Mittwoch, Januar 19, 2011

Unintended Consequences...redux

Imagine, if you will, a government that believes in the anthropogenic theory of Global Warming. Their "scientific advisers" tell them that they are facing decades of drought, that flood plains have become irrelevant because it will never flood again (or, more exactly, the likelihood of floods is as great as the likelihood of the Sahara becoming green again), that fresh water is a precious, precious resource that needs to be carefully conserved and controlled.

That government takes this advice seriously: they open up flood plains to development; they institute water management policies that are designed primarily to maximize stored and controllable water resources, and they drop training for floods and tell their emergency service people that the need to train for fires and dry conditions instead of floods. This government spent $13bn on desalinization plants to meet water needs, abandoning flood planning because, of course, there wouldn't be any more floods for the foreseeable future.

Sounds sensible, right? Sounds like a sound thing to do?

Read this and see how horribly wrong this has been: just as wrong as when houseowners were told they were not allowed to trim back trees and brush from their houses in the interest of keeping temperatures down to reduce cooling costs, only to see brush fires kill dozens trying to save their houses.

The only thing anthropogenic about the Brisbane floods was the policies that led to abandonment of flood planning, of allowing buildings to be erected on flood plains, of being forced to release massive amounts of water into Brisbane all at once (to save the dam from overflowing) because policies forbade measured releases that would have avoided the degree of flooding to begin with.

In other words, the authorities in charge ignored the historical record, ignored the geological record, ignored the direct and causal relationship between flooding/droughts and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation; ignored the warnings of those who said they were talking a crock, and barged ahead with policies that have now killed people.

There will be an inquiry now, a full judicial review by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. Tad late for that.

These are the unintended consequences of believing in something to the exclusion of any alternatives. It shows the utter idiocy of politicians beholden to special interest groups.

Oh, and the desalination plants?

Mothballed because of a lack of demand: rain has been so heavy that it is no longer needed. More misallocated capital.

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

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