing conditions for French varietals. In the US, wine production is expected to increase in cool, coastal areas and high desert regions. In Australia, production is expected to increase in Tasmania due to its island climate, and in Chile and Argentina, production may shift to high desert regions, mountain foothills and coastal areas.

    So, on net, we’ll get more wine production? I don’t see a problem here…

    Anyway, the article reminded me of two things:

    1. David Friedman’s latest commentary on Global Warming:

    The argument for large and expensive efforts to prevent or reduce global warming has three parts, in principle separable: Global temperature is trending up, the reason is human activity, and the consequences of the trend continuing are very bad. Almost all arguments, pro and con, focus on the first two. The third, although necessary to support the conclusion, is for the most part ignored by both sides. […]

    It is true that our species evolved to survive under then existing climatic conditions but, over the period for which humans have existed, climate has varied by considerably more than the changes being predicted for global warming. And, for the past many thousands of years, humans have lived and prospered over a range of climates much larger than the range that we expect the climate at any particular location to change by.

    If we have no good reason to believe that humans will be substantially worse off after global warming than before, we have no good reason to believe that it is worth bearing sizable costs to prevent global warming.

    Which falls largely in line with….

    2. Humanity is no stranger to climate change. Even as late as Friedrich der Große (18th century Prussia) wine was being grown on estates in Berlin, an unimaginable feat today.

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    Comments


    Say what ?!?

    Cold summer blamed for low Big Butterfly Count numbers
    The coldest summer for 18 years has been blamed by conservationists for an 11% fall in butterflies seen during this year’s Big Butterfly Count.

    One of these days, somebody is going to observe that climate change forces very large portions of the earth’s surface to lie fallow while others become more useful for agriculture. One side effect is that the fertility of the soil is renewed, so that a shift in the great agricultural regions operates to the advantage of humankind.

    If the whole of humankind went back to the stone age and gave up all the technology that has made life easier for us, it would make no difference. We would still breath out carbon dioxide. And why they latched onto plant food as poison to the atmosphere I will never know, unless they plan to exterminate millions and maybe billions of people to make earth more “safe”. Well, some of them have said that was their goal. The idea that puny man has any sway over nature is laughable. We are but tiny pieces of jetsom and flotsom who must try to protect ourselves from nature’s furies. We are in no position to guide nature’s path in any way. To think that man has all these powers is conceit at its worse.

    I kind of like the studies that a college in Oregon– I think it was OSU– did on CO2. (Can’t seem to find it online anymore; about half a decade ago, it was being spun furiously– spawned a lot of “good for plants, bad for people!” articles on True Believer sites.)

    They pumped extra CO2 into closed greenhouses, and open greenhouses, and monitored the levels of CO2 and kept records of the plant growth. The only time projected CO2 levels hurt the plants was when the greenhouse’s humidity was improperly ventilated… a problem with any artificial greenhouse, as my moldy garden attests. (Greenhouses don’t generally have rain storms.)

    If you have your choice between the planet getting warmer and the planet getting cooler, take warmer every time. Warm periods in the past have been prosperous, cold ones misery and starvation.

    Right now, we have seen a general warming trend in place since the end of the Little Ice Age about 150 years ago. Last ten years or so could be a plateau, or simply a pause. Or, the beginning of a cold trend. Let us hope not.

    The other scary fact is that past cold periods seem to have come on very rapidly, warming is a slow process.


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